Today’s Illustration: How Did David Copperfield Make The Statue Of Liberty Disappear?

Who: David Copperfield

  • Born September 16, 1956 — presently 65 years old
  • Born in Metuchen, New Jersey
  • In 2017, Copperfield did two or three shows a day, over 600 performances.
  • Copperfield’s career began at the age of 12
  • At the age of 12, David Copperfield became the youngest person admitted into the Society of American Magicians.
  • Copperfield earns/earned multi-millions a year, and is believed to have been the tenth highest paid celebrity in the world.

When:  April 1983

What: David Copperfield Makes The Statue Of Liberty Disappear

  • The illusion is staged for a night performance.
  • 20 tourists composed the live audience.
  • Millions were watching on television.
  • The “audience [was] sitting on Liberty Island, facing the Statue of Liberty” [1]
  • “Copperfield had a setup of 2 towers onstage, supporting an arch to hold the big curtain used for concealing the statue. The TV cameras, as well as the live audience, were only able to see the monument through the arch.” [1]
  • The cameras were set up with the same vantage as the audience.
  • The on-stage reporters indicated that there are “no camera tricks” [2]
  • After the curtains were raised, Copperfield talks for several minutes about its history and immigrants.
  • After the curtains were hoisted up and the audience’s stage begins to imperceptibly rotate.  The onlookers were seated on a rotating platform.
  • Also, one of the scaffolding towers holding the curtains blocked the audience’s view of the Statue of Liberty.
  • The lights on the scaffolding towers were extremely bright making it potentially more difficult to see anything else but what was between the arches.
  • It was “The largest illusion ever staged” [2]
  • PDF provided


Useful Phrases:

  • figuring out more impressive and complex ways to deceive people
  • once the trick is explained, you can’t use the same trick again
  • move an entire audience without them realizing it
  • part of the appeal of the show is the joy of being fooled
  • Tell me how he did it!
  • When you learn the secret is kind of a letdown.
  • David Copperfield said that he put out online fake explanations to throw off people understanding of what had happened.
  • Not able to feel what was happening.
  • Was the audience actually fooled by it?


Key Illustrative Thoughts:

  • deception
  • discernment
  • false prophets
  • tricks
  • The Book of the Revelation
  • right before your eyes
  • Pharaoh’s magicians
  • Satan
  • feelings
  • illusion
  • angel of light
  • “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”


Sermonic Example: 

(include whatever detail you find useful)

. . . How was it done . . . . by imperceptibly moving the audience in such a way that they are no longer facing the Statue of Liberty, but the expanse of open sky.  They had no idea that the stage was slowly rotating to a different angle!  When the curtain was dropped, they were looking at the open sky. . . . . .  David Copperfield moved the audience, not the object!  Change what the audience is actually seeing!


It was said that it was “The largest illusion ever staged.”
However, there is a bigger illusion being set up today, but the master of masters — of illusion!


Other Information & Links:

1. –

2. –

3. –


“As he explained about his own reasoning for the illusion, “I thought that if we faced emptiness where, for as long as we can remember, that great lady is, lifted up our land, why then… we might imagine what the world would be like without liberty and we realize how precious our freedom really is.” [3]


“The American Life,” David Kestenbaum Interviewing David Moffit [2]

David Kestenbaum: “For 10 years, if you wanted to do anything with the Statue of Liberty, you had to go through David L Moffittt. He lived on the little island with his family. The Park Service has a house there. The statue was right outside his window. He felt like it was his job to protect her.

David L Moffit: I personally felt that was inappropriate use of such a sacred icon. And I wrote back a rejection to the request. And I thought that probably was the end of it.

David Kestenbaum: Copperfield apologized for getting him overruled. Moffitt says Copperfield seemed sincere, like a nice guy.

David L Moffit: I signed a permit. And then he says that I would like for you to sign a waiver that you will not disclose how I’ll make the statue disappear. I said no, I won’t do that. I said I would never do anything that would limit my freedom of speech.[2]


Another interesting example regarding another magician, David Blaine
The Lie Becomes The Truth

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