Five Magic Tricks That Resulted In Death

Published May 3, 2017
Published May 3, 2017

Benjamin Rucker And The Living Burial

Black Herman Herman’s legendary show poster.

Benjamin Rucker was quite possibly the most popular African-American magician in Vaudeville and a huge figure in his home base of Harlem, New York. It was this reputation that would make his death in 1934 all the harder for his fans to believe.

In his final act, Rucker buried himself alive for five days. Incidentally, Rucker didn’t die during that span, but after. While receiving applause for the act, Rucker had a heart attack and dropped dead in front of his audience.

As so many people thought that the ensuing funeral was another hoax, Rucker’s assistant ended up charging admission. Fans were disappointed to realize, however, that this time Rucker’s death was anything but fake.

For more elaborate — and admittedly more lighthearted — pranks, check out history’s most famous hoaxes.

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