Invisibility Ray or Magic Trick?

Posted by on October 21st, 2009

According to an article from the October 1936 issue of Modern Mechanix, invisibility wasn’t just a possibility, it was a reality. The author credulously reports a description of an invisibility ray, but states emphatically that, “This is no illusion done by some magician, no trick of mirrors, it is asserted, but an actual performance of a new device which produces and projects what, for lack of a better name, may be called an ‘invisible ray.'”

Read the description of the potential applications and decide for yourself…

SUPPOSE that out onto a stage come eight chorus girls performing an intricate dance. Gradually something seems to happen, the heads, faces, and upper parts of the bodies of the girls seem to be disappearing. In fact, little by little they do become invisible to the audience until at last only eight pairs of legs are seen gracefully skipping about on the stage in perfect rhythm. You rub your eyes and begin to think you’d better see an oculist right away, but while you are worrying about it, back into your vision come the eight girls, wholly there and dancing gaily as though they had not just given you the shock of a lifetime. Or suppose again that a girl is sitting atop a piano, singing. The piano begins to fade from sight; finally the girl is left sitting in midair, nonchalantly swinging her feet and blithely singing, as though her perch was perfectly substantial.

If you did not think that you were just “seeing things,” right off you’d say, “Some invisible wires, or anyway, a cleverly arranged set of mirrors.” But you would be wrong in your guess. At least so says Mr. Adam Gosztonyi, the inventor of a machine which he claims can accomplish just such disappearing acts as have been described.

For something that’s not a magician’s trick, it’s kind of odd that all of the theoretical applications are theatrical in nature.

At that same time an illusion known as Pepper’s Ghost and the Blue Room was well known to magicians. It did *exactly* the same thing as described in the demonstration and under the same conditions. Check out a YouTube video here of a historic recreation of the effect (two facts: 1. It uses a mirror. 2. I’ve touched it).

In defense of the Modern Mechanix reporter, it’s a really awesome effect.

link: Modern Mechanix Invisibility At Last Within Grasp of Man

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