Saturday, August 2, 2014

When Houdini got it wrong

Here's an item from the February 23, 1926 Reading Times that shows things didn't always go smoothly for Houdini during the Spiritualist exposé portion of his full evening show. Although, I'm not sure which is worse; Houdini having to admit he was wrong, or the newspaper referring to him as "the little magician." Enjoy.

I'm guessing the "girl detective" here was Rose Mackenberg.

Thanks to Patrick Culliton, Houdini's Ghost, for sharing this one.



  1. Great post John, thanks to Patrick for providing it! It read like this reporter was chiding him a bit. There must have been a slip up between Houdini and his informant on this occasion. Mistakes can be embarrassing when you make them in front of a large audience.


  2. What's the "package of bonds?" Was he going to pay $10,000? I don't get it.
    I like the "white rage," though.

  3. That by the way is a great photo John. Houdini in a heavy winter coat and a fedora. He looks like some kind of G-man.

  4. John Hinson Great Nephew Of Bess and Harry HoudiniAugust 2, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    Very interesting, he hate
    being wrong.

  5. Very interesting. Thank you. Norm

  6. I don't think it was Rose Mackenberg who made that report to Houdini. Rose said she recruited college kids as "detectives." One of her recruits probably reported to Rose then Rose wrote it up for Houdini.
    This is why Houdini tended to go after the storefront psychics. You can't attack peoples' sincere beliefs, but, if someone tried to take advantage of folks' sincere beliefs and commited a crime to do it, he was fair game for Houdini. When Houdini left town, he turned over evidence of criminal activity his people had turned up to the local police.

    1. You're probably right, Pat. Rose was too experienced to make a mistake like this. But there was clearly a communication foul up here. Embarrassed the boss!

  7. Houdini showed real candor when he admitted the mistakes. Of course, he turned it around, but, he did apologize and he did set the record straight by his admissions.