Designer: De Yip Loo (with later modifications by Jim Steinmeyer)
The Travel is fully described and detailed in Steinmeyer’s book Technique and Understanding. Owners of this book are authorized to build and perform this illusion. You may also contact Jim Steinmeyer directly to find a recommended builder. Jim Steinmeyer owns the rights to this illusion as purchased from De Yip Loo so that the illusion was able to be included in Technique and Understanding.
Jay Marshall first explained the illusion to Jim Steinmeyer c1980. It was invented by De Yip Loo for “Louie’s” (as other Chicago magicians knew Loo) own show. Marshall mentioned the name “The Travel” and Steinmeyer kept this name in his notebook on the effect. When he later contacted Louie for the rights, Loo was surprised to hear this name as he had called it “Cutting a Girl in Sevenths” (because he originally used only 6 swords).
Louie’s inspiration came from “The Cleaver Illusion” with a number of meat cleavers suspended in a frame that would drop through slots in a horizontal cabinet. This illusion is described in Blackstone’s Secrets of Magic. Louie used the effect as inspiration and created his own upright version using swords. He built his original version in Ed Miller’s shop in Chicago. Jim Steinmeyer modified the size of the prop and added swords to the illusion for publication in Technique and Understanding.
The magician’s assistant enters an upright cabinet and the front door is closed. Swords are placed in the side at the front edge of the cabinet (near the front door). The bottom-most sword is then run horizontally from front to back and this process is repeated with each sword in turn slicing from front to back and changing swords from bottom to the top. There are no hesitations in slices and nowhere for the assistant to hide. Steinmeyer diagrammed 10 swords for the effect.
The assistant then emerges from the cabinet unharmed, the swords having somehow penetrated through her body.
Amedeo Edama modified the Steinmeyer idea further by using paper on the front of the cabinet. This allows for a faster exit as well as a new subtlety of allowing the performer’s hands to be visible throughout the routine in a torn-away section of the paper. While Edama’s version is based on the original Travel as described in Technique and Understanding, Edama wishes to reserve the performance rights to his modifications and has shared them here for information purposes only.
Photo Credit: Edama Magic