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Old 09-19-2009, 08:08 PM
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How do street magicians do the levitation trick?

It was next up on that TV about magician's secrets, but my wife made me go out and I didn't get back in time.

I have a theory, but I'm wondering how that trick was done.
Old 09-19-2009, 08:11 PM
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balducci_levitation
Old 09-19-2009, 08:55 PM
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It should be noted that that's how they actually do it on the street, but it's not what they show on TV street magic shows. David Blaine, at least, will do the Balducci trick on the street until he gets an audience who oohs and ahhs impressively, then do a levitation "trick" involving a wire and harness that would never work live, and then edits the two together. So we at home see Blaine walking up to some people on the street and asking them if they want to see a magic trick, then we see him rising a foot or two above the ground, and then we see the folks on the street amazed at how he's just levitated, but the folks on the street never saw him rise a foot up.
Old 09-20-2009, 12:13 AM
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Hmm, interesting...I was thinking he cut a hole in the bottom of his sneakers and stood on his toes.
Old 09-20-2009, 01:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Superhal View Post
It was next up on that TV about magician's secrets, but my wife made me go out and I didn't get back in time.

I have a theory, but I'm wondering how that trick was done.
I saw that episode. I love that show. It's so mindless, yet, somehow stimulating.
Old 09-20-2009, 06:35 PM
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Some of the street magicians tricks actually don't work on the street, unless there's a shill to ooh and aah and swear it was real. This will make a couple more people nod in agreement whether they were paying attention or not. When two people have agreed, it's hard to argue and he moves along to another trick.
Old 09-20-2009, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Superhal View Post
It was next up on that TV about magician's secrets, but my wife made me go out and I didn't get back in time.
I've got one hell of a "magical disappearing wife" magic trick I could teach you. How long is a segment on this show that you're talking about?? I would guess 10 minutes at the very most! But oh shit, there's a bomb in the house that's going to explode and the only way to diffuse it is by leaving RIGHT NOW! Wives are stupid.
Oh yeah, back to the question here... I have a friend who loves magic and from time to time does some shit at the bar and blows people's minds. He taught me some sleight of hand tricks that I've gotten kind of good at, but I don't really care enough to master them. He busts out his "levitation" trick every once in a while. Only when there's about 4 or 5 people around though. The only thing hge'll tell me is that he spent more time practicing it than any other and that it doesn't require any type of equipment or anything to do it. So yeah, it does make sense that it's just all about angles and practicing like a madman until you have it down perfect.

Last edited by Shig; 09-20-2009 at 08:00 PM.
Old 09-21-2009, 11:27 AM
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I've done the Balducci levitation for many different groups of kids, co-workers, realtives. From observing their reactions only one or two from every group seems to "fall" for it. Most people will immediately say "oh, he's standing on his toes", some will say "that's kind of neat, he must be standing on his toes", a few say "that looks neat, how did you do that?" and once in a great whild you actually get someone who reacts with "OMG! You just levitated!!"
Blaine must have filmed the reactions of dozens of people to show the couple that reacted with the "OMG!!" type reaction.
Old 09-21-2009, 12:16 PM
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The levitation trick on that magic show on TV is done like this: The magician faces away from the audience, usually close to wall, stairs, or something else similar. He stands, feet together for a few moments, then seems to raise 6 - 12 inches off the floor. Here's the way it is done:

The magician will be wearing very loose fitting pants, and something to make his shoes stick together (either velcro or magnets). One shoe is modified to actually allow him to remove his foot from it while standing. Also, the "flowing pants" he is wearing has a slit that allows his leg to come out.

While he is standing facing away from you, he attaches his 2 shoes together, slips his foot and leg out of his pants, puts his foot on the step in front of him and slowly stands up on it. From the back, the audience still sees his 2 feet and pants legs together, so it looks like he is levitating.

J.
Old 09-21-2009, 12:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hampshire View Post
I've done the Balducci levitation for many different groups of kids, co-workers, realtives. From observing their reactions only one or two from every group seems to "fall" for it. Most people will immediately say "oh, he's standing on his toes", some will say "that's kind of neat, he must be standing on his toes", a few say "that looks neat, how did you do that?" and once in a great whild you actually get someone who reacts with "OMG! You just levitated!!"
Blaine must have filmed the reactions of dozens of people to show the couple that reacted with the "OMG!!" type reaction.
Could be that Blaine is better at "preparing" his audience to accept the illusion. Being a known illusionist may also help - people may be more willing to accept illusions from someone who's famous for doing them, even though logically, they should be more skeptical. See also: people unwilling to accept that Derren Brown used a cheap video trick as the basis for his lottery stunt.

In other words, when Blaine does it, he must be doing something amazing, while you are probably standing on your toes
Old 09-21-2009, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Superhal View Post
It was next up on that TV about magician's secrets, but my wife made me go out and I didn't get back in time.
You need to get a TiVo.
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