Criss Angel is an American magician and illusionist who after starting his career in New York City in the 1990s, moved to Las Vegas to become a famous landmark in the City of Light – his show, the Criss Angel Believe at the Luxor casino, generated $150 million in tourist revenue to Las Vegas in 2010. Angel has been selected as the International Magician Society’s Magician of the Year in 2001, 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008, the Magician of the Decade in 2009 as well as the Magician of the Century in 2010.
It is believed Angel has been on primetime television for more hours than any other illusionist in history and he holds multiple world-records made during his magic performances. He has also had a successful music career as the lead singer for his industrial band Angeldust, which released five albums between 1998 and 2003. One question everybody keeps asking themselves is, how does he swing it? Finally, the secrets behind some of his most famous tricks have been revealed.
1. The blanket
One of Criss ‘ most famous tricks is a girl appearing from underneath a blanket spread out on the beach. The illusionist then runs away and magically appears under a second blanket in a matter of seconds!
So how does he do it?
When the first blanket is spread out, the camera is lowered to the ground, making it difficult to see what’s happening! As soon as the camera is lowered, Criss’ assistant runs closer and crawls under the blanket.
For materializing under another blanket, Criss had a second assistant hiding behind him dressed just like him! When the blanket is lifted high to obscure the view, that’s when the switch happens!
Perhaps the most famous illusion is the one where the magician levitates between buildings – some might be disappointed to find out he actually uses a wire!
The bright skies and the camera angles make it impossible to see the thin cables Criss is actually suspended from.
3. The chain
In one of his illusions, Criss ties a solid chain around his neck and gets volunteers to pull both ends at the same time, only for the chain to just magically pass through his neck.
The truth is, the trick is in the placing of the chain. Criss just creates a fake loop behind his neck which is covered by his long hair.
4. Walking on water
Criss can supposedly walk on water. Can he really? In this popular trick, he takes a step into a pool and realizes he can stand on the water’s surface. A swimmer even goes underneath his feet to prove it’s not a gimmick! The illusionist ends up crossing the pool and only his shoes are wet!
For this illusion, the 49-year-old uses a number of plexiglass tables and specific camera angles. The camera doesn’t pick up on the transparent plexiglass and the woman who swims underneath is actually swimming in the gap between the tables.
In order to mask the edges of the plexiglass which are hard to conceal, Criss hires swimmers to splash around and distract the viewers!
5. Things disappearing
For the trick where Angel makes a spoon disappear, all he does is have his assistant take it from him.
The assistant touches the spoon to make sure it’s real and then she is the one who takes it out of the napkin!
A popular illusion is Criss standing on a table and simply vanishing into thin air.
So how does it work? Criss pulls it off by using mirrors! All he does is jump off the table and hide behind the mirror and the supposed audience members in attendance are hired actors.
7. Body splitting
In this shocking illusion, Criss gets a woman to lie down on a park bench and then asks two volunteers to hold her arms and legs. When they both pull in different directions, the woman’s body is split into two!
Unsurprisingly, Criss employs two women: one with the lower part of her body missing and a contortionist who provides the legs.
8. Mind reading
Another one of Angel’s well-known tricks is his mind reading using a deck of cards. Criss asks a volunteer to cut a shuffled deck of cards and mark the cut. Another volunteer takes a look at the card on the top of the deck and the magician is able to name the card.
So how does he do it? Criss shuffles the cards and takes a look at the top card. He reshuffles the deck in a way that keeps the card at the top. The volunteer cuts the deck and marks it thinking it’s a different card, but it’s not!
The marked card is actually just the top card, the one that Criss has already seen and remembers.