Okey, I'm sick again so todays trick is just a video, but not from Criss Angel or some other "illusionist". It's from, non other, then David Copperfield. This time he doesn't mess with the small, childish tricks, but goes for the big league. He makes the whole Statue of Liberty disappear! Now there are a lot of speculations about how this trick was performed, from fake statue to a rotating platform where the audience was sited. I tried looking for a clue for any possibility but was without luck. Let me hear if you find something.

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  1. Anonymous baby boo 

    wow, thats really cool, but i still think that stuff like that is a bunch of crap!

  2. Anonymous Anonymous 

    First of all, the RADAR is fake. Notice how the blip that is supposed to be the statue doesn't get bright until long after the sweep passes it? This is not how RADAR works. The "blip" gets brighter each time it is refreshed by the sweep, not randomly as it appears to in the video.

    This is one of his cheesiest illusions IMO.

    Don't get me wrong... I'm convinced he's from another planet with special powers far beyond the understanding of mortal men.

  3. Blogger Chris 


  4. Blogger JAE 

    I think this was done by having the audience on a platform which could be rotated so that the Statue of Liberty was moved out of the field of view while the curtain was up. The loud music masked the noise of the machinery required, as did the helicopter noise. Very expensive to achieve, but a stunning illusion. The audience just did not realise that it was they who were moving, not the statue.

  5. Blogger Evgon 

    Heres my ideas:
    1. total fake: its all fake and all the audience was acting. Parts shot in studio, parts shot in NYC.

    2. partial fake: what they REALLY did is take a huge uhhh 400 foot black tarp and cover the statues front from view. And he added the "spotlights shining past it" part later. If you see the part where they are showing the spotlights shine through you don't see anything else. for all we know it could be in some field in Japan.

    3. Magic: or hes just really good and skilled at making magic. I think It would be a lot better if he had a larger audience. (like 200 witnesses. I'm sure he wouldn't be able to pay through that many people. But the 50 that he had, ehh i duno.

  6. Blogger kevthegreat 

    Yeah, the platform rotates. At 1:51 left in the video all the way on the right side of the screen you can see one of the spotlights swing over to the new area that is now in front of the audience.

  7. Blogger kevthegreat 

    Sorry, I meant left of the screen...

  8. Anonymous Anonymous 

    maybe some sort of mirror contraption or maybe just oddly shaped mirrors that cannot hide all the statue so smoke is used to cover the rest, but i like the rotating platform concept a lot better

  9. Anonymous Numenor 

    Yes, I have to think that the platform was rotated. And the arial view of the circle of spotlights without the Statue there would have been someplace else. The helicopter had to move with the platform so when the curtain was lowered it would still appear to be in about the same position as before. The radar was obviously fake as well. That's not even how it works. In the background, you can even hear some machinery very faintly. And as kevthegreat said, at about 1:51 (and I think I can see another one at 2:01, you can see spot lights moving on the left side of the screen. Between 1:37-1:34, you can see a light above the curtain. Is that a spotlight, or something else?
    A problem with this is that it risks the audience accidentally seeing the Statue past the side tower.

    Or a more elaborate theory is that a giant mirror was moved between the Statue and the curtain so that it reflected a black area. The light over the curtain can be sort of explained by this, but its not likely. Another problem with this one would be that the helicopter would have to move to be see in the mirror. Not likely at all.

    The last two tricks are much better than those previous.

    P.S.- I know my post is long enough, but I have to say that I do not believe that it is likely that he paid off that many people.

  10. Blogger djzbambam 

    Copperfield forgot one important detail, the helicopter isn't showing up on the radar! Of course, the radar is fake, but it would have added to it's believability.

  11. Blogger Mark 

    I agree largely with evgon. However I think he actually used a movie screen with the lights and helicopter in tune with the real thing. It would be easier to tell if we could watch it longer, it's only vissible for a couple of seconds.
    Unlike some posters I doubt he used a rotating platform. You would probably feel that you're being moved. And anyone looking to the side would be able to see the statue for real. I don't think he would take the chance.
    The radar is fake just like anonymous said. The blip lights up when the strobing light hits it and then fades away.
    The shots with the helicopter and the empty field with the huge spotlights could have been filmed anywhere. It's really dark so you can't tell where the shots were filmed.
    It's all in the editing.

  12. Blogger kevthegreat 

    Oooh, the movie screen is a possiblity, but I think the rotating platform makes more sense. There's a reason why the trick was done at night. It was so that the lights on the statue could be all turned off and the audience wouldn't be able to accidentally see it. Also, there is an arial view of the now missing statue at the end, but they are very careful not to zoom out too much, because the statue is still there in the dark, just off the screen.

  13. Anonymous B-money 

    I haven’t seen this since I was a kid. It is a great illusion. As for how it was done, I still don’t seem to know. I have my own theories, all leading back to the fact that it is an illusion, and it is an illusion that was performed on TV. I think that is the big clue, TV.
    Here are some things I noticed. Maybe they will be useful to others that are trying to figure it out. This first part is evidence that this was filmed somewhere else. First, I don’t know how much liberty island has changed since this was done, but I cannot imagine that the spot where they shot this has changed much. If you look at MSN earth, note that in front of the statue, where the audience is, there are no trees. The clip shows trees. Second, The big star shaped structure that she and the base are on, are big.
    I am not sure, but if someone was 200 ft away and looking the statue, you would see this
    Structure. I don’t seem to see it. The curtain always seems to be hiding it. Third, right before the curtain rises, you see a helicopter appear from behind the statue. Perhaps I am wrong, but it seems rather large compared to liberty. This suggests, that this was shot somewhere else. A scaled down model was used for the statue? Some may think this is too elaborate, but remember this is David Copperfield. A great illusionist, and this was done for TV. Money was probably not a concern. Now, perhaps this really was live and no one was paid off. How could this be done? If I remember my history, during one of the wars way back when, cities would use spotlights and shine them into the sky. When
    The bombers would fly over, they could not see the city because of the lights. Could this be the case for the statue? I don’t know how this effects the front view, but maybe someone else can pick up where I leave off?

  14. Anonymous B-money 

    Some of you have said that they could have rotated the place the people are sitting. I think that for a trick of this size, it is unlikely. Assuming that the audience is legit, it would be easy for them to look to the side and see the statue. Another thing to point out is that the scaffolding that holds the curtain would shake as it moved. If you watch, it does not move. Something that tall would have to have some kind of movement to it if the ground beneath it rotated. The last thing that sort of says the platform did not move ties in with what I stated above about the size of the island. If you use Google earth or MSN maps, you can see that the area to the front and to the side of the statue is small. I don’t think that a second set of lights could have been set up to mimic the ones that appear to be on the “real” statue. Again, I don’t know for a fact that any of this is true, but maybe someone else can pick up on this and truly figure out the trick.

  15. Anonymous Anonymous 

    Unfortunately a youtube video leaves little to show but I'm willing to bet that the stage DOES rotate but not 180. Actually it doesn't move much at all, about 10°.

    After the the curtain goes up the lights are turned off on liberty and the stage turns slightly so the statue is now directly behind one of the towers which are conveniently covered in very bright lights. The curtain drops and she is off to the left or right and you see an empty hole and probably a ring of lights on the ground for the air view.

    You can't see her because it is like the 'no stars on the moon' effect. The ambient light is so much brighter than the statue that it gets washed out. I have a suspicion that if you blasted the brightness with photoshop on a good capture you might catch it.

    Raise the curtain, turn off fake lights, relight Liberty and rotate the stage back. All is well.

    Take note that the audience is in a very tight spot and has multiple lights pointed right at them. They probably had to squint to even see it when it was there.

  16. Anonymous Anonymous 

    so easy i cant believe nobody else gets this trick...... imagine two circles of light and two sets of spot lights.. the ones surrounding the statue of liberty and the spots behind it turn off as do the lights in the statue, the ones inbetween the statue and audience turn on and are faced toward the crowd. helicopter moves forward and a little lower to keep distance in perspective and your statue is gone... notice that when the helicopter shot looks down and the statue is there the lights around it are just blurred circles then when its gone the light configuration can be clearly seen. plus the size of the new circle of lights has to be smaller because the copter is lower.... give me something harder next time......

  17. Blogger Ben Christian L. 

    I looked a while ago, and from what i found it seemed to come to the conclusion it was the Rotating platform idea. I know the Statue of Liberty Disapearance was created by Jim Stienmeyer, the popular illusion creator.

  18. Anonymous . 


    The last anonymous has got to be right. Just a trick with two sets of lights.

    I mean, come on, a ROTATING PLATFORM?
    It would be a huge project to build something like that, and there's no way the audience wouldn't notice the movement.

  19. Blogger ajju 

    This trick was done by just turning the statue of liberty for 180 degree and if u watch closely the stage lights surrounds the statue is also in a circular path which doesn't make any difference which flipping the statue, and moreover the lights of the skyscrappers besides the statue turned the audience to night blind.


  20. Anonymous Damittri The Great 

    Just another Idea for how he did it:

    The audience was seated far away from the statue, and another set of lights was set up between them and the statue, that way, when he raises the curtain, the lights on the statue are turned off, and the decoy lights are turned on. Abracadabra! No statue!

  21. Blogger Contact Me 

    Here's the real solution:

    PUT THIS VIDEO under the original please!!

  22. Anonymous Anonymous 

    I know the answer because I myself am a full time performer you see the reason the big metal beams are so wide is to creat a blind spot and the reason they have lights on them is the same idea as when you try and look outside a window into the dark you cant see because the light behind you blinds you. So what happens is when the curtin goes up libertys lights are killed the loud music kills the noise and the stage rotates so the the metal beam is directly imbetwen the crowd and liberty then the lights on the beams blind the audience after the rotaion is complete a new circle of lights is turned on and liberty isnt there.

  23. Blogger Jeff 

    i think a rotating platform is correct. If u notice at the end when the curtain thing goes up. Look very closely at the light on the right by the top.As the curtain falls down keep staring at the light n u can see the platform moving *rotating*

  24. Blogger > Magic Share 

    I like this trick!.

  25. Anonymous Anonymous 

    the audience was hired and they just moved the camera to an empty space.

  26. Anonymous I Am Me 

    I Researched and Found this:

    "Before David Blaine was the biggest illusionist on the block, David Copperfield amazed audiences with his larger-than-life tricks. Perhaps his most famous stunt was in 1983 when he made the Statue of Liberty disappear (and then reappear) on live TV. The trick may be old, but people still wonder -- how did he do it?

    Naturally, Mr. Copperfield isn't telling, so we consulted the research experts at The Straight Dope. They explain a common theory from William Poundstone's "Bigger Secrets." First, "Copperfield had a setup of two towers on a stage, supporting an arch to hold the huge curtain that would be used to conceal the statue." Those viewing the trick, both live and on TV, saw the statue through this arch.

    After the curtain closed and while Mr. Copperfield addressed the audience, the stage was apparently rotating very slowly on a lazy Susan type turntable. When the curtain opened, it seemed the statue had disappeared, but in reality, the audience's view was blocked by one of the columns. The article also mentions that Copperfield used very bright lights to "nightblind" the audience. Those magicians are a tricky lot, eh?

    Thanks to the magic of the Internet, you can watch the trick again. More than 20 years later, it's still pretty amazing."

  27. Anonymous Anonymous 

    I have a video of this illusion that I watched many times right after the show aired on television. If you watch the chrome rim that is around the radar screen after the curtain is raised you will notice a refection of light that travels around the chrome rim. I think that this is a reflection of some stationary lighting that is off of the audience platform. As the radar equipment moves with the audience platform, it's position in regards to the stationary lighting changes thus creating the moving reflection on the chrome rim of the radar screen. This would add to the evidence for the moving platform idea. I also think that the lights pointed at the audience from the curtain area are used to slightly blind the audience so it is harder to see objects past the curtian area. I went to see David Copperfield's live show in Branson MO a few years ago and he used the same sort of "blinding" technique in order to remove equipment from the stage after an appearing car illusion. At any rate, the Statue of Liberty illusion is fun to watch and it must have been really fun to so something on this large of a scale.

  28. Blogger Brendt 

    To some degree, I think the various "explanations" may be over-simplifying. Back in the late 80s, I saw Andre Kole, an illusionist in his own right and one of Copperfield's creative consultants for the Statue illusion. He noted that there are 7 basic principles that all illusions are based on, though most only use 1 principle or maybe a few. The Statue illusion used all 7.

  29. Anonymous Anonymous 

    i no exactly how he did it there was two circled spotlights right next to each other the one next to the statue of liberty is turned off and the one around the statue was on he put up the curtain and the stage was a circle so they slowly roatated and so did the helicopter and when he put the curtain up the lights on the statue where turned off and when they stopped the other lights where turned one creating the illusion that it dissapered thats the reason it had to be night -thats wat watching youtube alot does '('

  30. Anonymous Anonymous 

    A Staff Report from the Straight Dope Science Advisory Board
    How did David Copperfield make the Statue of Liberty vanish?
    Dear Straight Dope:

    As you no doubt know, David Copperfield is a master illusionist. Magic tricks are just that--tricks. However, there is one I just don't understand. David apparently made several hundred people not see the Statue of Liberty. How the heck did he do that? He obviously did not make it disappear, it was, is, and always has been there--but why couldn't the crowd (and the TV) see it? Thanks, O Masterful Knowing One!!

    — erniel, via the Internet

    Magicians are a snotty lot. Imagine, not wanting to reveal their secrets to their loyal fans! How dare they?

    Of course, being one of Cecil's loyal followers, I first tried the David Copperfield Website. After going through the introductory screens and being bombarded with far too many images of a "mysterious" David, I saw a few GIFs of this illusion. Did he spill any secrets? Nope!

    I next tried "The Amazing Ralph", who promised to reveal the secrets of this magical feat. His explanation? David palmed the Statue of Liberty. OK, Ralph. Thanks a lot.

    Finally, racking my brain for the answer, it came to me ... not in the night ... not in an aural flash ... but on my bookshelf! Summoning all the skills Cecil had taught me, I reached out and grabbed my copy of William Poundstone's Bigger Secrets.

    Way dustier and nowhere near as dogeared as my set of The Straight Dope books, I nevertheless looked through the crisp pages ... and bingo! There was the answer.

    Poundstone wrote six pages on this trick and included a nifty illustration, but I'll just give you a basic summary: Copperfield had a setup of two towers on a stage, supporting an arch to hold the huge curtain that would be used to conceal the statue. The TV cameras and the live audience only saw the monument through the arch. When the curtains closed, David waxed poetic while the stage was ... slowly ... and imperceptibly ... turned. When the curtains opened, the statue was hidden behind one of the towers, and the audience was looking out to sea. Voila! The Statue of Liberty has disappeared!

    Even if the stage hadn't completely hidden the statue, the towers were so brightly lit that the audience would be nightblinded. Copperfield had also set up two rings of lights--one around Liberty, and another set up somewhere else. When the trick "happened," his assistants simply turned off the lights around the statue and turned on the other set for the helicopters to circle around.

    Oh--the radar blip? It was simply video game animation.

    — Melis

    Staff Reports are written by the Straight Dope Science Advisory Board, Cecil's online auxiliary. Though the SDSAB does its best, these columns are edited by Ed Zotti, not Cecil, so accuracywise you'd better keep your fingers crossed.

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