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John Clempert

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John Clempert
BornApril 19, 1878 1878
Poletavarr, Russia
DiedMay of 1940 (age 62)

John Clempert (1878-1940) was a professional wrestler turned escape artist.


Clempert was billed as "The Man They Cannot Hang" when performing his "hanging feat" in which he dropped fifteen feet with a rope around his neck.

Before developing an escape act, he worked in Farroni's Circus as a wrestler and exhibitor of feats of strength with his teeth.

In 1903, his hanging act did not go as planned and he had an accident which ended his career as "The Man They Cannot Hang". He developed a new act and billed himself as "The Handcuff and Siberian Gaol Breaker".

In 1904, he joined Warren's American Circus and toured India and the Far East. After the tour and some unsuccessful ventures in England, he started doing an imitation of Houdini's current act, along with an exposé of the Milk Can Escape. Since variety acts were protected in Britain, Houdini was able to enter a suit against him. Clempert apologized and promised not to infringe Houdini's rights in future.

Clempert came out of retirement in 1927 (after Houdini's death) to perform tricks and escapes. Apparently it was a short-lived revival.[1]


  • Thrilling Episodes of John Clempert, The Shining Star of the Realms of Mystery (circa 1910)


  1. No. 219. JOHN CLEMPERT, "THE MAN THEY COULDN'T HANG", AND HIS SECOND COMING, Complete Rich Cabinet of Magical Curiosities by Edwin A. Dawes (2005)