Oh my god she just got pulled in half!
June 25, 2006 11:06 PM   Subscribe

Help me figure out this "Pulling Apart" magic trick video I found on Snopes.

According to Snopes, there's no digital manipulation of the video going on here. Given that, I'd guess that the woman was a double-amputee and that the legs were very realistic-looking fakes (with some sort of battery operated device to make the toes move). Am I missing a better explanation?
posted by onalark to Grab Bag (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The legs may be a child or dwarf. The pants go up high enough to cover someone's head.

Also, the woman that walks over and lies down is not the woman that runs away on her arms. Her face is different.
posted by underwater at 11:13 PM on June 25, 2006

Best answer: Possibly a contortionist as the bottom half?
posted by 0xFCAF at 11:19 PM on June 25, 2006

Growing up I saw a ton of shows with TV magicians who claimed 'no camera tricks'. Most of them turned out to be lying. How do you know what you're seeing, is really what you're seeing, so to speak? Criss Angel does lots of crazy shit, but I wouldn't be surprised to discover it's all an elaborate setup for the sake of TV.
posted by BorgLove at 11:24 PM on June 25, 2006

Yep, BorgLove's got it. It's almost impossible to deconstruct magic you didn't see with your own two eyes.
posted by Jeff Howard at 11:35 PM on June 25, 2006

Two people in that baggy outfit.
posted by fshgrl at 11:37 PM on June 25, 2006

Best answer: Here you go.
posted by evariste at 11:38 PM on June 25, 2006

Top half is a woman with a 'malformed' lower body, bottom is a contortionist (bent over, hands on legs), two held together by straps, clips, magnets or something.

It might even be Rose Marie Siggins?
posted by A189Nut at 12:40 AM on June 26, 2006


posted by A189Nut at 12:46 AM on June 26, 2006

OK... link isn't working. Here it is old school

posted by A189Nut at 12:47 AM on June 26, 2006

It's all just a trick, of course. A magician will do anything to impress with a good trick, and that includes all sorts of lies.

Now, when I say lies, please note that in magic there's nothing wrong with that at all, it's good staging.

So, they will say things like `here are random members of the public' or `I'm not using camera tricks' or `You can cheat by doing X but I won't be doing that'.

There are 9 cuts between the woman sitting down, and being pulled apart. That's nine chances for him to lie to us about what's happening.

Criss Angel is very straightforward about the trickery involved. On a radio interview, someone raised the `deja vu' trick with people reappearing in a hallway. He immediately said how he did it.

Where Criss Angel makes an impression is with the creepiness of his act. Pulling the woman apart would be a good trick for many, having the top half scream and stumble off makes it quite shocking.
posted by tomble at 12:51 AM on June 26, 2006

Could the woman on top possibly be a contortionist as well? It looks like their might be room for the pair of legs to be tucked up in there....
posted by mr_roboto at 5:49 AM on June 26, 2006

This is the trick that got Penn and Teller in trouble. As part of their Don't Try This at Home special, they performed a comparison/contrast of "decent" generic magic tricks, such as what you'd see at Vegas or a birthday party, as opposed to "mediocre" tricks, by people who don't have a clue, or no longer bother trying.

For the first example, they performed the routine where a person is divided into sections; for the second, they re-did everything with transparent plexiglass boxes. An assortment of magicans' societies were furious, as it explicitly broke down a trick to the audience, destroying any perceived suspension of disbelief.
posted by Smart Dalek at 6:16 AM on June 26, 2006

Smart Dalek writes "This is the trick that got Penn and Teller in trouble."

You didn't watch the video, did you? It's not the same trick: there are no boxes involved here. The effect created is that of a woman getting pulled in half in front of an audience, and the two halves then moving independently. You should take a look: he pulls it off really well, and it's creepy as hell.
posted by mr_roboto at 7:02 AM on June 26, 2006

posted by stinkycheese at 9:14 AM on June 26, 2006

SmartDalek: I have an interview with Penn and Teller in a magician's magazine (Genii, May 1995). The idea that "an association of magicians' societies were furious" with their exposé of "liftoff to love" is, as they would put it, bullshit. Here's a longish exerpt of the 10+ page interview...

Teller: Right. (laughs) The kind of explanation that we tend to do is the kind of explanation that tends to lead people to crude expectations.
Jamy Ian Swiss: So perhaps the best motive for such mild pointing of the audience in the right direction might just be to make us work a little harder, and be a little better.
Teller: It's not the intention, but if it does that, it's fine.
JIS: But seriously, what's the point?
Penn: The point is that we're not giving anything away. I mean, the clearest example of that is, of course, Liftoff to Love, which laypeople think is our biggest giving away. They think that's the worst one, much worse than the cards or the Cups and Balls. And of course that's not the way anybody does that trick.
JIS: But what is perhaps most remarkable to me about Liftoff is that while it's perfectly reasonable to expect that the public would look at that and say "Oh, look! They're showing us how it's done," it's remarkable to me that magicians have ever fallen for this. I've actually heard magicians call this an exposure of some sort. When in fact not only is it your method--and a ridiculous one at that (note: i.e., the trick they "exposed" was one that they made up)--but it seems to me that if you then went out and did an Owen Thin Sawing, or a wedge base, or a Zig-Zag for anyone who's seen Liftoff, the audience is going to be even more amazed, because there isn't room for six guys underneath.
Penn: Copperfield even pointed that out. Copperfield said that that was the best trick, for him, that we ever did. Because at the end of that, everybody thinks that's how all Copperfield's tricks are done. Then they go and see the show and go, "Well, wait a minute. (laughs) It can't be done that way."

...in short, it's terrible magic, but great entertainment.
posted by LimePi at 3:00 PM on June 26, 2006 [1 favorite]

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