For years my favorite chopper effect has easily been the See-Thru Guillotine by Wellington Enterprises. It checks all the boxes and simply looks amazing. But it is large and expensive, and even though it is difficult to imagine how it could work it is still a large magic prop and all sorts of things could be going on.
What I love about this truly amazing chopper from The Limited Edition Magic team of Paul Lembo and Joe Long is how real everything looks. You show a normal knife which can be examined if desired and cut things with it. Then you place the victim’s wrist (or head if you are a little guy like Pug!) into the unit and clearly show the blade resting above the wrist – in fact the spectator can really feel it right next to the skin. And then you proceed to slice the knife through their wrist slowly and deliberately. Then hand the knife over again for examination if desired. It looks amazing and the illusion is perfect!
It simply looks like real magic and if you were actually going to cut someones wrist off I think you would do it the same way. Plus you have to love the video where Paul Lembo already has his finger in a band-aid from an early test I’m sure 🙂
It may not be as physically impressive as the Wellington Chopper, but boy does it look real – perfect for Halloween and all the nights after. It is a good compact size and is very quick to set-up. In fact you can turn up at the venue and just do it. To do it as convincingly as Paul Lembo will take some practice, but just timing and routine nothing is difficult and to be honest when you are dealing with sharp knives you should be prepared to take some time to make the whole thing smooth, otherwise you’ll end up with a nicked finger like Paul in the video!
The following is from Joe Long:
This is a very unique “chopper” for those who appreciate clever mechanical apparatus and the genius of Ed Massey. Yes, Ed Massey was a genius. He created some of magic’s most enduring pieces of apparatus – Squeezeaway Block, Chinese Flame Clock, Strange Cabinet of Deodar, Duplex Slate, Glass Penetration Frame, all types of deceptive production cabinets, and countless other effects.
Oh, yeah. And he created the Finger Chopper. Think about that. The guy who created the Finger Chopper later when on to create two of the most deceptive wrist/arm “cutters” ever sold – Sawing Through An Arm and its’ little pal, The Carving Cutter. Both are ingenious.
In fact, when I had the pleasure of touring David Copperfield’s museum last year David was showing us around a massive storage room filled with the most famous magic apparatus ever created – things by Okito, Thayer, John Martin, and others. Yet the one item he specifically picked out to show us was Massey’s Carving Cutter. He thought the method involved was really nifty. It is.
The Carving Cutter is a mechanical marvel. They are rarely found, especially in good working condition. This new Limited Edition is based on a Massey chopper that is even rarer. In fact, it’s based on the only model in existence.
The original, which I offered for sale months ago, was part of Bill King’s famous collection. It was made for Massey by one of his best builders, John Sznek. And in many ways, was more deceptive than both choppers Massey eventually released to magicians.
Just a few reasons why I think this is one of the best choppers ever created – even compared to Massey’s Carving Cutter and Sawing Thru An Arm:
- the knife blade is always visible through the center window, there is no need to “block the window from view” when setting the blade
- the spectator feels the blade against their wrist before it’s lowered and even more importantly – the audience SEES the blade against their wrist
- when the knife cuts through their wrist the movement is realistic and scary – as the blade handle and tip are seen slicing through in a back and forth motion
- the knife is examined both before and after – you can use it to cut a piece of celery placed in the stocks
- and it’s a knife – not a strange looking rectangular piece of metal attached to wooden stocks – something found only in a magician’s prop
Effect: The performer displays a stock-like cabinet along with a raised platform. There is a knife in view at the top of the stocks. The stock is placed onto the platform. The knife is visibly lowered, removed from the prop – and handed for examination. The knife is placed back into the stock and raised again to the top – it is used to cut a piece of celery or carrot. It’s a real blade. The knife is once again raised to the top – keep in mind the blade is always in view!
A spectator is invited to place their hand through the opening in the center of the prop. Their wrist is loosely secured in place. And here is one of the best features – The performer then slowly lowers the knife and asks if the volunteer can feel the blade against their arm. Surprisingly, they say yes!
Because they actually do. In fact – the center of the blade is visibly touching their wrist. This will puzzle any magician. The spectator’s wrist is then secured even more so there’s no possible way to escape the path of the blade. The performer instructs them to relax – and then slowly lowers the knife downward – in a slicing motion – through the arm – until is rests again at the bottom of the platform!
The knife is immediately removed and again passed for examination. The spectator’s arm is fine. It really is a perfect illusion. I believe it’s the most deceptive wrist chopper ever designed.
(Description supplied with permission by Joe Long)
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