Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
View your shopping cart Shopping Cart | My Account | Help | Become a Fan on Facebook Become a Fan | Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us | Watch Us on YouTube Watch Us | Subscribe to our RSS Feeds Subscribe
Browse ProductsAuthorsArticlesBlogsEncyclopediaNewslettersAffiliate ProgramContact UsBooksellers
Advanced Search
ENCYCLOPEDIA
Glossary
What's New
Most Popular
List of Articles

Email Exclusives
Sign up to receive special offers and promotions from Llewellyn.

Get the Latest Issue of New Worlds

March/April 2015 Issue

New Worlds Catalog

Get the FREE app for your tablet and mobile device. Now available in the iTunes Store and the Google Play Store

Also available as a PDF File.

Click for more information about New Worlds or to receive issues via mail.


The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

Term: houdini

DEFINITIONS

Houdini: Born Ehrich Weiss (1874–1926) in Budapest, Hungary, and moved with his family to the US in 1878. At 9, he made his public debut as a trapeze artist. He also spent time working as a locksmith. Houdini started performing magic tricks professionally, especially with cards and coins, in 1891. He added handcuff escapes. Met and married Bess Rahner in 1893. He and Bess had an act where she was a psychic medium, but they abandoned it when their agent tells them to focus on escapes. They go to Europe and by 1904 he became a huge star.

Many conjurors today acknowledge that Houdini was not the best magician of his day, but he was certainly the best advertiser and publicist. Even so, by the 1920s his career was flagging and he needed a new publicity focus. Combining his knowledge of magic, locksmithing, and earlier work as a fake medium, he started to debunk small-time mediums and psychics. When he went up against well-known medium “Margery” (Mrs. Mina Crandon), a furor took place. At first, she was declared real by a scientific committee, but after Houdini participated in tests with her, the declaration was rescinded. Houdini’s assistant at the time, James Collins, alleged that Houdini had him place false evidence against her during a test. There is still a great deal of debate over Margery.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, became a friend of Houdini. However, Doyle’s belief in mediums and Houdini’s antipathy toward them eventually broke their friendship.

Houdini died on Halloween in 1926 from appendicitis and peritonitis. A recent book claims that Houdini was also a spy and that his death was murder.


ARTICLES

Spiritism
Spiritism, or as it is more commonly known, Spiritualism, is a religion which holds that it is possible to communicate with the souls of those who have gone through the transition known as death. Although some occultists would disagree with this ...
Relevance:  3 % 3%


Review of the Dark Grimoire Tarot
Summary: As dark and mysterious as the mythic world created by H. P. Lovecraft, The Dark Grimoire Tarot is strongly recommended for those mature enough and brave enough to examine their darker sides, and by coming to know and control those aspects ...
Relevance:  2 % 2%



In Irish tradition, there is a wonderful story of bile, the ancient tree. It grows by the side of a sacred well, and acorns, nuts, and apples spring from its branches. How wonderful it would be to live in the world of folk-tradition: a magical place where the world is joined-up, the sacred is apparent in the everyday world, and every living thing... read this article
Gold and Alchemical Healing
Why the Waite-Smith Tarot Was the Almost Perfect Tarot
Demons, Fairies, and Saints in a Renaissance Manuscript of Magic
5 Reasons to Combine Crystals, Oils, and Essences to Facilitate a Life Well Lived
May Bush and Wishing Tree Magick for Beltane

Most recent posts:
Answer the Call Spread
Taken from Tarot Spreads: Layouts and Techniques to Empower Your Readings by Barbara Moore. The Judgement card is about, in part, hearing a...

Wisdom of Swords Spread
Sasha Graham’s book 365 Tarot Spreads has a spread for every day of the year. She also includes an important historical moment from that day and...

Driving Our Own Bus Called "Life"
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Kerry Nelson Selman, author of the new Crystal Resonance. Recently, as I was meeting and greeting...




Evidence of Eternity Evidence of Eternity
Communicating with Spirits for Proof of the Afterlife

By: Mark Anthony
Price: $15.99 US,  $18.50 CAN
Bite the Biscuit Bite the Biscuit
By: Linda O. Johnston
Price: $14.99 US,  $17.50 CAN
Come to Harm Come to Harm
A Novel

By: Catriona McPherson
Price: $14.99 US,  $17.50 CAN
Easy Tarot Easy Tarot
Learn to Read the Cards Once and For All!

By: Josephine Ellershaw, Ciro Marchetti
Price: $19.95 US,  $21.95 CAN
The Final Reveille The Final Reveille
By: Amanda Flower
Price: $14.99 US,  $17.50 CAN