Hey guys! I hope this coming week is a spectacular one! I have been in the studio rehearsing non stop and almost forgot to write this blog post. I wanted to briefly talk about one of the most classic illusions magicians have been known for. The old, saw the woman in half trick!
Back in the 1850’s this wondrous idea was in it’s infancy, an impractical mystery woven in a memoir to entertain the masses, by the famous magician named Jean Robert-Houdin. For decades this illusion remained untouched and unpracticed.
It wasn’t until 1920 that the magician P.T. Selbit breathed life into Houdin’s idea, making it a reality. During his first billed performance of this illusion, Selbit’s female assistant was locked inside a close quarters crate limiting her movement, tied up by her ankles, wrists, and neck. The ends of the ropes were held tight by a few of the audience spectators. The crate was then sawed in half with her inside it, invoking terror and shock to everyone witnessing it. Then of course at the climax, the assistant emerged still tied and remarkably unharmed.
This illusion sent a shockwave through the so called, “wizarding-world.” Within almost two years, the prop for this illusion was being mass produced for sale at $175 a pop, and only $5 for the construction plans.
Up until this point in history there have been a total of thirteen wholly unique evolutions of this illusion. All of them spectacular, and all of them just as breathtaking as the original.
Why you may ask, is this illusion so effective? Well, for the sake of entertainment, it defies the very boundaries of it, by displaying brutal human death and dismemberment. A fear each and every one of us has. Seeing it supposedly happen right before our eyes, drives terror into our hearts and as a reward for that horror, we are laid to witness a resurrection of human beauty and perfection, unharmed.
You just can’t top that kind of magic suspense.
“Ladies and gentlemen, what you are about to see is not for the feint of heart.”