Was It Really a Punch to the Gut That Took Harry Houdini Out?

According to legend, the magician, illusionist, and master escape artist Harry Houdini died on Halloween in 1926. As the story goes, an overeager fan literally punched him in the gut, causing his appendix to rupture. But it might not be the case. Are these two events – his death and the literally gut-wrenching event – really linked?


Photo by Everett Collection, Shutterstock / Granger, Shutterstock / Courtesy Everett Collection, Shutterstock

Houdini defied the impossible throughout his mystifying career, which turned him into a household name that still gets mentioned even today. He was known for swallowing needles to pulling himself out of a dead whale. His famous “Chinese Water Torture Cell” stunt dazzled millions. So how could it be that something as “minor” as a punch to the gut ended it all? And the fact that he died on Halloween only made the circumstances surrounding his death even more eerie and hard to believe. In fact, the mystery and speculation have fascinated people ever since.

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