Las Vegas Sun

October 22, 2017

Currently: 79° — Complete forecast

Scary hanging stunt for Criss Angel in New York beats Houdini dramas


Tom Donoghue/

Criss Angel launches at Bare Pool Lounge in the Mirage on Monday, Aug. 15, 2011.

Criss Angel’s ‘Believe’ on Spike TV

Criss Angel’s “Believe” on Spike TV.

Launch slideshow »

It took 11 very scary minutes for “Believe” magician Criss Angel to free himself Wednesday night from two straitjackets while hanging upside down four stories above a jam-packed Times Square in New York.

A 50-pound weight was tied onto rope tightened around his neck, which could have snapped it. The crowds cheered him at first but then grew deathly silent as our Luxor headliner promoting his new Spike TV series “Believe” premiering on Tuesday struggled.

“He was just spinning, thrashing about, and his face started to go red. I was worried he wouldn’t make it,” said one spectator. “You could hear people gasping in terror.”

It took him two full minutes to get one arm free. Criss had trained with UFC fighter Randy Couture to improve his stamina of dealing with the weight.

At the four-minute mark, he got both arms loose and was then able to throw the weight off to the side and release the hangman’s noose from his neck. He was hanging from the scaffolding for 11 minutes.

“Houdini never did this,” said Criss. “Neither did anybody else. There’s tremendous pressure on my head, and it’s hard to walk because of the strain — highly uncomfortable.”

This morning via Twitter, Criss said: “I am really feeling it today in my neck and especially my legs.”

Last night’s death-defying stunt was due to have taken place hours earlier, but NYC officials delayed it over new permits that had be issued after a crane in another area of Manhattan jammed two days earlier.

For Criss, it was a return to the very spot where back in 2001 he began performing tricks on Broadway at 43rd Street. Now the all-time master of escape can legitimately claim the legendary Houdini’s legacy.

A Las Vegas photographer at the scene told me: “It was spectacular, something New York had never seen before. Criss did Las Vegas really proud.”

Criss has promised his final 11th show of this debut season will be a live, threefold demonstration here in Las Vegas in December.

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.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at

Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy