Question: Name of Old Box Illusion

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Postby Guest » 01/29/05 01:23 PM

Can anyone help me out with this?? I am trying to find out what the common name, magic trade name or even a commercial product name for this old classic illusion: A 24" x 24" box is displayed and a doll or human head placed inside. The doll/head was then optically transformed into a miniature skeleton or life size skull which could be removed from the box. The skeleton/skull was then placed back in and the doll/head restored and taken out. The gimmick involved mirrors or one-way glass. I am interested in buying one depending on the price.

Postby BlueEyed Videot » 01/29/05 01:40 PM

Where on earth are you going to get a human head to use for this illusion? :eek:
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Postby Guest » 01/29/05 02:01 PM

The human head stays attached to the person who owns it. He is seated on a chair and has his head inserted inside the box. I know it stays attached because a stage magician once randomly picked me out of the audience and had me stick my head inside the box as part of the illusion...The skull shown to the audience is a plastic prop so he never needed to use my skull (which also stayed attached to my neck). Sorry that wasn't clear.

Postby Guest » 01/29/05 03:07 PM

I believe the illusion you described is the old Abbott's "Frame of Life & Death". You might still be able to obtain plans from Abbott's.

Hope this helps.


Postby Jim Riser » 01/29/05 09:15 PM

The Owen version of this effect is called Reincarnation. About 40 years ago I built a streamlined Thayer/Owen version which could be placed over a spectator's head and do as many as 4 visible changes without removing the box from the spectator's head between changes. Unwanted ghost images from the "vanished" object is always a problem and is difficult to entirely eliminate. Viewing angles are from the direct front only. People off to the side can not see into the box to appreciate the illusion. It does look amazing! It's a low tech version of a morph. Consider it to be a small version of the Pepper's Ghost illusion or the later Girl to Gorilla.
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Postby Guest » 01/30/05 02:35 PM

Jim is right...The prototype I tried to construct as a kid did have "ghost" image problems. It sounds like this was only available as a blueprint. I was hoping someone managed to market a "collapseable" version that could easily stored and trasported and would not involve hours in the workshop. I am going to check with Abbott's about the "Frame of Life and Death" blueprint. Thanks guys and please keep the comments and suggestions coming...

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