Escape Artist Nearly Dies Attempting Houdini’s Burial Stunt

Some say that the key to a good magic trick is deception; diverting the audience’s eyes for even a second could give a magician all the time he needs. Then again, others would rather take magic to its absolute limit, even if it puts their lives in danger. One escape artist decided he would “go big or go home” — and almost didn’t get to go home at all.

Antony Britton decided to complete a stunt that not even the legendary Harry Houdini could top: he would not only be buried alive six feet underground, but also have to make his way to the surface — despite being handcuffed at the start. The stunt didn’t go as planned; Britton had to deal with the crushing weight of the soil as well as dwindling air supplies, all while he fought to escape. Though he made it within two feet of the surface, he had to be rescued by on-hand rescue workers. Luckily, he made it out safely with only seconds to spare, albeit with cracked ribs.

Incidentally, Britton gave Houdini’s stunt a try as part of a charity event for leukemia and lymphoma research. As an expert in his field — and someone who previously escaped a burning steel cage — he had every reason to believe he could do it. Since his failed attempt, Britton has claimed that he’ll do other stunts in the near future; being buried alive just won’t be one of them.

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