The Finger Lift

I was on Facebook when I saw a video featuring the Finger Lift trick. It brought back memories of that night in 1976 when I was in Upper Six D class at Kolej Tun Datuk Tuanku Haji Bujang. I came across the trick in a non-fiction book that I was reading at that time. After sharing the trick with my classmates that night while we were having our night preps, a few of them decided to try out the trick. After a couple of attempts, they succeeded in pulling off the trick, causing the whole class to erupt in a loud applause.  Students from other classes ran to our class to see what the ruckus was all about. Hey, my fellow Science D classmates, do any of you still remember?

Finger Lift

Finger Lift

The Finger Lift or Light as a feather, stiff as a board, sometimes known as pig in a blanket, stiff as a board, is a common party trick. The game takes place with one person seated in a chair. Four persons stand around the sitter, two on the sitter’s left side and the other two on his/her right. Each of the four places two extended index fingers under the sitter’s armpits and knee pits and the four together will attempt to lift the sitter out of the chair. They fail to do so.

The four persons will then perform a simple ritual, usually involving piling all eight hands of the lifters one at a time on top of the head of the sitter, presumably to “transfer” energy into the sitter which will presumably make him/her weightless. Then after a countdown, the lifters then retry lifting the sitter the same way as before.

And then — lo and behold — the lifters seem to have acquire magical strength and can now lift the subject effortlessly into the air.

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Why is it so?

It has nothing to do with witchcraft or unleashing of the power within. I think it all boils down to timing.

For the first doomed attempt to lift the subject, there was no effort to get everybody to do the lift at the same instant. That means that for the brief instant each person is trying to lift the subject by themselves, they are fruitlessly trying to lift the entire 50–80kg weight of the subject on two fingers.

But for the second successful attempt, the timing is very precise. The countdown is really to synchronise the four lifters into one single lifting unit. So when all four lift as one, each one has to lift only 12–20kg with their two fingers.

See? No witchcraft or Satanic forces at all!

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