Friday, November 22, 2019

Houdini and the Mandela Effect

The "Mandela Effect" refers to a collective belief in a historical event or fact that actually has no foundation in the truth. Below is a YouTube channel that looks at popular Mandela Effects. In this episode Houdini's drowning death comes in at #1.

The source of this "Mandela" is no mystery. The collective misconception that Houdini died in the Water Torture Cell was born in the 1953 Paramount biopic Houdini starring Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh. Two subsequent television biopics, The Great Houdinis (1976) and Houdini (1998), also show the escape playing a role in the magician's death.

But it's not just Hollywood to blame. Many magicians and escape artists when doing their own versions of the escape will advertise it as "the escape that killed Houdini." A recent offender was David Blaine. Even Simon Cowell once spoke this myth on America's Got Talent.

But I've also discovered this misconception doesn't have the hold it once did. Today most people have some idea about the punch, and a Google search can tell anyone the truth. I also find that people under the age of 20 have not really heard this. Back in the 60s, 70s and 80s the Tony Curtis movie was a shown repeatedly on television and that was the way most people learnt about Houdini. But nowadays kids watch YouTube the Mandela Effect!

Thanks to Lisa Cousins for this one.

NOTE: I've created a new playlist on my YouTube Channel called Linked Videos in which I've collected all the Houdini-related second party videos, such as this one, that I've shared here on WILD ABOUT HARRY.



  1. This is a itself evidence of the Mandella Effect .. No living DR. today says that Houdini's appendix was ruptured by the punch. So this idea is just MORE Mandella in action!!!!!

  2. Dr. Kennedy, the surgeon who operated on Harry noted that his appendix had ruptured and was extended across the abdomen. Exactly how that happened is still open to discussion.

  3. I always thought that Houdini was punched in the gut which helped his appendix to rupture during the water cell trick where he died on stage. Now I'm being told that he survived the trick, passed out later on and was taken to the hospital where he had surgery, lingered for a few days and died of sepsis. Crazy!

    1. Houdini had dropped the Water Torture Cell escape several weeks before his fatal appendix misadventure. He had broken his left ankle while being hoisted upside down over the tank had to stop performing it, and never exhibited this on his last show.

    2. from what i read, he was told he needed surgery but ignored it leading to septis.