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Winnipeg stuntman buried alive for days

Posted by Jeff on October 30, 2010 at 3:54 PM

The first time Dean Gunnarson tried this, officials had to scramble to bring him back to life. Stunt scared even Houdini



Dean Gunnarson has made a living dealing in death.

The Winnipeg, Manitoba, native isn't a mercenary or undertaker, but a successor to Harry Houdini and his death defying stunts. This Halloween, on the 84th anniversary of Houdini's death, Gunnarson will be taking on a stunt that terrified the master himself.

In his hometown, Gunnarson will spend Friday night, all day Saturday and part of Sunday buried six feet underground in a coffin. To complicate matters, he'll be bound in chains. On Sunday, Gunnarson plans to burrow to the surface by 1:26pm, the exact time Houdini died on Halloween in 1926.

While he's below ground, Gunnarson's every move will be captured by a video camera broadcasting to two screens above ground, ensuring no David Copperfield-style funny business will be employed.

In fact, the aids Gunnarson will be using to achieve his escape are all above board. He makes no secret of the fact that air will be pumped into the coffin to aid his breathing and that he'll carry a cellphone (which may or may not work) to call his team in case of emergency.

Gunnarson is no stranger to emergencies. In 1983, he nearly died while attempting another coffin escape, this time while floating in the Red River in Manitoba. He bungled his last breath and found himself unable to escape his chains. He was pulled from the river, freed by his team and resuscitated by paramedics. He had stopped breathing.

His brush with death didn't discourage him from continuing his quest to become the world's greatest escape artist. He would go on to escape a straitjacket while dangling from a trapeze suspended 726 feet over the Hoover Dam and to captivate fans of daring deeds the world over.

His latest undertaking takes him into territory that terrified his idol Harry Houdini. In 1917, Houdini almost died when he was buried six feet underground. He barely clawed his way to the surface and later wrote in his diary that "the weight of the earth is killing." Let's hope Gunnarson has better luck this weekend.

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