Friday, January 15, 2021

Houdini and Evatima Tardo

The Wellcome Collection website has a fascinating article by Bess Lovejoy about Evatima Tardo, a dime museum performer who allowed herself to be bitten by venomous snakes and appeared impervious to all pain. Houdini gets a nice mention as he once worked "within twelve feet from her" and wrote in Miracle Mongers and Their Methods that he believed Tardo's secret lay in a strategic consumption of milk!

I did some extra digging and discovered Houdini and Tardo worked together at Middleton's Clark Street dime museum in Chicago during the week of March 14, 1898. In addition to the snakes, her act at that time was to be nailed to a cross!

Her story is pretty interesting, so check out The extraordinary body of Evatima Tardo at the Wellcome Collection.


  1. It's possible she had built an immunity to snake venom much like the late Bill Haast. He was the founder of the Miami Serpentarium and was bitten so many times by cobras and other poisonous snakes that his blood became antivenin:

    Too bad she wasn't impervious to bullets.

  2. She is not mentioned in that book.