Friday, June 27, 2014

Margery's Curse

Houdini's most famous spirit medium exposure was that of Mina Crandon a.k.a. "Margery". Margery had passionate and powerful supporters in the spiritualist community, and their series of cantankerous seances in July 1924 made headlines across the country. Even after the seances -- and after Margery was denied the Scientific American prize for genuine mediumship -- challenges and accusations continued to fly, and newspapers continued to report on the famous rivalry.

In December 1925, this item appeared in newspapers across the country:


This was almost certainly planted by Houdini himself. Evidence of that is the fact that it calls out Margery by her real name, Mrs. Le Roy Crandon. The "curse" referred to here was a prediction during a seance by Margery's spirit guide, Walter (her deceased brother), that Houdini had "but one more year to live."

Margery denied all this, saying: "All talk by Houdini that spirits are plotting his death within a year is not only false but absurd. Why, I never heard of Black Magic. I regard his statement as a joke."

While Walter's prediction had actually come in 1924, the irony here is Houdini would indeed die within a year of this article's appearance. To the general public, it would have appeared that Margery's prophecy had come to pass.

Curse? Coincidence? Just add it to the stew of intrigue that was the last year of Houdini's life.

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10 comments:

  1. Margery looks younger, prettier in that newspaper photo. Her hair is also darker, which implies this photo was taken years before she went blonde. I suspect the newspapers dug up this photo from her early past. It could have been a wedding photo from her previous marriage.

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    1. Hard to tell with newspaper photos. She might be blonde here. But she does look younger.

      Remember THIS PHOTO?

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  2. Her hair is dark in that photo. Maybe Dr. Crandon preferred blondes.

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  3. Can't leave out Le Roi as the instigator of this.

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    1. Could be. He was an odd one. But this is a story geared to make Houdini seem heroic -- "braving" her curse -- and you'd think if Dr. Crandon did it, he'd spell his own name right. But I guess you never know.

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    2. Actually, although dr crandon was born "Leroy" he did call himself "Le Roy" later in life. His parents, who thought very highly of his accomplishments, went so far as to call him "Le Roi."

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    3. Ah, good to know. Thanks, Anna.

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  4. Dr. Crandon may have been more than just odd. Didn't Sloman and Kalush suggest in The Secret Life that he may have murdered children? Obviously, that type of crime was easier to get away with than now. Heck, most crimes probably were.

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  5. Margery dabbled in the OCCULT .. She could not resist placing a cures on Harry after he planted the ruler and tried to frame her. Despite being caught in fraud,Houdini convinced the Scientific American to withhold the prize money from Margery. Houdini told his friends that he'd been cursed and that his last tour would truly be his LAST... Some kind of self fulfilling prophecy .....

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    1. That's not what a "self fulfilling prophecy" is.

      As the name implies, a self fulfilling prophecy is where the existence of the prophecy (or prediction) is what it leads to it happening.

      Like if someone thinks they're going to fail a class, so they don't work as hard in that class, which leads to them failing. They failed because they expected to fail.

      Houdini telling people that didn't bring about its happening; unrelated events did. So it may have been a prophecy that was fulfilled, but it wasn't self fulfilling. There's no indication I've seen that it was on his mind at the time in question.

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