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Harry Houdini amazing archive of (14) signed letters relating to the famed “Margery” psychic fraud case. Extraordinary archive of fourteen (14) signed letters by Houdini; all but two are written to Dr. Daniel F. Comstock in relation to their investigation of purported psychic Mrs. Mina Crandon, aka “Margery”, who claimed that she channeled the spirit of her dead brother Walter Stinson.
Letters date from July 26, 1924 to February 17, 1925, all with excellent content – one featuring an actual design sketch by Houdini of the restraint box used to expose Margery as a fraud. Content from Houdini includes: “I have been bitterly attacked by the National Spiritualist of America, and if Mrs. Crandon possesses psychic power, I want to announce it, and if not, I think the public should be so informed.” – “Been thinking things over and I believe the most comfortable and efficient ‘restraint’ would be to build some sort of box, or cabinet, have the medium seated therein with only her head and hands protruding, and in this way it would be impossible for her to use her head, feet, shoulders or body to ‘project’ things.” – “I immediately sent my assistant to construct a cabinet according to my size, which will be larger and more comfortable for Mrs. Crandon, as Dr. Crandon insists that I must submit to all mechanical devices.” – “You pleaded with Walter [Margery’s dead brother] to permit you to turn on the red light and he replied, as near as I can remember, ‘you can do it but you will kill the medium.’” –– “Regarding the box or cabinet I suggested, wherein only the medium’s head and arms are to protrude, if the box should be too warm, would suggest to use some strong mesh wire, so finely meshed that nothing could be pushed through, and it would not be flexible” – “The New York papers are giving a great deal of publicity to Mrs. Crandon and I think it is about time for the Committee to give the decision.” – “There will be plenty of room in it (the box). The cabinet will be locked down with hasps and staples” – “I want to give Mrs. Crandon every possible chance to make good and if she possesses any psychic power, I will be the first to assist her in proving her genuineness.” – “This investigation has cost me close to one hundred thousand dollars, which I can prove by my bookings and the time I refused to work. Therefore, any one who states that I am seeking publicity or making money out of it, they are making mis-statements.”
Lot also includes a Western Union telegraph from Houdini to Comstock as well as numerous original newspaper clippings and breathless headlines from The Boston Post following the events of Houdini and Crandon. These letters provide an amazing glimpse into Houdini’s thoughts surrounding the most important chapter of his psychic debunking career in the 1920s.
The auction also includes several other nice Houdini lots, one of which I thrilled to say I won! I'll be sharing that treasure here soon.
Congratulations to the seller and winner of these incredible letters.