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Magician who accidentally killed himself with live burial trick which went wrong
Featured Image Credit: Fox/A Current Affair

Magician who accidentally killed himself with live burial trick which went wrong

"When it sank I just knew we were in trouble"

This is the horrifying story of a magician who accidentally killed himself when a live burial trick went wrong.

Back in the 1990s, Joseph Burrus was working hard in the business as an escape artist, comparing himself to the likes of the legendary Harry Houdini.

The 32-year-old American had set his sights on achieving something that had never been done before – burying himself alive.

You can watch a segment on the incident below, but be warned that it contains footage some may find distressing:

Not only is most people's greatest fear, but it's quite the feat to be able to say you did it and escaped using your skilful trickery.

Although Houdini had attempted the stunt back in 1915, reports at the time stated that he passed out after nearly emerging and had to be rescued by other crew members.

Always one to push the boundaries, Burris - or the 'Amazing Joe' as he was known at the time - wanted to give it a try.

Footage taken over Halloween in 1992 shows him preparing to be submerged six feet underground as his assistants shackle his hands together.

"I consider myself a master of illusion and escape artist," he said. "I believe I’m the next Houdini and greater."

Joe then gets inside a glass and plastic coffin before workers bury him with seven tons of dirt and cement.

Seven tons of dirt and cement was piled on top of the coffin.
Fox/A Current Affair

But in a horrifying twist of fate, the magician's buried alive trick became all too real.

According to a news segment on the incident, the coffin he built himself collapsed under the sheer weight of the mixture that went on top of it.

Joe's assistant Suzanne Brewer said: "The cement just looked so heavy and I just couldn't see [how it would be] possible.

"The idea was to be out of the coffin pretty much while they were pouring the cement so he could burrow up through.

"But when it sank... I just knew we were in trouble."

His parents Bette and John Burrus were watching on in horror as the incident unfolded, as were his two children.

Joe, who was a recovering addict, had been doing the stunt as a benefit for the Third Floor drug recovery clinic.

Joe was tragically crushed in the stunt.
Fox/A Current Affair

A resident named Sean Henderson who was part of the crew told the LA Times: "As soon as we finished and the truck pulled away the whole thing dropped.

"The . . . cement busted the coffin. It buried him alive."

Within 30 seconds of the collapse, Suzanne said everyone was jumping in and frantically trying to dig Joe out of there – but sadly they couldn't reach him in time.

If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677

Topics: Halloween, US News, Weird