Wizards celebrate 100 years by splitting people in half

Wizards celebrate 100 years by splitting people in half

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LONDON, Jan 15 (Reuters) – He went, he sawed and he conquered. Sunday marks 100 years since the illusionist PT Selbit put a woman in a box on stage at London’s Finsbury Park Empire and cut the wood with a saw, creating a classic of world magic.

This weekend, magicians from around the world will hold a virtual gathering to commemorate the centenary of that historic performance.

“It took off and became the most influential and famous illusion, in my opinion, that ever existed,” said magician and historian Mike Caveney, who is writing a book on illusionism.


“The magician was not doing this trick on an inanimate object. He was doing it on a human being, which raised it to a whole new level,” he added.

In the original version, the saw went through the wood, the box was opened and the person was unharmed.


Over the years, magicians refined the trick, separating the two halves. The famous David Copperfield devised his own version “The Death Saw” (“The saw of death”), in which a giant rotating blade cut him in two.


In an interview filmed for Sunday’s online event, Copperfield commented that he sometimes injured himself doing the stunt.

“I cut myself a couple of times with the blade because it was a bit broken, you know, the settings are different in each theater you have,” he said.


The London-based organization Magic Circle will host the celebrations with an event streamed live on Facebook starting at 1800 GMT on Sunday.

Among the guests will be Debbie McGee, wife of the late British television magician Paul Daniels, who will describe the many times she survived the procedure. (Reporting by Sarah Mills; written by Andrew Heavens; edited in Spanish by Carlos Serrano)


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