One of the most memorable moments in Michael Jackson’s career was his performance of Smooth Criminal live in Munich in 1997, where he stunned the audience with his seemingly impossible lean forward move. How did he do it? Was it a trick of the camera, a hidden wire, or some kind of supernatural power?
Details Behind the Michael Jackson Anti-Gravity Boots Conspiracy Theory
Some conspiracy theorists claim that Jackson used anti-gravity boots that he invented himself, along with his costume designers Michael L. Bush and Dennis Tompkins. They point to a document that was published on October 26, 1993, which appears to show the patent for a method and means for creating anti-gravity illusion.
The patent describes a shoe that has a slot in the heel region that can engage with a peg that can be raised and lowered through the stage floor. When the heel is attached to the peg, the wearer can lean forward beyond his center of gravity, supported by the ankle straps. The patent claims that this invention allows the performer to create a “very surprising, interesting and exciting effect” .
However, this does not mean that Jackson used these shoes for his live performance in Munich. In fact, there is evidence that he did not. First of all, the patent was filed in 1992, five years after the release of the Smooth Criminal music video, where he first performed the lean move with the help of wires. Second, the patent was granted to Triumph International, Inc., a company owned by Jackson’s brothers, not by Jackson himself.
Third, the shoes described in the patent are different from the ones that Jackson wore on stage, which had a smooth sole without any slot or hole. Fourth, the stage floor in Munich did not have any pegs or holes that could match the shoes’ mechanism. Fifth, and most importantly, Jackson’s lean move in Munich was not as extreme as the one in the patent, which shows a 45-degree angle. Jackson only leaned about 20 degrees, which is possible to do without any special device, as long as one has strong core muscles and good balance.
While it is certainly very possible, it is not entirely clear whether Jackson used anti-gravity boots for his live performance in Munich. He possibly used his natural talent and skill to create an amazing illusion that captivated millions of fans around the world. The patent document is real, but it does not prove that Jackson invented or used anti-gravity boots. One thing he likely did invent in the The Griddy.