Impaled (aka Impaled Beyond Belief)
Designer: Ken Whittaker
Les Levante created an original Impaled illusion that is no longer performed. His design was different than Ken Whittaker’s design, which Ken developed in the 1970s. Ken’s illusion is detailed here.
The magician places his assistant face-up (supine position) on the end of a sharp steel spike rising vertically from a base. The spike fits near the “small” of the assistant’s back. The assistant is carefully balanced and then spun around on top of the spike. Suddenly she drops so that the spike actually goes through her midsection. Other variations include the magician impaling himself.
The original illusion was created by Ken Whittaker and licensed to multiple builders. Many of these “original” builders are still building the illusion today. Because Ken Whittaker passed away, the illusion was exposed publicly, over 40 years have passed since the original conception, and because Ken did not directly specify who should maintain the rights, the illusion is now considered to be in the public domain. However, due to the extreme difficulty and danger involved in building and performing this illusion, using one of the “original” builders of the illusion is highly recommended.
While the method and standard Impaled illusion may be considered public domain, certain designs for this illusion are still considered protected. Some of the more notable designs and builders include the following:
Water Fountain Penetration (Owen Magic)
Scissors (Bill Smith – licensed to Erix Logan)
Torch Penetration (licensed to Joaquin Ayala)
The Torch Penetration was introduced as part of SPELLBOUND in Las Vegas. It is considered the most dangerous version of the illusion because the fire can cause burns on the assistant, but is exclusively licensed to Ayala and is not available to the public.
Other versions have included neon lights, a hypodermic needle, a sewing needle, etc.
Illusionists wishing to have this illusion built should talk with some of the previously mentioned builders.