Walking Through Wall Illusion Revealed And Explained

This is another walking through wall illusion revealed for the first time in this blog.

This Walking Through A Brick Wall illusion is designed by Jim Steinmeyer, and it uses a stack of cinder blocks encaged in a cabinet-like prop.

This solid idea of penetration effect is another great stage illusion built by illusion designer and builder William Kennedy.

My presumption how the trick is done is derived from watching the YouTube video clips performed by German Jan Rouven Fuechtener, Sean Paul and Kevin Spencer.

I think the secret of this solid through solid penetration illusion is different from Harry Houdini, Doug Henning and David Copperfield.

They all performed the illusion of walking through a wide stretch of exposed brick wall.

The secret of how David Copperfield walked through the Great wall of China is widely known.

david copperfield great wall china illusion secret

Basically he slipped into the platform (with deceptive base), which was quickly wheeled over to the other side of the Great Wall for him to sneak out.

David Copperfield Great Wall China Trick

As for the pair of hands stretching behind the spandex fabric, each one of them belongs to the two assistants.


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Walking Through Brick Wall Trick With Trapdoors

The late Canadian Doug Henning did it in “World of Magic” television special back in 1977.

His version is similar to Harry Houdini’s walking through a brick wall illusion; with the help of trapdoors on the floor on each side of the wall.

It was said that Houdini bought the idea from Sidney Edward Josolyne.

You can find this secret of walking through a brick wall in Sidney Josolyne’s book below in Chapter IV, on pages 16-18.

Weird Wonders For Wizards Sydney Josolyne

Weird Wonders For Wizards By Sydney Josolyne
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Harry Houdini Walking Through Wall Illusion Secret

It is also mentioned that Houdini used the trapdoors to slip under the brick wall in “Houdini Do Their Tricks” in Popular Science December 1928.

Houdini Walks Through Brick Wall Secret

Similarly, J. C. Cannell’s 1930 book “The Secrets Of Houdini“, Chapter Two, page 43 “Through A Brick Wall“, it stated that Houdini used trapdoors to go through the brick wall, as shown above.

The Secrets Of Houdini J. C. Cannell

The Secrets Of Houdini By J. C. Cannell
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Houdini Through Brick Wall Trapdoors

It is also revealed in the 1953 book “Houdini On Magic” that Harry Houdini used trapdoors on the floor on both side of the brick wall to sneak under it on pages 221 and 222 as illustrated above.

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Houdini On Magic Walter Brown Gibson

Houdini On Magic Edited By Walter Brown Gibson & Morris N. Young
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In William Lindsay Gresham’s 1959 book on Houdini, the writer also stated that a trapdoor was used. It is on page 198.

Read the free book below:

Houdini: The Man Who walked Through Walls

Houdini: The Man Who Walked Through Walls By William Lindsay Gresham
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Walking Through Wall Illusion Revealed

Walking Through Wall Illusion

Now let’s get back to this Jim Steinmeyer walking through a brick wall illusion revealed.

The effect is:

The illusionist stacks up a row of cinder or concrete blocks through two vertical metal bars in the prop.

The prop is closed and then the illusionist seemingly manages to walk through the wall of cinder blocks.

Then the prop or apparatus is opened to show the pile of cinder blocks still stays as it is.

All the three illusionists as seen from the available videos, the designs of their props varies, but the gist of the effect is the same.

Sean Paul uses his shadow to show his penetration effect.

Watch the video featuring Jan Rouven walking through the wall illusion:

So, how does the illusionist able to get through the solid hard wall of cinder blocks?

You cannot be as thick as a brick to think that the illusionist really walks through the solid cinder blocks.

After analyzing the design of the apparatus, watching their routine and looking out for the secret moves made by their stage assistant(s), I think I know how they do it.

If my guess is wrong, you don’t have to come down on me like a ton of bricks.

As I have said my theory is stemmed from watching the available video clips.

Now let’s analyze the routine brick by brick.

Right from the onset, all the three illusionists DO NOT present or exhibit the cabinet-like prop to the audience.

The illusionists purposely choose not to call attention to the cabinet-like prop is because all the SECRETS are in here, and NOT the CINDER BLOCKS.

That’s why they solely focus on the solidity and the weight of the cinder blocks.

Jan Rouven uses a sledge mallet hammer to hit on it to illustrate its toughness, while Seal Paul tells the audience the cinder block weighs about ten twenty nine pound each.

Kevin Spencer’s assistant carries a sledge mallet hammer on his tool belt.

All these are meant to distract or misdirect your attention away from the cabinet-like prop.

When the illusionist is stacking up the cinder blocks, he shows the audience their length side.

Jim Steinmeyer walk thru wall

This is a smart misdirection.

They want the audience to see the stack of solid cinder blocks blocking up the whole prop interior.

This will conjure up their visual perception that it is tight-fitting and impenetrable.

But when the illusionist performs the illusion, the audience only gets to see both side view of the cinder blocks.

walk thru brick wall illusion

The stack of cinder blocks are tightly enclosed by the door and the wall of the cabinet.

With the distance from the stage, I am sure the audience could not see clearly the narrow strip of cinder blocks.

That is why the illusionist can get away with this seemingly impossible feat.

Cinder Blocks Secret Move

By the look of it, the magician cannot go above it, underneath or the two sides of the stack of cinder blocks.

The only possible alternative is the wall of cinder blocks has to make way for the magician to do his penetration trick.

In other words, the illusionist need to move or shift the cinder blocks inside the cabinet, without being seen.

Now let’s get to the nitty-gritty details of this Jim Steinmeyer walking through wall illusion reveal.

Two Metal Bars

First is the two metal bars which held up the stack of cinder blocks.

The stack of cinder blocks appear massive and stock-still, as they are slotted tightly into the two metal bars.

While the illusionist Jan Rouven is stacking up the blocks, his female assistant purposely squeezes herself inside the prop.

walk thru wall illusion

It is not just for show, but to frame the audience’s perception.

With that simple act, the viewers will perceive the space inside is impossibly tight for anyone to go through.

In fact, there is a hidden leeway to allow the movement of the cinder blocks, which I would highlight very soon.

I think there are TWO secrets with this pair of sturdy-looking metal bars.

As I have said, you have to move or rather temporarily shift the cinder blocks to give way for the magician to bypass it.

The Secret Move

But isn’t the stack of cinder blocks firmly held up by two fixed metal bars?

Yes, but do they show you the two bars are tightly mounted onto the apparatus base?

I think the two metal bars are mounted on a platform that can be rotated or revolved.

Jan Rouven thru brick wall

As I have never seen the actual prop, my guess is the platform has a rotating disc with the spring mechanism.

So that the pair of metal bars can be automatically rotate back to its original position.

The magician just have to push one side of the cinder blocks to make them turn slightly inward, about 45 degrees.

Walk Through Wall Illusion Revealed

The gap is wide enough for him to squeeze past the cinder blocks.

Once his body has bypassed the cinder blocks, the two bars are rotated back in place.

Jan Rouven’s action at 2:25 to 2:30 confirms my suspicion that the stack of cinder blocks is movable or rotatable.

Jan Rouven Walking Through A Brickwall

To prevent the cinder blocks from moving, you can see Jan Rouven quickly presses his left hand firmly down onto the top of the stack, just before he and his invited guest gives a few spanks on it.

Sneaky Secret Space

I know your next question is, as viewed from the video, the stack of cinder blocks are tightly slotted within the cabinet.

There is another hidden secret with these two metal bars.

Look closely and you would notice the RIGHT bar is slightly further away from the wall of the cabinet, as compared to the LEFT bar.

In other words, the pair of metal bars are NOT centrally aligned within the walls of the cabinet.

These two visuals are captured from Jan Rouven’s video.

Jim Steinmeyer Illusion Design

Jan Rouven penetration illusion

This is taken from Sean Paul’s video.

Sean Paul Illusionist Secret

The bar which is slightly away from the cabinet wall, is to allow a little more space for the edges of the stack of cinder blocks when they are turned, without touching the wall of the apparatus.

Here are two more images where you can clearly see the extra space or gap between the cinder block edges and the wall of the cabinet taken from Kevin Spencer’s preview video.

Through Wall Illusion Secret

Cinder Blocks Stage Illusion

For a better understanding, refer to the illustration above.

The Big Secret Of Walking Through A Brick Wall

The next thing is how to hide the movement of the two side views of cinder blocks from being seen by the distant audience.

I think for this Jim Steinmeyer Walking Through A Brick Wall illusion, they are hidden away by two pictures of cinder blocks.

It is just an off-white color picture with a few thin grey colored horizontal lines running across it.

In short, it uses two pictures of fake wall to simulate the side views of the cinder blocks.

As you know in many magic tricks, they use fake or false items, which include: the popular thumb tips (false thumbs), rubber bottle, folding coin, foam dove, bendable sword, etc.


Thumb Tip Magic Tricks

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I am talking about using a high-quality photo-print banner with a life-like picture of a stack of cinder blocks.

fake wall stage illusion

That’s why this illusion only shows the narrow side views of the wall to the audience, which is easier to camouflage it.

With the help of stage lighting and the distance between the stage, I am sure the audience cannot make out the difference.

One more thing, the cinder blocks are off-white in color, which makes them easier to disguise.

Why I think it is a picture of cinder blocks and not the real thing, is when I watched the performance of Jon Rouven.

When he tries to so-called penetrate the cinder blocks, the white color strip wavers or quivers momentarily like a piece of fabric.

It happens twice during the performance.

wall penetration trick

At 4:41, when Rouven first forcefully pushes the stack of cinder blocks, you can see the top part of the white color area moving in and out like a strip of fabric.

Then at 4:52-4:53 when Jan Rouven pushes further into the cabinet, the white area (supposed to be the stack of cinder blocks) trembles momentarily again.

You need to focus your attention at the edge of the casing and the white area, as highlighted below.

magic trick secret exposed

Another reason why I think it is a narrow piece of printed fabric simulating as a stack of cinder blocks is when I watched Kevin Spencer‘s act.

These are what I found in Kevin Spencer’s walking through his preview video clip:

Before the male assistant closes the three-sided door, I noticed the top piece of the stack of actual cinder blocks is slightly BELOW the top edge of the cabinet, as shown below:

walking thru brickwall illusion secret

This is a close-up view of the cinder blocks inside the cabinet:

Walk Through Wall Trick Secret

But strangely, when he turns the three-sided door around to close it, the top white area which is supposed to be the side view of the cinder blocks is now HIGHER, as seen below:

Go Through Wall Illusion Exposed

To confirm my doubt, I captured that particular scene and marked out each individual piece of cinder block, as shown below:

Jim Steinmeyer Walk Thru Wall Secret Revealed

As you can see, there is something amiss; this white color strip cannot be the actual cinder blocks.

By the way, this piece of a fake wall is facing the back of the prop, when Kevin is apparently walking through the brick wall.

At 3:48 to 3:55, when Kevin Spencer is in the midst of the penetration act, again I noticed that extra white area at the top part of the supposed-to-be cinder blocks.

walk through wall kevin spencer

There is a line and then there is an extra white color above. (see image above)

Isn’t the top part should be the very first piece of cinder block?

Why is there still a narrow strip of white color above?

What I am implying is this whole white area is no cinder blocks, but a piece of printed picture.

Fake Cinder Block Walls

As there are two side views of the cinder blocks, so there are two pieces of fake cinder block wall pictures.

From my observation, the piece facing the back of the prop is already set up on the cabinet, but it cannot be seen.

For Jon Rouven and Kevin Spencer’s prop, this piece of fake cinder block wall picture is hidden by the ajar three-sided door.

walk through cinder block wall illusion revealed

Jan Rouven’s prop (above) is specially designed with the back fake cinder block picture which is already in place, but it is blocked by the opened door.

walking through wall trick revealed

So is this Kevin Spencer‘s prop.

This is another view where the back cinder blocks picture is hidden away by the 3-sided door.

kevin spencer walking through a brick wall

What about the front piece fake cinder blocks picture which is facing the audience?

I think it is hidden behind one of the door panels, and it needs to secretly slide out to block the side view of the cinder blocks and then slips it back at the finale.

For Jan Rouven’s prop, it is on the left side of the actual cinder blocks.

stage illusion secret

There is an round design feature at the bottom of this panel which serves no purpose in the trick.

penetration stage illusion

I assume this round design is purposely included here to mislead the audience.

It is because behind this panel is the picture of fake cinder blocks.

Another thing I noticed is there is a slot-like piece on top of the prop, facing three-sided door.

walking thru cinder blocks

Here is another image of the slot-like device:

Sean Paul walk thru wall

I think this is where it holds the picture in place.

As for Kevin Spencer’s prop, I think it is hidden behind this door panel as shown below:

Penetration Magic Trick Secret

I noticed a thin white line along the top edge of this door panel, which probably could be the hidden picture of cinder blocks.

Stage Illusion Secret Exposed

When does this hidden cinder blocks picture secretly slide out and back?

From my observations, I suspect this covert move is carried out by the stage assistant when he spins the prop around, before and after the act.

All of them do the same one and the half turn routine, and that side of the prop is momentarily out of the audience’s sight.

Jan Rouven Fuechtener

For Jan Rouven, he faces the audience and put on the breathing act à la Tai Chi breathing pose.

At 4:12 to 4:18 the male assistant turns the prop around, and the female assistant wheels the chest across the stage for no apparent reason.

At this juncture, I think the male assistant secretly adjusts a lever to slide out the picture to hide the real cinder blocks.

I find there is no rationale to perform this spin-the-prop routine, other than to misdirect the audience.

By the way, if you go to Jim Steinmeyer’s website, go to its illusion design and consulting section and look at the prop.

I wonder that white color strip is a stack of cinder blocks or a printed white banner?

Anyway this is what I presume how Jim Steinmeyer walking through a brick wall illusion is done.


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