Harry Houdini - the death of the great magician through the fault of an idiot fan

Harry Houdini can undoubtedly be called one of the greatest magicians of our time. Many of his tricks were so dangerous that they do not dare to repeat them after almost a century. Harry himself was hospitalized more than once after his performances. He died at 52 while on tour. Evil tongues claimed that Houdini was unlucky and drowned during the trick to free himself from the shackles in the aquarium, but this is not the case. The death of the great magician was ridiculous and tragic ...

October 22, 1926 (according to other sources, a day or two earlier) Harry was on tour in Montreal. He just played his new show, Three-in-One: Magic, Liberation and Illusion with Impact, which featured some of the most spectacular, most challenging acts. Harry was relaxing on the couch in the dressing room. Opposite, two Montreal art students, Jack Price and Sam Smiley, were digging with their pencils, drawing his portrait with Houdini's permission.

At that moment, the door of the dressing room swung open. In the dressing room, a rosy-cheeked stout man appeared, introducing himself as Gordon Whitehead, a student at McGill University. He asked a question that Houdini, absorbed in himself, did not hear. Harry was not even surprised at the appearance of an uninvited guest, believing that he was a companion of young artists. And Whitehead asked, "Mr. Houdini, is it true that you can take any blow to the stomach?" They say you have an iron press ... May I try? Whitehead stepped over to the sofa. Houdini rose instinctively. And then ... a young man (as it turned out, an amateur boxer who wanted to master the same impenetrable press as Harry had) struck Houdini three short punches. Houdini grabbed his stomach and groaned tightly. At that moment, his appendix burst, which had been inflamed for several days. Houdini simply ignored the pain in his right lower abdomen. Half asleep flew away from Harry in the blink of an eye. “Wait, ” he croaked. “I have to concentrate. He coped with the attack of pain. He straightened up. And, looking into Whitehead's eyes, he said: - Now hit. The student struck a few more blows and ... shook his bruised fist. Harry's abs were steel ...

The tour in Montreal is over. Harry gave a few more shows, packed up the props, and with Bess boarded the train to Detroit, where Houdini's next concerts were scheduled at the Garrick Tietre. For several days he was tormented by terrible pains. But Houdini was used to enduring any pain. And he didn't show it. Concerned Bess (wife - Approx. I. L. Vikentieva), nevertheless, noticed something was wrong. Houdini's temperature jumped sharply. He arrived in Detroit, already blazing with fever. But he took the stage and began to play his role as a magician-magician. During the performance of the release from the straitjacket, Harry fainted. Bess rushed to him in horror. But ... Harry opened his eyes and, catching Bess's gaze, smiled at his wife. Immediately after the show ended, he was taken to Detroit Grace Hospital. The temperature is 40 degrees. A short examination by doctors. And the monstrous diagnosis is peritonitis. Houdini was rushed to ward 401.

He died for several days. Bess managed to leave a will. I managed to talk to her at last. On the evening of October 30, 1926, on the eve of Halloween, Houdini fell into unconsciousness and never regained consciousness. The news shocked everyone, but Harry's colleagues reacted especially sharply. Shortly after his death, an extraordinary meeting of the Society of American Magicians was called. On the agenda was one issue - the death of Houdini. And adults, well-worn people, accustomed to pain and dangers, by the profession itself turned into inveterate cynics - illusionists cannot be otherwise - stood for an hour in the New York hall rented for a meeting and ... silently sobbed. Houdini died ... God, what an injustice. And the American newspapers, which have always treated Harry with awe, adoring him for his directness, courage and bright talent, came out with mourning headlines. Houdini died ... The great Houdini. Yes, it was in these November days of 1926 that the "great", "genius", "magician" sounded.

And this was already shameful and quite fair. A really great wizard. After all, Harry has already become a part of American history. And this means that you can already call him so ... Houdini's funeral was scheduled for November 4. His body was enclosed in a bronze chest, which he prepared for the future release from the sand captivity, and sent to New York ...

Nadezhdin N.Ya., Harry Houdini: "Just a wizard", M., "Major", 2010, pp. 166-170.