Words of Wisdom:

"singlemindeness is all_powerful." - Essaygeek.


  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 06:28 AM
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Kendall, Lace Houdini Master of Escape Philadelphia: Macrae Smith Company, 1960, 187


"Ladies and gentlemen, you can see there isn't anything up my sleeve."1 Erich

Weiss states at the beginning of the book.   Even as a child Erich Weiss, a.k.a. Harry

Houdini, knows that his goal in life is to become a world famous illusionist.   It was

difficult for Erich's family being pilgrims from Europe.   His father worked hard, but being

from Germany and not knowing English made it difficult.   "Promise me you will always

look after your mother and see to it that she is never in want."2   Erich promises his father

that he will look after his mother and other brothers.   At the age of thirteen he decides to

leave and join the circus.   He journeys to Texas performing small, road-side shows on the

way, but only gets half-way when he turns around.   Erich realizes it's not his time.

At the age of fifteen he moves with his family to New York.   That is when he

acquires his name, Harry Houdini.   He dubs himself Houdini after the famous French

magician Robert Houdin.   In one of his small shows in New York he spills acid on the

audience member's dress.   Little did he know how much that would change his life.   He

offer to have his mother make a new dress for Miss Beatrice "Bess" Rahner.   It was love

at first sight.   He and Bess are married at Coney Island the day he gives her the new dress.

Often when I here of Houdini I think, and even have been told, that he died in an

escape accident.   That is not only untrue it is nowhere near his true means of death.

During a performance one night he broke an ankle.   That is when it all started.   He began

feeling worse everyday.   He had stomach pains.   He waited to late.   He had a ruptured

appendix and gangrene had set in.   The doctors told him that he would not survive more

that twelve hours....


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