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schwartz
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I'm interested if you guys can name escape artists who have died while performing their escapes. I'm not a morbid guy but I like to tell people that this stuff is real and that escape artists can and sometimes do get hurt or die while performing their escapes.

I can think of two off the top of my head.

1. Ganesta--he had an original Houdini milk can which got damaged in the back of a truck on the way to a show and prevented him from escaping. He drowned before his assistants could get him out.

2. Bill Shirk--the most horrifying video I have seen is the glass coffin collapsing under the concrete in his buried alive trick. That was a real tragedy.

Can you guys think of any others? Or near fatal accidents?
x-treem
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HUM, I'm not 100% sure but I don't think that was Bill Shirk, I thought it was some stunt man/escape artist. The only reason I say this is that the guy died and Bill is very much alive.

Steve Baker was burned very badly during an escape when the wrong flammable was bought.

Steve Quinn fell from a crane while doing a straitjacket escape

David Lee suffered 3rd degree burns over 90% of his body while taping a TV special. He was put into a coffin and it was torched. Both his escape route and his back up route failed to open. He is alive and well now thanks to a last second save from an assistant.

X
A direct from text adaptation : The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde Starring Mickey Rooney in his final role.
Kevin Ridgeway
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Actually it was Bill Shirk. He did not die however. They put some dirt on first, then started pumping in the cement, that's when it collapsed. You can see it on Inside The Houdini Museum that airs on The Travel Channel. Kristen and myself are in the show as well. Kristen is also proofreading the autobiography of Bill Shirk, before it goes to print. I'll keep you posted about the release date.

Kevin
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Ian McColl
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The name of the escape artist who died in the buried alive with plexiglass coffin was Joe Burrus (spelling?) And yes the video footage makes you gasp as the cement sinks.

There was a stunt man in England who used a nylon climbing rope for a US SJ with burning rope. Almost as soon as the rope was lit, it burnt through, dropping him to his death. (name unknown to me)

Ian
schwartz
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Glad to hear that Bill Shirk is alive and well-I don't know why I thought it was him. Look forward to reading his autobiography when it comes out.

Even though this was not an escape I know that for a Super Bowl Half time show a few years back, someone was supposed to bungee jump from the top of the Stadium roof. In practice the cord was actually too long and the woman went head first into the ground. She didn't survive unfortunately.

I know Dean Gummarson supposedly had a close call with an underwater coffin escape.

Any others?

Mark

I found a recent article about Bill Shirk who plans on doing another Buried Alive stunt.

Click Here!
SpiffnikHopkins
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If I'm not mistaken, didn't Houdini's brother die doing an escape? I'm pretty sure I remember reading that in a biographical book on the history of magic. I recall it being during a milk-can escape. It seems like you REALLY want to make sure those things don't have any dents in them.

~Spiff
KingStardog
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I'm pulling this one out of the pile so that some of the newer folks here get a chance to see it, and take the warnings seriously.

Last year a magicians assistant was on TV and the escape went bad and she was set on fire. (She lived)
...think not that all wisdom is in your school. You may have studied other paths,but, it is important to remember that no matter who you are or where you come from, there is always more to learn.
schwartz
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I have to second that warning, especially after rereading the Art of Escape Series. The intructions say that to do the strait jacket escape while upside down from a burning rope you should get a sandbag approximately your weight, tie it to a rope and time how long it takes to burn through. Then you know how long the escape takes, easy right? Do not under any circumstances do this. A magician performed this escape at a magic convention (20, 30 years ago?) and that day was particularly windy so the rope burned faster than he thought it would. He landed on his head and had severe brain damage.

James Randi had a close call with a safe escape--read some of his accounts.

It's always good to have someone around to help you in case anything goes wrong with any escape.
x-treem
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Schwartz, are you refering to Steve Quinn?
A direct from text adaptation : The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde Starring Mickey Rooney in his final role.
Reis O'Brien
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Houdini's brother died of old age. Harry should have been so lucky, however.

Also, I just saw the Bill Shirk video of the cement cave in the other night on Real TV. I had already read about it in his book, but actually seeing it was horrifying!
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Kondini
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In the UK there was a high diver blown off course by wind gust (He hit his head on the side of the water tank killing him instantly) His name has vanished but shortly afterwards I was offered his equipment (Dead mans shoes,,,no way). Dave Dante received very bad burns doing his Burnt at the Stake Escape, so bad, he has not worked since. Howard Peters suffered bad burns at an IBM convention some fifteen years ago (Doing a burning Box Escape). The Amazing Blondini suffered from being deaf (After all the years he performed his exploding coffin escape).
schwartz
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That is pretty horrifying Kondini. No matter how much you prepare, nothing is for sure.

Shawn, I'm not sure who that was but I heard the story from Jay Marshall at Magic Inc and he said the guy was pretty much a vegetable afterwards. One knock on the head is all you need.

Stay safe,

Schwartz
x-treem
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Joe Fox just emailed this info to me:

I think you guys are referring to MIKE ROSSO (sp?)---he fell on his head while doing the USD jacket in the parking lot of a Comedy-Magic Club. This was re-created on the old "Rescue 911" TV Show. Magi Jim Bentley portrayed Mike in that re-creation. Mike was indeed left with brain damage.

I was a good friend of Steve Quinn's, and don't know of him falling ever

Anyone else remember? I thought he had suffered some kind of injury that lead to his recurring health issues and eventually (sadly) his death.

Quote:
Last year a magicians assistant was on TV and the escape went bad and she was set on fire. (She lived)


She was the assistant to escapist FRANK PUFF. I saw the video-footage of it from one of the "Max-X" -type TV video programs

I remember seeing this too, now. It was some strange "wall" that two assistants were tied too, it was her first time assisting and the fuse burned faster than normal.

Shawn

**************************
I guess my info is wrong here is his obit, written by Jay Leslie, I got it from the old escapologist site:

Obituary: Steve Quinn - Jay Leslie

It was very sad to hear of the death of Steve Quinn recently. Jay Leslie has sent me a few words about about his close friend:

Steven Frances Quinn, 51 from Costa Mesa California died February second, 2001.

He was a member of ring IBM ring 21 and 313 at various times over the last 24 years.

After serving two tours of duty in Vet Nam Steve took up magic as a semi professional. “The Mighty Quinn” was best known for several highly publicized death-defying escape stunts where he was either buried alive or thrown off a bridge handcuffed and tied in a bag. More recently Steve performed a fun box & silk show for schools, convalescents homes and other venues.

His first love however was escape magic. He assembled a Houdini collection that appeared at magicians conventions. Even thought the majority of his shows centered around commercial magic, Steve always performed an escape in his act.

The strait jacket escape remained part of his performance even through it was quite difficult for him to perform the last several months.

Steve had scores of friends, possibly because he never bragged about himself or his accomplishments and looked for the good in others. He will be missed by both magicians and many others connected with various clubs he belonged to.

He is survived by seven brothers who live on the east coast.

Jay Leslie


************

Steve never performed the USD escape. His near-death experience-- of almost not getting out of a burlap bag, while underwater-- was not a cause of his brain damge (but it certainly didn't help). His death was of cancer, and not 'escape-related'.

Facts submitted by Joe Fox and checked by Jay Leslie.
A direct from text adaptation : The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde Starring Mickey Rooney in his final role.
CARNEGIE
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I've got an interesting story of a fellow from the Memphis area who had performed an USD Straightjacket escape on several occasions. He was performing at the Mid-South Fair and saw a guy with a Hot Air Balloon. He talked the Hot Air Balloonist into letting him escape while hanging upside down from the hot air ballon.

He was put in the jacket, secured by a rope to a steel plate underneath the ballon and lifted upwards. But the balloon didn't rise very high. Apparently a valve or something was stuck. When the valve 'un-stuck' itself the balloon shot upwards in the air, and the escape artist and the steel plate broke free from the basket and came tumbling towards the earth.

The escape artsit landed in the dirt, the steel plate barely missed him. He actually got up, dazed, confused and delirious. He tried to go ahead with the escape but he had a sharp pain in his shoulder. It seems his collar bone (i think that's the bone he said) was sticking out through his skin. Upon seeing it, he passed out.

As I recall he was in the hospital for more than 6 months. The doctors told him they had no idea why he didn't land on his head, because he should have been killed instantly. And they also said had it not been for the fact that the jacket was on, he also would have probably splattered all over the ground.

Today he is still very much alive. He no longer does escapes or any magic. He is a very busy Elvis impersonator (which is funny in itself). The guys name is Joe Kent. I heard the story first hand from him a few months ago.
KerryJK
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It's a shame he can't use escapes in his Elvis act, he could sing "Don't Be Cruel" as the spectators put all the binds in place.
SANTINI
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Or, perhaps the opening words of the Elvis song "Suspicious Minds" is more appropriate: "Were caught in a trap. I can't walk out..."
Reis O'Brien
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Jeeze, people who try to look like Elvis are just pathetic! Umm... don't look at my avatar... it's just an illusion!
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Margarette
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Quote:
On 2004-03-12 12:35, KingStardog wrote:
Last year a magicians assistant was on TV and the escape went bad and she was set on fire. (She lived)


I saw the video of this accident, and if I'm not mistaken, there was another assistant who was trying to extinquish the fuse that was also injured but was thrown clear of the explosion. He was more fortunate than the assistant tied to that contraption. I spoke with Frank Puff shortly after I saw this video, and he confirmed that the fuse was indeed burning faster than it should have.

This just shows you that even if it goes right 99 out of 100 times, there is always that one time that something can go wrong.
The only stupid question is the one not asked.
Paul Reardon
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Mark and All,
Here's an account of the Dean Gunnarson "close call".
http://www.alwaysescaping.com/coffin.html

:patty: Smile
KingStardog
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I had though outand planned a similar packing crate type thing with very unusual and untried methods. Good thing I moved and didn't follow through. Still a pretty scary thought what happened to Dean.
...think not that all wisdom is in your school. You may have studied other paths,but, it is important to remember that no matter who you are or where you come from, there is always more to learn.
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