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Harry Houdini

Born March 24, 1874 - Died October 31, 1926

Harry Houdini was an illusionist and stunt performer. His death defying escapes were legendary. Starting with handcuff escapes he moved on to chains, ropes slung from skyscappers, straightjackets underwater, even a sealed milk can. Among Houdinis other accomplishments he was an avid aviator and acted in several movies.

Later in life as the President of the Society of American Magicians he wanted to keep professional standards very high by exposing fraudulent performers. In the 1920's he turned his attention to alleged spiritualists and mediums. He was a member of the Scientific American committee that offered a cash prize to anyone who could prove their supernatural abilities.

Prior to his death Houdini and his wife Bess setup their own test for the alleged mediums. They decided on a code word that, after Houdini's passing, he would communicate from beyond the grave if possible. Bess held seances for 10 on Halloween none of them were successful. After the final unsuccessful attempt Bess put out a candle that had been burning by Houdini's picture since his death. She was qutoed as saying "ten years is long enough to wait for any man."