• Magician attempting famous Houdini-style stunt drowns in river in India

    By: Shelby Lin Erdman, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:
    KOLKATA, India -

    The body of an Indian magician who was attempting to recreate a famous trick by the legendary illusionist Harry Houdini died Sunday after he was lowered into a river in West Bengal state, according to media reports.

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    Chanchal Lahiri, also known as Mandrake, was shackled with six locks and chains around his body and lowered into the Hooghly River from a boat as crowds of spectators on shore and in boats watched, according to the BBC


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    When he didn’t resurface within 10 minutes, police were called in to search for him.

    Lahiri’s body was identified late Monday, washed ashore near the site of his Houdini trick.

    A local newspaper photographer told the BBC that he spoke with Lahiri before the stunt.

    “I asked him why he risked his life for magic,” Jayanta Shaw said. “He [Lahiri] smiled and said, ‘If I do it right, it's magic. If I make a mistake, it becomes tragic.’”

    Lahiri also said he wanted to do the trick to “revive interest in magic.”

    Lahiri did a similar trick 20 years ago when he was lowered into the same river in a glass box, the Press Trust of India reported. He successfully escaped that time. 

    Shaw said he witnessed that stunt, too, according to the BBC.

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    "I never thought he would not come out of the water this time," he said.

    Houdini performed a number of death-defying stunts, including escaping from ropes, chains, straitjackets and handcuffs while submerged in packing crates, wooden boxes and other vessels.

     


     

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