How Do They Do That?

Planning about a trip to London in a few months got me thinking about a previous visit. This post is from this day in 2017.

There were two Yodas floating around when I was last in Trafalgar Square in central London. Darth Vader was there too.


It wasn’t just Star Wars characters though. Death put in appearance also, though, not surprisingly, he didn’t seem as popular. I doubt tourists really want to be reminded of their mortality when they are enjoying a vacation in one of the world’s great cities.

At first I didn’t take a picture. I thought the sound of the shutter would trigger a demand for payment. A floating Yoda is, after all, just a slightly higher class of beggar. At least that is one way of looking at it. At least though he does have some entertainment value – people, especially children, were trying to figure out how Yoda was able to float.

Other tourists were posing with them though, and not all of those were dropping coins into the hat or whatever they were using. So I figured it was okay to snap a couple of pictures.


This particular gimmick wasn’t in evidence when I was last in Trafalgar Square, three years ago. I don’t know if it is new technology or whether I just missed it last time around.

At first glance it looked impressive, Yoda floating above the pavement using his Jedi powers, just like in the Star Wars series. Then I looked closely and thought “that must be uncomfortable.”

When the wind blew, from a certain angle, you could see the outline of the harness that holds him up.

Jedi powers are limited unless you are in a film; you don’t usually find them in real life. Someone who is apparently floating above the pavement isn’t really doing so. Think about it – if they really had those sorts of powers they would be doing more with them than hang out in Trafalgar Square to impress the tourists in return for spare change.

Having ruled out The Force, it was then obvious what was involved: a steel pole and a very strong harness to attach to the pole. As I said, it doesn’t look comfortable. Yoda’s hand never leaves that staff. Imagine staying in that position for hours.

I hope the tourists are impressed and tip generously.


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