Photo a Day Challenge


In 1909 Scottish engineers recreated a gibbet like the one on the right and issued an escape challenge to Houdini.  The gibbet was modeled after one used in the 1680s to suspend criminals until death.  Houdini escaped within minutes.

For Metamorphosis, bottom left, Houdini, locked inside the box, exchanged places with a female assistant outside the box.

At top left, the milk can challenge was performed with Houdini handcuffed inside while it was filled with water and locked from the outside.  The audience was asked to hold their breath as long as he did as he escaped from behind a curtain.

15 responses

  1. Tony

    must have been kind of suspense watching Houdini struggling …

    March 12, 2011 at 8:54 am

  2. WOW!!

    March 12, 2011 at 11:48 am

  3. death by gibbet sounds like a lousy way to die!

    March 12, 2011 at 12:57 pm

  4. Amazing. Did they explain how he did any of these feats?

    March 12, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    • Yes. The museum did reveal the secrets. In fact there was a bit of a controversy when they did so.

      March 12, 2011 at 6:37 pm

  5. Must be quite a fascinating place to visit, seeing all his props but still being none the wiser as to how he achieved all his daring escapes.

    March 12, 2011 at 5:35 pm

  6. Steven

    Yes, reveal his secrets! How did he do these acts of illusion?

    Nice composite photo!

    March 12, 2011 at 6:33 pm

  7. These are great! I vaguely remember hearing of the squabbling about revealing his secrets

    March 12, 2011 at 8:46 pm

  8. Thanks for sharing, would be interesting to find out he did his act.

    March 13, 2011 at 8:34 am

  9. I was always so intrigued by magicians and their tricks growing up…and Houdini was one of the greats…I love the processing of this image, definitely makes it magical!

    March 14, 2011 at 8:41 am

  10. So that’s what a gibbet is… really fascinating the challenges that Houdini faced and completed successfully. I’m enjoying your museum photos.

    March 15, 2011 at 6:29 pm

  11. Very interesting challenges for Harry! Scary!

    March 15, 2011 at 9:44 pm

  12. Wish we knew Houdini’s secrets for escape. Great take on this theme. Love the Museum.

    March 16, 2011 at 8:05 pm

  13. Nicely done! What a fascinating exhibit this must be. What other treasures does the museum hold?

    March 24, 2011 at 9:06 am

  14. What a wonderful photo. Your work is so incredibly good, I can see I need to try MUCH harder

    March 29, 2011 at 4:47 pm

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