Houdini hand-corrected manuscript auctions for $40,000 at RR Auction


2015-06-26 13:21:58


Houdini hand-corrected manuscript auctions for $40,000 at RR Auction

The hand-corrected manuscript continues Houdini's public feud with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

A hand-corrected manuscript of Houdini's A Magician among the Spirits has seen the highest bids in RR Auction's latest online sale, which closed July 17.

Houdini A Magician Among the Spirits manuscriptIn the manuscript, Houdini continues his public feud with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The 409-page document sold for an impressive $40,209.

Published in 1924 by Harper & Brothers, A Magician among the Spirits was the culmination of Houdini's work to debunk spiritualists, psychics and mediums by exposing their methods, which he had begun in the early 1920s.

Houdini was known to attend sances and other such events in disguise to observe the supposed clairvoyants.

Houdini was unhappy with the published version, which had been edited down from 175,000 words to a mere 75,000, and began working on this revised manuscript, which remained unfinished and unpublished at the time of his death in 1926.

Signed photograph of Harry HoudiniHoudini was known to attend seances in disguise to observe clairvoyants

The manuscript is notable for Houdini's signature across the top edge, as well as the sentence, "I have spent a great many years in the study of spiritualism, though not as much time as I did in the research of magic and magicians", written in his own hand.

Working on A Magician among the Spirits cost Houdini several friendships, particularly that of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, one of the most prominent spiritualists of the day.

The two engaged in a public feud over the subject, and Houdini carried this on in his book, writing, "Would Shirlock [sic] Holmes have proceeded that way?" and "So says our friend Sir Arthur Conan Doyle".

Paul Fraser Collectibles has a fantastic signed photograph of Houdini for sale. We are also offering a handwritten list from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, which names some of his most prominent associates.

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