Wednesday, May 25, 2011

No Escape For "Harry Houdini"

According to reports, writer Scott Frank ("Minority Report") will script a fresh take on the life of escape artist, magician 'Harry Houdini' for Columbia Pictures, with Francis Lawrence ("Constantine") attached to direct, for producer Jimmy Miller ("Bad Teacher").

Premise will follow Houdini as he becomes obsessed, then tries to debunk, a 'beautiful spiritualist' as a fraud.

Erik Weisz aka 'Harry Houdini', the Hungarian-born American, noted as an 'escapologist', stunt performer, actor and film producer was also a supernatural skeptic, who set out to expose frauds purporting to be other-worldly phenomena.

In the 1920's Houdini turned his energies toward debunking self-proclaimed psychics and mediums.

His training in magic allowed him to expose frauds who had successfully fooled scientists and academics and as a member of a 'Scientific American' committee, also offered a cash prize to any medium who could successfully demonstrate supernatural abilities.

The most famous medium he debunked was 'Mina Crandon', also known as "Margery", chronicling his exploits in his book, "A Magician Among the Spirits".

These debunking activities cost Houdini the friendship of "Sherlock Holmes" author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a firm believer in Spiritualism, who refused to believe any of Houdini's exposés.

Conan Doyle believed that Houdini was a powerful spiritualist medium, performing many of his stunts by means of paranormal powers, also using those abilities to deliberately block those of other mediums that he was 'debunking'.

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