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.
Performers such as Houdini then started doing it while suspended upside-down in mid-air from the side of a tall building or from a crane.
- THE STRAIT-JACKET RELEASE by Harry Houdini, Conjurers' Monthly Magazine Vol 02, page 154 and page 176 (1908)