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Seeing is not believing
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Illusionist Shane Wilbanks gets tied up on stage by volunteers Tim Mears, left, and Eddie Ware.
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Wilbanks shows his daughter in a magic box, then proceeds to move away the middle as if she’s been cut in thirds.

Illusionist Shane Wilbanks dazzled the crowd Wednesday night at the Warren County A&L Fair, escaping from a rope, successfully guessing the name of a random movie, and seeming to cut his daughter into thirds.

It was part of a show sponsored by the Central Baptist Association and First Baptist Church. Wilbanks integrated prayers into his routine.

“Heavenly Father, in this crazy COVID world, we hope everyone is encouraged in their hearts to draw closer to you,” said Wilbanks.

When he wasn’t praying, Wilbanks was amazing the crowd. During one trick, he called Tim Mears and Eddie Ware on stage as volunteers. They both proceeded to tie his hands and legs, but Wilbanks escaped with ease from the stout rope.

He called seventh-grader Katelyn McBride on stage and asked her to write down the name of any movie on a piece of paper. He said she could pick any movie, past or present, action or comedy.

After Katelyn wrote down the name of a movie, Wilbanks successfully guessed it was “Grease.”

Wilbanks called volunteer Sierah Kester to the stage for a trick involving four staple guns. One of them was loaded.

He asked Sierah to pick a staple gun of her choice, press it against his body, and shoot. She did it three times and each time she picked an empty gun. Wilbanks picked up the fourth gun and used it to staple together a small cross to prove it had staples.

“I was so nervous, especially when it got down to just two guns,” said Sierah. “I didn’t want to pick the wrong one.”

For one of his signature tricks, Wilbanks produced a tall, wooden box and called a volunteer from the audience to closely inspect it and bang on the sides. He then had his daughter enter the box. There was a hole at the top so her face remained visible at all times.

With the help of the volunteer, Wilbanks inserted sheets of metal through the box in two places. He then moved the middle section to the side to show his daughter was seemingly cut into three pieces.

“The art of illusion has been around for thousands of years,” said Wilbanks in an interview before the show. “What you’re seeing will look real, but in reality it’s not.”