Designer: Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin
The Broom Suspension (aka “La Suspension Ethéréene” – The Ethereal Suspension) was created by Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin. However, it’s been said that Harry Houdini claimed the effect was at least a century older (possibly referring to a fakir trick) and that Robert-Houdin was just the only person audacious enough to claim it for himself!
In this original presentation, a stick was placed into a base on the floor and a young boy (Robert-Houdin’s son) placed the stick under his arm. The magician then picks up the feet of the assistant leaving them precariously balanced on the stick. For the finale, the magician lets go of the assistant’s feet leaving them suspended horizontally in mid air with only the stick under their arm.
Later a broom stick was used with the bristles pointing towards the ceiling. Other objects have since been used with the principle remaining the same.
Photo Credit: Rich Hill (color photo of Gordon and Terri Schott)