Psychic? Medium? Prophet? Clairvoyant? Was Houdini's Fanatical Debunking of Psychics and Mediums A Subterfuge to Conceal His Own Remarkable
At his burial some curious and suggestive words were used by the presiding rabbi: "HOUDINI POSSESSED A WONDROUS POWER THAT HE NEVER UNDERSTOOD AND WHICH HE NEVER REVEALED TO ANYONE IN LIFE!
The creator of Sherlock Holes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Harry Houdini were strange bedfellows. Doyle was a contemporary of the world's greatest magician and escape artist, who continually battled his friend over the legitimacy of life after death, and the reality of spiritualism. Doyle was a "true believer," while Houdini made it his "mission" to denounce just about all things preternatural.
Doyle was convinced - from what he personally witnessed and what others confided to him - that Houdini could read minds, dematerialize, possessed supernatural strength, and was guided by angelic forces which shielded him from harm even during the most dangerous of escape performances which likely would have caused death to others.
Doyle stated that Houdini had once remarked, "There are some of my feats which my own wife does not know the secret of." And a famous Chinese conjurer who had seen Houdini perform added, "This is not a trick, it is a gift." Sadly, many of Houdini's feats died with him, even though they would have been an invaluable asset. "What can cover all these facts," states Doyle, "save that there was some element in his power which was peculiar to himself, that could only point to a psychic element -- in a word, that he was a medium."
Here is both sides of the story -- in the actual words of the famed Sherlock Holmes originator and Houdini himself, who went out of his way to create the impression that fakes and phonies were afoot everywhere in the "shady world" of table tapping, levitating trumpets, spirit photography, slate writing, as well as the materialization of ectoplasmic forms in the darkening shadows of the seance room.
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