Star Tribune from Minneapolis, Minnesota on April 28, 1929 · Page 72
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Star Tribune from Minneapolis, Minnesota · Page 72

Minneapolis, Minnesota
Issue Date:
Sunday, April 28, 1929
Page 72
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If ihmw -r7 aB Exposing L Weird S fledi eaetso I " II - rfei-, : til' " 11 1 I xj Vv, e .Iff11 ll Smashing R eve la tio ns by th Master Magician's Hidden S, Highlights on the Vivid Pe Reader, with a Thrilling Ad by Hou mm 1 Himsell Enrneshc author Mill Rose Mackenberg. She Began to prepare Ttfs Seei of Arbcles Immediately Upon Her Withdrawal from Active P elective Work,Occaioned by the Tragic Pcath of Houdini, Who Employed Her to Ferret Out "psychic" Mysteries. NATURAL MAGIC The f ampus Spectre of the Igrocken, First Observed in l7oP in Germany. The Ency-clogedi Britannic Describes It ft "an enormously magnified shadow of man c$ upon si, bank of cloud when the sun is low in MlfH nountain regions, reproducing every motion of the individual in the torn of gigantic but misty image of hinisjelf." By ROSE MACKENBERG, (HvudinVs Investigator and Private Detective.) .' CoBjrlcfit, Hi. TnUnutlorut ffeatui 8,rrk. Ins. GreU MlJn HigUti Bcserroi HOUDENTS CHICAGO ACTIVITIES LEAP TO A WILD RIOT OHN SLATER, millionaire medium, was one J of the most mettlesome foes who ever en with charm and skill, and worshiped by spiritists gaged Harry Houcjini's mental rapier. Gfifted the country over, Slater ardently disclaimed great wealth. In his determination to "turn up'' Slater, Houdini unwittingly paved the path lor a series of rumpuses and riots that stretched from Philadelphia to Chicago.' Heads were bludgeoned and blood spilled in those exhuberant day a, and I count myself lucky to have escaped fracases with a mere bruised ankle and some pungent memories of the general rough house, which I shall try to set forth accurately for you. By chance I was npt mixed up in the Phil: delphia imbroglio, but the Chicago mix-up took; place before my very eyes. I want to go on record right nqw by saying that I have no charge of fraudulent to press against Slater. I am willing to believe that he believes in his own capacities and for all I know his powers may be real. The fact that he is wellT to-do would seem to be an argument in his favor, for you seldom hear of phoney mediums possessing wealth. , Both Slater's avowed enemies qn? warmest friends concurred in calling JU'nf ?4e cleverest message-reader in the worldi-:r!Pnly1 of course, the spiritualists meant by chjve inspired, ana) the agnostics, adroit. There was something v.ery engaging in the mans personality, qn$ although I never had the faintest faith in H KpeH?fr powers, I could see how he had endeared himself to thousands. "Personal magnetism" is really more of a. "miracle than trumpet-speaking, slate-writing and ectoplasm. His Hand-Picked Aides Work on Schedule Houdini's personal staff pf investigators numbered twenty men and women-mostly girls like myself, for mediums aren't apt to suspect them but for this particular Chicago assignment there were selected only five, all "hand-picked." We worked, independently and together, on as rigorous a schedule as a train dispatcher or a stage hand. And our routine proyea surprisingly productive. f You may wonder, at this point, just why Harry ' Houdini bothered with assistants, why, with his marvelous brain, he didn't visit the mediums himself, and assure himself, at first hand, of their fraudulence- or their honest intentions. There are two answers to that question. One is that no one man in the world, for all his brilliance and energy, could possibly "cover' the whole territory that the master magician had mapped out; secondly, although he occasionally visited mediums in adroit disguise, HpudinjV features had became so widely known as those of a"spook-baiter" that he would have been recognized nine times out of ten. As a matter of fact, one of the hoys with 'hom I worked in Chicago was himself recognized; but 1 am getting ahead of my story. . Houdini, before our departure for the Middle West, had given my four colleagues and me the most meticulous instructions as to how we were to work the "racket."t As this schedule formed the basis for almost all the subsequent psychic investigations I made, working by myself; I will rive the details of the plan. : The five of us regtslercd -at different hotels -under apsumed names. One of my favorite oms df svao wa$ Ruth Maa' although' 1 have v.ployeu as many as spven at different tiros?. ' Next we would proceed tP visit various neighborhoods ; rapidly spot the addresses we wanted, then arrange for a consultation with the medium. " ' Of course, we all had prearranged stories abput having lost husbands or wives through death or desertion, or else wp wanted to get in touch with the spirits of our dead children. Some of the yarns we spun were the most. outrageous fabrications; in fact, the more fantastically improbable the stpry the more apt was the medium to fall for it. Memorization of the medium's features wss an important part of the job, so that when we reported back to Houdini we might be able to give him a workable mental photograph of the 1. - A 1 . t r mm mmn This Qui& Old Engavf ol lrWeteenth Century, eeWlfilt ftetfi &rt w Vtotorian gey, Wf . fW Wert AHs to ?oke Snook, with tke Aid pf Mirrors and ifea Lights, Tbxewraf tke Mec?d fom of he tigsfiABrtte ypga te siege. a SISiVllUVi I.V 4kpWiV eKrsisv vv mediums in his thronged audiences 'was person tie identify m mvanabiy dramatic, and an example or nis mar? ident invar velpus sense of showmansliip. But we had other ways of getting the goods on them. During seances we would break in on the spiritualistic discourse with a request that we be allowed to wash our hands or powder our noses. This being granted, we would retire to the lavatory, and, unseen by the spiritist, would make a distinguishing mark, in crayon or chalk, under the bathtub pr behind a mirror. . Jhfnx when thf! S e q n c e had been resumed and cpncludedi we waiM pay the medium 1 which contain the gist of my present theme. t'My reporj"' he wrote in hi diary, ''invariably contained not only the names and addresses of t mediums, but personal descriptions of thero and accurate ; topographical charts of their seance chambers. I always made notations of thft nqmbers on the bills with which I paid them, i and fncluded the exact hours of the seances, with precise cpllatf ral 4t. HoH4injt 0?e Starts Vflmigi Ho f "I also listed in detail the questions 1 put to the spiritists a.nd he answers which they gave. The particular forms of mediuraship that they employed were also charted ruraP6t-peakiBg, illusion creation, palmistry, mind-reading, eptp-plastic evocations, or whatever it was. ' "The report would close with an. indication of where I had lft my mark on the premises. Fortified with this report,' Houdini was able, usually, to expose the mediums without ever having seen them in person. In other instances', n Dl l Ni t ' U a ID' II r II It It I rj. i j It ftlwi A V 4 J i DISTORTION Adroit Movie Tricks, CI Uit Mackenberg, Are Ce by Certain UnscrupuH mediums" to Simulate O Photogrepny. Above I Effective "still" from the toplay, The Brass Botj Showing Ernest Torrenj as a Djinn. I, t 4 rer, SLATE-WRITING EXPOSED Noted Psychic Investigator (at Bight), Demonstrating with the Col labors Joseph Punni Able to Manipulate a Piece of Chalk AStsed to Pointer in the Dark. Posed for This Magazine. mat tion of U. Winneld Secor. Manazins Editor of "Science and Invention," How "mediums" Are Iflfi inconspicuously marked money, and leave. Arrived hark at our hotels, tee ' would prepare a careful report for, Houdini. Provided with this ammunition, he would be alt set for exposure on the following evening at the theatre- One of my colleagues was a young newspaperman. George Lait, son of Jack Lait, the noted short story writer, who was an intimate friend of Houdini. I have before me, as 1 write, two pages of George's personal memoranda. where they were extraordinarily wily and furtive, Houdini, in disguise, would pay calls on them, following the same procedure as his subordinates. variably Mhen 'turned up,' the mediums would raise am Indignant howl that their homes had never been entered by professional invest gafors, fciff the telltale rhalk marks would disprove" lAle clow. These excerpts from George Lait's notebook form a fitting prelude to "big noise"' that explode Chicago when H o u d i n il tempted to tear the veil i Mr. Slater's far-flung red tion. The occurrence I rMiiAk ef noln a TAvm uraei err suit wis wvv iav a vciiu w m owi in Orchestra Hall. The place packed -human sardines-J intensity fervid expectation the part of believers lou voiced skepticism on the par the incredulous. The stage) set for fireworks, and there! sued enough pyrotechnics to j ply half a dozen Fourths of J Mr. Slater, as 1 have ej specialized in message read. That is, he professed to be i to penetrate the meaning of sealed q tiops and to give appropriate, inforl tive answers. Houdini had given Gee Lait a certified check for SI 0,000 had told him to challenge the med on his public appearance before the vast a ence. "Tell him," Houdini told George, "that I J bet this sum that I can reproduce by purely n urai means any of the phenomena that he elatt he oroduces sniritnalistiealh.V (Thousands of times. literally, Houdini j before this duplicated the alleged "mystid feats or other spiritualists.) s In the case of Slater, the money at stake w:ii:vr-i my ft

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