In a long life which has touched every side of humanity, Houdini is far and away the most curious and intriguing character whom I have ever encountered.
–Arthur Conan Doyle
One of the most ironic facts of Arthur Conan Doyle’s life is that the creator (or, as you will, Literary Agent) of Sherlock Holmes—the ultimate empiricist in literature—believed in Spiritualism with a religious fervor.
Doyle had dabbled in Spiritualism as early as the 1880s when he first began writing Sherlock Holmes stories. But it wasn’t until 1919 that he became fully converted, when a medium allegedly contacted Kingsley, Doyle’s son who had died in World War I.
The great magician and showman Harry Houdini was first drawn to Spiritualism for much the same reasons. After his mother died he became fascinated with the idea of contacting her beyond the grave. Despite knowing, and often gleefully exposing, the tricks…
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