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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » All tied up! » » Upside-down strait jacket escape (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Harry Murphy
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Inner circle
Maryland
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Go back and reread David’s post. Then read it again. I don’t know your skill level but am assuming that you can escape from your jacket standing upright. I don’t know how many times you’ve hung upside down and experienced the discomfort of the blood pressure in your head and the slightly more difficulty you will have in breathing. I also don’t know how you react to swinging upside down at a great height (it’s not like standing on the top of a tall building and looking down!). Those are all variables to consider when developing an entertaining and exciting upside down straightjacket routine. Notice I said entertaining and exciting. Many individuals who try this, get hooked up, lifted into the air, drop the jacket and come back down (ho-hum!) to less than a rousing round of applause. There is more to selling the upside down escape than being upside down at a great height.

Frankly, you only want to talk to people who have experience in doing an upside down straightjacket escape. Dorothy Dietrich is well experienced and would be a good resource for this gag if you can find her and come up with a consultant’s fee. Dixie Dooley is yet another performer that has experience doing this bit. Dixie discusses it (and shows his rig) on one volume of his escape DVD series sold by Penguin Magic.

The Café’s own Mr. Escape (Steve Baker) is another great resource for this. In fact, Mr. Baker put a twist on this escape that no one has done before or since. Then there is Café member Mark Tripp who also has experience doing this escape and made it entertaining. Finally, there is Café member Dean Gunerson. All are resources that have experience in this.

What I am suggesting is that there are a number of individuals who post here on the Café' that can give you valuable advice on how to do the gag safely. Becareful who you listen to. There are a number of individuals who may have gotten out of a straightjacket from time to time but have never done the upside down version and there are a number of individuals who have watched a tape or read a book and have become instant experts.

My advice here is on safety and WHO to talk to, not HOW to do it! Frankly, I am not an practiced expert on upside down escapes having only performed it a half a dozen times over 20 plus years! That does not qualify me as an expert.

Talking about videotapes, you might just want to check out Jay Leslie’s videotape on Straightjacket escapes. He shows his “T” bar rig. It has a feature that allows you to have one leg seemingly come free (and add to the excitement) yet remain safe and secure.

You might try the search function and find and read Café member and escape artist/magician Margarette’s experience falling from only a few feet. She managed to bend upward and land on her shoulder and back. She was hurt and hurt and hurt badly. Luckily for her she managed to recover. But she learned a valuable lesson in equipment safety!

Find the expert, get some advice on how to make it entertaining and then find the right equipment. Otherwise you are risking your life and health for a “so-what” response.


By the way, if you had tried the search function you would have found this thread on the same topic:
http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......8&19
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
The Amazing Michael
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I would have to agree with Mr. Murphy and Mr. Straitjacket here. I only did the upside down straitjacket escape one time in front of an audience, but I did it in a controlled enviornment dozens and dozens and dozens of times before I took it public. I also did a heck of a lot of work with my supension rig before I ever allowed myself to hang from it while wearing my straitjacket. My rig was carefully hand made by yours trully, so I knew the equipment better than anyone and I was confident that I was safe the whole time I was in it. However you chose to do it, do it safe. If you have a bad feeling about it, don't do it. Take our word for it....it is a whole different world when you are helpless and hanging head downward. And Mr. Murphy is dead right to tell you that taking the chance of getting hurt or killed is not worth any amount of appluse you may get. Even if we do not consiter ourselves magicians, we are still illusionists.....what I mean is this; we create the illusion of danger and that is how it should be. Create the illusion of danger, stay safe, then take your bow from the safety of the ground below. Good luck, Mike
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pastorclyde
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If you are looking for instructions for making a secure harness, let me know. I can send you to a page on my site and then answer any questions you may have. I can direct you to the safest material, thread and design as well. Let me know if I can be of help. I'm gone for the next week however so I'll have to get back to you after that.

Clyde
Mark Tripp
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Two words

Gravity Boots
The Amazing Michael
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Two more words.....die quickly. Nuf said.
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Mark Tripp
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Hardly. A simple web search shows there was never a recall on the product, nor did they ever release and drop anyone.

IF, and its a big if, he secures them correctly, he should have no problem.

If not, we let Darwin run its course, and there are fewer silly people in the gene pool.....
Roslyn
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UK
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You may want to read David Straitjacket's post in this http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......forum=18 before going down the gravity boots road.

Ros
The Magic Cafe account of The Conwy Jester, Erwyd le Fol formerly known as Roslyn Walker.
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DavidEscapes
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With all due respect to Clyde I think it is a mistake to make a harness yourself, unless you are already an expert the field. Though I am sure Clyde's design is excellent, and to me it looks exactly that. There only needs to be a small mistake in the construction for it all to come falling apart. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link! For instance, using the wrong thread, poor sewing, an error in the measurements, the wrong webbing, a mistake in the design. Any of these could make the harness unsafe.

Also, again, unless you are an expert, a home made harness will prove less adjustable and less adaptable as the professional kit.

My body harness was made by Ampspec in California. For a total cost of $220 I got a fantastic full body harness, comfortable, fully adjustable, and I can attach a safety line at about 10 different points. meaning I can hang in just about any different direction. They can be found here: http://www.amspecinc.com/

They also make ankle harnessing (The ones seen used on Fear Factor) again, its good kit at a decent price.

Going back to the height question. yes, it is irrelevant, falling on your head from just about any height can kill, cripple or cause brain damage. I have made this mistake myself, thinking, its only 10ft, I don't need to worry to much. This partly comes from my history as a circus performer. We would think nothing of working at height, rigging, swinging on trapezes, walking on tightropes, with no harnessing at all. But familiarity breeds contempt, and contempt is a killer. My own father learned that to his cost. All his life as a builder he had felt too confident. Never using harnesses while running around on roofs, putting up scaffolding and the like. Until he finally fell off. He only dropped about 15 feet. But after 15 surgeries on his back, metal plates, kidney failure, collapsed stomach wall, losing his teeth, crushing 5 vertebrae, and much more he will never walk properly again, he can barely walk at all, and he will never see another day without pain. This is a man that used to ride the wall of death. Is that plain enough for you?

Don't trust this to Chance.

David
David Victor - The artist formally (and still occasionally) known as David Straitjacket.

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pastorclyde
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I'm with David- buy a harness from the experts! If, however, you decide you are going to make your own anyways, don't just throw something together hoping it will work. Instead, please contact me. Using the wrong type of webbing, thread, sewing techniques and/or designs can be disasterous.

Clyde
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