By Harry Houdini
From the PREFACE: "Much has been written concerning the feats of miracle-mongers, and never a bit within the method of explaining them. Chaucer was once on no account the 1st to show smart eyes upon wonder-workers and express the clay ft of those well known idols. and because his time innumerable marvels, held to be supernatural, were uncovered for the tips they have been. but to-day,if a mystifier lack the ingenuity to invent anew and startling stunt, he can correctly fall again upon a trick that has been the favourite of press brokers across the world in every age. He can imitate the Hindoo fakir who, having thrown a rope excessive into the air, has a boy climb it till he's misplaced to view. He also can have the feat photographed. The digital camera will click on; not anything will look at the constructed movie; and this,the performer will glibly clarify, ``proves''that the complete corporation of onlookers was once hypnotized! And he might be convinced of a really ecocnomic following to protect and put it on the market him
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Extra info for Miracle mongers and their methods : a complete exposé
On other occasions the fireman handled blazing wood and burning substances, and walked during five minutes upon an iron grating placed over flaming fagots. In order to show how the head, eyes, and lungs are protected, the fireman put on the asbestos and wire−gauze cap, and the cuirass, and held the shield before his breast. A fire of shavings was then lighted, and kept burning in a large raised chafingdish; the fireman plunged his head into the middle of the flames with his face to the fuel, and in that position went several times round the chafing−dish for a period longer than a minute.
Beckmann, in his History of Inventions, Vol. , page 122, says: In the month of September, 1765, when I visited the copper works at Awested, one of the workmen, for a little drink money, took some of the melted copper in his hand, and after showing it to us, threw it against the wall. He then squeezed the fingers of his horny hand close together, put it for a few minutes under his armpit, to make it sweat, as he said; and, taking it again out, drew it over a ladle filled with melted copper, some of which he skimmed off, and moved his hand backwards and forwards, very quickly, by way of ostentation.
About twenty−two years ago, during one of my many engagements at Kohl and Middleton's, Chicago, there appeared at the same house a marvelous ``rattle−snake poison defier'' named Thardo. I watched her act with deep interest for a number of weeks, never missing a single performance. For the simple reason that I worked within twelve feet from her, my statement that there was absolutely no fake attached to her startling performance can be taken in all seriousness, as the details are still fresh in my mind.