The Boy Mechanic: Part 127

[Ill.u.s.tration: Raising the Subject in Midair]

effect makes a few hypnotic pa.s.ses over the subject. She then slowly rises from the couch until she has attained a height varying from 4 to 5 ft. above the stage, as shown in Fig. 1. The couch is then taken a way and a hoop is pa.s.sed over the floating lady. The performer now causes the lady to float back to the couch or board that she may have been resting on, after which the so-called hypnotic spell is withdrawn.

In spite of the claims that the illusion owes its origin to Hindoo magic, it is nothing more nor less than a clever mechanical contrivance, the construction of which will be readily understood by a glance at the accompanying ill.u.s.trations.

The bottom of the couch, if one is used, contains a cradle-like arrangement which fits the rec.u.mbent form of the lady and is connected to a heavy sheet of plate gla.s.s by means of a rod, D, Fig. 2, attached to one end, and running parallel to the side of the cradle. When the gla.s.s is lifted, the body of the subject is also raised, seemingly at the will of the performer. This is accomplished by the aid of an a.s.sistant beneath the stage floor.

The plate of gla.s.s, E, Fig. 3, pa.s.ses perpendicularly through the stage down to a double block and tackle. The end of the cable is attached to a drum or windla.s.s and the plate gla.s.s held steady with guides at the sides of the slot in the stage floor, through which it pa.s.ses. The winding up of the cable naturally forces the plate gla.s.s and cradle up, causing the lady to rise.

Some illusionists place the lady on a board on two ordinary trestles and cause the board to rise with the lady

[Ill.u.s.tration: Direction the Hoop Takes In Pa.s.sing over the Board]

on it, as shown in the ill.u.s.tration, thus obviating the use of heavy paraphernalia as in the cradle attachment. The cradle attachment is also generally accompanied by a 2-in. iron bar, used in the place of the plate gla.s.s, the performer or operator standing at the rear of the couch to conceal the bar as it comes from beneath the stage. However, the method ill.u.s.trated is the one generally used.

The solid hoop is pa.s.sed over the body in the following manner: Start at the end, B, Fig. 2, pa.s.sing the hoop as far as C with the hoop on the outside of the back horizontal rod. The side of the hoop toward the audience is then turned and swung clear around over the feet at A and entered between the rod and board on which the lady rests. The hoop is then carried as far as it will go back toward the end B. Then the side nearest the operator is pa.s.sed over the head of the body apparently the second time and pa.s.sed off free at the feet. Thus to the closest observer the impression is given that the hoop has encircled the lady twice. The ill.u.s.trations give in detail the working of the illusion above the stage floor. No set rule is used for the tackle and drum below the floor.

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