Who’d Want to Murder Harry Houdini?

TIME

In the cutthroat world of magicians and mediums, Harry Houdini made enemies.

He had racked up so much ill will by the time of his mysterious death, in fact, that some people suspected he had been poisoned by psychics whose claims he regularly debunked.

The cause of Houdini’s death — on this day, Halloween, in 1926 — was officially a combination of appendicitis and peritonitis, an infection of the abdominal lining. But its onset was swift and surprising in the otherwise healthy 52-year-old, known for superhuman strength and the ability to escape every tight spot he had ever found himself in — including being buried alive, one of four “close-ups with death” of his career, according to a New York Times story.

The Times reported on the bizarre string of events that led up to the fatal infection, including a barrage of gut punches from a college student who…

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