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A Report by Andrew Collins
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Arthur Conan Doyle, SPIRITUALISM and Harry Houdini

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Author Topic: Arthur Conan Doyle, SPIRITUALISM and Harry Houdini  (Read 1527 times)
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« on: May 17, 2007, 04:12:46 pm »

THE RIDDLE OF HOUDINI                                                                            continued

Let me say, in the first instance, that in a long life which has touched every
side of humanity, Houdini is far and away the most curious and intriguing
character whom I have ever encountered.  I have met better men, and I have
certainly met very many worse ones, but I have never met a man who had
such strange contrasts in his nature and whose actions and motives it was
more difficult to foresee or reconcile.

I will first, as is only proper, dwell upon the great good which lay in his nature.
He had the essential masculine quality of courage to a supreme degree. 

Nobody has ever done, and nobody in all human probability will ever do, such
reckless feats of daring.  His whole life was one long succession of them, and
when I say that amongst them was the leaping from one aeroplane to another,
with handcuffed hands at the height of three thousand feet, one can form an
idea of the extraordinary lengths that he would go.

In this, however, as in much more that concerned him, there was a certain
psychic element which he was ready to admit freely.

He told me that a voice, which was independent of his own reason or judgement,
told him what to do and how to do it.  So long as he obeyed the voice, he was
assured of safety.  "It all comes as easy as stepping off a log," said he to me,
"but I have to wait for the voice.  You stand there before you jump, swallowing
the yellow stuff that every man has in him.  Then at last you hear the voice and
you jump.  Once I jumped on my own and I nearly broke my neck."

This was the nearest admission that I ever had from him that I was right in think-
ing that there was a psychic element which was essential to every one of his feats.
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Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.

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