Expectations were high when illusionist Criss Angel announced that he would use the implosion of a Clearwater Beach hotel as a platform for his last death-defying stunt. But after the Wednesday night escape appeared to go awry, some viewers were skeptical of what they had just seen.
Thursday, some of us here at FOX 13 spotted inconsistencies in the footage, including a suspicious shadowy figure on our own SkyFOX video.
So was it magic? We report, you decide.
SPOILER ALERT! DO NOT READ ON OR WATCH THE VIDEO UNLESS YOU WANT TO KNOW HOW CRISS MAY HAVE PULLED OFF HIS ‘ESCAPE.’
What the show claimed would happen:
Criss Angel was supposed to escape from his handcuffs and pick the locks on his sixth-floor balcony door, then pick several more locks en route to the roof of the building. Once there, he would be whisked to safety by helicopter moments before the building blew.
What appeared to happen on the show:
Criss was unable to pick the locks on his balcony door, and was forced to break through a surprisingly thin pane of glass to get back inside the hotel. Then he was unable to pick all of the locks on the stairwell doors and was still inside the building when it was imploded. Moments later, he emerged from the rubble — dazed and dusty, but alive.
What SkyFOX saw:
In the seconds after the blast, when dust was still filling the air, someone dressed in a dark shirt and ballcap — like Criss’ — appeared to run out of a neighboring building and hide among the debris in front of the now-demolished hotel. Watching the A&E footage closely, his ballcap is visible amidst the debris several seconds before he ‘miraculously’ appears in that same location.
>> Click here for the SkyFOX video and analysis
And what about that static?
In the A&E video feed from inside the hotel, the cameras that show Criss Angel trying to pick the last locks all blink away to static simultaneously as the building implodes. But what appeared to be several different feeds all switch to a singular ‘snowy’ pattern, one that experienced editors suspect was a video effect and not snow at all, since digital video equipment does not generate snow when the signal disappears.
What does it all mean?
If you are a Criss Angel believer, this may not mean a thing. Maybe that wasn’t really a moving person. Or if it was a person, maybe it was someone else. And maybe all of the inside cameras really went to static at the very same time. But it’s more likely that after breaking the window, Criss fled into the sheltered building next door, possibly via an open window that was also spotted by SkyFOX. Then, he ran out to a predetermined point and waited for the cameras — all while prerecorded video of him trying to work his way up the stairs was fed out, supposedly as ‘live.’