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It’s the 84th anniversary of Harry Houdini’s death today, since he so thoughtfully got himself punched in the inflamed appendix and held out just long enough for peritonitis to kill him on the spookiest day of the year.

Just in time to celebrate his dramatic life and death, a new exhibit at The Jewish Museum in New York has put the artistry, craftsmanship and showmanship of Harry Houdini on display for the first time in a major art museum. It tells the story of Ehrich Weiss, a Hungarian immigrant who ran away from his Wisconsin home when he was 12 to join the circus.

Palentologist Andrea Tintori has identified what appears to be the cross-section of a dinosaur skull fossil embedded in a slab of stone in the balustrade of the Cathedral of St.

They watch Houdini being lowered upside down into his “water torture cell” and see him pressed against the glass as he is locked in place.

Two assistants stand with axes, prepared to smash the apparatus if Houdini doesn’t make it out in time. The Water Torture Cell on display is the only reproduction. You have to listen closely to understand through the noise, but here’s a recording of Harry Houdini describing his Water Torture Cell procedure for a 1914 audience: The exhibit is not just neat gadgets.

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