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Tribute Acts

Many People have done Escapes like the late David De-Val did. Here are few of these who also have done these in a more updated and daring way! As well as those who perform with some of the rights to David’s Escapes




Weasel Dandaw seconds after escaping the cell.

"It's shortly after 7pm and I'm pacing, circling the cell with my head in my hands wondering if I've bitten off more than I can handle."

That was a week ago on 31st October 2014. I had been challenged by Rebecca Taylor, the daughter of David De-Val to attempt the escape he was successful of in 1983.... To escape from the condemned cell at York Castle Prison!

This is the cell that Dick Turpin is said to have spent his last night. There has been speculation in the last few years about this being Turpin's true cell and I can put pay to that. After researching, I have found that Mr Turpin was kept in another cell on his incarceration, but he would have spent his last night in the condemned cell as it was slightly larger and included an open fire. The luxuries afforded one to be executed!!!

I digress....

Rebecca Taylor had got in touch with me via the United Kingdom Escape Artists back in August of 2014 and challenged me to try to recreate David's escape as true to the way he did it. Davids method was that of the great Harry Houdini. David had claimed he had worked out Houdini's method of escaping from jail cells and put out a request for challenges. In the April of 1983, he proved he had.

So here was a challenge. Would I do it, could I do it?

I have studied the masters of Escapology over the years including David & thought I knew his method.

In fact, I have been successful in escaping many cells worldwide using this. Whether it is the true method, I will never know as David sadly passed before I got to meet him.

So, on the night of the 31st, I was lead down to the cell. I can honestly say I felt I was walking the Green Mile. I felt like that "condemned man".

The cell was larger than I had expected and the fact I was to be locked to the wall at the opposite end was a sudden wake up call.

I was then introduced to the restraints and locks I would have to overcome. I was pleased to see the restraints were of the type I had hoped. As I had thought, they were of the period and similar to those David had used. This is what I had prepared for.

The restraints and locks were checked by the prison manager, Rebecca & a Master Locksmith. They were also checked by myself, to make sure they were in full working order and had not been tampered with. This is a must! Even the great Houdini made the mistake of not checking the cuffs when he was challenged by a Chicago police officer. The officer had put buckshot in the cuffs, so they wouldn't open. After hearing this I have always insisted on checking everything is in full working order.

The restraints and locks were locked into a clear box that was then locked with four locks, each had their combination set by the committee. The cell was then thoroughly searched.

The committee then moved to the outer corridor and I was given a full strip search by a paramedic. When I say full, I mean full. This consisted of a full body search, starting with my hair, ears, nose and mouth. Onto my armpits and under my feet. I was then asked to turn around and bend down (I don't think we have to go any further) and finally my groin area was checked. I had my BP taken, heart rate monitored, pulse and my lungs listened to. I can't remember what I was told, but when I mentioned the high points I was told it was to be expected due to adrenaline.

The committee then re entered after I was allowed to put a pair of trunks on (that were also checked by the medic) for decency.

I was then locked in the cuffs and leg-irons and chained to the wall of the cell.

I then watched as two full grown men struggled to close the door. At this point I was concerned. The door has not been shut for how long???

I had checked the restraints, but not the door!

Over the years it had obviously dropped on its hinges and was catching on the flagstone floor.

The escape attempt had started as I heard the door close. I managed to release the restraints after a short time, released myself from the wall and then went to work on getting out of the cell.

After finally managing to conquer the lock, I found the door wouldn't budge. We go back to my opening remark, have I bitten off more than I can handle?

I put all my weight on the door, pushing and pulling. I then went back to the cuffs I had locked up on the wall, reopened them and used them for leverage. Eventually the door was forthcoming. I retrieved my clothes that had been placed outside the cell, dressed and re-locked the cuffs on the wall.

I emerged from the cell, sweating, drained and with a feeling of euphoria.

I was glad to not only do this as a tribute to David De-Val, Houdini (that passed 88 years previous), but also to my father that passed on the 31st October 2006.

Weasel Dandaw.

The tribute sight thanks Weasel for his personal story.

Welldone Weasel from all the David Tribute Team


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