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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 18, 2007, 07:33:59 am »

THE RIDDLE OF HOUDINI                                                                        continued

The account of what occurred I take from the notes which were taken
by the circle at the time.

The first phenomenon to be tested was the ringing of an electric bell,
which could be done by pressing down a flap of wood, well out of the reach
of the medium.  The room was darkened, but the bell did not ring.  Suddenly,
the angry voice of Walter was heard.

"You have put something to stop the bell ringing, Houdini, you--------------"
he cried.

Walter has a wealth of strong language and makes no pretence at all to be a
very elevated being.  They all have their use over there.

On this occasion, at least, the use was evident, for when the light was turned
up, there was the rubber from the end of a pencil stuck into the angle of the
flap, in such a way as to make it impossible that it could descend and press the

Of course, Houdini professed complete ignorance as to how it got there, but who
else had the deft touch to do such a thing in the dark, and why was it only in his
presence that such a thing occurred?  It is clear that if he could afterwards, when
he had quietly removed the rubber, that his arrival had made all further trickery im-
possible, he would have scored the first trick in the game.

He should have taken warning and realized that he was up against powers which
were too strong for him, and which might prove dangerous if provoked too far.

But the letters he had written and boasts he had made cut off his retreat.

The second night landed him in a very much worse mess than the first one.  He had
brought with him an absurd box which was secured in front by no fewer than eight
padlocks.  One would have thought that it was a gorilla rather than a particularly
gentle lady who was about to be confined within.

The forces behind Margery showed what they thought of this contraption by burst-
ing the whole front open the moment Margery was fastened into it.  This very unex-
pected development Houdini endeavoured to eplain away, but he found it difficult to
give a reason why, if the box was so vulnerable, it was worth while to bring it with so
much pomp and ceremony, with eight padlocks and many other gadgets, all the way
from New York to Boston.
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Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.

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