surrounds the death and exploits of "HOUDINI". More mysterious
still, nearly seventy years after he died, the reputation of this
illusionist/showman is alive and well. The name HARRY HOUDINI is guaranteed
to spark interest in people from many different walks of life ...
a lot of people! Why is that? Even in these more sophisticated times,
an Escape Artist can still drum up a crowd. So, is there something
about the idea of a man being bound, restrained or physically challenged
that strikes a mysterious chord in the human psyche? Who knows? Who
I do know is that, quite a lot of grown men have admitted to me their
childhood fascination with HOUDINI and his exploits. Now, although
grown up, some impulse towards his imagery is still alive and kicking
in one form or another. I know this is true, because the first time
I wrote a magazine article about my childhood interest in HOUDINI,
the feedback was amazing. When I first turned my private hobby into
a small business selling Houdini memorabilia including a limited range
of handcuffs ... the demand soon turned "Fetters" into an
internationally known manufacturer of reproduction restraint equipment,
all of it in full working order. So, why are there so many collectors
and Houdini-enthusiasts around the world? The answer is not simple.
Every personal story I hear is just slightly different. This variety
of seemingly unrelated interests is what interests me now. That is
what made the appeal of HOUDINI so universal when he was alive, and
the same broad and complex appeal is what keeps his reputation alive
the conscious attraction was challenge. The physical and psychological
skills which allowed HOUDINI to beat so many challenges were fun for
me to explore as a young teenager. I could never resist a challenge.
While learning these skills and experimenting, I met dozens of people
who enthusiastically rose to my challenge; people within my limited
local area. These would-be challengers put a lot of time, energy and
creative thinking into trying to nail me. Natural human instinct?
Nothing sinister as far as I was ever aware, but an interesting mix
of social/psychological responses.
years later I am convinced that, in a surprising number of people
there's a general instinctive fascination in seeing someone tied and
trying to escape. A good indication of this is the number of times
the situation crops up in TV and film dramas ... because it wouldn't
happen so often if it was generally unattractive. So, where does the
root of the mystery lie? There are many variables. Does watching a
person struggle to escape or fail to escape really trigger something
primitive in some of us? When watching someone being physically challenged
do we wonder what it would feel like to be tied or be doing the tying?
Does the loss of power, or willing surrender of power appeal to people
whose everyday lives offer no challenge?
keeps this legend alive, I believe the mystery of the perennial fascination
will remain unsolved until more people relax and confront the issue
if it interests them in any conscious way. Of the many different sides
to the question, I know which part of the answer is inside me. Is
part of the answer within you? Whether your reply is "Yes"
or "No" ... feel free to enjoy what you enjoy.
to chapter two
to contents of "So I Like To Get Tied-up ... So What!!?"