The legendary magician and illusionist Harry Houdini turns a critical eye to the astonishing claims of those in his own profession. Using personal research and observations, Houdini reveals the cunning techniques employed by fire-eaters, sword swallowers, and other masters of deception to mystify and amaze audiences around the world. This classic skeptical work explores and exposes the methods of such “wonders” as “The Incombustible Spaniard,” “Defiers of Poisonous Reptiles,” and many others. Originally published in the 1920s, Miracle Mongers and Their Methods scrupulously examines the direct predecessors of modern psychics and mentalists.
“My professional life has been a constant record of disillusion,” writes Houdini in his preface, “and many things that seem wonderful to most men are the everyday commonplace in my business. But I have never been without some seeming marvel to pique my curiousity and challenge my investigation. In this book I have set down some of the stories of strange folk and unusual performers that I have gathered in many years of such research.”
The greatest magician of his time, Houdini baffled experts and amateurs alike with his sensational and dangerous feats. Houdini attained worldwide fame during his lifetime for his daring escapes from strait-jackets, jails, underwater chambers, and a variety of “escape-proof” devices. Throughout his career, Houdini insisted that all of his feats could be rationally explained and boldly exposed the methods of those claiming supernatural powers.
The ever present fascination with psychics and miracle mongers makes this book as timely as when it was originally written.