The secret of the Indian rope trick
Indian magic rope (or the rope) — the trick with the spell, centuries struck the imagination and engendered innumerable guesses. Some argue that this is just a myth or an illusion, arising under the influence of hypnosis.
For centuries, European travelers brought from India stories about the incredible stunts that show stray Indian magicians. But more than other amazing performances with the famous miracle rope.
Such stories have caused a lot of rumors and assumptions, including the hypothesis that it is just a myth, for it is not able to find the person, with my own eyes seen an amazing trick. One thing is certain: the Indian miracle-the rope had caused more heated discussions than any other kind of spells. Was it really? If Yes, how was this done?
Perhaps part of the answer is hidden in the special training those who show unusual number. Many Indian magicians (or «fakirs,» which in Arabic means «beggar») is able to perform truly remarkable feats, such as the management of their nervous system by force of will, which is achieved by constant practice in the techniques of yoga.
In addition, the fakirs possess the artistic skill, the gift to inspire illusion and do tricks with spells. In the West, many numbers of their repertoire belong to the category of «mass hallucination» or «mass hypnosis». Moreover, they say that there is no person, who himself was a witness of the trick or personally know such a thing.
Doomed, apparently, to extinction, of the Indian magic rope will be remembered — if remembered at all — as a mass illusion or colorful myth. And if someone disagrees, it can be forgiven as it is very long and sensational story for this puzzle.
It is unlikely that the West would have heard of miracle-rope and at least one person would have taken these stories seriously, if not note the great Moroccan naturalist and writer of the middle Ages Ibn Battuta. In 1360, among other eminent guests he received from Akbah Khan, the invitation to lunch at the Royal Palace in Han-Chu in China. After a hearty meal Akbah Khan suggested that satiated guests to follow him to the garden, where it was prepared at the beginning of the amazing entertainment. Here that Ibn Battuta wrote about it in his diary:
«After the feast one of the artists took a wooden ball that had several holes. Through them, he slipped the rope. Then just threw the ball up that he disappeared from view and stayed there, although no visible support was not.
When the hand was only a small end of rope, the artist ordered one of the boys-assistants to cling to the rope and climb up on it, which he did. He climbed higher and higher, until he too disappeared from view. Artist three times his name was — no answer. Angry, he took a knife, grabbed the rope and vanished into the sky.
Afterwards he descended to earth, bringing with him the hand of his assistant, who first climbed the rope, then brought the leg, other arm, other leg, torso and finally the head. The assistant, naturally, died. The clothing of the actor and the boy was in the blood.
Bloody body part the fakir put on the floor to one another in their original order. Then he stood up and lightly kicked the folded pieces of the body, which was again a child is a completely normal, safe and sound».
Since there is no rational explanation for this extremely unusual phenomena like levitating ropes and miraculous resurrection, the next generation believed the message of Ibn Battuta and the like idle chatter or hype designed to pull some coins from the most gullible. Medieval scientists announced rope trick lies. In the XIX century, it’s explained from the point of view of an exciting new science of hypnosis.
Enterprising American newspaper «Chicago daily tribune,» who in the 1890-ies of the difficulties with the draw, announced about its entering the discussion and sending their journalists — writer S. Ellmore and artist Lessing — distant India with a bold mission. They had to take pictures, make sketches, and ultimately to prove that this trick is just a trick.
Although it was known that the room with the Indian miracle rope show very rarely, the Americans soon returned to Chicago with a few sketches and photos, which seemed to be dealt a crushing blow to the glory of the trick, proving that he was, as expected, the «mass hallucination». When the film was shown in the picture was the only Indian in baggy pants, surrounded by a mesmerized crowd.
Was not cured of the rope, by which one could climb up. Of course, we came to the conclusion that what he had seen was a figment of a collective suggestion. The newspaper printed the article, and it became clear that the efforts of astute journalists of «Tribune» concluded a triumphant exposé.
Several months passed, and shedding light on another «audacious stunt» — the tide has turned against the Chicago «Tribune.» The work of Lessing-Almora were exposed as fakes, which they were really. Lessing never set foot on Asian land and certainly not witnessed slandered trick Indian rope.
Moreover, the journalist with the name «C. Elmor» did not exist. Bowing to pressure, the Issuer issued a denial, declaring the offense a joke, played with the goal of increasing demand for the newspaper.
Thirty years later, Newspapers are again full of articles about the miracle of the rope, because a certain Colonel Elliot appealed to the London «Circle of magic» with a proposal to solve the problem once and for all.
In March 1919 the Colonel has appointed a premium of five hundred pounds to anyone who can demonstrate the trick in conditions of strict scientific control. In connection with the complete absence of fakirs in London in «times of India» published an advertisement that promised fabulous reward to any Indian, is able to perform the feat with Indian rope. However tempting the offer remained unanswered.
The Prim gentlemen of the «Circle of magic» had to agree with the proponents of parapsychological version that the Indian miracle rope was the result of «collective hallucinations». They even did not occur to him that the fakir does not belong to the idle rich who spend the day at the club for gentlemen reading Newspapers published in English. Most of the wizards of that time could not read even in their native language and even more to speak and read English.
However, a few years after this action the «Circle of magic» a few Irish and English soldiers serving in India and witnessed the performance, almost completely coincides with the wonders described by Ibn Battuta in the XIV century.
Rope trick is often interpreted as a form of hypnotic suggestion. However, imagine yourself in the place of the hypnotist, the wandering of India, and give a presentation to any audience. It is logical to assume the following. Your audience is from, say, fifty Hindus from new Delhi (which almost always speak English) and fifty lamaists Buddhist from Sikkim (few of them speak English), the Northern province of India.
Not being able to speak in Hindi, nor in the Tibetan tongue, you begin a hypnosis session in English, and soon your ability takes effect. You force them to enter a state of deep sleep and «see» a dragon with Golden wings. And then you notice that English-speaking delity contemplate a mythical creature, and fifty-Buddhists sit in front of you waiting for the start of the show.
The principle is quite clear. As far as we know, hypnotic suggestion has always been accompanied by the influence of the speech; if the subject does not understand the language in which the suggestion is made, it will not enter the state of hypnosis. As soon as mass hypnosis is not the answer to our question, we should look for a different explanation of the trick.
An amazing property of the rope is carefully kept secret and passed from father to son as a family heirloom. At all times people who knew the secret of the trick could be counted on the fingers of one hand — also say that this room is very risky and at the slightest mistake can break your neck. I believe that by 1940-th years of the fakirs, who demonstrated this amazing room, too old for performances with the miracle rope. But if this trick is not a myth, then how did it?
Suppose that the secret is hidden in the rope and live it supports from inserts (metal or wooden) or hidden in the ground device. The main secret is literally in the air.
When it was first performed in this room — long before the advent of invisible wire, often used by modern magicians, — a finely crafted long lasting cords were black.
Because they have not been «stealth», the trick is always demonstrated with the onset of twilight, when black cord became invisible against the background of the darkened sky. In addition, the room must be fulfilled on a fairly tight site and in any case not in the middle of a vacant lot or other open space.
However, to avoid exposure when speaking in the valley, it was enough to sit between two hillocks or mounds. The cord stretched between them so that he was hiding in the trees. To be sure to hide him from the inquisitive eyes of skeptical viewers, the fakir began talking in the gathering dusk and the first «warmed up» the crowd with jokes and banal tricks as long as the sky finally became black.
Then the assistants took out the lights and had them on special stands around sitting on the ground, the magician, which preceded the main trick quite boring and traditional long Preface, in order to divert the attention of the audience.
Imagine this scene: sitting at a distance of only three or four meters from the public, fakir continually says something, pulls out a wicker basket with a rope, repeatedly flexes and twists it, throws up into the air, showing everyone that the rope is perfectly ordinary.
Usually magicians do not venture to attach heavier wooden ball under the gaze of the audience and weave it into the end of the rope in advance. And here, continuing the jest, he swings his hands and throws it up again…
The audience is already tired and do not notice how fakir deft movement inserts a metal hook into a hole in a wooden ball. The hook attached to very thin and strong the hair cord, invisible against the black sky. Cord rises to a height of approximately eighteen meters, where it is transferred through the main horizontal cord.
The fans, blinded by the light of the lamps, see that the rope rises into the air, obeying an unknown magical force. With a sharp contrast between the lighting platform and the black sky they feel that she was floating in air, rising to a height of 60-90 meters. The audience simply do not see that it is drawn up hiding in the shelter assistants fakir.
When the magician orders his assistant — a boy aged eight to nine years to climb a rope, the audience is well aware of the child stubbornly wants to follow in the scary unknown. Of course, in the end, the boy concedes, climbing higher and higher and eventually disappearing from view — at a height of about ten meters, he is inaccessible to the light of lights. When they reached the main cord, it clings to it the hook and check the reliability of the rope.
Meanwhile the fakir unsuccessfully calling the boy — he ignore his answer. Furious, the magician grabs a giant knife, clenches his teeth and rushes up behind the assistant. After a few moments he, too, disappears into the darkness, and the audience can only hear his angry curses and death cries of the boy. Then — horror of horrors! — on the ground begin to fall the body parts of the unfortunate victim.
In fact it is a body part large monkeys, wrapped in bloody rags, similar to the clothes of the boy. They were hidden under a large robe of the fakir. The latter drops a severed head wrapped in a turban. Naturally, the audience did not evince a desire to see her.
Four assistants rushed to the remains of comrade with loud lamentations. Meanwhile, upstairs, the boy hides in the empty spacious robes of a fakir. MAG down with him down, the attention of the audience focused primarily on a «bloody» dagger in his teeth. At the sight of the dismembered body of the fakir «is aware» of the incident, begins to «repent» and falls to the ground next to the remains.
Assistants, trying to comfort the host, surrounded their dense ring. At this time, the boy slips out, and the parts monkey again disappear under the robes of the magician.
Assistants depart, and the audience can see fakir leaning over folded together pieces of the victim’s body. Finally he gets up and says a few magic words, then sensitive deals a sharp blow, and suddenly — about a miracle! — the boy comes to life.