Interview With Criss Angel of Criss Angel’s MindFreak

| August 11, 2009

Criss Angel is going to be back Wednesday night with his Mindfreak, and in a conference call this week, Angel is promising that it’ll be bigger and better with even more dangerous stunts. He opened last season with a shocking stunt that was widely covered, and this season will be no different, as he opens with “White Death”.
In White Death, Angel takes the Buried Alive escape further than ever before as he will be manacled, then put in a transparent coffin, and buried in nearly 5000 pounds of ice and snow at Mammoth Mountain. 10,000 feet above sea level, it will deplete him of 20% of his oxygen. He will also risk succumbing to hypothermia as well as the ground collapsing on top of him. Angel’s willing to face this risk, though, wanting once again to better Harry Houdini who vowed after a failed attempt to never do it again.
He’s not done with just that one stunt, though, as this season he’ll be attempting five dangerous stunts in each of five episodes to start the season, calling it The 5 Lives of Criss Angel Mindfreak. He’ll do more unprecedented challenges, such as attempting to levitate twelve people at once. The possibility of others getting hurt, since this is happening in a crowd of 1000 people, and he worries about others getting hurt, but he took that all into consideration in his planning. If this is successful, he’ll also try to levitate us at home watching on our TVs.
Despite the rumors and promises, Angel is far from done. While he’s hinted before at continuing the illusions, but retiring from the death-defying stunts, he commented that with his contract to do his Criss Angel Believe show in Las Vegas for the next ten years, he’s obviously not giving it up any time soon. It doesn’t seem that that’s the only thing holding him though. Angel seems like he enjoys the challenge.
I asked Angel what advice he’d give himself if he could go back in time and revisit himself right before he did his first stunt. While he called this a good question, he also said that he doesn’t live by regrets, as he looks at everything as a chance to better ourselves. He probably wouldn’t tell himself anything, as while he had an innocence and naivete in the beginning, he took incredible risks to get here. He’s now left knowing he needs to prepare for these challenges much better and has a well-rounded team in place, and he wouldn’t have gotten there without going through what he did in the beginning.
Angel believes in the beginning people were afraid of him because he blurs the line between reality and illusion, yet so much of what he does isn’t a trick, but completely real. He feels the mind, body, and spirit is the most amazing thing, and that “it allows you if you push it enough to be abel to do incredible things.” Yet, there are also things that are pure illusion, and he tries to cross the line to let us as his audience decide what’s real and what’s an illusion. He also doesn’t pay much attention to the people that don’t beieve in his work, prescribing to George Lucas’ thought that “There are two types of people in the world. There are positive people, there are destroyers, and there are creators.” He chooses to only align with the positive creative force in the world.
There led to something I always wondered about, and when Angel was answering an earlier question, he answered that one of the things he does to read people is reading people’s muscles, or Hellstromism. That tipped me off, and I had to ask. In martial arts, we do work with energy and muscles, including feeling other people’s energy. I asked if what he does is in anyway connected to it, and Angel told me he did have martial arts in his background, and that it is closely related to what he does.
Angel goes into a crowd and surveys what he can feel and detect off the different people. If something is hidden, he reads from the people around him whether he’s getting warmer or colder. I wondered then if he takes that into account when he pulls different people out to work with him. Does he only pull out the people he can read? Of course, and he also said if he pulls someone out and they end up not working very well, he’ll switch people out to find someone that works better.
I questioned if he could turn it off, that ability to read people, and he said he couldn’t, but wishes he could. That’s just who he is. He always feels and sees these things about people when he walks into a room. His mind is always going, even when he’s trying to sleep. As someone who is up until 4:30 in the morning working, I understand that.
Wednesday night on Criss Angel Mindfreak there won’t be too much of that in Angel’s Buried Alive technique, of course, but there ought to be some in some of the other stunts he’s doing. Catch it yourself on A&E, August 12 at 10 PM ET.

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