|Advertisement for Houdini's 3 Shows in 1. Courtesy of|
the blog Wild About Houdini.
After the séance, Arthur told the press that Houdini had been converted to the religion of Spiritualism. A bit miffed at the untrue accusation, Houdini publicly stated that the séance made him even more skeptical of spiritualism. This exchange put a heavy strain on their friendship and Houdini decided to put on his own anti-spiritualism tour. This tour eventually evolved into Houdini's "3 shows in 1" tour that he would bring to Schenectady in mid-October, 1926. During his three day stay in Schenectady, he gave a lecture on anti-spiritualism at Union College, performed his magic act at the Van Curler Opera House, exposed a Spiritualist that he believed to be a fraud, and gave an address on WGY.
|Photo of Harry Houdini from the October 13, 1926 |
issue of the Schenectady Gazette.Courtesy of fultonhistory.com
"I am amazed any sensible manager would sign a contract with such a clause in it and I am perfectly willing to leave the road before I would take such a chance. [...] Am perfectly willing to continue if a new clause is inserted but under the present contract I retire gracefully." -Houdini's letter to his manager, written from the dressing room of Schenectady's Van Curler Hotel.
The injury caused Houdini to switch up his act a bit and he couldn't not perform his best trick, presumably the Water Torture Cell, but ever the crowd-pleaser, he replaced it with five others. An article from the October 15, 1926 issue of the Schenectady Gazette stated that Houdini performed hundreds of tricks during his act and that while his magic show clever, the best part of the show was his performance exposing spiritualists and mediums. Houdini put on a fake séance and invited several audience members to join him on stage, revealed how spiritualists used their charms and interviewed a woman who had went to several mediums in Schenectady. According to the mediums, she had many deceased husbands and children in heaven. The audience got a kick out of the reveal that she had never been married and had no children. You can find the Schenectady Gazette's review of Houdini's show here at fultonhistory.com.
Houdini's stay in Schenectady was lively despite the injury that almost caused him to cancel the whole tour. The injury that he received in Albany is believed to be a direct cause of Houdini's death although there is debate as to whether he was suffering from acute appendicitis and did not realize the symptoms. Houdini would die just 16 days after his last performance in Schenectady due to complications from appendicitis.
|Houdini on WGY radio on October 14, 1926. Courtesy MiSci - |
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