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The man known world wide as the most famous magician of all time Harry Houdini was born March 24 1874 in Budapest Although Houdini often claimed to be born in Appleton Wisconsin Houdini actually came to the United States when he was four years old In later years in a magazine interview Houdini said the greatest escape I ever made was when I left Appleton WisconsinHoudinis actual name was Ehrich Weiss His father was Mayer Samuel Weiss He was a Rabbi for the German Zoin Jewish Congregation in Appleton His mothers name was Cecilia Steiner Weiss His parents spoke Yiddish Hungarian and German The family was quite poor so most of the children began work at an early age At the age of eight young Houdini sold newspapers and worked as a shoeshine At the age of 12 Houdini left home to make his way in the world in an attempt to help support his familyYoung Houdini traveled the country for about a year always sending money home when he could Finally he joined up with his father in New York City The move to New York would change his life and introduce him to the world of big time magic In New York Houdini worked as a messenger and as a cutter in the garment center sweatshop to help support the family He was very athletic and won awards in swimming and track He would use these athletic and swimming talents to great use in his future as an escape artistHoudinis first magic shows consisted of card tricks and other simple magic They called him Soon Harry starts using handcuffs and other restraints in his shows Houdini begins offering rewards to anyone that can restrain him Houdini escaped from handcuffs leg irons straightjackets jail and prison cells a mail pouch packing crates a giant paper bag without tearing the paper a giant football an iron boiler milk cans coffins and the famous Water Torture
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