Houdini--the Key is still available contact Patrick Culliton at pkcull@aol.com
In the matter of – the estate Harry Houdini against the New York Life Insurance Company.

1. I, J. Gordon Whitehead, of the city of Montréal, being duly sworn to depose and say:

1. I reside at No. 75 Union Avenue (Union Avenue is crossed out and Drummond Street is
written in and initialed JGW), in the city of Montréal, and am at present employed in the
library of McGill University in Montréal;

2. I attended the lecture given by the late Harry Houdini at 5 PM on Tuesday, 19 October
1926 in the McGill Union;

3. On Wednesday afternoon 20 October 1926, I called at the Mt. Royal Hotel for the purpose
of obtaining an interview with Houdini. The answer I received was that I should call again
the next day before 10 AM.

4. On Thursday morning 21 October 1926, I arrived at the Mt. Royal Hotel shortly before 10
AM and send my card up to Houdini. The message came back that Houdini had left for the
Princess theater and would be glad to receive me there;

5. I reached the theater about 10:45 AM and was admitted to Houdini's room. I was there
introduced to Samuel J. Smilovitch, who is a student at McGill University, and who was then
sketching Houdini. I was also introduced to Jacques Price, who was also present. Mr. Price
is also a student at McGill University.

6. Houdini was reclining on a couch and Smilovitch was seated near the foot of the couch
about 2' away from Houdini's right foot;

7. I set myself on Houdini's right and about opposite his chest. Price sat immediately on my

8. After some conversation with Houdini, Smilovitch, Price and I left the room and about 10
or 15 minutes afterwards Smilovitch, Price and I returned to Houdini's room and resumed
our former seats;

9. Houdini got up from the couch and moved about the room, apparently in some pain, and
with some inconvenience because of some injury which he said he had sustained shortly
before coming to Montréal. He did not go into any details as to the nature of the injury;

10. The conversation was then continued and turned to the question of keeping fit. Houdini
remarked that he could duplicate a famous strongman feat of supporting the pivot of a
bridge over which was driven an automobile containing at least five people;

11. I had previously mentioned a book I had read which set forth the requirements of good
health, such as the care of the skin, the maintenance of an abdominal muscular corset, and
a good digestion;

12. Houdini suggested that I feel his abdomen. – His muscles were like a washboard and his
abdomen as unyielding as a sandbag. Houdini invited me to hit him;

13. At the time he was reclining in a half sitting position on the couch – he had taken up this
position for the purpose of the sketch which was being done by Smilovitch, and Smilovitch
was still sketching him at the time;

14. I stood on the right side of the couch and facing Houdini said. My right knee was against
the edge of the couch and halfway between his knees and his waist;

15. Price was seated directly behind me and Smilovitch was seated diagonally behind me
and to my right;

16. I struck Houdini quite moderately and he smiled and laughingly said – "Why! Hit me." I
hesitated and he repeated – "Hit me";

17. I struck him a second blow slightly harder than the first, – he gave not the slightest
indication of any discomfort at either of the blows. Both blows were struck on the left side
of his body and above the navel.

18. I was then standing above Houdini and he was facing me and I struck him with my right
hand. This occurred about 12 PM

19. Neither Smilovitch nor Price made any comment whatsoever, and in the position they
were in at the time they could not see the part of Houdini's body on which either of my
blows landed;

20. The conversation then went on in a general way for about an hour when Mrs. Houdini
and one or two attendants came into the dressing room with Houdini's luncheon;

21. At the time Smilovitch had completed his sketch, signed it and gave it to Houdini and the
latter thanked him for it;

22. I then left the dressing room and Houdini made some remark to the effect that he had
enjoyed our conversation and asked me to call again whenever I liked;

23. Houdini gave me the impression of being a very sick man but his determination to keep
going was equally apparent. He insisted on personally dealing with his correspondence in
spite of remonstrances from one of his staff, this remonstrance was made in my presence
and I accepted it as a hint that I should not continue my conversation;

24. I suggested this to Houdini with an apology, but he insisted that I should continue;

25. I called again on Houdini at the theater on Friday morning the 22 October 1926 at 10 AM
during our conversation we spoke of longevity and he gave me a copy of the "Scientific
American" for November;

26. Our conversation was general and there was no particular incident to be noted;

27. I visited Houdini on a third occasion, either later on in the day of Friday the 22nd, or on
the following day;

28. Our conversation was again of a general character and there is no incident worthy of
note. Houdini did not on any of these three occasions refer to the incident of my blows as
having incommoded him in any respect, or caused him any pain.

And I have signed J. Gordon Whitehead.

Sworn to before me at the city and district of Montréal this 16th day of March 1927,
(unreadable signature) Notary Public
The Sworn Affidavit of J. Gordon Whitehead