If you remember the How to Saw a Woman in Half episode from the first season of Penn & Teller: Fool Us, you would know that sawing a woman in half and putting her together is not an easy trick. Ever since P.T. Selbit put up a classic performance of the trick in London in 1921, many other magicians have not only emulated the trick but added a few improvements.
These improvements make it a little difficult to know exactly how a woman gets sawed in half in a big box and then put back together. But over the years, the secrets behind how these magicians are able to wow the audience with this illusion have been revealed.
Below, you can learn the tricks behind the woman sawed in half illusion and how you can do it too.
How To Saw A Woman In Half Revealed
From the design of the table, using two girls in the box, to using artificial feet, there are many ways to achieve the woman sawed in half illusion.
How It Is Performed
While there are many variations of this trick, they usually follow the same process.
A table is placed on the stage and standing beside it is the magician. The table is like a box with an opening for someone to fit. Right in the middle of the table is a large cutter standing above it. Some magicians try the cutter on another piece of wood just to show the audience that it is real and the girl would truly be sawed in half.
A girl comes on stage and enters the box/table. Note that, the magician never uses a random girl from the audience. While the girl is in the table, her head and legs are only visible to the viewers.
The magician uses the cutter to run through the table in the midsection. Once divided, he pushes the table apart to show that the lady has been sawed in half. In some acts, you can clearly see her head sticking out from one side of the table and her feet sticking out from the other end.
The magician quickly puts the table back together, opens it, or asks the girl to come out. She steps out whole without having any form of injury even after being sawed in half right in front of your eyes.
So how do they do it?
The Secrets Behind the Trick
For this trick, magicians don’t use just any box or table. They use tables specially designed for the trick. If you’ve noticed, the magicians always use a particular set of girls and this is for a reason. When the girl steps into the table, it is not as tight as you would imagine.
The table or box would be wide enough so that the girl can bend her legs and let the saw pass through the middle as you see in the picture above. When the cutter moves through the box, it would look as if the table is being sawed in half along with the woman. Well, it is not.
So you may wonder why you can see the girl’s legs sticking out of the other end of the table. The answer is simple, artificial feet. The set was already prepped before you took your seat and you are not allowed to inspect the table before trick so the fact that these magicians use artificial feet shouldn’t surprise you.
There is another table design method that doesn’t use artificial feet. In the pic above, you can see that the table is designed so that the upper body is higher than the lower part. The line in the middle is where the saw or cutter goes through. In this method, the performer uses a girl that very is flexible. This reduces the chances of you or anyone else noticing any changes before, during, or after the trick.
Using Two Girls
In some performances, there are may be two girls in the box. One girl acts as the feet and the other as the head. You may not notice because the other girl would be in the box even before the show starts.
Over the years, there have been many performances from top magicians staring from P.T. Selbiet down to Chris Angels. Here, you will find an explanation for just two of them.
Penn & Teller Saws A Woman In Half
In the second episode of the first season of Penn & Teller: Fool Us, we saw two incredible magicians explain just how performers saw a woman in half and seemingly put her back together. Everything was going pretty well till they saw off her body with her guts spilling out.
Penn & Teller leave the crowd horrified and wondering if they really just split a human being in two. Did they? No.
Once again, this trick lies in the design of the table and the ability of the performer to captivate the audience. These days high-tech allows magicians to do more fascinating magic tricks which the average person would pull off with the right tools. While Penn & Teller won’t reveal their secrets, you can actually reproduce what they did with the same equipment.
Criss Angels Rip A Woman In Half
This is one of the many variations of the woman sawed in half illusion. Here Criss Angels rips a woman in two without the use of a table, a cutter, or just about any piece of magic equipment. How did he do it?
Some would say he has superpowers or really can do real-life magic, but in reality, he can do none of both. For this trick, he used a woman with sacral agenesis and a contortionist. Sacral agenesis is actually a medical condition in which the sacrum fails to form. This leads to a malformation of the lower limbs and the person’s legs are underdeveloped and fused.
Simply, get someone with a medical issue that causes their legs not to form properly and a pair of fake legs covered with a long skirt (dress) and pretend to pull them apart when they were not joined together in the first place. That could be called trickery or entertainment. Whichever one you go with.