Arthur Coghlan and Helen


2022 –  Australian Story steps inside the fantastical, the mind boggling and the sometimes terrifying world of magic and escapology with father and daughter duo Arthur and Helen Coghlan.


2023 – Helen fools Penn & Teller for the SIXTH time!!! Watch as she breaks her own Fool Us record…..with a record.


Many of the escapes featured on this page were performed between 1976 and 2007. Please excuse the poor quality of some of these clips.

WARNING: These clips below are for entertainment purposes only. Do not attempt any of the escapes you will see.

In 1976 Arthur Coghlan created national media interest when he performed an underwater escape from a locked and sealed 44-gallon drum. This drum was still locked after the escape. This escape was Arthur’s first and took him from a motor mechanic to an illusionist and entertainer in a very short space of time.

1977 – While sitting on a chair, Arthur was securely tied up with rope in a manner that seemed impossible to escape, then hoisted high into the air.

In 1979, Arthur Coghlan became a household name in Australia when he escaped from a locked 44-gallon drum live on The Don Lane Show. This is part 1.

1979 – After making a sensational escape from a locked 44-gallon drum the week before on The Don Lane Show, Arthur was asked to repeat the escape in safe surroundings to prove he did not damage the drum. This is part 2.

1981 – Arthur is locked inside a solid steel box and lowered into a swimming pool live on The Don Lane Show. After the escape the steel box was still locked. Everything was examined before and after he successfully escaped. This was yet another escape that left the experts scratching their heads.

1983 – Watch Arthur tempt fate once more. This time he’s chained and locked inside a wooden box which has one end staked to the ground, the other end is chained to the fastest Jet Truck in the world.

1984 – Imagine being locked and chained inside a wooden box which was being dragged into the path of a gigantic circular buzz saw. Frightening stuff!

1997 – Helen Coghlan is locked inside a wooden wine keg with the exhaust of a petrol-driven motor connected to the bunghole and filling the keg with carbon monoxide fumes.

In 2007, Arthur Coghlan performed another death-defying escape. This time he was locked in a steel cage which was towed to the centre of a lake and submerged. On retrieval, the cage was still locked.

1989 –  Helen Coghlan, daughter of Australia’s leading escapologist Arthur Coghlan, followed in her father’s footsteps when she performed a death-defying escape on live TV. She was the first woman in the world to perform Houdini’s famous Water Torture Escape. 

Australian Magician Helen Coghlan’s first appearance on Penn & Teller: Fool Us – 2018 (Season 5) with a couple of unique tricks. The first is with a glass of milk, the second with a stringless tennis racquet.

2019 – Australian magician, Helen Coghlan, appears on Penn & Teller: Fool Us for the second time. This time Helen fools the duo with a feat of escapology.


2020 – Helen invites Penn & Teller to help build a steel cage they will lock her into. They examine the cage before and after the escape. No magician has ever encouraged such close inspection of their props by the duo. Featuring Thunder from Down Under.

2021 – Helen Coghlan makes her 4th appearance on Fool Us with an escape from a solid steel cage on the beach of Australia’s famous Gold Coast. Will she be able to fool the duo for the 4th time?

2022 – Australian magician, Helen Coghlan makes her way back to Las Vegas to become the first person to fool Penn & Teller a record-breaking five times with a couple of new magic tricks.

These clips are from Arthur and Helen’s show at The Magic Castle on the Gold Coast, where they presented Australia’s largest Magic and Illusion show to up to 2,000 people per day. They performed over 6,500 shows during this time.

One of the highlights of Arthur and Helen’s Magic and Illusion show at Arthur’s Theatre Restaurant was the disappearance of their family pet, Scooter, the Shetland pony.