Dollar bill levitation
April 10, 2006 8:00 PM Subscribe
How is this small object levitation magic trick done?
posted by underwater to sports, hobbies, & recreation (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I saw a magic trick in an airport and it's driving me batty trying to figure out how it's done. The trick was being performed by a salesman at a small kiosk that was selling various tricks. I know a small bit about magic tricks but I still can't figure it out, and I wasn't about to pay $30 to find out. Hopefully MeFi can help me.
The trick is basically a small object levitation. The guy was able to levitate a small LED keychain, a dollar, a borrowed coin, a borrowed tissue, and a pen. He said that the trick allowed you to levitate anything up to the weight of the pen.
Before you start thinking about wires or strings, let me describe this. He spun the LED keychain horizontally, like a little frisbee, but just in mid-air in front of him (a few inches). Then he touched his index fingers and thumbs together to make a circle and passed the circle back and forth several times while the keychain, spinning, moved (seemingly by itself) in a gentle figure-8 pattern around his hands. After each pass, he flipped the circle and went back the other way. His hands were moving more than the keychain.
He then took a dollar, floated it, put it inside of a glass jar with a lid, floated it inside the jar, opened the lid, and then caused it to leap out of the jar. Again, we were standing right in front of him.
One part of the answer is that he definitely put a small (half-pea) sized blob of a grey material on all objects he floated. So, as we were talking, I essentially said to him that it looked like it was done with magnets. He said, 'yeah, but if it was a magnet the object would just be pulled in a straight line to the hidden magnet. How do you explain this?' And then he proceeds to take the dollar, float it, and do that thing where it gently bobs and weaves as he moves his hands all around it, including a circle.
The items that he seemed to really have good control of were spun before he let go of them. I don't know if that has anything to do with the effect or not, but it probably does because otherwise why would he spin the penny? The trick would look cooler if it were not spinning as he moved it around.
The trick was sold with an explanatory DVD, and all of the items that allow you to do the trick fit into a 2" x 1" manilla envelope.
Can someone smarter than me help me out here?