SCRANTON, Pa. — Pioneer magician Dorothy Dietrich is the first woman ever to catch a bullet in her mouth. She did it in a specially designed metal cup. This was recently done by David Blaine in a special devoted to Houdini. Prior to this magicians caught the bullet in a plate, in a handkerchief, in a box or in their teeth. This new presentation was pioneered by Dorothy Dietrich bringing the classic stunt into the modern age. It’s the one stunt Houdini said he’d do, that he backed away from. This stunt has killed over twelve men in its history.

Like Blaine, Dietrich ( is also noted for hanging upside down, but in her case, while escaping from a straight jacket suspended hundreds of feet in the air from a burning rope. One of the many times she’s done this was as special guest star on the HBO Special “The World’s Greatest Escapes” hosted by Tony Curtis, who played Houdini in the Paramount movie biography.

Neither of these stunts were ever accomplished by Houdini, and by no other woman in history. The Columbia Encyclopedia (Columbia University Press) included Dietrich in their list of the 8 most noted magicians of the late 20th century. The others were all men. She’s been called “The First Lady of Magic,” America’s Number One Female Magician,” “The Female Houdini,” and “The first woman to saw a man in half.” She’s also known for levitating volunteers from her audience and doing magic with live animals.

In 1988, then teenage magician Dorothy Dietrich performed the bullet catch at Donald Trump’s Resorts International’s 10th anniversary to a shocked audience in Atlantic City. It was televised worldwide on a special called “Just For The Record, The Best Of Everything.” This came about after being a featured act for the yearly convention of The International Brotherhood of Magicians. It was shown on Network TV’s “Evening Magazine,” and later live on “You Asked for It” with Rich Little as host. On another occasion she performed it in Canada on “Autobus du Canada,” for the highest amount ever paid a magician on Canadian television. Dietrich advertises a $10,000 reward to anyone who can prove a projectile does not actually leave the rifle toward her. Another magician, Carl Skenes, who helped Blaine with the bullet catch, also did his own version, reportedly in a box, around the same time or before Dietrich.

In Houdini fashion she’s crusaded against those who claim to speak to the dead. She, like Houdini, has had her share of challenges to would be psychics on television shows such as “Exploring The Unknown.” She recently challenged Canadian TV “medium” Kim Dennis who bolted out from a test at the Houdini Museum ( with the Houdini family in attendance, in a failed attempt to contact the legendary escape artist.

For many years she hosted the annual Houdini Seances in New York continuing a tradition started by Houdini’s wife, Bess, for ten years after Houdini died. Mrs. Houdini then said, “Ten years is long enough to wait for any man” and asked Walter B. Gibson, Houdini confidant and biographer, who also wrote the famous Shadow Series, to continue the annual seances as a tribute. Before Gibson died he passed the responsibility of doing the yearly seances to Dorothy. She continues the seances, as a tribute, on Halloween, the date of Houdini’s death, at Scranton’s Houdini Museum.

The Houdini Museum, 1433 N. Main Ave, Scranton, PA, is the only building in the world dedicated to Houdini, and features Houdini tours and magic shows daily by reservation. When not traveling Dietrich’s a featured performer at the museum. She also appears in their hit evening show three years running, “Haunted! Mind Mysteries & THE Beyond!” ( along with paranormalist Dick Brooks.

She’s acted as consultant for the Criss Angel show, and appears on national television several times a year.

Other television shows include:

* The Travel Channel’s Magic Road Trip
* TV Land’s Myths & Legends
* Biography Channel’s Dead Famous-Houdini
* Man and His Mysteries with Dick Van Patton
* The Montel Williams Show
* Bill Cosby Special

Further reading

* Twelve Have Died! the story of the Bullet Catch
* The Guide to Magic As A Hobby
* The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th Edition, Columbia University Press, (2006)
* Feature article on women in magic. Bust Magazine, June/July 2008

Dorothy Dietrich is available for interviews and public appearances.

[tags]Magician Dorothy Dietrich, Houdini Museum, David Blaine, Haunted Mind Mysteries and the Beyond[/tags]