Thursday, June 6, 2019

Houdini's secret mind reading system uncovered?

The restoration of Houdini's 278 continues with some interesting finds being made. Among them is the discovery of old wires that, according to the homeowners, run "everywhere." Some of the wiring is copper and hand wrapped with thread. A lot of it runs under the floors of the parlor and garden levels. What purpose this wiring served is a mystery. But Houdini buffs might have an idea!

On February 8, 1925, Houdini invited a group of notables, including Ralph Pulitzer, to his home for an experiment in "telepathy." He was looking to debunk the claims of a man named Earl Balfour who claimed he could divine what had been discussed in a room when he wasn't present. The next day The Brooklyn Daily Eagle covered the event.

Houdini never revealed the secret of his mind reading feat. But after his death, his nephew, Louis Kraus, did. In doing so, he also revealed one of the secrets of 278. Kraus's lengthy explanation was reprinted in Houdini The Key by Pat Culliton. Below is a key excerpt:

"The whole house at 278 West 113th Street was wired. The room in which the committee sat was so completely wired that the least whisper was picked up and carried electrically to an operator concealed in the basement. The operator held a transmitter in his hand and repeated all he heard. His repetitions were carried by other hidden wires to the top floor, terminating in loops under the carpet. In this way, the spoken thoughts of the committee in New York, were actually carried to the magician, invisibly through wire and air, but the method was electrical not telepathic..."

So is this mysterious wire part of Houdini's secret mind reading system? I think it almost certainly is. And while a few pieces of wire needed to be removed, most of it will remain as a historic part of Houdini's 278.



  1. Wow! Incredible. Who is doing the restoration, why, and with what money? Sincere question

    1. Private owners. Bought the house last year and are making a beautiful new home for themselves. They've been generous in sharing some of the Houdini history they are uncovering.

  2. Oh this is a really big discovery! It would be even better if they could locate the hidden microphones or transmitters.

    1. The gadgets attached to the wires must have surely been removed and taken away long ago. Probably around the time Bess was liquidating the things inside 278.

  3. As I pointed out in my book, Houdini's Final Incredible Secret, the sound surveillance system originally installed by Louis C. Kraus, the nephew of Houdini, was rewired and upgraded by Amedeo Vacca.

  4. Looks like the Curse put on Houdini DID work ... Less than a year off....


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