Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

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Master Magician Kevin James performing at the Las Vegas “callbacks” on America’s Got Talent. I have no clue how he did that, do you? [1:20]

So how did he do that trick? was that guy a couple contortionists, or two dwarves?


  1. #1 Ex-drone
    October 28, 2007

    It looks very good, but we don’t know how much the show’s producers were facilitating it and how much was done in post-production. Don’t underestimate the motivation of ratings.

  2. #2 Tegumai Bopsulai, FCD
    October 28, 2007

    Lots of quick “MTV” cuts – maybe if I saw it live I’d think there was something that needed explaining.

  3. #3 Tegumai Bopsulai, FCD
    October 28, 2007

    The chainsaw is clearly fake.

  4. #4 Mistoline
    October 28, 2007

    Remember that chainsaw trick Copperfield did? I once read in a book someone brought out how the trick works. This seems to be a modification of it. For one thing, there are at least two people involved in the trick, one providing the legs, one providing the upper body. Both are probably very thin people with skills to fold their limps well.

    Notice how the ‘upper body’ is wearing layers and layers of clothing and the chest is kind of bulgy and strangely shaped. Notice how the legs’ upper part is this… strange plastic-like looking stuff that is obviously fake and how the “belly” is bulgy (you can see this very well when the body gets put back together). And also notice how the victim hops away sideways one it is fused back together – why? What is there to hide?!

    And also – notice how the magician has the upper body part pat the legs before fusion – a cue to turn around in a moment and ‘fuse the body’? During the fusion, our sight to covered by one of the assistants. We can’t see what actually happens… but I am sure they might be rearranging clothing or snapping something together so the whole construction may hold.

  5. #5 g
    October 28, 2007

    It’s an old trick perfected by Dunninger. It uses misdirection and stuff.

    I can’t reveal any more than that because I think my magician’s card is still valid.

    This guy is very, very good.

  6. #6 circusboy
    October 28, 2007

    the easiest way to do it is to just hire a guy who has had radical surgery.

    try this one…

  7. #7 MarkH
    October 28, 2007

    That is a very neat trick. I have no idea short of hiring a guy who had a hemicorpectomy.

  8. #8 Tom
    October 28, 2007

    g is right. I’m a cognitive psychologist and a magician. This guy has combined a number of discrete effects, some of which, as g suggests, are very very old. I’ve written about (reference upon request) the reaction of natural scientists to magicians and mediums, and have performed in front of natural and social scientists, and the bottom line is that natural scientists tend to be the most gullible audiences of all, occasionally easier to fool than even children. The main factor is that natural scientists are used to investigating nature, which may be complex, but which never lies or deliberately deceives. Magicians have a 3 millenia history of doing both.

  9. #9 MarkH
    October 28, 2007

    I actually looked at some of the other videos from the same magician there on youtube and he does this trick with some other assistants who aren’t as convincing.

    He has a very small person with their legs tucked into their chest (hence the blockiness) on top of someone who is bent over (their torso is in the white cart). He knocks the top person on the the cart, while the lower person remains on the top piece. Misdirection leads to a new set of legs being brought out – they are essentially hollow. The the reconnection occurs, the top half unfolds their legs into the bottom legs (which are stilted to add height I think), stands up, voila.

    The real trick is finding someone flexible and the right size for the top half. That’s a tough trick.

  10. #10 boojieboy
    October 29, 2007

    three words: lower torso amputee

  11. #11 Pieter B
    October 29, 2007

    MarkH — that’s one way to do it.

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