Escape artist Michael Griffin to perform Friday in Marietta

Michael Griffin, who performed in Marietta in a feat in the Muskingum River off the Showboat Becky Thatcher, is a two-time World Magic Champion and will perform 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Lafayette Hotel. (Photo Provided)

MARIETTA — An escape artist who performed a death-defying feat more than 20 years ago in Marietta will return to the river town for a show at the Lafayette Hotel.

Michael Griffin, a two-time World Magic Champion who has appeared on television, will present “50 Shades of Great Magic” 7:30 p.m. Friday at the hotel restaurant. Tickets are $15.

Griffin said he loves performing in intimate venues such as a restaurant. Unlike television, the Lafayette will be a stripped down performance, he said.

“It will be a very stripped down unplugged show,” Griffin said.

But that won’t mean the show will be any less spectacular, he said. Griffin plans to do several escapes, so fast “that is not uncommon for someone working with me on stage to say something you can’t print,” he said.

Most of the show will involve the audience and reading their minds, Griffin said.

“There’s a lot of mentalism,” he said. “Almost like psychic stuff.”

He has a pair of Harry Houdini’s handcuffs and will try to incorporate the artifact from the most renown escape artist in the last century into the show. October is National Magic Month, Houdini died on Halloween and the Lafayette allegedly is haunted, Griffin said.

Griffin started in the business doing sleight of hand and close-up magic, which is performed in intimate surroundings close to the audience.

“It happens right under your nose,” he said.

About 20 years ago he appeared in Marietta at the old Becky Thatcher Showboat, which has since been removed, for a Houdini-style escape act. Locked in chains, Griffin, now 55, went overboard into the muddy Muskingum River.

But recent flooding caused the river to be high and swift that day and Griffin was pushed underneath the boat by the current and became stuck between it and the muddy bank. He struggled to free himself and finally got from under the boat, only to get tangled in safety equipment emergency personnel insisted be used.

“I got tangled in the safety ladder,” Griffin said.

Griffin also has appeared on America’s Got Talent and the Masters of Illusion on television.

His secret is a strong mind, convictions, heart and beliefs, his promotional materials said.

“I do not use drugs or alcohol. I never have and I never will,” he said. “I simply do not believe in their illusion, nor the illusion of negative thinking which is the toughest strait jacket we will ever face; but, if you put your mind to it, and you believe in yourself, you will always escape.”

Griffin calls himself an escape artist. He does not call himself a magician.

“You can shake a tree and 12 magicians fall out of it,” he said.