When you really think about it, of course Harry Houdini died on Halloween. What other date could have been more appropriate for the mind-boggling magician, master escape artist, seance debunker and accomplished aviator (he got his license to pilot an airplane just a couple years after the Wright brothers invented the damn thing).
The Hungarian-born superstar died, at 52, from acute appendicitis on Oct. 31, 1926, which was no doubt aggravated by a fight-loving fan’s interest in challenging the fitness freak’s claim that his stomach could always take a punch before his final performance in Michigan. The following are some of this modern-day wizard’s many words of wisdom.
On his craft
“What the eyes see and the ears hear, the mind believes.”
On his magical melon
“My brain is the key that sets my mind free.”
On Kardashian-levels of fame
“It is still an open question, however, as to what extent exposure really injures a performer.”
On calling out so-called spiritualists
“I am Houdini and you are a fraud!”
On fad diets
“The eating of burning brimstone is an entirely fake performance.”
On his greatest escape
“The greatest escape I ever made was when I left Appleton, Wis.”
On attracting a crowd
"The easiest way to attract a crowd is to let it be known that at a given time and a given place someone is going to attempt something that in the event of failure will mean sudden death."
On mission statements
“My chief task has been to conquer fear.”
On the power of positive (and magical!) thinking
“I am a great admirer of mystery and magic. Look at this life -- all mystery and magic.”
His last words
“I’m tired of fighting.”
The secret message he said he’d reveal, in a séance, to his wife so that she could determine the legitimacy of a spiritualist: