Thursday, October 13, 2011

Link: Keys to Houdini's secrets (video)

Check out this clip of Dorothy Dietrich discussing the mystery behind Houdini's famous Mirror handcuff escape on the Travel Channel's Mysteries At The Museum. The show airs October 18 at 9pm and again on October 19 at 12 AM.


  1. I would think the most telling evidence of pre-arrangement is that a nested Bramah lock simply can't be picked in those conditions and that amount of time. It's far too complicated.

    I don't have the citation in front of me, but Randi once wrote that the cuffs had to have been opened with a key.

    Kalush and Sloman's research regarding the date of the sterling silver replica is pretty conclusive, as well.

  2. Any possibility that Houdini may have been able to slip his wrists from these cuffs? If you read the newspaper descriptions when Houdini finally walk out from his ghost house free of the cuffs they were in an unopened condition. Do these cuffs require a key to close them or do they snap closed?

  3. Hi. The Mirror's description says Houdini "held the shining handcuffs in his hand -- free." It doesn't say they were opened or not. Do you have a description from another newspaper that explicitly says they were unopened?

  4. It was either a newspaper account specifically or details from one of Gibsons books on Houdini referencing a newspaper account.

  5. The closest I can find to a relevant comment by Gibson is that Houdini always returned handcuffs locked. That gave rise to the suspicion that he slipped them off. It also gave the impression of solid passing through solid, if spectators were so inclined to think, and it misdirected them from the lock.

    The Mirror account says the handcuffs were snapped on and the key turned six times.

    I don't mean to be argumentative, but I've never heard anyone suggest that the cuffs could have been merely slipped off.

    In fact, some time after the challenge, Houdini let other people try the cuffs and one person with very thin wrists was able to slip out of them, but it was laughably obvious that he could do so.

  6. No reason to argue.....either way the idea has always been how did Houdini get out of those cuffs? Most say he could not have picked them, recent speculation is that houdini staged the entire stunt while the past idea was that Bess begged the Mirror rep for the key and gave it HH during a kiss (which we now know would be impossible since the key is 6 inches long). The only other possible scenario is that he was able to somehow slip them from his wrists. I was sure I read that Houdini walked from his ghost house with those cuffs free from his wrists unopened. Thinking about it maybe I am confusing this with another escape. I do think its a plausable scenario since its the only scenario that would allow for a legit escape from these cuffs keeping in mind that most everyone feels Houdini could not have picked them.

  7. I don't think Houdini could have slipped the Mirror Cuffs off because they were custom made to fit his wrists. It's pretty conclusive from the printed evidence that Houdini staged this escape with other collaborators. Does anybody really believe that Houdini could have picked that complicated lock in that small cabinet with little light in one hour? And with those cuffs snapped on his wrist? Of course, that's what Houdini wanted us to believe. It was his job to try and make us believe.

  8. I do agree that the recent published evidence, if accurate, points to a collusion between Houdini and the Daily Mirror and that the cuffs were made for HH himself. However with such a famous event you would think someone would have come foreword with an expose at some point after. Even if the only ones originally in the know were HH and the Mirror publisher you would think at some point the truth would come out. The other point which is explainable but odd......why go to the extent of building a nested Brahma lock cuff for a staged event?

  9. One possibility is that Houdini could challenge other "handcuff kings" with the cuffs and be sure of winning. I don't have my books in front of me, but I remember reading that he did let others try to get out of them. Hence the guy with the thin wrists and small hands literally slipping them off.


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