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On August 5, 1926, Harry Houdini successfully performed a variation the Buried Alive stunt that had nearly killed him 11 years earlier.  Houdini was locked inside a coffin and lowered below the waters of the swimming pool at the Shelton Hotel in New York City where he remained submerged for an hour and a half.  The stunt was performed in response to Rahman Bey’s claim to have channeled supernatural powers in order to survive in a sealed casket for one hour.  Having survived the stunt himself, Houdini attributed his own success to controlled breathing. Houdini performed the stunt once more in the summer of 1926 and had planned to incorporate a stage version into his 1927 performance season.  Unfortunately, Houdini died of a ruptured appendix on October 31, 1926.

Harry Houdini, 1926. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.

You can find more images of Houdini and other American performers at Opening History.

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Famous magician, stunt performer, actor and film producer, “the genius of escape” Harry Houdini was born 135 years ago, on March 24, 1874.

Harry Houdini

Harry Houdini

Photograph of Harry Houdini performing escape stunt.
Courtesy of Library of Congress, George Grantham Bain Collection. More information from Opening History aggregation of digital collections.

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