Indian Rope Trick
September 17, 2003 5:02 PM   Subscribe

Up, up and away... the mysterious Indian rope trick.
posted by moonbird (14 comments total)
hopefully matt will fix the first link which should be - Up

Great stuff.
posted by vacapinta at 5:14 PM on September 17, 2003

Can't believe I missed that. Thanks for the spotting!
posted by moonbird at 5:26 PM on September 17, 2003

Ugh, hopefully Matt will also make a rule against posting link-per-word posts like this. Lame.
posted by valerie at 5:27 PM on September 17, 2003

"The body parts? Concealed in his cloak were the remains of a dead monkey which he slowly tossed to the ground."

Where to begin?
posted by sharksandwich at 5:36 PM on September 17, 2003

Great post as usual, moonbird—I always wanted to know more about this bit of weirdness!

valerie: Yes, mathowie should strictly enforce your preferences in post style. I'll e-mail him immediately begging him to allow you to vet all posts before they go up in the blue. Your satisfaction is, after all, the most important thing about MetaFilter.
posted by languagehat at 6:37 PM on September 17, 2003

Great post, and very stylishly done. But moonbird, I still gotta ask... what is the real friggin' secret?
posted by soyjoy at 8:18 PM on September 17, 2003

valerie: Yes, mathowie should strictly enforce your preferences in post style. I'll e-mail him immediately begging him to allow you to vet all posts before they go up in the blue. Your satisfaction is, after all, the most important thing about MetaFilter.

This isn't a matter of personal preference, hon. One-word text links aren't exactly descriptive of what the links are, and don't provide any really compelling reason to click on them. Additionally, if the intention of Metafilter is to share interesting sites and discuss them, posts like this don't really facilitate that, considering it takes everyone half an hour (or more) just to visit all the links posted.

Either way, it's reason enough for people to just skip over the post in the first place. If only a handful of people are going to look at it, why post?

As a side note, this issue has come up multiple times before (a punctuation-only post, a 55 link post, and an 85 link post), so it's not just me :P
posted by valerie at 12:00 AM on September 18, 2003

Man, the best thing valerie's comment was it took me back to the monumental hissy fit over Kino's post.

Lest we forget how uptight things can get

Nice post. I never realised it may be a complete scam, I always thought it was just a metal rope/camera trick thing.
posted by fullerine at 4:53 AM on September 18, 2003

Moonbird, thank you so much! This is fascinating, but I am disappointed that we still don't know the answer. Excellent post.
posted by pomegranate at 6:20 AM on September 18, 2003

I liked this FPP, moonbird. I was pleased that linked pages were not sensationalist descriptions. (I also in general welcome more FPPS about India.)

But the real question, moonbird, is if you've been practising this trick at home :)

/imagining on-line link to photos of a future MeFi gathering, a circle of lit torches, the rope trick in progress/
posted by philfromhavelock at 7:55 AM on September 18, 2003

Great post! I think its especially interesting that the Sorkhar theory of how the trick is accomplished is presented twice in such very different ways. This link makes the theory sound implausible at best, while this one makes substantially the same theory presented by Sadju Vadramakrishna sound almost plausible. Maybe the difference is Sorkhar's inclusion of the multi-mile long human hair in his theory....

The solution was offered by a man named Sorkhar: One performs the trick between two hills. Human hair is tied together and stranded between the two hills. The rope is thrown up until it catches the hair. The boy climbs up the rope. When the fakir climbs up there are shaven monkey limbs under his robe. At the top, the boy climbs into his robe and he throws down the limbs. When he descends and goes to the basket, the boy drops into it.
posted by anastasiav at 8:01 AM on September 18, 2003

fullerine: Thanks for that link, it was a blast! I was delighted to see that over two years ago it was the same old story:
Months ago, when someone did something inconsiderate, the group would say so, and the offender would contritely consider his actions, and change his behavior in the future. That's how this community policed itself, and it worked. Then everyone started bitching about the "MeFi Cops", and how their freedom of expression was being repressed. The policing stopped, and now everyone feels completely justified in insulting each other personally whenever someone questions their judgment.
valerie: Sorry, hon, but it is a matter of personal preference; the fact that others share your preference doesn't make it less of one. I, and clearly others, thought this post was fine; do we not count? And as you know, the place for bitching about MeFi posts is MetaTalk. If it wasn't worth hauling there, it wasn't worth crapping on the thread. And it was perfectly clear what the post was about—the Indian rope trick—and the mouseovers indicated you were going to get different approaches to the subject. What more did you want?
posted by languagehat at 9:02 AM on September 18, 2003

Penn and Teller did an excellent simulation of the whole process. The story, for them, was not "how was it done", but how do you make people -believe- it has been done. Nobody really needs to -see- the event to believe it was possible: the rumor mill would quickly churn out enough urban legend to cover their tracks.

They set it up so the "trick" was done in a courtyard away from public view and then had a "hired hand" run out and exclaim loudly that, why, they'd just seen the damnedest thing. Rope! Baskets! Limbs! Some combination thereof.

A crowd in on the joke and a bunch of fake blood was all they needed to create the illusion that the trick itself had been performed, and therein lay the REAL trick: anybody who'd actually "seen" it was in on it, word of mouth carried the rest.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 3:40 PM on September 18, 2003

When I was a boy I was a magician's assistant. We did the trick all across rural America. Real crowd pleaser. We didn't use a monkey, though. We just robbed fresh graves. I'm sworn to secrecy, though. Magician's Code, y'know.
posted by tbc at 1:17 AM on September 20, 2003

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