Here’s a visual illusion (it probably doesn’t technically qualify as an optical illusion
), which occurs with a particular type of flat lens that’s know as a “Lubor Lens.” While the effect
with the lens itself is simply a visual oddity, the creators of this DVD have created a magic moment, a transformation
, which makes it appear that the lens has somehow caused a deformation to occur in a pen or other object as it’s held in a spectator’s hand.
Here’s how the effect plays. You bring out a pen and have a spectator hold it on his or her open palm. You bring out the lens, a flat piece of special plastic that you store between two credit cards in your wallet (it’s approximately the size of a credit card). You claim that the plastic lens is a “protector” for the magnetic strips of your credit card. You hold the clear "credit card protector" (Lubor Lens) just above the pen.
You then demonstrate the visual illusion where the middle of the pen appears to vanish. (Look at the accompanying image.) So far, spectators will realize that this is simply an illusion created by the plastic lens. By twisting the lens, you cause the middle of the pen to disappear and by retwisting, come back. You slowly twist the lens again and the middle of the pen distorts. But when you remove the plastic lens, the pen is found to be permanently distorted - it’s twisted in the middle. You’re clean and you can give away the pen as a souvenir.
In another version, you can perform the effect with a plastic drinking straw. Here, the straw ends up tied in a knot. The pen takes a bit more work to prepare ahead of time than the straw, but either is quite doable. All you need is a bit of privacy. There’s still another version with a match that appears to burn itself while under the lens.
The effect is easy to learn and perform. You will have to provide your own pens, straws and/or matches. And there’s no sleight of hand
. This one has somewhat limited angles
. It’s actually best performed for a single person at a time. Performed for a crowd, others will not be able to see the illusion created by the lens, and furthermore, may see the secret to the effect.
You can easily carry around the Lubor Lens in your wallet or pocket so you can perform it just about anytime. The easiest version is that with the drinking straw. You’ll simply need to grab a straw when noone is looking and prepare it in less than a minute. And you’re ready to go.
The accompanying DVD teaches you everything that you need to know. The developers of this effect also sell replacement lenses that you may purchase when your lens gets scratched or wears out. Because of the limited angles and viewing, this one probably has finite application for most strolling and walk around situations, but it could be a fun object to always have with you.
After reviewing “Lubors Lens,” I recalled a similar effect called “Mind Twister” where you cause a disposable cigarette lighter to mysteriously twist in its middle. A kit provides the gimmicked
lighter which may be examined but can’t be given away (that is, unless you want to purchase a new gimmick at some $20 a pop). This is an odd effect where a spectator makes a “free” choice and picks a picture of a lighter and realizes that the lighter in the picture has a “twist” in it. And you then you reveal that the lighter that you are using as the prediction has a twist in it as well. You can read my review here