“If I were to release me, it will be magical. If I can’t do it, it will be tragic,” he introduced with consummate art of premonition. Chanchal Lahiri, which was submerged Sunday completely chained in the river Ganges, near Calcutta, has never reappeared. The police recovered his body on Monday evening.

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Known by the nickname “Jadugar Mandrake”, in reference to the comic strip u.s. of the 1930s, the 42-year-old has been immersed in water by a crane from a boat. From the banks to the public and on the bridge for the family and the journalists, the public came in large numbers waited for it to reappear. In vain. Chanchal Lahiri had practiced the trick a dozen times before, reports Sumit Kharbanda, president of the indian brotherhood of magicians, in the Guardian . In particular, in pools and rivers, where he could be rescued. This time, no safety device was apparently intended.

“I don’t know if it was a problem breathing or if he is not able to undo the locks of the lock”, still says Sumit Kharbanda. The hands of Chanchal Lahiri were tied by rope behind his back, his feet one with the other and the body, chained and padlocked to six places. His eyes were blindfolded.

Assaulted by the public in 2013

Chanchal Lahiri was not ignorant of the complexity of this tour-de-force. He had explained that he had managed an illusion of this caliber in the same place of the river Ganges there are… twenty-one years of age. “I was chained inside a cage of glass. I did put than 29 seconds out,” he explained, recognizing a greater difficulty this time. The illusion is to throw himself bound hand and foot and was attempted the first time by the American Harry Houdini in 1908, who had thrown himself chained up in a trunk full of water.

In 2013, Chanchal Lahiri had tried again to escape from the cage of glass. But the public, who had been able to see the trickery of the conjurer, had been violently assaulted. In India, the magic is obviously a combat sport.