Just think- you can own a piece of magical history- something that was handled by the great Harry Houdini himself! This is a one-of-a-kind collectible, perfect for framing. What a great gift!
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In the late 1980's, magician Peter Monticup (owner of MagicTricks.com), purchased Harry Houdini's ornate desk. The desk had been in storage in Houdini's former NYC home from 1926 until it was sold in 1980. Peter purchased the desk from this buyer, along with a number of personal items from the Houdini home.
The desk had a number of secret compartments and hidden drawers. Inside one of the drawers was a stack of envelopes from correspondence Houdini had received. Houdini was a notorious "saver", so it is no surprise that he kept these envelopes. The letters were from all different sources- his lawyers, his fans, fellow magicians, etc. He even wrote notes on some of the envelopes, either noting the importance of the contents, or just scribbling on them as scrap paper. In researching the envelopes, we've found an important connection to an event or person in Houdini's life. He saved each envelope for a reason.
This is one of the envelopes found in the desk. It is postmarked January 11, 1924 from Los Angeles, California. The return address is from JAMES MCGREGOR BEATTY, Author-Publisher, 245 N. Hope St., Los Angeles, California. The street address has been crossed out and corrected by hand as 841 1/2 N. Vendome St.
James McGregor Beatty was an ardent Spiritualist who wrote a number of books promoting his beliefs in the existence of a Spirit World. His most famous book, Pesky Problems for Positive Preachers, was published in 1921 and includes chapters like "There is Life After Death", "The Dead Do Communicate", and "Spiritualism Is Not of the Devil". By 1924, Houdini had become involved with the American Society for Psychical Research and its investigation of spirit phenomena. The ASPR, in a partnership with Scientific American magazine, had an open invitation (with a $10,000 prize) to any spirit medium who could successfully pass the tests set up by Houdini and his committee and prove that mediumship was indeed genuine. At the time of the postmark of this letter, Houdini and his committee were in the final stages of preparing the tests for Margery, perhaps the most well-known of all American mediums. No doubt Mr. Beatty was writing to Houdini about the ASPR and its contest. There are two stamps on the envelope- guess he had to put his "two cents" in!
Beatty's book, Pesky Problems for Positive Preachers, is still in print.