Criss Angel Pulls Woman In Half

Status: Magic trick
image On YouTube there's a video of magician Criss Angel taking the old "sawing a woman in half" trick a step further. He actually pulls a woman in half, whereupon her upper half crawls away in horror while her legs remain behind wriggling. I, like many other people, have been trying to figure out how he does this trick. All I can conclude is that it's achieved by clever editing of the camera footage. (Which, if true, would make it less a magic trick than a special effect, but entertaining nonetheless.) My reasoning is that the (half of a) woman who crawls away at the end is probably not fake. She's likely a woman who, in real life, has no legs. But this cannot be the same woman who initially walks to the table and lies down on it. (No, I don't think she was using robotic legs, or anything like that.) They are two different women. Which means that at some point the camera must have been turned off, and the one woman replaced the other on the table. This also suggests that everyone in the crowd were actors. That's my theory. But I'm actually hoping it's wrong, because it would be cool if he could have done this without turning the camera off at some point. (Thanks to Captain DaFt for the link.) (And I could have sworn I once posted about another Criss Angel trick in which he crawled through a glass window pane, but for the life of me I can't find the post about this.)

Update: Archibold pointed out that Snopes has a page about this video in which they point out that Ricky Jay has written about a similar early version of this trick in Learned Pigs & Fireproof Women. Sure enough, he has. Participating in this early version of the trick was Johnny Eck, a legless & thighless man who starred in the movie Freaks. So I was right about the woman at the end of the video actually being a legless woman. But this leaves the question: was the woman standing in the crowd also the same legless woman? If so, that's amazing. If not, then I still have no idea how a switch could have been made without the camera being shut off. But I've now got to assume that it's a real trick and no camera tricks were employed.

Body Manipulation Magic Photos

Posted on Sat Jun 24, 2006


The video is definately in two parts. The lighting and ambient noise change when Criss puts his hands on the woman's stomach. It's at that point the video changes stops to let two women lay on the bench. Plus at this point we now see the woman's blouse is tucked in her skirt. It's also clear that the bottom is not a dwarf but a yoga person. Tobester's link above is right on. The picture of the video at the top of this page shows the person's head as a bulge right above the knees and her back above the thighs, hence the original use of a large woman. So I think it was a normal large woman brought over to lie down on the bench, the recording stops, and the yoga/legless women are brought in and recording continues, and all "spectators" are in on the trick.
Posted by Hunter  on  Mon Jul 17, 2006  at  08:18 PM
There's another Angel trick at - he walks up a wall.

It looks like a load of manipulated imges. The shadows look very strange - they appear on the wall, AND on the ground. Then when he is walking back down towards the ground there's no shadow at all (sun behind a cloud?) until he reaches the ground.

Some shots look as though tey've been painted -all very unconvincing!
Posted by Tony Blurr  in  UK  on  Sat Jul 22, 2006  at  02:21 PM
Okay, no offense to the previous poster, but now we're moving into "Moon Landing Was A Hoax" territory.

Look, part of the secret of magic is making tricks look more complicated than they are. Take it on faith that no camera tricks were used. Look at the stunt again.

You KNOW that's either a dwarf or an amputee as the top half. C'mon. Admit it. You know.

I mentioned in the first post that a confederate was very obviously used, and how you can tell.

Given that information, and other posters' info, (I'm actually a fan of the "yoga position" posters,) you can see that things like robotics, camera tricks, hiring an entire audience for the camera tricks, etc., are way too expensive for one freakin' magic trick that doesn't need them.
Posted by SicTim  in  Minneapolis, MN  on  Mon Jul 24, 2006  at  02:39 PM
I recorded this show about the pulling of the women in half and it was in fact a hoax as every other trick from Criss Angel.

There was a swap of women. For a few details between the camera cut when Criss walks arround the bench to perform the actual split dont match up.

1) Before de camera cut, the women's shirt in on top of her skirt while after the cut it is tucked in the skirt.
2) Before the cut, the girl holding the arms leans at about 45 degrees to be able to reach the hands. After the cut she doesn't lean as much as if the women on the bench is now much taller.
3) Her feet are much smaller after the cut than before.
4) Is a women not used to be cut in half would start walking away from her legs like she's been walking on her hands all her life?

If you looks closely in slow motion at every trick that Criss Angel does there is always something that doesn't add up between two camera shots. Like the one where he himself gets cut in half, at one point his sandals are position nicely side by side, then a camera cut later one faces one direction and the other one faces another direction.

Very disapointing.
Posted by Bruno  in  Montreal  on  Wed Jul 26, 2006  at  11:13 PM
Does Sic Tim really think Mr Angel walked up the wall? I hate to disappoint him - but all magic tricks are hoaxes of one sort or another.

As far as the half woman trick is concerned: I am inclined to agree with those who think a switch was made. The left part of her skirt that hangs over the side of the bench suddenly appears to grow in size. It could be that the woman started off in two parts and there were two takes of the trick (and no substitution) which were edited together. However, if that were the case the onlookers would have seen the trick already and wouldn't be surprised the second time.

None of the onlookers did what I would have done - look down the skirt. Apart from the two pullers (who were definately stooges), the rest of the group were in on the trick.

I don't think Mr Angel should be critised for NOT pulling a woman in two. We know it didn't really happen and part of the fun of these tricks is working out how he pulled it off (if you see what I mean).
Posted by Tony Blurr  in  Limbo  on  Thu Jul 27, 2006  at  04:37 AM
See Criss levitate:;=

see Criss spill the beans:
Posted by E C Duzzit  on  Thu Jul 27, 2006  at  05:49 AM
"Does Sic Tim really think Mr Angel walked up the wall? I hate to disappoint him - but all magic tricks are hoaxes of one sort or another."

Actually, if you look back, you'll see that that is one of my points.

I pointed out just when the confederate was swapped in in my very first post.

My main point, though, is that these "hoaxes" ("gags," really,) are made to look much more complicated than they are. That's an *important* part of misdirection.

Notice how when David Blaine did his famous "levitation", he'd draw his arms down as if he were lifting himself on something? I did.

That kept people looking for wires, ledges, etc. when dude was just bending his foot.

My specialty (in the subgenre of magic) is cards, but with any one slight, I could convince you I was doing dozens of different tricks in dozens of ways. I could literally make the four aces vanish and pull them out of a spectator's ass, if I were so inclined. (Hmmmm.)

All that fancy stuff and flourishes card magicians do? That's so you think they're cheating at that point. The real moves are slow, smooth and, in good hands, invisible.
Posted by SicTim  in  Minneapolis, MN  on  Fri Jul 28, 2006  at  01:02 PM
I suppose it's obvious but the audience may have seen a different version of the trick then we did. They may have seen a curtain come up while the switch took place.
Posted by Rube Vogel  on  Wed Aug 02, 2006  at  05:39 AM
he tells the girls to both pull as if they want to drag the lady off the bench but instead only one lady pulls while the other just stands their. She should have pull the legs off the bench
Posted by Gabriel  on  Mon Aug 07, 2006  at  05:08 PM
Here are the most plausible clue...

Before the pulling: The woman in white, who's supposed to pull from above, bents his hips to be able to grab the arms of the woman. It seems that there's not enough length for her to stand straight.

After that scene: The woman in white is now standing straight and her arms are slightly bent, it seems that the woman was longer than the first scene. Her elbows were slightly bent, enough room length to stand straight..
Posted by Dexter Lua  in  Philippines  on  Mon Sep 25, 2006  at  10:57 AM
Something else to note... Don't watch the woman pulling her arms, watch the woman "pulling" her legs. I put it in quotes because she DOESN'T pull. Note how the lower torso remains fixed? And that the skirt is conveniently covering the end of the bench? I'm nearly certain the bottom half is fixed in place with a contortionist bent backwards below the bench.
Posted by KaBaL  in  Colorado  on  Fri Nov 03, 2006  at  02:23 AM
The dwarf/legless lady theory is the best one so far.

The contortionist theory doesn't hold up, as the bottom half is ON THE BENCH. Do you expect a person who's already bent in half to be laying on the bench and look like she's flat on the bench?

Also, to support the theory that there is NO switching of a person, notice when the lady first sits and lies down on the bench. Notice that Criss Angel, holds her head and lays her down. This is to support the top half (the legless lady) from suddenly falling down onto the bench.
Posted by Keiichi  on  Fri Dec 01, 2006  at  04:57 PM
Criss Angel is one hot bitch...his illusions are pretty neat too :p I don't know how he does it.
Posted by MzGG07  in  California  on  Thu Jan 04, 2007  at  07:23 AM
Of course it`s a trick...but he`s an excelent magician...better than blaine.
Posted by wailer  on  Fri Jan 12, 2007  at  05:20 PM
The thing i find so obvious about the woman cut in half trick is that the movie is cut too. Sorry but if it is cut, it is cut. In the video you don`t even see him put the black draperie on the woman. A sceptic person will understand that a cut video is a cut video. It rules out the possibility of real magic, sorry. I also agree with the previous comment, where they possibly do a "now is a good time to sign the release form for filming" and do the switch. So that is why we see plausible reactions from real people, which is the most convincing asset of the clip.

And i think they ask what the guests have studied in school. I believe these people have not studied in science, where you have a sceptic mind and check out possiblities and so forth.

PS: Also put 'Criss Angel chair' in You Tube and you will see a bunch of people leviatate with the same video quality.
Posted by Marc  in  Montreal  on  Sat Feb 24, 2007  at  11:38 AM
This trick is really lame. The
Posted by Renzo  on  Wed Apr 11, 2007  at  12:30 PM
An extra commentary for those who have read the entire tread, yes all magic tricks are well
Posted by Renzo  on  Wed Apr 11, 2007  at  01:01 PM
I bet many small audiances see the trick and are filmed before they actually get to have the ignorant ones (probably coming out of some church) with a nice reaction on clip.
Posted by Marc  in  Montreal  on  Fri Apr 13, 2007  at  07:54 PM
i read on another post that the woman in the video has been on the discover channel. so the answer to many of his tricks is fairly simple: if he is willing to use confederates(proven in debunking the hallway trick as well as here) it is reasonable to assume that many if not all of his tricks use actors. so when he "walks on water" we can assume that the people in the pool see the suspension wires while we do not. we have to ask if his "ring in the ice cube" trick wasn't simply pre-fabbed and the two old ladies are confederates. the voodoo-doll "trick" is completely laughable, those are actors, why did they not have blisters on their hands, yet he bled. look up his suppossed promonition of lottery numbers. i can go on and on, and i have only watched a couple episodes, my point is this:

movies/tv shows use paid actors, special effects, and editing all the time w/o calling it "magic", why the hell does this hack get to label the same stuff an "illusion?" his other tricks that need no actors that i have seen are either extremely textbook(slipping a card into a beer bottle, coin tricks, levitation etc) or simply stuntmen work(setting yourself on fire). the only thing that makes this guy original is that he has the gaul to be completely obvious with his "tricks"... three episodes and i hate him already.
Posted by scott parker  in  tucson, az  on  Mon Apr 16, 2007  at  02:53 AM
the bottom half of the woman: use a double while she is standing, cut to the legless woman lying on the bench with fake legs. this is important: the only time we see the toes wiggling once the top half is detached is with an extreme closup, which could easily be post-filming-editing of the double. since we know the audience is probably all fake, why wouldn't he bi-pass using a little person or contortionist. this is why he pisses me off: low-rent gimmicks combined with alot of lying. a true illusionist can make a good skeptic say "atleast i was entertained"... this guy does not.
Posted by scott parker  in  tucson, az  on  Mon Apr 16, 2007  at  03:01 AM
right after the woman got pulled in half...i looked at the face and she looked totally different except for the hair...
Posted by joy  on  Thu May 31, 2007  at  02:33 PM
its obviously a midget that has stilts covered up by pants.....thats was the fakest thing i have ever seen
Posted by im_a_kid_mindfreak  on  Fri Jun 01, 2007  at  01:33 PM
I think that he sold his soul to the devil because no normal person can do that, what he does is something more than simple magic. Nobody can make napkins fly around the room or stick their intire fist through someone.
Posted by Audrey Howard  on  Tue Jun 05, 2007  at  01:21 PM
"I think that he sold his soul to the devil". You prefer to believe in fairy tales than to suggest a tricked video ? That's odd ... funny what I witness in 2007. I will ask you this question then: Why does he not accept to do it in front of the public ? Do you know that there is many computer software out there ? Don`t tell me it is because he needs to concentrate ...
Posted by Marc  on  Fri Jun 08, 2007  at  08:48 PM
There's no film editing. He's like David Blaine. He has a way of making you see only what he wants you to. Look at the woman closer. I noticed this when I first watched the video because I have seen that woman before. She has been on Television in the past. I can't remember exactly what show she was on (possibly Oprah) but it was a story about a mother with no legs and her struggles raising a family and going through her normal life. If someone wants to spend the time researching the womans name, I'm sure some pictures could be found and compared. I did immediately recognize her though. As far as how the legs stood up at the end, I don't know....maybe a dwarf, hence the long skirt to cover up the knees which would obviously be a lot lower on the legs than a normal sized person. If you watch the video closely, you'll see his right hand pushing down on the top of the skirt as the woman slides away from it, as if he was trying to cover up the person's head. It's just a theory for the bottom half of the body, but that woman had no legs to begin with. He used the first girl to make the randomness seem more realistic, but he originally planned on using the other woman the whole time. Just my 2 cents, so take it or leave it, but there's no camera "trickery"

Like I said, he has a knack for making you see only what he wants you to. That's the beauty of magic.
Posted by Not hard  in  Texas  on  Fri Jun 22, 2007  at  01:42 PM
I could tell it was completly edited when i first saw it. if you look closely, the girl they choose at the begining is a different girl than the one that actually gets split, so i guess camera tricks or ughh, acting... Look at the facial structure when the girl with the black skirt is chosen, to when she is siting down. After the split, and the upper torso is crawling away,look at that girls face. The nose, facial structure is totally different. A little sloppy if you ask me. Watch the dvd, and slow that crap down, even the feet are different.
Posted by kenny  in  california  on  Fri Jun 22, 2007  at  07:08 PM
Oh yah, just because they say they dont edit, doesnt mean they won't. They can say anything. But some of his other tricks are great, just not this one.
Posted by kenny  on  Fri Jun 22, 2007  at  07:14 PM
Criss Angel is a load of shit do you really believe he can pull some girl in half well if you do then your obviously retarded like the rest of the people who believe it to... Dont Believe everything you see on tv bitches
Posted by Danny HeaveNcoff  on  Sat Jun 23, 2007  at  10:19 PM
I've seen this done before and had the trick revieled.
If he does it the same way then the top half is infact a legless women.
The bottom half is a midget.
The midget holds the women when they walk up and then lets go when Criss tells the ladies to pull.
There yah go.
Posted by Ashley  on  Thu Jun 28, 2007  at  11:15 AM
the women is not the same women . she is different looking if you look closely . The second women is much smaller and skinnier . Before they pulled her apart the camera is only on criss . After you can tell the women is not the same women . I guess the audience are just actors . so much for the magic.
Posted by tina  on  Sun Jul 15, 2007  at  09:19 PM
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