This Friday, October 29th, Inside Magic Favorite and world-renown escape artist Dean Gunnarson will go for broke.
We have mentioned several times that Dean Gunnarson is nuts and should be stopped before he kills himself again. (Recall that one of his first coffin escapes ended in him dying but resuscitated by incredible medical professionals). His newest stunt could bring incredible fame or posthumous second-guessing.
Here are the details of what he hopes to accomplish:
Dean will be chained, locked, and bound and placed inside a steel coffin;
The lid will be locked on and wrapped in even more chains and locks on the outside;
The coffin, with Dean securely locked inside, will be lowered 6 feet underground;
Dean will be buried alive with over 3 tons of dirt dumped on top of him.
He will remain within the coffin and beneath the 6,000 pounds of dirt for two days; and,
Dean will then attempt to escape on Sunday Halloween Day around 1:26 P.M. The exact day and time the Great Houdini died in 1926.
We should point out that he will not have access to water, food, or similar accoutrements.
Dean said his boyhood wish was to die on the same day as his mentor, Houdini.
Of course, Houdini would not have performed the stunt in the first place. The great escape artist tried it out with assistants at the ready. He nearly died. Houdini wrote in his diary that the escape was “very dangerous” and that “the weight of the earth is killing.”
“I know that from a physical and mental stand point this will be my most challenging escape ever,” said Gunnarson. “The last time I was locked in a coffin I died. (He was underwater for nearly 4 minutes before the coffin was raised back out of the murky waters and rescuers found his blue lifeless body). I never wanted to be in another one and I never have. I will have to conquer all my personnel fears and demons to make this escape on Halloween.”
I have been back in China performing more big and dangerous escapes for the last ten days.
As you know, on July 26th I was hit by a speeding Roller Coaster while filming my TV special in Beijing.
Two months to the day after having my foot crushed as I leaped almost clear of the coaster, I was in Chengdu, China attempting, yes, another and even more dangerous Coaster escape.
I was chained and handcuffed to the tracks of one of China’s newest and fastest roller coaster. This time I was doing it on a live television show, with a live audience, swarms of media representatives, and, of course, a broken foot.
The escape was to promote many upcoming escapes I will be performing throughout the 61st Anniversary of National Day.
The National Day is actually a week, running from October first through the seventh.
On this day, the Chinese celebrate their victory over the evil democratic Chinese that were forced to flee to Taiwan in 1949 after they lost the civil war.
(So what better way to celebrate this Historic day then to bring in an escape artist that liberates himself from constant live and death manacles and symbolizes Freedom?)
Inside Magic Favorite Dean Gunnarson is one of the fittest folks we know. That’s one advantage of being an escape artist. A recent study by the non-profit (but not by choice) Inside Magic Foundation showed a direct and correlative relationship between the physical fitness of an escape artist and his or her longevity.
To wit: Houdini was the gold standard of fitness for his time. His career lasted for decades, throughout and despite spectacular physical injuries and infections.
On the other hand, Tommy “Binge” Hardy II began his escape career on July 4, 1952 and ended six hours later. It actually took firefighters only four-and-a-half hours to unlock the wheezing and whimpering performer from the portable toilet from which he was to escape.
The Interlake Spectatorof Manitoba, Canada carries the inspiring story of Dean Gunnarson’s visit to a local school to deliver an important message for the kids. "It's important kids learn how important physical activity is," Mr. Gunnarson told those at the Arborg Middle School’s Physical Activity Day. As The Spectator noted, Dean Gunnarson’s “performances require him to hold his breath to escape from certain death.”
We love the turn of the phrase “escape from certain death.” It reminds us of our favorite Houdini poster for The Milk Can Escape, “Failure Means a Drowning Death.”
Dean Gunnarson performed some effects and then escaped from what looks like a rope tie or chain escape. He also shared his secret for success. He told students of his vow in junior high school to live healthy; no smoking, no drugs or alcohol. He made these choices precisely because he wanted to be an escape artist. “These are the decisions I made in junior high school," he said. "You have to be in good shape. What I do is very physical."
Dean Gunnarson's exploits are known to magicians and escape afficianados around the world. Now, with the release of still images of his nearly fatal encounter with a speeding roller coaster, he has received notice and press coverage beyond expectation.
Early this morning, we received word from Inside Magic Favorite Dean Gunnarson, that things did not go as planned in his planned escape from the tracks of a speeding roller-coaster in Beijing.
The Toronto Sun had coverage this afternoon filling in the details of what must have been a horrific event.
Dean Gunnarson is insane but also very safe. That is to say, when he hangs by his toes over the Hoover Dam, he makes sure the wind speed is in the single digits and he has no butter or slippery goo on his boots. Despite his devotion to safety, he has had several near catastrophes over his career.
He began with hypothermia and near drowning in the frigid waters of Canada where the water and cold robbed him of a chance to escape from his shackles or the locked wooden casket. He's pulled, broken, snapped, and twisted body parts with verve much to the delight of fans and his medical professionals.
Still, as we have admitted on this magic news outlet and to professional mental health workers, his stuff scares us silly.
He had freed himself and was attempting to dive to safety when the roller-coaster car, which was travelling at nearly 100 km/h, clipped his right foot.
He sustained a broken bone in his foot and some internal bleeding.
He was in hospital Tuesday in Beijing but was hoping to return to Canada by Wednesday.
In his news release, Gunnarson said he believed hot and humid conditions, with a temperature of 36 C, contributed to him losing the extra split second he needed to completely avoid the bullet roller-coaster car.
The 46-year-old Manitoba resident – who has performed death-defying escapes around the world since he was in his teens – said this escape was a little too close for comfort.
"I have always said I don't do card tricks or pull bunnies out of a hat," Gunnarson said in his news release. "I push the envelope in an extreme way that tries to do the impossible with every great escape I have ever attempted. I like to keep things close but this was beyond close. It was near death."
The escape was part of Gunnarson's Bound for Danger world tour and was being shot for inclusion in a magic special on Chinese television.
This autumn, Gunnarson is planning an escape in which he will be locked inside a steel coffin and buried six feet underground for 48 hours.
After two days, he will attempt to escape on Halloween, the anniversary of the death in 1926 of legendary magician and escape artist Harry Houdini.
Houdini wrote, "No one wants to see a man die, but they want to be there when it happens."