The Collapsible Man Stunt

We were so sure it would work. I had seen this man on tv talking about this T-shirt he’d made which looked like the wearer had a hole in their stomach – it was done with a tiny camera and a video screen at the front.

So my boss, when he heard about it, wanted to recreate it in his show, but, as is a magician’s wont, on a larger scale. He wanted to essentially make a man disappear on stage, bit by bit, until the whole of him was gone, except for a hat hanging in the air.

We tried for a while with a much higher number of cameras, but it just wouldn’t work. It was too obvious to any viewer. So we changed tacks.

I found our volunteer at the hospital near my house, and we got the whole thing working perfectly. The man would be placed centre-stage, just above a special trapdoor, and parts of him would slowly start disappearing into thin air.

And at the first public show, it seemed like it was working. The audience ahhed and cooed as it happened.

That’s when someone said, “Can you smell something rotten?”

“Hang on. Is that blood?” And then someone else pointed to the stage. “I can see his bones!”

And then it all fell apart.