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1nOnly
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Southern California (way south)
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As described, there is always a disclaimer to this trick due to its danger. It has been suggested that magicians have died attempting to do this?

Now, I don't want explanation on it nor do I expect it. But is this illusion truly dangerous? And is the danger element that the person catching the bullet can actually be shot? Is that where the danger lies, or is it with something else? If it is something else, again, don't disclose it, I'm just wondering about the validity of this being as dangerous as proposed when performed under proper conditions.
Above all, remember this one thing. Don't tell them anything about how it's done. Theym really don't want to know.
The Drake
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Chung Ling Soo died performing this famous trick. Check out this link.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chung_Ling_Soo

Best,

Tim
rtgreen
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Yes, it is very dangerous. Think about this, a gun (whether properly loaded or not) is aimed at your face and the trigger is pulled. Even if the gun had been triple-checked to be properly set up, I still wouldn't be 100% comfortable with this situation.

As far as people dying from this illusion, again the answer is yes. Ben Robinson wrote a book called "12 Have Died" that tells some of the stories. The strangest, in my opinion, is when after seeing magician Raoul Curran successfully perform this illusion, an audience member stood up, aimed a gun at the magician, said, "Catch this one!" and fired.

Of course the most famous of these stories is the death of Chung Ling Soo who died when the gun supposedly failed to work properly. There is a lot of mystery in this story including the circumstances of why the gun failed (some believed it to be a suicide engineered by Soo himself) and the exposure of Soo's secret identity. Jim Steinmeyer just published a book about Chung Ling Soo that is very good.

Generally, the workings of this illusion are not dangerous in theory, but if something does go wrong, it could be fatal. It's one thing to break a thread or drop a billiard ball on stage, but if a mistake happens during this illusion, you're dead.

Thanks,
Richard
rtgreen
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Here's a list I just found through Google that lists a number of performers who have died in this illusion:

----------
Coulen (1500s) beaten to death with his trick pistol

Kia Khan Khruse (1818) Indian magician- report of his death onstage may have been false

Madame deLinsky (1820) magician's assistant killed when real bullet loaded into chamber by mistake

Giovanni deGrisy son of Torrini, supposedly Robert-Houdin's mentor; could be a fictitious story; reportedly Torrini fired the gun that killed his son

Arnold Buck (1840) died when a volunteer secretly added nails to the gun barrel before firing at him

Adam Epstein (1869) his wand, used to ram home the balls in the rifle barrel, broke inside the gun; he was killed by wand shards

Raoul Curran (1880) killed by a member of the audience who jumped up out of his seat and shot him without warning

deLine Jr (1890) his magician father shot him onstage

Michael Hatal (1899) he failed to switch blank cartridges for the real bullets that killed him

Otto Blumenfeld (1906) he also failed to switch bullets

Chung Ling Soo (1918) killed by a faulty trick gun

H. T. Sartell he also failed to switch bullets

"The Black Wizard of the West" (1922) his wife purposely fired live bullets at him

Ralf Bialla (1972) fell off a cliff because of constant dizzyness caused by injuries from bullet catching act

Doc Conrad (1977) killed during practice of the Russian Roulette trick, a version of the Bullet Catch

Fernando Tejada (1988) killed onstage during a performance in Columbia

-----

Thanks,
Richard
Bob Sanders
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My real objection is closer to social responsibility. It would be awful to know that a spectator or child in the audience got hurt attempting it. (And this comes from an old rodeo cowboy! I've got enough scars because "Chicks Dig It". I'm not recruiting!)

And yes, I have chopped off heads and sawed helpless young ladies in half. Those props are not as accessible as a gun where I live. Guns and too little information don't mix.

Bob Sanders
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Bob Sanders

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Chris Stolz
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I hate to stray from the topic too much here but I just have to say that Penn and Teller's bullet catch is absolutely mind blowing. I could watch it over and over all day long.
Saydean
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I used to do this ,but even knowing how it works and being 100% sure everytime I still would cringe when the spectator volunteer would raise that 357 and point it at my head. We used a method that I'm sure everyone has thought of but not took the chances with. Using a REAL gun always leaves a chance of a mistake and finally my wife said no more. Plus I'm pretty sure that all laymen know that the bullet is never actually fired no matter how good your "catch" is. So is the real trick
" How'd he switch bullets without us seeing it"?
I'd like to see this done with a new method using 3 marksmen instead of one. That would really liven things up.
Dutch
Steven True
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I saw a local magician in the LA area years ago perform the bullet catch. It was a very dramatic moment. The fact that the gun is pointed at the performer and you hear a very loud bang makes the illusion that much more dangerous looking. Back in the 70's or 80's the magician Richardi used to do a buzz saw illusion that was said to be very scary and dangerous. It is the presentation of the illusion that makes it look dangerous not just the effect itself. Many magicians, as has been posted, have died for various reasons doing this illusion. I myself would never do it for the reason that Bob stated earlier. The social responsibility is great with an illusion that uses a firearm as its main effect. Lets face it, you can go to just about any city in America now and purchase a firearm even without ID if you know where to go. How many people can go to the same people and ask for a thin model sawing in half illusion? Hope that makes sense. Just my 2 cents.

Steven
silverking
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The bullet catch trick, in its traditional form, is extremely dangerous.

Yes it's a gun, yes it's pointed at the magician, and yes if anything goes wrong the magician at which the gun is pointed may very well be on the receiveing end of a real bullet.

I'm talking about a real bullet catch trick as performed by Chung Ling Soo and others, not a "light a match under a bullet" effect that is simply being "called" a bullet catch trick.
David Goldrake
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GD-Luxembourg
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Dear 1nOnly,

I highly recommend Scott Alexander´s "Velocity". I have premiered it in my show last Thursday and it literally killed (pun intended) the audience! What a great piece!!!

Regards,

D
Kevin Ridgeway
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Goldrake...
Indeed Velocity is a great alternative. Glad to hear it went well.

Kristen is the one that does it in our show. The ATF does not consider it a firearm and you can take it places a gun would be frowned upon.


Kevin
Living Illusions
Ridgeway & Johnson Entertainment Inc

Kevin Ridgeway &
Kristen Johnson aka Lady Houdini
The World's Premier Female Escape Artist

www.LadyHoudini.com

www.livingillusions.com
1nOnly
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Thank you, everybody, for your responses to my query.
Above all, remember this one thing. Don't tell them anything about how it's done. Theym really don't want to know.
Joshua Lozoff
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Great comments. Two thoughts:

I think Dutch's comment is the most valid: People might, in the heat of a magic show, be drawn into believing a lot of things, but I don't think there is ever a moment, even in Penn and Teller's where ANYONE is actually thinking that he really caught a bullet fired from a real gun in his teeth. So what is the point, exactly? Actually, catching a bullet in your hand would be a bit more exciting and believable, in my opinion.

Second, let's not exaggerate the danger. Actors point real guns at each other every day, and an accident happens about once a decade, at the most. It can be done extremely safely and professionally by real pros with regularity. So to say that there is ALWAYS danger when a real gun is pointed at someone, is to exclude the "by non-professionals" part of the sentence. There is virtually no danger when done correctly. I've fired and been fired upon myself with no fear at all.
Joshua Lozoff

joshualozoff.com
Kevin Ridgeway
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Joshua....your statement "There is virtually no danger when done correctly." has an inherent flaw. The gun is man made, things break, things go wrong, safeties fail, wadding flies lout, etc.

Anytime a gun is used, it should only be pointed at want you intend on firing upon. Does the gun manufacturer, the actor, magician, hunter, etc, try to minimize the danger as much as possible...sure they do. But things can go wrong and one should always respect an item that can pack some power. The simple fact that 'professionals' have accidents makes my point clear.


Stay safe out there!
Kevin
Living Illusions
Ridgeway & Johnson Entertainment Inc

Kevin Ridgeway &
Kristen Johnson aka Lady Houdini
The World's Premier Female Escape Artist

www.LadyHoudini.com

www.livingillusions.com
Parson Smith
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True Story.

I was young and stupid. Late 1970's.
Wanted to add a visual touch to my show.
Bought 6 .144 Pellet/BB Air Rifles
Built a revolving stand for the rifles.

5 pieces of Plate glass were hung to my left and to my right.
5 aimed at glass/1 aimed at me.
Practiced in my basement.
Wonderful illusion.

High School performance.
700 kids at first show.

Ready, Aim.... complete silence.
FIRE.

BB's bounced off the glass and rolled with a deafening noise across the stage.
My shooters were just a few feet further from the targets than I had been in practice.

Things happen.

Peace,
Parson
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ibm_usa
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There are real and present dangers with this illusion. If you are going to do this, be careful to double check the barrel before and after, do regular maintenance on the gun and who ever is going to shoot the gun, make sure he or she is well rehearsed ( if you are using stooges which I recommend to be safe, better to be a fake then to be dead.)
"You may think that i only talk of things from the past, you know, history, well magic is history"

-Guy Jarrett

"Curiosity isn't a sin Harry, but it should be exorcised with great caution."

-Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)
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nucinud
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11 years ago I got to load one of the guns for Penn for the double bullet catch.
It is a very dangerous illusion. But Penn and Teller are not stupid, they do it right.
"We are what we pretend to be" Kurt Vonnegut, jr.



Now U C It Now U Don't

Harry Mandel

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ibm_usa
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Quote:
On 2007-10-01 19:15, nucinud wrote:
11 years ago I got to load one of the guns for Penn for the double bullet catch.
It is a very dangerous illusion. But Penn and Teller are not stupid, they do it right.

If they are smart as they say they are Penn and Teller would stop! They are lucky to be alive even after their first practice, the more you do it the more your pushing your luck.
"You may think that i only talk of things from the past, you know, history, well magic is history"

-Guy Jarrett

"Curiosity isn't a sin Harry, but it should be exorcised with great caution."

-Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)
http://www.jordanallen-mentalist.webs.com/
Blair Marshall
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As a side comment, all magic illusions involving water, fire, pyro, guns, blades etc. are dangerous (no matter how good you are, or practiced!). There are many variables, and some things just cannot be totally under your control, despite all the safety precautions you may take.

This is one thing I point out to all my stage assistants about magic and the props we use. As example, the Sword Box is an illusion, the swords are not. Get hit, poked, stabbed with a sword and, yes, it will hurt!

You can never take too many precautions. I have heard of too many instances from other illusionists also, where folks think everything we work with is fake. And then put themselves in positions where they can get hurt. You are then held responsible for their dumbness (good word???)

Blair Marshall
"ShaZzam!"
Dannydoyle
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Guns are not dangerous. PEOPLE USING GUNS are dangerous. BIG difference.

People make mistakes. This is a fact and not in dispute.

That aside the best arguement for not doing this is the social one.

I don't believe anyone actually believes later on that people catch bullets.

As for actual danger, well LOTS of dead guys don't think there is danger. People die from squibs going off too close to them. They get killed by miscalsulation all the time. The gun may very well be the instrument of their destruction, but really it is some form of stupidity that has killed them, not so much the gun.

I am not a huge fan of the trick as the only reason to watch this is to kind of wait till someone misses and is killed. Not my idea of fun really.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
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