Criss Angel to attempt escape from Water Torture Cell after Record Breaking Twenty-Four Hour Under Water Submersion
Showman’s braggadocio or honest assessment of the risk of the unknown? “I’ll leave the water torture cell in one of two ways. Either on my own or in a body bag,” Criss Angel commented to MagicTimes as he took a break from his grueling schedule to talk about his upcoming 24-hour televised stunt and other impending projects. Angel has gone from strength to strength and now stands poised to make his bid for the next strata of international recognition. His live show, “Mindfreak” has progressed from a three month limited engagement at The World, underground at 43rd St. and Broadway at the heart of New York’s Times Square to an extended run through January 6th, 2003 that will take Mindfreak beyond 600 performances and one year on Broadway. Even as he continues starring in ten live shows a week, Angel, who “puts in” twenty plus hours each day, has been preparing for several noteworthy special events and exhibitions.
On August 26th, at approximately 8:30am he will be handcuffed, chained, shackled and then submerged in a Water Torture Cell for 24 hours. Good Morning America on ABC-TV will feature his watery incarceration during their programming on the 26th and 27th. A time-lapse camera mounted within the tank with Angel will aid in intimately documenting his hazardous test of his own endurance. On the 27th, after what will be a record setting time for a human to be immersed in and breathing underwater, the 3/8″ air hose will be removed. Deprived of an oxygen line, Angel will at this time attempt to free himself from the restraints in which he is bound (manacles and cuffs from Peerless and Smith and Wesson) and then liberate himself from the Water Torture Cell to emerge from his aquatic crypt, “with no one the wiser.”
Angel has called this a test. A test of his abilities as an escapologist and illusionist. A personal test in the uniting of mind, body and spirit to accomplish a goal. Viewers of this feat will wonder, as Criss Angel himself has wondered, about the potential for drowning, claustrophobia, sleep deprivation, disorientation, total immersion and even panic, to cause the test to go awry. Although Angel has made a thorough study of the perilous task he has set himself, and trained and consulted with scuba expert Ed Tiedemann, the outcome is unknown. Angel calls his version of The Water Torture Cell a salute to Houdini, but it is much more. “Houdini was never underwater this long. The longest documented submersion by a human is 8 hours tops. Nobody has done it for 24 hours.”
Angel will fast for three days preceding his immersion to reduce the need to pass his bodily waste during the trial. There will also be a fluid intake line in the tank in addition to the air intake line to allow him nutrified liquid as well as oxygen during the 24 hours underwater.
The Torture Cell Test is only one of several upcoming events that will place Criss Angel more directly in the public eye. Time Out Magazine will feature him in their issue on August 21st and The New York Post will run “A Day in the Life of Criss Angel” coverage in their August 25th edition. He is in a development deal with ABC Family TV for his own one-hour special that will be a part of their thirteen nights of programming leading up to Halloween Night. On Halloween itself, Angel will present another spectacular stunt at The World, location of his ongoing show, Mindfreak. This Halloween offering will be part of his homage to Houdini, the arch mystifier who died on Halloween, 1926 and who was the originator and first to escape from the Water Torture Cell.
In addition, Angel will be featured in another television special, Science of Magic II. His work on the first Science of Magic special garnered him a great deal of favorable response, and the shows producers have asked him to return. Science of Magic II has a projected airdate in late 2002 or early 2003 on the Discovery Channel.
Angel has worked a long time to achieve the place he occupies today. He redoubles his efforts as he reaches for new accomplishments. Some may question the daredevil mysteries he undertakes, but none can question the guts, endurance and dedication that Criss Angel brings to his unusual art.
The submerged event is being sponsored by Golden Palace.com
—Richard Steven Cohn
Richard Steven Cohn has written for Genii, Magicol, M.U.M., The Yankee Collector, MAGIC, as well as magic themed articles for Brooklyn Bridge Magazine and Stagebill. He is a magical consultant for television and theater and performs both as a single and with his wife Alexandra.