Miracle Mongers and their Methods, Harry Houdini, (New York: E.P. Dutton & Co., c1920)
Library Call Number: GV1543.H68 1920
Renowned illusionist Harry Houdini baffled audiences of the early twentieth century with his death-defying feats. Unlike some of his contemporaries, he never claimed superhuman abilities and insisted a rational explanation lay behind his escape acts. As President of the Society of American Magicians, he fulfilled his role of upholding the standards of the profession by exposing charlatans.
Miracle Mongers and their Methods is presented as an exposé but also serves to document the methods of illusionists that peaked Houdini's interest and inspired him to investigate their methods further. The catalogue of acts mentioned in the extended title: “fire eaters, heat resisters, poison eaters, venomous reptile defiers, sword swallowers, human ostriches, strong men, etc.” can be viewed as a list of performers that impressed Houdini and inspired him to understand their methods further. Rather than an indictment of charlatans, this book can be read as a testament to wonder and curiosity.
ARC’s copy of Miracle Monders and their Methods includes Houdini’s original signature. It was acquired as a part of the Art Latcham Magic Collection to support studies in Psychology, History, and English.