How did Houdini die?

2,909 Views Updated: 09 Aug 2017
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How did Houdini die?

Ask anyone who they think is the greatest illusionist or escape artist to have ever lived and most of them would answer, 'Houdini.' Born in Budapest, Hungary on 24 March 1874, he went on to become one of the greatest magicians of all time, let alone his generation.

Harry Houdini, who revolutionized the magic world with his sensational escape acts and unbelievable stunts, left the world at a young age of 52. But like most of his tricks, his death left people wondering “how.”

The question as to how the performer died on a Halloween night in 1926 is perhaps the biggest mysteries he left for the world to solve. Let’s take a look at the several conspiracy theories regarding Harry Houdini’s death.


(Image Courtesy: Wikipedia)

What most people believe is that Houdini died of complications from a ruptured appendix. How the condition came into being was before Houdini was to perform at Princess Theater, he was approached by a student of the McGill University of Montreal named Joselyn Gordon Whitehead. Whitehead then inquired about if there was any truth to the magician’s claim of withstanding any blow to his stomach.

As soon as Houdini reinforced the claim, the student started landing hard punches to his stomach even before he had the time to prepare. The hard blows ruptured the appendix for which Houdini refused to take treatment and succumbed to his injuries a few days later in a Detroit hospital.


(Image Courtesy: Previously)

The conspiracy theories began as there were contradictory accounts as to what exactly transpired that day in the dressing room of Princess Theatre. Houdini’s wife Bess, her niece Julia Sawyer and a nurse named Sophie Rosenblatt were also present at the scene along with two other McGill University students named Jack Price, and Samuel J. Smilovitch, who were invited backstage by the escape artist himself.

While some eyewitnesses claim that Whitehead abruptly started hitting the escape artist before he even had any time to prepare and kept hitting him before he was asked to stop, others argue that Houdini had agreed to be punched in the abdomen by the first-year college student.

The several questions that surround the death of Harry Houdini include if Price and Smilovitch accompanied Whitehead or if he arrived later on his own. Some are also of the belief that Whitehead was not a college student but an amateur boxer, whereas some others argue that Whitehead was already known to Houdini as he was seen returning some books to the magician that he had previously borrowed.

Furthermore, since there is a debate on the issue that appendicitis can develop due to trauma to the abdomen, some doctors believe that Houdini already suffered from the condition, but the blows merely kept the illusionist from receiving medical treatment. These are some questions that perhaps will never let us know how exactly did Harry Houdini die!


(Image Courtesy: Harry Houdini)

However, since Houdini had amazed the world with his superhuman strength and breathtaking stunts, the fact that the showman died from getting punched in the stomach did not go down well with many, and this gave rise to other several conspiracy theories.

Since Houdini was striving to debunk and expose spiritualists, the theory that spiritualists played their part in the death of the great entertainers by poisoning him is also thought to be true by many.


(Image Courtesy: Harry Houdini)

But whatever may be the reason behind Houdini’s death, the world lost a legend that day. Tell us what other conspiracy theories you know about the death of the illusionist through comments in the dedicated section below.

(Featured Image Courtesy: History)

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