Magicians, illusionists, mentalists, escapes artists—they all have their element of danger, which is what makes them exciting to watch. That danger can also be fatal, for amateurs and professionals alike. Here are 10 people who were killed performing such feats.
Charles Rowen, otherwise known as “Karr the Magician” or “Karr the Mysterious,” was a South African escape artist and magician. His main tricks were escaping from straight jackets and jumping into piles of broken glass.
In 1930, Karr was performing in Springfontein, Orange Free State, South Africa. He was attempting a very dangerous stunt in which he was tied up in a straight jacket while a man drove straight at him in a car. The car approached from (180 meters) (200 yards) away, accelerating to a speed of 72 kilometers per hour (45 mph). If you do the math, that would give Karr about 10–15 seconds (depending on how long it would take the driver to get up to that speed) to get out of the straight jacket and get out of the way of the car.
But he was too slow.
Karr was unable to escape in time and he was run over by the car, which almost severed his leg. This happened in front of a large group of people, including small children. Before he died, he exonerated the driver of any wrongdoing.