One of the most famous magicians in history was Harry Houdini, who performed death-defying stunts and become known as one of the most entertaining in his profession. In this article, you will learn about some of the events that took place during his final days and what were some of his last wishes.
Houdini was born Ehrich Weiss in Budapest, Hungary on March 24, 1874. His stage name (which later became his stage name) came courtesy of a famous conjuror named Jean Eugene Robert Houdin. When he turned 20 years old, he married Wihelmina Rahner, who served as her trusted assistant for when he performed his ‘terrifying’ escapes. She went by the name of ‘Beatrice Houdini.’
Since Houdini performed many tricks that placed him in the pathway of death, he often thought about how his end would come. He obsessed over the details of his death and even had premonitions as to how he would die. However, he never foresaw the way he actually passed on. Before a matinee performance was to take place in Montreal on October 22, 1926, Houdini was reading his mail while laying back on a sofa in his dressing room. A student from McGill University (who had earlier drawn a sketch of the magician) was invited backstage to meet Houdini. The student brought along two friends , one who happened to be an amateur boxer.
The press had claimed many things about the magician, and J. Gordon Whitehead asked Houdini if he could without punches to the midriff. Houdini gave a casual nod, which Whitehead mistook as approval. This prompted the boxer to deliver one (and maybe three) violent blows to the magician’s stomach, which was relaxed at the time. Houdini let out a gasp and jumped to his feet. He was breathless and explained that first, he needed to tense his muscles, which he then did. The magician then invited the boxer to punch his stomach once again.
The following night, while he was onboard a train traveling to Detroit, Houdini suffered abdominal cramping and ran a fever. He made it to his performance and even started the act, but collapsed in the middle of it. Doctors diagnosed the magician as having a ruptured appendix and streptococcal peritonitis that was quickly spreading. If he had received the appropriate antibiotics before the condition worsened, then the diagnosis may have not been fatal. Doctors gave Houdini 12 hours to live.
Interestingly, Houdini’s wife was in the same hospital recovering from a case of food poisoning. He made up his mind that whoever died first, would have to make an attempt to contact the survivor. Houdini lingered on for several days, but nothing could change his prognosis. Two operations were also done, but the efforts were in vain. The magician died peacefully on Halloween of all days of the year. He had turned to his brother, Dash, and said, “I’m tired of fighting. I guess this thing is going to get me.” When Houdini died, he was 52 years old.
Since his appendix was accidentally ruptured, his insurance policy paid double indemnity to his wife in the sum of $50,000.