Hello, ghouls. Happy Halloween and National Magic Day.
Here we are on the 97th anniversary of Houdini's death. As we march ever closer to the 100th, you might be wondering what remains of our hero deep down in that grave in Machpelah Cemetery? I know I think about it! When I visit his grave, I think about how I am just six feet away from Houdini himself. That blows my mind. But in 2023, what exactly am I six feet from?
Well, the news is not great, as the video below explains. This is all a bit gruesome, but it is Halloween.
Recall Houdini was (allegedly) buried in an air-tight copper casket. This would mean the decomposition process would be a bit slower. But from what I've gleaned from other online sources, it would not make a difference after 100 years.
I've never had any objection to exhumation. For me, it would be archaeology. I'm not squeamish or religious, and I'd like to see what's down there. When Houdini exhumed his father and brother to move them into the new Machpelah plot, he opened the coffins and had a look. He even commented on the excellent condition of Herman's teeth.
Had Bill Kalush and his crew gotten their way in 2006, we would have likely found a brittle skeleton. If anyone was ever serious about testing for poisoning--which I think is worth doing--this would have been our last good chance. The fact that time was running out was never part of the argument back then, but maybe it should have been.
Today, as the video states, all that might remain of Houdini are his teeth. So as we near the 100th, it's sad to think the most significant Houdini artifact of them all, his mortal remains, may be gone forever.
Unless he was never there!
OF HIS DEATH
October 31, 1926