90 years ago, escapist artist/illusionist extraordinaire appeared before Congress promoting a bill that would make fortune telling illegal in D.C. , in keeping with his fervent dismissal of superstition. As noted in a previous post about an unfinished collaboration with Lovecraft discussing the source and fallacy of such beliefs (visit the March 10, 2016 post). AtlasObscura discussed this episode in Houdini’s storied history:
“Harry Houdini, testifying before a subcommittee of the United States Congress in 1926, brandished a sealed telegram and demanded that someone in the audience tell him the contents of the message inside. The chamber was packed with spiritualist mediums, psychics, and astrologers who had turned out to fight against Houdini’s bill, House Resolution 8989, which would ban the practice of ‘fortune telling’ in the District of Columbia.”
Read the entire article here: http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/in-1926-houdini-spent-4-days-shaming-congress-for-being-in-thrall-to-fortunetellers
thanks to Soror Hypatia for the tip!