SYRACUSE, N.Y.—A magician who claimed he transported himself in a crate aboard a cargo plane from upstate New York to Las Vegas and posted videos detailing the "trip" online now admits it was an elaborate hoax.
"It was a publicity stunt right from the start," Wade Whitcomb of North Syracuse said Tuesday evening after federal officials declared the event a hoax. "If that's what they say, that must be the truth."
Whitcomb had claimed he folded himself into a cramped wooden crate -- stamped with "theatrical equipment" and bearing red "Fragile" stickers -- for the 26-hour trip on a United Parcel Service truck then aboard a UPS plane. He posted a series of videos online showing him building the crate, sitting inside it, and getting out.
Whitcomb, who goes by the stage name Wade Live, claimed he made the trip last November to publicize a buddy's Web site, videotaping with four tiny cameras pointed out of the crate and another inside focused on him.
The Transportation Security Administration and the FBI investigated Whitcomb's claim, saying it would violate a number of laws. Atlanta-based UPS also investigated.
"I can't verify it one way or the other. If you watch the video, you can't tell if it was real or not. To me, it seems like a publicity stunt, and therefore, I think it could be a hoax," said UPS spokesman Dan McMackin.
In an interview last week with The Post-Standard of Syracuse, Whitcomb said he worked with Ryan Breen on the stunt to promote Breen's new Web site. Videos purportedly showing Whitcomb's excursion are posted on the site.