Friday, December 9, 2016

David De-Val reveals 'The Real Secret' of Houdini's cell escapes

Here's something very exciting for those who are interested in learning the secrets behind Houdini's amazing feats.

During his career, escapologist and magician David De-Val visited and/or escaped from all of the surviving jail cells in the UK that Houdini escaped from. In doing so, De-Val claimed to have discovered Houdini's secret. In 2000, he recorded his exploits and findings in a privately printed book called Cell Escape - The Real Secret, which is a rare collectible.

Now Allan James Taylor and Rebecca De-Val have released a "new and improved" edition with all the original content from the 2000 edition along with new images and information. The first batch sold out immediately, but more are in stock and can be purchased now from the David De-Val Tribute website store.

For all you Escapologists – David De-Val’s Cell Escape – The Real Secret

“…I extensively researched Houdini’s seemingly supernatural escapes, concentrating for a period on his remarkable jail cell escapes. Many authors have put forward theories. Believe me, none have even come close to the real secret! I personally visited the jail cells in England from which Houdini performed his escapes all those years ago. Their locations were drawn from contemporary newspaper accounts made by the reporters who actually witnessed the stunt being performed. And very detailed they are – most running into many column inches. After four years of almost weekly study, at last I had his closely guarded secret! I set about proving this by duplicating his naked cell escapes at every opportunity…” - David De-Val.

For more on the life and work of David De-Val check out the David De-Val Tribute Site.

Thanks to Allan and Rebecca.



  1. What a beautiful site they put together for a very special person in our field no longer with us.

    Dorothy Dietrich and Dick Brookz
    The Houdini Museum, Scranton, PA
    The Only Building in the World Dedicated to Houdini

  2. Has anyone purchased David' book? Does itlive up to it's claim? I need to get this.

    1. I'm reading it now and loving it. A must in regards to learning/understanding how Houdini (most likely) worked.

    2. A couple of reviews here thanks

  3. I'm still waiting to receive my copy from England. I have Deval's Escapology Secrets which is a great book and has an interesting story about Houdini meeting with and arranging to use Carleete's barrel escape.

  4. I obtained my copy today of the above book (David De-Vals Cell Escape - The Real Secret) First accounts are the weight of the book as I unwrapped it, Its not a flimsy book but a high quality one and you can tell from the feel of the paper used and its well made. On the front is a photo of the late David De-Val in his youth and the black background is a much needed improvement. The book is also like the previous one in size, this is a strong point as it allows the photos to be seen so much better. Talking of photos this book has many fantastic pictures and articles in print and this time they are all very clear to see and are indeed better quality and considerably adds to to readers enjoyment and gives a much better insight in to the articles and events they each relate to.

    Content wise it remains as previous to have all the information and facts relating to part of the late David De-Vals Prison escape history, and there is added information and photos that now brings it right up to date in my view. The book remains to reflect on the hard work and experiences from all who contributed to it in the past and it respectfully in my view has done very well in this new edition leading where David & Riley left of so to speak.

    I myself admire the late David De-Val like many, This book has captured the past and brought it into the future for another generation to explore the art.

    Andy Robertson.

  5. I also received my copy, but due to work have only just got to have a proper look at it. When I say a proper look, I mean I couldn't put it down till I had read it from start to finish. I have David's original book, but this has updated & improved it. Allan & Rebecca have sourced new information & produced a very professional looking book. There is more information than the original & it contains clear colour photos, which are a great help for anyone interested in doing a cell escape. I have used Houdini's method, that David discovered many times & I can testify it works. I'm sure David hit the nail on the head. This book is a must for any EA that wants to know how to do a cell escape, more so, if they want to add one to the repertoire.

  6. My copy arrived today. As the designer and illustrator of the original I am delighted with this new, updated version. David DeVal was disappointed with the reproduction of the black and white photographs in the original edition (they were far too dark)' especially as many of them were high quality press photos. Sadly, David hadn't signed off a proof copy, so nothing could be done. This new edition has the original photos the way they were meant to be, and some new colour photos, too. Although we can't be 100% certain that Houdini used this method exactly, we know it works under the same test conditions. Allan Taylor has also included Weasel Dandaw's escape from York, and my own escape from Ripon last year...the end result is a beautiful book that will be sought after by everyone with a genuine interest in the art of the Escape Artist. Well done Allan and Rebecca.

  7. Thanks for the great feedback. Allan and Rebecca

  8. Anyone know where a DeVal Gimmick X can be obtained?