May 2, 1995 in Nation/World

Houdini Artifacts Disappear In Flames; Arson Feared

Associated Press

Amid smoke and mystery, one of Houdini’s last wishes has been granted. Whoever did it may find himself locked up almost as tight as the escape artist was.

Fire swept through the Houdini Magical Hall of Fame on Sunday, destroying many of the magician’s artifacts, including the famed Chinese Water Torture Cell.

Houdini had asked that his memorabilia be burned rather than sold for profit. But his brother Theo Hardeen inherited the tricks after Houdini’s death in 1926 and sold the collection to a man who then sold it to museum owner Henry Muller.

Fire officials suspect arson, but other causes hadn’t been ruled out.

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