Friday, October 9, 2020

Houdini's flashlight shines in 1946


Here's a curiosity from the November 4, 1946 Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. You can read for yourself, but it's the mention of "the flashlight with which Houdini exposed many mediums" that made me light up. 


William Larsen Sr. was Bess Houdini's lawyer and did have a fair amount of Houdini artifacts, so this certainly sounds legit. Unfortunately, I don't know who "Karlin" was. But if the flashlight was around in 1946 and understood to be Houdini's, is there a chance it still survives today? What an illuminating piece of Houdini history that would be!


UPDATE: Our great friend Joe Fox from the Magic Castle library provides the identity of Karlin the Magician. Thanks Joe!


UPDATE 2: The flashlight survives and you can see it here: This is Houdini's seance flashlight!

12 comments:

  1. Wow, nice cache of Houdini artifacts (flashlight, photos, movie stills, challenges). Per Oct 2017 P&P magic auction catalog, Hippisley was a friend of Blackstone and had quite the collection stored in a barn until 1970 when Michigan collectors Dan Waldron and Bob Lund purchased a huge portion of the Blackstone show and personal effects.

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    1. Thanks Joe. Hippisley did indeed sell off his collection in 1970. Stay tuned. :)

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  2. Minutia to be sure, but do we know what make & model flashlight Houdini used? My guess based on drawing is Eveready 2602

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    1. I don't know the make & model, but that sounds like a good guess.

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  3. Luckily we didn't run into a nest of bees...like Cox & Culliton did.

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  4. As Joe Notaro points out, George Hippisley aka Karlin housed nearly every prop of Blackstone Sr's in Upstate New York

    In 2013 I decided to see what was left. Hippisley's son housed a large amount of magic of his father's. It included Blackstone trunks and items that never made the list from Herrmann to Houdini and lots of Blackstone material. This was years before another auction house sold Waldron's Blackstone material he purchased in the late 1960's into early 70's. I was able to also purchase the many letters Bob Lund sent to Hippisley. According to Lund, the original intention of his museum was to be called the Blackstone Museum of Magic.

    I often wondered what that crummy flashlight with corroded battery terminals was for?.....Now I know :)

    David Haversat

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    Replies
    1. Hey David. That might have just been a crummy flashlight. I'll have something more about this next week.

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  5. GREAT NEWS! The flashlight survives and tomorrow (10/19) I will share pics and the full story.

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