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Straitjacket Escape

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The Straitjacket Escape is the act of getting out from a fully laced straitjacket without external assistance. The concept of presenting such an escape as a form of entertainment was created by Houdini in 1896. His brother Hardeen also performed it.

Houdini started doing the escape from behind a curtain, so the audience did not see the actual method by which he escaped, but he decided later that he got a better reaction when doing it in full view of the audience.[1]

Houdini performed his first "Suspended Straitjacket Escape", hanging forty-five feet off the ground from Minneapolis Eventing Tribune office building, on September 29, 1915.[2]

Other performers to include this routine were Harry Jansen, Dunninger, and James Randi. Mardoni in the 1930s did it from an airplane in flight.


  1. THE STRAIT-JACKET RELEASE by Harry Houdini, Conjurers' Monthly Magazine Vol 02, page 154 and page 176 (1908)
  2. Houdini!!! by Kenneth Silverman (1996)