Impressive. Most impressive.

We’re watching illusionist Criss Angel in his new A&E series Mind Freak and I have to admit he’s damned impressive. He does a lot of his stuff out in the real world surrounded by people and with no limits on what angle the camera can film him at. This is probably the most difficult way to pull off illusions, but he’s making it look easy.

David Blaine has also made a career out of street magic and has a decent levitation illusion, but Criss just pulled one off that makes David look like an amateur. David’s levitation trick has his feet appear to leave the ground by maybe 3 inches or so, but Criss manages to levitate himself up a good half-foot off the ground and then back down again or sometimes onto a chair or ledge. One of his attempts took him to the height of a doorway. He did this repeatedly in different situations including on an escalator where he rode all the way to the top without actually touching it. As one guy who witnessed it said, “David Blaine should kiss this guy’s ass!”

If you enjoy a good magician then be sure to check out Mind Freak on A&E. The half hour shows consist of a few small illusions and then one big one near the end. Very entertaining and sure to have the credulous claiming him as proof that he has paranormal powers.

30 thoughts on “Impressive. Most impressive.

  1. I got curious and dropped the money on an instructional video on King Rising- one of the levitation illusions being used.
    http://www.ellusionist.com/order/king.htm

    Watch the video on that link for an example.
        I was all excited when the DVD arrived and immediately popped it in to watch and learn. Once I saw how it was actually done, it was a bit of a let down……I expected something…..more …well…just more.
        I can’t tell you the secret since that would break the whole magician trust thing they ask you to uphold. It’s not too expensinve if you want to learn yourself though. Ellusionist also has instructional videos for many other magic secrets.

  2. That’s exactly why illusionists don’t reveal how they do their tricks. The magic is in the not knowing. Like many things in life, the reality is often mundane and it’s only our lack of understanding that causes something to seem supernatural.

  3. I like to think I have an open mind regarding mysticism and the like, but I’ve been rather jaded by people like David Copperfield and Seigfried & Roy, so its difficult to make an accurate analysis of this stuff. The show’s starting in a half hour for me, so im gonna catch it and see if this is a real deal or if its just another David Blaine ripoff (and even then, I have more than my share of suspicions about him).

  4. I don’t feel stupid for spending the money on King Rising. I bought it before it was even being used much on the street and well before you could find an explanation on the internet for it. It was no worse than the money spent going to a lousy movie and eating a hot dog or two.
        What else am I going to spend my entertainment allowance on anyway?

  5. ohh okay, I just finished watching the hour-long block…and I have to say, even though I try to take everything from a skeptic’s point of view, this guy’s making it really hard to do that.

    The fact that he outshines David Blaine by having a 360 degree-round crowd to make sure there’s no king illusion levitation is definately a selling point. While I could see a few as being possibly illusionary techniques (the voodoo doll and the human torch move, for instance), the levitation is hard to pass off as a fake, at least to me. He doesnt just go a few inches off, he gets a good 3 or 4 feet of air while he’s at it…AND he has a crowd looking at him from all angles with no wires or props AT ALL!

    Damn man…he’s the closest thing I’ve seen to a psychic so far (and not those pansy-ass fortune tellers either. Im talking physical effects through mental means, like telekinesis). Theres still that little bit of skeptecism, considering I haven’t seen it with my own eyes, but…he’s definately the most convincing act I’ve seen yet.

  6. Is he the dude that sends a coin through his arm and then cuts it out?  Freaky!

    And regarding some of the comments above: Man, are you guys jaded, or what?  I mean, of COURSE it’s an illusion.  Of COURSE it’s a trick.  I don’t think any of us think “Hey, now THIS guy is REALLY magic.”  You seem to be missing the point.  The fun isn’t searching the internet and learning how these guys really do it.  The fun is in watching in wonder.  The fun is seeing the look on your kid’s face when the tiger appears as if from nowhere or the statue of liberty dissapears or the right card is chosen.  The fun is the amazement.

    The fun is NOT in the “Hey, you used a trick coin.  I looked it up!  So there!  Hah!”

  7. Link, it’s an illusion, not a demonstration of psychic ability. It’s the sort of thing anyone can do given enough money and practice and a team of engineers to help you work out how to do it. There’s plenty of such companies out there on the Net that are willing to help you develop the next great illusion… for a price.

    Buzz, yes, this is the guy who cuts the coin out of his own arm in a previous Halloween special he did for Sci-Fi Channel I believe. While I agree with you that the fun is in the not knowing, I have to say that there are people out there who do think Angel is doing real magic or exhibiting some form of supernatural power. James Randi will often demonstrate some of the illusions professional psychics will use to audiences he gives seminars to and will have people who will try to tell him that it’s not a trick, he obviously has the gift and is in denial. Some people will believe even if you show them the truth because the reality isn’t what they want to be true.

    Please forgive some of the skeptics here who have sought out how the trick was done. It’s a natural reaction when confronted with the seemingly impossible. We’re skeptical in part because we paid attention to the main behind the curtain, so to speak.

  8. In this case, the magic isn’t in the magician or even the trick itself, it lies with the editor. Just as David Blaine’s special shows him wowing a crowd with a somewhat magical levitation, Criss Angel does the same. The trick is performed under the conditions of the illusionist for a crowd reaction which is filmed then the trick is perfomed using a wire harness and the crowd reaction is used from the live trick for the show. I’ve seen this a hundred times and I’ve seen it debunked a hundred times and its always the same. The guy in the cutting room is the real magician.

  9. Link, it’s an illusion, not a demonstration of psychic ability. It’s the sort of thing anyone can do given enough money and practice and a team of engineers to help you work out how to do it. There’s plenty of such companies out there on the Net that are willing to help you develop the next great illusion… for a price.

    I understand that that is your opinion on the matter, and I can accept that. Of course, illusion can travel into the realm of paranormal all to readily, I’ll agree to that much. However, seeing what I’ve seen over the course of my lifetime, I have the feeling that theres more than just an engineering team behind some of his tricks.

    Then again, thats just my $0.02

  10. Then you fall into the category of person I spoke of to DOF. While Chris Angel doesn’t like to use the word “tricks” he doesn’t claim his illusions are accomplished by any paranormal means either. Simply because you can’t figure out how he accomplishes his illusions doesn’t mean he’s using supernatural means to do them.

  11. Originally posted by buzz:
    The fun isn’t searching the internet and learning how these guys really do it.  The fun is in watching in wonder.

    Maybe for you.  The fun for me is in being able to recreate the trick.  I was disappointed that Blaine’s magic is done in the editing room.  That really doesn’t make him a very good magician.  I suspect that Criss Angel’s magic is similar and though I hope not, those who rely on video editing for the majority of their magic can hardly be called magicians.  Copperfield doesn’t have to do street magic to be the greatest if street magic relies on film editing.  If there is something more to Angel’s magic tricks then I would like to know.  Otherwsie he’s suddenly become boring to me.

  12. As long as we’re throwing our 2c’s in..

    I don’t care if I know the trick or not.  The ‘magic’ for me is in the execution.  When you see how the trick is performed, it’s easy to say “Aw, is that all?”  but consider; you have to look it up.  You didn’t see through it or catch them in the act.  You might say “I think I know how he did that?” or you might know how he did it because you knew about the trick ahead of time… but did you SEE how he did it?  Skill is skill, weather it’s walking a skiing down a hillside at 60mph or performing a magic trick while there’s a cluster of people around you seeing it from all angles.  The only ‘fake’ magicians are the ones that doctor their film or pay off the audience.
      I’m a pilot, and I know aerodynamics and everytime I see an airshow I could practically explain each maneuver point by point, but that doesn’t mean I could do it, and it doesn’t make what the pilot is doing any less difficult or impressive.  I still go to airshows and I am still wowed with the rest of the crowd.

  13. when i first saw it i was amazed.. but then when i started thinking about it.. SOME of his stunts had alotta scene cuts in it, which pretty much screams fake.  Like the one where he’s a human candle, if you slow the video theres a cut rite when they extinguish him from the fire. then hes all of a sudden one of his crew member.. cmon! In some scenes u can even see he harness on him if u pause it and run it slow.  So if u believe this clown that much, then i would advise you to record it next time and play it back a few times, slowly, and carefully.  peAce

  14. Yeah…but what about the card trick where it lands on the outside of the bus…the chick said the bus never stopped once….paid standins?

  15. you’re rite. it was a paid stand-in. i recorded that and if you watch it closely you’ll see what happened, the card was on the window before he even threw the rest of the deck. theres never a scene cut until after he throws the cards but there is a scene cut there. peAce

  16. Well,

    After reading your site, you should probably change the name to Stupid Bastard.

    You ain’t evil, your just stupid.

  17. Im not impressed with any magic I see on T.V. rather its David Blain, or Chris Angel. The only magic trick that impressed me that was televised, was Vertigo by David Blaine. I was very fasinated, with this, because it was a simple idea, and very effective. Just the idea of someone standing on top of a pole for 35 streight hours blew my mind, and what makes it better is…was it a stunt or an illusion? I would like to see Chris Angel do something like that. I think Chris Angel is just another David Blain, but which came first the chicken or the egg?

  18. HAH nice “except go to heaven”…

    you Christian scum. YOu will all go to Hell and bow under my will, mindless humans. FOr th esmall price of your soul, I can teach you ALL how to levitate!!!!

    MUHAHAHAHA

  19. Even satan will be boring once you learn his tricks. Hell will be hell simply because you know how it works raspberry

  20. I LOVE THAT SHOW BUT I KNOW HOW HE DID THE ESCOLATOR THING HE HAS THESE CERTAIN PANTS AND HE WILL GET THE ADUSECENS ATTION ON HIS FACE NOT HIS LEGS AND HE WILL MOVE THE MATIERL AND PULL OUT HIS LEG AND PUT IT ON THE ESCOLATER THEN HE WILL BALNACE HIMSELF ON 1 LEG I DID IT AT MY MALL PPL WERE FREAKED OUT ROFL!!! ITS A SIMPLE TRICK

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