I’ll explain the world-famous levitation trick that magicians use to make a woman float in the air. There are several different ways to achieve this illusion, but the method I’ll show in this post is used for most of the stage performances.
In short, here’s how magicians are able to levitate a woman:
Magicians are able to make a woman levitate in the air with a special contraption hidden underneath their clothes. A metal bar that is attached to the floor is connected with a board, on which the woman can lay down.
I’ll explain the technique of this illusion in detail, and I’ve even created a graphic, showing how magicians can move a ring around the floating woman.
Let’s dive in.
How magicians can levitate a woman right in front of them
With this trick, magicians can make a woman float right in front of them, without using any string. Some even move a ring around the woman’s body to show that there are no hidden contraptions (I’ll explain how this works down below).
This is how a typical performance of the illusion looks like:
First, a table or some other contraption is brought onto the stage. The key thing is that there’s enough room for the woman to lay down. This can be a table or some really complex-looking machinery, but it’s generally the same.
Next, the woman is asked to lay down and the legs of the table (or other parts that keep her in the air) are removed completely. This creates the illusion that the tabletop or even the woman itself is floating in the air.
Depending on the trick, the board on which the woman lays down might be hidden completely. Some performers use a visible tabletop that starts floating in the air, while others prefer to hide the board, creating the illusion that the woman herself levitates.
For most of the performances you’ll see, the technique is probably the same.
How magicians can levitate a person and make them float in the air (on stage)
It might not be as magical as you’ve expected, but the truth is that there’s usually a hidden metal rod that is attached to a board. It might not always be a board, but some other mechanism that can hold a person in place.
You might be thinking: “Well, but whenever I watch one of these tricks, there’s no way that the magician can hide a metal rod or anything else unnoticed.”
The truth is that every piece of equipment you see on a stage is built specifically for the performance. There are different ways to hide the metal rod that keeps everything in place, but I’ll explain two different ones right here.
Both of these are used pretty often and you might even recognize them when watching some popular levitation performances from now on.
Method 1: Hiding the metal rod behind a fake leg
For this version, the metal rod that is connected to the floor and the board is disguised as a leg. To achieve this, all you have to do is put a pair of pants around the rod to cover it up completely.
You can watch how it works in this video:
The only challenging part is to hide the fake leg during the performance.
To achieve this, the bottom of the table is hidden with a blanket or some other cover. Only when the magician’s leg is in the right position, it gets removed.
By placing his real leg right behind the fake one, it’s impossible to spot the difference. Even with some people watching from the side, it’s very unlikely that anyone sees the hidden leg. The best color to hide all of this is black, that’s why many magicians wear black suits during their performances.
Method 2: Hiding the metal rod inside the magician’s cloths or behind him
As I already mentioned, the method of the trick stays the same. The only difference is how the metal rod is hidden during the performance.
The downside of the fake leg is that the performer can’t move at all, since it would instantly reveal the hidden contraption.
The other options are hiding the rod either inside the clothing or just straight behind the magician’s back. This allows him to move a lot more naturally while still covering all of the metal rods.
It’s a lot more challenging to get into the right position when you try to hide the metal bar inside your clothes, but it can still be achieved with the right misdirection and perfectly timed movements.
To wrap it up
No matter which performance you watch, there will (almost) always be a hidden metal bar that keeps the woman in the air. It might be hidden really, really well, but it's impossible to make a person levitate in the air.
At this point, there’s only one last thing I haven’t explained yet.
How is it possible, that magicians can move a metal ring around the woman, while she’s levitating in the air?
How magicians can move a ring around the levitating woman
The entire explanation above makes sense, and that’s how many performers do it.
But what about the ones who take a metal ring and just move it completely around the floating woman?
The secret is an advanced contraption that is based on the same principle. It’s designed for exactly this illusion and allows the performer to move to ring completely around the levitating person.
To understand how it works, you need to see the shape. I’m not a designer, and I’m not amazing at drawing, but I’ve tried my best.
This is how it looks from the top (bird’s eye view):
As you can (hopefully) see in the image, the metal rod keeps the tabletop (or whatever else is used) in place.
Its U-shape allows the magician to move the ring from one side to the other, around the entire body of the floating person in front of him.
When watching a performance with a magician using the ring, you’ll typically see them moving the ring around the floating woman two times. This is because they have to free the ring, and the second time they go around the woman, they can remove it from the U-shape again.
Quick tip With the right movements, the metal ring can be really convincing. You might see some other version with the ring as well, but the method stays the same.
To be honest, when I first saw this trick and didn’t know how it’s done, the ring completely blew my mind. I really believed that there can’t be anything that keeps the woman floating in the air!
Now, you know exactly how the floating woman is performed, but there is another version of this trick that I want to cover as well.
Another levitation trick: How people can sit in the air
This is another trick that many magicians use around the world, especially street performers.
It looks amazing, and when hidden properly, even the people right next to the performer aren’t able to understand how the trick works.
Whenever you see someone sitting in the air or floating above the ground, I can almost guarantee you that they are using this exact technique.
Just like with the floating woman trick, the performer has a special metal contraption hidden underneath his clothes, allowing him to sit “in the air”.
It can either be covered by his clothing or by a blanket laying on the floor.
Image source (header image):
Click here if you want to use the graphic in this post.