In Memoriam: How did Houdini die?

By Tom Interval

Harry Houdini (copyright 2013 Tom Interval)

If there were such a thing as the perfect day to die, Harry Houdini would have thanked the Grim Reaper. The legendary showman escaped the earth 87 years ago this minute—1:26 p.m. (ET) on October 31, 1926.

To this day, the exact circumstances leading to Houdini’s death are still a bit hazy; however, here’s what we do know for those unfamiliar with the facts:

  • He did not die during or after an escape.
  • He died of peritonitis after suffering from appendicitis for several days.
  • The appendicitis might or might not have been caused by a punch to Houdini’s abdomen. There’s no conclusive evidence either way.
  • There is no evidence to support the theory that he was murdered. Period.

To learn more about the life, career, and death of Houdini, read the most dependable biography: Houdini!!! The Career of Ehrich Weiss, by Kenneth Silverman. (Note that even Silverman suggests Houdini might have had appendicitis before being punched in the stomach; however, we really don’t know that for sure. All we know is that Houdini looked tired and sick but not that he had acute abdominal pain before the famous punch.)

That clarified, best wishes for a safe and happy Halloween.



About Tom Interval

San Diego Magician Tom Interval, owner of Interval Magic, provides magic entertainment and training to private and corporate clients locally and nationally. A member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians (IBM), Society of American Magicians (SAM), and the Academy of Magical Arts (AMA), Interval has captivated tens of thousands of people at numerous venues, including Busch Gardens theme park in Williamsburg, Virginia. With a BA in professional writing and minors in communications and business administration, Interval writes magic-related e-books, magazine articles, and blogs and produces tutorials and related videos for his YouTube channel. Most recently, Interval earned The Linking Ring Award of Excellence for a cover story he wrote for the magicians' publication. To learn more, please visit
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1 Response to In Memoriam: How did Houdini die?

  1. Pingback: Part 2: Is this really how it went down? |

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