Floating on air in Stockholm

About six weeks ago, I participated to the European Skeptics Congress in Stockholm. I reported about those three days on this blog (day 1, day 2, day 3). In the afternoon of the third day, we went on a tourist trip around Stockholm, excellently guided by Maria-Elida.

When we arrived on the central place of Stockholm, we witnessed the following miracle. All of us skeptics were converted on the spot, and renounced our previous errors.

Floating guys in Stockholm

Floating guys in Stockholm

During a quick discussion, we found the following things that point to a more mundane explanation.

  1. The long clothes, especially around the arms. Although probably also part of the “performance piece” (which it was), there is no need to have these long clothes. If the guy really floated, he could have done it in shorts and t-shirts.
  2. The stick. If the guy really floated, there would be no need for a stick. Unless he was floating away, but a tether instead of a solid could have worked, too.
  3. The knuckles, especially the lack of white knuckles. The actors in this piece were holding the stick but not using it to support their weight. I had the impression the person on top was only resting his hand on the stick.
Same scene, but with S'nuffin, the skeptical elephant from TAM in the picture (thanks Shane from rbutr!)

Same scene, but with S’nuffin, the skeptical elephant from TAM in the picture (thanks Shane from rbutr!)

A couple of possible explanations, referring only to known scientific principles were quickly proposed. All doubt was removed when I went a little closer, and saw a small metal bar not entirely hidden by the clothes. I will not explain fully how it was done. First of all, I think this was actually very well performed. These people were sitting there for a couple of hours and deserve respect. It would probably kill me just sitting like that, let alone floating. Secondly, well, you should try to figure it out yourself.

If you really want a hint, check the following Youtube video. Erik Akesson posted these guys on his Facebook wall, and almost immediately had an answer via Youtube. One of the explanations can be found below, but really, try to find it first yourself!

A very nice performance, still. These street performers deserved the coins onlookers gave them. It shows, in my opinion, that reality and normal physical explanations can be really wonderful to look at.

About Bruno Van de Casteele

Philosopher by education, IT'er by trade. Allround Armchair Skeptic, History Enthusiast, Father of Three. Twitter @brunovdc Personal website: www.puam.be
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2 Responses to Floating on air in Stockholm

  1. Craig Good says:

    They must have to sit a long time to allow for all the people who watched them set it up and climb on to wander off.

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