Date: 26 Mar 1918
Place: Wood Green Empire, London
Chung Ling Soo died after a trick he carried out on stage went wrong.
He was a music hall artiste and conjurer. One of his tricks involved him shooting himself with a gun on stage, however, the trick went wrong and he was shot through the right lung.
He had been performing at the Wood Green Empire on the Saturday night.
Police examined his guns but could not determine the flaw in the trick that caused the bullet to be projected.
His guns, which were said to have been used by the Chinese in the Boxer Rebellion, were designed to use sufficient powder to cause a loud explosion but that the bullet was supposed to drop through a hidden opening at the butt end of the rifle and not leave the rifle.
The manager of the Wood Green Empire stated to a Press representative, 'The rifles are of an old muzzle loading type, using big expanding bullets. Personally, I have never entertained any other opinion than that the terrible occurrence was the result of a pure accident, and I believe the police are satisfied that there is no other explanation possible. Chung Ling Soo always jealously guarded the secret of his trick guns, and kept them very carefully locked up in his dressing room, preparing them himself for his performance. The attendants who fired them knew nothing about the mechanism, or how the trick worked. I have no doubt that what happened was that something went wrong with the apparatus, causing the bullet to be projected. Chung Ling Soo, whom I have known personally for some years, was particularly bright and cheerful before going on to the stage that night, and had made an appointment to spend the weekend with a friend'.
see The Scotsman - Tuesday 26 March 1918