Entries open for Honi Soit 2021 Writing Competition
Comedy //

What if Harry Houdini Never Actually Died at all?

Guest column by Barry Shmoudini

When you think of Harry Houdini, many things come to mind. You probably think of brilliant magic tricks, you probably think of elaborate ruses, you probably think of tremendous illusions! you probably, beloved reader, think that he has passed.

I do not wish for a seat among the grand council of mischievous conspiracy theorists of the fashion, but I would like to reignite at least one so-called historical fact that so many of us take for granted.

I submit to you that, perhaps, Harry Houdini never died at all.

“Not so, Barry!” I hear you exclaim! Quiet, reader! Suffer me!

Just, for a moment, endure an old fool’s crazy theory, why not?

The story goes that the incredibly talented illusionist was struck four times (not expecting the cowardly blows, I might add) in the abdomen, contracted peritonitis and tragically passed at Grace Hospital, Detroit.

What if I were to tell you that Hungarian-Americans have a tremendous constitution for being struck in the abdomen and not getting peritonitis? Yes, though all present may remember the story going another way, I contend that Harry never truly died at all. What if a great deception was practiced upon the good doctors of Detroit’s Grace Hospital?

What might Harry have gone on to do?

Well, I couldn’t possibly reveal all the old man’s secrets – even if I knew ‘em! But I will tell you what I do know.

Harry might have gone on to found an orphanage for the magically challenged in Holland. He would decorate the classroom every day with vases of tulips picked fresh from the acres by the attached school. He would sing folk songs to the children and the children would laugh and smile as they had never laughed and smiled before.

The success of the first orphanage would inspire Harry in the building of another. Imagine how many children he could help if, rather than practicing illusion, he only practiced kindness and charity. This new kind of grand act would see Houdini running hundreds of orphanages for thousands of children. This, he would come to realise, was the greatest magic of all.

I guess we shall never know for sure…

Or, might we?

Filed under: