What Happened to Lady Liberty?

You know what I love about magic? Its power to amaze. How do you keep the attention of crowd with nothing but a pencil? Magic. How do you saw a man in half? Magic. How do you turn yourself into the coolest person in the room? Magic. Or a leather jacket. But magic takes the ordinary and does something incredible with it, and that’s why I’ve been addicted to it since a little kid. I’ve gone to magic camps and spent hours on the internet looking for party tricks or illusions, and I look up to Harry Houdini the same way a typical kid looks up to Tom Brady. Is that a little strange? Maybe, but everyone has their own unique interests and passions. In this blog I’m going to talk about some of the greatest magic tricks ever performed and reveal their secret, assuming the world ever figured out how the magician did it. I would like my first trick to be one of my favorites done by my second favorite magician (take a guess at who is #1).

David Copperfield made the Statue of Liberty disappear.

How could he make something over 450 feet tall, weighing thousands of tons, disappear before a live audience? It truly was an incredible trick, and you can watch it on YouTube in a short three minute video.


So good old David made the icon of freedom evaporate, even running spotlights through the area where the statue had been only minutes before. While the video showed the circumstances to be fairly free, the illusion was done under very strict conditions. The audience had to be exactly where they were sitting, otherwise the whole thing would have fallen apart.

The key to success in this trick is the stage and the two pillars holding up the curtain. As soon as that curtain hid the statue, the lights illuminating Lady Liberty were turned off, and the entire stage, pillars, and audience begin to shift to the right. Once they were enough degrees away, another set of lights were turned on in the same pattern and the curtain was dropped. Wowzah! The Statue of Liberty is gone! Then Copperfield ran search lights through the area that had nothing there. Once the crowd was thoroughly amazed, the curtain went back up and the stage shifted back to the original position, making the statue “reappear”.

Some other tricks he used to make this trick successful

  1. He was playing loud music, which would have hid any noise or vibration the machines were making to shift the stage.
  2. The trick was done at night, meaning there was no reference point for the audience to notice the shifting of the stage. It’s the same idea of being in a boat with no windows; there is no way to tell what direction you are going or if the boat changes directions (in calm waters).
  3. The stage was moving very slowing, and though you cannot tell in the video, a couple minutes passed between the curtain being raised and the statue disappearing.
  4. The “radar detector” used were merely an added illusion that could be controlled, and just a button was used to make it vanish on the screen.

The idea behind it is fairly simple, but brilliant in engineering and design. David Copperfield took an old illusion and modernized it on a very large scale, and this brilliance he part of the reason he is as famous as he is. And if you liked what he did in that trick, I promise this will not be the last time you hear from him on Matt Roda’s Passion Blog.



“David Copperfield’s Statue of Liberty Trick Revealed.” Break.com. 14 October 2008. http://www.break.com/video/ugc/david-copperfield-statue-of-liberty-revealed-587881


3 thoughts on “What Happened to Lady Liberty?

  1. Magic manages to frustrate and enchant me both at the same time. I’m the type of person that likes to understand everything, so I always feel like I’m left out on an inside joke when a magician pulls one over on me. But, at the same I could watch a magic show for hours because they’re just so cool. I’d have loved to see this one in person! Can’t wait to read about more 🙂

  2. This is so cool I have never even heard of this. So interesting to find out what people go through to pull off magic tricks on such a large scale!

Leave a Reply