InCite Sample Stories
The Impossible Possible
In unison the standing room only crowd ceased their chatter. Every head
swiveled spellbound toward the front of the theatre. A lone figure
emerged from a large, stark, black box that sat solitary upon the
expansive stage. The rapt attention of this Edwardian crowd focused
upon the most illustrious, famous magician and escape artist of modern
times, Harry Houdini. Throughout the elegant theater, stunned silence had
fallen upon the finely dressed audience of 4,000.
But at this instant…could this be the moment that the celebrated Harry
Houdini finally failed to free himself? Had this challenge been more than
he anticipated? Had he given up?
The encompassing quiet only served to amplify the obvious; the
celebrated escape artist appeared to be experiencing considerable trouble.
The immense shackles still bound his wrists. Having been in the stage box
for a considerable span of minutes, he had emerged drenched in sweat.
Troubled murmurs rippled and raced through the crowd.
A sweltering heat gripped London on that evening in 1904 as the great
Houdini met a much publicized challenge to escape from the strongest,
most complex hand restraints ever devised. These massive manacles
consumed five years in their design and construction for this very
challenge. They featured six sets of unique, complicated locks involving
nine tumblers each. Every expert who examined them proclaimed they
had never witnessed anything so complex. Authorities surmised this
intricacy would be the final word in defeating the legendary escape artist.
Earlier the crowd had watched enamored as a committee of authorities
frisked and searched Houdini for special lock-picking gadgets or unusual
contrivances. Left with his formal suit and a couple of minor
knickknacks that would serve no purpose, the judges stood convinced.
Satisfied that he concealed nothing of the sort to assist him, they secured
the handcuffs firmly around Houdini’s wrists. The magician then entered
a barren, black stage box that had also been thoroughly searched and
inspected. The long minutes of waiting and wondering dragged
endlessly. The crowd whispered quietly and sparsely at first, but they
grew increasingly louder, more speculative, more widespread, and more
doubtful of Houdini’s abilities.
Then came his emergence from the box. The shackles still bound him.
Was the Great Houdini surrendering in defeat? They crowd waited,
holding a collective breath.
Showing no concern or stress over the shackles, Houdini calmly and
politely asked if the handcuffs might be detached momentarily so that he
could remove his coat since the evening remained exceedingly hot and
humid. The blustery experts harrumphed and staunchly refused, believing
the request to be a ruse to study the cuff locks’ operation. The audience
murmured a mixed reaction of agreement with the experts, while others
held sympathy for the famous performer.
Being a consummate showman and a gentleman, Houdini bowed to the
judges, tranquilly acknowledging the denial of his request. The performer
then quietly moved toward center stage. Unruffled and without using his
hands, he began a slow, rhythmic, completely orchestrated contortion,
systematically working the buttoned coat up over his shoulders, above his
head, then down and out to the ends of his arms. Once accomplishing
this feat, Houdini began a second set of tightly controlled movements,
shifting, scrunching, and curling himself up to obtain a small penknife in
his vest pocket. Extracting it with his teeth, he carefully opened the small
blade with his mouth. He maneuvered the knife about, positioning it with
a practiced skill. Using twists and turns of his head and neck, gripping
the knife with his teeth and tongue, Houdini commenced. He
methodically slashed away at the garment until finally it fell in shambles to
the floor, completely cut away from his body.
Four thousand people leaped to their feet screaming and cheering in
delight, astonishment and admiration! Houdini gratefully acknowledged
their applause, then returned to the confines of the black cabinet.
Following another extended period, this time leaving the crowd abuzz
with renewed confidence about his skills, Houdini emerged once again,
unflustered and unfettered. Holding the open cuffs high above his head,
Houdini was met with the deafening acclaim of a hero’s triumph.
In the press, the attending experts acknowledged their later realization that
Houdini had been toying with them all along; that he possessed the
incredible ability to escape the manacles in seconds. He simply provided
everyone, including them, the heightened uncertainty, anticipation and
excitement of the exploit. Houdini had once again lived up to his
trademark slogan: “The Impossible Possible.”
Harry Houdini, remembered as the world’s most incredible magician,
benchmarks the enduring standard by which all others since are
measured. However, his dazzling spectacles derived little from the
supernatural. Hard work, endless practice, and constant conditioning
constituted the core of Houdini’s magic. Continuous research on all
aspects of his profession comprised the ingredients of his mystery and
Mysteries may have appeared spontaneously solved, but Harry Houdini
left nothing to chance. He prepared his body, his mind, his intellect, his
spirit, his courage for each escapade, trick, performance and illusion. It
was expertise and craft that built the tools of his trade. Houdini proved so
coolly capable with each situation that his feats appeared supernatural to
Magic? Far less from luck, far more from preparation, if someone
consistently performs the impossible, chances are the “Magic” derives
from practice, discipline, and hard earned experience.
Being prepared makes the impossible… possible.
Intrigued? Inspired? Want to read more? Order InCite today.