Davenport Rope Trick

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The Davenport Rope Trick, is most probably a reference to an escape trick devised by the famous American occult illusionists, Ira Erastus Davenport (1839-1911) and William Henry Davenport (1841-1877), that is also known as the "Davenport Tie". Or at least a similar act.

According to the website Occult World[1], the Davenport Brothers conducted one of the most successful séance acts of the 19th century, inter alia introducing the Cabinet — a special room or enclosure — to the medium’s repertoire and produced various spirit phenomena, including ghostly hands that played musical instruments. They also developed sophisticated rope tricks and escape illusions unparalleled until the days of Harry Houdini.

The secret of the "Davenport Tie" was apparently eventually passed on to Harry Houdini by Ira Davenport in 1910 - though a performance referring to the Davenport Rope Trick is reported in South Africa by "Herr Luin" in 1866, as part of a "Grand Masonic Bespeak" presented by the Le Roy-Duret Company in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town on 19 July, under the auspices of both the English and the Dutch lodges. Besides the trick, the evening consisted of The Soldier's Daughter (Cherry), 'Tis She, or Maid, Wife and Widow (Wilks), Gocum and Lisbeth (a comic dance by Mr Luin and Harry Burton).



F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: p.211

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