Star Tribune from Minneapolis, Minnesota on March 24, 1929 · Page 64
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Star Tribune from Minneapolis, Minnesota · Page 64

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Minneapolis, Minnesota
Issue Date:
Sunday, March 24, 1929
Page:
Page 64
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11111 Mediums and Dpi vC.l j. A? ) I y y ( J .W AT X ,. . r: 1 I V Informative Fhotofrranh of a Station in tho Canitel at Whiagt During the Spiritualistic Investigation, V&" Showing in foreground Hrry Houtllot Whose ,b,-!K ?5X k: i..i i r . i. c. I tir:iv; ..; i Sme Medium Prtwnt Stampeded PfiDa4iD9 nUnt Vindication. ROM WPW f Ifeudintt Chief In rMf if afar f Pri nle ffrf e -( tve. J (4ORVSA0EM and ''crusader" are to me pie-1. bald words, half black, half white Of course, you can use then to refer to tthd loftiest causes and the noblest people but in, ordinary conversation they're apt to suggest at' tempts at unjustified censorship, prying anJ snooping, and infringements on the personal lib, erties of others. But when Harry lloudini and J swooped down on Washington, D. C. thre years ago, to stamp out the menace of spurious "mediums." I must confess that my pulse beat a little faster; for I felt that our cause vas just and that we had vital information to impart tq the Judiciary Sub-committee of the House District Committee, which was conducting a drastic investigation into mediumistic activity in the National Capital. Even before 1 got on the limited in New York I had a premonition that there were going to be fireworks the moment J started telling what I knew. I had underestimated my capacity to shock, frighten and enrage it wasn't fireworks I touched off. but an emotional holocaust I Those were super-strenuous days "in the shadow of the White House," filled with near-riots, a welter of conflicting testimony, shouted objections, muttered oaths, copious tears and the most marvelous smashing demonstration on the part of Houdini that a great part of alleged spiritualistic power is the bunk and can be duplicated by any really clever magician, who makes no supernatural pretensions, but is con-tent to rest on his laurels as a performer and entertainer. If your curiosity i3 aroused you can consult the documentary evidence of the period in the form of affidavits and direct testimony. There was a great mass of this, and the newspapers printed detailed articles about the probe. How 1 Suddenly Ignited Emotional Piiiwheels If was my testimony, brief and pointed, that touched ofl the rorkels and pintrherls and giant cratkers of startled emotion when wrathful per' sons broke in with protestations and shouts of "That's a Her and uWe nerer did suth a thing r Ordinarily, I dislike "scenes." but this pandemonium of unleashed hysteria was not or.iy rotcan ically dramatic, hut. ta one on the inside looking out, extremely funny. Washin&ton has for years, you see, been thickly populated with mediums, and 1 must here repeat an important point that 1 made in an early chapter of this series. I don't doubt for a second that in Washington, as in many other cities, there are a number of genuinely devout, credulous people who actually believe that they possess supernatural powers; that they can communicate with the dead and bring consolation to the perturbed souls of the bereaved. Of these amiable, well-meaning persons 1 have no criticism to make, and nothing that 1 say should be construed as reflecting on their personal integrity. When the chairman's gavel fell with a crash 1o signalize the opening of the inquiry, the committee room was packed to suffocation. Tense, anxious faces stared up into his, wondering what was going to happen. Houdini. calm, but with blazing eyes, sat quietly at one side, flanked by ne, outwardly placid and inwardly intent. Called to the stand, the master magician lost no time in launching as measured and savage an ttack as it has ever been my fortune to hear, isdaining rhetoric and false courtesy, he tore e whirlwind into the thick of his theme. "Honest and otherwise intelligent men fall prey to these schemers," he cried. "Sir Arthur ;nan Doylu is the biggest dupe outside of Sir - I 1 V. 1 -yVuO ... v mi v$ h c , i mil Smashing Revelations Ab Tricksters, Spirit Photo Cabinet Hoaxes, Ordinam Phosphorus Wraiths, Told Wily Young Woman Wh the Master Magician's Sleuth: In This Chapter-Panic and Pandemo Reigned in Washington the Author Testified B - . Governmental Com f t ' f 1 , i dftt Jk:i ftii- rem f,fft ;1 rjdf in 1 4 iaflwfr "They uvj Ml from lrarK tf'aiAi'avfan. r fn;v MEMORI SHADOW This Photo of Edna Best. Famed Enplih Aclreis. Displays an Uninten tional Phenomenon Th.il Some SpUitualit Would Ac. claim a a Miracle. MUs Beit's Silhouette, C on the Wall, U w Esect Replica of the Profile of Maude Adams, Creator of Barrie's Peter Pan" America 1$ U in This Rele That Mist Bert U Here Pictured, qd When th Pht W First Published, Ccruin Medium R4d the C'y of "spirit photrepay.M Oliver Lodge- Doyle hai been mi:uidcd by 'spiritualist' and has not seen the lif ht. No one can forecast future events.' Houdini, unimpressed, but beneath his rigid air of self-command plainly irate, continued : "It is impossible to tell what going to happen to me or mine. And is it not strange that 'mediums' have to charge a dollar or two for predictions when, every day, they could clean up a fortune by foretelling what is going to happen in Wsll Street?" This pointed sally drew more hisses; alsc laughter from "disbelievers." Still Houdini's ammunition held out. "Lodge and Doyle," he remarked, returning to the two noted Englishmen, "are sincere, but deluded in their beliefs. Why, Conan Doyle even claims I possess supernatural powers, when 1 can demonstrate that all the efi'ects 1 achieve are by trickery and nothing an ordinary man. equally skilled, couldn't do." Whpn Houdini Called Doyle a Dupe Then Houdini. who was a superb showman as, well as a fearless and indefatigable seeker atW truth. Clinched his arguments by making the action suit the word. He revealed to the spectstor. many of whom were frankly astonished, the actual methods by which some "mediums" produce "spirit voices." He delivered "spirit messages" to several Representatives. In accomplishing this, he had recourse to the "trumpet racket." an ingenious device to which J shall devote some space in a later chapter. Several of the legislators, with the trumpet to theii ears and listening attentively, declared that they heard the messages distinctly, although, on the face of it. neither Houdini nor any assistant ol his was speaking into the instrument. "You see?" Houdini said with something lik a small shout of triumph. "Just trickery." l was about to enter into the technique of the stunt when the committee suddenly adjourned, cutting him short in his expose. '.1 a f V IT K tr , vjrY tmutan. nr ffomV fracha (Jitem Wwhetk? she ad,f. Wfin mwh sorcaiiM U fa mediums gin? e ! spirit warM to iacreate the poch bmk. kttt t Wnr tkm human soul." Mrs, Fletcher's trump card, as she I' warded it, was thf fact that a violin if by a boy year ago had been, recovered; a result of mediumistic advice. "I ha'j known many ministers, doctors, ofTici? world-renowned writers who have h", writings in the sunlight and in elecl'j Hjht, without cabinet or other parrph1) nalia, through a young girl in a de 1 L I 1 J ' iruHcw. . i nave naa C02CU3 of such conversations and have had steno graphic records of some of them. ... 1 have never come in contact with a medium who is t w Ml tl - ".3 j; ;U I AsiB ) Q hi ' " '.SX.VX ' J I r::oscE ;hoto FUsbliaht of a "seance" Pi-earranged by Joseph Dunniajcr, Psychic lavestisator. in an Effort to Prove That 'Mediums" Bound and Conceaud Within a Cabi- .A at . m 4-.t l .1 .f & ... vl .1 nl.i. llf f 1 ni, van wave uanaKercnieis inrougn inc vuriains Aperture, wnen tne i iaie vas wi. It Was Noticed That There Was a Grayish Blur Over the Curtains. Enlargement of the t Shewed That the Splotch (Shown in Close-Up, Above, at RJcht) Remarkably Resemble Man with a Lena Nose. Far from Being a "psychic" Occurtrence. the "shot" Was Pure n the Smoke from the Flash Having Keen Reflected on the Curtain's Background! Mrs. Fletcher's Defense of SpMtualUm Up to this point spiritualism had not made a very brave showing in the investigation, but it did not lack its defenders, and quite warmly vahaat ones. too. There was Mrs. Iuncan U. Fletcher, wife of the U. S. Senator from Florida, who lerped forward with some fairly impressive testimony. She had been, she aid, an ardent investigator of spiritist phenomena for thirty-five years; had conducted successful seances in hei own home, and possessed a c t u a 1 , proof that prophecies made by mediums had been fulfilled to the letter. knowingly dishonest. Some mediums power than others." , Houdini's expressed belief about had, apparently, not only annoyed Mrs . it had also enraged the Rev. H. B. Strl ton it thu Motinnol Rr.irit ll.llists' AssI America. Mr. Strack'was "dumbfoiTj the committee should accept the statell confessed infidel." f) m mm . J A f Ik' K var Hniiiini was Tftrppn tii Rmiic i WWII AIVMWSII v. this sweeping characterization, and ably know as well as 1 that the re put was one of the decentest and most C men who ever lived. "My religion an I A n y - . . , , , , , , H

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