Harry Houdini, (Mar.24,1874-Oct. 31, 1926) the famous escape artist, visited Salem in 1906.
His given name was Erich Weiss. He was of Hungarian heritage, emigrating with his family to the U.S. at the age of four.
In three packed shows at the Salem Theater, Houdini escaped from a large secured wooden box, and a strapped locked barrel. He also escaped from inside a police cell at the Salem Police Station.
In 1926, Houdini died (on Halloween) of a ruptured appendix caused by blows from an overzealous fan. When dying, he made his wife promise to have an annual seance on the anniversary on his death. His wife did this for 10 years. In 1990 a group of organizers in Salem held a seance on Halloween to call Houdini back.
- Vertical File in Salem Collection - Houdini, Harry
- Harry Houdini blog "History by the Sea"
- "Handcuffs could not hold Houdini" Salem Evening News, April 17, 1906,
- Hidden History of Salem by S. Saville, p. 88-91
- "Seance called to bring famed escape artist back" Salem Evening News, Sept. 21, 1990, p. 13