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THE NEW YORK TIMES November 2, 1926 Page 27, Column 1


Coming from Detroit in Bronze Coffin He Used to Remain in an Hour without Air

Magician’s Tricks and Mysteries Will Go to Grave with Him, as He Left No Explanation
Special to The New York Times.

Houdini's Grave, Machpelah Cemetery, Cypress Hills, Queens, New YorkDETROIT, Mich., Nov. 1–The body of Harry Houdini, the celebrated magician, left Detroit at 7:30 o’clock tonight for New York, where it will be buried beside that of his mother. Accompanying the coffin were Mrs. Houdini, Nathan J. Weiss and Theodore Hardin, brothers, both of New York; Gladys Houdini, a sister; Julia Karcher, a niece, and Luther E. Goble, manager of the Temple Theatre.

The body rests in the special air-tight bronze coffin which Houdini recently had made to prove his contention that any one could live without air for an hour if they did not let fear overcome them. It was his expressed wish that he be buried in this coffin.

Coffin Left There by Mistake

Houdini, a stanch disbeliever in mental telepathy, placed much faith in coincidence. This was borne out in the fact that the coffin in which he wished to be buried was in Detroit when he died. When Houdini’s show disbanded last week, all the stage equipment was shipped to New York, but by a queer trick of fate, or coincidence, this coffin was left behind. It became lost in the transfer company warehouse, coming to light a few days after the other baggage had been shipped.

Houdini’s body will arrive at the Grand Central Station, New York, at 9:30 A.M. Tuesday. In New York the body will be taken to the West End Funeral Parlors and prepared for burial in accordance with arrangements made by Houdini at the time he made his will.

Houdini’s secrets of how he performed his feats will be carried to his grave. This was learned today when James Collins, the magician’s technical assistant for more than twenty years, asserted that Houdini left no explanation of his puzzles and mysteries.

Body May Lie in State Here

Dash and BessieHarry Houdini’s body may lie in state at the National Vaudeville Artists’ clubhouse, the Hippodrome or a public funeral parlor, it was said yesterday at the Keith-Albee Vaudeville offices, with which Houdini was closely associated. Immediately after their arrival in New York this morning, Mrs. Houdini, the magician’s brothers and Luther E. Goble, manager of the Detroit Keith Theatre, will meet with E.F. Albee and Henry Chesterfield, Secretary of the National Vaudeville Artists, and if the widow desires it, friends and admirers of the magician may be permitted to view his body at one of those places. It is expected that the funeral services will be held at noon on Thursday or Friday from the Elks clubhouse in West Forty-third Street, in accordance with a request of the magician. The hour of the services will be announced after the arrival of the family. Burial will be in Houdini’s plot in the Cypress Hills Cemetery, Brooklyn. Rev. Dr. Harris and Rabbi B.A. Tintner will officiate at the services, and there will be eulogies by Loney Haskell, Secretary of the Jewish Theatrical Guild, and others.

The following letter was sent yesterday by Mr. Haskell to the widow:

Nov. 1, 1926

Mrs. Harry Houdini

278 West 113th Street

New York, N.Y.

Dear Mrs. Houdini:

We are profoundly shocked at the passing of your beloved husband, Harry.

On behalf of our guild, beg to extend to you and your family heartfelt condolence in the great loss you have sustained.

Harry was a noble character and his death is sincerely felt by all.

You must bear up bravely. God’s will be done.

At our next meeting our members will stand in silent meditation for one moment out of respect to the memory of your departed husband and our departed brother.

Rec. Sec’y.

Injury in Montreal is Denied

MONTREAL, Nov. 1 (AP)–Harry Houdini did not die of an injury received on Oct. 22 but was so sick when he came here that he was under care of a trained nurse, two men connected with his Montreal appearance asserted today. The magician’s family in Detroit expressed the opinion that the fatal illness was due to a blow dealt by a McGill University student in testing the magician’s strength. Abbie Wright, manager of the local theatre, said Houdini was ill when he came to Montreal. Dr. William D. Tait, Professor of Psychology at McGill University, where Houdini delivered a lecture before the McGill Union, said there was no encounter between the magician and a student.

Famous Spiritualist Calls Him the “World’s Master Trickster.“

LONDON, Nov. 1 (AP)–Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, noted author and spiritualist, today paid tribute to the late Harry Houdini as the “world’s master trickster.”

“His death is a great shock and a deep mystery to me,” he said. “He was a teetotaler, did not smoke, and was one of the cleanest living men I have ever known. I greatly admired him, and cannot understand how the end came for one so youthful.

“We were great friends, He told me much in confidence, but never secrets regarding his tricks. How he did them, I do not know. We agreed upon everything excepting spiritualism.”

ELMIRA, N.Y., Nov. 1 (AP)–Commenting today upon the death of Harry Houdini, William H. Burr of Rochester, President of the New York State Spiritualist Association, said that the magician “now knows there is a spirit world.”
American Society Plans Memorial Events for its President.

Meeting last night in the offices of B.M.L. Ernst, 25 West Forty-third Street, the Society of American Magicians drew up plans for honoring the memory of its President and most famous member, Harry Houdini. Chief among the scheduled memorial events is a meeting on Nov. 30, to be held at the Hotel McAlpin.

The date for the meeting is set at the last of the month to allow members of the Magic Circle of London, of which organization Houdini was President, to reach New York in time. Others who will be invited to the McAlpin meeting include theatre managers, members of all societies to which Houdini belonged, and other friends and associates. A preliminary memorial meeting will be held this Saturday night at the Hotel McAlpin.

Mr. Ernst, Vice President of the society, said last night that the Council of the society would meet the body this morning at the Grand Central Terminal. Members of the council represent fifteen branch of organizations in as many cities of the United States. A special issue of M.U.M., the publication of the society, will be printed in honor of Houdini this week.

George H. Atkinson, advance agent for Houdini for many years, told yesterday of the work that Houdini managed to get done in Montreal just before moving on to Detroit.

“He not only gave his regular performances,” said Mr. Atkinson, “but he lectured at the Police Department in the morning, before students at McGill University late in the afternoon and over the radio at 11 o’clock at night.”

Mr. Atkinson said that Houdini never slept more than four hours a night. He said the doctors should not have allowed him to give his last performance, as they knew of his condition.

Mrs. Gertrude Hills, who asked Houdini last summer to help raise funds for a charitable cause, said that he gave his assistance gladly and hurt his side in trying to best his own “straight-jacket” record. Following this mishap, he had what was diagnosed as “ptomaine poisoning,” said Mrs. Hills, and “when he left on his tour he told me that he did not feel himself and that he still felt the effects of the injury and the attack of ‘ptomaine poisoning.’ ”

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