IN his continuing search for the more weird, wacky and wondrous in the world of travel, David Ellis says tourists marvel at a number of Indian "levitators" who spend their days seemingly suspended in mid-air with an arms resting languidly on top of a wooden stick on Rome's Via degli Annibaldi – while gullible passers-by happily toss Euros into a bowl in appreciation of such magic.
But Aussie travel writer, Malcolm Andrews who was amongst those pondering the mystery of one levitator recently, says he was deflated when his tour guide started happily chattering away as to how such mystery was achieved.
"They arrive before dawn with an associate," the guide bubbled on. "The levitator is covered with a large blanket which also covers a mat that in turn covers a solid steel plate. The wooden stick is, in fact, an incredibly strong steel shaft attached to the plate, with a cantilever hidden up the performer's arm – and with the levitator's robes concealing a lightweight seat also off the steel pole, and on which he sits under those robes.
"After they think they've collected enough Euros and American dollars for the day, the associate, who has been sitting in the background, comes forward, covers the levitator with the blanket again, they pull the whole thing apart and go home to count the day's takings."