Lady Houdini video

January 13th, 2014

Lady Houdini promo video featuring Kristen Johnson aka The World’s Premier Female Escape Artist. The Lady Houdini show is a completely self contained production that plays great outdoors or inside. The touring show provides it own stage, 30 foot tall truss tower for a thrilling aerial stunt, enough sound reinforcement for 1500 people, outdoor rated, waterproof LED lighting and of course Kristen’s infamous Full View Water Torture Cell. The Lady Houdini production is great for Fairs, Festivals, Colleges, Corporate Events, Churches, Music Festivals & Sporting Events.

The great escape: Lady Houdini at the ECA Fair

October 3rd, 2013

JOHN D. RUSSELL, Morning News
FLORENCE, S.C. — Some of us try to escape aspects of our lives.

Kristen Johnson makes a living of it.

Johnson, known more commonly by her stage name, Lady Houdini, is bringing her escape show throughout the week at the Eastern Carolina Agricultural Fair.

And similar to her namesake, famed illusionist Harry Houdini, she makes her bones with a water torture routine. Unlike Houdini, though, she does not cover the water tank with a curtain, instead showing the 140-gallon tank in full view, eliminating skepticism.

Once submerged in the water, she escapes from handcuffs, chains, leg irons, shackles, chains and locks, all the while holding her breath for more than three minutes.

“Sometimes we run the risk of people thinking it’s easier than it is because we make it look easy,” she said. “It’s a constant mind battle, holding my breath isn’t the hard part. It’s a psychological thing of being locked in the cell and not panicking.”

Although Johnson has only been an escape artist for 13 years, she already has surpassed Houdini’s 1,000 rumored water torture cell escapes. The waters, however, haven’t always made for smooth sailing.

She went unconscious twice, once while performing for the halftime show of an National Basketball Association game. Her body shut down due to a hypoxic seizure caused by lack of oxygen.

“The lights go out and you don’t remember anything,” she said. “I think out of more than 1,100 attempts. Two failures isn’t too bad.”

Her entry into being an escapologist started when she wanted to play a more active role in her husband’s illusion show. She was his assistant and soon felt the desire to be a more equal partner.

Today her husband, Kevin Ridgeway, keeps the show going between her escapes with his interactive mind tricks.

He said being together 24/7 is a blessing for both of them.

“She’s truly the star of the show and I have no problem with that,” he said. “I’m always concerned. Fortunately I know how hard she trains and is always prepared. There’s a big trust factor, and I know she’ll be prepared for what she has to do.”

September 16th, 2013


World’s Premier Female Escape Artist Featured Recently on NPR

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Lady Houdini, the world’s premier female escape artist, was featured recently on NPR’s “All Things Considered.” Kristen Johnson, known as Lady Houdini, shared with NPR, “I’m not a strong athlete. I’ve never been musically inclined. I just wanted to do something that was going to inspire other people.”

Known as the only female escape artist in the world currently attempting the water torture cell escape, Lady Houdini has performed the escape more than 1100 times and is the first escape artist in history to attempt it in full view. Lady Houdini also holds the record for having performed the most water escapes, surpassing the record formerly set by Harry Houdini.

“Through our performances, we hope to inspire people to find their passion and a way to use it to make a difference,” said Johnson. “We have been humbled to learn how our ministry has impacted so many people through our shows, and are thankful for the unique opportunities God has given us to share His Truth.”

Lady Houdini performs with her husband, Kevin Ridgeway, and the duo are known as Living Illusions. Since 2000 the couple has used their multi-faceted illusion-based performances to share the message of the Gospel. They have brought their faith-based event to churches and conferences across the country, and Lady Houdini has also spoken at teen girls and women’s events. In addition, the duo is in heavy demand for general market shows at arenas, fairs, festivals, sporting events, theatres and colleges.

Living Illusions has generated widespread acclaim and recognition. They received the Masters Award at the Fourth Annual International Escape Artist Convention, and have been seen on “Inside Edition” and CNN Headline News, along with numerous international broadcasts.  In addition, Lady Houdini was the only female featured on the Discovery Channel special, “Inside The Houdini Museum,” which highlighted the life and escapes of Harry Houdini.

For further information on Living Illusions and a schedule of upcoming church and general market performances, visit Follow them on Twitter @LivingIllusions. For interview requests, contact John Robert at Gresham Hill Management ( or 615-258-4141).

Feature story on NPR News on Kristen Johnson aka Lady Houdini

August 30th, 2013

Lady Houdini’s Escape Acts Breaks
Through Not Just Handcuffs

Kristen Johnson is no “lovely” magician’s assistant. She’s Lady Houdini, an escape artist who has successfully performed thousands of public feats and has broken Harry Houdini’s record for most water escapes ever.

“Kristen Johnson is currently the only female anywhere in the world attempting the water torture cell,” says her husband, magician Kevin Ridgeway, to an audience at the Western Idaho State Fair in Boise. “Additionally, she is the first person in history — male or female — to ever attempt this escape in full view.”

Johnson calmly walks onstage, slips off her heels and climbs the ladder to the top of a clear cylinder.

The grandstands go quiet as Ridgeway shackles his wife’s ankles and wrists. Two heavy metal chains crisscross her torso, locked in place with four padlocks. Lady Houdini puts her feet in the chilly water. She closes her eyes and begins to breathe deeply. And with a final breath, she plunges into the water.

Johnson pulls a bobby pin from her hair and begins to work on getting the handcuffs off. After nearly three minutes Johnson has picked every lock and freed herself from the chains.

“The world’s premiere female escape artist — give it up for Kristen Johnson!” Ridgeway exclaims.

Johnson first publicly performed this escape in 2003. She’d spent a year preparing. She practiced picking locks, and she worked with a dive master to slow her heart rate and hold her breath.

“I use a shallow water free diving technique where I take a number of breaths so I can take in more oxygen and oxygenate my blood,” Johnson says.

Johnson became an escape artist after taking a break from her job at a Fortune 500 company to help her mother run an entertainment business. It was during that time she met Ridgeway. He wanted to put together a show and he really wanted her to be in it.

“I am not a dancer. I’m not graceful. I’m not Vegas showgirl, that’s not me,” she says.

She envisioned being an equal partner.

“It was important for me to be a strong example for young women in particular, so I thought I would do something most women don’t do, and that is the escapes,” she says.

Nonwater escapes using ropes and handcuffs are fun she says, but the water cell is emotionally draining.

“When you hear the lid get locked on and know that there is only one way out and that you have the only means to get out, psychologically that’s the hardest part,” Johnson says.

At the fair in Boise, Johnson performed this water cell escape three times a day, five days straight. Each time, she goes through her routine to focus. The water has to be just right. She can’t be dehydrated, hungry, sick or tired.

Memories of blacking out twice while in the cell remind her of the danger. That danger wasn’t lost on audience member Rochelle Fowler. She helped lock Johnson in the water cell. Fowler admits she was skeptical.

“There’s got to be some hocus-pocus to it, but no, right there … I clicked her handcuffs to make sure they were just a little bit more tighter. My husband is ex-police, so I’ve seen real handcuffs. There wasn’t anything fake about it,” she says.

Fowler says she was surprised to find herself crying as she watched Johnson. She was ready to rescue her.

“It just was nerve-wracking and then to see her finally escape, I just went ‘Oh, thank goodness!’ I thought I was witnessing something horrible about to happen,” Fowler says.

While in Boise, Lady Houdini performed her 1,100th water torture cell escape. That’s something she never imagined herself doing.

“I’m not a strong athlete. I’ve never been musically inclined. I just wanted to do something that was going to inspire other people,” she says.

Johnson hopes others will see her do amazing feats and decide to tackle their own challenges.

Rochelle Fowler watches with tears on her face as Lady Houdini works to break free. Harry Houdini made the water torture cell famous more than 100 years ago.

Rochelle Fowler watches with tears on her face as Lady Houdini works to break free. Harry Houdini made the water torture cell famous more than 100 years ago.

Lakeside, Ohio

June 30th, 2013

Hey gang…Just wanted to post about the great camp we were part of last week at Lakeside, Ohio. The best part is we are right back there again this coming Tuesday. Neil, his staff & volunteers have put together an incredible camp at the beautiful Lakeside Camp at Chautauqua. The Q&A earlier in the afternoon really allowed us to get to know the students well ahead of the show. For those that will be there this week, See you Tuesday.

Smash Magic Tour in full swing.

March 31st, 2013

The 2013 Smash Magic Tour started 10 days ago in Bear Creek, North Carolina. It took a short break for the YFC Impact Conference in Ocean City, MD and the Eggtravaganza in Indianapolis. Tomorrow morning we head out for the west coast & Texas leg of the tour:

4/5 Gilbert, AZ Sun Valley Community Church
4/6 Carlsbad, CA Daybreak Church
4/7 Long Beach, CA Family Church Signal Hill Campus
4/9 Anna, TX Pin Oaks Christian Fellowship
4/10 Decatur, TX Victory Family Church Decatur
4/11 Crandall, TX Central Baptist Church
4/12 Kingwood, TX Strawbridge UMC

Tickets can be purchased at


New Video

February 5th, 2013

Hey gang here is our new promo video. It was shot over three days during the Freedom Experience in Keller, TX. David Altizer is the brains & talent behind the cameras. He also did all the post production. If you ever need any video work, he is the guy to go to. We’re pleased with the direction he took in overlaying a message on top of the footage. Enjoy!


Freedom Experience

August 28th, 2012

Hey guys Freedom Experience is invading Keller, Texas this week. Kristen and I are honored to be sharing the stage and ministering with Pro Skateboarder Tim Byrne, hip hop & speaker CZ, strongman Dennis Rogers, artist Eric Timm, bands The Afters & Bldg 429 and Rapture Ruckus. Shows are Wednesday, Thursday & Friday nights.

We’re all doing school assemblies during the day then collectively putting forth a powerful show & message each night. Kristen will be doing some aerial stunts and her full view water torture cell.

I’m speaking two of the nights. Wednesday night will be ‘When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.’ Thursday night will be ‘Courage and Conviction.’

Check out Freedom Experience on Facebook for more info. See you there!

On The Road

July 6th, 2012

Kristen and I are 3 days into our summer tour. We passed through Salt Lake City to pick up some gear from our newest sponsor. We’ll share more about them next week.

We are in AZ now with three shows this coming Sunday July 8, at Impact Church Kristen Johnson, recognized as the World’s Premier Female Escape Artist will be attempting her Full View Water Torture Cell three times Sunday morning. The show opens with a big surprise, so don’t be late.

Monday we head to CA and pick up two of our stuntmen and our director. As you know we also produce a Stunt Show. 50′ high falls to a stunt airbag. The best part about Movie Stunt Adventure, is in between shows, You’re The Star.  Our back lot turns into a stunt school where you can train with us and learn to do high falls yourself. It’s a huge rush. In fact our motto is: IF YOU’RE NOT LIVING ON THE EDGE, YOU’RE TAKING UP TOO MUCH SPACE.


Sometimes The Answers Are Right In Front Of Us

June 18th, 2012

7 Secrets of Success That I Found Right In My Room:

Roof said: Aim high
Fan said: Be cool
Clock said: Every minute counts
Mirror said: Reflect before you act
Calendar said: Be up to date
Window said: See the world
Door said: Push hard to achieve your goals