360 Degree Levitation

360 Degree Levitation
360 Degree Levitation

Designer: Jonathan Pendragon
Consultant: John Gaughan
Known Builders: John Gaughan with Bill Smith

The original 360 degree levitation was designed by Jonathan Pendragon and built by John Gaughan. The original unit is now believed to be owned by Joseph Gabriel as of 2006.

On the Genii Forums, an anonymous user (Jonathan Pendragon) posted this message on Dec 29, 2006:

Dear Readers:
The 360 levitation has an interesting story. Barkely Shaw performed the first one that I saw. He wore a cape and placed his hands on the floating girl and turned around with her. This came just before his famous floating in a glass box which he sold to David Copperfield. In 1986 I developed my 360 for a Disney network magic special. I wanted Charlotte to float AROUND me. I had played with the idea on a Super X style levitation that I built myself. Charlotte floated on her side so she could arc her back during the move (better cover). I think that was very pretty. The tough move was when she circled back, she flew through a hoop that I held. We didn’t use a goose neck, I had to accept the hoop from an assistant, control Charlotte’s movement and then make a clean pass without noise. It’s called “Magic in the Magic Kingdom” and if you watch the piece it is very smooth even though I was controlling Charlotte, hoop and the pass all at once. The Disney levitation I presented in 1993 in France very different (method was totally different). The hoop pass involved Charlotte doing a flying back flip through, in and out. We recreated this for the opening of the film “Bogus”. Two actors played a husband and wife magic team. I choreographed and staged the levitation and made a quick cameo, I am the assistant who moves the hoop around the actress. What I really wanted was to work out an idea I had been thinking about for years, it got into the film. At the end of the effect the girl floating about three feet over the magician’s head, free falls into his arms on his command. Those who know the classic method used understand the danger of this action (Getting your face sliced to shreds). I worked out a way to avoid that danger. it looks really great and Norman Jewison gave me a much higher profile credit in the film. Lance Burton does my levitation (his way) with my permission. I have given several people the right to perform it. Several magicians including a legendary one stole the idea from me. Shaw and I had long discussions on our two levitations and I asked permission from him to explore another method and look as well as Mark Wilson, who had come up with the platform. This is how it should happen, but it rarely does. Bill Smith now makes the illusion, and I get a $500 fee. My method is very different and unique to me. No matter what anyone says, the illusion that you see me perform is my invention.

With respect,
Jonathan Pendragon 1


The Pendragons released this illusion on Volume 4 of “The Magic of the Pendragons” by L&L Publishing. Pendragon discusses many things on this DVD including the history of levitation, the explanation of the prop, and a variety of hoops you can use.

[1] Genii Magazine Forums, http://forums.geniimagazine.com/viewtopic.php?t=8613.