As word spread of Michael Jackson’s death, impromptu dancing broke out onto city streets. Too bad admirers weren’t wearing United States Patent 5,255,455, Jackson’s plan for anti-gravity footwear. The Jackson-devised system is meant to give the illusion of anti-gravity, similar to the supernatural, 45-degree leans seen in Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” music video. Granted in 1993, the patent’s abstract describes the system as “a hitch member moveably projectable through a stage surface.
The shoes have a specially designed heel slot which can be detachably engaged with the hitch member by simply sliding the shoe wearer’s foot forward, thereby engaging with the hitch member”—or, a shoe with a heel that can latch onto a peg in the stage floor. The system has the added advantage of “permitting an entertainer to freely move about a stage,” as noted in the patents required “description of prior art” section. As co-developer, Jackson intended to use the shoes for live performances, eliminating the need of cables and harnesses and adding to the “shock and awe” factor that veiled most of Jackson’s life. .