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Death Saw Illusion

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The Death Saw Illusion is a variation of both the Buzz Saw Illusion and in the family of Sawing a woman in half. It is mainly associated with the performer David Copperfield. It is presented as an escape gone wrong.


The illusion features a table and a large circular saw. To start off, the performer gets on the table, directly under the saw, and is secured by chains, ropes, ect. The performer is covered with a box and then attempts to escape, however, as the saw descends, the performer has still not escaped and the sides of the box drop to show the tied-up performer. As the saw descends further, the performer is cut in half and the table is separated and put back together. Then, as time is commanded to reverse, the events are redone backwards (box sides back up, etc.) and the performer emerges unharmed.


This illusion is presented as an escape rather then a Sawing-in-Half illusion. When the escape goes wrong, the sawing appears more real, as if it wasn't planned. Nonetheless, fundamentally, this illusion is really no different then a Buzz Saw or Sawing-in-Half illusion.


Copperfield claims exclusive rights, but these are disputed. Although it may be true he was the first person to combine the elements in this illusion and presentation, The Linking Ring edition of March 1965 contains the idea for the general method of sawing from B. Rakshit, and September 1969 issue of Genii Magazine outlines the routine and the setup of the saw utilizing a tower.