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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

World’s Premier Female Escape Artist blacks out Underwater during NBA Halftime Show
Water Torture Cell Escape to be Showcased on Nationally Televised Masters of Illusion Broadcast on My TV Network Jan. 26

By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA (ANS) -- About 17,000 sports fans looked on in stunned amazement, wondering what was happening during a daring half-time escape performance by two escapologists, as one of them blacked out underwater during halftime at a recent NBA game.

The incident occurred during a Houdini Water Torture Cell Escape by world famous escapologists Ridgeway & Johnson at Friday night’s (Jan. 16) game at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Detroit Pistons.

Kristen Johnson in the water tank

Kristen Johnson [pictured], billed as the world's premier female escape artist, performed the water torture cell escape made famous by Harry Houdini decades ago.

The crowd became concerned when Johnson was in the tank under water for about four minutes during her halftime act and seemed to struggle at the end. A video of the episode was captured online at:  

Having performed this escape 598 times in the past, Johnson experienced a Hypoxic seizure and blacked out underwater. The Christian couple performs regularly, and often shares their personal faith in Christ at their performances.

"This is not an illusion or magic trick," said husband Kevin Ridgeway.

"Each time Kristen performs this escape it is an actual physical accomplishment as Kristen holds her breath while picking the locks in the water cell within full view of her audience," Ridgeway said.

He added: "The escape is considered the third most dangerous escape in the world and Kristen performs it numerous times each week. I thank God that His hand of protection was on Kristen and caused her to revive from this seizure quickly, without any brain damage or other physical harm."

Assistants needed to aid in Johnson's release from the clear tank.

Thunder officials said the act didn't go as planned, but Johnson was fine. She even returned courtside to wave to the audience during the break between the third and fourth quarters as a way to assure the crowd she was indeed okay.

Kristen and her husband Kevin on stage

Ridgeway & Johnson’s masterful “BREATHLESS” grand illusion and escape show is family-friendly, but still edgy enough to attract the large segment of the adult and youth markets that are both obsessed and enthralled by the adrenaline rush gained from pushing the human body beyond the edge of the norm.

A media release explains that: "Nothing is more heart-pounding than to watch Kristen Johnson hold her breath while she picks the locks that entomb her in a potentially watery grave. She averages 2 minutes and 45 seconds in the underwater escape however she has encountered several events where it has taken well over 3 minutes to free herself. The couple tour year round and stun their audiences regularly with many escapes including the giant 747 Jet Turbine escape."

In 2009, in addition to their regular touring performances at fairs and mainstream theater venues, Ridgeway & Johnson are interested in performing their "Living Illusions" grand illusion and escape show in more church and other faith-based settings in order to help lead people into a personal faith in Christ.

On Monday, Jan. 26 the Full View Water Torture Cell escape will be performed by Ridgeway & Johnson and broadcast nationally on the new TV series called “Masters of Illusion” on The MY TV network 9/8 central time. Log-on to:  for more details.

Ridgeway & Johnson will also be performing their BREATHLESS show at the Paramount Theater in Anderson, Indiana on Sat. Feb 28 at 7:30 p.m. Check out: for further information.

Other Hi-Res photos and biographical info can be obtained on the media link at  

For more information and booking, contact Fred Baye at 518-477-2385.

More information is available at  

** Michael Ireland, Chief Correspondent of ANS, is an international British freelance journalist who was formerly a reporter with a London (United Kingdom) newspaper and has been a frequent contributor to UCB Europe, a British Christian radio station. Michael has traveled to Albania and the former Yugoslavia, Holland, Germany and the former Czechoslovakia, Israel,and Canada. He has reported for ANS from Jordan, China, Russia, Jamaica, Mexico, and Nicaragua. Michael's volunteer involvement with ASSIST News Service is a sponsored ministry department -- Michael Ireland Media Missionary (MIMM) -- of A.C.T. International at: Artists in Christian Testimony (A.C.T.) International.

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