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Houdini cheating - surely not ?


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#1 Freda

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Posted 25 August 2003 - 02:08 AM

I came across this little snippet whilst looking for something else yesterday - and it made me chuckle ..... reminding me of the old adage .... it takes one to know one.

"Doyle and Houdini knew each other well. Houdini's lawyer, Bernard Ernst, even wrote a book about their relationship, Houdini and Conan Doyle. They met in England in 1920. Both had been introduced to spiritualism years before, during which time they remained sympathetic skeptics before becoming intensely interested in the subject after the death of a loved one, in Houdini's case his mother, Cecelia Weiss, in 1913.

Both men had read widely about spiritualism, but Houdini's research, unlike Doyle's, led him to the conclusion that, while some mediums were probably sincere, most were definitely frauds.

Being a former medium undoubtedly gave Houdini an initial advantage that Doyle did not have when they started their research. Ashamed to admit it later in life, during their salad days Houdini and wife Bessie had made ends meet by posing as mediums and bilking credulous clients.

Houdini therefore had first-hand experience, as Williams and Epstein recount, of "collecting... data from local graveyards, from the medium's 'bluebook' giving pertinent facts about ardent believers in various communities, or by posing as a traveling salesman and stealing glances at the family Bible while a housewife examined his wares." Houdini was also a magician -- an expert at convincing people that they are seeing something that is not real -- giving him another advantage. When Houdini attended a seance, he knew better than most people what to look for if the medium turned out to be a fraud.
"[M]any of the things that seem wonderful to most men are the everyday commonplace of my business," Houdini once wrote. But, as Williams and Epstein add, "Houdini's ‘everyday commonplace’ all seemed 'wonderful' to Sir Arthur, and although -- like Houdini -- he was eager to expose fraudulent mediums, he was less able to see how fraud might be accomplished."
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#2 Mykiedave

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Posted 09 September 2003 - 10:02 AM

Not only were the two great friends, but they publicly debated the whole spiritulist movement.
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#3 JimTheBrit

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Posted 25 October 2003 - 06:24 AM

How do you know that Houdini was a fake? He may have admitted as much but who's to say that, with his developing skeptical attitude, he was unable to accept that he had latent psychic abilites? Just because he thought he was a fake doesn't mean he was. How can you tell?

#4 Gregory

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Posted 26 October 2003 - 06:49 AM

[quote author=JimTheBrit link=board=PinewoodCemetery;num=1061806108;start=0#2 date=10/25/03 at 09:24:31]How do you know that Houdini was a fake? He may have admitted as much but who's to say that, with his developing skeptical attitude, he was unable to accept that he had latent psychic abilites? Just because he thought he was a fake doesn't mean he was. How can you tell?[/quote]

This is technically true, of course, but it's also true that you can never literally prove someone to be a fake.  Someone fails under controlled conditions?  The negative aura of the testers was messing with his powers.  Someone is caught cheating?  Well, that person really does have genuine powers, but you see, their powers failed in this one instance, and they didn't want to disapoint their audience.
 
So no, we don't know that Houdini was a fake.  But a confession is probably the best evidence you can ever hope to get.
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#5 Freda

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Posted 27 October 2003 - 02:06 AM

Ashamed to admit it later in life, during their salad days Houdini and wife Bessie had made ends meet by posing as mediums and bilking credulous clients.  

Houdini therefore had first-hand experience,   of "collecting... data from local graveyards, from the medium's 'bluebook' giving pertinent facts about ardent believers in various communities, or by posing as a traveling salesman and stealing glances at the family Bible while a housewife examined his wares."


I would imagine that the first paragraph above - on his own admission would be proof enough that he cheated .... I didn't say he was a fraud ..... besides, we all have the abilities within us to develop the psychic side of our being.  Some do so, and others choose to ignore the possibility, remaining sceptical until something happens in their life to persuade them otherwise ..... we each reach our own truth eventually whatever route it travels by.
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#6 MoonChild

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Posted 27 October 2003 - 02:25 AM

besides, we all have the abilities within us to develop the psychic side of our being.  Some do so, and others choose to ignore the possibility, remaining sceptical until something happens in their life to persuade them otherwise ..... we each reach our own truth eventually whatever route it travels by.



nothing ever have been told in the entire threads could be more truer than these words! Fantastic observtion!
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