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Escapologist has heart set on Belfast stunt despite man dying in similar magic act

Exclusive: Daredevil dicing with death

Steve Spade
Steve Spade

By David O'Dornan

The death of a man in India in a Houdini-style escape act won't stop an Irish magician attempting a similar stunt in Belfast.

Steve Spade, who featured on the Nolan Live TV show earlier this month, recently staged a daring feat.

He was chained to chair inside a caravan on the north coast with a shipping container suspended above it, and managed to get out before the container was dropped.

Earlier this week, Indian police recovered the body of a magician who drowned after his stunt went wrong.

Chanchal Lahiri (42), who was known by the stage name Mandrake, went missing in the Hooghly River in Kolkata after being lowered by crane into the muddy water.

He was inside a small, padlocked cage, his arms and legs were apparently bound and he was blindfolded.

"If I can open it up, it'll be magic, but if I can't, it'll be tragic," he told a watching crowd before he failed to reappear.

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Ireland's Houdini Steve Spade getting chained and locked before the two tonne container is dropped on him while he is locked inside a caravan at Blair's Holiday Homes Escape from Portmagic.
Ireland's Houdini Steve Spade getting chained and locked before the two tonne container is dropped on him while he is locked inside a caravan at Blair's Holiday Homes Escape from Portmagic.

Despite the tragedy, Limerick man Steve wants to attempt a similar stunt in the River Lagan and is asking businesses to help make his dream a reality.

He told Sunday Life: "They called him (Lahiri) India's Houdini, which is kind of ironic as I'm known as the Irish Houdini. It was close to home when I read it and I really felt for him.

"I'm sure he was well prepared and rehearsed. It does put things into perspective for sure. I'd be condoling towards him. It highlights the danger in these stunts, but I believe I can pull it off.

Steve Spade and the caravan in Portrush
Steve Spade and the caravan in Portrush

"Harry Houdini actually visited Belfast a lot of times in his career. It was a place he wanted to perform in.

"I did a bit of research and he actually never did an escape in Ireland, so it would be like following in his footsteps and doing what he wanted to do.

"I never started calling myself Ireland's Houdini - people started calling me it. As I get older and mature into the role, I feel like I have to earn the title.

Steve Spade's Portrush stunt
Steve Spade's Portrush stunt

"That's where the challenge element is coming in. Instead of just being called it, I'm going to prove to people that I'm Ireland's Houdini. That's what the next chapter of this is."

Steve's previous stunts have included a blindfold drive in a classic Jaguar at a vintage rally last year.

Last month, he performed the caravan escape in Portrush in front of a crowd of 3,000 people.

The 34-year-old, who says he has turned down offers to audition for Britain's Got Talent and Ireland's Got Talent, is now looking for business sponsors for his Lagan stunt, which he hopes to stage in the summer of 2020.

Steve can be contacted through his website, stevespademagic.com

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