2007_03_arts_houdini.jpgHarry Houdini's funeral was held on November 4, 1926, in New York, with over two thousand mourners in attendance. He was buried at the Machpelah Cemetery in Queens where the crest of the Society of American Magicians is inscribed on his grave site. To this day, that Society holds their "Broken Wand" ceremony at the grave site on the anniversary of his death. With a new biography called “The Secret Life of Houdini” that came out late last year, and which in part questions the real reason for Harry Houdini's death, some people are calling for the body to be exhumed. Others are calling this a publicity stunt.

Some of Houdini's descendants, the authors of the book and some notable forensic pathologists have been attempting to get permission to exhume the body in order to search for evidence of poisoning. Dr. Michael Baden, who was prominently involved in re-investigating the deaths of JFK and Martin Luther King Jr., pointed out that in Houdini's death certificate, it noted his appendix was on the left side, rather than the right. He was said to have died of peritonitis from a ruptured appendix, though a couple of days earlier he was attacked in his dressing room and his insurance company determined the blows he received during that attack were the cause of his death. The poisoning was also something many thought to be the case, something that could have been attempted by a psychic group called the Spiritualists - as he had tried to debunk their work.

There are many family members against exhuming his body, however. The grandnephews of Houdini's wife Bess, John and Jeffrey Blood, stated: "It is our firm belief that Bess Houdini would never approve of this. The family believes this is likely being done to promote sales of a recent book on Harry Houdini suggesting he may have been murdered." Seems like this battle will go on for a while, at least long enough to sell a few more copies of the book.

Photo from 1010Wins.