June 19, 1927
The magician Hardeen has issued a $10,000 challenge to the local spiritualist community: all they need to do is produce a single genuine message from his brother, Harry Houdini, the internationally renowned exposer of fake mediums who passed away last October 31st. Hardeen, who appears this week at the Hillstreet Theatre, told reporters that about a year ago he and Houdini made a pact with a third brother, William, as the latter lay dying. Four secret words (or six; today’s reports varied) would be communicated from the beyond by the first brother to cross over the great divide. Thereafter nary a peep was heard from William, and while Houdini’s great and mysterious powers might have been expected to aid him in drawing back the curtain between life and death, no message from him has yet been received. This contradicts a recent claim by the Egyptian fakir Hamid Bey; apparently this message contained none of the secret words agreed upon by the brothers. Indeed, Hardeen says he will award the $10,000 to anyone who can produce a communiqué containing only one or two of these. Not that Hardeen is expecting to hear from either Houdini or William any time soon: "None of us believe[d] in spiritualism," he confided.