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Luke Kerr
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Profile of Luke Kerr
What does a beginner in escapology must own in term of props (also pick locks etc etc)
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Profile of x-treem
Depends on what you want to do. I'll PM you some suggestions on getting you started later tonight.

A direct from text adaptation : The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde Starring Mickey Rooney in his final role.
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Profile of SpiffnikHopkins
I have the same question. Anyone wanna IM me and share some thoughts? My AIM screen name is the same as my user name.

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Profile of cardshark101
My favourite prop that I use is my set of skeleton keys, bummer, I forgot where I bought them from, I'll have a look for you.



All things are difficult before they become easy...
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Profile of x-treem
Cardshark, your keys (if they are for warded locks) if they are square in shape they were probably made by David De-Val, if they are rounded it would more than likely be Pro-Lok.
A direct from text adaptation : The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde Starring Mickey Rooney in his final role.
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Profile of RichardJones
Dear Luke,

If you are serious about starting escapology, I do not recommend using props at all.

Just as you might recommend a serious new card magician to stay away from Svengali and rising cards and to use an ungaffed deck escapes are the same.

What to do then?

OK - chain escapes are a good way forward to start so I recommend the second volume of Novak's art of escape series
Look Here!

This is 'selected chain escapes' and while there is some superfluous material, you'll learn a lot about some basic principles.

Next, I would buy yourself a length of rope, about 50 ft of a nylon sailing rope, find a good friend and get them to tie you up again and again in more and more imaginative ways.

Start in an upright position, then try tied to a chair perhaps or even hog-tying.

Confidence is the hardest thing with rope ties but once you have done a few you will find for yourself that it is impossible to tie somebody with rope such that they can't get out (after a struggle).

The long length will get tangled making it hard to tie and due to boredom on the tyer's part they will be bound to wrap it around your body (as opposed to tying it off) at some stage - even if only for one or two revolutions - then you have your slack to play with.

I say nylon rope - you will find that this rope is stiff making it impossible to tie tight knots with it.

If you have fun playing around with what I have suggested and want to get into handcuff escapes there is really only one EASY way to get into that area - that is to get the
'Handcuff Manipulation Training Kit' from Cannon's (at this address again:
Click Here!
and start learning from the only good published source of information on this topic.

I say EASY - but really it is not. You must have time and dedication.

Lock picking when you are starting out in escapes is not an important skill. After all, if you do aquire some skill in that direction, what are you going to do with it?

It has no real place on stage and usually only useful if people challenge you in private - and there are always ways around. If you are desparate to be able to display this skill, learn how to pick cuffs (from the kit I mentioned above) which is a lot easier than padlocks etc and if someone challenges you to open a lock you can say that you only deal with cuff locks which have different mechanisms because they are what are relevant to you as an escape artist.

The time you could spend on learning pin tumbler lock picking would be far better spent learning how to make an entertaining feat out of a simple item like the Siberian chain escape.

While professional escape artists do have props, your best way into the art is the hard way - and the genuine way.

You will find yourself more fulfilled and better equipped to deal with real escape situations.

Apart from anything else, if you have a genuine understanding of what is possible as opposed to what is not feasible, you will not make a fool of yourself like some famous magicians and have yourself shackled in a dangerous position and then supposedly pick your way out of gaffed cuffs when the pick isn't even seen going in to the keyhole (because it would be too large to fit) and then appear to pick a gimmicked lock in a way which, in fact, cannot be done with only one tool.

The man in question (you must know who) is an extremely talented magician but just bought props for his escapes - and I can tell you from first hand experience that the public can tell - and even if they might not say anything out loud they will keep it to themselves within.

Good luck - and feel free to ask me any questions - would appreciate it if you could do so on this board rather than email so that others might be able to benefit from any information that changes hands.

All the best,
Richard Jones.
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Profile of x-treem
Thanks for your wisdom Richard, your answers are often well thought and to the point.

My greatest fear is with "the famous magician in question" and people wanting to aspire to be like him. I believe on one of your boards someone who had truly done one of his feats had written about how stupid it was to even attempt it and that the famous magician brought back many bad memories, do you remember if the EA was Steve Baker?

I think it was about two years ago on the purple and grey Escapology-online. Will we ever see it again? Maybe as a restricted board?

Cheers hope your trip to Ian's was fruitful.
I hope to learn more from your knowledge.

A direct from text adaptation : The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde Starring Mickey Rooney in his final role.
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