Friday, April 27, 2012

Is the Margery Box in Las Vegas?

Anna Thurlow, the great-granddaughter of Mina Crandon a.k.a. Margery The Medium, has responded to my story from last week that asked, What happened to the Margery box? Not only is it a great honor to have a genuine Margery relation comment on my blog, but she brings some potentially encouraging news! Says Anna:

"The Margery Box was never in Margery's possession, so I do not have it. When I went to a Houdini Seance in Las Vegas (I think 1998?) I was told that someone living in Vegas had the box in a storage unit there. I tried the telephone number later but it was disconnected. Presumably it still exist and hopefully someone will bring it to light. As an aside - my grandfather (her son) understood Houdini to have put the ruler in the box. I guess we will never know what really happened that day."

Okay, to the person who may have the "Margie Box" (as Houdini called it), here's a plea. How about letting me come out to Vegas and photograph it for WILD ABOUT HARRY? I know it would be a thrill for all Houdini and Margery fans to see this historic item. In return, I'll promote whatever you'd like me to promote on the blog, or you could remain anonymous. If this is doable, please shoot me an email. We could make magic history by bringing this box back into the light!

Thank you, Anna Thurlow.

18 comments:

  1. The plot thickens. Let's see who has a magic collection in Las Vegas? Copperfield, but I dont think it's there. Norm Nielson, but his is mostly posters. How about Geno Munari?

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  2. I was thinking Geno as well. Or Dixie Dooley.

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  3. Its a mystery own how owns it.

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  4. I posted this over at the Genii forums, although I rarely get any reaction to anything I post there. Still, maybe someone will have an idea which collection this is/was.

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  5. I believe Collins years later stated that Houdini told him to put the ruler in the box.

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    1. I've never believed that quote. It's never been sourced, and as far as I know, Collins was never interviewed publicly. Even if he was, he would NEVER give up any of Houdini's secrets, including this one. Collins was fiercely loyal to Houdini and Hardeen.

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    2. Ah, I found the source. This Collins confession story first appeared in Gresham. Gresham's source was magician Fred Keating. We now know Keating was VERY close to the Crandons, so...

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  6. due they want to be identified, if not just keep them quite on who they are just show us the box.

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    1. Yes, if they'd prefer to remain anonymous, that would be fine. Just let us have a look at the box.

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  7. Dixie had the Margery Table but I think it's since been sold.

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    1. You would think the table and box would have traveled together.

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  8. The box probably went to the Jersey warehouse after Houdini's trips to Boston. No point in using it after the Margery episode cooled off. From there, its anybody's guess. Hardeen may have sold it to pay off a gambling debt. He probably didn't think that Radner would be interested in a wooden box.

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    1. See, I would think Houdini would carry it around on tour and use it as part of his lobby displays as an artifact of his most famous exposé. Who knows, maybe he did?

      If it is still around, I would love to know its journey.

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  9. Houdini used it in his spirit lectures of 1925 and Houdini might have been used it in his three-in-one show.

    See page 350 in the Kellock book.

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    1. Cool. Thanks Kevin. This could just be a reference to his Symphony Hall show in January 1925, but the mention of Davenport techniques could mean it was a fixed part of his lecture tour. Yeah, I think it's very possible he used it in the three-in-one show.

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  10. BTW, I have received no emails about this. :(

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  11. With all the publicity Scientific American and other magazines that mined the matter of Houdini's expose of her, I have to assume that if someone possessed it after Houdini's death that person would have publicized it. Suspect it just was abandoned when Bess disposed of everything. Since Hardeen didn't have it by the time he sold off the larger stuff to Radner, suspect it was long gone before that.
    Whether or not Houdini "cheated" on the Box test with the ruler, certainly "Margie" was a fraud in any event, which is the import of the matter.

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    1. That's a good point. Because it wasn't a piece of magic apparatus, it probably wasn't looked at as being valuable or of any practical use to Hardeen or anyone else. Could have been left behind or chopped up for the wood.

      But I'm still holding out hope it survived. This Vegas thing gives me hope. What an event it would be if it surfaced.

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