Harry Houdini was a master Janus escape artist.
Harry Houdini was born Erik Weisz on March 24th, 1874 in Budapest, Hungary. At the age of four his family immigrated from Hungary to the United States, where Houdini's name was modified to Ehrich Weiss. At age nine he became a trapeze artist, and took the name Harry Houdini, Harry the name his American friends called him and Houdini after the famous French magician Houdin, adding an i. Houdini at first did magic trick, but in 1899 he was convinced to escape tricks. Houdini married Wilhelmina Rahner, a fellow magician.
Before 1907 Houdini learned of his Janus heritage and contacted them, staying in contact. In 1904 he started 'Mission Smoke and Mirrors'. He went to London to search the former house of Benjamin Franklin for one of the 39 Clues, and the act he would escape from he was put in strange medal handcuffs brought from a London journalist. After hours fiddling on stage his wife kissed him, slipping him a universal key and the curtains closed so Houdini could free himself and search Franklin's former home. Houdini entered rooms but was seen and forced to vanish and them show to the audience he was free from the handcuffs. Houdini wrote to the Janus asking to stop being in the hunt.
In 1912 Houdini created the Chinese Water Torture Cell trick, his most famous by far. In 1926 Houdini was at a college when a student asked if he could withstand any blow, and Houdini replied yes, and before he could tighten his stomach muscles to avoid injury, the student punched him. Houdini was in pain, but traveled to Detroit for his last show, where he passed out in the middle, but was revived and continued. He was sent to hospital where he died on Halloween of a ruptured appendix maybe caused from the blows, but not before writing a final letter to the Janus leadership.
Houdini was interred in Queens, New York. In 2007 George Hardeen, his great-nephew, believed that Houdini was poisoned and wished for his exhumation.
Houdini was confident in his own skill, and a devious trickster, able to escape some things that were actually not what they seemed, like fake screws on a metal barrel.
- Card #9--Card Pack #1
- Stolen Archive File 9
- Cahill Web: ILikeUselessFacts.net: Harry Houdini (Mentioned Only)
- Janus Archives: Top Secret Memo from Harry Houdini