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Leo H
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One can argue that by swooping in and selling off the Houdini treasures, Saint kept himself and Bess on the gravy train. He did her a favor in that sense by handling the liquidation of the Houdini items and converting that to energy. Bess didn't allow Saint to sell off every last Houdini item. There were treasures such as the Mirror cuffs and other items that she hung on to.

Sure, Bess could have shacked up with a more successful man, but on the other hand, she may not have found anyone in that category interesting. According to her niece Marie Blood, she often went out dancing with some young exotic stud not too long after HH's death. Quite possible that Bess preferred younger men; a sort of early 20th century version of a cougar.
Slim King
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Saint was an opportunist. He took advantage of an old 'Cougar"... He even drug her into his 1932 scam with the Lindberg baby....
THE MAN THE SKEPTICS REFUSE TO TEST FOR ONE MILLION DOLLARS.. The Worlds Foremost Authority on Houdini's Life after Death.....
miistermagico
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According to "Dr. Edward Saint ...or Sinner" by James J. Matthews, The "Carney" years 1916-1933. "His [Saint's] correspondence would indicate Dr. Sesrad [a.k.a. Edward Saint] was with the [Johnny J.] Jones Circus from 1927 to 1933, which overlaps his meeting with Bess Houdini".[1930]. Saint likely billed myself as "The Wonder Man," Sees All-Knows All-Tells All, The International Mentalist, SESRAD, Psychic Scientist and Crystal Gazer. Saint's legal name seems to have been Charles David Meyers. It was (and is) not unusual for entertainers to have multiple identities. If I remember correctly Tony Curtis is a.k.a. Herman Schwartz. Troyal Garth Brooks is known as Garth Brooks. Issur Danielovitch is Kirk Douglas. Norma Jean Mortenson became Marilyn Monroe.
Slim King
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Lot's of people change their name ONCE!!! Smile .. But having a dozen different names has a much more sinister appeal to the crooks of this world .. He was never a Dr. He was a con man. he conned Bess Houdini. They were drinking buddies at best ..rotflmao
THE MAN THE SKEPTICS REFUSE TO TEST FOR ONE MILLION DOLLARS.. The Worlds Foremost Authority on Houdini's Life after Death.....
miistermagico
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JAMY IAN SWISS REVIEW OF:
The Houdini Code Mystery; A Spirit Secret Solved
An unpublished review from October 2000

The Houdini Code Mystery; A Spirit Secret Solved
By William V. Rauscher

I cannot in recent memory recall a more dramatic
publishing contrast as that which exists between the
beautiful production values of this book (including an
exquisite dustjacket) and the exceedingly mediocre
content contained within. Easily the worst volume in the
catalog of both the author’s and publisher’s efforts to
date, this qualifies as the poorest attempt at a book of
magic “history” that I have come across in the six years
of writing this column. Given recent published
correspondence with the publisher, the thought occurs
that some may allege this review to be motivated by other
than the mere contents of the material. Allow me to
assure all and sundry that nothing could be further from
the truth.

The author is so embalmed by his own prejudices and
agendas it is hard to itemize them all here, but his
multiple operative premises in this text can perhaps be
best summarized as follows: The villain of this work is
Harry Houdini, about whom you may for the moment draw
your own conclusions concerning his qualifications for
villainhood (there is certainly little in the pages of
this book sufficiently reliable as to assist you in
making any informed judgment). The hero is Arthur Ford,
an acknowledged (including by our author!) con man and
liar who regularly faked mediumship, but whom the author
insists actually did possess the gift of genuine
mediumship, despite his acknowledged tendency toward
“cheating” (the author’s term) – but who didn’t use his
actual mediumistic in the particular case under
discussion. Oh yes, to be complete, I should also mention
that the author’s other operative premise seems to be the
news – apparently by equal measure both astonishing and
terribly frustrating to him – that some of what the
general public thinks it knows about Harry Houdini might
not have actually be true – indeed might even qualify as
myth – and if we just clear up some of those details, and
paint Harry Houdini as the human he actually was, then
there wouldn’t be a myth anymore (and the world would
finally embrace Howard Thurston – or, to your layman
friends, “Howard WHO?” – as the all around great guy and
greatest magician of all time that Bill Rauscher and John
Booth insist he was). In other words, if folks would just
understand that George Washington didn’t chop down that
*** cherry tree, nobody would ever talk about him again,
and he would go the way of Tiny Tim in the cultural
zeitgeist.

Now, let me ask you: Is it just me, or does all that seem
just a little odd? Well, that’s just the start of it.
What we have here is essentially 190 pages of character
assassination (if there was an antonym for hagiography,
this book would be the defining model), starting with
Harry Houdini, continuing on to Bess Houdini (repeatedly
referred to by the author as a “lush,” and described at
one point – this is the author speaking, not a source –
as “a lush who could be duped by a bright 10-year old.”
That sentence might as well be taken to summarize the
author’s intentions as an objective reporter, much less
as an historian or researcher. Then again, you could just
about throw this book on the table like the I-Ching and
open to any page where you could find an equivalent lapse
in quality. And by the way, the character assassination
does not end there; after thoroughly ripping over those
who can no longer defend themselves, we even get a few
healthy pot shots at the living, late in the book, as the
author apparently settles some scores with some folks he
describes as “friends” – and do let’s ask Larry Weeks if
it’s true that with friends like these, who needs
enemies?

The fact is, there is very little content indeed in this
book, save for the final chapter of about eight pages, in
which the author describes an alternate theory concerning
the Houdini code “mystery,” courtesy of a man named Jay
Abbott, whom the author met later in Abbott’s life, and
who knew Bess Houdini and her late-in-life companion,
Edward Saint. Abbott offered an alternate explanation as
to how con man Arthur Ford might have obtained some of
the information he transmitted in the notorious Houdini
“message” – a theory, by the way, which the author
declines to embrace! This information, such as it is, was
aptly summarized in an excellent article about Beatrice
Houdini by David Charvet and which appeared in the
October 1995 issue of MAGIC magazine (the locating of
which could well save you the cost and pain of attempting
to read this book).

The book would be infuriating if it wasn’t downright
hilarious, dripping with howlers from virtually every
other page. When the Houdini message comes through, we
are told that Houdini gets more press than he ever
received in his lifetime; the sentiment is ludicrous when
you consider that Houdini was not only regularly front
page news in his lifetime, but sometimes consumed the
entire front page, banner headline, photographs, and all.
The author scratches his head in wonderment at why major
newspapers, including The New York Times, would address
the issue of the veracity of the Houdini message,
insisting that it was too trivial to be considered news;
yet only a fool could miss the answer that lies in front
of anyone reading the actual news coverage, because in
fact the simple and obvious explanation was that exposing
the phony religion of spiritualism, and Harry Houdini’s
perspective on and role in that issue, was indeed
considered legitimate news of the first order.

The author is not only unqualified to make the harsh if
naïve judgments he so cavalierly offers (he appears to
suggest that owning a copy of an outdated psychiatric
reference work qualifies him to make frequent psychiatric
diagnoses in the course of the text); he is also self-
righteous, managing to get his blue nose clearly out of
joint over the possibility that Harry and Bess might
never have been legally married (a point he labors
mightily to prove but fails to do so), along with Bess’s
later unmarried involvement with Edward Saint. In between
his vituperative (and some might say mean-spirited)
name-calling of Houdini, Bess, skeptics, the enemies of
parapsychology, the enemies of religion, and just about
everyone else mentioned excepting his hero, the con man
Arthur Ford, he even assembles an entire chapter of
similar rants from an assortment of magicians who –
wonder of wonders – didn’t like Houdini. (If magicians
would go on record, wouldn’t you love to see a chapter
like this consisting of comments about David Copperfield
from his contemporaries? Consider the implications.) Of
course, not only does this kind of material not rate as
serious research or substantive content, but none of this
material can be trusted either, as a quick check of the
Servais LeRoy excerpt will demonstrate. Interestingly,
one of the high points for me of the recent Servais LeRoy
biography, which I so highly recommended in my review in
the June issue, was the excerpts in the back of the book
from LeRoy’s journals consisting of his comments about
other magicians of the time. Included in that segment is
a superb commentary on LeRoy’s colleague – and friend! –
Harry Houdini. In what comprises one of the fairest and
yet most personal descriptions I have ever come across,
LeRoy describes his friend, frankly acknowledging both
Houdini’s foibles and his strengths. It is a fascinating
and illuminating piece. In these pages, however, only the
single most ***ing paragraph, taken out of several pages
of context, is reproduced. Any claim of the author’s
fairness and objectivity is thus demolished by the second
chapter.

The fact is, almost everything within the pages of this
book, when it is not mere rant and rail, is mere
supposition and speculation. There are no answers, no
solutions – indeed, little of merit or interest to all
but those who must desperately collect all and sundry
that is related to Houdini, and thus the publisher,
wisely keeping the printing to 500 pieces, will doubtless
sell out, if they have not already done so. Perhaps the
most telling sentence is to be found in the promotional
blurb on the rear panel of the dustjacket, in which the
book is aptly compared to Houdini’s notorious text, The
Unmasking of Robert-Houdin. That book’s contents are not
taken seriously as responsible or accurate historical
content by even Houdini’s most supportive fans, and in
that fact only, the two books certainly warrant
comparison. Of course, a century from now, history will
remain fascinated by the myth and the man that was Harry
Houdini, while this book at hand (and doubtless its
author) will have long been mercifully forgotten. The great irony is that the author posits that there are
people who should perhaps be deprogrammed from the cult
of Houdini, when in fact, it is the author himself who
seems unhealthily obsessed
Slim King
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Wow!! You just cut and pasted something that claims Edward Saint and Bess Houdini WERE NOT MARRIED!!!!!
? He is also self- righteous, managing to get his blue nose clearly out of
joint over the possibility that Harry and Bess might
never have been legally married (a point he labors
mightily to prove but fails to do so), along with Bess’s
later unmarried involvement with Edward Saint."

By the way .....Jamie Ian Smith can't prove Bess held seances every Halloween for 10 years (Since he has failed to provide any evidence at all) He also states that Arthur Ford was a con man although Ford was never convicted, prosecuted or even arrested for such a crime. In fact, Ford remained a Minister in good standing until the day he passed over in 1971. Smile

Check this out!!!
http://www.wildabouthoudini.com/2016/05/......28851119
THE MAN THE SKEPTICS REFUSE TO TEST FOR ONE MILLION DOLLARS.. The Worlds Foremost Authority on Houdini's Life after Death.....
Sardonicus
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Slim King:

Who's "Jamie Ian Smith"? Smile

In the article Swiss says "The hero is Arthur Ford, an acknowledged (including by our author!) con man and liar who regularly faked mediumship". He's saying that the author of the work being reviewed admits Ford's misdoings. The author, William V. Rauscher, is pro-Ford...and even he agrees that Ford at times faked his abilities.

That makes him, in the eyes of Swiss, the author and I'll include myself just for fun, a con man and a liar. We can all name other examples of people that fit those definitions but haven't been convicted of...what? Being entertainers? Who's going to charge them, and with what crime? His clients seem to have gotten what they wanted and/or paid for. There are complications to that, to be sure...but they can easily be accounted for. All it says is that, like so many modern psychics and spoon benders, he got away with it...in the eyes of the law, at least. Perhaps Ford never was run through the criminal justice system; J.Z. Knight hasn't been either. But perhaps you're a disciple there, too. Insert your own non-convicted "con person" in her place, if indeed you accept the notion.

As for the rest of us, we can form our own opinions and act accordingly. Legal entanglements have little to do with the issue of his malfeasance. Innocent until proven guilty is a standard that applies in legal settings; personal judgement prevails outside the courts. I, for example, don't go to psychics for advice and I bend my own spoons. Would you have let Michael Jackson baby-sit your kids? (On second thought, don't answer that.)

So claiming no convictions, prosecutions or arrests doesn't necessarily imply all that you'd have the readers believe, no matter how often you repeat it. You don't have to be convicted to be a con artist, and a lack of prosecution in these particular instances carries less weight than you imply. It's merely a smoke screen, and a thin one at that.

Furthermore, if Wikipedia is accurate in this instance, Ford was ordained a minister in Disciples of Christ, which to my understanding lets in everybody. Not that that's a bad thing...but it indicates that they wouldn't have removed his ecclesiastical authority based on his spiritualistic claims, which incidentally he began to make -after- his ordination.

Wiki goes on to state that he later served "as pastor of a Spiritualist church".

What they fail to mention is that he founded that church himself. Good standing indeed.

Hardly the ringing endorsements that you make them out to be.
"Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic." Carl Sagan, Cosmos
miistermagico
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BRAD HENDERSON REVIEW:
Houdini Code Mystery--A Spirit Secret Solved
by William Rauscher
Official Review
December 14th, 2002 6:50pm
Reviewed by Brad Henderson
I am a huge fan of the work Mike Caveney has produced through his Magic Words publishing house. Many obscure and unknown performers, and some more well known ones, have been profiled in intelligent and revealing ways for which all students of magic should be grateful.

It was interesting therefore to see perhaps the most written about magical performer, Houdini, featured in one of the titles. To be specific, this book by Rev. William Rauscher explores the mystery of the Houdini Code; the alleged transmission delivered by medium Arthur Ford which proved “undeniably” that Houdini had returned in spirit form. It is the “undeniable” aspect of that claim which Rauscher addresses.

First, the good points. As of all of Caveney’s productions, this book is lovely. Well bound, well illustrated, a good heft, it’s a first rate product from the publishing standards. The contents however, are another story.

When it comes to the Houdini Code mystery itself, I think Rauscher could have informed us as to what it was, and provided his theories as to how it was accomplished, in a handful of pages. Though many of Rauscher’s digressions (the book seems to be one big digression) are interesting, I feel the reader may be getting something other than promised by the title.

We learn that other magicians did not like Houdini, not an uncommon fact, we learn that Houdini could be ruthless, again a trait having been discussed many times before, and we learn that he may have been impotent, a new fact for me, but hardly having anything to do with the spirit world.

Specifically, I take issue with Rauscher’s presentation of the facts. For example, in his lengthy chapter on how others saw Houdini, he presents a number of performers and gives their insights. Sometimes, however, he cities people that never knew Houdini and only related what others told them. He also includes those other people. For example, he has George Johnstone relate how Harry Blackstone Sr. felt, and he has a segment featuring Harry himself. It seems as if Rauscher is trying to overwhelm us with authorities who support his claims, when in fact, the numbers of those qualified to make comment are fewer than portrayed.

Also, Rauscher makes habit of mentioning letters and other source documents which are “in his collection” or in a “private collection.” While there is nothing wrong with this, I think in the interest of academic honesty these documents should be reproduced so we the readers can see that they DO exist, and they DO say what the author is claiming. And when the author is deducing something based on these hidden evidences, we should be allowed to see if we agree with his conclusions.

Finally, though the book reads well, I found myself not liking Rauscher, our guide through this journey. Far too often are we met with self-aggrandizing statements which laud the author’s relationship with various authorities. For example, we are treated to the inscription in one of Rauscher’s books which was given to him by someone who knew Houdini. Though I’m sure I would be equally proud of having such a title in my library, I don’t see any point in quoting it and rubbing everyone else’s nose in the fact that it indeed is not in ours, particularly as it contributed nothing to the case of the Houdini Code per se.

Finally, what of the books conclusions? Well, if you want to read the book, you might not want to read this next bit. Basically, Rauscher’s revelation comes down to having met one man, Jay Abbott, who knew Ford, the medium, and Bessie Houdini. Abbott claimed that Ford got a glimpse of Bessie’s ring, and from that figured out the code. How did Abbott get this information? Bessie told him that’s what she thought must have happened. An interesting theory, and one that I’ve heard kicked around before (even one layperson I know related this story to me), but hardly earth shattering.

So, should you buy this book? If you love Houdini, want to know some eclectic bits of information, collect books, or want the inside scoop on what it really took to become the self proclaimed king of magic, then yes. If you really want to get to the bottom of one of the greatest spiritualist mysteries extant, then don’t. You would be sadly disappointed.
miistermagico
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To the best of my knowledge Reverend Peter Popoff was, and is probably still, a con man although he has never been convicted, prosecuted or even arrested for such a crime, even after magician James Randi exposed Popoff. There are good and bad even among the clergy.
mastermindreader
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Yes- Popoff is still out there doing bogus healings and presenting electronic Q&A as messages from God.

The fact of the matter is that most frauds in the mediumistic or psychic fields never get charged or punished in any way. That's primarily because they get ordained by fringe "churches," thus allowing them to claim "religious freedom" should the need arise.
Sardonicus
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He's still at it, and making millions. There's a video online from a year or two ago that seems to show him using a shill in the audience at one of his faith healing events. It should be easy enough to find for those interested. But do we dare criticize Popoff? After all, he once cured a man of uterine cancer. He may have friends in high places after all.

If you're going to look for faith healer videos, one of the best of them (in this reviewer's opinion) can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNCR6PZ4-oA where Robert Tilton (between outbursts of speaking in tongues) claims "We've seen midgets grow!" The very best part is at the end. This one is not to be missed, and has been my favorite for quite some time. I give it 5 stars.

And naturally he too has never been arrested, prosecuted or convicted.
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Slim King
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Had Arthur Ford been convicted of fraud you'd be all over it ... But he never was... Double standard much? Smile
Magicians hated Ford since he destroyed Thurston in a debate at Carnegie Hall.
http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......forum=32
THE MAN THE SKEPTICS REFUSE TO TEST FOR ONE MILLION DOLLARS.. The Worlds Foremost Authority on Houdini's Life after Death.....
Sardonicus
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You have a very strange understanding of certain phrases, I've noticed. It's quite telling. And you ignored the previous posts made about him. Even more telling.

I admit though, I'd have ignored them too if I were in your shoes. Smile

No one would be all over it because basically, no one cares. If a criminal history of his suddenly turned up, you'd no doubt make some outlandish assertions in an attempt to nullify this new exposure. You would carry on as before, only with the added benefit of claiming that he was a victim of injustice to boot. Tell me I'm wrong. Tell me you'd drop your defense of him if an old court docket legally proving his guilt was discovered in a dusty file somewhere.

He's been exposed as a fraud, he's now dead, and no one cares. Accept it. This is serious advice...you're banging your head against a brick wall. It'll feel so much better when you stop.
"Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic." Carl Sagan, Cosmos
mastermindreader
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Thank you for fulfilling my expectations with a non sequitor.
Slim King
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Quote:
On May 8, 2016, Sardonicus wrote:
You have a very strange understanding of certain phrases, I've noticed. It's quite telling. And you ignored the previous posts made about him. Even more telling.

I admit though, I'd have ignored them too if I were in your shoes. Smile

No one would be all over it because basically, no one cares. If a criminal history of his suddenly turned up, you'd no doubt make some outlandish assertions in an attempt to nullify this new exposure. You would carry on as before, only with the added benefit of claiming that he was a victim of injustice to boot. Tell me I'm wrong. Tell me you'd drop your defense of him if an old court docket legally proving his guilt was discovered in a dusty file somewhere.

He's been exposed as a fraud, he's now dead, and no one cares. Accept it. This is serious advice...you're banging your head against a brick wall. It'll feel so much better when you stop.

Where has he been exposed as a fraud ... By calling him a fraud does that mean he's been exposed??? REALLY???? ..rotflmao Smile

Where were all the lawsuits as he toured the world claiming to be the "Real Deal" that brought forth the Houdini message for over FOURTY TWO YEARS!!!!!

Even Bess and Saint failed to bring legal action Smile
THE MAN THE SKEPTICS REFUSE TO TEST FOR ONE MILLION DOLLARS.. The Worlds Foremost Authority on Houdini's Life after Death.....
Sardonicus
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You have access to all of the materials that I do, and thus you know the answer to your question. You simply refuse to accept the evidence.

Which of course begs the question, why? What has made you such a fan of Arthur Ford? Are you banking on his claim of contacting Houdini as the ultimate proof that there's life after death? Is that what this is all about? I really believe you really believe. It's too bad; if you were merely a troll, I could at least understand you.

As for the rest of your post, it's been shown to be nonsensical. Really, I believe you can do better. Smile
"Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic." Carl Sagan, Cosmos
Slim King
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So you have no proof at all that Arthur Ford was a con man? Nothing? Just the fact that you claim he is?
I'm not buying an age old Ad Hominem attack with no basis in fact. I can guarantee much more research than you obviously!!!
https://www.facebook.com/Houdinis-GHOST-......?fref=ts
THE MAN THE SKEPTICS REFUSE TO TEST FOR ONE MILLION DOLLARS.. The Worlds Foremost Authority on Houdini's Life after Death.....
Sardonicus
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Re-read my post and then (if you care to) try again.

My first sentence above, "You have access to all of the materials that I do, and thus you know the answer to your question." addresses every single sentence in your reply. You addressed nothing.

And by the way, I maintain that your assertion of ad hominem on my part is an incorrect usage. There's no logical fallacy here. I'm not attacking the man rather than the argument, because in this case the man IS the argument. Ford himself is the topic, and it's him that I've called a fraud.

You can argue if you'd like that it's still ad hominem, and in turn I'll point out the fact that ad hominem isn't always fallacious anyway.

I see this as as heads, I win...tails, you lose.

I'm still curious about your support for this guy. I'm even more curious about why you decline to answer the question.
"Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic." Carl Sagan, Cosmos
Slim King
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Sardonicus ... What was your former Café name?
Prove Arthur Ford was a fraud as you claim. I believe you've failed just as bess Houdini and Edward Saint did. They were forced to take back their movie"Religious Racketeers" and re-release it elsewhere....under a different name.... True con man style.

HOUDINI PROVES SOUL IMMORTAL ... headlines from January 9th 1929!!!!!
https://www.facebook.com/Houdinis-GHOST-......?fref=ts
THE MAN THE SKEPTICS REFUSE TO TEST FOR ONE MILLION DOLLARS.. The Worlds Foremost Authority on Houdini's Life after Death.....
Sardonicus
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I have no former Café name. I've lurked, and read hundreds of posts...but I've never been here as a member before now. Why? Do I remind you of someone?

And as you've dodged every question of mine, why should I answer yours? (Even though I already have, albeit obliquely.) This hardly seems fair, Slim. Give a little to get a little. Or don't.

What's your motivation? Smile
"Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic." Carl Sagan, Cosmos
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