April 18, 2011

BUT I'VE SEEN DOROTHY LAMOUR DO IT:

Secret of the Indian rope trick is finally revealed: it's a hoax (David Brown, 14 April 2001, Independent)

Peter Lamont, a former president of the Magic Circle in Edinburgh and now a researcher at the city's university, revealed the truth at Edinburgh's International Science Festival last night.

He has discovered that the trick has never been performed and was invented by an American newspaper as part of a circulation drive 111 years ago.

The Chicago Tribune caused a storm when it printed a report from India of a boy climbing an unsupported rope and disappearing at the top. The paper claimed he was followed by a man armed with a sword who also disappeared before parts of the boy's body fell from the sky and landed in a basket at the base of the rope. The man reappeared and emptied out the basket, revealing the boy to be in perfect health.

Versions of the story spread worldwide, but little notice was taken of a short note published by the Chicago Tribune four months after the original story that admitted the article was a publicity stunt. It assumed readers would realise it was a hoax because the story was bylined "Fred S. Ellmore".

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Posted by at April 18, 2011 5:50 AM
  

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