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


1) Setup
2) Two people who are both very short / midgets
3) The crowd was not acting, they really didn't know.
4) The lady sitting on top of the "legs" lady was sitting on her shoulders. Notice the big skirt.
5) Notice the legs sit up. Legs don't sit up in this fashion, joints don't allow it. It's obvious someone very small is hiding under the skirt.

Posted by Nate  in  WA  on  Thu Mar 12, 2009  at  03:44 PM
This trick is paying homage to the trick that involved Johnny Eck, and his twin brother, Robert.
Way back in mid 20th century, when the "sawing a woman in half" trick was at peak popularity, a magician (I can't recall the name just now) performed a variation using the Eck brothers. In the trick Johnny (who had been born without a lower half to his body) would sit on top of his brother's shoulders, and a costume was worn that hid this. During the performance of the "sawing" it was a simple matter of detaching the costume, and once the saw had "cut the man in half" Johnny would suddenly yell out and make his way off the stage on his hands, while his brother Robert, as the "legs" would go running up and down the aisle of the theater "looking for their top half"!
Pandemonium would break out in the theater, as people would screem, and jump away from the legs, and the "upper half" kept yelling for the legs to come back!
All in all, it has been said, this particular presentation of the sawing trick was the best ever. And because of Criss Angel's reproduction of the trick, you can see why.
I must credit "The Amazing Randi" for this information. A fine magician and skeptic.
Posted by Mark Lauer  in  Hastings, MN  on  Thu Mar 19, 2009  at  03:29 PM
Criss Angel isn't the first one to pull the "Cut the person in half" without the wooden box trick.

I have seen Copperfield perform this same trick but he was getting cut in half himself. I saw this live in Montreal, CANADA and I still haven't figured it out.

Copperfield is chained to a table and this huge rotating saw blade comes down on him and cuts him in half. There are no boxes around him, nothing covering under the table (you can see right under)or on top of him. You basically see him get cut in half right in front of you, so there's no camera tricks...

Like I said, I'm still mind boggled...
Posted by Guy  in  Nova Scotia  on  Tue Apr 07, 2009  at  08:41 AM
Just a trick : )
Posted by Diman  in  Cz  on  Sun Aug 23, 2009  at  02:41 PM
Look at the people in the background. At first, the girl in the red is on the right, (if you are looking at the crowd) and then after Criss walks over to pull the woman apart, the girl in the red is on the left. Obviously they had to stop the camera, unless the crowd suddenly decided to move all around?
Posted by Mike  in  WI  on  Thu Aug 27, 2009  at  07:49 AM
the girl in the video is in fact a leg-less woman. It is a deformity not very common but there are few ppl out there like this.. They live by doing things useing only there hands. just like the armless man, he does everything with his feet.
Posted by Sara  on  Mon Oct 12, 2009  at  10:04 AM
That woman who crawls away....i have seen her on a show. I used to be a magic enthusiast for a long time, and i do know, the "half body woman" who crawls away is real...she is mentioned in Ripley's or something. what i cant figure out is how he worked out the bottom half with legs that wriggle.
If your body was pulled in half...would you crawl away like that with that much ease? you are crawling on hands for the first time afterall raspberry, besides i think i'd just sit there and yell my throat out!
Posted by Zhukov  on  Tue Oct 20, 2009  at  04:15 PM
It couldn't have been a slow person. Legs of a short person aren't in proportion to movement with the lady on top. Wasn't a camera stop and go. Because the shadows of the tree behind don't change when the separation takes place. Not sure if legs are mechanical, but looked odd when they are separated from the torso.
Posted by Junkatech  in  Earth  on  Tue Dec 15, 2009  at  11:24 AM
what my dad and i concluded is that it is simply two abnormally small people. you know what i mean. like little people. two of them with simle clothing tricks. notice how he said that the 1st one was two short, its because he needed to pick the "women"
Posted by conluded  on  Fri Jan 29, 2010  at  06:42 PM
Posted by sam  in  uk  on  Wed Mar 17, 2010  at  10:02 AM
The camera were switched off, cause the original woman didn't have her shirt tucked in when she lay down. The next frame shows her lying down, shirt tucked in?
Posted by Blah  in  South Africa  on  Sun Mar 21, 2010  at  10:27 AM
Check this wikipedia topic:

It explains how the trick was carried out.
Posted by v06  in  Geece  on  Mon Aug 02, 2010  at  04:32 AM
He should have done the trick to everyone there. THAT would have been impressive.
Posted by Ryan  in  Philippines  on  Sat Aug 07, 2010  at  12:07 AM
This guy Scott Parker commenting is a mad derelick malcontent. He says..Three episodes and I hate him already. Look......everybody knows that there is a gimmick involved to doing this stuff. However I think Chris Angel does a good job of entertaining. If you don't like him why do you watch him. Don't you have something better to do then sit around and watch something you hate just so you can piss and moan about it? Why don't you go out and try getting laid dude? You sound like you could use a little. You're asking why some hack like him gets to go around naming the stuff he does illusions when it's only lame gimmicks and lies that he uses to accomplish his "tricks". Who are you asking that question of? The national council of official judges that decide what is and what isn't considered an illusion? Get a life dude. Try talking about something that you enjoy if there is such a thing. Somehow I don't believe you can. Your very existence depends on you having fodder to direct your anger towards. Loser.
Posted by Gee Bee  in  Tejas  on  Wed Aug 25, 2010  at  09:55 PM
There is no way that this ever happened the way he tried to make it seem. Someone whos never had their legs off their body could NEVER crawl that good. Shed be stumbling and not be able to move. This girl obviously doesnt have legs in the first place
Posted by Sarah Moore  in  Ohio  on  Fri Aug 27, 2010  at  12:36 PM
hi im chad wells people im here cuz i am amazed wit criss angels tricks and i studied and researched most of them and this is the only trick i was abel to figga out because i am a surgeon and i am a honest man of my word now there is nothn in the video to take a close look at accept notice the woman walks good wit her arms now ive amputated legs and arms for car accident victoms in stuff and none of them or no one could walk on they arms when they frstt get their legs amputated it takes a lot of therapy and training as ur arms get stronger u start to walk better so the woman is perhaps an amputed real person now as far as the movement in the legs they are truly her artificial legs whats makin them move is a built in reflexor notice when a person sits down and u tap they knee caps wit smethn it moves well that reflexor constantly beats that knee when activated thats what criss angel is doing wit his hands right before she is pulled away he activating the reflexor thers a button to activate it this is used by patients when they sleep or smething to keep the mechanism in rhythm.if yall hav ? Email me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Posted by chad wells  on  Wed Dec 15, 2010  at  01:29 AM
No idea how he does it but Mike has astutely pointd out 1:22 and 1:23 as telling points. I'm not so much concerned with the background as with the skirt and the shadow beneath it. Watch how they shift at that point. Something is going on, editing-wise at that point.
Posted by Jazz Jamm  in  Here  on  Thu Feb 24, 2011  at  06:13 PM
"The "top half" is a woman I've seen on some cable channel documentary regarding birth anomalies. The "bottom half" is nothing more than a slender woman flexible enough to hide her upper body under a broomstick skirt. An example of this pose is often used by the kinetic perfomers ('dancers' doesn't seem apropos) that have frequently worked with the band Tool. It could even be that really flexible dude that's been on several of those cable documentaries.

The genius of Criss is how he constantly misdirects your attention. "I pick you. . ., Oh wait, you're not tall enough"

Notice that the skirt never rises and exposes the bottom person's head. That's clever tailoring and cleverly picking a woman who will protect another woman's modesty. Also note how the upper woman knows how to "walk" on her hands without using lower extremities. As if it were learned from a lifetime of living without them.

Cool stunt though!!

- P
Posted by Heather  in  Jacksonville fl  on  Sun Jan 29, 2012  at  05:00 PM
I was curious to know the answer for a long time.
Read the disucssion.Looks like the participants have nailed it.

A keen observation i made is => LOOK CLOSELY at the point when chris angel splits the women ..women upper half is being dragged away while lower remain unmoved, watch Chris angel's hand.
At the point when he hits the torso , the torso BOUNCES BACK !! .

When the torso is split , he still has his right hand on the lower torso , and IT BENDS WAY DOWN like a FIbre would do , unlike a human stomach.

Good enough to show the lower portion top was made of some sort of Cloth , fibre material ,which is squishy squashy !!
Posted by Raman Sharma  in  India  on  Fri Aug 30, 2013  at  01:08 AM
camera was shut off when the switched over to the cell camera
Posted by mike  in  phila  on  Tue Oct 15, 2013  at  05:07 PM
There had to have been a camera cut becausebefore the blonde lays down she has a thick bracelet on her wrist...then when she gets "torn apart" its no longer there :/
Posted by ashley k  on  Tue Oct 15, 2013  at  06:21 PM
Im just wondering why there is a scene showing that the lady is crawling when in fact there wasnt any cameraman or people around shooting or recording near her while she does that.haha
Posted by Noyoudidnt  on  Sun Oct 20, 2013  at  10:05 PM
"Archibold pointed out that Snopeshas 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. "

He has WHAT? I'm so SICK of American illiteracy. Every article I read, from blogs to CNN has a lazy writer, who doesn't proofread their own bs, makes assumptions about what they write (that everyone should just know what they are thinking, but never bother to explain what the f they are referring to). Sure enough, he HAS. WHO has? Who has WHAT? What the f are you TALKING about? Not that it matters, but it's just a clue about your IQ, and why you can't figure this trick out.

1.Yes, it's obviously a legless woman. We all KNOW this from looking at her and that it's the ONLY possible explanation.
2.No it's not the same woman who walked over to the bench. How would she balance on top of a contortionist with such a natural gait? It was a perfectly natural walk, and if it was a contortionist bent in half, where would her upper half be when she laid on the bench, for one, and two- when she laid back, the top lady would've falled backwards HARD. There would be no smooth way to lay back.
3. Knowing that 1 and 2 are obviously true, because it's the ONLY possible explanation (unless you believe magic is real), then we can use LOGIC to understand the rest. That..
4. YES, the camera gets turned off and a switch is made. The girl who sits down was thin and petite. The half woman is chubby with huge jugs. So knowing that the camera is turned off and a switch is made, we then know that..
5. The ENTIRE crowd is in on it, it is ALL scripted, pure fiction, and they are ALL actors. He did a second version of this trick where two people are switched and their legs are switched and they act all freaked out and you can clearly see that the womans feet in flipflos become huge, hairy man feet. Since it is not possible to rip humans in half and trade legs, we know that the camera is turned off, trickery, cheating, camera tricks, lying and acting is the only things involved in this "illusion". since the audience are screaming and freaking out, after they would HAVE to have seen what was going on, we know that they are ALL actors.

Simple logic and occams razor will get you far in life. The same goes with religion. I'm guessing that you are a DIE HARD Christian, RIGHT? I don't know you, but using the SAME logic that i used to figure out this trick, i am able to deduce that you are religious. That is because Christians are gullible and have very low IQs, making them believe EVERYTHING they see, without question. When you open your eyes and research the bs that you believe, you'll see that there was no "ark' or flood, nobody split the red sea, they didn't live to 800 years old, and that somebody lied to you and you believed it.

Posted by Mokey  in  United States  on  Thu Oct 24, 2013  at  01:46 AM
Continued from last post.... (they died at 800 of" old age "? Lol. So the body can replace cells for 800 years, and then after, 800 years the genes just can't handle it anymore lol. 700 years NO PROBLEM, BUT 800?THAT'S JUST CRAZY! sorry but if your genes can replicate themselves for 800 years they can do it forever. You would either have eternal life or you would die at age's called biology and science, look into it. And no, the earth isn't 7000 years old. We weren't created in our present form, and no evolution isn't just A THEORY. It's called the evolution theory because the word THEORY, in science, means it was tested and proven. If you don't believe in evolution you are a moron. It is PROVEN and if you don't know that then you don't read only the redneck embarrassment that is the south believes that evolution is still just one version of what COULD HAVE happened. They are trying to have creationism put in textbooks, but the text book manufacturer won't do it, citing the fact the US would be the laughing stock of the world, since even 3rd world countries don't believe in creationism. So, in closing GROW UP, dude. There is no sky fairy that hears you talk to him and when good things happen to you it isn't because your prayed, it is coincidence and statistical probability. When bad things it is the same reason. Chris Angel isn't a magical wizard, he is a charlatan who preys on the stupid, like you, like the Christians, chris ANGEL... do you think that was a coincidence? ANGEL will luer the naive part of the population, the religious s morons, and there more than enough of them to make him rich of he gets ONLY them to pay for his shows. If he were Chris Athiest, he would be broke since atheists, the thinkers, would have debunked his bs before he ever made it off the ground. Speaking of which... Hint- he can't really levitate. He is suspended from cables from a crane, visible to the audience,who are paid actors. Don't be an idiot.)

Posted by Mokey  in  United States  on  Thu Oct 24, 2013  at  01:49 AM
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