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He Attempted a Houdini Trick, and It May Have Killed Him

Chanchal Lahiri didn't emerge from the Hooghly river on Sunday
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 17, 2019 8:43 AM CDT
Harry Houdini.   (WikiMedia Commons)

(Newser) – He tried to do as Houdini once did—and it may have killed him. An Indian magician was lowered into the Hooghly river in West Bengal state on Sunday, his body bound with a chain and six locks in a Houdini-style trick, reports the BBC. Chanchal Lahiri's intention was to free himself and swim to shore, but he never resurfaced and is now believed dead. Authorities have yet to find the body of the 42-year-old, whose stage name was Mandrake. The Guardian reports he ominously told the crowd, "If I can open it up then it will be magic, but if I can't it will be tragic."

Police say there were no measures in place to rescue him if things went awry. The head of the Indian Brotherhood of Magicians says Lahiri had successfully attempted the stunt no less than a dozen times in both pools and rivers. "I don't know if it was a breathing issue or just not being able to undo the locks," he said. The Times of India quotes police as saying Lahiri had only mentioned performing magic on a boat in the river and made no mention of going in the water when requesting permission to attempt his trick. (This escape artist nearly died in 2015.)

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