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Headless is a decapitation-type magical effect developed by designer Jim Steinmeyer and often performed by magician Hans Klok.

The Effect[]

In its basic concept, Headless is similar to the Head Mover effect. However, in Headless, the assistant's head remains in full view throughout, helping to prove that they have indeed been decapitated.

The performance begins with the magician presenting a long low table with a square box below it at one end. The magician opens a door in the front of the box, and the assistant climbs in. Kneeling inside the box, the assistant puts their head through a hole in the top of the box, so that it is visible above the top of the table, and the magician closes a set of stocks around the assistant's neck to lock them in place. The magician then closes the door and the assistant places their hands through two holes in the door, so that they are visible on the front of the box.

With the assistant secured within the box and their head and hands in full view of the audience, the magician places a large metal blade on the table top next to the stocks around the assistant's neck. As the magician pushes the blade along the top of the table, it passes between the table and the stocks around the assistant's neck, in the process passing completely through the assistant's neck and decapitating them.

The magician then slides the stocks and the assistant's severed head along the top of the table, while the box with their hands projecting from the front remains in place at the end of the table. This proves to the audience that the assistant has indeed been decapitated.

Moving the stocks and assistant's head back to the box, the blade is removed, the stocks and door opened, and the assistant released from the box.


One variation of this effect features the stocks and assistant's head being slid off the end of the table onto a separate trolley, which is then wheeled around the stage, and can even be wheeled into the audience to give them a close-up view of the assistant's severed head.

Notable Performances[]

  • The trick had its UK TV debut when Hans Klok performed it on the December 1st 1997 episode of the ITV game show Talking Telephone Numbers, assisted by fellow magician Sittah Koene.
  • While she was acting as the guest assistant in his stage show, Hans Klok sometimes performed Headless on actress Pamela Anderson.
  • When she was 20 and taking a break from acting, actress Evan Rachel Wood spent some time working as a magician's assistant, and one of the tricks she took part in was the "trolley version" of Headless.