Header Image Source: Photo by Paolo Chiabrando on Unsplash
1. Harry Houdini (Science History Images / Alamy)
2. Bess Houdini
3. Houdini jumps from Harvard Bridge, 1908 (GL Archive / Alamy)
4. Houdini performing his water torture cell stunt
"For over 30 years, Harry Houdini dazzled audiences with his bravura stunts and superhuman endurance. The Hungarian-born escape artist jumped off bridges while handcuffed and wearing leg irons, slithered out of sealed milk cans filled with water, and devised a “Chinese Water Torture Cell” in which he was submerged and suspended upside down by his ankles. The heart-pounding getaways usually involved a healthy dose of trickery and sleight-of-hand, but they were also fraught with genuine risk. In 1915, Houdini nearly suffocated during a stunt in which he was shackled and buried under six feet of dirt.
Houdini had made a career out of surviving the impossible, which only made the circumstances of his 1926 death all the more mysterious. The 52-year-old performed before a packed house in Detroit on October 24, but was rushed to the hospital afterwards with an apparent case of appendicitis. He died just a week later on Halloween, leaving his legions of admirers bewildered. An obituary in the New York Times expressed shock at the sudden passing of the man “who so often had seemed to thousands to be cheating the very jaws of death.”..."
-Source: “What Killed Harry Houdini?” by Evan Andrews (History) 2021
Brandon Swanson Missing Person poster (FBI)
"Born on January 30, 1989, in Marshall, Minnesota, Brandon Swanson was a 19-year-old college student who was enrolled in a wind turbine program at Minnesota West Community and Technical College in Canby.
The Night of the Disappearance
The spring semester had just come to an end and on the night of May 13th, 2008, Swanson attended two different parties to celebrate. He was seen drinking at both parties, but according to his friends, he didn’t drink enough to become intoxicated, at least not overtly.
At around 2 AM on the morning of May 14th, Swanson called his parents from his cellphone, informing them that he had accidentally driven his car into a ditch, essentially high-centering the vehicle. He assured them that both he and the car were fine and that he merely needed them to pick him up.
He told his parents that he believed himself to be near the city of Lynd and that the lights he spotted off in the distance were coming from there. So they drove out there looking for him. Both Swanson and his parents had agreed to flash their headlights on and off in order to signal to each other. However, after several failed attempts at locating Swanson using this method, tensions were rising.
“Don’t you see me?” he asked his parents, exasperated.
Brandon's Last Call
Finally Swanson decided on a different course of action. He would start walking in the direction of the lights. He asked his parents to meet him in the parking lot of a popular nightclub in Lynd. Unfortunately he would never make it there..."
-Source: “Missing Since 2008: Brandon Swanson” by Michelle Short (The Crime Wire)