Monday, December 9, 2013

Unpublished Houdini: From Beyond

Welcome to Unpublished Houdini. In this series I share a new never-before-published photo of Houdini every Monday from our generous Hinson Endowment.

Here's a terrific photo of Houdini as Howard Hillary a.k.a. The Man From Beyond. The 1922 silent feature was the first film made by the Houdini Picture Corporation and reflected Houdini's fascination with reincarnation. The press book shows that this photo was used on an 8x10 lobby photo (captioned: "Dare you say there's no life after death"), so maybe this is not technically "unpublished." However, I've never seen that lobby photo reproduced outside the press book, and I love this clean image of Houdini/Hillary emerging from pure blackness…from Beyond.

Click to enlarge
"But there is something--of that I am convinced--in the theory of reincarnation. Just how much, I cannot say, nor do I believe it will greatly profit us to try and tear aside the veil. In due time it will be lifted, and we shall see beyond with Milton--'the bright countenance of Truth.'"
-HOUDINI, 1919

Houdini's interest in reincarnation is something that you won't find mentioned in any biographies. I'm not sure why this is, because when looking through primary sources, like newspaper clippings and press books, it is found everywhere. Houdini seemed eager to express his ideas about this particular form of "life after death." He even had his own theory about who he may have been in a past life. But perhaps it's a little hard for biographers to reconcile Houdini the skeptic and/or the Rabbi's son with the idea of Houdini the reincarnation advocate. Although according to, the idea of reincarnation is found in Judaism.

"Dare you say there is no life after death."

Seeing as we are on a somewhat spiritual journey with Houdini, next week I will share an unpublished photo of Houdini "among the Gods."

1 comment:

  1. Nice piece. It is strange that his belief in reincarnation doesn't really show up in any bios, especially during the years he made movies. I also find it interesting that possibly his beliefs changed later.