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The Houdini Afterlife Experiment

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The Houdini Afterlife Experiment

Post by Candlelight.kk on Sun 21 May 2017, 15:53

18 Feb 2017, 15:33

Active and well known for his efforts in exposing the trickery of the fraudulent mediums that had successfully fooled scientists and academics, the general public became well aware that Harry Houdini did not believe in spirit-communication. But despite this, before his death in 1926, Houdini left his wife Bess a secret code. (Read More)

Houdini was concerned that spiritualists and mediums would attempt to exploit his legacy by claiming to contact him after he passed, and despite his doubts about spiritualists and mediums, Houdini was convinced he had the ability to communicate with the living. To ensure against any false claims of communicating with him in the afterlife the message would have to contain the secret code he left to Bess who was apparently the only person to know of it.

The secret code was to be revealed through 10 key words randomly chosen from a letter Houdini’s friend Conan Doyle had written, and they were well memorized by Bess as she and Harry used them regularly in their mind-reading trick performances to code and decode messages. Without knowing the following key words, their order and formulas, it would seem impossible for anyone else to be able to reveal and verify Houdini’s message.

1 Pray

2 Answer

3 Say

4 Now

5 Tell

6 Please

7 Speak

8 Quickly

9 Look

10 Be Quick (the tenth “word” is actually a phrase and can also mean “zero”)

On January 7, 1929, during a séance at Bess’ home after Houdini’s death Arthur Ford not only relayed Houdini’s message through his spirit guide but also listed the ten key words and the method of decoding them and claimed this was only made possible by the spirit of Houdini and his mother. In the presence of witnesses at the séance, Bess confirmed the secret message “Rosabelle believe” to be correct and on January 29, 1929, published an official statement in the NY Times signed by witnesses confirming the message to be accurate.

Contested by a skeptical majority there were many claims to the contrary. Most believed Ford had conspired with Doyle and convinced Bess who at the time was unwell and self medicating with alcohol to be an accomplice in this grand illusion of communicating with the Great Houdini in the afterlife. Many reporters and skeptics attempted to jump on this band wagon to invalidate the results, each with a different version of the conspiracy but without success due to a lack of credible evidence. A magician and close friend of Houdini’s claimed Ford played a hoax by using the code Houdini had previously published in his book “Houdini: His Life-Story”, though it is argued today that Houdini’s book does not reveal the following key information about the secret code:

• That the code can be used to form words, not just numbers

• How the clever coding method works to form the words

• That they used the code for the afterlife experiment

• That the secret message would start with the un-encoded word “Rosabelle”

• That the secret message would encode the word “believe”

• The actual secret ten-word message

Despite the lack of evidence to disprove the authenticity of Houdini’s message from the afterlife, controversy over communicating with the afterlife was a sign of the times. Mainstream America was not a fan of spirit communication. With very few supporters if you believed in it you were considered a ‘nut’. For Bess, the social pressures were mounting for her to avoid being an outcast, she became inconsistent, and fourteen months later she publicly changed her position. On March 18, 1930, the New York Times reported, “Numerous attempts to convince Mrs. Houdini that her husband is communicating through a medium were made, she said, but she steadfastly denied that any of the mediums presented the clue by which she was to recognize a legitimate message.” The credibility of Houdini genuinely communicating from the afterlife was now completely diminished with contradictory claims on all sides.

Interestingly, Bess, acting as a medium her self, held annual séances on October 31st, the anniversary of Houdini’s death for ten years, but Houdini never appeared. On the roof of the Knickerbocker Hotel in 1936 Bess concluded a world wide broadcast of her last séance by saying, “Yes, Houdini did not come through. My last hope is gone. I do not believe that Houdini can come back to me – or to anyone. The Houdini shrine has burned for ten years. I now, reverently … turn out the light. It is finished. Good night, Harry!”

She later declared in 1943, “Ten years is long enough to wait for any man.” Perhaps 10 years was too long for Bess to shed the label of being an outcast. Below are the final words Arthur Ford channeled from Harry Houdini in 1929:

“Tell the whole world that Harry Houdini still lives and he will prove it a thousand times and more. In my life, I was perfectly honest and sincere in trying to disprove the survival of consciousness, and I resorted to tricks to prove my point for the simple reason that I did not believe communication was possible. I am now sincere in my desire to undo this mistake. Tell all those who lost faith because of my mistake to lay hold again of hope, and to live with the knowledge that life is continuous. That is my message to the world, through my wife and through this psychic medium.”



Related links:
Harry Houdini - Reaching out from Beyond
Houdini and 'Margery' (Mina Crandon)
The Medium and The Magician
Houdini: Magician, Spiritualist or Skeptic?
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