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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 560 times)
Bianca
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« Reply #30 on: May 20, 2007, 12:33:12 pm »





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« Reply #31 on: May 20, 2007, 12:38:44 pm »





« Last Edit: May 20, 2007, 12:53:46 pm by Bianca2001 » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #32 on: May 20, 2007, 12:58:31 pm »






« Last Edit: May 20, 2007, 09:24:04 pm by Bianca2001 » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #33 on: May 20, 2007, 02:33:51 pm »





If anyone is interested, I was able to insert a picture of the medium, "MARGERY",

/aka Mrs. Mina Crandon, in the appropriate place. 

It is #24, on Page 2.
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Bianca
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« Reply #34 on: May 21, 2007, 07:55:21 pm »





http://www.neuralgourmet.com/drupalfiles/images/houdini.jpg
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« Reply #35 on: May 23, 2007, 05:35:56 pm »





THE RIDDLE OF HOUDINI                                                                                 continued



...........I will now turn to a consideration of the nature of Houdini's power
and, in order to appreciate the argument, one has to consider the nature of
some of the feats which he did actually perform.  A list of these would make
a considerable pamphlet, but a few typical ones may be selected.  A general
outline of his life, too, may not be out of place.

Houdini's real name was Eric Weiss, and he was born in 1874, in the State of
Wisconsin, in one of those small towns which seem to be the real centres of
American originality.  he was the seventh son of a Jewish rabbi, and he has
left it on record that his mother did not even know the English language.  He
has left no record that in his early youth he had some connection with medium-
ship, though of a most doubtful variety.

He has not scrupled to confess that he eked out any powers he may have had
by the expedient of reading the names upon the graves in the local cemeteries.

It was a good deal later than this that he first met a true medium in the shape
of Ira Davensport, the only survivor of the famous brothers whose powers ama-
zed all England in the 'sixties (1860s) and who, in spite of all the interested claims
of Maskelyne and other conjurers, were never exposed, nor even adequately imi-
tated.

I have before me, as I write, a letter from Houdini himself, in which he tells me:

"I was an intimate friend of Ira Erastus Davenport.  I can make the positive
assertion that the Davenport Brothers never were exposed.  I know more about
the Davenports than anyone living."

He then adds the very curious and notable sentence:

"I know for a fact that it was not necessary for them to remove their bonds,
in order to obtain manifestations."


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« Reply #36 on: May 23, 2007, 05:48:26 pm »





THE RIDDLE OF HOUDINI                                                                           continued



When one considers that these bonds were often handcuffs or twisted copper
wire, and that the manifestations occurred, in many cases, within a few seconds
of the closing of the cabinet, this admission by one, who claims that he knows,
is of very great importance.  We will return to this later, after we have enume-
rated a few of his results.

He coul
d, and continually did, walk straight out of any prison cell in which he
might be confined. 

They placed him at Washington in the cell in which Guiteau, the murderer of
Garfied, had been locked, but he readily emerged.  In the letter from which I
have already quoted, he says to me:

"I pledge upon my word of honour that I was never given any assistance, nor
was in collusion with anyone."

This was clearly the case, for he performed the feat many times in different
places, and was always searched to prove that he had no tools in his possess-
ion.  Sometime the grining warders had hardly got out of the passage, before their
prisoner was at their heels.

It takes some credulity, I think, to say that this was, in the ordinary sense of the
word, a trick.
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Bianca
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« Reply #37 on: May 24, 2007, 03:48:03 pm »





THE RIDDLE OF HOUDINI                                                                                 continued


Handcuffs might have been made of jelly, so easily did his limbs pass through
them.  He was heavily manacled at Scotland Yard, and placed behind a screen
from over which a shower of manacles began to fall, until he stepped out a free
man. 

These things he could do in an instant. 

When I was lecturing at the Carnegie Hall in New York, my wife and Houdini walked
down some side corridor after the lecture, in order to join me.  They came to a pad-
locked door and my wife was about to turn back.  To her amazement, her companion
put out his hand and picked off the locked padlock as one picks a plum from a tree.

Was that a trick, or are all these talks about sleight of hand what Houdini himself
would call "bunk" or "hokum"?

When Houdini was in Holland, he got the local basketmakers to weave a basket
round him. 

Out of his he emerged.

He was shut up later in a sealed paper bag and came out, leaving it intact.

A block of ice was frozen round his body and he burst his way out.

One who has attempted to bring his feats within the range of normal explanation
tells us that he did this by "depressing his periphery as a prelude to dynamic ex-
pansion " - whatever that may mean.

He was also buried six feet deep in California and emerged unhurt, though we are
not told by what dynamic expansion the feat was achieved.
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