No longer updated!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Oriental Barrel Mystery

On stage is seen standing a platform about twelve inches high. Performer going behind platform pushes a sword through underneath it in order to show that audience can see beneath it.

He then shows an ordinary newspaper and places this upon the platform. Then he brings forward a common ash barrel and puts this on top of the paper and platform. He then introduces the young lady with whom he is going to perform the illusion, gives her a pistol and places her in the barrel, and tells her to crouch down so that he can put the cover on.

Performer then asks lady to hold out the revolver and one of her hands from beneath the cover so audience can see that she is there all the time. The barrel is held together with two hoops, one at the top and one at the bottom, and by a piece of string tied around the centre. Performer commences to remove the hoops, the bottom one first and then the top one. The barrel is now held together by the string only.

Lady is instructed to shoot when he says three. Performer counts 1-2-3 and at the word "three" pistol is heard, the barrel falls apart, the lady is gone; audience look up in the gallery and see lady standing there.

Secret-- When performer introduces lady all eyes are naturally turned upon her and audience fail to see that a curtain is lowered between the two front legs, by an assistant beneath the stage. There should be a screen of the same color behind the platform. The barrel platform and stage each have a trap in them so the lady can go down. The newspaper is also prepared by being mounted on stiff cardboard and this also has a trap cut in it.

When the performer tells the lady to crouch down she goes through the trap, beneath the stage and hurries up into the gallery or other place of appearance. The assistant immediately pushes up, by the aid of a rod a pistol and dummy hand. The hand is made of a stuffed glove which is the same color as the one the lady wears.

The performer takes his time in removing the hoops of the barrel in order to allow the lady opportunity to reach her place, when he starts to count l-2-3, the assistant underneath the stage takes in the pistol and dummy hand and closes the traps. At three the lady in gallery shoots the pistol. At the same instant the performer cuts the string and the barrel falls apart.

The construction of this illusion is as follows: The bottom of the trap is a solid wooden rim with a star trap in the centre, each stave is fastened to this rim with a hinge which helps to hold the staves together when the string holds them without the hoops, but which will allow them to fall outwards when the string is cut. The lady should wear an Eastern costume.

No comments: