American magician Wayne Houchin was set on fire while performing on a Dominican television show -- and it was not part of his act.
Houchin seemed surprised when one of the hosts poured what looked like a flammable liquid on his head before his hair went ablaze and later wrote on his Facebook page that the “attack” was not a planned part of the stunt. The video of the incident has since gone viral, with many viewers arguing over which entertainer was more at fault.
“Monday while appearing on a TV show in the Dominican Republic, the TV host took a handful of Aqua De Florida, ignited it and intentionally dropped it on my head, setting me on fire,” Houchin wrote on his Facebook.
“I was not aware he was going to do this. This was not a stunt or part of an act - this was a criminal attack. The fast actions of the rest of our Curiosidades team saved my life. The fire was put out and I was rushed to the emergency room. I have bad burns on my head, face, neck and right hand.”
Aqua de Florida is a type of cologne with a high alcohol content. Houchin said he will recover and be scar-free but the images posted on his social media profile are quite gruesome.
The Daily Dot reported that the director of the TV show was equally shocked that the host would carry out an unrehearsed stunt. The director, who went unnamed, also reportedly said the attack was “criminal.”
Houchin briefly hosted “Breaking Magic,” a show on the Discovery Channel about his profession. Fellow magicians David Copperfield and Lance Burton tweeted their sympathies to Houchin and hoped for a quick recovery. Magicians in the States seemed to have united behind Houchin, with magic producer Jonathan Bayme telling the Las Vegas Weekly it isn’t a career that’s taken lightly.
“Wayne is a hugely respected creator and performer of magic, and an inspiration to thousands of young magicians around the world,” Bayme said. “The incident this week was shocking, and the magic community was quick to respond with widespread support for Wayne. Magicians around the world were outraged by what occurred and are still in disbelief that something like this could happen.”
Some YouTube viewers accused the Dominican host of carrying out some kind of shamanistic ritual. Houchin went on his Facebook again a few days after the incident, telling fans he would be staying in the island country longer than he expected to recover and doctors are “cautiously optimistic” that he will escape permanent scarring. He also thanked fans for their support.