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Your evening longread: Harry Houdini and the art of escape

It’s a coronavirus-free zone as we bring you an interesting longread each evening to take your mind off the news.

Harry Houdini jumps 30 feet from Harvard Bridge locked up in chains, April 30, 1908. Boston, Massachusetts. His hands were handcuffed and chained to a collar around his neck by a Boston policeman.
Harry Houdini jumps 30 feet from Harvard Bridge locked up in chains, April 30, 1908. Boston, Massachusetts. His hands were handcuffed and chained to a collar around his neck by a Boston policeman.
Image: Shutterstock/Everett Historical

EVERY WEEK, WE bring you a round-up of the best longreads of the past seven days in Sitdown Sunday.

For the next few weeks, we’ll be bringing you an evening longread to enjoy. With the news cycle dominated by the coronavirus situation, we know it can be hard to take your mind off what’s happening.

So we want to bring you an interesting read every weekday evening to help transport you somewhere else.

We’ll be keeping an eye on new longreads and digging back into the archives for some classics.

Harry Houdini and the art of escape

Escape artist Harry Houdini has long fascinated people – here’s the story of some of his most fascinating tricks, and how his career evolved.

(The New Yorker, approx 16 mins reading time)

Even before the milk-can stunt, Houdini had gone further than other magicians. Starting in San Francisco, in 1899, he often stripped naked in his handcuff routines. He was short but handsome, beautiful, even, with a wide brow, glittering dark eyes, and muscular arms, shoulders, and thighs. He would appear at some grim local jail or state prison, take off his clothes, and, to establish that he wasn’t hiding something on his person, undergo an intrusive inspection by a local medical examiner or police surgeon. He would then have himself locked in a cell, encumbered with shackles, and would emerge a short time later, holding them in his hand.

Read all of the Evening Longreads here>

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