Was Houdini Murdered?

Was Houdini Murdered?

Only days before his death from peritonitis on October 31, 1926—the result of a ruptured appendix according to his doctors —Houdini was struck repeatedly in the abdomen, first by a “college student” during a dressing room visit, and then by a mysterious burly stranger while he was sitting, reading the newspaper in a Montreal hotel lobby. Today, medical science tells us that it was impossible for an appendix to be ruptured by blunt trauma caused by blows. In fact, coroners maintain that it is just as likely that Houdini was poisoned than he fell victim to a ruptured appendix caused by a blow to the stomach. If one were to suspect Houdini a victim of foul play, then the fraudulent spirit mediums, who were a highly organized group, must be considered likely suspects. The spiritualist underworld’s modus operandi in cases like this was often poisoning. Houdini’s life was threatened by them and both Houdini and Bess suffered from non-specific poisoning in the weeks leading up to Houdini’s death. After Houdini’s death, an organized network of spiritual fanatics—led by Sherlock Holmes’ creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle—worked relentlessly to orchestrate a campaign that would destroy Houdini’s legacy for all time. A Spiritualist minister named Arthur Ford was dispatched to seduce Houdini’s widow and orchestrate a bogus séance where Houdini returned to affirm that the Spiritualists were right and that death was not the...
The Secret Life of Houdini, Laid Bare

The Secret Life of Houdini, Laid Bare

The Secret Life of Houdini, Laid Bare: Available now from Mike Caveney’s Magic Words. A new collectors’ set that includes the footnotes to The Secret Life of Houdini. In this limited edition set you get a 1st printing, 1st edition of the biography with a special new color frontispiece signed and numbered by both authors and a copy of the beautifully produced and illustrated 333 page hardbound volume of footnotes which also includes a full color frontispiece signed and numbered by both authors. The set comes in a beautiful cloth, foil stamped, slip case. There have been only 1000 sets produced, so order now and don’t miss your chance to own this piece of Houdini history. Please bear in mind that the draft notes below are accurate but they do not represent the full contents of volume 2 of this set. The printed volume has much material that didn’t fit in the original biography, as well as new, heretofore unpublished, photographs and many annotations by the authors....
Was Houdini a Crusader?

Was Houdini a Crusader?

When America entered World War I, Houdini led the war efforts by magicians by example, giving away more than $7,000 (which today would be about $250,000). He also contributed money to build a hospital that was dedicated to his mother. Then he wrote to Secretary of War Newton Baker and offered to conduct classes in extrication from ropes, handcuffs, and even shipwrecks. He began his classes during intermissions of “Cheer Up,” a patriotic show that he joined at the Hippodrome. In June of 1918, a mere fourteen months after the war was declared, Houdini had sacrificed over fifty thousand dollars in lost salary and his own expenditures in his ongoing efforts. After the war was over, Houdini morphed himself from a hero to a superhero. Inspired by Sarah Bernhardt’s advocacy for the Russian Jews, Houdini used his unprecedented fame to bring down ruthless phony spiritualists who preyed upon the bereaved. Houdini desperately wanted to belief in the afterlife, although, try as he might, he never felt he witnessed anything that might prove its existence. Throughout his life, he made pacts with many of his friends, creating a unique, secret code for each one. Whoever pierced the veil of death first would then attempt to relay the code from beyond the grave. Houdini’s thoughts on spiritualist mediums and the afterlife: “I am not a skeptic. I am perfectly willing to believe, my mind is wide open. For over thirty-five years, day in and day out, night in and night out, I have been seeking the truth. No one in the world has a greater right to believe than I. My...

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