An escape artist was hospitalized Tuesday after a stunt he was doing as part of a preview for an upcoming Criss Angel show at the State Theatre went awry.

The stunt was performed by Spencer Horsman, a Las Vegas resident who bills himself as a "comedy magician and escape artist." As part of the act — which was a preview for Criss Angel's "Supernaturalists" show — Horsman was chained and submerged inside a 30-by-30-inch Plexiglas tank filled with 100 gallons of water. The thank, which was hoisted several feet in the air by a crane, was locked with metal bars.

Spencer Horsman prepares for 'Submerged' a the State Theatre in New Brunswick. (Jeff Auger, State Theatre)

New Jersey 101.5 promotions director Ray Handel, who was at the event with a team from the station, described what the early afternoon audience saw during the show.

"First he was chained around his neck and arms, with handcuffs around his arms and legs," Handel said, adding that the only objects Horsman was able to take into the box with him were a rubber band and a bent piece of wire — presumably to unlock the bars and cuffs.


By that point, Horsman had already managed to escape the chains and cuffs and was working to unlock the padlocks on the grate on top of the box.

"They gave signal to lower the crane and undo the last bar and he kinda collapsed coming out of the box. At that point the paramedics came over," Handel said.

He said Horsman opened his eyes at one point as EMS workers provided medical assistance. He was then transported by ambulance to a local hospital.

"New Brunswick EMTs who were on site for this dangerous stunt came to Spencer’s aid and transported the performer to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital for evaluation. Spencer was held for evaluation and tests, and should be released from the hospital later this evening.  Horsman is expected to make a full recovery," State Theatre's Director of Communications Kelly Blithe said in a press release Tuesday afternoon.

Spencer Horsman prepares for 'Submerged' at the State Theatre in New Jersey. (Jeff Auger, State Theatre)

It wasn't the first time the stunt went wrong. According to several media reports at the time, Angel and Horsman were rehearsing for opening night of the illusionist's show at Foxwoods Resort Casino when Horsman became trapped. Angel came to his aid.

Following the incident, Angel offered an apology to those who showed up to watch the show, while thanking the State Theatre.

“Thank you to the State Theatre and thousands of people that showed up for this demonstration. I am sorry that the outcome was not as planned, and we continue to await Spencer’s evaluation. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers,” says Criss.

The Supernaturalists™ performances this weekend, September 18-20, will go on as scheduled and Spencer will perform. Whether "Submerged" will be a part of the show will be at Horsman’s discretion.

“We are thrilled that Criss Angel was able to come to New Brunswick to help kick off the tour of The Supernaturalists™ at the State Theatre,” said Brian O’Boyle, State Theatre Vice President of Programming & Marketing. “We look forward to four exciting shows this weekend with Spencer Horsman and the rest of The Supernaturalists™.”

Toniann Antonelli is the digital managing editor at NJ 101.5. Reach her at toniann.antonelli@townsquaremedia.com, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.