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J. Gordon Whitehead

Deceased Person

Jocelyn Gordon Whitehead (died 1954) is the man who sucker-punch magician Harry Houdini in the stomach on October 22 1926. Contrary to popular belief, appendicitis and not the punch was the likely cause of Houdini's death -- although the pain inflicted by the blows may have masked the pain of the appendicitis, preventing the performer from seeking treatment until nine days later. At the time of this incident, Whitehead had been a McGill University student in Montreal. Despite the fact that there were witnesses to the event, Whitehead was never arrested. He himself had to submit an affidavit to the New York Life Insurance Company, who needed proof of the incident in order for Houdini's widow, Bess Houdini, to collect money under the double indemnity clause. Author Don Bell rewrites Houdini history by discovering that the magician was attacked (or at least "tested") three separate times during that fateful week in Montreal. A native of Montreal, Bell finds independent eyewitnesses to each of these other, non-lethal "punches" who readily corroborate the facts. It's a stunning discovery, however there is no clear evidence to support that allegation. Bell's hypothesis is that  ( Wikipedia article )

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Death

Date of death
1954

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