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jay leslie
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Southern California
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Profile of jay leslie
If you're bringing-up the philosophy against additional supports (from earlier) then you yourself made my argument for me.

My argument is that the assistant should not have a headrest. Your initial statement (above) is "The "sagging" of the arms or the feet or any need of "rests" for them is not a meaningful comparison so I don't see the logic in your point."

But in summary of your post (above) you write "Of course, the most magical would be to be suspended by zero points of contact. That is the type of suspension I usually perform."

You made my point for me (if I understand your post correctly). Your observation that the fewest points of contact appear most magical is as good as it gets. So you agree with myself and Kyle that Less Is More. My point was that having 5 supports looks less magical then having one - I also agree with you that the best presentation for a floating effect would be with no visible support at all - but if you're in a living room or in a park that's difficult to do.

I'll be in the audience tomorrow for James Randi, at the castle. Come by early and we can talk. I'll probably be there around 6:45.
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Inner circle
Los Angeles
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Profile of JamesinLA
I'd love to get together sometime. I believe any headrest for a chair suspension should not be visible to the audience. I think that's what my earlier posts were getting at, and that's what Kyle and I pmed each other about. Sorry about any confusion.
I probably can't make it tomorrow but would enjoy a chance to meet. Thank you!

Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
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Eternal Order
Philadelphia, PA
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No worries folks. It looks like you both were in a way saying the same thing. the important thing here is the yunderstanding that a head rest support is 1) not needed and 2) kills the overall look and impact of the illusion itself.

Kyle Peron

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Paul Rathbun
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Have one for sale here if anyone is interested:
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Profile of TomB
If you ever tried to balance a 12 oz coke can at 45 degrees, you can start to appreciate the delicate nature of this illusion.

I think the first question to ask is, How should natural laws of physics have the person look if balanced on a chair.

Using Archemides principles, the head and rest of the body is equally weighted on the chair fulcrum. Using this method, both are raised above the top of the chair. Clearly if you believe the head should be raised, use a headrest to alleviate neck strain. The major issue with this version is the principle of being too perfect. When someone is completely flat, the spectator is going to assume how the trick is done. And in more cases then not, the legs will sag a few inches and the head will be flat and the execution of balance will be poor.

The Harbin way allows the magician to put the person in relaxed state with the head hanging down. The head is suppose to be heavy to counter the weight of the rest of the body. This should be verbally communicated to the audience. With the head down, it is natural to offset the balance with the raising of feet. This also fixes the dreaded feet sag with wonderful misdirection. Now the balance of the chair fulcrum looks complete without looking stiff, and the spectator is amazed with no comprehension how its done.

With those points in mind, read the first chapter of Fitzkee Showmanship for Magicians. Fitzkee argues that 75 percent of magicians performances are poor and another 24 percent are mediocre. With only 1 percent doing a good job we should listen to those with successful experience.

Here is Penn and Teller performing on Wendy William's show. Notice the moment of suspension and the angle of the body with regards to the chair fulcrum. At no time during the brief suspension does the method become obvious.
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