Impossible Sawing in Half
Designer: Ken Whitaker & Paul Haynes (Creative Illusions)
Builder: Bill Smith
The Impossible Sawing was designed and built by Creative Illusions and first performed by Siegfried and Roy on February 1, 1999. In this version of the illusion, the assistant is sawed and her halves pulled apart without a box being placed over her body at any point during the illusion.
An assistant lies on a table and is secured to the table by low-arched metal bands on her waist. A large metal framework carrying a circular saw is then attached to the table. The assistant is then sawed in half and the saw removed. The magician then inserts two small divider blades, shaped to match the profile of the metal bands, into the gap. The magician then pulls the assistant’s upper torso away from her lower half. The magician can then pull her feet farther away from her upper torso as well. The catches holding the two table halves together are then released, and the table halves are separated. As the assistant has been in full view of the audience throughout the performance, they can clearly see that the assistant actually has been cut in half and separated. The table halves are then moved back together and the assistant’s torso is slid back down the table. The dividers are removed, the metal bands unlatched, and the assistant is then lifted down from the table and shown to be completely unharmed.
The Impossible Sawing has one of the greatest impacts on audiences because of the “clean” nature of the illusion.
The first version was built by Paul Haynes. After Ken Whitaker passed away, Creative Illusions didn’t last. Previous builders of this illusion include Bill Smith and EDF Magic. However, Bill Smith is now the exclusive builder for this illusion.
Other notable performances include Criss Angel’s sawing in half for television. Criss performs a similar illusion in his Vegas show Believe, but does not restore his assistant in the end.
Photo Credits: Nelson Illusions (3 photos of girl in short red dress pictured with saw)