Some fascinating articles about the strange story of Houdini, and his pursuit of the paranormal, his “debunking” of many mediums and yet….his powerful desire to believe in an afterlife.
Thurston, who had been carrying on Houdini’s tradition of exposing fraudulent mediums, was stymied by being unable to explain some of the effects that Ford produced. After he came forward with the code, jealous colleagues turned on Ford and newspaper reporters and debunkers began to charge him with perpetrating a hoax, along with Bess, despite both of their claims of innocence. Shortly afterwards, Arthur Ford was expelled from the United Spiritualist League of New York but was later reinstated “on the grounds of insufficient evidence.”But was he a fraud? Many people believe so and state that he actually found the “secret” code on page 105 of a book that was published the year before. Incidentally, the code was not one that was specially prepared by Houdini and Bess. It was very old and had been used in their act even though it had been around for years. Despite all of this however, it should be noted that while Ford could have easily found the code somewhere — there has never been an adequate explanation (outside of a fraud perpetrated with Mrs. Houdini, which was denied by both parties) as to where he got the message that he gave to Bess!
The Houdini Séances are an American tradition dating back to 1926. Every Halloween, the anniversary of the magician’s death, groups around the country gather together by candlelight in an attempt to summon the Great Escapist from beyond the grave. Each and every time, Houdini fails to show his ghostly face, the candles are blown out, and the seance is proclaimed unsuccessful. Or so we’re told. What the skeptics conveniently leave out is that one such séance, performed just two years after the magician’s death, proved so successful that Houdini’s wife issued a signed statement of it’s legitimacy to the press.
You would think that such a monumental occasion would be more of a focal point in the history of the world’s most famous magician, but instead, the successful séance became the target of an organized attempt to rewrite history. Harry Houdini may have returned from the grave on January 8, 1929, only to be pushed right back in by unbelievers with an agenda.