Originally published in “The New York Times,” This Kindle edition, equivalent in length to a physical book of approximately 20 pages, consists of three parts. Part I, a brief overview of the life and career of the master magician and escape artist, was originally published January 13, 1918. Part II, which focuses on Houdini as both a medium and a debunker of mediums, was originally published May 7, 1922. Part III, which concerns one of Houdini’s greatest escapes, was originally published July 8, 1912.
(from Part I) Whatever the trick or tricks by which Harry Houdini has been deceiving the world at large for the last thirty-five years, his career stamps him as one of the greatest showmen of modern times. In his field Houdini stands alone. With a few minor exceptions he has invented one and all of the countless tricks and illusions of which he is master, and he has done his job so well that not even his fellow-conjurors are certain of his methods. There are, of course, certain well-established principles upon which rest the performance of a majority of tricks, but Houdini has invented principles of his own. The result is that he has no imitators. Some of his feats of extrication, of course, are attributable to the fact that he is a contortionist and an acrobat, and these, naturally, can be duplicated by others of equal physical dexterity. His more subtle effects, however, are known only to himself.
(from Part II) When the lights are out and the mind is waiting in shuddery silence for a signal from the beyond, the whispering of a familiar name is enough to capture the imagination of even the most hardheaded man and throw him off his psychological balance, according to Harry Houdini, who has mystified more people than any man of his generation. But he says that in thirty years of experience he never has heard of nor seen any so-called spirit manifestation which could not be explained on a purely material basis.
(from Part III) Harry Houdini, known as the Handcuff King, and whose appearance at a local theatre this week may be a mere coincidence, was handcuffed and leg ironed, placed in a box, which was nailed up and leaded and thrown into New York Harbor yesterday morning in the presence of enough newspaper workers to have got out any New York daily. That he made his escape inside of a minute may be regarded as a foregone conclusion.
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