Can He Make the Bad PR Disappear?
by Renee Burrell
CLEARWATER BEACH - The Spy Glass Hotel, readily recognized for its painted mural of a hot air balloon, was imploded Wednesday evening leaving an estimated 4,500 tons of debris. The implosion was broadcast internationally on the A&E channel as their Mindfreak star, Criss Angel, utilized the hotel's scheduled implosion as the stage for his last dangerous illusion. Police said that the crowd of fans who came to watch the spectacle numbered 25,000. They and the press were kept 500 feet from the blast site. A week after the illusion, people are still drawing their own conclusions along with help from Tampa's FOX 13.
Angel had four minutes to pick handcuffs and unlock doors leading to the roof where a helicopter hovered, waiting to whisk him 1,000 feet above the implosion. Earlier during the show Angel had explained that disposable video cameras were mounted inside the motel to transmit his progress so viewers could follow along as he got through each obstacle and to the roof. Outside, everyone on the beach stared at the spot lit door Angel was supposed to come out of after he left the balcony. When he didn't show in time, the helicopter took off, and then the sound of 450 sticks of dynamite detonated. Many were stunned. Others expected to see the magician appear on a nearby crane or a different rooftop. Instead, Angel emerged from the south side of the building at ground level. He walked slowly to his family and the show's host at the A&E VIP tent. Viewers and onlookers were perplexed, not in wonder at the prestige of his trick, but from wondering what had gone wrong.
Thursday, Tampa's FOX 13 revealed that from their SkyFox video they detected a suspicious shadowy figure and other inconsistencies in the show's footage. Those who analyzed the video surmise that Angel 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.'"
Fox 13 proposes the possibility that, "In the seconds after the blast, when dust was still filling the air, someone dressed in a dark shirt and ball cap -- 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 ball cap is visible amidst the debris several seconds before he 'miraculously' appears in that same location."
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