On the Raffaele De Ritis' Novelties and Wonders blog I found an old video of Kuda Bux, a performer who claimed to have x-ray eyes. He would cover his eyes with putty, cotton wool, and gauze bandages. Then he would challenge people to write any word, in any language, on a blackboard, and he would be able to magically reproduce what they had written.
Kuda Bux claimed it was psychic ability that allowed him to see while blindfolded, and according to Wikipedia his act inspired Roald Dahl to write the short story of Henry Sugar. Of course, it was really just a standard magic trick. The explanation I've heard for the trick is that it's done by means of the "nose peek." Even though the layers of gauze, cotton, and putty might seem like they would prevent Bux from seeing anything at all, he could actually use his facial muscles to adjust the putty upwards, thereby creating a small space at the side of his nose through which he could peek out. The outer layer of gauze would actually conceal this adjustment from the audience.
This trick is at least a hundred years old. The only cheesy thing about it is when somebody uses it to "prove" that they have psychic powers.
Somewhere on James Randi's site, there's a story of how Randi thwarted someone who was making claims similar to Kuda Bux's. Randi simply attached a small "wing" made of tape and paper (if I remember correctly) to the nose of the performer, making it impossible to peek along the side of the nose. As you'd guess, they were completely unable to perform their "miracle."
Also, when he's using his mystical powers to look through the bandages at the board, he tilts his head way back and looks down his nose at whatever letter he's copying. He doesn't do that when he's looking at things without the bandages on, though; in fact, he tends to tilt his head down a bit instead. A bit careless of him. He ought to try to keep the same mannerisms throughout.
You beat me to it, Accipiter. I was just going to mention that. Tilting the head back helps the performer look forward along the side of their nose.
"Psychic or not, Kuda Bux is an amazing performer and a great magician."
And that's what he should have said he was: a magician. Claiming you have "psychic" abilities is just plain unethical.
Besides, I've done this for fun on too many separate occasions (don't ask me why), but yes, the more soft stuff you have on your face and the more you 'seem' to cover it, the easier it is to 'see' since all that stuffing actually makes it easy to push it all way from your eyes....The last blindfolds cannot be tied tight enough to press all that fluffy other fabric down.
DUMB and I can't believe anyone ever fell for that.
Well, that is pretty much what his trick is supposed to consist of: that even though he is blindfolded, he could still magically see what's going on around him. He wasn't supposedly reading minds or things like that, he was supposedly actually seeing. So if he appeared not able to see the chair and things like that, it would count against his claim.
needs to see a psychiatrist and ASAP.
Thank you Guys. This seems like a good trick.
Some of the limitations we put on ourselves come from people who have tried to achieve something. When they failed, for whatever their reason was, they claimed that this "something" cannot be done. And we believed them.
The story of Henry Sugar inspired someone I know. He work the same procedure for a very long time and now he can see the whole deck of card when they are faced down. His example gave push to another more than 100 people, registered as of Dec. 2009, to do the same. My neighbor is one of them. I am starting to see some of the cards myself too. What do you say about that?
As I previously wrote, Kuda was an amazing performer who was a member of and performed at the Magic Castle in Los Angles California. He had a stare that would penetrate you. Being of East Indian origin his feats became all the more believable. He was also known for doing a blindfold bicycle ride through the city streets.