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October 8, 2015

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Criss Angel is buried alive in a ‘cement grave’ at Luxor for new Spike TV series


Nathan Burton

Criss Angel’s “Cement Grave” illusion at the Luxor on Saturday, July 13, 2013.

Luxor magician headliner Criss Angel attempted a miracle escape that not only has never been accomplished before but also cost the life of the only escape artist and illusionist brave enough to have tried.

Criss was restrained with eight American Lock padlocks, 10 pounds of chain, Smith & Weston handcuffs and leg irons in a transparent casket. Once encased, the casket with Criss was hoisted up and over into an aboveground grave that was transparent on all sides.

A casket inside of a tomb!

The grave was slowly filled with wet cement until Criss was submerged. Time began critically ticking as he endured minimal air and the crushing effect of more than 20,000 pounds of cement drying 360 degrees around him.

Criss had to escape before he was buried alive and met the fate of his predecessor. If successful, Criss would emerge from the coffin crawling out of the top of the aboveground glass tomb. It was history in the making as Criss attempted to be the first to live and tell about it.

Thousands of fans turned up to witness his “Cement Grave” midnight stunt at Luxor’s East Tower parking lot. Incredibly, be began his day at 6 a.m. Saturday shooting more illusions for his new Spike TV series “Believe.” After his two sold-out 7 and 9:30 p.m. performances of his Cirque du Soleil show “Believe,” he exited the stage, changed, performed a series of stretching exercises, meditated and made his way over to the see-through tomb.

He entered the grave early Sunday after a grueling 20-hour workday. He finally got some R&R on Sunday but on Monday morning continued shooting the Spike series and the 10 performances weekly of his magic show.

Criss told me: “This escape was completely a different beast than anything I’ve ever faced in my career. I must admit that I was scared and underestimated the magnitude. I’m so relieved that it’s over. I dedicate it to all those magicians and escape artists who lost their life attempting to do what no one has done.”

The episode will air in the 11 one-hour specials to be broadcast on Spike starting in October and re-broadcast four times each week in different time periods. Our thanks to fellow magician Nathan Burton for his photograph of Criss in the casket at the Luxor.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

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