The harrowing Aerial Straight Jacket Escape is an incredible escape to witness and one of Tony Laffan’s specialties. It is an amazing act of courage, determination and control to successfully complete this feat.

Tony Laffan has to overcome all odds to accomplish this escape. Harry Houdini first conceived it to promote the opening of his shows in a new town. He would perform the Aerial Straight Jacket Escape from one of its highest buildings. So in keeping with this tradition, Tony has attempted this feat of mind and body hanging upside down from cranes, basketball stadiums, stages and the highest point of a Roller Coaster known as the ‘Demon.’

During this escape, Tony is restrained as tight as physically possible into the regulation canvas straight jacket, complete with leather straps and steel buckles. Bound by his ankles, he is then raised into the air, dangling precariously in an inverted position with blood rushing to his head. The sensation of hanging upside down, suspended by his feet is incredibly disconcerting as it goes against all the laws of nature (and common sense) – placing enormous amounts of strain on the ankles legs and back fighting against gravity, twisting and struggling trying to free himself. He has to fight to retain his concentration and control in these unbearable painful conditions.

Once in the air, pushing through the pain and the unpleasant predicament, he then begins to work his upper body with precise muscle control, before escaping and being lowered to safe ground. Escaping from a straight jacket at any time is extremely painful, and in the situation of being inverted high into the air, only adds to the distress.

The Straight Jacket Escape is exhilarating to watch as it is performed in full view of the public. What Tony experiences, is fully absorbed by the audience, as they are drawn in contemplating if he will successes or not.

Tony’s reputation and safety is always put on the line every time he attempts an escape and yet he continues to accomplish the seemingly impossible and incredible feat of Houdini’s.



Imagine being sealed inside a water filled can without air and in complete darkness. Tony Laffan voluntarily does this twisting and trashing until he escapes free from the ‘Houdini Milk Can’ filled with water in one of the most famous escapes of all time. It is like performing two escapes in one! As if being buried alive in an airtight can filled with water trying to escape isn’t difficult enough, Tony has to first pick the lock that fastens the steel chain around his wrists. This means more time and more valuable oxygen.

Harry Houdini first performed his milk-churn escape in St Louis Missouri, in 1908. It was built as a death defying mystery and audiences were warned that Houdini faced a watery grave.




Houdini got volunteers to fit three padlocks to the lid of the churn. Crouched inside it, with no logical way that he could possibly reach the locks on the outside. The curtains were drawn around the cabinet while the orchestra played. Houdini performed the impossible and appeared dripping with water to the astounded audience.

The large galvanised container was similar in shape to the milk cans dairies supplied to farmers. Houdini reminded his audiences that a man could live only for a short time deprived of ‘life sustaining air’ and encouraged audiences to hold their breath with him the moment his head disappeared from view.

He stayed under for a minute and a half. Later on he performed it wearing hand cuffs completing it in three minutes.

Three years after performing the Milk Can escape tragedy almost struck at Leeds, England, when he accepted a challenge from a firm of brewers to escape from the can filled with beer. Houdini was a teetotaler and was overcome by the alcoholic fumes and had to be rescued when his assistant realised something was wrong and saved the unconscious Houdini from drowning.