Conjurers Monthly Magazine 1906 September Vol. 1 No. 1 – Part 3

On page 12 Houdini wrote under the pseudonym “Herr N. Osey”.

He writes from Germany. He explains that he has resigned from writing for the Mahatma. He talks of circus, magicians, freaks and clowns and how magicians referred as “Tachenspieler” in Germany. He exposes how the brothers Kulperti do their trick, but the most interesting thing is the Magician Max Berol Belmont Konarah’s illusion called the “Mene Tenkel”. An inked ball floats around on a chalkboard magically writing anything the audience calls out. Bob Loomis the author of Houdini’s Final Incredible Secret wrote of finding a connection to this trick performed by Konarah and the trick Houdini used in his home to fool Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1922. Loomis first found a connection in a newspaper clipping in an unknown collector’s scrapbook of Houdini’s performance in the Chicago Examiner in November 21, 1906. It mentions the “Menetekel, the Mystic Ball performed at the Haymarket”. Houdini made notes on the clipping and signed it. Loomis concluded Houdini was aware of this trick and did research to see if it could be the source of his idea for the trick he later used to fool Doyle in 1922. Later Loomis also found an article about the “Menetekel” spelled with a “n” “Menetenkel” mention by Herr N. Osey AKA Houdini in The Mahatma and again here in Conjurers Monthly proving Houdini was quite aware of this trick.

More than half of page 16 talks about the Death of a German Houdini Handcuff King imitator named Max Rossner who went by “The Great German Handcuff King”.

German Handcuff King

Houdini had met him in 1900 and dined at his home. Rossner lost all of his money in the end and died of a sickness in his room. Houdini paid his respects to the Rossner family.

On page 17 we have Reading Rubbish. Houdini wrote a review of The Old & The New Magic by Henry Ridgely Evans a Baltimore Maryland Journalist that wrote books on magic. Houdini criticized areas of Evans’ book claiming there were many mistakes Evans made about magic history. Houdini approved of the “nice description” of Houdini, but disapproved of the “Expose of the handcuff act” which was basically a copy of the expose printed in the Strand Magazine.

Houdini’s research on old magicians was mentioned throughout this book.
Henry Ridgely Evans who went on to write many books on magic.
Photo’s taken from the Handcuff Expose copied from The Strand Magazine. Appearing in the pictures is Pollard a Plumber and Houdini mimicker from Bradford England. Houdini said “I wish it were that simple, than I should not have to do so much worrying!”

On Page 18 Houdini wrote about an extraordinary scene during his performance at The Palace in Halifax. A young man among the committee Houdini asked to come to the stage interrupted the act to challenge Houdini to allow him to tie his hands with rope. Houdini entered his cabinet and released himself. The young man was not satisfied and asked to re-tie Houdini. An audience member yelled out “I know him, he is Pollard, the handcuff man from Bradford, and the man that wrote the Handcuff Expose in the Strand Magazine”. Houdini pledged £500 pounds ($2,500) to the poor of Halifax if he could handcuff Pollard and he could release himself. Pollard objected saying they were foreign cuffs and he could only get out of English regulation cuffs (Darbies). Houdini produced a pair of Darbies and offered £100 pounds ($500) if he could escape those cuffs.

However, the “Exposer” of the handcuff
trick, as published in the “Strand”
(which Evans reproduces) refused.
Amid the jeering of the audience, he
then left, and as Houdini had held the
stage over the hour, the audience was
dismissed.

On page 19 Houdini concluded with:

SPECIAL NOTE.—When Mr. Evans informed
me of his book having a reproduction
of the “Strand” Magazine, I
made special effort to let him have a
copy of the above newspaper, and asked
“him in justice to myself to publish same.
But it failed to appear.

page 20 is a section where letters are printed with an offer to file complaints against any one you wish. A letter from Harry Day Houdini’s British manager is printed here describing a new Act Houdini had written to Day about. Day goes on to describe how they showed up to ask to be booked but later stood him up to show them the act! The most interesting letter is from A. F. Hill of Boston:

Not all approved of Houdini’s crusade to expose fake spiritualist’s.

13 Isabella St. today

Page 20 he mentions Chung Lee Soo is “Still catching bullets and a big salary”. Soo AKA William Robinson died of the bullet catch in 1918.

Page 22 the last article is written by Joe Hayman (originally spelled “Hyman”) the younger brother of Jacob Hyman Houdini’s first partner in “The Brothers Houdini” act. It is said that Joe played in the Brothers Houdini act after Joe and prior to Hardeen. Joe spent most of his career in England doing comedy acts.

Joe Hayman

Next up – Part 4 of the review of the September 1906 issue No 1, Vol 1. Handcuff Secrets

Reference – The Conjurers’ Monthly Magazine reprinted by Kaufman and Greenberg the limited edition two Volume book set. PDF scanned format from The Conjuring Arts.  The Glorious Deception Chung Lee Soo by Jim Steinmeyer. The Old and New Magic by Henry Ridgley Evans. Wild About Harry, Blog by John Cox.