Balducci levitation

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The Balducci levitation is a levitation illusion that was first described by Ed Balducci. Its inventor is unknown. It is an impromptu magic trick, which has been popularized by many magicians, such as David Roth, Paul Harris, Alex Magic, and David Blaine.



The performer stands at an angle facing away from the spectators. The performer appears to levitate a few inches above the ground. The effect generally does not last for more than five seconds. The performer's feet return to the ground, and the effect is complete.

In and outs

Other methods of levitation allow for greater heights, longer durations, and better viewing angles (see definition of angles from List of conjuring terms) for performance; however, most of these methods can only be performed on a stage because they require special equipment or setups (such as wires). The Balducci levitation requires no preparation of any kind, and so it can be performed impromptu - anytime, anywhere. Although variations have been made to improve the illusion of genuine levitation, they are generally harder to perform, and some require gimmicks or setups that make them less practical than the Balducci levitation.


Like many magic effects, this illusion relies mostly on subtle misdirection and acting on the part of the performer.

These psychological subtleties increase the probability that spectators will believe the illusion:

  • The spectators are informed ahead of time that the performer intends to levitate.
  • The performer pretends to put a good deal of care in choosing a place to perform the levitation.
  • The performer acts as if performing the levitation is difficult and physically straining.
  • The performer emphasizes the fact that there are no gimmicks (wires, etc.) used, and encourages that the area and the performers clothing be examined.
  • The performer provides a reason for the audience's position: a warning he may fall and require them to catch him.

These physical subtleties make the levitation seem more amazing:

  • The spectators are misdirected from the performer's method because they are concentrating on the movement of the feet and the space that appears between the feet and the ground.
  • When "landing," the performer will make a point of hitting the ground hard with the feet, and bending the knees to convince the spectators that the performer's feet were higher in the air than they actually were.

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