In these days of startling revelations in air-craft flight we are prepared to see any day some marvelous machine driven bird cutting figure-eights all over the sky above our heads. One boy recently took advantage of this state of expectancy to have an evening's harmless amusement, through an illusion which deceived even the most incredulous. He caused a whole hotel-full of people to gaze open mouthed at a sort of "Zeppelin XXIII," which skimmed along the distant horizon, just visible against the dark evening sky, disappearing only to reappear again, and working the whole crowd up to a frenzy of excitement. And all he used was a black thread, a big piece of cardboard and a pair of field glasses.
He stretched the thread between two buildings, about 100 ft. apart, in an endless belt, passing through a screweye at either end. On this thread he fastened a cardboard "cutout" of a dirigible, not much to look at in daytime, but most deceptive at dusk. By pulling one or the other string he moved the "airship" in either direction. He took the precaution of stretching his thread just beyond a blackberry hedge and thus kept over-inquisitive persons at a safe distance. He also saw to it that there was a black background at either end so that the reversing of the direction of the craft would not be noticed.
In attracting the crowd he had a confederate stand looking at the moving ship through a field glass, which at once gave the suggestion of distance, and materially heightened the illusion. When the interest of the crowd, which at once gathered, was at its height, the "aeronaut" pulled his craft out of sight and let the disillusion come when the light of day laid bare his fraud.