Houdini's X-ray

Discuss the historical aspects of magic, including memories, or favorite stories.

Postby Kevin Connolly » 07/10/10 12:00 PM

If you would like to know what Houdini was like on the inside; I have just posted an X-ray of his hand on my blog. If you look closely, you can see a bullet lodged in the palm of his hand. The shooting took place earlier in his lifetime. Here is the link to the image.

http://houdinihimself.com/?cat=3

Enjoy,

Kevin
Please visit my website.
http://houdinihimself.com/
I buy,sell + trade Houdini, Hardeen items.
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Postby Leonard Hevia » 07/10/10 12:48 PM

It's hard to believe that Houdini went the rest of his life with that bullet lodged inside his left hand. Isn't it possible he had it taken out at some point? After all, he went under the knife several times in his life. It's conceivable that he would have asked a hand surgeon to cut it out.

Wouldn't the bullet still be inside his coffin? Somewhere near the middle left side.
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Postby Kevin Connolly » 07/10/10 05:27 PM

You may want copy and paste your questions on the blog. There's a few Houdini regulars there who might be able to help.
Please visit my website.
http://houdinihimself.com/
I buy,sell + trade Houdini, Hardeen items.
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Postby houdini's ghost » 07/10/10 07:12 PM

It appears to be a small caliber bullet. He should have had it removed as soon as it happened. Once the wound heals, it can often be more damaging to try to remove it. A lot of my fellow veterans are carrying pieces of metal in them to this day for that very reason.
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Postby T Baxter » 07/11/10 11:15 PM

I've read that Houdini bought his brother one of the newly-invented x-ray machines, and that in the first several weeks he owned it, he x-ray'd Houdini dozens, if not hundreds of times.

Speculation was that this massive exposure to radiation led to Houdini becoming impotent.

Is there any truth to any of this?

- T. Baxter
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Postby houdini's ghost » 07/12/10 12:35 PM

That's what Bessie told Anne Gwynne.
According to Jay Marshall, Bessie told Anne that Houdini and Leo played with the machine until they both sterilized themselves.
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Postby Leonard Hevia » 07/12/10 03:41 PM

Thanks Patrick, once again you cleared the fog. I wondered if that bullet story was actually true. Sloman and Kalush note that this episode came from an unidentified clipping from the Library of Congress. That's all they had to say on this matter.

Apparently two card hustlers wanted Houdini to pick open a locked door to a gambling room so they could load it with coolers. Houdini resisted and one of them shot at him through the window of the joint. It sounds like a story he would have made up. It might have be something more mundane like a friend playing with a load gun.
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Postby houdini's ghost » 07/12/10 04:29 PM

I'm pretty sure that Houdini's fictitious account of how he got the bullet in his hand was in a short story called "A One-Night Engagement" which was published, as I recall, in 1904 in, I think, Wide World Magazine. I reprinted the story in "Houdini's Strange Tales" along with a bit of history.
Houdini wrote to Bess that she should pick up Wide World Magazine to read how "I shot or was shot."
Nobody knows how he really got the bullet in his hand.
Christopher wrote that he had the bullet in his hand when he rejoined the family in New York after his runaway days.
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Postby Leonard Hevia » 07/13/10 03:32 PM

Thanks again Patrick. I suspected that it might just be a story, like the pies in the locked pantry. When you study Houdini long and hard enough, you begin to realize that much of what he passed along should be taken with a pinch of salt. Sloman and Kalush wrote the bullet story without question. All they had was a piece of secondary source.
Since I don't have the Christopher book at hand, but his "bullet theory" makes more sense to me. Somebody may have taken a potshot at Houdini when he was an adolescent roaming through the midwest. Maybe he was hungry and jumped in someone's yard to grab an ear of corn.
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Postby houdini's ghost » 07/13/10 07:59 PM

Except, what's wrong with the pies in the locked pantry story?
I had a very similar experience to that one myself.
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Postby Leonard Hevia » 07/15/10 03:37 PM

The Weiss family was poor. I doubt they had a pantry fitted with a locking door. Houdini's mother didn't seem the type to ration what little food there was from her children.

Hey, Maybe she was the one that shot him in the hand while he was copping a pie?
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