This is likely how the spider illusion
was originally presented on the stage.
It would be interesting to see what a modern presentation might be like if it used a combination of robotics and the old principle used in this illusion. To me, the problem with this illusion is that it's too obvious that there's a real woman's head attached to a fake spider's body, so a viewer merely wonders how her body is being hidden and never believes that it's a real spider woman.
Then again, the illusion is over 100 years old and it still fools people, so what do I know?
The illusion as presented in Tod
Browning's 1927 movie "The Show"
(Mr. Browning is also responsible
for the sideshow horror film "Freaks.")
In "The Show", the illusion was called
"Arachnadia! The Human Spider".
Now this is the face of a spider woman.
Here, Spidora seems
embarrassed by her fate.
A faded photograph of a spider woman
illusion banner and her tent.
This circus sideshow banner was painted by the
artist Snap (David C. Wyatt) in the 1930s.
Banners said "Alive" to distinguish the
"living" attractions from various
types of stuffed displays.
A self-contained Spidora and
her three gentleman callers.
Looks like this Spidora
has a bit of lobster in her.
A boxy Spidora
An illustration in the
Abbotts Magic Company catalog
advertising a Spidora.
Spidora as exhibited by
John Strong Shows.
A contemporary Spidora banner
for a haunted house.
Spidora in a box with bikini talker.
Spidora - alive.
Other Spider woman photos are from:
- John Strong>>
- Carny Trash>>
- Adam Arcana, Myspace>>
- Deborah Klein's Art Blog>>
- Double - M, Flickr>>
- James D. Julia Auction>>
- Sideshow World>>
- Weird Vintage>>
- And if you want to make your own Spidora, there are plans in the book Haunted Illusions, by Paul Osborne>>