An Indian magician inspired by Harry Houdini is dead after he failed to reappear when he was tied with ropes, locked in chains and dropped into a river.
Chanchal Lahiri, whose stage name was Jadugar Mandrake, had not been seen since Sunday afternoon, when he was lowered into the Hooghly River, which branches off the Ganges, river traffic police officer Syed Waquar Raza told Agence France-Presse Monday.
Raza also told the Times of India that police had given Lahiri permission to perform a stunt but that the magician said it would be performed on a boat and did not mention water.
“However, he did vaguely mention an ‘extra act,’ which he did not clarify,” Raza said.
According to the BBC, Lahiri, in his 40s, was shackled with six locks and lowered into the river from a boat in Kolkata.
Before he attempted the trick, Lahiri, dressed in a yellow and red costume, turned to a crowd that had gathered to watch his performance.
“If I can open it up, then it will be magic, but if I can’t, it will be tragic,” he said, according to the Guardian.
Famed illusionist Harry Houidini performed a version of the trick more than 100 years ago when he escaped from a box tossed into New York’s East River.
Lahiri also had done the stunt at least a dozen times, Sumit Kharbanda, president of the Indian Brotherhood of Magicians, told the Guardian.
More than 20 years ago, he performed the same trick while locked in a glass box and lowered into the same river, Lahiri told the AFP. He said he was attempting the stunt again to “revive interest in magic.”
Ryan W. Miller,USA TODAY