Designer: Guy Jarrett (with original idea possibly by Will Goldston)
On stage is a small pedestal (much too small to conceal a person). The performer stands on the pedestal, is quickly covered with a cloth, and instantly disappears. He may then reappear in another part of the venue.
Guy Jarrett is typically cited as the inventor of the Pedestal illusion (the illusion even retaining the name “Jarrett”), but in November 1905, several years before Jarrett began his career in magic, Will Goldston published a description of Valadon’s “Well I’m…” in The Magician Monthly. It was a disappearance of a lady atop a table. Goldston explained an alternate method in an addendum to the effect. It was this addendum that was an exact predecessor to Jarrett’s famous Pedestal, although Goldston called it a “vastly inferior method.” However, Goldston often copied his descriptions and methods from professional illusions featured by Maskelyne and Devant without giving proper credit so it is unclear whether Goldston’s method was even his own. It was not uncommon for Jarrett to use known methods and illusions and improve them for his own purposes. Jarrett stated (in Jarrett Magic) that he used the illusion in the Thurston show in 1908. Howard Thurston used the illusion in his “Tubes of Tubal.” It was also used in Thurston’s show as the first part of the Bangkok Bungalow routine (using Jarrett as an assistant). Jarrett used the pedestal in no less than 5 different effects.
Sources: Steinmeyer, Jim, The Complete Jarrett, Hahne, California, 2001.