First off, I’m aware of the magician’s code and all that, so please don’t come here to post that you know how it’s done, but you’re not telling. Unless of course, you also provide some helpful insight.
Here’s a link to the Snopes page on it, with a video link included.
When I first watched the video, two things came to my attention:
1.) He pulls a random person from the audience, then tells them to go back because she’s “too short.” Now, from what I’ve learned about illusions, everything on the magician’s part is rehersed over and over. There are no mistakes. Pulling someone from the audience and then turning them down isn’t a mistake. There’s a reason behind him doing that, but I can’t figure out what (well, there’s one reason I can think of, more on that later)
2.) There’s documented cases of people living full and happy lives as a torso. That is, they were born that way, not born full bodied, then had their legs chopped off. As far as I know, though, there’s no documented cases of someone living a full and happy life as just legs.
3.) She was wearing a long skirt. Able to hide alot under it.
So here’s what I reckon happend:
The woman he apparently pulled apart was a plant, and either consisted of two women, one extremely flexible and one with the above mentioned condition, or a woman with the above mentioned condition and a pair of fairly realistic looking animatronic/prosthetic legs. The first woman he pulled, as I mentioned, was a decoy of some sort. Maybe he pulled her to give it a sense of randomness and realism to a few people that knew her “Oh, she’s been with us this whole day, there’s no way she’s a plant. Logically, the other woman’s not a plant either.” That seems a little weak, though, so I’m still trying to figure out another purpose for her.
The rest of the illusion should be obvious. Either the flexible girl lets go of her better half, or Criss detaches some sort of restraint, and the two parts go flying.
Am I on the right track here? If you know how the trick is performed, but don’t feel like revealing it to everyone, you can send me an email, and I promise I won’t tell.
If don’t know for sure how it’s performed, but would like to speculate alongside me, go for it. The more hypotheses the better!
Given the largely speculatory nature of this this thread, GQ may not be the best forum for it, so my apologies if it has to be moved.