Sunday, December 18, 2011

Harry Houdini Swims with the Fishs and Sharks

(not an actual photo of Houdini and a shark)
This piece originally appeared in the news in 1915. It's a story about Houdini and a trick he invented on the spot near the Fiji Islands. I'm going to give you condensed version of the story.

Houdini and Bess were returning by Steamer from Australia and on the way passed near the Fiji Islands. The steamer docked near Suva Island temporarily. The waters near the Fiji Islands were known to be shark infested waters however, for whatever reason the sharks did not seem to harm the islanders. Anyone else however could wind up a sharks dinner.

The steamer passengers were watching the local islanders diving into water after coins that were tossed in by other ships in the area. Every time someone would come out from the water they would have the coins in their mouth!

Houdini was watching this and he expressed an opinion that the coins were not caught in the mouth but instead the islanders picked up the coins on the sandy bottom of the ocean with their hands and then put them in their mouths. He set out to prove his point and made the suggestion that if the islanders hands were tied behind their backs, they would not come up with any coins. Then he added, that he too would go in the water, with his hands shackled behind his back and he would easily come up with the coins.

They found an islander who would agree to the test and his hands were tied behind his back while Houdini’s hands were being handcuffed behind his. Before Houdini was even ready the islander had jumped into the water and was far below the surface. Houdini followed a few moments later.

Two shiny coins were tossed into the water, and the gathering crowd watched to see who would come up with their coin first. A short time later the islander rose above the water but to his dismay and that of the audience he had no coin in his mouth. Houdini was still not up and the audience was growing worried because several sharks had been spotted.

Suddenly, the crowd saw two feet emerge from the water and then flip around, it was Houdini, who proudly held two shiny coins between his teeth, even though he was still handcuffed. The worried audience scooped the champion out of the water to avoid his triumph turning into a sudden tragedy.

Houdini, the victor in the challenge, then gave the two coins to the young fellow and the steamer was soon on it’s way.

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