Vanishing an Elephant


This was one of Houdini's most spectacular early stage illusions. In it, he rode a gigantic elephant onto the stage of a theater. After dismounting the pachyderm, he raised a screen in front of it. The screen was dropped moments later and the elephant was gone!


At the time Houdini performed this disappearance, elephants were far from common sights. This general unfamiliarity with the beasts helped Houdini get away with presenting his audience with what they least expected -- an inflatable elephant. The air-filled fabrication was mounted on roller skates so that, after Houdini was on its back, it could be shoved by stage hands and roll onto the stage. Once the screen was up, a pin fired into the fake animal via blowgun from off stage was enough to flatten the over-inflated creature, with the explosive sound masked by a well-timed crash of cymbals from the orchestra.End of story

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