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What is Levitation?

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  • Written By: G. Melanson
  • Edited By: Jay Garcia
  • Last Modified Date: 26 November 2016
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The term levitation comes from the Latin word, 'levitas', which means 'lightness'. Levitation refers to the process of an object resisting gravity, and is most often used in a paranormal or metaphysical context to describe an object seemingly rising in the air by itself. In a scientific context, levitation is technically achieved on aircraft, such as through the use of aerodynamic forces, or on small objects such as through the use of magnets. The illusion of levitating humans is often conjured as part of a magic or illusionist show, through the manipulation of lighting and other special effects.

In Hinduism, the power of levitation is believed to be achieved through mystical means by certain Hindu gurus who have mastered the philosophy of yoga. In 1936, Yogi Subbayah Pullavar reportedly levitated in front of 150 witnesses for four minutes while in a trance and horizontal position. Another practice known as “yogic bouncing” is sometimes referred to as levitation but does not technically qualify under the definition. Yogic bouncing or flying involves meditating and bouncing on one’s knees while in the lotus position.

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Christianity includes several accounts of levitation, such as The New Testament accounts of Christ’s ability to walk on water as well as his ascension into heaven. Several saints are also said to have levitated, including Saint Joseph of Cupertino, Saint Teresa of Avila, Saint Philip of Neri, Saint John of the Cross, and Saint Martín de Porres. On the opposite side of the Christian spectrum, levitation has also been attributed to demonic possession, such as in the 1906 case of Clara Germana Cele, a young girl who allegedly levitated in South Africa, and could only be brought down to the ground again by receiving douses of holy water.

Mediums have also reportedly levitated as part of spiritual seances; however, the majority of medium levitation claims have been debunked as akin to illusionist shows, involving stage tricks such as wires and pulleys. Psychokinetics also claim to be able to levitate themselves or other objects. One such Psychokinetic, Nina Kulagina, levitated small objects such as wine glasses and table tennis balls in controlled environments where she was observed by scientists.

One theory held by some Physicists concerning human levitation is that the mind many be able to tap into the zero-point energy level, the lowest possible energy level held by a quantum mechanical physical system, while in an altered state of consciousness.

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PurpleSpark
Post 3

@carrotisland: There have been several variations on this art of levitation done by Criss Angel. This includes levitating from one building to another. Now, surely he can’t stretch a leg (with a stocking) across two buildings. There has just got to be another answer. Many theorize that there is some kind of wire and pulley system making it a levitation illusion.

SnowyWinter
Post 2

@carrotisland: One of Criss Angel’s signature illusions is levitations. Somehow, he is able to do it right in front of people, even within a few feet of them. He has levitated up escalators and even on flat ground. There is nothing seen up under his feet. So, how does he do it?

There is an online video that is supposed to explain Criss Angel’s ability to levitate. It says that he wears a pair of black pants with a loose-fitting right shoe, also black. The shoe is supposedly firmly connected to the bottom of the right pants leg. The pants leg has an opening in the front for Angel’s leg to slip through. His right leg is in black

tights to camouflage him slowly slipping out the shoe and out the trap door in the front of the right pants leg.

He usually places himself directly in front of a taller item that he can use his right leg to step onto.

I am still not sure how it works. That’s what the video said.

CarrotIsland
Post 1

I love to watch the show "Criss Angel Mindfreak". I am not completely sold on the Criss Angel levitation, however. I have watched him do it many times and I cannot explain it. I still don't think I believe it. Does anyone else have an opinion on that?

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