October 31 is sometimes called Magic Day, to commemorate Harry Houdini (1874–1926), one of the world’s best-known magicians.
He died on October 31, 1926, at the age of 52, and one year after his death his wife presented a trophy in honour of him, on that day. After that, the Society of American Magicians (of which he was a member) sought official permission for a Houdini Day, sanctioned by Mrs. Houdini, and October 31 was proclaimed National Magic Day in his memory.
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Born as Erich Weisz in Budapest, Hungary, young Harry Houdini moved with his family to Appleton, Wisconsin, where he later claimed he was born. Though his magic met with little success, he soon drew attention for his feats of escape using handcuffs, chains, ropes, straitjackets, etc.
His most daring escape acts include the milk can escape where he was suspended by his feet and lowered upside-down into a milk can filled with water. He was sealed in that glass cabinet and had to hold his breath for more than three minutes before being able to escape.
Another spectacular achievement was the suspended straitjacket escape, in which he escaped after being straitjacketed and suspended by his ankles from a crane.
In addition to being an escape artist, Houdini was also a silent film actor and an avid aviator.
There are mixed reports as to the cause of Harry Houdini’s death, however it is now certain that he died of peritonitis, secondary to a ruptured appendix.
Some witnesses reported an incident at his dressing room in the Princess Theatre in Montreal and speculated that his demise was caused by a McGill University student who was testing his will by punching him in the stomach.
Another theory is that he was poisoned by a band of Spiritualists, angry because of his efforts to debunk mediums and psychics. His work in this direction was fostered by his training in magic, which allowed him to expose frauds who had successfully fooled many scientists and academics. He also chronicled his experiences in his book, “A Magician Among the Spirits.” 🧙 🧙 🧙