Harry Houdini

houdini1March 24, 1874 – October 31, 1926

Harry Houdini (Erik Weisz) was a vaudeville escape artist and probably the most famous magician of all time. He got his start pulling card tricks and escaping from handcuffs in front of crowds in sideshows and eventually was able to entertain crowds across the country and Europe. As his reputation grew, so did his escapes. The handcuffs became more elaborate. Straight-jackets followed. Then padlocks, sealed wooden crates, milk cans, caskets, glass-cases full of water…whatever he could think of. Crowds flocked to see his death-defying escapes and his fame skyrocketed. Houdini was an intense protector of the art form of magic and spent a significant amount of energy debunking fake spiritualists and people who would tarnish the industry. In 1917, he became the president of the fledgling Society of American Magicians. Under his leadership, the society expanded to an impressive network of chapters in cities all over the country. He used his own resources to recruit talented magicians to join the fraternal organization. After an improbable career, Harry Houdini died rather abruptly at the age of 52 of an inflamed abdomen. Rumors around the cause of his condition swirled and ranged from “a college kid punched him” to appendicitis – all of which, appear to have happened and/or contributed. Either way, after continuing to perform in extreme pain for his last couple of shows, he was finally taken to a hospital in Detroit where he died a few days later.

 To this day, the S.A.M. continues to operate and a few key members are responsible for maintaining Houdini’s grave site – which has become a place of pilgrimage for many magicians.


Machpelah Cemetery – Queens, NY


Specific Location

Enter the gate from Cypress Hills St. and the Houdini plot is directly in front of you, just past the maintenance shed.


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