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Wacky Wills

Wacky Wednesday: Wills That Make You Go “Hmmm…”- Harry Houdini

by Rania Combs

HoudiniNB: This post is part of a series highlighting wills that contain some interesting, and sometimes bizarre, bequests and stipulations. You can see all these posts here.

Have you ever gotten a psychic reading? According to a 2005 Gallup Poll,26 percent of the people polled believed in clairvoyance, and 31 percent believed in telepathy or psychic communication.

Unfortunately, this leaves room for many unscrupulous, self-proclaimed psychics and mediums to take advantage the vulnerable among us who are grieving or seeking some meaning in their lives. Harry Houdini tried to expose these people.

Harry Houdini was the stage name of Ehrich Weiss, one of the most famous magicians, escape artists and stunt performer of all time.

After his mother died, be began a quest to contact his dead mother. As more and more attempts failed, he became convinced that most, if not all mediums, were frauds. He spent the last 13 years of his life trying to debunk the claims of self-proclaimed psychics and mediums of his time.

Although a skeptic, he maintained a glimmer of hope that contact from the grave was possible. So he make a pact with is wife that he would contact her after he died, if at all possible.

In order to prevent frauds from impersonating him during seances, he left his wife a code comprised of 10 randomly selected words which he would use to identify himself.

He instructed his wife to hold seances every Halloween. The seances were discontinued after 10 years without Houdini making contact. I guess he proved his point.


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