The Story Of How Houdini Trained American Troops On How To Escape Capture

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Image: FPG/Getty Images
Image: FPG/Getty Images

An illusionist and escapologist, Harry Houdini may have been the most famous magician of all time. But what’s not as well known is his contribution to U.S. efforts during World War I. Houdini was passionate about supporting the troops and did everything he could to help them. And this included sharing the secrets behind some of his escape tricks.

Image: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Image: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

WWI began in 1914, though the U.S. didn’t join the conflict militarily until April 1917. And for his part, Houdini was eager to help his country win the fight. So he put his normal performance schedule to one side so he could put his skills as a magician to use. Not only that, he encouraged his fellow magicians to do the same. Indeed, he may not have been a soldier, but he made an important contribution to the war effort nonetheless.

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Image: Getty Images
Image: Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images

Houdini didn’t just entertain the troops, though that was part of his work. His efforts were far-reaching – indeed, he did everything from raising money through selling Liberty Bonds to teaching soldiers techniques for escape and survival. He was determined to do all he could to guarantee victory and to ensure other magicians also played their part.

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