What Trick Is Harry Houdini Famous For?


Quick Answer

Harry Houdini was a famous magician and illusionist best known for his Chinese Water Torture Cell Escape. This illusion consisted of Houdini being submerged in a tank filled with water, while handcuffed or donning a straight jacket and escaping within minutes.

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Full Answer

Once Houdini realized the effect that this illusion had on his audience, he would continue to use it in some sort of variation throughout the remainder of his career. Houdini would be placed into the tank of water, headfirst with arms and legs shackled, or at times wearing a straight jacket. Once lowered into the water, the tank was covered and the audience awaited Houdini's great escape. Houdini learned to escape the contraption and be outside the tank within two minutes and one second. Many other illusionists, magicians and performers have tried to imitate the trick that made Houdini a household name, but none have succeeded in out-escaping the master and creator.

Houdini died in 1926 due to complications of a ruptured appendix and not of drowning in a failed escape of his Chinese Water Torture Cell trick. Many audience members and fans of Houdini's believed in the magic of this illusion, and honestly thought the man capable of magically transporting his body somehow.

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