SPOKANE, Wash. -- Illusionist Jay Owenhouse’s attempt to break a decades-old escape record held by the legendary Harry Houdini fell just short Saturday.
Houdini died 87 years ago, but still holds the world record for the fastest escape from a straight jacket while hanging upside down. At River Park Square Saturday, Owenhouse attempted to break Houdini’s record of 90 seconds, with a dangerous element added into the mix.
SEE PHOTOS: Jay Owenhouse prepares for dangerous escape attempt
“In the 1920’s Harry Houdini used to hang upside down off a building and do the straight jacket and it was enough to draw everyone in town,” Owenhouse said. “Today, people see so much stuff on TV…I just felt like it needed to have something - another element to it, you know, [to] make it more dangerous.”
SEE VIDEO: Owenhouse tackles Houdini's record at River Park Square
The suspended Owenhouse hung 16 feet above the ground in his straight jacket between a set of sharp steel teeth, dubbed “The Jaws of Death.” The teeth were held open only by a rope. When Owenhouse began his escape attempt 16 feet off the ground, the rope was lit on fire, limiting the amount of time the illusionist had to escape to around two minutes before the jaws would snap shut.
In front of an anxious crowd gathered at the mall, Owenhouse managed to free himself and jump to safety before the jaws closed - but some seconds shy of Houdini’s 90-second record.
“It’s a big relief,” Owenhouse said after the attempt. “I didn’t break Houdini’s record today but I’m just happy, you know, that I didn’t get hurt either.”
The illusionist said he would try to break the record again.
“I believe it’s a record that can be broken,” he added.
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