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Vanishing Birdcage

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Vanishing Birdcage (Flying Cage, La Cage Volante, and La Cage Eclipse) is a classic effect where a birdcage, containing a small bird, being held between the magicians hand instantly disappears.

The cage is typically about six inches tall by six inches wide by eight inches long, and made of wire on all six sides. Often there is a bird inside the cage. The magician will display the cage, then without covering the cage, the cage (and anything inside) vanishes from sight.

Invented by magician Buatier de Kolta, who premiered it at the Egyptian Hall on May 1, 1875 as "The Flight of the Cage of Canaries".

Harry Kellar purchased a duplicate cage from a relative of de Kolta's without his permission for a large sum. Kellar later premiered it in San Francisco on May 15, 1876. In addition, Kellar sold the secret of the Vanishing Bird Cage to Henry Stone in exchange for having props he lost in a shipwreck replaced.[1][2] Other performers known for their version:

  • Charles Bertram - Allowed the bird to escape from the cage just before he was about to vanish it.
  • Carl Hertz - Had to give a performance in the British House of Commons before a committee investigating alleged cruelty to performing animals, when charged that a canary killed every time he did the trick.
  • Servais Le Roy
  • Del Adelphia he would often repeat it and sold his to Harry Blackstone.
  • Blackstone, allowed children from the audience to come up and place their palms all around the cage before it vanished
  • Fred Keating
  • Fu Manchu
  • Servais Le Roy, according to the book "The Elusive Canary" by Mystic Craig, would do the 'repeat' of the vanish with a member of the audience putting their hands upon the cage.
  • Arnold De Biere
  • John Mulholland
  • Blackstone Jr. also did the vanish with members of the audience (usually the kids) putting their hands upon the cage.
  • John Booth
  • Bert Allerton, who used it table hopping.
  • Billy McComb usually ended his show with his Slow Motion Vanishing Birdcage
  • Tommy Wonder


  1. The letter containing this statement of Kellar's was reproduced on page 259 of The Sphinx for November, 1945
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