Several local Salem magicians and illusionists will bring performance magic to the Salem Arts Festival and will be showcasing their skills in Houdini Way. Sponsored by Better than Fiction Tours

By all accounts, it’s been 117 years since Harry Houdini performed in Salem. And in honor of his performance here, we will be utilizing the very alleyway he walked down in 1906 to bring magic to the streets of Salem in 2023. 

Salem is a city with a long history of magic. In 1692, the Salem Witch Trials took place, and while there were no witches and no magic, there was dangerous superstition and fear. In 1993, the movie Hocus Pocus was released, which popularized the Sanderson sisters, a trio of witches. Today, Salem is home to a wide variety of spiritual beliefs, including Wicca and paganism, which use and understand magic within their own constructs.

In April 1906, Harry Houdini, the world-famous escape artist, visited Salem. He was challenged by the chief of police to escape from a locked cell in the Salem Police Station. Houdini accepted the challenge and, in just 13 minutes, he escaped from the cell and appeared in front of a crowd of onlookers.

Houdini’s escape from the Salem Police Station was a publicity stunt, but it was also a testament to his skill and his mastery of magic. His escape made him a household name and helped to solidify his place in history as one of the greatest escape artists of all time.

Here are some additional details about Houdini’s escape:

  • Houdini was stripped naked and locked in a cell with several handcuffs and foot shackles.
  • His clothes were secured in another cell, and the cell next to him was occupied by Robert McCoy, who had been arrested the night before.
  • The room was locked, and the officials waited eagerly in front of the building.
  • At 9:25 AM, just 13 minutes after being locked in the cell, Houdini knocked on the front window.
  • He had escaped from the handcuffs and shackles, unlocked the next cell, retrieved his clothes, gotten dressed, and handcuffed himself to Robert McCoy.
  • He then escaped out the back door and walked down what is now Houdini Way.

2023 Magic Stage Sponsor

Houdini’s escape from the Salem Police Station was a remarkable feat, and it is one of the most famous stories in his long and illustrious career.