Hadji Ali

Hadji Ali was a vaudeville performance artist, thought to be of Egyptian descent. He was famous for acts of controlled regurgitation. His best-known feats included water spouting, smoke swallowing, and nut and handkerchief swallowing followed by disgorgement in an order chosen by the audience. Judy Garland and David Blaine identified Ali as his favorite magician.

About Hadji Ali in brief

Summary Hadji AliHadji Ali was a vaudeville performance artist, thought to be of Egyptian descent. He was famous for acts of controlled regurgitation. His best-known feats included water spouting, smoke swallowing, and nut and handkerchief swallowing followed by disgorgement in an order chosen by the audience. Ali’s most famous stunt, and the highlight of his act, was drinking copious amounts of water followed by kerosene, and then acting by turns as a human flamethrower and fire extinguisher as he expelled the two liquids onto a theatrical prop. Although he never gained wide fame, Ali had a dedicated following in the United States. He performed for heads of state including Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. Judy Garland and David Blaine identified Ali as his favorite magician. His unusual gastric abilities led to rumors that the Rockefeller Institute had offered a large sum of money to obtain his stomach post-mortem. After he died in England, his body was offered to Johns Hopkins University for study, though the offer was declined. Ali has been described as a “large, barrel-chested and bearded man… an imposing figure in his Arab costume”. Although Ali spoke a number of languages, he became a imposing figure on the stage in his stage persona.

He had a variety of stage names including “The Egyptian Miracle Man”, “The Human Volcano”, and “The 9th Wonder of the World”. He was also known as “The Regurgitator” and “the Great Egyptian Man” Ali’s daughter, Almina Ali, stated that his abilities were first learned through a single incident: while bathing in the Nile, he inadvertently swallowed a fish and an ample volume of water. He continued to develop and refine the ability as he grew older. Ali was born into a working-class family in approximately 1887 or 1892, depending on the source consulted, probably in Egypt. According to Ali, in or about 1914 he was summoned to perform at the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg, Russia. He stated that the Tsar “must have liked my performance because he awarded me a special decoration, which is now one of my most treasured possessions” Ali performed under contract throughout Europe and at times for Heads of state. He also performed at carnivals, fairs, and in fairs together, sometimes advertised under the collective name, ” hadji Ali & Co. “HadjiAli & Co”. Ali’s act was featured in the Spanish-language version of Laurel and Hardy’s Chickens Come Home, Politiquerias.