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Elite user
Hollywood, FL
488 Posts

Profile of Zephury
So, I've been messing with cards, coins and sponge balls for quite a while now and I've recently seen "Now you see me now you don't" and "The Escape Artist" which has really made me want to progress in to escapes. I understand that there aren't many if any at all magicians that will give me an exact answer but I was hoping that someone could point me to some of the basics. Perhaps recommending a book or a hint of what I should do. I would love to be one of those people that is able to be locked in a jail cell and escape just as Harry Houdini once did. Not for criminal intent, but for entertainment purposes. I can already escape a few police issue handcuffs but one of my biggest concerns is hiding picks or keys. I've been putting things between my bottom lip and teeth but I feel that eventually part of the key will stick out when I'm showing the bottom and top of my mouth or someone will ask me to spread my gums open. So basically what I'm asking is for a book or something of the sort on concealing shims, picks and keys. I would prefer ways to do it without having to have certain articles of clothing. Such as Harry Houdini escaping jails naked. Not sure if anyone follows me or not. I'm not expecting a give away or anything but perhaps a tip in the right direction. Thanks!
Harley Newman
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Inner circle
5113 Posts

Profile of Harley Newman
Burling Hull wrote "33 Rope Ties and Chain Releases". It's an excellent starting point. Also, John Novak's series on The Art of Escapes.

Showmanship is as important as knowing how to escape things. A lot of escape artists fall on their faces, in that aspect of performance, without realizing it. You can't really learn it from a book. I teach and mentor, as do a couple of other folks.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

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Eh, so I've made
3010 Posts

Profile of Steve_Mollett
What's interesting is that you are asking about the basics, and then referring to the ADVANCED areas (handcuff act and jailbreaks).
"33 Rope Ties and Chain Releases" IS a good start, along with U.F. Grant's "Rope, Chain & Box Escapes" and the Abbotts "Escapes" book.

If you're wanting to concentrate on locks, a course in professional locksmithing is recommended.
The absurd is the essential concept and the first truth.
- Albert Camus
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Loyal user
223 Posts

Profile of james_unlimited

Check out Books by David De Val:

Swift action system (for ideas on everyday items to open cuffs)

Cell escape (although it is rumored by a good source not to contain the real method)

Another good one is:
Concealments by Steve Santini - is an amazing book I managed to get a copy after a few months of looking!

The scene you are describing from the film is the water torture cell, albeit with added piranhas’. There are very few people out there that would attempt it, highly dangerous (in my opinion of course.)

Hope this helps
john wills
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Special user
940 Posts

Profile of john wills

I hope that you know that the lock constructions of jail cell's differs much from the lock's a CENTURY ago!

Good luck!
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830 Posts

Profile of magicbymccauley
This is literally seven bucks and you can download it immediately, as harvey said above.


This is cheap and the escapes are simple, easy to do and GREAT!!!! You can actually construct a 1 hour act out of this simple manuscript!

This is five DOLLARS. They should be charging $500. This is an outstanding manuscript.


If you are interested in books on handcuffs, contact Jay Leslie, he has all the best stuff on handcuffs in terms of books.

"Tricks are about objects, Magic is about life."
-Max Maven
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