31 October

'To cause the face to appear in a mass of flame make use of the following: mix together thoroughly petroleum, lard, mutton tallow and quick lime. Distil this over a charcoal fire, and the liquid which results can be burned on the face without harm.'
October 2009

It's Hallowe'en and the day on which Harry Houdini made his final great escape. The grand illusionist and escapologist died of peritonitis from a ruptured appendix in Room 401 of Detroit's Grace Hospital at 1.26pm, aged 52.

Houdini made what he considered to be his greatest escape in the Soviet Union. 'I think my escape from the Siberian Transport was my most difficult performance. I was placed in the great vault usually assigned to political prisoners, and when the great door was shut, I had the hardest time of my life, perhaps, in releasing myself. But nevertheless, it took me 18 minutes to walk out, and face the dazed officials.'






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