Magic Trick: The decapitated princess

(Or Prince!)


A head is presented, placed on two swords which in turn rest on the arms of a chair. The head is obviously alive.


The chair, its upholstery, and the set itself can be as sumptuous as desired. It's very important that the material of the chair cushion and the chair back are the same: and featureless: such as red plush. The chair should be on a small dais, with the swords a little above an average waist height. The head should wear a costume with a frilly collar.

The chair is placed close to but not in contact with the back of the set, which is of dark material. An inclined board goes through the back of the chair, on which the assistant rests with just her/his head and the collar visible. He or she is wrapped in the same material as the set.

A mirror is placed on the chair seat, placed at an angle of 45 degrees AWAY from the audience — so that it reflects the seat cover. Its sides and edges are concealed in the upholstery, and where it rests against the sword in front by the frilly collar. The other sword is placed behind the assistant's head — and the illusion is ready for viewing.


This illusion is best suited for a sideshow since not much actually happens. The spectators can of course approach quite closely to the chair and talk to the assistant, but mustn't touch the chair. The material that conceals the body of the assistant is also used in the gap between the two swords — not right up at their level but enough to create the illusion of shadow.

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