Harry Houdini

By | Oct 31, 2008

Harry Houdini was born Erich Weiss in Budapest, Hungry March 24, 1874.  His father was a Rabbi. He had five brothers (Hardeen was also a magical performer) and a sister.

In 1893 he met Beatrice “Bess” Raymond. She was a 16-year-old singer and dancer. The two fell in love and were married in July, three weeks after their meeting. She joined his act working as his stage assistant throughout his performing career.  They did not have any children.

Even though he was gaining in popularity he was not happy with his success in the United States and began a tour of the Europe and Russian Vaudeville stages during the early years of the 20th Century.  After returning to the United States he increased the difficulty and originality of his stunts developing his water based escapes.

During his life he was a movie producer and actor, a magician and an escape artist. He was also one of the first people to pilot an airplane in Australia.

During the early 1920’s he spend time debunking self-proclaimed psychics and mediums. He was a member of a Scientific American committee, which offered a cash prize to any medium who could successfully demonstrate supernatural abilities. The prize was never collected mainly due to the skepticism of Houdini and his ability to recognize frauds, even those who had successfully fooled many scientists and.

Houdini died on October 31, 1926, Halloween in Detroit. The official cause of death was peritonitis, internal poisoning resulting from a ruptured appendix, although there has been rumors that he died by poison. For 10 years after his death, his wife Bess conducted an séance on October 31. Before his death he had told her if it was possible to send a message in a secret code that they developed.


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