How did Houdini Actually Die?

Harry Houdini became one of the most iconic magicians of this generation. But Houdini's life and legacy may still be a mystery to some, as the legend of the World's Most Famous Escapologist continues past his death.


Many people believe Houdini died performing his famous water tank mystery. Do you? The 1953 film starring Tony Curtis has almost re-written the legacy of one of history's most iconic illusionists.


How did Harry Houdini actually die, and what is the connection to Canada?


Here's a great short video from the YouTube Channel "Today I Found out."


WATCH: How Did Harry Houdini Actually Die?

To read an in-depth article on how Houdini died, read Houdini's Death on Magician Masterclass.


How Did Houdini Die?


The days leading up to Harry Houdini's death bring us to Montreal, Canada and a performance at the Princess Theatre. He was backstage nursing a broken ankle from a stunt he had performed recently and a fever.


In a stunt from McGill University, Joceyln Gorden Whitehead asked Houdini before a show if it was true he could be punched in the stomach without hurting him.


Houdini agreed, and Whitehead struck Houdini several times in the stomach before he could prepare.

A young Harry Houdini and his wife, Bess.

He was in excruciating pain; his appendix had ruptured. Houdini refused to cancel the performance, and he performed in great pain.


Houdini remained in extreme pain for two days. When he finally saw a doctor, he discovered he had acute appendicitis. Emergency surgery was performed, but it was too late.


Harry Houdini died on October 31st, 1926.


It was speculated for years that the punches burst Houdini's appendix. However, modern theory suggests a more realistic possibility is that punches masked the burst appendicitis and Houdini's condition.


Houdini was well known for debunking psychics and spiritualists. On his death bed, he promised his wife Bess that if indeed it was possible to communicate from the dead, he would do so on the 10th anniversary of his death.


No contact was ever made with Houdini.


Did you think Houdini died during a performance? Let us know in the comments below.


Do you know a youngster who is interested in magic? Download our Magic Festival Activity Book for free. (PS: there's even a Houdini colouring page!)


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