Steve Santini biography:
Since the age of fourteen, Steve Santini has been fascinated by the art of escape
and it has long served to foster his interest in the history of human fears, foibles,
and dark deeds.
At age 15, Steve was escaping from chains and shackles while submerged in
swimming pools and getting out of official Police handcuffs and other restraints
at local Police stations in the neighborhood where he grew up, (And no, Steve
was not a young offender. Any and all such incarcerations were purely voluntary
on his part!)
Leaving home at a very young age, Steve apprenticed with a Toronto locksmith.
During the day Steve learned all about locks and locking mechanisms while he
served customers and at night he honed his abilities to overcome these same
devices through intense practice and imaginative thinking.
In the following years Steve’s performances as an escape artist grew into an impressive and harrowing assortment of
incredible releases including being restrained and dangled high in the air while he struggled to free himself, getting
out of straitjackets, walking of out of actual Police and prison cells, and surfacing in a lake where he had been
submerged in a locked and screw-nailed shut coffin lowered under 30 feet of cold, black water.
As Steve’s knowledge of locks and restraints grew he began to study the various cultures and historical eras that used
such instruments to punish and restrain prisoners for various reasons. Committing all of this knowledge to his near
photographic memory he became an expert on all forms of historical punishment, torture, and restraint and how they fit
into the recorded history of crime and punishment.
He published two books dealing with these topics titled, “Devices of Human Restraint”, and, “The Catalog of Cruelty”,
and has acted as a consultant to various museums and institutions dealing with such subjects including; The
Medieval Kriminal Justice Museum in Rothenburg ob der Tauber in Germany, The Henker Museum in Switzerland, and
more recently the new National Museum of Crime and Punishment on Washington, D.C., where over 60 rare
restraints and devices of historical punishment from his own personal collection went on long term display beginning in
May of 2008.
Steve has also applied his knowledge and expertise with locks and restraints to the creation and invention of original
restraint improvement products to increase the security of existing handcuffs and shackles used by Police Departments
and prison guards. One of Steve’s original restraint improvement inventions is currently produced and distributed
worldwide by a leading American manufacturer of Police equipment. In 2005 a number of Steve’s original restraint and
restraint improvement inventions were profiled in the leading Canadian law enforcement magazine, “Blue Line.”
(To date, Steve Santini is the only escape artist in the world to be featured in this specialized magazine which is circulated
nationwide to the members of the law enforcement community).
While the history of restraints, penal systems, and historical punishments are a leading interest for Steve, he also over the
years pursued a quest for knowledge in marine archaeology in general and the infamous Titanic disaster in particular.
Today, Steve is recognized as a leading world expert on the Titanic disaster and also on artifacts associated with the
tragic liner. He has authored two published books on the Titanic and has acted as a consultant and historical advisor to
numerous auction houses, (including Christies East in New York City , Henry Aldridge and Son in the U.K.,
and R&R Auction), who have sought out his knowledge prior to brokering rare and priceless Titanic related relics. Steve
has also worked with numerous museums and film and television production groups on Titanic related projects including
James Cameron’s Lightstorm Pictures during pre-production work on Camerons blockbuster smash hit film, “Titanic”.
Today a number of rare Titanic related artifacts from Steve’s personal collection are visible and on public display at two
25 million dollar Titanic themed museums in Branson, Missouri and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee called, “Titanic:
The World’s Largest Museum Attraction.”
As an extreme escape artist, Steve Santini’s accomplishments are without equal. In 2003 he escaped from the Ottawa
based “Death Row” prison cell of the last man to be publicly hanged in Canada, he has been featured on a nationally
broadcast television show where he was helplessly bound and pulled by an electric vehicle towing winch towards a running
chainsaw and 4 razor sharp swords, and, on New Year’s Eve 2005 in downtown Toronto, in front of 35,000 live audience
membersand a national television audience of over 15 million viewers he escaped from a locked metal vault that was being
blasted by 3 propane powered flamethrowers and turned into a virtual oven.
Today Steve Santini continues to make national and international headlines with his daring and incredible escapes.
In July of 2009 Steve once again did the impossible and secured massive national media coverage when he freed himself
while heavily manacled from a locked maximum security prison cell on the former “Death Row” of Canada’s second oldest
His escape from the ancient “En Prison”, constructed in 1822 in Trois Rivieres, Quebec, created a media sensation as it
took Steve only 8 minutes and 30 seconds to free himself for over 30 lbs of handcuffs, manacles, and shackles, unlock his
cell, and then free the Mayor of Trois Rivieres who was locked in a cell further down the corridor. He accomplished this after
having been scanned thoroughly with a metal detector and after the cell was also searched by members of the media.
This prison cell escape was unique for not only the short amount of time it took Steve to liberate himself but also in the fact
that he agreed to do it in full view of all the media present to prove there were no “tricks”, “illusions”, or gimmicked devices
to aide him in his attempt. To date this is the first, and only full view prison cell escape ever presented by any escape artist
At this time, Steve Santini has escaped from more historical jails and prisons than any other escape artist in Canadian
He has also freed himself from ancient castles and fortresses and in Feb of 2010 he became a Swiss media star
when he escaped from the dungeons of the 11th century castle and Swiss national heritage site, “The Chateau de Chillon.”
Other important Santini jail and prison cell escapes include:
The Carleton County Gaol in Ottawa
The Historic Jail in Cobourg, Ontario
The Historic Jail in Cornwall, Ontario
Escape from the garrison cells at Kingston’s Fort Henry (A United Nations
World UNESCO site).
Steve Santini has been named, “The World’s Most Extreme Escape Artist” by the legendary Ripley’s Believe it or Not!
And a full page article profiling Steve and his incredible career is featured in the internationally distributed Ripley’s
hardcover book, “Expect the Unexpected!”
In addition to his escapology accomplishments, Santini is also a published author.
His past written works include:
Devices of Human Restraint
Concealments: Hiding The Tools of the Escape Artist’s Trade
Interchange: An Escapist’s Guide to Multiple Handcuff Releases
Entertaining With Escapes
Titanic: Touchstones of a Tragedy
The Science and Story of Titanic
A Gentle Place
The Graveyard Poet 1
The Graveyard Poet 2: Evil Walks a Hurried Path
The Catalog of Cruelty