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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Illusionarium - by Peter Loughran » » Flaming Head Chest (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Peter Loughran
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V.I.P.
Ontario, Canada
2684 Posts

Profile of Peter Loughran
Here is a slightly different take on the old Flaming Head Chest illusion. It is a copy of a post I wrot some time ago on the Café and is probably lost in the archives. But I beleive it really is a great modification for those that want to bring it out and dust it off with a new look.

But before I post the transcript of the post, I have to share a little story. I remember looking through a Morrissey Magic catalogue when I was about 10 years old and seeing the description of the Flaming Head Chest. I had to have one, so I saved my money and sent away for it. When it arrived at the post office I got a delivery notice sent to my house for pick up. When I went to pick it up they wouldn't let me have the item, since it said in big black letters on the side of the box "FLAMING HEAD CHEST", I had to get my parents to come and claim it, and even they had a hard time getting the parcel released, since the post office worker was afraid it was some sort of illegal torture device. They still didn't understand what it was, and never looked at our family the same again when we would return for packages.

Another story I would like to share regarding the illusion, is in regards to when I actually used this in a show using the modification I am about to post below. I was about 13 years old performing at a school assembly. I invited a volunteer onstage and sat them in a chair and place the chest over their head. I had a side table next to me that held a copper urn full of lighter fluid, and it was afire. I would then dip the torch into the urn that is burning and when I pulled out the torch it would now be on fire. I thought at the time this was nicer than lighting the torch with a lighter or a match. Anyway I then stuck the torch through the chest. Now this is where things went terribly wrong. I needed to move the side table with the burning urn to give myself a little more room, so what did I do?, I moved the table with one hand while I used the other hand to stabalize the copper buring urn with the other. The urn had been burning for several minutes now and the copper was so hot that it instantly singed my finger tips, and ofcourse I dropped the urn. The urn hit the stage floor and spilled out the burning lighter fluid everywhere. Flames enfulfed the stage, flames surrounded the poor spectator who could see the flames all around him while sitting on the chair with a big chest on his head with a flaming torch running through it. One side of the curtains ignited, and then came the rush of teachers and fire extinguishers. The flames were put out and the stage was white from the extinguishers residue. Luckly no one was hurt(except for my ego) so Remember to be very careful when working with fire effects, and what ever you do, do not use a copper urn for what I used it for.

Enjoy the modification below regarding the head chest!

P.
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Peter Loughran
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V.I.P.
Ontario, Canada
2684 Posts

Profile of Peter Loughran
Flaming Head Chest Modification:

If you have one of these lying around collecting dust, or are ever thinking about getting this illuisonette, than read this.

When I was younger I was fasinated by the concept and the brilliant colors of this prop. The ad read well and I ordered one from Morrissey magic when I was like 10 years old. It came in a box marked 'Flaming Head Chest' in big Red Letters. I went to pick this up at the post office and they wouldn't let me have it with out a parent present just because of those big read letters. They thought it was some sort of torture device...quite funny really. I have another story to share if regarding this prop if anyone is interested let me know and I will share.

Anyway to make a long story short I wasn't happy with the way the illusion was set up, the angle distance restrictions etc. So I came up with some modifications of which I would like to share with you. I have posted these modifications on another board and might have breifly touched on the subject here in the Café some time ago, but I will post these simple modifications here once again that will turn your Head Chest in real workable mini illusion.

Ok I will explain here so everyone that owns one or anyone that gets one in the future will have this as a reference. Now mind you if you don't own one or have never seen one, or don't know the workings, than what Im about to say will sound like nonsense.

Heres what you need,

1) One piece of wood dowling that matches the diameter of the torch, and the width of the inside of the chest. Paint the piece of dowling yellow to match the middle section of the torch.

2) You will also need two peices of matching fabric(preferably a buzy and bright pattern) The pieces msut be slightly larger in diameter than the circle holes in the top and on the back door.

Now let me explain something first. The big problem with the flaming head chest is that when you lift up the lid and open the front door you have to be a certain distance away from your back drop in order for the illusion to work, Not to mention that you have to be at an exact distance away from the chest in order to wave your hand behind it...good luck. My biggest beef with this is, there isn't even a reason for the performer to open the lid, except to make the illusion work. But the audience doesn't know that. The audience will wonder why you have to open the lid yet you never show them inside from the top...whats the point unless this has something to with the secret. So lets get rid of that. My second beef with this illusion is that you can't open the door to while the torch is in place. So lets add that in, shall we!

First take the 2 round circles of fabric that you cut out that is slightly larger than the holes in the top and back door. Attach the fabric over the back door whole with some glue. Place it one the back of the back door.
Attach the second peice of fabric on the top hole on the top side.

Next glue the piece of wood dowling across the M***** inside the chest at the same level as the torch 'WOULD' be seen if the door was opened.

You are done! Simple as that, but now you have an illusion that will work surrounded and under any circumstances.

Now for the basic presentaion.

1)Place your Volunteer on a seat and place the chest over their head. Make sure when you open the back door while you place the chest over their head that you lift the back door flab up so that it is vertical again and the audience can see the circle(busy fabric design). This is very important that they notice that the back door has a busy design circle. (I used to use a 'Target' design and would make a couple of jokes about it jsut before I thrusted the torch thru.

2)Light the torch, and stick it though the side of the chest.

3)Now open the door and the audince(and yourself) will see the torch running straight thru the chest, yet the volunteer's head is missing but they can still see the complete 'depth' of the inside of the chest and see the fabric circle design at the very back on the back door...so it appears.

4)Reverse the above said steps and your voluneer comes out unharmed!


I strongly recommend these simple modifications. With these modifications you have quite a cool illusion, that is workable under any condition even close up and surrounded!!! I don't own the flaming head chest anymore but if I did, I wouldn't even use it without these simple modifications! My last bit of advice would be to paint the thing! Man those chinese letters and dragons, what were we thinking?

If you have any questions, let me know,

Have fun,

P.
Brand New: - SNAKE BITE ILLUSION
www.masterofillusions.ca

Follow me on Facebook:
https://m.facebook.com/peter.loughran.9

Check out my new movie:
www.plasterrockmovie.com
www.globaluniversal.com

Also visit: www.l2fireworks.com
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