Friday, January 8, 2021

Unpublished photo captures Houdini the lecturer

You never know where a new image of Houdini will appear next. This unpublished photo comes from which sells an assortment of public domain images as wall art, coffee mugs, and even face masks. Not sure this would make a great face mask, but it is an exciting image as shots of Houdini captured during an actual (indoor) performance are rare.

This picture is credited as being 1926 and shows Houdini giving a lecture, likely related to spiritualism. He has what look like Spirit Slates in his hands and is addressing what appears to be an audience volunteer. The men in the photo look too old to be college students, so this is not Houdini's famous final lecture at McGill University. But this image gives us a taste of what that may have looked like.

UPDATE: It appears the original source for this image is the Library of Congress.



  1. Perhaps those who have the notes on Houdini's Spiritualism Lectures - can determine what Houdini might be doing here with his spectator
    (i.e. He seems to be holding a slate, divided into 4 chalked sections)

    1. The first related has a full description of his sprit lecture from Houdini himself, and in it he says: "I expose the world-famous Dr. Slade's method of slate-writing and explain it to the audience."

      But this appears to be a later guest lecturer type of thing, not his full lecture from 1924, so he might just be doing the slates as a trick. It was always one of his favorites.

  2. Great catch! Looks like a school of some type and an all male audience. Two clues...