Harry Houdini: Not Buried Alive

Among the highlights in Swann's April 17 auction of Revolutionary Americana & Autographs is a typed letter signed by escape artist Harry Houdini expressing his wishes involving who would be permitted to be buried in his plot at Machpelah Cemetery in Flushing. Written in 1925, the year before his death, the letter instructs that, "[m]yself, my wife, Wilhelmina Rahner Houdini, my brothers, Nathan Joseph Weiss, William Godfry Weiss, Theodore Franz Weiss known as Theodore W. Hardeen and my sister Carrie Gladys Weiss known as Gladys Houdini and I direct that no . . . other person or persons whatsoever shall be buried in the said plot without my written consent." Ironically, Houdini's wife is actually buried in a different cemetery.

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