Houdiniana & Magic Memorabilia
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HOUDINI, Harry (Ehrich Weisz). Houdini’s Spiritualism Lecture Glass Lantern Slides. New York: Standard Slide Corp., 1920s. Fifteen slides total, picturing the following subjects: The Home of the Fox Sisters in Hydesville, New York (unnumbered, but original the first in the series); Houdini at the Grave of William Davenport [16]; Daniel Dunglas Home [18]; Houdini and Sir Dunkin [22]; Houdini and Alexander Heimburger [23], hand-colored; Houdini with Ernest Basch and wife [26]; exposed photo of a materialized “ghost” [33]; a seated medium with three “ghosts” [34]; Houdini and Bess at the grave of The Great Lafayette [42]; Three women, including Mrs. Fielding [43]; Three women, including medium Juliette Bisson [44]; The Great Lafayette’s Headstone [46]; “ghost hunter” Harry Price [47]; an exposé photo of a trumpet séance [54]; and Houdini and Conan Doyle [56], badly damaged. Old sequencing labels affixed at edges of slides, somewhat matching the ordering of Houdini’s handwritten key sheet (Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Lot 7426 (27)). Each 3 3/8 x 4”. Several slides cracked or chipped, with the Doyle/Houdini image significantly damaged. Rare. Houdini spent considerable time, energy, and effort campaigning against the work of fraudulent spirit mediums – individuals who claimed the ability to talk to the dead and “lift the veil” between the living world and life in the great beyond. He published books on the subject, worked to expose mediums who conned the willing out of both money and dignity, and testified before the United States Congress on matters pertaining to fortune telling and related subjects. In addition, he devoted one third of his final American tour to exposing the tricks of fake spirit mediums. These slides were created as companions to a lecture he delivered on the subject in less theatrical settings, in a talk about not only the origins of spiritualism itself, but its evolution, greatest proponents, practitioners, and some of the mediums who had both captured the public imagination and deceived it with clever tricks that appeared to be supernatural phenomena.
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