Couch Levitation Trick
One of the most startling effects in magic has always been the levitation.
Whether you levitate an assistant, a horse or a car, getting something to
float has always pleased the crowd.
I will explain the illusion in terms of floating a woman, but the principle
will work with any object, big or small, male or female.
Effect: The assistant is brought up to centre stage. She is placed in
a reclining position on a couch. Then covered with a large cloth.
She is commanded to rise. Once she has risen to a height of one foot above
the couch, the couch is taken away and the performer walks all around the
She continues to rise until she is well over the head of the performer. Then
she slowly descends until she is level with the performer's head. Again she
begins to rise. This time, the performer takes hold of the cloth and while
she is rising, the cloth is whisked away. The woman is gone, vanished right
in front of the audience.
The secret: The secret is in the couch (remember the couch from the
above trick description?) and the rest of the effect depends on a mesh-like
screen which is shaped like the assistant's body. As soon as the assistant
lies down on the couch, the performer picks up the cloth which will be used
to cover her.
While this is taking place, the body mesh or screen is
lowered over the assistant. Since the body mesh is clear, it is not seen
by members of the audience. This movement is done by someone behind or off
in the stage wings. The body mesh is moulded to resemble a woman, it is attached
by four strings of invisible thread to a location controlled by another assistant.
When the performer covers the woman with the cloth, it is the screen which
is really being covered.
As soon as the woman is fully covered, she secretly slips into a hidden
compartment in the couch. After the couch is removed to a backstage area,
the woman gets out of the couch. Because the couch has played such a small
role in the effect, most people forget about it.
The shape of the screen leads everyone to believe that the woman can still
be seen from the audience. In reality, the trick is already done. Now the
performer merely plays out his or her part.
The off-stage assistant watches the moves of the performer, lowering or
raising the cloth covered screen as per the performer's commands. When the
cloth is whisked away, the invisible screen can't be seen by the audience.
The body screen seems invisible for a couple of reasons, first the back
ground or back drop is dark. Black is best. The mesh is made of a nylon
material which can also be black or transparent. Either way the audience is
unable to distinguish the mesh from the dark background.
It is usually a good idea to have the off-stage assistant raise the
uncovered screen completely up out of view anyway at the conclusion of the
trick, this keeps the stage area clear.
This effect is difficult for television magic, because the television eye can
often pick up the movements. But this effect is great for a full stage presentation.