Chair & Doll Trick
Nicholas Wallace performed this trick on his audition on season 14 of the TV show America's Got Talent. He starts by telling a story about a scary rocking chair which is haunted. As he explains, the chair is connected to many mysterious deaths, which always happened to people who were in the same room with the chair. Nicholas then says he needs someone to seat in the chair. Since there are no volunteers, he picks Gabrielle. Since the mysterious deaths always happened in the dark, he blindfolds her after she sits in the chair.
Nicholas then introduces an old doll, which was found in the same 'haunted' hotel as the chair and seems to have a special, mysterious connection to the chair. He then tells Gabrielle to lift her arm when she feels a certain sensation. He lifts the doll's arm up, and at the same moment Gabrielle also lifts her arm! He then lowers the doll's arm, and Gabrielle also lowers her arm! What on Earth is going on?
But it gets even scarier! Nick tells Gabrielle to raise her hand when he touches her. He never touches her, but he does touch the doll. And miraculously, every time he touches the doll, Gabrielle immediately raises her hand!
Watch this amazing performance and then read the explanation below:
How did he do it? The first thing you need to understand is that no actual magical or supernatural forces were involved in this performance. This was just a very good magic trick, that's all. Now let's explain how the trick was done.
In this illusion, Nicholas uses a well-known magic technique called »dual reality«. The core of this technique is this: what the spectator (in this case, Gabrielle) actually experiences, and what the audience thinks the spectator experienced, are two different things! In this case, the difference is in the location of the touch.
The audience assumes that Gabrielle felt the touch on exactly the same spot as Nicholas touched on the doll. Since he obviously didn't touch her there, we assume that a magical connection between the doll and Gabrielle was established. However, what really happened is that Gabrielle felt the touch somewhere else. It is impossible to tell where exactly, but it was probably somewhere on her back, which is not visible to the audience.
So what touched her there? Again, we cannot be certain but there is some sort of a device somewhere on the chair or inside the pillow. Nicholas probably has a remote controller inside the doll, which he can secretly press and trigger the device which then »touches« Gabrielle.
And so we get »dual reality«. Gabrielle doesn't know what the audience sees, and the audience doesn't know what Gabrielle feels. Nicholas uses this discrepancy to convince the audience that something magical is taking place. But it is just a simple trick!