Happy Hallowe’en, Harry

November 16, 2010

I have long been associated in various capacities with the  James Randi Educational Foundation [randi.org], where I currently serve as Chairman of the Advisory Committee to the President, D.J. Grothe. I’ve now begun blogging for SWIFT, the foundation’s blog site, and my first entry was about Harry Houdini, in honor of Hallowe’en, which is also the anniversary of his death. I will continue to post links here whenever I post at SWIFT.  Thanks for reading! [To go directly to the full article, click HERE.]


This Hallowe’en marks the 84th anniversary of the death of the legendary escape artist, Harry Houdini. While on a major North American tour, Houdini was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery, after days of suffering high fevers and abdominal pain. Doctors removed his burst appendix, but knew that, his body already wracked with peritonitis, he was beyond saving. His wife, Bess, was told he would not live out the night; the all but indomitable Harry, an extraordinary physical specimen at age 52, somehow fought off the grim reaper for a week, finally telling his wife he could no longer keep up the fight, and succumbing on October 31st, 1926.

Eighty-four years later, Houdini remains the most famous magician of all time — albeit that many experts and enthusiasts in the world of magic resent this status, since Houdini achieved his greatest performing success as an escape artist, even though he loved magic. His final tour consists of a show in three parts — escapes, magic, and a lecture/demonstration segment exposing the methods of fraudulent séance mediums — in effect, neatly highlighting the three chief elements of Houdini’s extensive career as a live performer.


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