As Above So Below Magic Revealing The Bizarre Powers of Harry Houdini

Revealing The Bizarre Powers of Harry Houdini

Revealing The Bizarre Powers of Harry Houdini
Catalog # SKU2889
Publisher InnerLight/Global
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Timothy Green Beckley Harry Houdini Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


Revealing The Bizarre
Powers of Harry Houdini

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Harry Houdini
Timothy Green Beckley

What twelve-year-old boy wouldn't be fascinated by the likes of Harry Houdini, the greatest escape artist who ever lived and an unprecedented talent among magicians? He came along at the height of an international media frenzy where attention was being given for the first time to celebrities on both sides of the great Atlantic Ocean. He also was a master showman who knew the meaning of "hype" well over half a century before the word became part of our lexicon. Above all else, he was a master manipulator on and off the stage. To use a well-worn phrase . . . the spin stops here!



THE story of modern spirit manifestations, so called, dates from 1848 and the "solitary farmhouse" of John D. Fox and his wife in the village of Hydesville, in New York State, and centres around their two little girls, Margaret, eight, and Kate, younger by a year and a half. Successfully exploited while still children; credited with occult power; becoming world-famous as "The Fox Sisters,"--their record is, without exception, one of the most interesting in the history of spiritualism.

John Fox and his wife appear to have been of the "good, honest," but not mentally keen type of farmer folk. Of the two, the wife was the more "simple minded," and when the "nervous, superstitious woman" began to hear unusual noises which she could not account for, and which seemed in some peculiar manner connected with her children, she concluded at once that the sounds were "unnatural" and began to brood over the matter. Her fears increased with the persistent recurrence of the mysterious sounds, and before long she took some of the neighbors into her confidence. They were as puzzled as the mother, the Fox home became an object of suspicion and the neighborhood set itself the task of solving the mystery.

With the increase of interest came a proportionate increase in the noises, which commenced to be known as "rappings," and which, in spite of the positive denials by the children of any knowledge of how they were produced, regularly answered by an uncanny code questions asked the two girls. The possibility of duplicity in such children never occurred to any one in Hydesville, with the result that the timid hint of a "disembodied spirit" soon became a theory.

Some one asked the girls if a murder had ever been committed in the house. The ominous sounds of the code answered in the affirmative and at once to the eager investigators, the theory became a proven fact and there flashed up in their minds the vision of a personality in the Spirit World endeavoring by crude means, which somewhat resembled telegraphy, to give to human beings the benefit of its vaster knowledge, the whole affair in some obscure manner being connected with two little girls.

At this critical moment a married daughter of John D. Fox and his wife came home to Hydesville for a visit. Twenty-three years older than little Margaret, of a very different type than either father or mother, she seems to have grasped instantly the possibilities in the "occult" powers of her little sisters and to have taken complete command of the Fox family's affairs at once. Her first move was to organize a "Society of Spiritualists" and encourage crowds to come to the house to see the children. Hydesville became famous almost overnight. News of the peculiar "rappings" spread with lightning-like rapidity and soon became an absorbing topic of conversation, not only in the United States, but in England, France, Italy, and Germany as well. Women like Harriet Martineau and Elizabeth Barrett Browning were said to have given their whole thought to it, and men of the strongest intellect and will to be "caught in the meshes it had woven in contemporaneous thought."

Hydesville became too small a field for the operations of Mrs. Fish, the older sister, very quickly, and soon she appears in Rochester with the girls, publicly exhibiting their feats to great crowds for money, realizing from one hundred to a hundred and fifty dollars a night in profits, which she pocketed. From Rochester she took them to New York City, and later the girls made a tour of the cities of the United States, attracting the "most prominent theologians, physicians, and professional men of all kinds, as well as great crowds everywhere." There is no record that the girls were ever under the management of Mrs. Fish after they left New York City although she menaced them continually and Margaret feared her as long as she lived.

The grand tour over, Kate, sponsored by Horace Greeley, went to school and Margaret, just developing into an attractive young woman, and destined to become the more famous of the two mediums, began a series of sèances in rooms occupied by herself and mother at the Union Hotel in Philadelphia. There romance entered her life on a day in 1853 in the person of Dr. Elisha Kent Kane, the noted Arctic explorer.

235+pages - 8¼ x 10¾ softcover

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