In the early 20th century, consulting with spiritualists became de rigueur. Everyone from socialites to scientists would sit with mediums in hopes of connecting with the dead. The era was also the early days of photography. The two met in interesting ways.
Some of the mediums that Houdini busted used complicated physical tricks like cracking toe joints and “expelling” phosphorescent cheesecloth. But being the amazing stage illusionist he was, he recognized all the tricks.
If you like Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, then mark your calendar for the release of The Witches of New York.
The noble dead, the Lost Generation as Gertrude Stein called them. An entire swath of the population was killed in WWI, followed by the deadly Spanish Influenza epidemic of 1918. Death was everywhere. And in the midst of all the mourning, some wise people sought hope. Theosophists and Spiritualists sought to prove that there was merely a thin veil between this world and the next, and those who were willing to listen could speak to the spirits from beyond.
Voices from the Other World BY JAMES MERRILL Presently at our touch the teacup stirred, Then circled lazily about From A to Z. The first voice heard (If they are voices, these mute spellers-out) Was that of an engineer Originally from Cologne. Dead in his 22nd year Of cholera in Cairo, he had KNOWN NO…