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Harry Houdini

Harry Houdini

A common misconception is that his death was caused by a student who tried to test his famously strong stomach muscles by punching him. Although it is true that Houdini was not given sufficient time to prepare himself for the blows, landing him in a hospital, this is not what he died of. He died of diffuse peritonitis, nine days later, despite his appendix being ruptured by the unprovoked assault.

Although born in Budapest, Hungary, he often gave his birthplace as Appleton, Wisconsin, where he was raised. Today, his boyhood home there is maintained as a museum.

Based his stage name on that of the French magician Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin, whom he would later denounce as charlatan!

Became the first person to make a successful aircraft flight in Australia. At the time he said he may be forgotton as an escapologist but he would be remembered as an aviation pioneer. [18 March 1910]

He is mentioned in the song "Ghost Town" by Cat Stevens.

His cousin was the wife of Stooge Moe Howard

His original stage name was Eric the Great.

His will stated that a bronze bust of himself be placed on his tomb to guide his spirit back from "the other side".

In addition to his career as a stage magician and an escape artist, he also had a part time career as a debunker of mediums and other so called experts of the paranormal. However, his reasons for this campaign included a hope he could find an actual medium that could communicate with the dead.

Married to his wife three times; first in secret, and then once in each of their respective religions' churches.

Pictured on a USA 37¢ commemorative postage stamp issued in his honor 3 July 2002.

Was fanatically devoted to his mother, Cecilia. When he died, his casket was adorned with a wreath that spelled, "Mother Love," and his head lay on a pillow of Cecilia's letters.

Was one of five children of a penniless rabbi who died when Houdini was eighteen years old.

Willed his collection of books on magic to the American Society for Psychical Research, on the condition that J. Malcolm Bird, an ASPR official whom he hated, resign. Bird refused, so the books went to the Library of Congress.