Houdini Day

houdini_chainsI have a busy day but I just had to take a little time this morning to give a nod to a legend. In case you didn’t know, today is Houdini Day. Born Erich Weiss sometime in the early 1870’s, he took the stage name Harry Houdini in tribute to the renown French magician of the Victorian era — Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin.

My first exposure to Houdini was in an old Tony Curtis movie. I loved that movie. When I was a kid, whenever it would rerun on TV, I’d be right there in front of the screen. In my youth there was also a popular TV show called The Sixth Sense. The show’s bizarre episodes were written around some real unexplained tidbit. The presented facts naturally got me interested in mysterious things. It also renewed my interest in Houdini because the movie bestowed extra sensory perception on him. I did a little research of my own and discovered that was all Hollywood glamorizing.  Harry Houdini was just a talented magician who understood redirection and illusion and had a knack for marketing. It didn’t make him less fascinating to me.

One of the more interesting things I learned about this showman was his belief in “It takes one to know one”. Because of Queen Victoria’s prolonged mourning for her Albert, death was in vogue in Victorian society. In fact, a whole death industry sprang from it and some of the stuff was pure baloney (and a blog post for another day). Houdini’s mastery of illusion set him against fraudulent psychic mediums who used their own form of smoke and mirrors to pull a fast one on people seeking to reconnect with loved ones who had passed on.

During his psychic medium debunking campaign, he set his sights on renowned Spiritualist Mina (Margery) Crandon and proved her a fraud. Prior to this revelation, Houdini was good friends with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a man with deep beliefs in Spiritualism who also believed in Crandon’s psychic abilities.  Their friendship ended. No one likes to feel the fool.

Here’s an interesting clip about Harry Houdini.

Happy Houdini Day! I wish you a day of magic and wonder.


Another 100 Things Blogging Challenge! For 100 days, 002xbqktI’ll post something from my chosen topic: Words on the Verge of Extinction. There are 19 entries to come.

Here’s one for today:

Quadrimular (adjective 1664)

lasting for four years


I’ve temporarily cut back on blogging cleanfor my put-my-life-back-in-order spring cleaning — a project known far and wide as the Annual Purge. Thanks for stopping by even if there isn’t much new to see. I have no time for blogging right now, but the extinct word of the day is updated daily.

I’ll be blogging full bore in April with the A to Z Challenge. Topics will mostly cover fascinating aspects from history with a few science wows thrown in for good measure.

Coming soon to my satellite blog ~
Authors_in_Bloom-300x250For ten days in April I’ll be participating in the Authors in Bloom blog hop over on http://calliopeswritingtablet.blogspot.com/ . This blog hop is all about showing the many facets to an author’s life. One of the more unusual things I’ve done in my life with this man of mine was lead wild foods programs for Chicago’s Field Museum.
For this event I’ll be sharing my recipes. I hope you stop by. You may have delicious ingredients waiting in your backyard.


I’m currently participating in The Romance Reviews’ Anniversary party. My particular part in the contest is over, but the celebration runs all month long and there are a lot of prizes to be had. See what I have up on my newest satellite blog:


4 Us iconSee what’s happening on the blog today

We’ll soon have a new April contest on our website. http://www.romancebooks4us.com/


all7books-smallLove Waits in Unexpected Places – Scorching Samplings of Unusual Love Stories

Download your copy of my free 1st and 2nd chapter sampler.



About ~RoseAnderson

Rose Anderson is an award-winning author and dilettante who loves great conversation and delights in discovering interesting things to weave into stories. Rose also writes under the pen name Madeline Archer.
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2 Responses to Houdini Day

  1. Ray G says:

    Houdini was contemporary of Edgar Cayce who has an ARE Research and Enlightenment Center on the Virginia Beach Ocean Front and a store/restaurant selling Cayce books as well as health food, crystals, candles, etc. I’ve seen the center and shopped at the store. If they did meet I wonder what his opinion was of Cayce.

    • Now that’s an interesting question. I don’t know how deep Houdini’s skepticism went. Was it limited to mediumism because he dearly wanted to speak with his departed mother and faced repeated disappointment? Or was it about takes one to know one theatrics and it outraged Houdini that sleight of hand was being sold as genuine contact with the dead? Though I’ve never seen anything indicating it was so, my guess would be Houdini would renounce Cayce as a fraud because he dabbled in it. I know some well-known people of that era swore by Cayce. (the only person of note I can think of off the top of my head is Thomas Edison.) The 1920’s did see a lot of interest in reincarnation though, something Cayce was into. Perhaps because of archeological discoveries happening in Egypt. Speaking of…if you have the chance to watch the series The Pyramid Code, I think you’ll enjoy it, Ray. It’s on Netflix and Youtube. Nice discussion. 🙂

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