(Also known as the East Indian Rope Trick
A legend of magic, or a trick whose secret has been lost. Said to have been performed in the 19th century by Indian magicians. Most records indicate that the trick's effect was as follows:
The magician had a child assistant, a large basket and a coil of rope lying on the ground. (The trick was performed in open air.) The magician would start playing a flute, and the rope would start rising vertically as if it was a snake obeying his commands, staying stiff. Then the child would climb the rope, and, when asked to climb down by the magician, refuse. The magician would start climbing the rope with a knife in his hand, and the child would suddenly disappear in a puff of smoke. He would get to the top of the rope, swing his knife around, and limbs and other body parts would fall to the ground. He would climb down, throw the body parts in the basket, and suddenly the child would spring out, unharmed. The rope would suddenly fall to the ground at the magician's command.
Some magic historians believe that the trick was a form of mind control, or telepathic mass hypnosis, and that the whole thing happened only in the spectators' mind. Others believe it was the 19th century equivalent of an urban legend.