levitation (lĕvĭtāˈshən) [key], the raising of a human or other body in the air without mechanical aid. The idea is ancient; holy men, both pagan and Christian, were reputed to have had the power of becoming light at will and of moving through the air. It is a favorite manifestation in séances. It is also a popular conjuring trick, the illusion being produced by clever mechanical or lighting arrangements or other means.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.