Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Revealing Bess photo from 1929

Click to enlarge
This photo, recently offered for auction on eBay, shows a convalescing Bessie Houdini in January 1929 during the time of the infamous Arthur Ford seances.

Now, I love Bessie. I wish there was a book written just about her. And while I realize this isn’t the most flattering picture, it does capture an intriguing moment in time.

First off, we see her head is wrapped due to her “nasty fall.” In the 1976 TV movie The Great Houdinis, we see Bessie fall down the stairs at 278 after being startled by mysterious happenings on Halloween night. A less romantic version claims that the fall took place while she was out drinking with Arthur Ford.

We also see Bessie’s right wrist is wrapped. The Secret Life of Houdini claims Bessie tried to kill herself on the night of January 4, 1929, but it doesn’t specify how. Pills seems likely, but could the wrist wrap offer another possibility?

Finally, and this is what I really like about this photo, and why I’m posting it here, this is the only photo I can recall that gives us a very nice look at her famous wedding band which contains the message from Houdini; "Rosabelle, sweet Rosabelle."


  1. No idea how I missed this picture! Makes me angry Arthur Ford took advantage of her when she was in this condition. Great pic!

  2. I think Arthur ford may have given her a message she needed to save her life. She was suicidal they say. He may have saved her.