Help us get to over 4,000 biographies in 2018.

If you know of a past magician not listed in MagicPedia, start a New Biography for them or Email us your suggestion.

Buzz Saw Illusion

From Magicpedia, the free online encyclopedia for magicians by magicians.
Revision as of 15:05, 29 November 2009 by Lucas Cray (Talk | contribs) (Notable Performers)

Jump to: navigation, search



The Buzz Saw (also Buzzsaw) is a Stage Illusion and consists of a large apparatus. It involves, at the very least, a magician and one assistant. It lies in the same family as the Sawing a Women in Half Illusion, however the effect involves a large mechanical circular saw. Normally, the person is cut across at the waist without any covering.

The Details

The illusion uses a piece of equipment utilizing a circular blade. First, the saw may be proven genuine by showing it cutting an object of some sort, possibly a piece of wood. The table rests under the saw blade, which desends upon it. While an assistant lays on the table, secured by bands or rope, the saw is turned on and the table and the saw is lowered, supposedly severing the body of the person upon it. Afterwards the saw is turned off and the assistant is shown unharmed.


The illusion has many variations. The Buzz Saw Illusion may also refer to any illusion using a cirrcular saw for cutting a person in half, whether across the hips or down the middle of the body. In some variations sound effects are used, in others, blood and gore are spilled everywhere. Sometimes a piece of wood or other object is placed on the table, along with the assistant, to prove that the saw cutting actually takes place.

Notable Performers

  • Maurice Rooklyn 1905-1992
    • He began using wriststraps when an assistant that was on the table for the Buzz Saw illusion lost her poise and start trying to stop the saw with her hands.
  • Aldo Richiardi (Richiardi Jr.) 1923-1985
    • Using his daughter as an assinstant he performed a particularly gruesome version of this illusion.Blood and gore fly out of her body and the saw is suddenly turned off mid-illusion. The audience is then given the oppurtunity to examine the girl. Finally, the illusion is finished and the girl in shown to be unhurt. This illusion was later omitted from his shows.
  • Harry Blackstone Sr. 1885-1965
    • Openly sawed a women, laying on her stomach, through her midsection using a large circular blade.
  • Harry Blackstone Jr. 1934-1997
    • Followed in his father's footsteps and performed the illusion in much the same way.
  • David Copperfield 1956
    • Performs a variation of the Buzz Saw Illusion called The Death Saw. In his version, the illusion is presented as an escape gone wrong, rather then a straight sawing in half illusion.