The Occult Tesla Part 11




Harry Houdini vs the Society for Psychical Research




In the last chapter of the series Occult Tesla, you were introduced to the figure of Sir William Crookes, Tesla mentor, Rosicrucian high priest and popularizer of occultism who rose to the ranks of most powerful scientist of the British Empire when he was elected President of the British Royal Society in 1913.


In that location, the peculiar relationship between science and a global occult revival was examined coordinated by the British Society for Psychical Research (which Crookes also led as President). Not only did this occult revival drive a re-organization of the decaying British Empire, but aspired to establish a new world religion premised on demonology, spirit channelling, and a hybrid of western Gnosticism/hermeticism fused with eastern mysticism as outlined by the Theosophist movement.


In this installment, we will be introduced to the efforts to expose this new false world religion by analyzing the life and efforts of one of the least appreciated heroes of recent history… Harry Houdini.


Who was the Real Houdini?


Born in Hungary in 1874, Erich Weiss and his family moved to the USA when he was only four years old and soon found himself inspired by the craft of stage magic, studying everything he could get his hands on. Erich and his brother showed immense skill at the craft and quickly rose in popularity, getting their first big break performing at the 1893 World Fair in Chicago.


Harry Houdini and his wife Bess


By this time, he had changed his stage name to ‘Harry Houdini’ as an homage to a famous french illusionist named Robert Houdin whose work inspired Weiss.


In the groundbreaking 2006 biography The Secret Life of Houdini (which will be cited extensively throughout this essay), researchers William Kalush and Larry Sloman demonstrate that Houdini was recruited to the US secret service in around 1899 as he began touring the world with invitations to perform for presidents, royals and diplomats in courts across Europe and Russia.



In 1900, Houdini met with London spymaster William Melville (then head of Scotland Yard) who would become the co-founder of Britain’s MI6 in 1909. Starting at this time, Houdini began working with police, military leaders and detectives across the USA giving seminars in escaping from handcuffs, lock picking, and other tricks used by criminals, and intelligence agents alike.


Magicians and Intelligence Operations


We know that magicians have wielded great influence since ancient times, and often through use of scientific knowledge kept secret, these magi, priests, and hierophants have managed to wield vast influence over superstitious elites and masses alike. This shouldn’t surprise any informed reader, as the art of managing perceptions (making the false appear true) has been the master key to all power dynamics in all times, so why should our “scientific” modern age be any different?


In Elizabethan England, John Dee (using the moniker agent 007) carried out espionage alongside his channeler Edward Kelley and set the stage for the Rosicrucian transformation of England from a nation to a global empire. Followers of Dee and occultist Sir Francis Bacon had established the British Royal Society which dealt principally in black magic rituals and alchemy even while Sir Isaac Newton played with numerology on behalf of ‘the Invisible College’ of sorcerers (see part 1 of this series).


As we saw in part 2 of this series, even the British Satanist Aleister Crowley worked for British intelligence and believed himself to be the reincarnation of John Dee’s skryer Edward Kelley (a demonologist, necromancer, and alchemist). During World War 1, Crowley worked closely with William Wiseman, British Chief of the New York branch of MI5, as well as George Sylvester Viereck (Tesla’s friend and human vampire).



During World War 2, Crowley worked closely with MI6’s own Sir Ian Fleming (whose James Bond was a composite of John Dee, and British occultist Sidney Reilley). Fleming’s character M (Bond’s handler) was modelled on the same William Melville who collaborated with Houdini after 1900.


In his 1917 book Moonchild, Crowley noted the fusion of intelligence operations and magic stating: “investigation of spiritualism makes a capital training ground for secret service work, one soon gets up to all the tricks.”


Crowley and Houdini Go to the Movies


In 1917, as both Houdini and Crowley were operating in New York, we even find strange parallels as both men were creating film serials with the same director on the topic of magic. Of course, the treatment of the topic of magic was very different with Crowley promoting supernatural occultism in The Mysteries of Myra, while Houdini was exposing international conspiracies to suppress new inventions (in The Master Mystery series). [1]


In Houdini’s Master Mystery, a Justice Department agent named Quentin Locke (played by Houdini) infiltrates a corporation called ‘International Patents Inc’ run by powerful industrialists who use their vast fortunes to purchase inventions in order to keep them off the market and keep society locked into a dependency on out-dated (and monopolized) technologies. Within this 1918 film, Houdini created the first demonstration of an automaton robot used by villains.


The Master Mystery films were such a hit that Houdini was inspired to create his own production company called The Houdini Picture Corporation in 1921 where he produced the 1921 film The Man From the Beyond and the 1923 film Haldane of the Secret Service’.


In Haldane of the Secret Service, Houdini created a composite character based on the very real Viscount Richard Burdon Haldane (1856-1928), a leading figure of the British Empire, Secretary of State under Lord Balfour’s government and the co-founder of Britain’s MI5 and MI6 in 1909 (along with William Melville). The main character of the film (played by Houdini), was a secret agent who infiltrates an organization which murdered his father leading him to a satanic criminal headquarters masquerading as a Catholic monastery in the South of France.


Viscount Richard Burdon Haldane 

Describing one of the main characters representing “the chief of the secret government police” for the film ‘The Marvelous Adventures of Harry Houdini’ (unfortunately never made), Houdini wrote: “such a man as would be selected by the brain force of a great nation, to have complete control of the secret service, in fact, a prototype of Flynn- suave, polished, a gentleman and silent as the Sphinx”. [2]


William James Flynn and the Patriotic Tradition of US Intelligence


Here Houdini was referring to the figure of William James Flynn (1867-1928), chief of New Yorks’s secret service from 1912-1917, and director of the young FBI from 1917-1919 who led the anti-corruption purge of the NYPD detective bureau from 1910-1911. [2.5]


William James Flynn


In 1915, Flynn was responsible for locating the German agents operating in the USA around the figures of Crowley and Viereck, and it was Flynn who followed German diplomat Dr. Heinrich Albert and George Sylvester Viereck and acquired the evidence of Germany’s $25 million spent buying up spy networks across the USA during the war.


Historian Helibert von Felitzer notes of this sting operation:


“Albert’s papers revealed the German ownership of the Bridgeport Projectile Company, the investments in American munitions, market-cornering efforts, investments in newspapers, bribes to American politicians, links of the Deutsche Bank representative, Hugo Schmidt, to the German operation, and payments of the German government to George Sylvester Viereck and the Fatherland.”


As noted in Part 2 of this series, Viereck’s pro-German propaganda magazine ‘The Fatherland’ was edited by none other than Aleister Crowley.


Flowing from the success of this operation, Flynn tracked down the wireless radio communications station based in Long Island that had been transmitting signals to German intelligence (such as information leading to the sinking of the Lucitannia in 1915). Flynn’s interception of messages to the German high command provided the legal justification for the US government’s seizure and destruction of Tesla’s Long Island towers (both the Wardenclyff tower and the Telefunken Wireless Station in Sayville, Long Island, NY) during the war (see part two for that story).


When Flynn’s operatives, working alongside Franklin Roosevelt’s agents in US Naval Intelligence dismantled this Anglo-German network in New York, Tesla’s funding dried up and the wizard was forced into a short-term bankruptcy (although he continued living in five star hotels without any trouble until his death).


The Sleepy Hollow Club


As Richard B. Spence notes in Secret Agent 666, one of Crowley’s leading contacts and paymasters in New York was a figure named John Quinn, an Anglo-American agent of a new private intelligence agency centered in the elite Sleepy Hollow Club of New York. The Sleepy Hollow Club was owned by William Rockefeller and featured the upper crust of America’s brahmin families including the Vanderbilts, Morgans, Cabots, Lodges, and Lowells (to name a few).


Senator Nelson Aldrich (father-in-law of John D. Rockefeller) was another leading member, as was President Wilson’s handler Edward Mandel House- both of whom played a key role in setting up both the Federal Reserve and IRS in 1913.


The Club’s permanent resident was a British agent named Claude Dansey who was tasked with establishing this parallel security agency outside of the influence of the US government.


As Anton Chaitkin points out in Hoover’s FBI and Anglo-American Dictatorship, Dansey ran the agency from 1911-1914 from the Sleepy Hollow Club and Claude Dansey’s protege Ralph van Deman set up a shadowy military intelligence agency called ‘The Black Chamber’ in 1918 (which later became known as ‘The National Security Agency’ in 1930).


After WWI, Van Deman recommended Dansey for a Distinguished Service Medal “for guiding, planning and implementation of an American intelligence service”.


In 1909, Dansey, who had risen to prominence in the Boer War (working closely with Lord Milner and Churchill), became a founding deputy director of Britain’s new spy agency MI5 alongside Viscount Richard Burdon Haldane, and William Melville.


The fact that Dansey created at least two American secret intelligence agencies while also serving as Deputy director of the new British Secret Service (later to be known as MI5) should cause any thinking person to question who exactly has been running the USA over the past century.


During World War II, Dansey would be assigned to create another secretive agency dubbed ‘The Z organization’ that interfaced between British occult intelligence, Nazi occult networks, and once again included both Crowley and George Sylvester Viereck as active members. In the 1988 book ‘All the King’s Men’ historian Robert Marshall demonstrated that Dansey’s pseudo-private intelligence apparatus was behind the sabotage of several networks of French and Dutch anti-Nazi resistance fighters who believed they could trust British intelligence contacts.


The manager of the Sleepy Hollow Club was a powerful financier named Thomas Fortune Ryan who joined J.P Morgan in financing Nikola Tesla’s towers before the war was launched.


Crowley, Viereck, Wardenclyffe Tower and Nikola Tesla


It is interesting to note that William J. Flynn took the position of Director of the fledgling FBI from 1917-1919, where he found himself at odds with Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer’s tyrannical crackdown on civil liberties dubbed ‘the Palmer Raids’.


By 1920, Flynn, who had worked with Houdini on numerous occasions, was forced into early retirement, whereby the intelligence chief became a film producer of movies that exposed fraudulent mediums!


Where does Houdini fit in?


We know that Harry Houdini had close relations with both American, British and Russian patriots as well as dark forces in all three countries at the same time, so it is worth asking: what side of history did Houdini ultimately side with?


To piece together this important mystery, let’s begin from Houdini’s observations of magic itself.


In his 1920 expose Miracle Mongers and their Methods , Houdini stated:


“My business has given me an intimate knowledge of stage illusions, together with many years of experience among show people of all types. My familiarity with the former, and what I have learned of the psychology of the latter, has placed me at a certain advantage in uncovering the natural explanation of feats that to the ignorant have seemed supernatural.”


In his 1924 book ‘A Magician Among Spirits’ he noted the power which the high priests and magi wielded over superstitious victims stating:


“The ancients’ childish belief in demonology and witchcraft; the superstitions of the civilized and uncivilized, and those marvelous mysteries of past ages are all laughed at by the full grown sense of the present generation; yet we are asked, in all seriousness, by a few scientists and scholars, to accept as absolute truth such testimony as is built up by their pet mediums, which, so far, has been proven to be nothing beyond a more or less elaborate construction of fiction resting on the slenderest of foundations, or rather, absolutely no foundation.” 


Houdini’s decision to devote himself entirely to exposing the emergence of a new pagan spiritualism during the final six years of his life was extremely important considering Houdini had risen to the position of the world’s most famous magician and was also president of the Society of American Magicians (from 1917-1926).


As has been already stated in part 10 of this series, the British Society for Psychical Research and especially the figure of its President Sir William Crookes (member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn alongside Crowley) represented the nerve center organizing a new post-Christian religion dubbed ‘spiritualism’ based upon demonology, magic and all things paranormal.


In 1924, Harry Houdini took note of Sir Crooke’s strange incapacity to discern reality from fraud saying:


“Professor Crookes, even after he was knighted, was of a vacillating mind and for some reason seemed to be deficient in rational methods of discovering the truth, or at least disinclined to put them in force outside of his particular line of science. Possibly, one of the convincing proofs to him may have been the “tricks” played on him by Annie Eva Fay.”


In his 1924 book and throughout his active years as a debunker of paranormal fraudsters which he began in earnest in 1921 and continued until his untimely 1926 death, Houdini directly confronted leading figures of the British Empire’s occult underground including all leading figures running the British (and American) Societies for Psychical Research, including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Hereward Carrington, Sir Oliver Lodge and many more.


Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: Frenemy of Harry Houdini


By the end of World War I, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) had become a controller of America’s spiritualist movement and worked closely with Sir Lodge and William Crookes as manager of the British Society for Psychical Research. Like Sir Crookes, Doyle was also an intimate collaborator of Bram Stoker (vampire popularizer, and member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn) with whom he co-authored several short stories.


Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini

Sir Doyle had become enamored with Theosophy and spiritualism in the 1880s, becoming a leading propagandist for the British Empire where he wrote for the Pall Mall Gazette alongside such leading lights of the empire as Lord Milner, Rudyard Kipling, H.G. Wells, Henry Cust, Madame Blavatsky and Annie Besant.


After creating his character Sherlock Holmes in 1887, Sir Doyle worked closely with Winston Churchill, Claude Dansey and Lord Alfred Milner in South Africa during the Boer War, where Doyle won his knighthood in 1902 for his defense of the British Empire’s genocidal foreign policy. Doyle’s fellow imperial writer Sir Rudyard Kipling also won his knighthood at the same time and for the same reasons. The Pall Mall Gazette, founded in 1865, became the principal mouthpiece for the Cecil Rhodes/Arthur Balfour roundtable group, and interfaced closely with the Fabian Society starting in 1885.


In 1912, Sir Doyle found himself deploying trickery to service the “new imperial science” by overseeing an operation that included a Jesuit priest named Pierre Teilhard de Chardin centered in Piltdown, England which professed to “discover” the remains of a proto-human skeleton dubbed ‘The Piltdown Man’. Proven years later to have been a hoax (fusing a dyed human skull with a monkey jaw and carved teeth), the aim of this operation was to fill in the non-existent missing link in fossil records which had embarrassed Darwinists since Thomas Huxley launched the X Club in 1865.


Before and during World War 1, both Doyle and Kipling once again joined H.G. Wells and Henry Cust in the powerful War Propaganda Bureau overseen by Lords Northcliff and Beaverbrook, where the team of imperial creatives put their talents to work generating propaganda to build support for war among British subjects while transforming the image of Germans from cultured neighbors into baby-killing huns.


The British Propaganda Bureau deployed a myriad of techniques of psychological warfare in order to manipulate the minds of the masses towards geopolitical ends desired by the Empire.


After watching Houdini perform a sequence of magic tricks, including mind reading, aparitionism, and levitation, Doyle became enthralled with the magician, believing Houdini to be a practitioner of the dark arts. Despite Houdini’s consistent admissions that every magic trick he performed could be explained using reason, Doyle continued to promote his belief that Houdini was secretly working with spirits.


Don’t Believe Your Senses


Like Sir Crookes, Doyle was a true believer who seemed immune from any attempts to use reason to caste doubt on any paranormal claims, especially photographic evidence of fairies.


At one point, Harry Houdini had asked Doyle to see his collection of spirit photographs (a practice popularized by Sir Crookes in the 1850s), to which Doyle responded “they are too precious to have lying around… but I have something far more precious- two photos, one of a goblin, the other of four fairies in a Yorkshire wood. A fake! you will say. No, sir, I think not. However, all inquiry will be made. these I am not allowed to send. The fairies are about eight inches high. In one there is a single goblin dancing. In the other four beautiful, luminous creatures. Yes, it is a revelation.”


Doyle was so inspired by those fairy pictures, that he even wrote a book called The Coming of the Fairies in 1922 promoting these incredible pieces of evidence of a spirit realm beyond.


Arthur Conan Doyle and demonstrations of spirit photographs of fairies

When the 18 year old girl who took the fairy pictures (Elsie Wright) admitted to making them using a cutout of a fairy from a popular British children’s book (featuring some of Doyle’s own stories), it created a major embarrassment for Sir Arthur’s credibility and the study of ‘spirit photographs’ more generally.


In A magician Among Spirits, Houdini outlined many techniques used by spirit photographers promoted by Doyle saying: “there are various methods of producing spirit photographs. One is to have a table prepared so that a developing pan is placed where an x-ray penetrates to the negative. This produces a “spirit light”. Another is to fix the flash and it is astonishing what these things look like. You get forms and frequently recognize faces in the splotches… A simple method is to have something concealed in the hand and hold it over the lens instead of a cap, and still another is to get the camera out of focus, and snap it secretly, then when the regular exposure is made there is an additional hay something on the plate.”


Houdini was renowned for not only debunking fraudsters, but reproducing every single trick including spirit photography, which Houdini mastered in short time, including his own spirit photographs, telepathy, and aparitionism (making objects appear out of thin air- a technique used by Madame Blavatsky and defended by theosophists to this day).


Houdini and two of his many spirit photographs

Using a variety of techniques built up over decades, Houdini not only exposed frauds more quickly than anyone, but also using his own private intelligence network of informants, as well as collaborators among law enforcement, Houdini would be able to replicate any seance/mind reading trick on the market. Houdini’s inventions included cutting edge electronic devices and a vast array of gadgets.


Houdini the Medium


In one famous instance, Houdini replicated a famous telepathy trick developed by British Society for Psychical Research member named Gilbert Murray.


Gilbert Murray was a close confidante of Sir Doyle and Arthur Balfour who became famous for correctly guessing obscure thoughts in the minds of targets invited into his home.


Houdini made headlines when he invited reporters to his own house where a panel made up of a committee of supporters of Murray were convened to see if Houdini could replicate the famous medium’s results. Among the committee were Wall Street millionaire Bernard Baruch, Gilbert Murray himself, and American Fabian leader Walter Lippmann who were invited to have their minds read.


Psychic Gilbert Murray, and the emblem of the Society for Psychical Research 

Houdini’s success embarrassed the spiritualist movement, and it was only years later that it was revealed that Houdini had every room of his house wired with hidden dictaphones and transmitted by an operator concealed in a basement to any desired room in the house that Houdini happened to be stationed in. The electronics were impressive with electron induction wires and coils serving the magician (and all leading psychics) well.


The lesson here is that the success of those magical illusions that appear to defy all natural explanations always involve a mixture of a network of cooperative agents/plants to acquire information of targets, fused with with an array of technological devices unknown to a superstitious audience (and a wily intention to deceive).


For Harry Houdini, Séances and Spiritualism Were Just an Illusion | Smithsonian

On top of electronic tools, Kalush and Sloman noted the vast private intelligence sharing network built up by members of the new spiritualist religion in America writing: “[Houdini]’s adversaries, the fraudulent mediums, had organized themselves into a tight-knit network that routinely shared information. They did this through what was called the Blue Book, a book that contained the names, occupations, addresses, family trees, and other minutiae about potential local marks, information that could disarm them and lead them to believe that the psychic they were consulting had real power.” [3]


Doyle’s Pythian Priestess: Margery Crandon



In an Oct. 29, 1924 article, Houdini called out Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s charlatanry by saying “Doyle thinks he is a Messiah who has come to save mankind by instructing them in the mysteries of occultism, but instead of that he is misleading the public and his teachings are a menace to sanity and health.”


Doyle was in constant communication with leading occultists in the USA who, by the 1920s had gained deep penetration into the White House and many branches of the US deep state. Sir Arthur was convinced that a woman named Margery Crandon (wife of Boston oligarch Dr. Le Roi Goddard Crandon) would serve the role of his new high priestess in a new age religion that he believed would emerge in the wake of a major world calamity that his own spirit guide persuaded him would soon turn the world upside down [4].


Kalush and Sloman astutely identified the character of Margery Crandon’s ancient precedent writing: “As a medium, Margery was a descendent of Eurycles of Greece, the most famous of the pre-Delphic oracles, who had a “demon” voice that emanated from his chest and made oracular predictions”. [5]


Describing the role which the Crandons would be expected to play in the new religious order, Lady Doyle wrote to the Crandons on September 11, 1926 saying: “My husband’s fine guide [aka: a spirit demon channeled through Lady Doyle] told us that all that you have done is going to have very great results in the future… When the upheaval comes to the world and America is striken as she will be… you will be a great centre and they will flock to you as a bridge of knowledge and hope and comfort… We were also told that Houdini is doomed and that he will soon go down to the black regions which his work against Spiritualism will bring him as punishment”


Margery Crandon deployed a number of tricks ranging from exoplasm oosing out of her bodily orifices, to levitation, speaking to the dead and channeling her primary spirit named Walter (her brother who had died years earlier).



In 1924, Houdini famously debunked Margery Crandon as a scam artist, finding himself in the position as the leading member of a six person panel sponsored by Scientific American devoted to investigating the claims of Crandon’s mediumship. One of the members of the panel was an assistant of British occulist/spy Aleister Crowley named Hereward Carrington (1880-1958).


Hereward Carrington’s Fraud


Carrington was a member of the Society for Psychical Research and assistant James Hysop (American psychiatrist, para-psychologist and Treasurer of the American Society for Psychical Research).


Hereward Carrington

Although sold as a critic of spiritualism, Carrington was a rampant accomplice of fraudulent mediums having been caught assisting the Italian medium Eusapia Palladino in carrying out her table levitation, glowing hand shows, and aparationism in 1908. Carrington even became her manager and co-authored a ‘scientific study’ produced by a team of three experts dubbed ‘The Fielding Report’ in 1909.


It is ironic that the three committee members (Everard Fielding, W.W. Baggally and Carrington) acknowledged Palladino’s rampant fakery, yet also wrote that ‘some genuine supernatural phenomena’ had absolutely occured. It was Carrington that popularized the line that “97% of all spiritualist claims were hoaxes, but 3% were true supernatural phenomena”. {FN}


Eusapia Palladino and a photo of one of her seances

Analysing the Fielding Report’s lazy analysis, American scientist Charles Sanders Peirce later wrote:


Eusapia Palladino has been proved to be a very clever prestigiateuse and cheat, and was visited by a Mr. Carrington… In point of fact he has often caught the Palladino creature in acts of fraud. Some of her performances, however, he cannot explain; and thereupon he urges the theory that these are supernatural, or, as he prefers it “supernormal.” Well, I know how it is that when a man has been long intensely exercised and over fatigued by an enigma, his common-sense will sometimes desert him; but it seems to me that the Palladino has simply been too clever for him… I think it more plausible that there are tricks that can deceive Mr. Carrington” [6]


After Houdini had won over all other members of the Crandon Committee to the conclusion that Marge Crandon was committing fraud, Carrington was the only holdout defending her claims of supernatural powers. Did Carrington stubbornly resist siding with Houdini due to his principles, or was something more illicit at play?


Margery Crandon covered in exoplasm (left) and channeling her dead brother Walter (right)

In later years, Carrington’s personal assistant Henry Gilroy later noted that a sexual relationship had much to do with this anomaly writing:


“Of course, most people don’t know this – but he (Carrington) had a love affair with Margery – on the q.t. They had an understanding that it would not affect in any way the report of the Scientific American magazine as to whether her mediumship was genuine or not. Their little love affair went on for several months and he told me how difficult it was to have their little trysts and get-togethers.” [7]


(left to right): O.D. Munn, J. Malcolm Bird, Medium Margery (Mina) Crandon and Harry Houdini 

The New York Herald Tribune wrote of Houdini’s role exposing Crandon on February 7, 1925:


“There are in New York, as there are in every other city in the United States, spirit mediums who make a fat living out of the mental insufficiencies of a part of the people. It is, usually, that part which is unattached to a church and lacks the philosophy to find comfort in the thought of a short, conscious existence. That there are such people may serve as a reminder that Jew and Gentile in their churches have for centuries been fighting this battle that Houdini, the son of a rabbi, now wages in his shrewd, dogged manner. This sort of spirit medium is a type of ghoul that seeks profit from the dead outside of graveyards. The victim is the bereaved person whom the affliction of death has caught unprepared by religion or philosophy.


The claims of ‘Margery’ that she is able to receive at will the spirit of her dead brother are the latest example of the more pretentious medium who seeks scientific endorsement. The fact that her husband, Dr. L. R. G Crandon, has some connection with Harvard University gave her seances an extra touch of distinction. In exposing the falseness of ‘Margery’s claims, Houdini has shown himself far more than a handcuff king. He is a good citizen and a convenient neighbor.”


Spirits in Government


Houdini’s exposure seriously disrupted Doyle’s hopes for a new center for an American gnostic religion, but he also led in exposing the vast penetration of mediums advising every leading member of President Coolidge’s White House during 1926 Congressional investigations[8].

President Calvin Coolidge

Not only was the White House (and much of the Congress) penetrated by psychic mediums during the ‘roaring 20s’, but the Canadian government under Prime Minister William Lyon McKenzie King was no exception.


King had been won over the cause of spiritualism while working as a union negotiator for John D. Rockefeller in 1914 as he began receiving spirit readings which helped him ‘discover’ the solution to resolve the problem of striking workers and abusive oligarchs wishing to crush striking workers. Instead of murdering the workers by using strike busters or corrupt police attacks, Rockefeller’s mediums “helped” King come to the solution of ‘company unions’ that would be controlled by Rockefeller while professing to represent the workers.


William Lyon Mackenzie King and John D. Rockefeller

By 1935, William Lyon McKenzie King was receiving regular messages from his dead mother and dog about what policies should shape Canada while also becoming a full member of the American Psychical Institute (under the name W.K. Venice). The American Psychical Institute was founded by Hereward Carrington in 1921.


As stated earlier in this report, in The Secret Life of Houdini, Kalush and Sloman prove that Houdini was recruited into counter-intelligence using his skills as an illusionist to gain access to the courts and inner clubs of the world (including Germany, England, France and Russia, where Czar Nicholas II asked the illusionist to become his advisor on three occasions).


Always interfacing with patriotic elements of American military intelligence that had exposed the Crowley-Viereck operation during World War One, Houdini used his fortunes to build up his own personal intelligence agency with a vast array of agents across the USA debunking thousands of fraudulent mediums.


Describing the his incredible creation of a vast intelligence organization, Kalush and Sloman wrote “he would be supported by a whole combat division- what he later called ‘my own secret service’- that consisted of a brilliant mechanist in [Amedeo] Vacca, beautiful young female showgirls/undercover agents, private detectives, an eccentric medium/escape artist/poison resister, and even his own niece [Julia Sawyer].” [9]


Houdini’s niece Julia Sawyer (left) and wife Bess (right), would often perform with the magician and also infiltrate fake spirit mediums as part of Houdini’s personal intelligence operation

Not only were the delphic oracles exploiting the masses and the high officials in government exposed, but even the most powerful oligarchs of America’s deep state. On top of the Crandons, Kalush and Sloman write:


“The banner year of his [Houdini’s] crusade was 1926. In January, in New York, he exposed the Reverend John Hill, who manifested Rose Mackenberg’s dead “husband” who wept and knelt before her. Houdini was particularly proud of this catch; Hill was the “self-claimed private medium to the Vanderbilts, Harrimans, Honeywells, Huntingtons and other prominent New York families” he boasted.” [10]


Child Trafficking Rings and Spiritualists


Interestingly, Kalush and Sloman also demonstrate that Houdini not only used his personal secret service for the cause of debunking fraudulent mediums, but also for exposing child trafficking operations operating between London and the USA involving not only spiritualists such as the Crandons, but Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.


This under-appreciated aspect of the story involved an interesting British Member of Parliament named Harry Day.


Left to right: Theodore Hardeen with his son, Joe Hyman, Harry Day, Lord Northcliffe and C. Dundas Slater.

In 1900, Harry Day became Houdini’s British agent during the magician’s first international tour. Among Harry Day’s first acts on the job involved arranging a special program with William Melville (the first chief of Britain’s Secret Service Bureau) who didn’t believe the claim that Houdini could escape from his Scotland Yard prison. When Houdini accomplished the task, Melville offered his endorsement to the American magician and Houdini’s salary rose to the highest of all magicians in the world.


Melville was known under the alias ‘M’ which was why MI6’s own Ian Fleming developed the character of the same name as the boss of James Bond after WW2. The character Bond himself was loosely based on Melville’s star agent Sidney Reilly.


As Houdini and Harry Day discovered, over the course of several years, Doyle’s American networks had been trafficking children from London orphanages using the elite White Star Line without anyone asking questions. One of the control centers in the USA was non-other than Crandon’s occult circle where a body of a homeless boy had recently been found on one of his New York properties.


Writing to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle August 4, 1925 of this troublesome investigation in America, Crandon asked:

“Dear Sir Arthur

Here is a little problem for Sherlock Holmes…In April 1925, our Secret Service Department at Washington received a letter saying that I had first and last sixteen boys in my house for ostensible adoption and that they had all disappeared and advised the Department to look us up. Last week, I had a telephone from the Boston manager of the White Star Line saying that an M.P [Member of Parliament] had sent a long questionnaire to the White Star Line at London concerning the going and alleged return of the English boy. It is quite apparent that there is an enemy here either Houdini or McDougall… I will try to get the name of the M.P. In the meantime, ask Sherlock Holmes to think it over.”


That’s right, Le Roi Goddard Crandon, controller of the most influential medium whom Sir Doyle foresaw as the high priestess of a new religion in America, and controlling force behind the American Society for Psychical Research, was directly asking Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to figure out who was behind the investigations into missing children affiliated with Crandon’s spiritual circle.


Doyle later discovered that the Member of Parliament in question was none other than Harry Day, who had been an intimate friend of Harry Houdini’s for over 20 years.


Kalush and Sloman wrote of Houdini’s involvement into the investigation writing “What Crandon didn’t know was that Houdini had enlisted his newspaper friends at The Boston Herald to do some investigations of their own. On June 12, A.J. Gordon… wrote Houdini: “The U.S. inspectors have been up to see me regarding the boys. Have you heard anything more from England on the matter? As soon as you do forward the information to me, so that I may transmit it to those working on the story with me.”


Kalush and Sloman continue: “Twelve days later Griscom wrote Houdini, telling him: ‘Gordon wants me to ask you… what you are doing to find out about that boy in New Jersey. This… particularly interests us.” At one time, the body of a ‘homeless’ boy had been found on the fringes of the vast estate that Margery inner circle member Joseph De Wyckoff maintained in Ramsey, New Jersey.” [11]


Houdini’s Washington


The fact that Houdini’s strange death occurred during the same period that this investigation was ongoing and while federal legislation banning fraudulent channelers (which had been spearheaded by Houdini himself) may be more than coincidental.


During the congressional hearings on spiritualism, Houdini’s network of informants were frequently asked to testify which resulted in the embarrassing exposure that not only President Coolidge himself (and most of Coolidge’s cabinet) but when it was revealed that even Senator Capper, the man in charge of the Senate version of the anti-spiritualist bill, was a frequent attendee of Washington seances, it was clear that the bill would not be permitted to pass into law.


Congressional records of the testimonies of Rose Mackenberg (Houdini’s star infiltrator of mediums) described her conversations with Washington medium Madame Marcia Coates saying:


“While I was at Madame Coates’s place she said Houdini was up against a stone wall. She said ‘Why try to fight spiritualism, when most of the Senators are interested in the subject? I have a number of Senators who visit me here, and I know for a fact that there have been spiritual seances held at the White House with President Coolidge and his family, which proves that intercommunication with the dead is established.’ Then she mentioned the name of Senator Capper, saying his wife had died recently, and that he attended spiritualistic seances. She also mentioned Senator Watson, Senator Dill, and Senator Fletcher, whose wife is a medium.” [12]


Kalush and Sloman write of Crandon’s control over the American Society for Psychical Research stating: “In 1929, in a letter to British psychic researcher Harry Price, Crandon informed him that a Theron Pierce… had been formally delegated by the American Society for Psychical Research (ASPR), which Crandon controlled by then, to represent that society during Margery’s London experiments. ‘You may further recognize him as a host… to the President and Mrs. Coolidge last summer for three months. Mr. Pierce’s estate was the summer White House.” [13]


Additionally, considering the many death threats by powerful spiritualists from England to the USA, and considering his powerful disruption of a desired new occult revival in the USA, it is likely that the story of Houdini’s accidental death at the age of 52 is more myth than reality.


Since there was never an autopsy and no shortage of threats on his life, Kalush and Sloman explained that it is entirely possible that Houdini was murdered writing: “if someone were hell bent on poisoning Houdini, it wouldn’t have been very difficult”.[14]


Threats to Houdini’s Life


By 1924, Houdini began to receive a vast number of death threats from powerful networks of occultists whom he had exposed. Even Sir Arthur himself thoroughly despise Houdini writing months before Houdini was killed:


“[Houdini] will get his deserts very exactly meted out… I think there is a general pay-day coming soon that we can await it with equanimity”. [15]


Writing another letter to Dr. Crandon, Arthur Conan Doyle stated: “Something will happen to that man H [Houdini]. You mark my words. Better to get between the metals when an express is due, than to block the way of the spirit. I could give many examples. Did you ever hear of the death of Podmore!” (referring to the possible murder of Frank Podmore, a Fabian Society spiritualist who began exposing fake mediums with his critique of the Fielding Report in his book The Newer Spiritualism… before promptly drowning to death in shallow waters in 1910).


Lady Doyle delivered a message to Sir Arthur (actually a channelled message from her spirit demon Pheneas) in September 10, 1926 threatening Houdini with death stating:


“Houdini is doomed, doomed! A terrible future awaits him. He has done untold harm. It will not be long first. His fate is at hand. He, and all who uphold him, will be, as it were, chained together and cast into the sea. Your friends the Crandons will even in this world reap the reward of their brave work… In the fearful crisis which is soon to come, America in her sore need will find that she has here a sure and well tested bridge to that spirit world… They will play a great part in the crisis and it is then that they will fully come into their own”.


After exposing Margery Crandon’s fraudulent tactics during a seance, Margery’s channeled spirit (a ghost named Walter) raged at Houdini saying “You God damned son of a bitch. You cad you…. you won’t live forever Houdini, you’ve got to die. I put a curse on you now that will follow you every day for the rest of your short life.” [16]


In the Summer of 1926, the Crandons and Doyle were joined by William Elliott Hammond- an influential medium and spiritualist priest who wrote ‘Houdini Unmasked’ stating:


“We should like to inform our professional enemies, including Houdini, that the strength of Spiritualism and its numbers are unknown- it should be so. Now that we are being attacked openly we shall focus our numbers, if for no other reason than that of defense. Our enemies seem to say, ‘Be ready, gods, with all your thunderbolts; dash them to pieces… The Crusaders and Houdini will live to learn that we Spiritualists are in this contest, struggle, war or fight… and we intend to stay in it until the end… We say to our professional enemies ‘let slip the dogs of war’ and give battle… Victory is ours of the fighting!” [17]


On February 13, 1926 Houdini’s mortality was weighing heavily on him as he sent his brother an unpublished article scheduled to be printed in Scientific American unmasking spirit fakers writing: “I want you to save this in case anything should happen to me as evidence that the press was stopped and these pages thrown out”.


On top of curses, and death threats, Houdini wrote: “I get letters from ardent believers in spiritualism who prophesy I am going to meet a violent death soon as a fitting punishment for my nefarious work”.


But these threats didn’t deter Houdini, who had resolved his fear of death and comfort in the immortality of his own soul long ago. This resolution of the terror of death was what gave him the creative edge to carry out miracles which most anyone else could only dream of.


Recounting letters between his assistant Gertrude and Houdini, Sloman and Kalush write: “How could Doyle and Lodge delude themselves so? They’re far too intelligent to be dupes of that movement. How can you call it ‘religion’ when you get men and women in a room together feeling each other’s hands and bodies?


The difference between you and them is evident, Harry” Gertrude said… “they are afraid of dying.” [18]


SO what caused Houdini’s death?


The official cause of Houdini’s death on October 31, 1926 was “diffuse streptococcus peritonitis (inflammation of the abdominal cavity) induced by a ruptured appendix which was itself induced, in part, by repeated punches to the stomach” that was inflicted by a strange British student of McGill University in Montreal named Jocelyn Gordon Whitehead.


According to legend, on October 22, 1926, Whitehead (a 29 year old theology student with a shady background) entered Houdini’s dressing room, and challenged the magician to resist a punch to the abdomen. The student proceed to deliver five sucker punches in rapid succession before being torn away by two other shocked students standing nearby.


Despite severe pain, Houdini decided to continue with his North American tour, doing two shows until his fever rose to 102 degrees before finally being taken to a Detroit hospital on October 24. At the hospital, Houdini showed optimistic signs of improvement, until a strange homeopath named Dr. George LeFevre was brought to the Detroit hospital from Montreal where he administered “a secret serum” which was never made public. Within a day, Houdini was dead.


In the wake of Houdini’s death

After his death, Max Malini a friend and colleague of Houdini stated the following: “He made a mistake in bucking up against men like Sir Oliver Lodge and Conan Doyle. Those men are not fakers. They believe in what they are doing. Harry thought they were like the bunco spiritualists he showed up so easily.”


According to Kalush and Sloman, the strange figure of Jocelyn Whitehead is itself covered with mystery.


After debunking the lie that Whitehead was the son of a pool hall owner in British Columbia, or that he graduated from Kelowna High School, it was revealed that Whitehead was in fact the son of a British Consul of Hong Kong and had an English university background prior to arriving in McGill University.


After Houdini’s death, Whitehead became a recluse meeting exclusively with one woman named Lady Marler, the rich heiress and wife of Sir Herbert Marler (ally of Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King and Canadian Ambassador to Japan and the USA). What the wife of a leading Roundtable leader of Canada was doing meeting with an impoverished British trained recluse and son of a leading British civil servant during the years following Houdini’s murder has never been addressed.


Left to right: Sir Herbert Marler, Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King and the only surviving photo of J. Gordon Whitehead

Also never addressed was the true cause of Houdini’s death itself as no autopsy was performed for a diagnosis [diffuse streptococcus peritonitis] that had never resulted in anyone’s death ever before or since. With the explosive revelations of Houdini’s secret life having come to light after the publication of Kalush and Sloman’s biography, Houdini’s great-nephew George Hardeen fought hard to have Houdini’s body exhumed for evidence of poisoning, but was sadly blocked by the family of Houdini’s wife Bess.


Like spiritualist de-bunkers Friedrich Schiller, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe or Kristian Birkeland earlier, Houdini’s untimely death would go unsolved long after his passing. Despite a victory for those dark forces striving to keep society locked in the shadows of superstition, it is safe to say that these great men all understood that within the grand scheme of things, the pure light of truth can only be obscured by darkness for so long.


In our next segment we will continue shedding light not only on the enigma that is Tesla but the dark forces surrounding Houdini’s death by pulling on a valuable thread taken from Houdini’s direct connection to his spiritual brother Edgar Allan Poe.


This direct connection takes the form of Houdini’s bold condemnation of Doyle’s plagiarism of Poe’s character C. Auguste Dupin (when Doyle’s Sherlock mystery lifted Poe’s motif from The Purloined Letter) and also Houdini’s 1925 acquisition of Edgar Allan Poe’s writing desk.



[1] Stedman, Eric (2010). The Mysteries of Myra. p. 8
[2] Secret Life of Houdini p. 354
[2.5] The Federal Secret Service was originally created by Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865 as his last act in office, hours prior to his assassination and served as America’s first official intelligence/counter-intelligence agency. Prior to 1908, the Secret Service was a largely patriotic entity with a full-spectrum mandate under the Department of Homeland of Security designed to deal with counterfeiting, sabotage, espionage, assassination plots both domestically and internationally. After the FBI was created in 1908, it’s mandate was reduced, and with the creation of the IRS, CIA and DEA in the ensuing decades, it’s mandates were reduced even more.
[3] Secret life of Houdini p. 460
[4] Writing to Crandon and Margery, Doyle said they after the cataclysm, they “will be the center of American hopes”.
[5] Secret Life of Houdini, p.432
[6] Justus Buchler. (2000). The Philosophy of Peirce: Selected Writings, Volume 2. Indiana University Press. pp. 166–167
[7] Lamar Keene. (1976). The Psychic Mafia. Prometheus Books. p. 135. ISBN 1-57392-161-0 “One researcher, Paul Tabori, reports as fact that Hereward Carrington, a noted investigator who brought in a favorable verdict on Margery’s medium-ship, had a sexual affair with her.”
[8] Secret Life of Houdini, p. 484
[9] Ibid. p.455
[10] Ibid. p.488
[11] Ibid. p. 472
[12] transcript cited in Kalush and Slomon p. 484
[13] Ibid. p. 524
[14] Ibid. p. 520
[15] Ibid. p. 521
[16] Ibid. p. 430
[17] Hammond, William Elliott. Houdini Unmasked. [Publisher Not Listed]. [1926]
[18] Ibid. p.496


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Matt Ehret’s Insights

Historical analysis, geopolitics, cultural warfare and other studies in Conspiracy Science