Harry Houdini’s last performance before his Halloween death in 1926

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DETROIT – On October 24, 1926, legendary magician Harry Houdini performed what would be his last show before his untimely death in a Detroit hospital.

Houdini was 52 when he performed at the Garrick Theater that night in Detroit. He was said to have suffered a lot and suffered from a temperature of 104 degrees and a cold sweat, but historians say he insisted on taking the stage at the Garrick Theater.

Houdini collapsed right after the show (he survived the show!) And was rushed to hospital. He died a week later on Halloween at Grace Hospital.

Of HistoricDetroit.org:

“Although she has treated thousands of people for almost 100 years, Grace is best known for one patient in particular. Harry Houdini, the most famous magician to ever live, died of peritonitis in room 401 of Grace Hospital on October 31, 1926 – Halloween. He was staying at the Statler Hotel for his performance at the Garrick Theater. These three Detroit buildings linked to Houdini’s last moments have been demolished. The William R. Hamilton Funeral Home on Cass was where her body was taken and is the only remaining link to the Master Magician.

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The Garrick Theater was located at 1122 Griswold St., across from American Coney Island.

What caused Houdini’s tragic death has been disputed for nearly a century now. The official cause has been listed as peritonitis caused by a ruptured appendix. Doctors performed surgery to remove the appendix.

However, there were reports that Houdini was punched in the abdomen days before his death when he was in Montreal.

Of Histoire.com:

“At one point a student named J. Gordon Whitehead arrived and asked Houdini if ​​it was true that he could withstand heavy punches in his abdomen – a claim the magician allegedly made in public. . According to witness Sam Smilovitz, when Houdini said the rumors were true, Whitehead abruptly delivered “four or five terribly violent, deliberate and well-directed blows” to his stomach. Houdini was still lying on the sofa and had no time to prepare for the punches, which seemed to leave him in considerable pain.

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Either way, Houdini passed away in Detroit on Halloween day, making it one of the most random, yet stunning, notes in the city’s long history.


Following: Detroit History Stories

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