Magician Wayne Houchin: I Was Set on Fire in a Criminal Attack

Inside Magic Favorite Magician Wayne Houchin was still in a Dominican Republic hospital this morning recovering severe burns to his scalp, face and hands sustained when a local television host poured flaming liquid on his head as part of a bizarre “blessing.”

Mr. Houchin told his Twitter followers (@WayneHouchin) “doctors are cautiously optimistic will not result in scars.”  You can visit his web site, WayneHouchin.com for updates and links to his feeds.

Thousands have viewed the horrific video of TV host Franklin Barazarte pouring flaming liquid on Mr. Houchin’s head and running his hands through the magician’s hair.  The video, apparently shot with a cellphone, went viral this weekend after being posted to YouTube.

Mr. Houchin posted a statement Sunday on his Facebook page that he is “resting, healing & working through the legal process” in the Dominican Republic.

The California-based performer was in the island nation to appear on the Closer to the Stars TV program.

Host Franklin Barazarte poured the highly flammable cologne, ‘Agua de Florida,’ into his cupped hands and asked the magician’s wife to light the liquid.  Once lit, the host can be seen pouring the cologne on Mr. Houchin’s head and spreading the flaming liquid through his hair.

Mr. Houchin denied the event was prearranged.  He wrote on his Facebook page: “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.”

News outlets have described Agua de Florida as flammable cologne used in Santeria rituals.  The product’s label lists alcohol as its primary ingredient.    See, the product listing for a centuries old brand of Peruvian Agua de Florida or Florida Water at Amazon.

We are by no means expert in all things Santeria but have some exposure to its rituals and methods.   The Agua de Florida is used in a way similar to Catholics use holy water.  It is sprinkled to ritually clean and to set-apart items during or prior to a ritual act.  We are very familiar with it being used ritual where seven glasses are filled with the Agua de Florida and a rosary is partly submerged in the center most glass.

We have never seen Agua de Florida used as a weapon or even observed it being ignited while being held or used.   Again, we note that we are not experts in Santeria but familiar enough with the basic tools used in worship.  We are very sure that if the “blessing” by pouring flaming liquid on one’s head were accepted within the church, there would have been at least one other victim over the years.

Some sites have suggested the accident is related to a stunt or prank.  (See, ABC Headline below).  There is even a suggestion that by combing Mr. Houchin’s hair with his wet fingers, the host generated a static spark which in turn lit the fluid.

We are all for giving  the benefit of the doubt to Mr. Barazarte but there is not much doubt to give here.  At least one source says the host asked Mr. Houchin’s wife to ignite the Agua de Florida while it pooled in his hands.  Once it was lit, the host poured the flaming liquid into Mr. Houchin’s hair and seemed to wipe it into his scalp.

We are praying for Mr. Houchin’s complete recovery and strength to endure the very painful process of healing from such serious burns.

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