Escapology is a remarkable art form. Combining pure performance with mind-blowing illusions, breaking free from handcuffs, straitjackets, water tanks, coffins, and even cages have never looked so stylish.
Born out of the 1860s, curious onlookers were captivated by the sheer impossibility and daring nature of each stunt performed. From the great master of illusion Harry Houdini to the modern-day David Blaine, the notoriety of each escape artist speaks for itself.
We all love a good escape. But what can we learn from the most famous escape artists to walk the earth? Well, let’s find out!
Illusion and innovation
Typically, when you think about Harry Houdini, you imagine the classic scene: a man barely clothed bonded with handcuffs stepping into an oversized milk can before being sealed with six impressive-looking padlocks. His audience thought him mad, and until he emerged – still breathing – two minutes later unscathed, spectators believed a genuine miracle had happened.
But, Houdini was no fool, only a master of his trade. He protected his illusions, copyrighted his tricks, and concealed the hidden parts of himself. Houdini was an accomplished actor, a businessman, a pioneering aviator, an amateur historian, and above everything else, an innovator.
But what can we learn from Houdini? Well, he was undeniably fearless, exceptionally clever, and knew how to draw in the crowds! Beyond that, he knew how to create and solve intricate, mind-boggling puzzles. A man after our own heart!
The “female Houdini”
Men aren’t the only ones who can defy logic and reason, at the mercy of death-defying stunts! Dorothy Dietrich turned the tide of Escapology. Not only was she the first-ever female to break free from a straitjacket while suspended by a burning piece of rope – 15 stories up! – but she is the only female ever to catch a bullet in her mouth.
Dietrich is one of the most iconic and noted magicians of the late 20th century and has been immortalised in the Houdini Magical Hall of Fame.
She has taught us that power, mystery, and creative thinking are not reserved for one gender. Dietrich is a remarkable woman. Fearless, captivating, and a history maker, Dietrich is one inspirational lady!
Endurance and a positive mental attitude!
David Blaine is well known for his incredible high-profile stunts and extraordinary endurance. From being encased in a claustrophobic, and well, freezing cold block of ice for 63 hours to being suspended in a closed case over the River Thames for 44 days, Blaine knows how to cause a stir.
While each of our escapes doesn’t involve such death-defying stunts and antics, Blaine’s performances do teach us that pushing yourself beyond your limits and testing your endurance can make you victorious.
So don’t be a quitter when your time is running out on the clock. Be like Blaine, and push on until you make your final escape!
Just because something is dangerous doesn’t mean you don’t try
Although you’ll never face any kind of danger in an Escape Room, just because something is challenging or beyond your understanding doesn’t mean you don’t try.
American illusionist Robert Gallup is the perfect example of this mantra. He first made a name for himself during the 1990s on The World’s Most Dangerous Magic and has continued to perform high octane, death-defying stunts to this day.
Whether he’s hanging upside down from three burning ropes or escaping from handcuffs, padlocks, and chains while being thrown out of a plane traveling at 14,000 feet, Gallup never fails to impress with his fast mind and calm but positive attitude!
Victorian sophistication and class live on
Houdini was undeniably a game-changing performer. He practiced pure Victorian sophistication no matter what stunt he was carrying out or the illusion he performed. In short, his exploits are legendary and have continued to inspire generations of aspiring escape artists to this day.
British escapologist and stunt performer Roslyn Walker bears the torch left by Houdini all these years later. A big fan of escaping handcuffs, Walker is a multi-time record holder. Within a single minute, he famously escaped nine handcuffs. He then later burst free from 677 police cuffs within one hour without breaking a sweat.
But what can we learn from Walker? Just because something seems impossible, an escape is always possible! As long as you require the right skills and learn how to use them, even the most complex puzzles to crack will unlock eventually!
It takes two to tango
The award-winning husband and wife team, Living Illusions, is made up of the exceptional Kristen Johnson and Kevin Ridgeway. They are well known for their death-defying acts and mesmerising illusions.
One of their most popular stunts, the Full View Water Torture Cell, has been dubbed as one of the most dangerous escape acts in the world. It sees Johnson hold her breath as she unpicks a series of chain locks that keep her restrained underwater. Remarkably, she has once performed the stunt 30 times in 10 days.
The dynamic duo has taught us that some of the best escapes are made as part of a team. You can rely on each other’s particular set of skills to ensure you make it out before your time is up! As for the underwater part – we’ll leave that to the Living Illusions team!
Epic soundtracks make the world go round
Surrounded by gothic style imagery and with an iconic metal soundtrack featuring the likes of Black Sabbath and AC/DC, Canada’s Steve “The Dark Master” Santini is the king of high concept performances. His shows often feature Medieval torture instruments, power tools, and daring, unorthodox magic and illusion.
Named as the “world’s most extreme escape artist” by Ripley’s Beleive It or Not, Santini’s impressive command of the stage, as well as his best-known escapes such as Ontario’s historic Cornwall Jail, have set him apart.
Santini teaches us that memorable themes with a soundtrack to match all make for one hell of a show!
Artists like Harry Houdini have earned notoriety for their impressive skills and abilities. In addition to their sheer commitment to push the boundaries and never quit when the challenge seems impossible! Are you ready to make your own escape? Book your next adventure with us, and see if you have what it takes!