My Secret Power – By Houdini
I have read Mr. Gow’s article about myself, and am naturally interested in his point of view, having made a study both of conjuring and what is known as spiritualism.
He tells me he knows very little about conjuring in itself, and he is consequently unwilling to attribute any wonders he sees to spiritualistic powers merely because he cannot understand them in any other way, in which he is quite wise.
Now I think I may claim, without boasting, to know pretty well all the conjuring secrets that are to be known, and I believe Mr. Gow is quite right in saying that a conjurer who has a real gift, and is continually exercising it, may now and again, pass the border line in what is to be explained by known causes and that which enters into realms of which we know little or nothing.
I have my secrets, like every other performer, but I am willing to admit that the method by which I perform some of my feats, which appear miraculous and which baffle all the greatest conjurers, are to some extent mysteries even to me.
There is one thing, however, that I would like to call attention to, and that is, it seems to be the universal option that anyone performing a feat of magic or sleight of hand is a “conjurer,” and immediately we are all put into one category. There is as much difference between conjurers and other conjurers as there is between chalk and cheese. Magicians like poets are born.
Just as an artist paints a wonderful picture or a poet writes a wonderful poem, and cannot tell how he did it, except that it “came to him,” and he did what he could only do when the “inspiration” was upon him, and not at any other time, so it is with me.
I have my moments of “power” or “inspiration” when I can do what I could not do at any other time, and this explains why it is impossible for me to have a manager to do things for me ahead of time, because I honestly do not know what I am going to do in a town – from a publicity standpoint – until I arrive there. The social atmosphere and environment of a city gives me the clue.
The only difference between a painter or poet and myself is that while I can choose my hour they cannot. Having trained myself to do it, within an hour, perhaps in much less time, my particular “moment” comes and I seize it promptly.
A most peculiar things about these “moments” is that they enter my calculations when I make a high plunge from a tower or bridge into a net or into water, and upon investigation I find that all other high divers must wait for the “psychological moment” I get up in the air and am ready to make the plunge, but there is something which I cannot describe that I must wait for.
Since I have been investigating spiritualism, I am being to wonder if there is not something around me which gives me the exact second in which to hurl myself into space – something which enables me to strike the water in safety, and as I am being dragged to the bottom of the river, enables me to calm myself so as to escape from the weights that are locked to my wrists and body.
This article is in response to Spiritualist David Gow’s article
that can be seen here https://www.magicians-scrapbook.co.uk/2011/10/13/houdini-the-mystery-man/