So every year or so I go through a phase of being extremely interested in something for a short period of time, and right now it's been basically the paranormal and skepticism towards it (so James Randi of course. You know he supports eugenics? Strange but true. I mean, I don't think stupid people should be allowed to reproduce either but that's neither here nor there). Usually, it ends up with me reading as many Wikipedia articles and watching all the relevant YouTube videos I can. It usually lasts about 2 months. Last month was Evolutionary Biology, so it's time for something new.
Most people are likely familiar with Houdini's life, why he became a magician, and why he was a famous skeptic. That's the boringer stuff for many people anyway, so we'll keep that brief.
Harry Houdini, born Erik Weisz, was known for his escape artist abilities, and his skepticism of those claiming to be Psychics. Houdini was very close to his Mother, and when she died when he was relatively young, he was desperate to find any way to get into contact with her, and seeing a Psychic was, he believed, his best chance of getting in contact with her.
Of course, they weren't really psychics, as they made errors that Houdini would know are blatantly incorrect, such as his mother trying to communicate in English (even though she only spoke Yiddish), or her referring to him as 'Harry' when she only referred to him as Erik, his birth name.
Thus began his skepticism towards these Con-Artists. Of course, his most famous example of debunking a Psychic (and definitely one of his most badass moments) was when he proved a psychic who went by the name 'Margery,' who claimed she can channel energy from ghosts (her dead brother Walter) and make things move and fly about and such. Long story short, Margery was experimented on by scientists from the Scientific American Magazine, who were fooled by her, and were ready to publish an article citing her as legitimate. Houdini was originally meant to come along, but had a tour, but when he saw they did the experiment without him, he ended his tour just to see what was up. Surprise surprise, Houdini found out she was doing some clever tricks with her free body parts (such as her head), and wasn't able to replicate any psychic abilities when locked in a box with just her head and arms sticking out. Oh yeah, Margery was also, quite literally, in bed with the Secretary guy who worked for the magazine. Whatever happened to journalistic integrity?
ANYHOW, a few years later, two college students came into Houdini's dressing room. Before we go on, it's important to note that Houdini was quite a strong man, capable of withstanding very strong blows to the torso area, if he is given time to prepare himself. However, one of these blokes sucker-punched in the appendix area, which led to his death in his infamous final show since he was basically incapacitated.
So, this led to speculation by many that these two students were hired by psychics to put an end to Houdini, since he posed as a threat to their, we-we'll just call 'em business? Yeah, that's a good word. Business.
I'm open to the possibility, though it does seem as though it enters conspiracy theory territory, like with Kurt Cobain's suicide (not that I really care about that, Nirvana wasn't really all that great anyway). What do you guys think?
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