Health & Fitness
Houdini Puzzle Collection

Houdini Puzzle Collection

Houdini Puzzle Collection

Harry Houdini was an astounding escapologist known for his sensational and mystifying acts. Houdini began his magic career breaking out of handcuffs in small tent acts, and soon extended his skill set to escaping chains, ropes and straightjackets underwater and on top of skyscrapers. The puzzles in this book represent some of the mind-bending problems that the Great Houdini may have found interesting and inexplicable for his audiences. We hope that it boggles your mind and inspires you to discover the wonders of magic and illusion that the remarkable Houdini devoted his life to.

United Kingdom
Future Publishing Ltd
Read More
$8.28(Incl. tax)

in this issue

2 min.

Harry Houdini is still remembered as probably the greatest illusionist and escapologist to have lived, and he definitely remains the most famous. His is a household name, synonymous with daring escapes. Even today, stage magic and escapology are shaped by his legacy of daring, cunning and dogged perfectionism. Houdini was born in 1874 as Erik Weisz, the son of Jewish parents who lived in Budapest in Hungary. The family moved to America in 1878, and found their way to New York in 1887. His stage name, Houdini, was homage to Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin, the father of modern stage magic. He started out with strongman and card-trick acts, and met his wife and life-long stage partner Bess Rahner during this time. But Houdini’s true expertise, born of fascination and years of intensive study,…

7 min.
the escape: part one

I wake slowly, my mind and body unusually sluggish, my surroundings unfamiliar. Where am I? How did I get here? My memory offers no answers. I’m no stranger to endless hotel rooms, but this place is utterly unknown to me. We’re not on tour, either. I should be at home. Where is Bess? This is an outrage. Glancing around the room, my eyes alight upon a piece of paper tacked to the back of the door. I get up off the bed and walk over to it, to see what it has to say. Well, now. There seems little option but to take the matter at face value, at least for the now. Questions tumble over themselves in my mind, but there is no one to whom they might be addressed, and in…

1 min.
threading the needle

To ensure the safety of magic tricks and escapes, it is always of vital importance to have exact control over and information on the materials to be used. There is a myriad of useful little techniques that help in this matter. For example, consider the matter of a cylindrical steel barrel to be half-filled with water. It is quite possible that for certain tricks, underestimating the amount of water in the barrel could prove to be a fatal error. Similarly, whilst overestimating the water level is unlikely to be dangerous, it could easily render a trick obvious, to the disappointment of the audience. Given such a barrel – open-topped for the now – can you think of a simple way to ascertain for certain whether it is more or less than half-full…

2 min.
the walk of penance

The Great Houdini takes to the stage. With a flourish, he beckons to some assistants. These worthies carry on a long metal trench, which they place in front of the illusionist. While they retreat, Houdini tips the trench up to show it to the audience. It is roughly eighteen inches wide, four inches deep, and six feet in length, made from plates of steel welded together. The assistants return carrying boxes, which they empty into the trench. With a clattering and shattering, shards of broken glass pour out of the boxes and into the trench, filling it completely. Whilst the Great Houdini removes his finery, stripping down to a pair of well-padded swimming trunks, the audience is invited to come and inspect the contents of the metal container. It is indeed…

1 min.

Houdini had a number of signature acts, and one of the earliest of these was his boast that he was able to escape from any pair of handcuffs provided by either the audience or local police. The act was so impressive that it gave him his first break in 1899, winning him a tour of the US. But how did he do it? I’ll give you a tip – it didn’t involve dislocating his thumb. SOLUTIONS The simple answer is that Houdini studied handcuffs obsessively. He not only knew all the different models available, he had his own pairs of them, along with keys to them all. He only needed to glance at the cuffs to know which key he’d need to get out of them, and he made sure to check…

1 min.

In this dazzling display of talent and psychic ability, the Great Houdini sets up chessboards for a row of four opponents, and then places a folded scrap of paper on a desk, in the care of an adjudicator. Once all is ready, the games begin. Houdini is a whirlwind of motion as he starts off the chess games, moving from board to board, playing ferociously against his cunning opponents. He takes white on each board of course, and seems to never need more than a moment refreshing himself to find a move that leaves his opponent reeling. The adjudicator has his work cut out just ensuring that all moves are legal. Pieces fall like dominoes, and in less than five minutes all four games are done. Houdini has won two, drawn a…