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Harry Houdini's grand illusions and daring, spectacular escape acts made him one of the most famous magicians of all time.
Harry Houdini - Death (2:19)
Get an inside look at Harry Houdini's many attempts and successes at one of his signature acts, the water torture escape.
Get an inside look at Harry Houdini's many attempts and successes at one of his signature acts, the straightjacket escape.
Prior to his death, Harry Houdini gave his wife a keyword that he would use to contact her if he could reach out from beyond the grave.
After two students take up Houdini on one of his famous boasts of strength, Houdini accepts a challenge that will ultimately take his life.
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In 1923, Houdini became president of Martinka & Co., America's oldest magic company.
As president of the Society of American Magicians, Harry Houdini was a vigorous campaigner against fraudulent psychic mediums. Most notably, he debunked renowned medium Mina Crandon, better known as Margery. This act turned him against former friend Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who believed deeply in Spiritualism and Margery's sight.
Though there are mixed reports as to the cause of Henry Houdini's death, it is certain that he suffered from acute appendicitis. Whether his demise was caused by a McGill University student who was testing his will by punching him in the stomach (with permission) or by poison from a band of angry Spiritualists, it is unknown. What is known is that he died of peritonitis from a ruptured appendix on October 31, 1926, at the age of 52, in Detroit, Michigan.
After his death, Houdini's props and effects were used by his brother Theodore Hardeen, who eventually sold them to magician and collector Sidney H. Radner. Much of the collection could be see at the Houdini Museum in Appleton, Wisconsin, until Radner auctioned it off in 2004. Most of the prized pieces, including the Water Torture Cell, went to magician David Copperfield.
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