HARRY HOUDINI:

The Man And His Many Myths

 

 

I suspect that Harry Houdini today must be the magician’s magician. Naturally, many of his rivals have tried to imitate him, and most have failed miserably to do so.

 

His numerous illusions are still a mystery in terms of how he achieved them. Or as he would say with a smile, "always keep them guessing". And they are still guessing today.

 

Since Houdini’s death in 1926 in Detroit, his reputation as a magician or showman par-excellence has never declined. Yet did he feel entitled to the applause and the numerous awards bestowed upon him by peers and public alike? I do wonder, because if he had not bought a book as a boy about the French magician Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin (1805-1871), things might have been very different for his later life when he became the "king of handcuffs". Who can forget also the celebrated "Chinese water torture cell" trick he performed and perfected, from which he would escape within minutes, escaping from canvas straightjackets as well, it seems, by simply dislocating both of his shoulder sockets. Ouch! (I was fortunate, I suppose, to touch one canvas jacket recently in London; see picture below). 

 

 

 

We cannot know or understand his many motives. He was always a complex man in pursuit of dangerous and driven dreams before an eager, ever-demanding sadistic public that made him tick. Or was it just a death wish that spurred him to attempt even more dangerous death-driven feats? Yet none of us are immortal, for each will one day give an account of every word, deed and action. Like all of us, Houdini could never beat that ticking clock.

 

Before he performed one of his stage acts, Houdini once said: "If I die, it will be the will of God and my own foolishness". I sense some humility revealing itself in these words.

 

The man has departed the world stage, of course, but his illusions (and how he perfected them) will forever be a mystery to students of escapology. Yet his aspirations nearly caused his death on many occasions.

 

I was never one of those little boys who was presented with a simple book of conjuring tricks by an aunt at Christmas. I do remember, however, being invited to a friend’s birthday party when I was about six or seven; I believe my friend’s name was Tyrone. The highlight of his party was the arrival of a magician known as the great Marvel. I can still see him today 70 years later. He was so emaciated that he resembled a walking skeleton. His skin was a pasty colour with deep pock-marked craters. He also boasted a thin pencil moustache. His evening dress was shabby and stained with the many previous dinners he must have spilt down the front over the years. Tufts of dead hair sprouted from his mottled scalp.

 

After a birthday tea of jelly and cake we all gathered around to watch him perform his first trick which witnessed him snap open the traditional silk top hat. This he did by flicking it open with a deft flourish. He then wrapped his moth-eaten torn cloak around the open hat and produced a rabbit for all to see, at least that's what we were all supposed to believe. Unfortunately for him, a boy’s voice in the front row shouted out accusingly, "That's not a real rabbit!" In a flash, Marvel’s top lip curled up glowering at Tyrone and whispering through yellow teeth, he hissed: "Shut up and just watch!"

 

We who heard this threat and witnessed his whole demeanour were frightened and shocked. I think that my mother took me home soon afterwards. I was glad to leave, but for months afterwards I would dream about Marvel entering my bedroom dressed in black. I also noticed, I think, suspicious green mould spots sprouting on his dinner jacket as if he had just risen from a shallow grave. Then leaning over my bed, he would whisper in my ear, "Wake up little boy, you’re coming with me!" I really believed I was going with him, can you believe?

 

I could also smell the moist earth that surrounded him rather like an envelope, and his fetid breath as well. All very scary. 

 

 

(Rare unused stamp)

 

So, naturally I have always been rather wary of being around those gentlemen in dinner jackets and top hats who saunter around a stage, producing pigeons and other delights out of traditional silk hats.

 

Of course, the subject of this month’s newsletter is Harry Houdini, born Erich Weisz and still possibly the greatest escapologist of all time.

 

On the other hand, I’m not sure Marvel ever escaped from anybody except irate parents wanting their money back from him after one of his fake shows and later giving all their children nightmares at bedtime! What Marvel was doing, albeit covertly I suppose, was cheating his audience, something Houdini would never stoop to because you always got your money’s worth of entertainment with him.

 

Some years ago, a famous bandleader known for his innovative musical approach (and now departed) berated his band one evening for their "sloppy" performance. He reminded them that the paying audience had come to see and enjoy the show that evening. They had paid hard-earned money, many of them travelling long distances and all looking forward to this for many weeks. This bandleader further reminded his band musicians that most of the audience were employed in jobs that they despised, and this would be their escape, if only for a few hours of listening and enjoying the band. The bandleader then stated that his band should love performing, because it should be something they had always wanted to do as musicians. If it wasn’t, he warned, then this wasn’t the band for them. He was correct in this because you can’t cheat a paying audience. They will always notice!.

 

During my research into Houdini, I rewatched the 1953 movie of his life story starring Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, a film I have not seen for some time (see the photo at the end of this article which lists the coincidences concerning the movie). It’s probably the best of the numerous Houdini films that have been made. 

 

 

(Houdini ‘hanging’ in midair in New York)

 

There has always been a thin line between magic and mysticism and, of course, its other offspring. For centuries, the Catholic church has been exploiting this, successfully fooling its laity, while at the same time lining its pockets with crates of cash to be later deposited in offshore financial banks no doubt owned by the institution.

 

Harry Houdini, aka Erich Weisz, was born on March 24, 1874 in Hungary, the fourth son of rabbi Samuel Weisz. Like so many other persecuted members of his race, they would leave the old country and seek a new life in the "new world". And nothing wrong with that.

 

In fact, his mother Cecilia and five of her children sailed from Hamburg. “The family travelled in steerage being packed like cattle below the deck in a fetid, poorly lit and ventilated dormitory that held 620 people". Now, you Americans reading this, just remember! This was probably how your own family arrived, confused and cold, at "the Castle Garden immigration building, there to be given an English version of their old name. Young Erik turned into Erich. So, next time you complain about traveling "cattle class" on a plane to Europe or elsewhere, just bear in mind what your own family went through a century or more ago seeking a new and better life. 

 

 

(Crowds flock to see Houdini in New York)

 

The young Erich would later adopt the name of Harry Houdini, taking this from the name of the magician Robert-Houdin.

 

Like most young men in those days, the crazy world of the circus, especially in Coney Island, beckoned and Harry naturally made the journey to find fame and hopefully fortune. There he honed his future skills, performing as a trapeze artist, performing card tricks, swallowing a string of pins and needles (ugh) and using his knowledge of locks to somehow release himself from captivity on the live stage from their steel bondage. 

 

By 1899, Houdini’s featured act with handcuffs was drawing attention. For Harry, it was all self-promotion, he explained.

 

At 5’5” he would be in peak bodily condition. He maintained this punishing regime by running five miles a day, declining all tobacco and alcohol, and immersing himself in a cold bath, where he could hold his breath for almost 5 minutes. In fact, it seems he may have never slept more than four hours a night

 

His mantra seemed to be "do to others as they will do to you," all very commendable but not much saving grace if you are not born again.

 

For Harry there would be two loves in his life: his mother and his wife and mentor Beatrice, known as Bess.

 

For most of those early years, it meant the never-ending theatre circuit and not always getting your money. He could claim that he was starving for a living. I don't think he was joking either. 

 

 

(Patrick pointing at London Houdini plaque)

 

In 1894 the 20-year-old Harry married the 18-year-old Beatrice "a Brooklyn girl from a Roman catholic family." It seems her mother did not attend the ceremony and was estranged from her daughter for over ten years. It also seems Harry's mother declined to attend the ceremony, but this is not confirmed, however. Harry must have been mortified if this did happen. It seems to have been an ecumenical wedding, surprisingly, with a catholic priest and rabbi offering their service in this civic input. Houdini was gaining not only a wife but a partner, now known as Bess, standing at less that five feet tall and weighing under 90 pounds with a size 1 shoe, she would take the place of Harry's brother in the stage act. 

 

Harry loved drama, and later he would take his young bride and his brother "to an empty bridge and 'then intone solemnly never betray me in any way so help you God.' " This was apparently requested to protect his "magic secrets," Bess would later recall. "By this time I was in a state of near panic, the eerie sky, the lonely bridge in a waste of marshland, the black water, then this terrible and drastic vow. It was apparent that this Houdini who I had known less than two weeks was probably a madman". All of this was written after his death.

 

The following day, Bess became part of Houdini's act, then known as "Metamorphosis". She was now in show business as the wife and partner of Harry Houdini. Previously, at just sixteen, she had been part of a song-and-dance act known as the Floral Sisters. Now she was part of "the Houdinis." Onwards and upwards, but now just yet it seems for this young couple, for those early years of the vaudeville circuit playing to drunks and "ruffs" left Bess so discouraged she left the act, leaving Harry to finish the engagement solo. Yet Houdini was always going to be a risk taker with his life, a dangerous thing to do for an unsaved man, I say.

  

 

(Patrick pointing at original Houdini straightjacket in London)

 

But what stage professional turns he performed before his admiring awesome audience, and dangerous as well! For example, his "water torture cell” or “suspended upside" was first performed in England in 1912. This would become Houdini's greatest theatre piece. Naturally, he copyrighted it.

 

He could also undo slipknots with his toes, escape from any box coffin or cell, usually under the eagle eyes of the chief of police of the town where he was appearing.

 

"And then the public hanging began". In 1916 he was hoisted a hundred feet above a crowd of over 20,000 watching him (see picture), then while dangling upside down he quickly freed himself. This was one of the greatest publicity stunts he ever devised. One must not overlook the dreaded Siberian transport cell (see picture). So, how did he do it after being roughly searched by the Tsar's Russian police? Simple, they missed noticing that he had six fingers (one was a false finger), then once inside, he just pulled it off, removed a simple tin cutter and cut his way out, much to the fury of the Russian police chief. Amazing!

 

In 1906 he would be immersed in freezing water in downtown New York, later repeating it in Boston. Then firmly secured, with the crowd and press watching and waiting, he would free himself (but only just emerging to the cheers of the waiting crowd).

 

He would be buried alive and free himself almost with ease, escape from a weighted milk churn, slip free from heavy chains and on a moving motorcycle (can you believe?), and emerge smiling from a locked heavy safe to thunderous applause. And always practicing sleep deprivation, it seems. But for what theatrical purpose, I’m not sure.

 

On celluloid film, he could escape from all manner of traps and with the greatest of ease, a showman down to his fingertips. He even taught himself to fly a plane, being the first person "to fly in Australia" as a performer and self-publicist. He also took to the skies in Germany as well, thrilling thousands no doubt.

 

In 1918 he performed his famous elephant trick that witnessed the elephant Jenny (or was it Lucy?) disappear before a full house in the New York Hippodrome theatre (don't worry, she wasn't hurt as far as I know).

 

 

Apart from his performances there has been some unclear suggestions that he was working for the U.S. government’s intelligence espionage services. Others consider this to be sheer fiction used to promote Houdini's ego and maybe even a rumour encouraged by himself.

 

Concerning these suggestions, former detective Thomas Reepetto says: "The claim that he knew the police doesn't sound impossible, they could certainly have made use of him but to call Houdini an agent in the James Bond sense might be taking it a little far," he concludes.

 

On the Houdini homestead, his beloved mother revelled in her son’s success. Houdini would at times write to her half a dozen times a day. Bess would not be forgotten either. She claimed that Houdini would sometimes leave six notes or letters a day for her; some of the notes suggest a man walking on eggshells.

 

 

(Hippodrome, Golders Green, turned church, soon to be mosque!)

 

Sadly, their marriage was to be childless, possibly due to her medical condition or Houdini's possible impotence due to an exposure of X-rays at his brother’s surgery where he was practiced on as a young man. He may later have investigated the use of hormone replacement from lambs’ fetus (as did pope Pius XII), but we just do not know why the couple could not conceive a child. Later an "imaginary son" appeared in the home because it seems "Houdini created a dream child," Bess nostalgically revealed years later after her husband’s death in her memoirs. Surprisingly, his name was to be Mayer Samuel, proudly named after Houdini's late rabbi father. Soon, many personal letters passed from mother and father concerning the young Mayer Samuel's progress even up to his teens and well beyond "and only ceased when he became President of the United States," no less. Obviously this "boy" had no desire to delve into theological aspects of the law of the Torah and follow his grandfather into the synagogue system. Not meaning to be flippant, but if Mayer Houdini was the first elected Jewish president, then FDR was the second, I suggest tongue in cheek.

 

From his New York house situated at 278 West 113th Street for which he paid 25,000 dollars (equivalent to 2.5 million dollars by today's value), he quickly settled in. He would occupy the fourth floor with Bess "his lucky charm" at home on the third floor with their succession of dogs. Also in residence were his mother and brother Leo. The house still stands and has the initials H. H. set in the floor of the hallway.

 

Houdini could now construct his stage props and practice the art of lock-picking in his workshop. In fact, he had learned this tricky trade as a young man, making himself familiar with the 100 or so standard locks being used at the time. When travelling, a caravan of luggage followed him and Bess to many European destinations. 

 

 

(Houdini entourage arrive at Charing train station, London)

 

Yet somehow, in this complicated family arrangement with his wife and mother, he achieved his real dream by having both women at his side to pamper and praise him. Poor Bess, she would later feel "just an accessory to Houdini's self image." I’m not surprised.

 

I was amused to read "that murderers practically fascinated him." He even had letters from John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Lincoln, in his vast library devoted to the criminal mind. In my series of articles on the Lincoln murder, I found Booth to be a complicated and conceited man. I wonder what Harry made of the actor or his wicked deed against Lincoln.

 

When his beloved mother Cecilia died, it seems that "suicide was much on his mind." Later, when Houdini died suddenly in 1926 (mystery still surrounds this), he would be placed in a bronze casket where two rabbis officiated. "And as he had requested, his head rested on a black bag containing her letters to him." Years earlier, upon hearing of his mother’s death, he arrived at her home to find "her corpse had been laid out for burial, she looked so dainty and restful." Then he sat alone all night, it seems, by her bedside, only later placing in the coffin a pair of new slippers he had previously purchased for her. A loving son it seems.

 

In a letter composed soon after her death, Houdini wrote to his brother Theo with a heavy heart: "Time heals all wounds, but a long time will have to pass before it will heal the terrible blow which MOTHER tried to save me from." This cryptic reference remains a mystery to this day," wrote authors Kalush and Sloman in their book on Houdini. So, another slice of the mosaic in this man’s mysterious life seems to linger unanswered to this day.

 

Houdini's silent film career lasted from 1919 to 1923. He later claimed "that the profits are too meager" for him to continue in Tinsel town. Well, it’s all down to money, isn't it? In retrospect, those silent films are very interesting to watch today and enjoy, and demonstrate also so much of Harry's versatility on the silent silver screen. Whilst working in Hollywood, the Houdinis lived in the notorious Laurel Canyon area, then being domiciled at 2435 Laurel Canyon Boulevard. The Houdinis house is no longer there, being burned down fifty years ago. It seems the "swashbuckling" actor Errol Flynn made it his home there for a time before the fire.

 

Also of interest is how so many of the world’s 1960s pop stars, pimps and paedophiles cohabitated with ease and enjoyment, with many later purchasing expensive houses in this canyon. Much of the hippie vanguard seems to have been nurtured and groomed in the canyon’s caves as well. "The wonderland avenue" murders of some years ago are still talked about even today, with many other suspicious deaths in the canyon over the years also relevant. In fact, detectives at that crime scene claimed it was more bloodied and gruesome than the Sharon Tate-La Bianco murders in 1969 tied to Charles Manson, who died aged 83 today (20 November 2017).

 

Incidentally, one of the "Manson girls” sentenced to life in prison for those brutal murders was Susan Atkins. She later became a born-again Christian in 1974. Her last whispered word, it seems, was a simple (and I hope sincere) "Amen". The Tate murders were carried out next door in Benedict Canyon, it should be remembered.

 

Today, little remains on display of the Houdini mansion, except for possible rumoured hidden tunnels along with some assorted busts and statues of Houdini now on full display.

 

Also apparently present in the canyons was the mysterious CIA/military unit then known as the "Lookout Mountain Laboratory." This offered film studio lots, sound stages, recording rooms and other closed facilities, and was running during the 1950s and 1960s. Hellywood luminaries such as John Wayne, John Ford, James Stewart and Bugs Bunny were seen in this secret canyon location coming and going at all hours, all very mysterious and for what purpose has never been revealed. There was also thrown into this murderous media mix a high-level male prostitution ring operating out of the canyon, with military precision it seems. Prominent politicians, movie moguls and other NWO elites would be wined and dined frequently and offered to sample the "male goods" then on open display before disappearing to the mirrored bedrooms.

 

So, were these invited "guests" perhaps being snared into supporting future covert intelligence purposes for the U.S. government to then be later blackmailed? Who knows! There's nothing original of course about blackmail or extortion acts. They have been practiced sinfully since Biblical times. Proverbs 28:8 talks about unjust gain, amongst other things, and Luke 3:14 also mentions it. Certainly, unsaved wicked men and women will not inherit their place in the coming kingdom, but be consigned to the eternal fires of hell.

 

Spiritualism and Houdini's suspicious death

 

In 1919 Harry Houdini made the fortuitous friendship of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (author of Sherlock Holmes). The basis of their friendship was a shared interest in ectoplasm/spiritualism. "It also helped the two men in that Lady Jean Doyle discovered in herself a faculty for automatic writing". It’s all Satanic, of course!

 

Houdini certainly believed in an after-life somewhere, and for years he had tried to make contact with his late mother Cecile. Conan Doyle, on the other hand, had tried to reach the spirit of his dead son Kingsley who had been killed in the Great War of 1914-1918. Yet Houdini despised the fake mediums then lucratively operating in Europe and America. "He delighted in exposing them, then soon turned Houdini into the scourge of false mediums," writes Ruth Brandon. "He would take part in séances, disguised in false beards and spectacles, and at the crucial moment, flashing a light upon some telltale piece of apparatus, he would tear off his costume and reveal himself as Houdini." Naturally, the newspapers would be full of his exposé. In fact, I suggest this was a very dangerous thing for him to do. “He had always delighted in the total destruction of anyone he saw as an enemy." Another part of this man’s vanity and weakness.

 

He certainly made enemies, especially with Lady Jean Doyle, it seems, after she had unsuccessfully tried to reach out to Houdini's late mother in a private séance and failed. He even journeyed to Washington D.C. to testify to the U.S. Congress on spiritualism and its uses.

 

Organised crime was then entering the entertainment industry, putting pressure and muscle on Houdini to cooperate with them. There is serious suspicion that just weeks before his death he applied to be initiated on July 17th 1923 into St. Cecile Lodge 568, then weeks later was to qualify as a master mason (3rd degree).

 

I have to ask why bother? After all, he had gained all his fame and wealth without the assistance of the Freemasons. Was there perhaps a veiled threat from organised crime against his life, with Houdini foolishly believing that the Masons could help him?

 

On October 22nd 1926 at the Princess Theatre in Montreal, it seems that Houdini entertained three men in his dressing room. He seems to have known one of them, a 28-year-old theology student named J. Gordon Whitehed who had in fact come to return some borrowed books to Houdini (I wonder what the titles were).

 

He must have known Houdini well enough to ask for this favour concerning the loan of these mysterious books. The other two young men had made Houdini's acquaintance when he had spoken at McGill University some days before. Now, it seems that Houdini had been impressed by one of the student’s pencil sketches of him and invited them to visit him in his dressing room for some refreshments.

 

Now it gets bizarre because: "Whitehead began to interrogate Houdini about the Bible,” asking: “What is your opinion of the miracles mentioned in the Bible?"

 

Houdini seemed to prevaricate, asking if his feats would then have been seen as miracles to the observers. Whitehead asked Houdini almost belligerently if his abdomen and stomach muscles "can stand very hard blows". After having Houdini's permission to do so, he launched into the rising Houdini "striking him forcibly four or five times".

 

One of the shocked men then pulls him off, asking "are you mad?" The other young man later remembered that: "Whitehead didn't seem at all repentant about the attack". Very strange behaviour from this mystery book borrower in that dressing room!

 

The three men then quickly departed Houdini's rooms. Houdini would later confess to Bess that he was in great pain; he had suffered an ankle fracture some days before. The following day, another strange incident happened in the lobby of the hotel where the Houdinis were guests. It seems that Houdini was sitting alone reading the morning paper, as was his custom, when three young men loudly entered the lobby and "one of them appeared like a burly football player, then without warning delivered a crushing blow, right through the newspaper into Houdini's stomach," remembers a shocked witness. I have to ask how did these men know he would be in the lobby that particular morning, and was this another attempt to intimidate the magician or even murder him?

 

Eventually, after great pain and a theatre performance that night with a fever of 104ºF (40ºC) he was finally admitted to Grace Hospital on Saturday evening. For reasons unknown to this day, Houdini wasn't operated on until Monday afternoon. Why the delay and on whose orders? Surely not from his wife.

 

Strangely, before he was taken down for the operation, he requested from his doctor that his wife "be kept out of my room at all times because she is the most peculiar woman I have ever known". So, it seems Bess was kept away for days from her husband’s bedside. What did he mean by these strange words to his doctor?

 

After a second operation, his condition became worse. At his bedside, the doctors, his brothers and Bess (now allowed in) watched the great man fight his last fight. One remembered that: "He struggled to say something but then his eyes fluttered shut. He's gone a doctor announced. Bess burst out laughing and they carried her back to her room". More odd behaviour.

 

“It was 1:26 pm Halloween and the spiritualists were finally able to declare their national holiday." Strangely enough, the previous day Houdini had remarked to his doctor that: "If I die, don’t be surprised if phony spiritualists declare a national holiday." Prophetic words, it seems.

 

And of course they did just that, didn’t they? That wicked satanic event is now celebrated annually. And in the years to come, it will become more lucrative than Christmas!

 

"According to the certificate of death no 14840 filed on November 20th 1926 Harry Houdini died of diffuse streptococci peritonitis that was occasioned by ruptured appendices." He was 52 years old. And so ended a 26-year career that is still unsurpassed, I suggest, in the world of his fellow stage performers.

 

After her husband’s dramatic departure by death, Bess descended into an abyss of alcohol and drug abuse, even attempting suicide twice. She would later make a yearly attempt every Halloween, accompanied by others, to contact her husband on the anniversary of his death.

 

It is rumoured that the secret word he would had previously agreed to send her would be "Rosabell," apparently taken from one of the songs she used to sing when they first met. But there would be no contact with Houdini, it seems.

 

After ten years, Bess finally ended this ritual in 1936 on the roof of the Knickerbockers Hotel in Hollywood apparently saying, "Ten years is long enough to wait for any man." She died on a train in 1942. She is buried in the Catholic cemetery in Hawthorne, New York, not with her husband or his family in the Jewish section where he is buried.

 

One researcher questioned a rumour about whether or not she and Harry were ever married. There was also some doubt about her sexuality. All very strange, but didn't someone spread salacious stories concerning poor Peer Gynt and Pinocchio? Ah, how cruel some people are with the use of their tongues!

 

Doctor Leopold Weisz, Harry's younger brother, plunged to his death from a house in Manhattan in 1962. He was 83.

 

Some additional trivia: another famous “Harry and Bess” couple were the Trumans.

 

Harry Houdini was laid to rest in Queens County, New York, beside his beloved mother and "as he had requested, his head rested on a black bag containing all her letters to him." Apparently Bess collapsed at the graveside and some wise wag was heard to whisper looking at the coffin "supposing he isn't in it." But Erich Weisz, aka Harry Houdini, was indeed in his coffin. This would be one box that Harry Houdini would not be escaping from.

 

There are still some unanswered questions about his final days. For instance, why did he pay for a suite of rooms at the Mount Royal Hotel despite another suite purchased at the Prince of Wales Hotel? Who arranged the second attack on him in the foyer of the Wales Hotel, and how did they know where to find him? Who tipped them off and who paid them? Why book two hotels? Was he hiding from someone perhaps?

 

What of the elusive Jocelyn Gordon Whithead, the man who supposedly killed Houdini? He "become a virtual recluse, living in a dank apartment that was stacked from floor to ceiling with old newspapers; he had been charged with shoplifting books in 1928". This man died of malnutrition in 1954 and is buried in an unmarked grave. What manner of man was he, and where does he fit into all of this Houdini mystery?

 

What of the serious suspicion that Houdini was murdered by the so-called “psychic mafia" no less? And what of the serious rumours about Conan Doyle, the friend of Houdini who perhaps became his unspoken enemy? Always a skeptic, Houdini had fallen out with Doyle's wife Lady Jean, no less. Doyle wrote in 1924 to a friend: "That Houdini will get his deserts very exactly meted out. I think there is a general pay day coming soon that we can wait with equanimity." This sounds like a dangerous threat to me from Doyle.

 

Or was perhaps Houdini poisoned in the hospital where doctors battled to save his life? Interestingly, no autopsy on Houdini’s body was ever ordered. Or was organised crime perhaps behind his death? They were on the rise even then, with contacts in showbiz. Maybe Houdini's stubborn attitude resulted in him making deadly enemies with the mob and later reluctantly and foolishly becoming a Mason months before his death. Maybe he hoped that they could protect him and his showbiz career? Amazingly, I discovered he would play in over 84 theatres during his many visits to England. That's quite a feat in manpower and transportation!

 

Or was he a spy, practicing espionage? Well, maybe! I'm sure he would have been flattered to have been approached to do so.

 

Interestingly, I read that Houdini’s family some years ago requested an autopsy on his remains for toxicology tests, in an attempt to put to rest some of the many rumours still swirling around him even today This is rather like John Wilkes Booth’s relatives, who also hoped to do the same some years ago. To date, nothing has come of either requests.

 

Finally, for a man who searched for the secrets of the universe, it seems he never sought Jesus Christ in his explorations. How very sad and what a great pity! But in his quest (perhaps resulting in his downfall) to expose wicked séances, the occult and spiritualism, he should be congratulated today because they still need to be exposed more than ever! These "demons" are nothing more than unclean spirits that are ever present in the Holy Bible.

 

The mysticism of magic has delivered thousands, maybe millions, to the ever open gates of Hell, where none will ever depart its terrible interior. This is the tragedy of those deluded fools who dabble and delve and delight in the dangerous depths of the occult, séances and spiritualism. The suggestions regarding "panspermia" and the “primordial soup” should be included, probably invented by those Nobel Prize-winning celebrities who feed at the trough of Darwinian deceptions, all later to be consigned to the fiery furnaces of hell.

 

"Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near" (Isaiah 55:6). Time is fleeting.

 

"It is appointed men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). 

 

 

Special thanks to dear sister Helen who gave me the idea about Houdini on the back of a bus during our summer outreach in Cambridge. I hope she likes it.

 

Selected books

 

The Secret Life of Houdini, Kalush & Sloman

The Life and Many Deaths of Harry Houdini, Ruth Brandon

The late Dave McGowan radio interviews

 

 

GPB

November 2017

(All Rights Reserved)

30th-November-2017