Criss Angel: A Person of Interest


       In the top suite of the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas lives a 43 year old man named Christopher Nicholas Sarantakos: aka, Criss Angel. Criss performs magic tricks in public places in broad daylight before live audiences - tricks that defy logic and draw stunned expressions of disbelief from the onlookers. Here are a few examples of what I have seen him do on video.

Walking on Water

Criss walks across a swimming pool full of people while holding a camcorder pointed at his feet. Halfway across the pool he kicks off his shoes and videotapes the shoes as they make their way to the bottom. This shows the viewers there is nothing beneath him but water.

 Just to make sure it’s for real, a girl with another camcorder swims underneath him and records the image of the bottom of his feet as he walks.

  In another demonstration of this unique gift, he walks from the edge of Lake Mead out to the center of the lake. A helicopter and speedboat circle around him as he walks. Swimmers, up to their necks in the water, follow his progress with camcorders.

Transforming Matter

Criss sits at a table with two children who watch him as he pours orange juice from a pitcher into a glass. When the glass is full he turns it upside down. My experience with liquids and gravity tells me the orange juice should fall out of the glass and splash all over the table. Instead, it stays inside the glass and solidifies into a gel. As the children watch in amazement, it changes into an orange canary that flies out of the glass and lands on his shoulder.


Passing Through Glass

Criss attaches a cloth to the outside of a storefront window then goes inside the store as a small group of volunteers watch from outside. A moment later they can see the cloth begin to move as his hand slips through the glass. Slowly he slides his entire body through the glass until he is standing outside the storefront. Once he is all the way through he removes the cloth so that the onlookers can that glass window is still intact.

 In another demonstration he enters the lobby of the Luxor Hotel and approaches a young lady who is putting coins into a vending machine. As he stands in front of the machine the machine suddenly jams and leaves the package stuck inside. Criss offers to retrieve her snack and begins by placing a cloth over the glass. He then slides his hand beneath the cloth, grabs the package and pulls it through the glass. He removes the cloth and shows the onlookers the glass is solid.


Criss drops a cloth bandana tied in a knot over the side of a ten story building. Seconds later he appears on the street below and catches it before it hits the sidewalk. Later he materializes an 800 lb elephant on a rooftop before a hundred eyewitnesses.


After nightfall, a helicopter lifts Criss to the top of the Luxor Hotel and drops him off in the center of its 800 degree halogen spotlight. From inside the beam he rises one hundred feet into the sky as a crowd of people gathered around the hotel watch and take pictures from below. There are no props visible anywhere.

  In another performance he slowly floats from the rooftop of one building to the rooftop of a second building in broad daylight as a crowd below watches in amazement.

 Inside the lobby of the Luxor Hotel he climbs up on the handrail of the tenth floor balcony and steps out into space. He slowly descends all the way to the floor of the lobby before a crowd of stunned onlookers. There are no wire or supports visible anywhere.

  Listen to this: He gathers a crowd of fifty people inside a large room and asks them to close their eyes and visualize the happiest and most peaceful moment in their lives. As they do this Criss counts down to zero and shouts “NOW!” at which point everyone appears to fall asleep. Very quietly he walks around the room and touches certain people, who, one by one, begin to float upward. One girl rose twenty feet off the floor, where she hung in mid air, sound asleep.




   I know that raw video can be edited in the post production stage to provide the audience with virtually anything the human imagination can conjure up. It is called “CGI” or computer generated imagery. Critical details can be added, altered or deleted to change what you see when working with pixels and green screens. Remember the phony “Alien Autopsy” a few years ago and how many of us believed it was real? I did.

I could be wrong but it looks like Criss Angel was born with the ability to manipulate the flow of sensory data through the brain that makes us see what we see. He appears to have accomplished this through persistent mental effort, and discovered that his gift could be experienced by others. Does this suggest we are all hooked together in a shared activity called perception?

  You could label Criss’ performance magic, illusion, hypnosis, mind control, or energy manipulation. You may call it a scam, a fraud, a hoax or something more sinister. I prefer to call it entertainment.

   Criss’ magic does make me think of the biblical character, Jesus, who, according to believers, was the only person in recorded history who could perform the kind of “miracles” that made him an object of mass worship. So why is a kid from New York with a baseball cap, black t-shirt labeled “Mindfreak” and monogrammed jeans with holes in the knees performing many of the same impossible tricks?

    I recently read some angry blogs attacking Criss as a scammer, a fraud, and a satanic character, but all I saw was a hard working guy who discovered that he had a gift for magic and worked hard to develop it to make himself a lot of money and have fun entertaining folks.

    The feeble explanations put forth by those who know nothing about the workings of the brain – how the human brain converts energy into experience - only deepens the mystery.

   The real magic that remains for Criss Angel to perform are the ones that go beyond merely manipulating human attention. How about ending human suffering. How about ending war and famine, curing the sick and raising the dead.

 How about it Criss?