Girl-To-Gorilla illusion, a show in which a young lady would seem to morph into a gorilla as you watched. This popular and mystifying illusion was invented in the 1800′s, originally consisting of a statue in the form of a ballerina; she would appear to come to life, leap from her pedestal, dance, and return to the pedestal and once again become a statue.
The modern version of a girl changing to a gorilla, was developed in the late 70′s and added a horror factor in which the “gorilla” would leap out into the audience, scaring on-lookers out of the tent. The audience’s exodus in panic was a
built-in bally for the next show.
The girl-to-gorilla trick is an old sideshow act based on the principles of the vintage Blue Room or Pepper’s Ghost illusions. For decades it mystified eager crowds in dimly lit tents as one of the top-grossing grind shows on the midway.
The audience would gather in front of a large cage. Inside was a beautiful girl dressed like a wild jungle lady, usually just recently captured in some remote and primitive region of the world.
Is she the result of some freakish evolutionary blunder?
The talker begins to lull the ape girl into a trance and beckon her through her metamorphosis. Before the crowd’s very eyes she would begin to grow hair and fangs, slowly transforming into a large, raging beast.
When the transformation was complete, an angry gorilla stood growling inside the cage. Then it would burst through the iron bars and send the horrified crowds screaming from the tent.