Archive for September, 2008

Most dangerous effects in magic

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

The folks a the Ellusionist blog invited discussion of what a list of the ten most dangerous effects in magic might include. I am pleased to add my vast knowledge of magic to this area of inquiry. My list of ten most dangerous magic effects (in no particular order) would include:

  1. Straight Jacket Plummet. The magician is fastened into a straight jacket and dropped from an airplane at 30,000 feet, aimed straight at a platform covered in steel spikes. The magician must escape from the straight jacket and capture a parachute (that was dropped from the airplane at the same time the magician was) to have any hope of surviving.
  2. Hitchcock Bird Production: The magician, dressed in evening clothes, produces copious ravenous, homicidal doves from thin air.
  3. Sawing a Gang Leader’s Woman in Half. One mistake, and the magician is 187!
  4. Plunger. Three Styrofoam cups are arranged on a table upside down by an audience member while the magician looks away. After turning around, the magician instantly smashes two of the cups. What makes this exciting is that two of the cups are empty, while the third hides a plunger connected to explosives which will destroy the entire building if activated.
  5. Matrix. The magician places four coins on a close-up pad and covers them with four playing cards. The magician must try to secretly assemble all of the coins beneath one of the cards, even though his physical body has been enslaved by a race of robots and his mind is living in a computer simulation.
  6. Cement Endurance. More of a stunt than a real magic effect, the magician is lowered into a dumpster which is then filled with concrete. Once the concrete dries, the magician must carefully manage what air exists while escaping with only the use of a few dental tools.
  7. Great White. The magician attempts to locate a spectator’s selected card while being eaten by a shark.
  8. Heavy Water Torture Cell. Like Houdini’s Chinese Water Torture Cell, but radioactive (great for nighttime performances).
  9. Pullet Catch. A chicken cannon — used to test the ability of an airplane window to survive bird impacts — is loaded with a chicken that has been previously marked by a spectator. The hapless bird is fired at supersonic speed at the magician, who catches it. The effect is sometimes made even more deadly by using a frozen chicken.
  10. Performing Card Tricks for Teenage Boys. Don’t even attempt this one; you will be driven insane.

Clarification on Criss Angel’s lake walk

Monday, September 29th, 2008

A reader writes:

Ok of course I’m gonna be skeptical on how he walked on the lake. But you guys said he had batteries on him and electricity was going, to the bottom of his shoes that had strips of metal. Don’t you see what’s wrong with that,as I recall there was water below his feet where you say there was also electricity below his feet. Water conducts electricity those women would’ve gotten shocked when they touched below his shoes. They would’ve gotten shocked for even being close to him. Those cameramen inside the lake would’ve gotten shocked. What next thing you’re gonna say is the care bears are real. Hey those people in the lake would’ve gotten shocked.

I understand your confusion, but magicians take extreme precautions to make sure that nobody will be injured during the performance of their effects. In the case of the water walk, Angel had the lake’s normal water replaced with ionized water. Because the water had an electrical charge, it was pushed away from the magnets and therefore there was no way for water and electricity to mix! (There was actually a thin bit of space between Angel’s feet and the super-surface-tension water beneath him — he was technically hovering, not walking, across the water.)

Some people have asked whether those in the water beside Angel might be wearing rubber shoes to help ward off electric shock. This would not be effective since they are standing in water; however, I’ve heard a rumor that the women may have had their legs encased in a thick coating of skin-colored rubber, which would indeed do the trick.

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