At one of his magic shows, the great magician Harry Houdini was punched in the stomach by a young man who wanted to test the strength of Houdini's abdominal muscles. The true role of this punch has been debated by scholars for years, but finally we have evidence that will set things straight. This recently uncovered letter from father to son, recounts the death of Harry Houdini, the greatest stage magician to ever live, from the point of view of an orderly in the hospital. George Parsons, the author of the letter, did work in the hospital where Houdini died, Grace Hospital, and was on duty October 31st, 1926. Little else is known about him, but his electric and fascinating recounting of Houdini's final hours reveal a man of great observational skill.
With no further delay, here is the text of that letter, dated July 2nd, 1954.
It is that time of year again when the sweltering heat of summer bears down upon me like Germans did upon the French countryside. Of course, I recognize my mortality during these times, much to your mother's consternation. And as I sit and stew, I realize how little of consequence I have accomplished. I have you of course, the greatest thing, but what else have I given the world?
I have witnessed few things of consequence, I want to set down one in writing. The night that Houdini died.
As you know, I was employed at Grace hospital at that time as an orderly. I watched after patients and collected bed pans. Not well recognized work, but important. And Houdini and wife Bess were always polite and appreciative of my attentions.
You may have heard that an errant punch from a student killed Houdini. That that punch initiated an inflammation of the appendix and an eventual rupture. This is part of the truth.
That student did kill Houdini, but it was not an accidental punch.
It was Halloween night, the night he died, and the streets were fill with costumed intoxicants. Including the boy that punched Houdini in the stomach. After drinking his fill of ale, this stocky fellow made his way to Houdini's room. I passed by he and his fellows in the hall. They were in costume as clowns, hoboes and baseball players. When I asked where they were going, they replied that their leader needed to apologize to Houdini.
I'll say he did!
Well, no sooner did they enter Houdini's room than I heard screaming issuing forth from inside. As I opened the door, a clown with a painted tear blocked my way in. Inside, the guilty boy, dressed as Babe Ruth was beating Houdini in the stomach with a bat. "Take that you tricky dick," he screamed.
The boy explained to Houdini that he had been made to look a fool in front of his friends for falling for his tricks. He had punched Houdini in the stomach as an act of retribution, but still found anger and hatred burning in his stomach.
That night, they tortured and beat Houdini for hours. I was eventually tackled and tied up, forced to watch the most inhumane torture ever issued upon a single man. Eventually, I passed out, only to wake up in a pool of blood.
Now, you might ask why I have never said anything about this before. Well, that boy was from a powerful family and they paid me a heavy sum to keep me quiet. It bought our house, car and allowed me to go back to school. I bring it up now because that man has entered the political stage on a nation scale.
His name is John Fitzgerald Kennedy. I fear the Houdini family will seek revenge if they ever find out. Houdini left behind a trick of revenge called "The Magic Bullet." I hope to all hell this never comes to pass.
All love to you son, keep this secret close to your heart,
George Edward Parsons
Now, you know the shocking truth. A scan of this document can be provided on request.
Copyright 2006 David WahlEmail the author if you have a comment or are interested in learning more!