Friday, February 4, 2011

A new perspective on the Shelton Test

Here's an interesting photo from Corbis Images of Houdini preparing for his famous underwater endurance test in the pool of the Hotel Shelton in New York City. I've never seen this photo uncropped, and what I love is that it gives us a completely different view of the pool area, and shows several of the invited guests -- this was an invitation only event -- including mentalist Joseph Dunninger (dark suit and holding straw hat).

Click to enlarge.

The casket Houdini used on this day remained by the Shelton pool as an attraction for many years. The hotel (now the New York Marriott East Side) filled in the pool in the early 2000s. Houdini repeated this feat in a now forgotten second test in Worcester, Massachusetts.


  1. Any idea where the casket is today?

  2. According to Randi, it sat beside the pool for 20 years. I wonder if someone has it, or if it got tossed.

  3. Houdini looks so much older than he actually was - seems to be true of most of the photos around this time.

  4. He seemed to really age quickly in the 1920s. He did look older than 52 when he died.