Has Copperfield's Moon Vanish... Vanished?

What happened to David Copperfield's biggest illusion?

Has Copperfield's Moon Vanish... Vanished?

Cast your mind back to late October 2023, when the online magic community went abuzz with excitement that the world’s most prolific magician, David Copperfield, would soon unveil the largest illusion in history: he was to make the Moon disappear in February 2024. 

It was set to be a huge event in support of Save The Children USA, and unless he was planning on making the Sun go next, the prospective stunt was sure to be the most epic full stop on a lifetime of grandiose illusions.

Little did we know that the most impossible part of this career defining stunt wasn’t the boldness of making the Moon vanish at all. No, it was the February bit. It’s now May and the Moon hasn’t gone anywhere. I just checked. It’s still there. The only things that have gone are the likelihood we’ll see the moon vanish anytime soon and Save The Children’s association with the whole thing.

So how did we go from Copperfield’s initial announcement making waves, just like the Moon, all over the internet to radio-silence in a matter of months? And if it does go ahead, what on earth is the illusion supposed to be? And how was I, a magician in the UK who still lives with his mum, expected to find any of this out?

Well, I’m happy to say I have made a few (not many but a few!) discoveries that give us an idea of what was to be and what we can expect to come with this unique magic trick. However, before we get into all of that, I think we need to catch up with everything that has taken place so far and why it feels like some people in Las Vegas may be trying to brush some things under the carpet.

On October 27th 2023, along with a teaser trailer, Copperfield’s initial announcement was revealed on NBC’s TODAY show, where he said this about the project:

"It’s taken 30 years of work, that’s literally 30 years of our lives to develop it […] And there’s multiple methods to make it work and I’m collaborating with Save the Children, an amazing organisation to show the world the difference one person can make. If one person can make the moon disappear from the sky, imagine how together we can make poverty and hunger and danger disappear for our children on Earth.”

The announcement was shared all over Copperfield’s social media pages, as well as from members of his team including Harrison Greenbaum and David’s producer and consultant, Chris Kenner.

Cue loads of magicians and Copperfield fanatics speculating what this illusion could entail. Lloyd Barnes shared a brilliant video documenting some of the ingenious and outright bizarre theories shared at the time of what the moon vanish could look like, such as one method using projectors and another with a giant curtain. Regardless of the stunt’s specific details, at least we knew we only had a few months before we could witness it for ourselves… or so we thought…

See, in the first week of January 2024, US Court papers from a 2015 trial against disgraced sex offenders Jeffrey Epstein and his former lover Ghislaine Maxwell were released. The documents included previously redacted names of high-profile individuals associated with Epstein. Amongst that list was David Copperfield.

Although Copperfield was not accused of any wrongdoing, he allegedly shared dinner with Epstein and one of Epstein’s alleged victims.

In a deposition, the alleged victim said this of Copperfield's attendance: “He questioned me if I was aware that girls were getting paid to find other girls.”

The details included in the newly unsealed deposition raised questions about how aware Copperfield may have been about Epstein's illegal actions toward young girls.

It also brought previous accusations against Copperfield from multiple women back to light, including an allegation in 2007 and another from former model Brittney Lewis. One of which, at the time of the accusations becoming public, elicited a lengthy response from Copperfield himself, condemning sexual assault whilst encouraging people not to jump to conclusions.

The Epstein files meant his name and reputation had been tainted. You can see why Save The Children may have parted ways from the project. There is no longer any mention of Copperfield nor the Moon illusion on their website and social media pages, and you’ll notice that the teaser trailer mentioned above has now been made unlisted on their YouTube channel.

The subsequent radio silence from the Copperfield team led to people beginning to speculate if this Epstein revelation meant the whole moon project was no longer going ahead. No specific date in February was given, just the month itself. So as each day rolled by, the likelihood of anything happening grew smaller… 


February 29th: Copperfield quotes a story on X about a lunar lander that touched down on the moon with a collection of secrets to many of his illusions, including the secrets of the vanishing moon. He tweets

"We landed on the moon this week! But I’ll still be making it disappear. Some cool new developments are taking extra time, but I’ll have more updates soon. Thanks for your patience. It’ll be worth it"

Below the tweet is a Q&A between the magician and space.com, where he shares an update on the moon vanish, and a few exclusive details of what we can expect. He also gives a reason as to why it has taken longer than February to put the whole thing together, although there’s no mention of Epstein. Instead he says:

“A lot of organizations have said they want to collaborate and make it an even bigger event that could do even more good. We're going to try to use it to get telescopes in rural schools and indigenous schools around the country, to encourage kids to really look at the sky and dream about their future, and become scientists and engineers. So, because we're trying to make it bigger, we're just moving it a little bit into the future, to make sure we get all those ideas together.”

It’s also worth pointing out that, other than Save The Children, nobody else is trying to hide their involvement in the project. You can still see the posts shared by those who worked directly with him on the Moon’s disappearance, such as Kenner and Greenbaum, and David’s bio on Instagram still reads: “Making the moon disappear” with a “fingers crossed” emoji.

This begs the question (or questions): If they’re still putting the finishing touches together, when, how, and what can we expect exactly?

Well… this is where things get interesting…

Aside from David, I tried reaching out to those involved directly in the stunt but to no avail. Understandably, with a top-secret project such as this one, people are being very tight-lipped. That’s when we listened to a brilliant podcast dedicated to this very topic, hosted by a self-appointed expert in all things Copperfield-Moon-Vanish, who goes by the name of A. O.

The podcast is aptly titled “Will He” and the premise is simple: Copperfield wants to make the moon vanish. So, will he?

At the moment, there’s only one full episode and a bonus episode in the season so far, but it’s already off to a flying start. In the first episode, A. O. sets up Copperfield’s character in her uniquely funny style, and establishes the context of how his live show and the Epstein case fit into the story of the Moon vanish as a whole. She also interviews an anonymous Copperfield fan about the direction in which his Vegas show is taking, as well as another interview with an award-winning science author about the Moon itself and what the impact would be on Earth if the moon were to genuinely disappear.

There’s no doubt that A. O. is fully immersed in this story, and the podcast is well worth listening to. But as I’m extremely impatient and she clearly prefers uploading rather sporadically (the last time she uploaded an episode was in late February), I had to get in touch with her to see what other tidbits of information she could share with us from her research.

Amazingly, A. O. gave the A. OK, so we jumped on Zoom and discussed the topic we happened to both be investigating.

A lot of what we chatted about were open-ended questions with no real answers. Unfortunately, there’s very little to go on, so most of what we’ve got is based on theories or speculation, but some details were curious nonetheless.

First things first, we discussed how weirdly few people are happy to talk about this subject. Whether this is to prevent any spoilers from leaking into the public domain, or because of how high the stakes have become as the story has unfolded, A. O. argues that the reason nobody will go on the record with her may be because “there’s something a little bit spooky about all magicians, but once it’s a magician with a lot of money who’s litigious, that’s when you start to think… hmmm”

Considering that in the very first episode of her podcast, she had to distort one of her guests’ voices and that A. O. itself is a pseudonym, it got me thinking that I might want to change my name by deed poll! Alas, we continue…

I asked her if she thought the stunt would have missed the deadline anyway or if the Epstein files were a spanner in the works that threw the whole thing into disarray. Interestingly, A. O. questioned if “the moon illusion [was] misdirection from the Epstein stuff that he knew was going to come out at some point.” Again, there’s no way of proving this but it’s “fun to think on.”

As to what we could expect from the illusion itself, A. O. did have some exclusives to share with me, which were apparently from “really good sources”

“I have a little bit of intel […] which is that I heard from a close associate of his that it’s not going to be in a single location, it’s a multiple location situation, whatever that means”
"This is again, more gossip, but I was told the moon vanish was going to be the finale of the Super Bowl show […] they were going to open up the top of the dome and that’s how they were going to do the effect […] but it was presumably cancelled because of the Epstein stuff.”

When I asked her if she thinks the illusion is ready to go, she pointed me toward an interview with American Sportscaster Jim Nantz, on the Sports Illustrated podcast, who was invited by Copperfield “somewhere off-road and [was] given the gift of watching the moon disappear”

To me, this is the biggest revelation: the illusion exists, and by the sound of things, it’s good. When the world gets to witness it – that's another story.

After my chat with A. O., I realized that we'd likely be waiting quite some time for the Moon to vanish, and eventually, I’ll have to write another article to keep you all in the loop as and when there are any further developments. So at least A. O. and I can be grateful to David for keeping us occupied. 

Regardless, it seems as though there is every intention to make the moon vanish! Well, it’s either that or they’re planning on waiting for everyone to stop talking about it and let the whole thing blow over. By this point, the moon would likely have vanished anyway, along with the entirety of civilization.