Field Notes from a Successful Escape

While combing through some of Luther Burbank’s documents, the Palace Games crew came across this entry, regarding the Great Houdini Escape Room!

“March 10, 1915

The morning began with another stroll through the Palace of Horticulture. A truly remarkable structure, home to still more remarkable marvels of botanical ingenuity. Before long, I made the short journey to the Palace of Fine Arts, to answer an intriguing request from none other than Harry Houdini, the renowned escape artist and sometime magician.

Upon my arrival, I learned that my invitation was not wholly unique, as seven other innovators had also been called upon to an adventure that would challenge our wits and nerves. The Great Houdini Escape Room he titled it: a wondrous room, rife with puzzles and contraptions. A quick introduction was made, a time limit was set, and the doors were promptly locked. It was up to us to escape. To come to it quickly, we did just that.

Having somewhat of knack for subtle observations, I decided to make note of certain attitudes and attributes which contributed to our success. For how often does one encounter such minds assembled in the wild? Below I have catalogued my findings.

  1. Communication: Communication was essential for our progress to maintain a satisfactory pace. Even young Miss Keller took pains to express clearly and specifically what she had discovered and where she had discovered it.
  2. Attention to text: Mr. Houdini was generous with his clues and riddles, a careful perusal of which revealed a hidden meaning and a way to proceed.
  3. Delegation: Mr. Ford was quick to intuit when it was most beneficial to separate into smaller groups or work individually. There were many puzzles hiding all together, and had we been afraid to separate, there would have been little chance of solving them all.
  4. Experimentation: A virtue exemplified in Mr. Edison. When faced with an exceedingly opaque puzzle, he spent no time preemptively sinking an idea which could otherwise float. He simply tried whatever came to his mind, given that it was within the parameters of our host’s stated rules.
  5. Attention to text: I have included attention to the text twice, for some texts cannot be grasped at first pass. These riddles required redoubled analysis.
  6. Sobriety: Excepting perhaps Mr. Cody, none of our intellects had been dulled by the consumption of spirits. Mr. Houdini is clever, and his challenges difficult. I believe alcohol could have been the ruin of our happy escape.
  7. Positivity: No truly daunting obstacle may be overcome without some modicum of hope. The moment you have given up, you have lost. Luckily, fortune, or perhaps Mr. Houdini, blessed us with our own little Tramp to keep the spirits up.

It was a morning well spent. While I cannot fathom what Mr. Houdini counts as his reasons for creating such a diversion, I maintain confidence that, should we be challenged again, replication of my observations will produce further successes.

Luther Burbank”

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