Harry Houdini

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Harry Houdini AKA Erik Weisz or Ehrich Weiss later Harry Weiss AKA "The Handcuff King" aka "The King of Kards"

Hungary / America 1874 – 1926


Comments: stage magician; escape artist; debunker of Spiritualism; the Chinese Water Torture Cell; Milk Can Escape trick; Overboard box escape; Buried Alive escapes; vaudeville; arranged to try to communicate with his wife after death, using the code phrase "Rosabelle believe"; a group of magicians still honors their idol with a “Broken Wand” ceremony at his grave site each year;


Teachers: Rabbi Weisz, Father; Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin aka Jean Eugene Robert, French magician; Harry Kellar, Robert Heller aka William Henry Palmer aka Joseph Heller; Reginald Scot, @ 1584; Isaac Fawkes, @ 1720; Jacob Philadelphia, @ 1756 - 1781 ; Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin, @1845, from whom Erik took his stage name; John Henry Anderson, @ 1840 ; Alexander Herrmann aka Herrmann the Great, 1844 – 1896; his brother Compars Herrmann aka Carl Herrmann; Madame Adelaide Herrmann, wife; John Nevil Maskelyne of The Occult Committee; Paul Valadon; William Ellsworth Robinson aka Chung Ling Soo; Claude Alexander Conlin AKA C. Alexander AKA The Crystal Seer AKA Alexander the Man Who Knows ; S. W. Erdnase, a pseudonym, perhaps Milton Franklin Andrews or Wilbur Edgerton Sanders or E. S. Andrews ; Frederick Willis Culpitt aka Fred Culpitt; Père (Papa) Roujol; Johann Heinrich Jung-Stilling, author of Theory of Pneumatology- In reply to the question, What Ought to be Believed or Disbelieved concerning Presentiments, Visions, and Apparitions, according to Nature, Reason, and Scripture; Malcolm Macleod, author of The Key of Knowledge or Universal Conjuror, 1800; Comus of France, 1760; Philip Breslaw, author of Breslaw's Last legacy or the Magical Companion, 1784 or so; Dr. Gustavus Katterfelto, 1777;


Students: Theodore Hardeen aka Ferencz Dezso Weisz aka Hardeen, the "brother of Houdini" ; Arthur Ford; H. P. Lovecraft; David Copperfield; Sidney Hollis Radner ; John Mulholland; Criss Angel aka Mindfreak; Koringa the alligator charmer; Dante aka Harry August Jansen, whose magic words were "Sim Sala Bim"; Carter the Great aka Charles Joseph Carter; Howard Thurston; Harry Blackstone, Sr; Harry Blackstone Jr.; Tobias "Theo" Leendert Bamberg aka Okito; David Bamberg aka Fu Manchu; W.J. "Doc" Nixon; Joe Klein, of the Bamberg Magic & Novelty Co; David Devant aka David Wighton; Theodore 'Theo' Annemann aka Ted Anneman aka Theodore John Squires of The Jinx magazine; Cardini aka Richard Valentine Pitchford; Will Goldston; Douglas Geoffrey,aka "Hardeen, Jr"  ; "The Amazing Dunninger" aka Joseph Dunninger; The Professor aka Dai Vernon aka David Frederick Wingfield Verner,in Canada; Martin Gardner; Jean Hugard; Frederick Braue; Ed Marlo; Douglas James Henning aka Doug Henning; Tony Slydini; Tommy Wonder aka Jacobus Maria Bemelman; Siegfried & Roy aka Siegfried Fischbacher and "Roy" Uwe Ludwig Horn and their Tigers; Lance Burton aka William Lance Burton; Harry Collins; Penn & Teller aka Penn Jillette , Teller (single name); David Blaine aka David Blaine White; Johannes Franciscus Catharinus "Hans" Klok aka Hans Klok; Derren Brown; Dynamo aka Steven Frayne; Dell O'Dell aka Nell Odella Newton; Mark Wilson; Richiardi Jr ; Dorothy Dietrich; Earl "Presto" Johnson; Russell Swann; Al Flosso aka the "Coney Island Fakir"; Dick Brooks; Johnny Ace Palmer; Guy Hollingworth; Tom Stone; Black Herman AKA Benjamin Rucker Teachers aka Prince Herman; John Northern Hilliard ; Steven Millhauser; Georges Méliès, filmmaker; Neil Burger, director of The Illusionist; Christopher Priest and Christopher Nolan, of The Prestige book and film; Jack La Wain, of La Wain’s House of Magic  ; Rev. Gary Collins; Patrick Culliton, foremost expert on Houdini; Colin Firth, actor; Woody Allen, director; Br. Frederick Bancroft;


Friends: Jack Hayman; Wilhelmina Beatrice (Bess) Rahner, wife; manager Martin Beck; Walter Gibson (writer of "The Shadow" series); inspired James Randi; Sidney Hollis Radner; Francis Martinka ; Dr. James William Elliott;

Enemies: Swami Laura Horos; George Valentine; Mina (Margery) Crandon; 1st friend, then enemy Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; J. Gordon Whitehead, accidentally killed him ; Edgar Cayce;


Organizations: Freemasonry; President of the Society of American Magicians; Zion Reform Jewish Congregation; "Houdini Picture Corporation";


Author: The Right Way to Do Wrong: An Exposé of Successful Criminals, 1906; Handcuff Secrets (1909); A Magician Among the Spirits, with C. M. Eddy, Jr., 1924; Miracle Mongers and their Methods: an Exposé; wrote "Under the Pyramids", also published as "Entombed with the Pharaohs" and "Imprisoned with the Pharaohs" with Lovecraft, and paid him to write an Astrology chapter for the unpublished The Cancer of Superstition, 1926; 125-page scrapbook Houdini kept on spiritualism, never published;


Quotes: "My brain is the key that sets my mind free";



Resources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Houdini; listen to two short works here - http://librivox.org/author/4549 ; http://guides.slv.vic.gov.au/magic ; escape artist posters, see - http://www.flickr.com/photos/boston_public_library/sets/72157629496222244 ; http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/08/22/get-a-piece-of-houdini-before-he-disappears.html ; http://www.newsweek.com/2014/11/07/talking-dead-280717.html; http://www.slate.com/blogs/atlas_obscura/2014/10/31/harry_houdini_s_ances_happen_every_halloween.html;