Monday, August 22, 2016

Bob Loomis reveals 'Houdini's Final Incredible Secret'

A nice surprise landed on Amazon today. Bob Loomis, librarian at The Magic Circle and editor of The Magical Spectator, has published a new non-fiction work called Houdini's Final Incredible Secret: The True Story of How Houdini Mystified the Creator of Sherlock Holmes. Here's the cover and book description.

After twenty years of painstaking research, Houdini’s last great riddle has finally been solved. This unique book investigates the baffling intimate performance Houdini created for his friend Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The exploit made the creator of Sherlock Holmes insist that Harry had employed occult or supernatural powers to accomplish it. As bestselling author Richard Wiseman points out in this innovative book’s introduction, it also describes the very fabric of magic itself, including the complex relationships between each generation of performers, the way in which tricks evolve over time, and ultimately, the surprising truth about the fundamental nature of mystery.

I don't yet have the book in hand, so I don't know entirely what to make of this. But it's always exciting to have a new non-fiction work about Houdini, especially one written by someone as versed in magic history as Bob Loomis (follow him on Twitter @Spectator_Bob).

You can purchase Houdini's Final Incredible Secret at Amazon.com (U.S.) and Amazon.co.uk (UK).

UPDATE: Bob has now launched a Facebook page devoted to the book HERE.

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11 comments:

  1. Was it the effect where Harry took his thumb off and reattached it?

    I wonder if it was the one where HH had 278 wired to listen in on conversations and pulled off some interesting mental feats.

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    1. At 328 pages, I expect we'll hear about all of these.

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  2. I'm guessing this is about the time Houdini allegedly fooled Conan Doyle with the non-corporal handwriting, on a chalk board. Houdini's lawyer, Bernard M.L. Ernst, described it in "Houdini and Conan Doyle - Story of a Strange Friendship." It also appeared (in a highly-fictionalized account) in the motion picture "Fairy Tale - A True Story," feature Harvey Keitel as Houdini, and Peter O'Toole, as Sir Arthur. I, too, have researched the episode at length, and shared my findings with just a very few serious magic historians and members of the Psychic Entertainers Association. If this IS what the book is about, I'm honestly surprised a book-length narrative on the episode exists. The entire thing can be easily explained in two double-spaced pages, at most. I will, however, give this a look before offering a final opinion.

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    1. Interesting. Thanks Greg. Maybe this isn't a single event, but an overall -- Houdini himself was the great trick. I don't know. Kinda hard to tell from the book description what this is all about, but I'm excited to find out. I should have the book in hand on Wed.

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    2. The new Facebook page for the book seems to suggest that you're right, Greg: https://www.facebook.com/HoudinisSecret

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  3. Sir Arthur seemed like an easy fellow to mystify.

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  4. Greg is right on track. It is the authors story of the journey to find the solution the slate mystery .

    I just got it a few minutes ago and it took me to the second chapter to find out exactly what he was looking for.

    So I'll be reading at the next couple days and can possibly do you a review

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  5. This book is blowing me away. It is an absolute goldmine of (meticulously sourced) information. Bob's overview of Houdini's character, pages 67-89, is sensational. On the subject of Houdini, it's been a long time since I've been able to sit back and give myself over to a Master. Reading this book is a joy. :)

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  6. See my reviews of this book on Goodreads and Amazon.co.uk
    This is an interesting book in many ways. Just when you thought nothing new could be written about Houdini along comes Bob Loomis to prove you wrong!

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    1. Cool. Thanks Roger. I will have a read. I plan to do a full review here when I finish the book. But that might take me a while because I keep having to set the book down so I can just sit and digest. It's a Houdini Master Class!

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  7. I'm halfway through Eduardo's bio of Harry and will post my review shortly. Nothing earthshaking in this book but lots of interesting tidbits like HH's row with Raymond of the latter's unauthorized use of the Milk Can Escape.

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