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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 1397 times)
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Posts: 41646

« on: May 17, 2007, 05:46:18 pm »

THE RIDDLE OF HOUDINI                                                                     continued

So much for his virtues - and most of us would be very glad to have as
goodly a list.  But all he did was extreme, and there was something to
be placed in the other scale.

A prevailing feature of his character was a vanity which was so obvious and
childish, that it became more amusing than offencisve.  I can recall, for ex-
ample, that when he introduced his brother to me, he did it by saying, "This
is the brother of the Great Houdini."

This without any twinkle of humour and in a perfectly natural manner.

This enormous vanity was combined with a passion for publicity which knew
no bounds, and which must at all costs be gratified.  There was no considera-
tion of any sort which would restrain him if he saw his way to an advertisement.
Even when he laid flowers upon the graves of the dead, it was in the prearrang-
ed presence of the local photographers.

It was this desire to play a constant public part which had a great deal to do
with his furious campaign against Spiritualism.  He knew that the public took a
keen interest in the matter and that there was unlimited publicity to be had
from it. 

He perpetually offered large sums to any medium who would do this or that,
knowing well that even in the unlikely event of the thing being done, he could
always raise some objection and get out of it.

Sometimes his tactics were too obvious to be artistic.  In Boston he arrived by
prearrangement , before a great crowd at the City Hall and walked solemnly up
the steps with ten thousand dollars' worth of stock in his hand, which represent-
ed one of his perennial stakes against phenomena.

This was in connection with his engagement on a tour of the music-halls.  His
favourite argument, and that of many of his fellow-conjurers, was this flourish-
ing of dollar wads.
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Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.

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