In June 17 IssueBy Greg WellsTimes Journal Managing Editor
He sits in the chair with his legs crossed, the swelling and hemorrhaging very visible on his left calf. “One television station reported that I died doing the trick,” Aron Houdini chuckles.
The professional escape artist and entertainer from Russell County jokes about the results of his latest show, during the fair.
“Two of the bites were bleeding like crazy,” Houdini said. “The other two were just red marks.”
The bites were from a Copperhead. The poisonous snake was placed in a large wooden crate. Then Houdini, wearing a straightjacket, joined the reptile in the box.
He said precautions had been taken and anti-venom was available but that was likely the biggest problem.
“I found out later that Copperhead anti-venom is the one which causes the most dangerous alergic reactions of all the anti-venoms,” Houdini explained. “If they hadn't given me the Benadryl I could have died.”
He added that he is scheduled to perform the same escape at Cincinnati in less than two months.
This time though he said there won't be any demolition derby cars racing their engines only a few yards away.
“I could feel the box vibrating every time he'd race that motor,” Houdini said.
He said he'd asked Jaycee members, who operate the fair, to have the driver cut his motor off but once he was in his box he could feel the vibrations again.
“I felt the snake hit my leg the first time,” Houdini said. “Then I felt it bite me again but after that I couldn't feel anything.”
He chuckled as he described the wounds he saw when the came out of the box, free of the straightjacket with snake in hand.
“I was a little scared,” Houdini said. “It hurt!”
At one point the performer's blood pressure was dangerously low, “I could feel my heart beating and it was going lub... … … dub then it just went blub and it seemed like it was five seconds before it did anything else.”
He said he has performed the same escape 9 or 10 times previously and never been bitten.
But, since he survived the whole thing is a positive as far as the entertainer is concerned.
He smiles and says, “I've been getting coverage from all over the state— If it had all gone right...”
But he conceded it was not fun to hear the anger and panic in his mother's voice mail messages.
“People were wondering 'What has this idiot done this time,'” Houdini laughed while describing the reaction from people he met in Kmart the day after the performance.