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Topic: Head Dagger Chest: pre-show prep vs. no prep
Message: Posted by: jlevey (Sep 4, 2005 10:09PM)
Dear Fellow entertainers,

I would be interested to know if most entertainers that perform a version of the Head Dagger Chest Illusion use a volunteer from the audience or their own assistant to participate as the "victim" for this illusion.

If you do use a volunteer, do you prep them before the show?

If you do pre-show prep with your volunteer, what instructions do you tell them.

If you don't do pre-show pep, during performance do you instruct them on what to do/how to position their head in the box , etc. using stage whispers? What other instructions do you whisper to make them feel more at ease and get the most from this effect?

Also, do you perform this illusion with the box sitting on top of a Eureka stand? or simply have the volunteer hold the box on their own throughout performance, asking them to turn their head from left to right to reveal the "empty box.

Finally, if you perform your routine using comedy, what sight-gags do you find most effective?

I look forward to your insightful responses.


Message: Posted by: Jim Tighe (Sep 5, 2005 06:27AM)
I ended up using the illusion only with an assistant. A couple of times I did use it with some pre-show prep and volunteer from the audience. The prep consisted of actually putting the chest on their head and closing it up to be sure they wouldn't freak out (which happens). One other caveat, be sure it's not a hot environment as the temperature inside the box goes up very quickly when closed.

I believe this has been discussed a couple of years ago and a search may yield results.
Message: Posted by: Jon Gower (Sep 5, 2005 07:43AM)
Also, they must remove their glasses (if they wear them) before the box is put on.
Message: Posted by: jlevey (Sep 5, 2005 10:07AM)
Great suggestions. Please keep general comments,insights and tips coming.

I can't seem to find the "old" thread that speaks on this subject.
If anyone finds the old link, please post it here.

Has anyone had succcess using volunteers from the audience with no pre-show prep (just stage whispering to calm and instruct the volunteer during the actual performance)? If so, what were your keys to success?

Message: Posted by: MCM (Sep 5, 2005 10:17AM)
I just had an interesting presentation idea for the illusion.

Purposely find a volunteer with glasses for the illusion. Have a foam head in the chest that is taken out and put on a table nearby. Take the glasses off the volunteer and place them on the head. (be sur the head is smaller so you don't stretch out the frames and yet will sit on the head).

Or, put the glasses in your pocket (stooge volunteer, nerd glasses). Glasses vanish or are crushed, and magically apear/are restored in some other trick.
Message: Posted by: Jim Tighe (Sep 6, 2005 11:31PM)
The link is under GRAND ILLUSION:MURDER INC. I'm not bright enough to place the link here.
Message: Posted by: jlevey (Sep 7, 2005 06:32AM)
Thanks for pointing out the link Jim.

To cut and paste the address of this link, just go to the top of the page where you found it, into the address section of your web browser, then left click and drag along the entire path of the url address, once the path is highlighted,right click on your mouse and left click on "copy", then call up the post that you which to transfer the path/address to Iyou can do this by clicking into your web browser for a second time, and locating the page/site that you wish to psot into)then position your cursor in the section of the text that you wish to paste the address, then left click on your mouse to insert the flaashing cursor mark, then rith click on "paste".

I hope these instructions were clear and helpful. Perhaps there is an easier way to do this , but it's how I do it...

The link you found was at:

There is a similar link on the subject of Murder inc. and other Head Dagger illusions at:

I've actually posted some Murder Inc. questions on these two particular posts, with some insightful responses.

With this post, I am hoping to focus more on pre-show prep and stage whispering in relation to this effect.

Any further comments would be greatly appreciated.