Lot 237

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Amazing Brochure Promoting Houdini, Likely Towards the End of His Life

Harry Houdini (1874-1926). An 8pp promotional brochure measuring 6" x 9", circa 1925, no place. Unsigned. Two file holes at left of each page. Disbound, with staining from previous stapling. Light creasing and minor edgewear. In very good plus condition. Part of a recent foreign find; not on the market for over fifty years.

The cover of this fantastic brochure reads: "$10,000 Challenge! Open To Any Medium In The World (Male or Female) / HOUDINI will wager the above-mentioned sum, the money to go to charity, if the spiritualists will produce a Medium presenting any Physical Phenomena that he cannot reproduce or explain by Natural means. / CONDITIONS / The Medium must present the Manifestation 3 times in the presence of Houdini and the selected committee." The center foldout features a collage of photos of Houdini at different points in his life, including one of him hanging upside down in a straightjacket. 

Houdini's $10,000 challenge to find a genuine medium is discussed in a letter dated July 31, 1925, listed separately in this auction.

From a foreign collection. Graf Klinckowstroem (1884-1969) was a well-known and influential figure in the history of paranormal research. Born in Germany, he developed an early interest in spiritualism. An amateur photographer, he used his skills to expose mediums and psychics who were fraudulently claiming to have supernatural powers. He was a staunch advocate of scientific investigation of the paranormal and was one of the first to call for scientifically controlled experiments to test the claims of psychics and mediums. Klinckowstroem worked with leading scientists and researchers, including Nobel Prize Laureate Dr. Charles Richet (1850-1935), to establish the International Institute for Psychical Research, which was dedicated to investigating supernatural phenomena. He expressed his skepticism of mediumship in many of his writings and speeches, believing that psychics and mediums were exploiting people by taking advantage of their ignorance and gullibility. He was particularly critical of fraudulent mediums who claimed to be able to communicate with the dead. He argued that the claims of psychics and mediums were based on superstition and deception, not on any scientific evidence. Klinckowstroem also exposed the methods of fraudulent mediums. He documented the use of tricks and deception by mediums to make it appear as though they had supernatural powers by showing how they used sleight of hand and props to create the illusion of paranormal phenomena. His work was highly influential in the paranormal research community, and his efforts to expose fraudulent mediums helped to discredit the field of mediumship and establish the need for scientific investigation of the paranormal. Klinckowstroem's work continues to be an important part of the history of paranormal research and is a testament to his commitment to the scientific investigation of the supernatural.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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May 31, 2023 11:00 AM EDT
Wilton, CT, US

University Archives

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Bid Increments
From: To: Increments:
$0 $99 $10
$100 $299 $20
$300 $499 $25
$500 $999 $50
$1,000 $1,999 $100
$2,000 $2,999 $200
$3,000 $4,999 $250
$5,000 $9,999 $500
$10,000 $19,999 $1,000
$20,000 $49,999 $2,500
$50,000 + $5,000