Erik Weiss was born March 24, 1874 in Budapest. By the age of 17, he and his brother were performing magic acts in music halls. Ambitious and constantly honing his skills, the world knew him as Harry Houdini. He married his assistant, Beatrice Raymond, and by 1895 they were members of the Welsh Brothers Circus. Their magic act, which consisted of them switching places with lightning speed in a locked trunk, gained them instant fame. Houdini constantly worked on his showmanship and became an expert with handcuffs, which also gave him international fame as an escape artist. Part of his act was offering $100 to anyone who could produce escape-free handcuffs. No one ever did – he even escaped from being handcuffed to a pillar in Scotland Yard! He also became an underwater escape artist – he would enter a container handcuffed and chained and then be thrown into a river. Long after a normal person could withstand being submerged, Harry would pop up out of the water holding up the chains. Houdini’s secret was his excellent health – he conditioned himself by immersing into a large tub for long periods of time. He also practiced being efficient with both hands and feet, and studied locking devices until he became the leader in his field. When his mother died, Harry tried to contact her via séances, but only found them to be fake. Eventually, he spent part of his time debunking various mediums and psychics. During this time, he told his wife Bess that if he were to die that he would try to contact her from the other side. A few years later, on Halloween in 1926, Houdini died from a ruptured appendix and his wife began the famous Houdini séances. She was never able to receive confirmation from Harry. The last séance was held on October 31, 1936 – it went on for over an hour but there was still no verifiable response of any kind from Harry. To add to the atmosphere of the night, a fierce thunderstorm drenched the séance. Afterwards, it was confirmed that the violent storm occurred only over the séance. So, did Harry Houdini finally reach out to his widow, Bess, or was it just the mystique of Halloween night? This remains a mystery for the ages!
SharLeigh has an inquisitive nature – she is interested in current events, history, science and many more subjects, including things that go bump in the night! Since 1997, SharLeigh has scoured the internet, looking for interesting, fun and timely topics covering all sorts of human-interest subjects for her articles from her home in Fontana, CA.