Today would have marked the 137th birthday of Harry Houdini, the world-renowned illusionist who made a living with his magic of fooling the crowd of people who watched him perform.
Born in Budapest, Hungary, Houdini’s birth name was Eric Weisz. His name later changed to Ehrich Weiss after the entire family came to America when Houdini was four years old. He would then be nicknamed Harry.
When Houdini became a professional magician, he named himself Harry Houdini as tributes to a famous French magician, Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin and Harry Kellar, someone Houdini admired.
After numerous small shows, Houdini would meet his wife while performing an act at Coney Island, New York. Wilhelmina Beatrice Rahner was in the crowd and replaced Houdini’s brother in the act.
Houdini was given opportunities to travel and perform the U.S. and overseas but after a while, he settled in the U.S. and did most his performing there. Throughout his career, he escaped from chains, ropes, jails, ropes, straight jackets and more and as time went on, he would have harder escapes, and survive them all.
One of his most famous escapes was called the Chinese Water Torture Cell. He was tied and shackled upside down of a water tank. After three minutes of holding his breath, Houdini managed to escape. Houdini enjoyed his success until dying of a ruptured appendix in 1926.