The Sworn Statement of Sophie Rosenblatt
State of Massachusetts,
County of Suffolk,

Sophie Rosenblatt, being duly sworn, deposes and says: I reside at 47 Saratoga St., East
Boston, Mass.
I am a trained nurse by profession.
During the week beginning October 4, 1926 when the late Harry Houdini and his company
were playing at Providence R. I., Beatrice Houdini, the wife of Harry Houdini, became
seriously ill and I was called upon and engaged in my professional capacity as trained
nurse to take care of her. Her illness was serious but as she was a member of her
husband’s company and desired not to leave her husband and the company, I
accompanied Mrs. Houdini in my capacity as trained nurse to take care of her in various
cities in which Houdini was playing after leaving Providence, including Albany, Montréal
and Detroit.
From the time I was called in at Providence until October 22, 1926, I saw Houdini daily and
during all such time he was in good health and excellent physical condition in all respects
except for the fact that at Albany, New York, on or about October 11, 1926, he sustained an
injury to his ankle during one of his performances. Notwithstanding such injury he
continued to play in and complete such performance and continued to give performances
continuously thereafter both evening and matinee at every place his company was booked
despite such injury. He rapidly recovered from such injury and had almost entirely
recovered by Friday, October 22, 1926.
I was not engaged as a nurse to attend Houdini and did not act as such except that as I
was in attendance on his wife, I naturally offered and gave such assistance as I could to
him in connection with the injury to his ankle above referred to. I did not attend him or
care for any other illness or malady whatsoever and as far as I know or could observe he
had no such malady or illness.
It was my plan and my intention to leave Mrs. Houdini and go back to my home in Boston at
the end of Houdini’s Montréal engagement on October 23, 1926 and would have done so
except for the facts hereinafter set forth.
On or about Thursday, October 23, 1926, Houdini gave a lecture at McGill University,
Montréal. I went to such lecture with him accompanied by Miss Rose Mackenburg, Mr. H.
Elliot Stuckel and Miss Julia Sauer. The last three named persons were connected with
that Houdini show. Houdini’s engagement at the University was not over until about 6:30 in
the afternoon and we were a considerable distance from the theater and at my suggestion
we all took a cab to save time in getting to the theater and to get an opportunity to get a
bite to eat before the performance as none of us had had supper and in order that Mrs.
Houdini might not be worried for fear that Houdini, Ms. Sauer and Mr. Stuckel would be
late for the evening performance. Houdini was in excellent health and condition and the
fact that we took the taxi cab was merely because of the reasons stated
On Friday, October 22, 1926, I was at the Princess Theater, Montréal. During the afternoon
Houdini was in his dressing room and two or three students of McGill University were with
him. When they left shortly after 5 o’clock Houdini told me that one of the students had
given him two vicious short arm blows in the neighborhood of the center of his stomach.
He stated that it was the first time in his life the blows really hurt him and he twinged. He
stated that he was lying down when the blows were struck and that he was not prepared
for them. Mrs. Houdini was present when Mr. Houdini stated this to me. We had supper
together. He was continually rubbing his stomach. I asked him whether he felt pain and he
answered that he did. He showed evidence of suffering throughout the evening
performance and complain continually about pains in his groin. He was unable to sleep
after the performance that night. At about 2 o’clock Mrs. Houdini and I were called Houdini
complained of pains and cramps. Mrs. Houdini rubbed him and I administered to him as
best I could. Not having slept all night, in the morning he was drowsy and laid down most
of the time until the matinee, which he never did ordinarily he almost fell asleep a number
of times during the matinee performance. At about 5 o’clock on Saturday afternoon the
following day he complained of awful pains in his stomach. I asked him where he felt pain
and he replied; “just where I got the blows.” After eating a slight supper he again
complained of more pain and indigestion. At about 630 I gave him a Selditz powder and he
was lying down until about five minutes before the curtain went up for the evening
performance. The first act in the performance lasts for about an hour. When he tried to
raise his left foot to step in a cabinet used by him in a vanishing illusion, he was unable to
raise his foot in order to step into the cabinet. He stood helpless for a minute or two
complaining of sharp severe pains in his stomach and was compelled to call upon James
Collins, his assistant, to help him conclude the performance and to do a number of things
which Houdini ordinarily did himself, including the pulling of many yards of silk out of a
glass bowl. Noticing his condition I stood in the wings to take him off after the first act. His
face was pale and pinched there was cold perspiration on his brow. I told him he had a
cold sweat and put a towel around his neck and laid him down in his dressing room. I had
to assist him in undressing. At one time he stood up and said that he had terrible cramps.
Nevertheless he went on for his second act and when he came off complained of still
being in pain. He had to leave Montréal that night for Detroit and on the way to the railroad
station and at the station itself he was very sick and constantly complained of pains in his
stomach. I took him in a restaurant to get a cup of hot boiled water and took a bottle of
black coffee for him on the train. He was unable to sleep all that night after leaving
Montréal and constantly stated that he had pains in his stomach.

The following morning I took his pulse and told Mrs. Houdini that her husband was a very
sick man. I asked Mr. Stuckel, his manager, to have a physician meet the train at Detroit as
I realized that Houdini was very ill and was getting worse ever since the blows were struck
in his dressing room. Dr. Leo Dretzka of Detroit was the physician who first saw him in
Detroit. His temperature was 102, his pulse from 120 to 128 and his respiration 46. At the
hotel in Detroit where he went upon leaving the train, he had a severe chill which lasted
for about 25 minutes. At that time his temperature was 103.6, his pulse was 130 and his
respiration 48. We then called Dr. Richards, the hotel doctor who saw Houdini at about 6:30
in the afternoon and prescribed pills for Houdini to take every half-hour for his pulse and
respiration. He went to the theater to give his evening performance. He was practically
helpless and was unable to dress himself for the performance we took him to the theater
and he was in bad shape throughout the performance. It seemed that he was unable to
open his eyes while he was putting on his makeup for the performance. After each act he
literally fell down almost helpless and dragged himself on the stage again. After the
performance he was carried to the hotel and his condition was reported to Dr. Richards
who was then out of town. Dr. Richards recommended Dr. Cohen and Dr. Cohen was
immediately called to attend Houdini. Dr. Cohen called on Dr. Owen who took the blood
count. It was then decided to call in Dr. Watkins and Dr. Kennedy, distinguished surgeons
at Detroit, to examine Houdini. He was taken from the hotel to the Grace Hospital in an
ambulance and in operation was decided upon.
Dr. Kennedy called me in to the operating room and asked me to step over to the
operating table and looked in the abdominal cavity while the wound was open. I asked Dr.
Kennedy whether in his opinion the blows which were struck at Detroit were responsible
for Houdini’s condition and his answer was “absolutely so Dr. Hewitt who was Dr.
Kennedy's associate in connection with the operation also was of the same opinion.
Houdini’s appendix was located as I saw myself on the left side of the abdominal cavity
and precisely in the exact spot that he had repeatedly pointed to as the spot at which the
blows had been struck at Montréal. When Houdini first regained consciousness he asked
the surgeons if the blows were the cause of his condition and they stated in their opinion
they were Houdini then said “the poor boy didn’t mean it.”
I repeat that from constant observation lasting over a period of weeks, Houdini’s health
and physical condition seemed to be exceedingly good in all respects with the exception
of the injury to his ankle at Albany, up to October 22, 1926, when the blows referred to
were struck from that time until he was operated on, his condition was bad and steadily
grew worse.
Sophie Rosenblatt
Sworn to me this
Day of February 15, 1927
Edward Whiderman
Notary Public
State of Massachusetts