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Kuda Bux and Eyeless Vision
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.
MagicParanormal
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jul 29, 2009


You can also make "adjustments" to the mask to help the nose peek along. Around 3:20 in the video he sure seems to be making a lot of adjustments around his nose.

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.
Posted by Frosted Donut  in  Mercer Island  on  Wed Jul 29, 2009  at  03:44 PM
You've nailed this precisely, Alex. The "nose peek" is the standard way of achieving this effect.

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."
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Wed Jul 29, 2009  at  03:54 PM
And the way he has the bandages tied, they'd actually pull the gauze and stuff up and away from his nose a bit.

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.
Posted by Accipiter  on  Thu Jul 30, 2009  at  12:04 AM
Psychic or not, Kuda Bux is an amazing performer and a great magician.
Posted by anonymous  on  Thu Jul 30, 2009  at  03:50 AM
"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."

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.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Thu Jul 30, 2009  at  03:59 AM
Right from the beginning he makes it too obvious that he isn't 'blind' either. He gets up from the chair, turns precisely and doesn't stumble or step or anyone, grasps the back of the chair at just the right height (because he knows exactly where it is) and moves neatly and easily into the area between the young woman and the blackboard. He has absolutely NO problem knowing exactly where the board, chalk and even where the positions of each previously written character is.

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.
Posted by hulitoons  in  Abingdon, Maryland  on  Thu Jul 30, 2009  at  11:51 AM
"Right from the beginning he makes it too obvious that he isn't 'blind' either. He gets up from the chair, turns precisely and doesn't stumble or step or anyone, grasps the back of the chair at just the right height (because he knows exactly where it is) and moves neatly and easily into the area between the young woman and the blackboard."


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.
Posted by Accipiter  on  Thu Jul 30, 2009  at  03:17 PM
Oh come on, I learned this technique at like age 6. Everyone always wandered why I kicked everyone else's ass at "Pin the Tail on the Donkey". They always assuemd just because I am visually impaired I was jsut really intune with my surroundings so that I could locate things under blindfold easily.
Posted by Tim  on  Thu Jul 30, 2009  at  08:33 PM
I just remembered seeing this guy on TV in the 60s when I was a kid! Even before going to the web site link, I remembered the guy who padded his eyes and then wrapped a cloth around his head. I couldn't figure out why they just didn't put a bag over the guys head with an air tube for breathing. (If I remember correctly, my best friend's dad also openly mocked the guy.)
Posted by Joe  on  Sun Aug 02, 2009  at  03:04 PM
Really he is a great magician. He writes what ever on the board with masking his eyes. Great performance. Thanks for the entertain.
Posted by Acai  in  London  on  Fri Aug 14, 2009  at  07:52 AM
He's using the flim-flam blackboard memory redemption chalk and board. Nicely done!
Posted by saintpo  on  Mon Aug 17, 2009  at  12:50 PM
Anyone who has seen the video and watched the man's entire head wrapped completely by layers of gauze and cloth and thinks he's using a "nose peek"
needs to see a psychiatrist and ASAP.
Posted by Raul  in  New Haven, CT  on  Mon Aug 24, 2009  at  12:02 PM
I remember seeing Kuda Bux live in California in the late 1960's. Seeing him for the first time without the ability to go back over what he did, I was thoroughly amazed. Sitting in a theater looking at him on the stage, it seemed impossible that he could see. Forty years later, being able to re watch what he did, I can see why people would question whether he was really blind. What was even more amazing was when he was able to still do the act at an elderly age when he was losing his eyesight!
Posted by Mike Miller  in  Greenfield WI  on  Mon Sep 07, 2009  at  08:47 PM
Hello,

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?

Luby
Posted by Luby  on  Mon Dec 21, 2009  at  06:44 PM
According to Robert Ripley, Kuda Bux performed an astonishing feat in Radio City, Manhattan, on August 2, 1938. According to this account, a hole 3 feet deep was dug in the Radio City parking lot and logs and bags of charcoal were set on fire in it. Kuda Bux, so the story goes, walked back and forth through the pit
Posted by Joan  on  Thu Nov 11, 2010  at  12:18 AM
I believe Kuda Bux was an Indian mystic and magician who included fire walking in his act. Fire walking is very real and I know there is a science behind it just as there is a science behind laying on a bed of nails and having someone step on your body without hurting you.

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.
Posted by Mike Miller  in  Greenfield, WI  on  Mon Jul 11, 2011  at  07:31 PM
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