World famous escape artist and magician, Harry Houdini, wrote many books and articles about the world of illusion. He was born Erich Weisz in Budapest, Hungary in 1874 and died in 1926 of peritonitis. After studying the work of illusionist, Robert Houdin, he changed his name to Harry Houdini. His writing covered a broad range of interests.
Magic and Illusion
Houdini was the accepted master of escapes. In 1906 he wrote "Handcuff Secrets," filled with details of different handcuffs and the best ways to defeat them. In 1920 he authored "Magical Rope Ties and Escapes" to illustrate the kinds of special knots and ties used in escapes. Houdini's book on tricks with paper, "Houdini's Paper Magic," was published in 1921.
Debunking and Exposes
Fakers and frauds fascinated Houdini. He loved to study their methodology and expose them to a gullible public. One of his first efforts, "The Unmasking of Robert Houdin," published in 1908 focused upon his namesake and delved deeply into the ways Houdin duped his audiences. In 1920 he wrote "Miracle Mongers and Their Methods," in which he singled out many magicians and illusionists of the day and exposed how they worked.
Criminal Minds and Methods
Houdini was fascinated by criminals, cons and scams. He examined the illegal methods and ruses of criminals to discover how they worked to steal. His book on the subject, "The Right Way to Do Wrong," was published in 1906. The master illusionist exposed successful criminal methods and provided a wealth of knowledge about criminal practices in the real world. He claims to have interviewed police and detectives all over the world in preparing an entertaining true crime novel.
Novels and Stories
Mystery and intrigue captured the Houdini's imagination. He wrote several books meant to entertain mystery readers. His mysteries include "Mysterious Mr. Yu or Haldane of the Secret Service," "Mistro di Osiris or The Mystery of the Jewel" and "Yar the Primeval Man."
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