Well not THE explanation, but after watching the levation tricks on video performed by Criss Angel I came up with a few theories:
First of all it is important to divide the levitation tricks into different categories, because they are quite different:
1) levitating a few feet in front of stairs or chairs, while turning his back to the audience.
2) levitating leaning backwards with one foot on the ground
3) levitating a bystander in midair
4) levitating 5 feet in the air with nothing around him.
5) levitating 5 feet in the air with an object behind him
1) There is always an object in front of him to which he "levitates", he always has his back turned to the camera/audience. Sometimes one or two people seem to be next to him or in front of him which would have to be in on the trick. He is wearing a fake hollow, bendable leg on one leg which is attached to his shoe. The fake leg fits into the back half of his real leg. He then could just bend his knee, while putting his leg up and step up to the object in front of him. The view from behind would be two legs and two shoes next to eachother. When he has raised his other leg and the fake leg to the chair, the fake leg and shoe should fit into his real leg again. This way he can just turn around and show there are no other gimmicks present, the fake leg is reset and the trick can be performed again. His trousers would have to be cut or flexible to be able to put out a leg while his trousers at the back remain straight. In the video in the cafeteria you can actually see him make a stange move with his right leg slightly bending it, as if the fake leg didn't come of straight away and snaps back. This trick would require to lean slightly forward to keep balance, which is clearly visible when he does the trick on the escalator. When he perfoms this trick on the sidewalk -without an object in front of him- you can clearly see that it is suddenly necessary to lean sharply forward while balancing on one leg. The man passing by who has to see his leg in front of him, is clearly not impressed, from his standpoint, he propably doesn't even realize that someone is performing a trick, he just sees a man balancing on one leg.
With this trick you have to ask yourself two questions:
-Why not just levitate and land on the ground again? Because that would make it suspicous that an object in front of him is necessary. He cleverly has an excuse that a chair needs to be in front of him, because he is going to land on it, classical misdirecting of a magician.
-Why not perform the trick without an object in front of him? Well because it wouldn't be possible then, otherwise he would have shown it, because that would make the trick MUCH more impressive. When he does it on the sidewalk without an object, there is no audience behind him, just the camera from slightly above, because people standing directly behind would be able to see it.
2) In the video I saw he clearly stamps his right foot, and could insert a metal pole hidden in his right leg into the ground, the location seems to be selected by himself, so perhaps a prepared ground is needed with a hollow pipe. When he bends backwards while bending his knees, a metal mechanism hidden in his leg and back bends with him but locks at 90 degrees. He is then able to straighten out his other leg. Why not straighten out both legs at the same time? Or first one leg and then the other? This seems a giveaway to me. He also did this trick with a bystander which would have to be in on his trick. Only this time she has two legs on the ground when bend backwards and he shows that there is nothing under her back. Then he also straightens her legs but doesn't show again there still isn't anything under her back. So this would mean that she has the pole in one of her legs when he shows there is nothing under her back, but it is removed after another pole has risen from the ground (or is pulled down from her back) to support her back and connect with the metal plate she is wearing there. Conveniently he immediately lowers her which could be the pole in the ground simply descending. At this time the camera doesn't give a clear view of what's under her anymore. Again classical misdirection by a magician, first show that there isn't anything at a certain place, so that later when there is something there the audience is just tricked into thinking it can't be because it wasn't there before.
You have to ask yourself why the straightening of both legs isn't performed when he is levitating himself, surely the trick would be much more impressive if he would do that instead of just straightening just one leg? The answer is that it requires another person to make sure the pole from the ground connects with the back of the woman. In the video there are cuts and a shot where he may have touched the lower of her back may have been left out.
3) There is no other possiblity than that the whole crowd is in on the trick. The crowd looks unnaturally disciplined forming an ordered circle around him, no other people seem to walk by or join the crowd, this is in the middle of the streets of Las Vegas right? She simple hangs from a cable from above. He makes a point of having the camera looking up before the trick but neglects this when she is actually levitating. This trick is always performed outside, why not do this trick in the cafetaria? Because a crane would have a hard time fitting into there.
4) A cable from above, no other possibility, usually there are no bystanders so that is just a camera trick. The cases where he did this with crowds (which are always just a few people), but with the wall behind him, could only happen if the crowd was in on the trick.
5) This is the video with the plants behind him performed for just 1 bystander. The plants could conceal a contraption which connects with a metal plate in his back. It is suspicous that he always walks up to the camera immedtaily after landing on the ground, perhaps allowing something behind him to quickly hide itself. This trick could also be with just a cable and a bystander who is in on the trick, it is suspicous that there isn't a crowd.
Well just theories, but it's not impossible to reach the same results with it.
08-27-2009 at 12:58 PM