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Hadji Ali
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Performance Artist
    (circa 1888-November 5, 1937)
    Born in Egypt
    Vaudeville performer
    Swallowed objects (coins, costume jewelry, peach pits, stones, live goldfish, etc) and regurgitated specific items on demand
    For the finale of his act, would swallow a gallon of water followed by a pint of kerosene, eject the kerosene in a six-foot arc to set a prop on fire, then extinguish the blaze by expelling the water
    Portions of his act featured in the short film 'Strange As It Seems' (1930) and the Spanish-language film 'Politquerias' (1931)
    Billed as the Amazing Regurgitator, the Human Volcano, the Eqyptian Enigma, the Great Egyptian Miracle Man and the 9th Wonder of the Scientific World
    It is uncertain when he was born, whether Hadji Ali was his real name and whether he actually was an Egyptian.
    Harry Houdini said his act was 'a performance that could not fail to disgust a modern audience.'
    At least one of his engagements was cut short when management realized his act was killing off the supper shows.
    His publicity claimed that the Rockefeller Institute had offered him $50,000 to examine his stomach after his death; the Institute denied ever making such a proposition.
    After his death, his daughter Almina offered Johns Hopkins University a chance to examine his remains for free, but was turned down.
    He was examined by doctors who confirmed that his act was legit.
    He earned up to $1,000 a week in vaudeville.
    He was once summoned to St. Petersburg by Czar Nicholas II to give a command performance.
    Judy Garland said he was her favorite vaudeville act.
    David Blaine named him as his favorite magician: 'It's real but nobody's been able to do it since.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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