The Head Mover is an illusion in which an assistant is placed in a frame with their head inside a box. They are then beheaded and their head removed.
The apparatus for this illusion comprises two posts supporting a wide horizontal board with a cut-out section in the centre of the board. An assistant sits or kneels down between the two posts and places her neck in the cut-out section of the board. The magician places a small stock across the cut-out in the board, locking the assistant's neck in place, and then a box with doors in the front is placed over her head. Two blades are then inserted under the box, apparently cutting her head off. The box is then slid to the end of the board, proving that the assistant's head is now detached from her body. Her body and moving hands are in view throughout the entire effect. The box is removed and placed onto another table or case. The front of the box is opened, showing her living head inside of the box, while her living body is on the other side of the stage. The box is closed and put back above her body. The blades are removed and she emerges unharmed.
In some performances of the illusion, the box containing the assistant's severed head is not opened until it has been placed on the table. As this led to some audience members claiming that they knew how the illusion was done, some magicians now open the box while they are still holding it in mid-air.In late 2012, magician and illusion designer Taylor Reed premiered a new version of the illusion called The Ball Headed Lady. In this new version, after the assistant is locked into the illusion, a bowling ball is rolled through the head box from side to side several times, apparently passing right through the assistant's head in the process. It is then rolled into the box, and the box removed to reveal the bowling ball sat there in place of the assistant's head, which has apparently vanished. The ball is then removed and replaced by the box, which is then opened to show that the assistant's head has reappeared.
- On one episode of his CITV magic show Tricky TV, magician Stephen Mulhern performed this illusion on his regular Ministry of Mayhem co-presenter and sometime assistant Holly Willoughby.
- In his 1990s stage shows, magician David Copperfield regularly performed the Head Mover, and it also featured in one of his TV specials during that period. In some of his stage show performances, the role of assistant was taken by his then-wife, German supermodel Claudia Schiffer.
- On his TV show A Kind of Magic, magician Wayne Dobson performed the Head Mover on his regular guest assistant, model Linda Lusardi.
- Magicians Barry & Stuart performed the Head Mover on TV presenter Sarah Cawood on an episode of the TV show Dirty Tricks.
- When Canadian illusionist Frederic Clement appeared on the French Canadian TV show Le Poing J, he performed the Head Mover on show host Julie Snyder.
- ↑ Frédéric Clément illusionniste avec Julie Snyder au POING J, YouTube.com.