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moosemanty
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I have probably heard about a 100 ways of how Houdini died dose any one know the truth on that?
silverking
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He was diagnosed with a ruptured appendix.
An operation was performed, but peritonitis set in. He had one more operation, but again failed to respond. His last words were, "I am weaker. I guess I have lost the fight."

There's a new book out that claims that, during one of Houdini's demonstrations about how anybody could punch him as hard as they wanted, a Canadian chap gave Houdini a punch that ruptured his appendix, essentially killing him.....this is considered only a theory, but a strong one.

Regardless, the record is firm.....he died from complications following a ruptured appendix.
Rennie
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He probably would have survived if he had gotten to a hospityal when he first experienced the pains. But being the showman he was he believed "The Show Must go On" Which it did until he finally collapsed in pain. The ruptured appendicts / Peritonitis was caused by a blow to the stomach by a college student when Houdini was starting to stand and was not braced to take the punch.I believe there is a book out called "The Man Who Killed Houdini" which is regarding this entire subject..Not absolutely sure though..
Rennie
The effect is the important thing, how you achieve it is not.......
Julie
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If you happen to be in Arizona next Tuesday, January 17, Jay Gorham (Past International President of the Society of American Magicians) is lecturing on this very subject. Jay had the good fortune to meet and interview an individual who was actually present during the last days of Houdini's life.

Visit Ring55.org for details.
Kevin Connolly
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Even if the appendix burst and he went to hospital immediately, he still would have died from the poison. Valentino went the same way 3 months prior to HH. Even up to 40 years ago, a burst appendix was tough to survive, let alone 80 years ago.
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Always looking buy or trade for original Houdini, Hardeen and escape artist items. I'm interested in books, pitchbooks and ephemera. Email [email]hhoudini@optonline.net[/email]
Damon
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Kevin is exactly right. One of the main reasons for the poor survival rate at that time was the lack of antibiotics too fight off infections.

Mark Damon
Julie
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Quote:
On 2006-01-14 11:04, Julie wrote:
If you happen to be in Arizona next Tuesday, January 17, Jay Gorham (Past International President of the Society of American Magicians) is lecturing on this very subject. Jay had the good fortune to meet and interview an individual who was actually present during the last days of Houdini's life.

Visit Ring55.org for details.


Arizona update:

I just found out that in addition to another member performing the Straight Jacket Escape and 100 foot rope escape> Andre' Kole will also be featured discussing his favorite escapes as well as showing a video of the Bill Bixby T.V. show that was developed around his (Andre's) "Table of Death".

If you're in Arizona on Tuesday drop by Ring #55!
RandyStewart
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Quote:
On 2006-01-13 22:32, silverking wrote:

There's a new book out that claims that, during one of Houdini's demonstrations about how anybody could punch him as hard as they wanted, a Canadian chap gave Houdini a punch that ruptured his appendix, essentially killing him.....this is considered only a theory, but a strong one.


It's my understanding that the fellow punched him before Houdini braced himself and was ready for the punch! He basically caught Houdini off guard! Houdini had taken on the challenge, many times before, without incident.

Anyone with factual corrections as this is just as I've heard it and can't back it up.

Pick up a copy of "The Man Who Killed Houdini" by Don Bell

The author identifies J. GORDON WHITEHEAD, a self-described divinity student, as the punch thrower.

Amazon's Editorial states:

The late Don Bell's gripping examination of Houdini's mysterious death dismisses popular theories and possible perpetrators, eventually zeroing in on a reclusive divinity student who all but disappeared after he sucker punched Houdini and caused the ruptured appendix that would soon kill the vaudevillian escape artist."

Assuming it was Whitehead, I wonder how the challenger must of felt knowing he killed one of the greats....

Now I can't prove this, but I've heard that Whitehead along with two friends (witnesses) approached Houdini at his dressing room where he challenged Houdini and then sucker punched him.

The irony was his being a divinity student. Try explaining this matter if you get to heaven with Mr. Weiss, arms crossed, standing off in the corner, saying "Oh go ahead now...we're listening"...

Posted: Jan 15, 2006 3:24pm
To date, Don Bell's book and twenty year investigation has yielded the following indisputable details:

* A photograph of J. Gordon Whitehead
* The affidavits of Whitehead and the only two witnesses to his altercation with Houdini
* New information about Whitehead, including a criminal past
* Extensive interviews with friends and relatives of Whitehead, the two witnesses, and others connected to the event
* Photographs of the students who were present when Houdini was punched
* The first confirmation from "the second witness", Jacques Price, that he saw the fatal blows


Regarding J. Gordon Whitehead, Wikipedia had the following:

At the time of this incident, Whitehead had been a McGill University student in Montreal. Despite the fact that there were witnesses to the event, Whitehead was never arrested. He himself had to submit an affidavit to the New York Life Insurance Company, who needed proof of the incident in order for Houdini's widow, Bess Houdini, to collect money under the double indemnity clause.

Whitehead remained obscure, until writer Don Bell began his own investigation into Houdini's mysterious murderer. His findings were published (2004) in the book "The Man Who Killed Houdini" (Véhicule Press, Montreal), in which the only known photograph of Whitehead exists. Through interviews with people who knew Whitehead, Bell established that Whitehead lived a life of failure and pathos, despite having attended the prestigious McGill University. Whitehead died of malnutrition in 1954. He is buried in the Mount Royal Cemetery in Montreal.
ChristianR
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There is an easy read called "Houdini" that contains many interesting facts, I don't know if they are all true.
Tarbell!
Steven True
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I am not an expert by any means but I fell the book title was just wrong. I have not read the book so I am not commenting on the contents just the title. I am sure there could have been a less accusing title to use but then again he would not have sold as many books. Just this week there was a rerun of a special on the History Channel about Houdini. It seems that some say Houdini died because of the old addage "the show must go on". Some beleive that his appendix were inflamed for a while before the punches were thrown. And he refused to go to the doctor even being in sever pain. I had my appedix out when they became inflamed and before they ruptured and believe me, the pain was really bad. I was never and am no where in as good of shape as Houdini was. With the rupture that had happend he stood no chance. He did survive 7 days before he past. That,(my thoughts),was because Mr Houdini still wanted the show to go on. It still amazes me that after this long his name is still in the for front of our magical world. His name will live on longer than most of us will and I am glad. He was a so so magician but as far as promter, marketer, and showman there will never be another.
Again this, as I said earlier, is just my thoughts. I am so glad that we have a place like the Café' to be able to post our thoughts and ideas.

Thank you
Steven
DaiBato
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I have read that, medically speaking, a powerful p0unch or blow to the appendix can not cause it to rupture. Apparently Houdini's appendix was on the verge of rupturing anyway, and this punch just brought attention to Houdini's condition.

Anyone else hear this?

Dai Bato
Kevin Connolly
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I heard this theory too. Only thing wrong is that Houdini wasn't complaining about abdominal pain before the assault. If other organs can be ruptured or torn by a blow, why not a distended appendix?
Please visit my website.
www.houdinihimself.com

Always looking buy or trade for original Houdini, Hardeen and escape artist items. I'm interested in books, pitchbooks and ephemera. Email [email]hhoudini@optonline.net[/email]
silverking
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One might expect it to be appropriate to actually read Don's book before commenting on it.

If you'd read Don's book, you would certainly understand the title, in fact, it's the most appropriate title for the story.

Don's book is full of facts, something the original poster asked for, and commented on being in short supply when discussing Houdini's death.
David Melnick
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Just an aside, but my impression is that Rudolph Valentino died of a perforated ulcer. The acid from his stomach irritated his right lower quadrant, and his surgeon thought he had appendicitis (RV was only 31) and explored him through a standard right lower quadrant incision, taking out his appendix. He did not recover and was later found to have a perforated ulcer (maybe from a 2nd operation), and died from complications from that.
Kevin Connolly
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There are many reasons given for Valentino's death. From poisoning to septic to perotonitis. And more in between. I'll stick with HH.

Posted: Jan 22, 2006 9:44pm
Quote:

On 2006-01-22 13:00, silverking wrote:
One might expect it to be appropriate to actually read Don's book before commenting on it.

If you'd read Don's book, you would certainly understand the title, in fact, it's the most appropriate title for the story.

Don's book is full of facts, something the original poster asked for, and commented on being in short supply when discussing Houdini's death.

Don could be right or wrong. What I want to know is why in the hell would Don's son add the last chapter? A one pager at that. To me, it seems like he just flushed all the old man's work down the drain. He should have left that one out IMHO.
Please visit my website.
www.houdinihimself.com

Always looking buy or trade for original Houdini, Hardeen and escape artist items. I'm interested in books, pitchbooks and ephemera. Email [email]hhoudini@optonline.net[/email]
Steven True
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Silverking
Point taken. Like I said I was just commenting on the title not the book. I do think I am going to see if I can get a copy. Thanks for not frying me on my comments. That is one of the things I like about the Café', you can come here and post your opinion, within reason, and not be made to feel like an idiot.
Thanks
Steven
silverking
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Steven, I've got Don's book, and it's a really interesting read if you're at all interested in Houdini.

There's so few new Houdini books out these days, that to find a well researched one, and one that makes an attempt to shed some new light on the topic of his death, well.......you just can't go wrong buying it.

It's a softcover, and not that expensive.
magicusb
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For more information about the backstage (staged?) happenings go to our four pages on the Dick Brookz/Dorothy Dietrich Theory on the internet as well as a lot more from others:
http://houdini.org/houdinimurdered.html
and
http://www.wildabouthoudini.com/2012/01/......ent-form

We will be adding to this as we find time.

Houdini murdered does not mean Houdini was murdered or was meant to be killed, but because that was the title of the recent TV show.

Dick Brookz & Dorothy Dietrich
Check out http://HoudiniOpoly.com

Houdini Museum Tour & Magic Show.
Only building in the world dedicated to Houdini.
http://Houdini.org
http://HoudiniDisplays.com
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"The truth shall make you free, but first it will make you angry." -Robert Ingersoll-Atheist (on the mind of Houdini when he died.)

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Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2006-01-13 20:45, moosemanty wrote:
I have probably heard about a 100 ways of how Houdini died dose any one know the truth on that?


Yes, I believe you've been listening to rumors.

The medical records are on file and have been discussed in public.

There was some insurance related "reporting" for obvious reasons as well.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Tom G
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I heard it as Silverking described it. But wasn't Whitehead a trained boxer?
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