Note: In honor of Harry Houdini’s birthday, we are reposting this interview from 1925.
We have been collecting issues of Haldeman-Julius Monthly for several years, but one issue was particularly elusive: The October 1925 number featuring an interview with Harry Houdini, written by Marcet Haldeman-Julius, which was published a year before his death and is apparently keenly desired by collectors.
A copy of this issue was recently added to the archives and we are pleased to present the interview, which appears nowhere else online, refuting the argument that “everything is on the Internet.”
The paper is old and brittle and would not stand up to a scanner, so I photographed the article (Pages 387-397) instead. The images are watermarked because of prevalent practice of swiping pictures on the Internet without attribution or acknowledgement of a source. Pinterest and Skyscraperpage.com, this means you.
Haldeman-Julius Monthly was published by Emanuel Haldeman-Julius with the motto “Make the World Unsafe for Hypocrisy.” It changed names to “The Debunker” in 1928 and apparently ceased publication about 1931.
Emanuel Haldeman-Julius loved to debunk charismatic religious figures of the day and Louis Adamic wrote a series of articles for the magazine about Los Angeles evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson’s mysterious disappearance and miraculous return in 1926. In this vein, the bulk of the Houdini interview is devoted to the charlatans of the day posing as mediums who could communicate with the dead and frequently duped grieving and gullible survivors. There is also a detailed of description Houdini’s New York brownstone, which was crammed with books and memorabilia, and a cameo appearance by Mrs. Houdini.
Harry Houdini’s brownstone, 278 W. 113th St., New York, via Google Street View.