Criss Angel Opens Up About Failed Stunt That Sent Him to the Hospital: "The Experience Was Surreal"

Criss Angel

"I remember getting put into the straitjacket, being dragged on the ground and being hoisted into the air and the next thing I remember is waking up to people putting needles in my arms,," the magician told THR.

The show went on for Criss Angel over the weekend.

After losing consciousness during his marquee double-straitjacket act and visiting the emergency room Friday night, the 49-year-old illusionist returned one day later to perform his Mindfreak Live! show Saturday night.

Angel was sent to the hospital and his Friday show was subsequently canceled after his well-known straitjacket escape went wrong while he was dangling midair. The stunt requires the famous magician to hang upside down while buckled into a double-straitjacketed harness and escape.

Several people in the Las Vegas audience described the incident, saying there was a brief intermission before they were told the show was canceled and that they would be refunded.k

Angel "was almost out after spinning for 2 mins and then they let him down. He stopped moving, curtain down," wrote one attendee, adding that there was a shared concern for Angel's health status.

"I remember getting put into the straitjacket, being dragged on the ground and being hoisted into the air and the next thing I remember is waking up to people putting needles in my arms, wires on my chest and cold towels over my body," Angel told The Hollywood Reporter after the incident. "I did not know what was going. The experience was surreal."

Angel was sent to Spring Valley Hospital Medical Center where "he was evaluated and released" that night, his rep said in a statement. "He is grateful for the outpouring of love and concern from his fans around the world."

Angel had suffered a shoulder injury when performing a similar routine in New York City's Times Square in 2013, forcing a 10-week hiatus of his show Believe. But he requested an early release so he could return to the stage at the Luxor hotel, where he successfully performed the same stunt Saturday. 

"Friday night the doctors wanted to keep me for observation and a CT scan but I refused to do that because I wanted to get back on stage," Angel said. "I felt like I disappointed the sold out house who only got to see 15 minutes of the performance on Friday."

So Angel signed a waiver, was released and later followed up with doctors on Saturday due to his lack of sleep, malnutrition and dehydration. 

“I’ve been doing crazy demonstrations since I was a teenager, and literally every night in Mindfreak Live! I take my life and I put it on the line to bring the audience the most mind-blowing, spectacular, original revolutionary illusions ever performed," Angel continued. "Whether I am flying and levitating, cutting a girl in two pieces without any cover, or hanging upside down in a straitjacket, anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Friday night that proved to the be the case."

He added, "I was glad to get back on stage on Saturday night. I never took the straitjacket escape out of the show and I’m feeling just fine and I’m glad to be back on stage — bigger, better and with a vengeance.”

He said Friday night was the first time he lost consciousness during an act.

March 14, 10 a.m. ET: Updated with Angel quotes.

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