The Greatest Magic Illusion I Ever Saw!

These days with TV, computers and electronics there is no limit to what is possible to behold. We watched David Copperfield  make the Statue of Liberty  disappear, and we watched him walk through the Wall of China, not to mention his performances on stage, etc. There are other magicians who have pulled off other miracles that dazzle us with feats that defy explanation. But we know  certain things are true. They say what they are…illusions. In other words we know for a fact that The Staue of Liberty didn’t disappear. It was an illusion. And its great that we can be amazed even when we know better. But when I was 14 years old, a long time ago, I saw real magic.

Belmont Park in Cartierville, Quebec was an old time amusement park, with the wood frame rollercoaster, house of mirrors, bumping cars, the laughing lady, (talk about laugh therapy. You couldn’t watch her without joining in) and of course the mid-way with the hawkers tempting you to try your luck on games that you know are fixed, freak shows, and of course the magic show.

I have lots of memories involving Belmont Park, but on the midway there is one event that stands out. A magician was trying to attract people to his show by performing one illusion on a platform outside of the venue. I wasn’t into magic then but I had seen magicians on television do the guillotine where the blade comes down  on the spectator’s head, passes right though, doesn’t harm the lady, but manages to slice the carrot under her in two. I wasn’t stupid. I knew that there must be a device that allows the guillotine to bypass  the lady, but how it was done was a mystery, but possible.

So here in Belmont Park, was a magician, with a lovely assistant with a smaller version of a guillotine which was on a table. I didn’t know this then, but I’m told that the magician was Jean de Rome, a Montreal magician, clown, artist, and magic dealer. He placed his assistant’s hand through the small opening and released the blade from above. Much to my horror, I actually saw the hand fall into the basket below. It was not a fake hand. I was no more than 4 feet away from the event. It left an impression. Nothing I have seen in magic since has given me such an emotional reaction.

So yesterday, two knowledgeable and professional magicians were in the shop, Grant McSorely ( who by the way is bringing Lance Pierce to Montreal for a lecture and workshop on Friday Oct. 14, see our facebook for info) and Louis Jutras and we were dicussing this illusion. I said I was surprised that they never made one like that for a head. They promptly informed me that they had seen it used on a head but they don’t know who makes it or who used it. Has anyone else out there seen it?  and where?

Anything move you like that? Share the experience with us.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “The Greatest Magic Illusion I Ever Saw!

  1. Dave Harvey

    Recently you wrote about Gene Anderson at Magie Montréal. I was there! And I remember very well seeing Dan Garett doing a close-up show inches in front of me. I was there, eyes wide open, then he took three silver dollars. And he began to do what we know now as a “Three Fly routine”. I was hooked! Where could I find those “gimmick” coins. Later in the convention I bought a set of linking safety pins he talked about in his lecture, and I asked him for those “gimmick coins”, where could I buy them?… I will remember all my life of the way he looked at me :” They’re not gimmicked!…” WHAT?!?! Now it was a case of absolute impossibilities! My life would not have meaning anymore until I learn how to do this wonderful routine (I was 22 back then…). 3 or 4 years later I’ve been lucky enough to find a good source to learn this routine. My goal was then to be able to do it AT LEAST as well as Mr. Garett. It is still my goal today! I wish I could one day have on someone the same impact on a young magician as Mr. Garett has on me that day! The crisp and clean handling of the coins enchanted me. Even today I have a clear memory of him and his coins. I consider myself lucky to have witnessed such a performer (and so close to me!…) I supposed I was actually…moved then!

    Take care!
    Dave Harvey

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    • Thanks for sharing. I know people that were amazed by coin magic as well. Romaine did coins through the table for a friend of ours and she actually looked under the table as she musts have thought some coins were planted there under there somehow.

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  2. Hi!,

    I could not find the name of the prop itself, but I did find this interesting video of a head chopper where the head falls off..:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/uhmaeshistorian#p/a/u/1/GxqjZear79Y

    Also this video of Richiardi… The head chopping is the last illusion:

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  3. Yay!!! I actually found it, it is the monster guillotine by Wellington enterprises. It is quite impressive and looks very good!

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