Exposed: Blaine Levitation

2016 ABC Upfront David Blaine
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On his first magic special on TV, David Blaine walked away from a crowd, stood with his back to the crowd and lifted off the ground some two feet, to the amazement of the spectators. How could Blaine do this? Was it pure magic? Read on to find out.

To start, Blaine was not wearing any special shoes and was freely walking around and performing for spectators. Anyone who was there would have been able to examine Blaine and his shoes and they would have found nothing.

The crowd could have also examined the area where Blaine performed the levitation, both before and after, and they would have found nothing.

After performing a few tricks, Blaine stepped away from the crowd about ten feet and kept his back to the crowd. As everyone saw on television, Blaine suddenly lifted up into the air almost two feet, and the crowd went wild. How could he have done this?

Blaine used a well-known magic technique to levitate up off of the ground. The technique allows a performer to lift off of the ground about three inches.

But what you don’t realize at home when you’re watching on TV is that Blaine intercut a shot of himself hanging from a crane, which made it appear that he was levitating some two or more feet off of the ground. The crowd’s reactions were real, but what they saw was Blaine lifting up a few inches, not two feet.

The illusion was nothing more than a camera trick.

While the trick played well on television, Blaine made it hard for other magicians who have long performed the traditional levitation. Now when a magician performs the levitation, crowds will often ask why the performer can’t lift up two feet like that Blaine guy.

Another problem, when a performer uses such camera tricks on television, it casts a pall on everything else that the entertainer demonstrates, even if the tricks can be performed live. After all, if a performer is relying on a camera trick for one effect, what’s to keep him from using the camera again on another impossible-looking, beyond-explanation stunt?

The point is, Blaine himself couldn’t lift up that high in a real world situation. And now you know the secret behind the amazing levitation.