New York Times Houdini Ptomaine Poisioning Gertrude Hills reporter Harry Houdini Museum attraction Scranton Poconos Pocono

When Houdini died Gertrude Hills, in a New York Times article, said prior to the punches in Montreal, Houdini had hurt his side and he said he had also contracted Ptomaine poisioning!


Published: November 2, 1926
Copyright The New York Times

American Society Plans Memorial
Events for its President.

Meeting last night in the offices of
B. M. L. Ernst, 25 West Forty-third
Street, the Society of American Magi-
cians drew up plans for honoring the
memory of its President and most fa-
mous member. Harry Houdini. Chief
among the scheduled Memorial events
is a meeting on Nov. 30, to be held
at the Hotel McAlpin.

The date for this meeting is set at
the last of the month to allow mem-
bers of the Magic Circle of London,
of which organization Houdini was
President, to reach New York in time.
Others who will be invited to the Mc-
Alpin meeting include theatre managers.
members of all societies to which
Houdini belonged, and other friends
and associates. A preliminary memo-
rial meeting will be held this Saturday
night at the Hotel McAlpin.

Mr. Ernst, Vie Presidant of the so-
ciety, said last night that the Council
of the society would meet the body
this morning at the Grand Central
Terminal. Members of the council
represent fifteen branch organizations
in as many cities of the United States.
A special issue of M. U. M., the pub-
lication of the society, will be printed
in honor of Houdini this week.

George H. Atkinson, advance agent
for Houdini for many years, told yes-
terday of the work that Houdini managed
to get done in Montreal just before
moving on to Detroit.

"He not only gave his regular per-
formances," said Mr. Atkinson, "but he
lectured at the Police Department in
the morning, before students at Mc-
Gill University late in the afternoon,
and over the radio at 11 o'clock at

Mr. Atkinson said that Houdini never
slept more than four hours at night.
He said the doctors should not have
alowed him to give his last perform-
ance, as they knew of his condition.

Mrs. Gertrude Hills, who asked Hou-
dini last Summer to help raise funds
for a charitable cause, said that he
gave his assistance gladly and hurt his
side in trying to best his own
"straight-jacket" record. Following
thls mishap, be had what was diagnosed
as "ptomaine poisoning," said
Mrs. Hills, and "when he left on his
tour he told me that he did not feel
himself and that be still felt the ef-
fects of the injury and the attack of
'ptomaine poisoning' ."

In the collection of the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin is a letter dated Dec 7, 1926 that Arthur Conan Doyle wrote to Bess Houdini saying he had gotten a letter from Gertrude Hills where Mrs. Gertrude Hills asserted �that Houdini had a presentment that he would not return from this circuit.� Doyle then asks Bess, �I wonder if this is true.�

Also in the Kalush bio of Houdini in the footnotes is another mention of Gertrude Hills as follows... �Houdini�s Illness� by Gertrude Hills, New York Herald Tribune, October 31, 1926, copy found in the Culliton Archives, now housed at the Conjuring Arts Research Center. Also Kalush as well as Fred Nadis in is book Wonder Shows mentions a letter Gertrude Hills to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, dated November 22, 1926. in the collection of the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin. 28, 52 If anyone has this copies of these from the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin please PM us. Gertrude Hills was a magic supporter, a reporter, and seemed to be socialite of sorts. Since this was before the issue of double indemnity came up, what would inspire her to tell this story, if it were not true?

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Houdini Gravesite Fund We've been asked by the family of Houdini & the management of the Houdini Grave to provide for its upkeep. Please donate. In 2012 at our expense we restored the bust missing for 36 years on his grave. Thank you.

HELP! We need your help in fixing our century old buiding! This past year because of the floods and hurricanes our parking lot retaining wall caved in. The cost is between $20,000 and $30,000. We have developed a roof leak and some items may be at risk. We had to move the huge framed pictures of Houdini's mom and dad from his home to another area. We need your help.

BREAKING NEWS. We have restored the missing bust at Houdini's grave. Gone for 36 years! A half page story world wide in the New York Times. Click here. and here.

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