Harry Houdini

Roger Walter

Reading — Intermediate Level
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Houdini first attracted notice in vaudeville in the US and then as "Harry Handcuff Houdini" on a tour of Europe, where he challenged police forces to keep him locked up. Soon he extended his repertoire to include chains, ropes slung from skyscrapers, straitjackets under water, and having to escape from and hold his breath inside a sealed milk can with water in it.

In 1904, thousands watched as he tried to escape from special handcuffs commissioned by London's Daily Mirror, keeping them in suspense for an hour. Another stunt saw him buried alive and only just able to claw himself to the surface, emerging in a state of near-breakdown. While many suspected that these escapes were faked, Houdini presented himself as the scourge of fake spiritualists. As President of the Society of American Magicians, he was keen to uphold professional standards and expose fraudulent artists. He was also quick to sue anyone who imitated his escape stunts.

Houdini died of peritonitis, secondary to a ruptured appendix, on October 31, 1926, at the age of 52.
Source: Wikipedia
  1. Where did Houdini first gain attention?

  2. Which of the following was not part of Houdini's repertoire?

  3. It took Houdini one hour to  

  4. What did Houdini do to fraudulent artists?

  5. How did Houdini die?


Practice your writing skills by discussing the questions below

  1. Do you like magic? Why or why not?

  2. Who is your favorite magician? Why?

  3. What are some magic tricks that you've seen?

    Roger Walter

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      • (clawed) to scratch, grip, or dig with claws or fingers
      • a serious condition in which the covering of the stomach, intestines, and nearby organs becomes swollen and infected
      • a list or supply of dramas, operas, pieces, or parts that a company or person is prepared to perform
      • someone or something that causes a great amount of trouble or suffering
      • a jacket that has long arms which can be tied together behind someone's back and that is used to control the movements of a violent prisoner or patient
      • a difficult and often dangerous action
      • (upheld) to support or defend
      • stage entertainment consisting of various acts (such as performing animals, comedians, or singers)


    From English
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