How does this levitation trick work? (not David Blaine)

Check this video here. (WMV).

I’m pretty much expecting that all the “amazed spectators” are in on it (as usual), but still. Any ideas?

I would bet the fact that his coat dangles to the ground has something to do with it.

That and I figure there’s some sort of bracing in his pants.

Yeah, at 1:18 in the video, when he’s being lifted back up, there’s something weird happening with his coat. Can’t quite pin it down, though.

Yup, saw that, I’m pretty sure he’s got a brace straped to his back. Also, notice that when the camera swings around to the front (where his feet are), his leg is blocking that spot.

He makes a point of lifting his left leg, which got me thinking that his right leg was the key. It would be interesting to see the whole video. I can vaguely imagine him with a strong brace running up his right pants leg to his upper back. In preparation, he buries some kind of spike in the ground the day before, then rounds up some spectators, does his tricks, moves his right foot to the spot and locks it down, then bends backward.

Now, if he ever does a version where he lifts both feet off the ground at once, I’d be stumped.

Yeah, I’ve though about the brace, but it seems like that would still be quite the trick to support your whole body weight on a single point so far off center like that.

My vote is for some kind of hinged post on his back. Possibly that’s why he makes such a big deal of being lowered slowly – so the post will go straight down?

If there’s a rod, it would have to be transparent - like Lexan, or something.

I’d wager a tidy sum that it all starts with a pipe sunk a foot or so into the ground. Under his clothes, he’ll have the brace, running down his back, where it hinges at the right knee with an extendable post. The hinge will have a sturdy stop, to keep it at a 90-degree angle, and at the start of the illusion, he’ll position himself to that he can surreptitiously lower the extendable post into the pipe in the ground, providing the anchor to hold his weight. The rest is purely acting. Notice how rigid his waist is while he’s being lowered by the hands. There’s no flexion whatsoever, which you’d normally expect while being lowered in that fashion, which supports the brace theory.

With the performers back to the audience, the performer uses real baggy pants as a cover, and in the meantime, his slipped-off one of his loose shoes so its in between his legs. He can then lift both shoes off the ground with one leg planted on the ground. People see both shoes levitate off the ground.

Did you even watch the video? He never lifts his right leg off the ground. Only his left.

Different trick - watch the video.

I’m figuring on what Q.E.D. says; his shirt doesn’t go all the way to the ground, so I don’t think that’s it. Looks great though. :slight_smile:

Which is why I’d like to see the whole video, particularly the five minutes before and five minutes after the trick, to see if his movements are particularly stiff or restricted.

Heck, have him bend backwards, lift both feet off the ground, stand up again… and breakdance! That’d be cool.

Professional magician here, just dropping by to offer a relevant fact.

The only people who know how this is done won’t tell you.

The people willing to speculate and comment about how they think it might be done don’t really know.

This is why it’s a little bit pointless posting GQs that ask how magic tricks are done. Them that know don’t say. Them that say don’t know.

Just for the record, I’ll offer two more bits of relevant information. (1) It’s a little bit misguided to ask about ‘the’ method, as if there’s only one. There are almost as many different methods for performing a levitation trick as there are magicians. (2) You can never figure out for sure how a trick is done from watching a video tape of a performance. It’s impossible to say whether the demonstration or performance has been ‘enhanced’. Sometimes this is done just by being careful to position the camera in such a way that the trick looks better than it would if you saw it from a slightly different angle. In more advanced cases, the video may have been subject to digital editing or post-production. So you never really know.

You NEVER see his feet (foot) move during the video, he must have something in the ground.

As was pointed out earlier, his back is perfectly straight as he he is being lifted down and up, that’s a pretty good indication of a brace.

I think the video was edited at 00:35 in. There’s a funny jump right then.

Something that hasn’t been mentioned yet was his hair. I think the hat and hair are fake. Not only would you bend a little bit at the hips when being lowered like that, but you wouldn’t likely hold your head that perfectly in line too. I think the hair and hat are covering the top end of the brace.

Gee, I’m sorry I posted then. :rolleyes: I thought part of the reason for the SDMB was entertainment. OK, so maybe this could be in a different forum, but I personally enjoyed watching the video to see if I could determine how it might have been done, or to catch their flaws in filiming (covering up) what they don’t want us to see.

Isn’t it just as pointless to drop by to offer your “two more bits of relevant information”? After all, you really provided nothing to the OP as near as I can tell. And the idea that magicians don’t tell is just … well you know, not always the way really is. :wink:

No, but you can make a good enough guess, by carefully analyzing the performance. And after all, part of the entertainment value of watching a professional magician is speculating on his methods. I mean, come on, nobody except the complete woo-woos believes there is truly any “magic” involved. Magical illusions must obey the laws of physics, and it’s relatively straightforward to eliminate the utterly impossible. If everything in the video appears to be impossible, then you must suspect editing and other camera tricks. I’m certain my guess as to the nature of this particular trick is close to the mark. I am convinced I could use my method or a minor variant thereof to replicate the illusion almost exactly as it appears.

DON’T DO IT Q.E.D., you’ll be violating ianzin’s intellectual property. :rolleyes:

Since this is GQ, how about a cite?

Back to the OP, can we all agree that the “audience” is bunko? I mean the woman doesn’t even sound convincing, and the black guy only seems to be able to say “Oh Shit!”.

If you accept that the whole thing is completely staged (a la David Copperfield and making the giant ______ disappear) then I think it gets a lot easier to figure out. There’s no need for any stealthily placed items. I’m all for the brace idea, but his foot is so far off the center of gravity, that it seems like this would have to be one hell of a brace to hold him up only on that one point.

Not really. You ever seen those long restaurant booth seats that are attached to the wall, and have no other support? Those can easily hold the weight of two or three people, and the bracing isn’t particularly beefy, though admittedly it’s bulkier than would be inevident in a trick such as this. And, further, those are designed to hold up for the long term. A much lighter support structure could be used when the weight is only expected to be the one person, and only for a few minutes at a time. It’s probably somewhat flexible, being thin enough to hide under clothing, so that if the volunteers had dropped him, he’d have bounced quite a bit.

The guy is Chris Angel and has a show on A&E on Wednesday nights (I think) called Mindfreak.

He does variations on this that belie some of the explanations so far.

He seems more advanced than Blaine when it comes to levitation.