How Did Houdini Die?


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The story most commonly given is that Houdini's appendix had been ruptured and he died through peritonitis. A few days before his death, a young student had come backstage to meet Houdini and had asked whether it was true that Houdini could easily withstand blows to his chest. Houdini said that he could and the student asked if might strike him to test his claim. Houdini agreed and the student then struck Houdini with several severe blows to the chest. Some say that Houdini did not have time to tauten his chest muscles to prepare for the blow; some say he was unable to because of a previous injury. Whatever the reason, Houdini seems to have suffered extreme pain. Houdini liked to boast of his own hardiness, however, and prided himself on performing through injuries. He refused to seek medical treatment for several days but his pain eventually compelled him to do so. He died a few days later.

This is the standard account of Houdini's death but there are a number of alternative conspiratorial theories floating around too.

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