Criss Angel opened up in a new interview on Monday, March 13, about the failed midair straitjacket stunt that sent him to the hospital just three days earlier.
“This is real,” the 49-year-old magician told ABC News, slamming critics’ claims that the unsuccessful trick was a publicity stunt. “I blur the line between reality and illusion, but this demonstration and the risks that are at stake are no joke. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and for me it’s always about pushing my envelope.”
During his show at the Luxor in Las Vegas on Friday, March 10, Angel attempted an aerial stunt in which he hung upside down while wearing a straitjacket The audience almost immediately realized something had gone wrong when Angel’s body started swaying as he struggled to free himself. Moments later, still in midair, he lost consciousness and had to be helped down and rushed to a nearby hospital.
“Once I started going up, I was told that I began my escape, and that’s all I remembered until I woke up and I was literally surrounded by paramedics and people putting things in my arms,” he recalled to ABC News. “I felt like [my unconsciousness] was really attributed to not eating properly. I’ve only been sleeping about two hours a night the past few days and I don’t think I was hydrated.”
The illusionist told the news outlet that doctors recommended he stay in the hospital for observation and to undergo an MRI scan, but he signed a release waiving liability so that he could return to work.
“I actually left the hospital early because I was so angry because I wanted to get back to doing my show and thrill the audience with a show and a spectacle that the world of magic has never seen before,” Angel said. The day after the failed performance, he took the stage again to give the stunt another attempt and was able to successfully escape the straitjacket.
“There’s a lot of things I do to thrill audiences, and I really do things that have never been done in the history of the art,” he said. “So with that comes life and death risks.”