World-Famous Escape Artist, Dean Gunnarson is not normal.
Rather, he is nuts.
He performs an escape attempt each Halloween as a tribute to Houdini. The escapes are never easy and rarely safe, but always the subject of great media attention.
Performing escape attempts that combine high risk and great difficulty is sure bet for unexpected and tragic results. Perhaps that is why the press follows each attempt so closely.
Quoth Houdini: No one wants to see someone die, but they want to be there if it happens.
A quarter century ago, Mr. Gunnarson came with in a breath or two of losing his life in an underwater escape dedicated to Houdini.
As more than 10,000 watched, Mr. Gunnarson was shackled inside a coffin and lowered into the frigid, rushing Red River in Winnipeg, Canada.
Mr. Gunnarson provided Inside Magic with his recollection of what went wrong. He was unconscious when the coffin was pulled from the river. The quick work of rescue workers saved the 19-year-old performer’s life.
This year, Mr. Gunnarson chose a different type of underwater escape.
The Winnipeg Sun reports Mr. Gunnarson “was chained, locked and handcuffed to the roof of a sport utility vehicle and driven through an automatic car wash.”
The soon to be very clean Mr. Gunnarson told reporters, “This may not be as death-defying as some of my other escapes, like being locked in shark cages underwater, but this still has elements of risks for me.”
The owner of the car wash commented on the risks involved in the unique attempt.
“I have cleaned and detailed many exotic cars over the years, but never had anybody do anything this crazy before,” Dave Watson said before the stunt. “I know Dean has done lots of great escapes, but that hot wax and those hot brushes are going to hurt like hell if he doesn’t escape in time.”
Mr. Gunnarson used the event to not only pay tribute to Houdini but also to raise awareness for the Canadian Cancer Society and their battle against more than 200 cancers facing Canadians.
Within two minutes, Mr. Gunnarson was able to escape and broke free just in time.
“My teeth have never felt so clean, and the triple-waxing … I could feel that,” said the showman, as he emerged from the watery haze, kneeling on the vehicle.
Mr. Gunnarson plans one of the riskiest escape attempts for next Halloween.
“Next year I want to get chained up, put in a coffin and buried alive for a week so I can escape on Halloween, so hopefully I can stay alive until then,” he said.
We share Mr. Gunnarson’s hope.
Check out his web site – www. AlwaysEscaping.com – for great video and images of his great escapes over the years.