Houdini, Harry

Houdini, Harry
   (pseudonym of Enrich Weiss, 1874–1926)
   magician and debunker of spiritualism. In early 1924 J.C.Henneberger, owner of WT,in an attempt to salvage the magazine, hired Houdini—then at the height of his celebrity—as a regular columnist. The column “Ask Houdini” appeared in the issues for March, April, and May–June–July 1924. Houdini also appeared as the author of the short stories “The Hoax of the Spirit Lover” (April 1924) and “The Spirit Fakers of Hermannstadt” (March and April 1924), possibly ghostwritten by Walter Gibson. Henneberger commissioned HPL to write an account of an adventure that Houdini purportedly had in Egypt; but as HPL investigated the details of the incident (told to him in correspondence with Henneberger), he found that it was almost entirely mythical. HPL therefore asked Henneberger for as much imaginative latitude as possible in writing the story. The result was “Under the Pyramids” (published in the May-June-July issue as “Imprisoned with the Pharaohs”). Henneberger was going to print a joint byline to the story, but because HPL had written it in the first person (as if narrated by Houdini), he felt obliged to omit HPL’s name. Houdini, reading the story in manuscript, expressed great approbation of it (see SL1.328). In the fall of 1924, when HPL, now in New York, was having difficulty finding employment, Houdini asked HPL to visit him at his apartment at 278 West 113th Street in Manhattan, as he would put HPL in touch with “someone worth-while” (SL 1.354). At the meeting, in early October, Houdini gave HPL an introduction to Brett Page, the head of a newspaper syndicate; HPL met Page on October 14, but no job resulted from it. In the fall of 1926 Houdini came in touch with HPL again. He first asked HPL to write an article attacking astrology, for which he paid $75 (see SL2.76, 79). (This article apparently does not survive.) Then he commissioned HPL and C.M.Eddy (who may have done revision work for him at an earlier date) jointly to ghostwrite a full-scale book on superstition, but his sudden death on October 31 put an end to the plans, as Houdini’s widow did not wish to pursue the project. A synopsis of the book, along with the text of one chapter, survive in HPL’s papers under the title The Cancer of Superstition(in DB). Houdini gave HPL a copy of his own debunking of spiritualism, A Magician among the Spirits(1924), with the inscription: “To my friend Howard P.Lovecraft, /Best Wishes,/Houdini./‘My brain is the key that sets me free.’”
   See Ruth Brandon, The Life and Many Deaths of Harry Houdini (1993); Kenneth Silverman, Houdini!!! (1996).

An H.P.Lovecraft encyclopedia. .

Look at other dictionaries:

  • HOUDINI, HARRY — (originally Eric Weisz, 1874–1926), U.S. magician and escape artist. The grandson of a rabbi, Houdini was born in Budapest and taken to the United States, where his father became religious leader of a Jewish congregation in Appleton, Wisconsin.… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Houdini, Harry — orig. Erik Weisz born March 24, 1874, Budapest, Hung. died Oct. 31, 1926, Detroit, Mich., U.S. U.S. magician. The son of a rabbi who emigrated from Hungary to the U.S. and settled in Wisconsin, he became a trapeze performer at an early age. In… …   Universalium

  • Houdini, Harry — orig. Erik Weisz (24 mar. 1874, Budapest, Hungría–31 oct. 1926, Detroit, Mich., EE.UU.). Ilusionista estadounidense. Fue hijo de un rabino que emigró de Hungría a EE.UU. y que se estableció en Wisconsin. De joven se dedicó al trapecio y en 1882… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Houdini,Harry — Hou·di·ni (ho͞o dēʹnē), Harry. 1874 1926. Library of Congress American magician known for his escapes from chains, handcuffs, straitjackets, and padlocked containers. * * * …   Universalium

  • Houdini, Harry — pseud. di Weiss, Erich …   Sinonimi e Contrari. Terza edizione

  • Houdini, Harry (Eric Weiss) — (1874–1926)    US magician. Houdini, the son of a religious leader from Budapest, began his career in the United States as a trapeze artist and magician, and attained world fame as an escape artist. His collection of books on all forms of magic… …   Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament

  • Houdini, Harry (Weiss, Enrich) — (1874 1926)    American magician. He was the son of a religious leader from Budapest. He began his career as a trapeze artist and magician. He later attained fame as an escapologist …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Harry Houdini — Houdini redirects here. For other uses, see Houdini (disambiguation). Harry Houdini Houdini in 1899 Born Erik Weisz March 24, 1874(1874 03 24) …   Wikipedia

  • Harry Houdini — (* 24. März 1874 als Erik Weisz in Budapest; † 31. Oktober 1926 in Detroit) war ein US amerikanischer Entfesselungs und Zauberkünstler österreichisch ungarischer Herkunft …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Houdini — Harry Houdini Houdini lässt einen Elefanten verschwinden (1918) …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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