Monday, March 21, 2016

Houdini the hypnotist?

Here's an interesting article from the February 15, 1926 Reading Times about the state of magic, citing Houdini as a "the foremost example of the progress made in magic art." But one thing that jumps out here is the claim that: "hypnotism is a factor of great importance in Houdini's success as a magician."


This is the first time I've ever heard Houdini associated with hypnotism. But who knows? Maybe we are all subjects of some century old hypnotic spell? That would explain a few things! Or maybe this writer is just being hyperbolic. You decide.

Thanks to our friends Dorothy Dietrich and Dick Brookz of the Houdini Museum in Scranton for finding this one.

UPDATE: For a tale of Houdini as hypnotist go here: Paging Professor Murat.


  1. If you didn't guess already, take it from a veteran journalist - that was written by Houdini's press agent.

    1. I was thinking the same thing. It sounds like it came from "Houdini Inc."

      But that makes this even more intriguing. Was Houdini planning on introducing hypnotism into his show? Or are they just spinning out words here?

  2. Good question. A wild but educated guess: after the publication of Trilby in 1894 by George du Maurier, stage hypnotism acts became all the rage in vaudeville. Many of Houdini's early playbills show him sharing with "Trilby" acts. Perhaps he planned to revive that, blending debunking and magic?