Dear Scott

The short answer is: It depends how desperate they are.

The long answer is:

Your squatting trick is not very clever.

Now, about Harry Houdini.

Houdini's escapades and feats were well documented. I wouldn't be surprised if he could hold his breath that long. In fact he was put to the test once when he made a scheduled underwater distance swim. (That would interest your father.)

I remember your question about your Dad's 100m underwater swim. Even if he swam fast underwater it must have taken him at least two minutes. If he had just held his breath instead and not swum then he probably could have lasted three minutes or more.

But hyperventilating to do these things is dangerous because you might faint while you are underwater.

By the way, there's a modern-day escapologist who models himself after his hero, Houdini. The first time Frank Kunde proved that he could get out of handcuffs was when he was arrested by police. When he got out of the car at the station he threw the handcuffs up into the air and ran away.

These days Frank Kunde is a professional escapologist who specialises in escaping from padlocked boxes, straitjackets, handcuffs and steel safes.

Yours sincerely (also) 

Virginia R. Claire

read the question in the original letter