Paul Daniels Vanishing Elephant Illusion Revealed And Explained

Let’s find out Paul Daniels vanishing elephant illusion revealed based on my guesswork in detail with accompanying pictures.

Some of you might be right to find my simple explanation is out in left field.

It is just my two cent view based on watching this old blurred video from YouTube.

Anyway, I will attempt to cover the field of how Paul Daniels did an excellent sucker effect.

When the elephant disappears and the canopy roof covering is still up there, I am sure many of you assume you know it all.

The roof covering is hiding the elephant.

It turned out, Paul Daniels pulled a trick on many of you.

When they pull off the roof covering, you see nothing but just a green field.

This is what magicians called it a sucker effect.

There are two basic sucker effect:

i) the performer seems to inadvertently reveal the working method

ii) the performer apparently shows how the effect is accompanied only to mystify the audience again at the conclusion.

Paul Daniels vanishing Elephant illusion revealed

Paul Daniels Disappearing Elephant Trick Revealed

If you have a memory like an elephant, you would know that when the late Paul Daniel performed this act, it was a TV show.

This Paul Daniels elephant magic trick is not for live audience.

The secret of pulling off this disappearing or appearance illusion for the TV camera, can be done differently, and it is rather less restrictive.

Or rather the magicians can do wonders and dirty tricks, so to speak.


Related: Remember award-winning illusionist Lance Burton elephant vanish act in the desert, which not only the elephants never forget, but the whole world as well.

It is supposed to be one camera shot as boldly claimed in the video.

But within three seconds, the shade of the white car, the background and the distance of the car from the window lower edge are different.

Lance Burton elephant vanish illusion

Then there is the position of the girl’s belt.

Lance Burton elephant disappeared trick

This must be real magic!

Strangely, this illusion is said to be the idea of Jim Steinmeyer.


Besides playing with angles and perspectives, the magic tricks can be conjured with the help of video editing work.

As some of you do suspect Paul Daniels used editing to do the vanishing trick, because it is not done with one camera shot throughout.

The people in army uniforms, the camera crew and the special guest, the late former Animal Magic star Johnny Morris knew how it is done.

They are all what the magician fraternity called them stooges or confederates.

Making a whole elephant disappear may seem like a mammoth task.

These are what some speculations about this disappearing elephant illusion: camera trick, video editing, a hole on the ground, fake background, top of the tent is fake, a huge piece of mirror behind the outdoor canopy tent and one even talking about mathematics.

Paul Daniels disappearing elephant is a very simple magic trick, you don’t need to kill a fly with an elephant gun.

Paul Daniels vanishing Elephant Illusion Revealed

So, how did Paul Daniels make an elephant disappear?

For a start, the elephant is still right there on the open field.

The people laughing in the video clip can see the massive live elephant, probably with its butt facing them.

The butt of the joke is on the TV audience then, and now the YouTube viewers.

Paul Daniels Disappearing Elephant Trick Explained

When I want to find out how a trick is done, I will study the apparatus or prop, then the performance.

To prove to the audience that outdoor canopy tent is well-blocked up, they lift up the back panel first.

Then followed by the two sides together with the front panel.

As you can see, the front panel comes with a vertical metal bar across in the middle of the frame.

It is covered with one complete piece of fabric.

paul daniels elephant disappear trick revealed

But for the back panel, you will notice there is no vertical metal bar in the center of the frame.

In fact you will notice the back panel is not covered with one but two separated fabric right in the middle.

When the back frame is lifted up, the covering fabric flips open and you can see there is a small gap or opening in the middle at around 2:23.

It opens twice briefly.

Paul Daniels illusion exposed

Then when the right side frame is lifted up and it hits against the metal frame of the canopy tent, the joining part of the two separate fabric opens momentarily again at 2:25-2:26.

Now you know the fabric covering of the back frame can be opened right in the middle.

Most probably the two pieces of fabric is held together with a velcro fastener.

This is where the elephant and the elephant trainer Bobby Roberts of Roberts Circus to walk out from the canopy tent.

Paul Daniel’s wife Debbie McGee would disembark from the elephant, and stands in the middle of the covered outdoor canopy tent.

The elephant trainer would walk straight out from the middle of the canopy to a specific marked spot in the field.

The precise spot is right where the canopy roof covering is as viewed from camera.

Paul Daniels elephant magic

As you know this outdoor magic illusion is specifically meant for the TV camera.

High Angle Shot

The final scene is framed with a high angle shot taken from a distance, and slightly off the center (more toward the right).

The camera position and angle is precisely preset.

So that the viewers won’t see the hidden elephant, but instead the green field behind the canopy tent frame.

But when the roof covering fabric is whisked away, viewers don’t see the elephant and its trainer behind the canopy frame.

So, where does the big elephant and Bobby Roberts disappear to?

The fact is, they are still right there in the field.

Elephant Vanishes Behind Mirror

The mirror mounted on top of the canopy frame blocks both of them.

Pause your video clip at 3:36, and you can see the middle part of the apex of the canopy roof is missing.

paul daniels disappearing elephant

I think the top edge of the mirror has blocked it.

While the bottom edge of the mirror fixed behind the lower horizontal metal frame.

See the illustration below:

Paul Daniels vanishing elephant mirror

The reflective side of the mirror is facing inside or facing you.

Paul Daniels vanish illusion

The top edge of the mirror is placed behind the metal bar, so that there is no visual obstruction.

After they removed the cloth, you can see the whole piece of sloping metal bar facing you on your right.

But the sloping metal bar on your left, the upper section has gone missing.

disappearance illusion secrets

I notice at the beginning of the show, something is amiss with the front left slant metal bar.

It seems to have cut off by looking at the outline on the soft fabric covering, as shown below.

Paul Daniels magic

It is either to prevent it from being reflected onto the mirror, or to provide an uninterrupted view.

I could be wrong on this matter, as I am not there to view it from the camera.

So, this is Paul Daniels vanishing elephant illusion revealed according to my theory.


Related: Here are two free books written by Paul Daniels, which some of you might consider them as a white elephant.

But there are lots of valuable knowledge in them.

How to Make Money By Magic by Paul Daniels And Andrew Lock
Click on this: Link

Paul Daniels: Under No Illusion: My Autobiography
Click on this: Link