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Topic: How did Houdini die...?
Message: Posted by: blazes816 (Jul 21, 2005 08:47PM)
I heard multiple times that he died when a kid punched him in the stomach and got a appendicitis. Then I found an urban legends site that says that did NOT happen. So whats the truth?
Message: Posted by: Cliffg37 (Jul 21, 2005 08:52PM)
As I read in his biography, the punch may or may not have exasterbated the apendicitis he was alreay carrying. One absolute fact was that in the Tony Curtis movie, he died in the water tank. This is a complete fabrication. There is at least one report that suggests Doctors at his death bed felt if he had come to the hospital sooner, they might have saved his life.
Message: Posted by: Kevin Connolly (Jul 21, 2005 09:23PM)
Try to pick up a copy of "Thr Man Who Killed Houdini" by Don Bell. They have it on Amazon.
Message: Posted by: jbrandt (Jul 22, 2005 01:11AM)
I've actually looked into this myself... I'm a big fan of Houdini. I went into the newspaper archives and found the article from the day after he died. Like Cliffg37 said, he already had the apendicitis, and that is a bad enough thing to have in the first place. And although it's not definite, they believe that the punch he received may have ruptured his appendix and that released toxins into his system. He was rushed to the hospital once he showed his symptoms, but by then it was too late. If his apendix had been treated before it had ruptured, he would have been as good as new. Hope that was helpful.

- Jared
Message: Posted by: The Amazing Michael (Jul 22, 2005 03:23AM)
Don't believe any of the urban legends or conspiricy theroies out there. Listen to Jared and Cliff, they have the real story. And while we are on the subject of complete and total B.S., don't believe any of that nonsense about HOUDINI being reincarnated as Norm Bigelow! We all know that HOUDINI had to come back as a plant in his next life and then as a dog in the one after that for being such a doubting Thomas while he was alive! Karma is a real witch, aye?!! That will teach you to doubt whether there is an afterlife! How do you like that, HOUDINI?!!! LOL! This random act of insanity has been brought to you by: The Amazing Michael.....have a nice day!!!
Message: Posted by: blazes816 (Jul 22, 2005 11:14AM)
I didn't but it was on a reliable site. I wanted to send them an email telling how he really died but wasn't sure how he died. I only new what I read in "Mysterious Stranger" and what my older magician freind (escape artist) told me.
Message: Posted by: Harley Newman (Jul 24, 2005 09:48PM)
Message: Posted by: Mick Hanzlik (Jul 25, 2005 01:30AM)
Harley has it right. The official line is peritonitis. In those days they didn't have the technology to detect and treat in time.

As Kevin says, try to get Don Bell's book - "The Man who Killed Houdini"

It's a very deep look at all the people who were in the room when the fatal punch was struck. It's almost a detective story. You'll maybe need to draw your own conclusions when you have read it, and you may be confused, but worth a look.

I mentioned on an earlier thread that I did my Houdini lecture to a room full of doctors and their views were that a punch in the stomach could NOT bring on a ruptured appendix because the punch would have been too high. They thought that the appendicitis was already there, possibly at an advanced stage, and the punch didn't affect it.

It would be good to hear any other thoughts......

Message: Posted by: drwilson (Jul 25, 2005 02:04PM)
If you look into this, you will discover that Houdini's life insurance had a provision that would pay extra if his death was due to an accident associated with performing. Nowadays, insurance companies will look for any excuse to save a nickel, but in Houdini's day, he was immensely famous and his widow received a great deal of public sympathy. The insurance company and the doctors decided that the blow contributed to his death and paid the extra money. I am not questioning whether this decision was medically sound or not, but in terms of public relations for his insurance company it certainly didn't hurt.

This would explain why the story is that the blow contributed to his death, even though some physicians of today dispute that on medical grounds.


Message: Posted by: Schismatized (Aug 3, 2005 12:45PM)
Peritonitis sounds like that one mouth desease. is that the right spelling?
Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (Aug 3, 2005 12:58PM)
Peritonitis (correct spelling) is an inflammation (irritation) of the peritoneum, the membrane that lines the wall of the abdomen and covers the abdominal organs. The rupture of an appendix is a cause of peritonitis.

Pyorrhea is an inflammation of the gums and tooth sockets leading to the loosening of the teeth.

I suspect that is more than you wanted to know.
Message: Posted by: Kevin Connolly (Aug 3, 2005 01:23PM)
And Houdini had both or so Groucho Marx said. :)
Message: Posted by: magicusb (May 17, 2006 06:05AM)
"Try to pick up a copy of "Thr Man Who Killed Houdini" by Don Bell. "

Too bad he never got to finish the book. Needed to be finished. Interesting non the less.

Dick Brooks and Dorothy Dietrich
Houdini Museum in Scranton
New show, "HAUNTED!"
Message: Posted by: Wolflock (May 17, 2006 06:50AM)
Who says he died??? >:o) (Stop it Wolfie! No Spreading Rumours!!!)
Message: Posted by: JDKelley (May 24, 2006 12:07PM)
On 2006-05-17 07:50, Wolflock wrote:
Who says he died??? >:o) (Stop it Wolfie! No Spreading Rumours!!!)

Uhh...yeah....He's 131 years old and living in upstate New York. LOL!!
Message: Posted by: Kevin Connolly (May 24, 2006 01:01PM)
Dead? I didn't even know he was sick! (rim shot)
Message: Posted by: magicguy67 (May 25, 2006 11:16AM)
HE exploded on july,5,1933.
Message: Posted by: jwebyra (Jun 13, 2006 04:01PM)
On 2005-07-21 22:23, Kevin Connolly wrote:
Try to pick up a copy of "Thr Man Who Killed Houdini" by Don Bell. They have it on Amazon.

I bought a copy and found it to be very well done. The years of research Mr. Bell did and all the traveling was incredible.

Message: Posted by: Kevin Connolly (Jun 13, 2006 05:37PM)
I liked the book too. The only thing with it was when the son added the last page chapter at the end. I said was WTF! I know the father just missed finishing the book, but to put that in at the last second, tainted the work for me.
Message: Posted by: magicusb (Jan 27, 2012 05:20AM)

Things have quieted down here for a few days, so this thread popped up and I thought I would bring it up to date. You might want to check out

That thread has some interesting info about Houdini's death including some interesting comments from Pat Culliton who really knows Houdini, and some different views from myself.

Also check out additional info on our website at http://houdini.org/houdinimurdered.html

There also is some additional recent banter on a few other threads on The Magic Café.

Dick Brookz & Dorothy Dietrich
Message: Posted by: Chance (Jan 27, 2012 12:37PM)
Dick, not only is HH dead, but this horse is too. This topic has been covered EXAUSTIVELY on 2 other recent threads. Digging up a 6-yr-old thread to make it 3 just makes no sense. It adds nothing new, it says nothing new, and frankly it makes you look needy and obsessed.
Message: Posted by: magicusb (Jan 27, 2012 07:43PM)

Thanks for your interest.

Glad to see you are keeping up with it all.

I finally found some free time after trying to clear up some unwarranted bashing we received in several places,
here and elsewhere, that in some cases we felt was a bit rash or hasty.

Just making sure we are covering our bases.

Want to get this a broad following because, trust me, we have a lot more up our sleeves. This is far from dead.

Take care, friend.