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Halloween also marks the death of Houdini in Detroit

Oct 29, 2014

Credit The Jewish Museum / Flickr

Harry Houdini died in Room 401 at Grace Hospital in Detroit 88 years ago this week.

How did this world-famous magician and escape artist come to die in Michigan? John Cox, a Houdini historian, has the answer.

Cox says Houdini wasn’t just a famous magician, he was a pioneer aviator who made movies and became part of American culture.

"Houdini wasn’t a famous magician, he was a superstar,”  Cox says. A big part of this was the evolution of Houdini’s act as an escape artist. Houdini said he could escape from anything that anyone could devise.

“A part of the fun of Houdini’s act was hearing what kind of crazy challenges people would cook up for him”, Cox says.

One of those challenges, however, eventually led to his death in Detroit.

*Listen to the interview with John Cox above.