Throughout his career, Houdini performed three variations on a "Buried Alive"
stunt/escape. The first was near Santa Ana, California in 1917, and it
almost cost Houdini his life. Houdini was buried, without a casket, in
a pit of earth six feet deep. He became exhausted and panicky trying to
dig his way to the surface and called for help. When his hand finally
broke the surface, he fell unconscious and had to be pulled from the
grave by his assistants. Houdini wrote in his diary that the escape was
"very dangerous" and that "the weight of the earth is killing."