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Miracle Mongers and Their Methods: A COMPLETE EXPOSE' OF THE MODUS OPERANDI OF FIRE EATERS, HEAT RESISTERS, POISON EATERS, VENOMOUS REPTILE DEFIERS, SWORD SWALLOWERS, HUMAN OSTRICHES, STRONG MEN, ETC., by Houdini

Miracle Mongers and Their Methods: A COMPLETE EXPOSE' OF THE MODUS OPERANDI OF FIRE EATERS, HEAT RESISTERS, POISON EATERS, VENOMOUS REPTILE DEFIERS, SWORD SWALLOWERS, HUMAN OSTRICHES, STRONG MEN, ETC., by Houdini

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Miracle Mongers and Their Methods:

 A COMPLETE EXPOSE' OF THE MODUS OPERANDI OF FIRE EATERS, HEAT RESISTERS, POISON EATERS, VENOMOUS REPTILE DEFIERS, SWORD SWALLOWERS, HUMAN OSTRICHES, STRONG MEN, ETC.

Houdini was a fascinating character and it's certainly interesting to read his work. In this book, he provides a brief history of "miracle mongers" (performers of what we'd today consider to be side-show stunts like walking on hot coals or eating stones) and exposes many of their methods. His purpose was, as many magicians have followed in his footsteps by doing, to prevent people from being deceived into believing that acts of trickery were anything more than entertainment.

This is a grand tradition of debunking, and Houdini was one of its greatest practitioners. However, the particular "miracles" under consideration in this book are little more than historical curiosities to the modern reader, which leaves us in a rather unusual position of reading an excellent book of little relevance to ourselves.

 

 

CONTENTS

CHAPTER

Fire worship.—Fire eating and heat resistance.—The Middle Ages.—Among the Navajo Indians.—Fire-walkers of Japan.—The Fiery Ordeal of Fiji

Watton's Ship-swabber from the Indies.-Richardson, 1667.—De Heiterkeit, 1713.—Robert Powell, 1718-1780.—Dufour, 1783.—Quackensalber, 1794

The nineteenth century.—A "Wonderful Phenomenon."—"The Incombustible Spaniard, Senor Lionetto," 1803.—Josephine Girardelli, 1814.—John Brooks, 1817.—W. C. Houghton, 1832.—J. A. B. Chylinski, 1841.—Chamouni, the Russian Salamander, 1869.—Professor Rel Maeub, 1876. Rivelli (died 1900)

The Master—Chabert, 1792-1859

Fire-eating magicians. Ching Ling Foo and Chung Ling Soo.—Fire-eaters employed by magicians: The Man-Salamander, 1816.-Mr. Carlton, Professor of Chemistry, 1818.—Miss Cassillis, aged nine, 1820. The African Wonder, 1843.—Ling Look and Yamadeva die in China during Kellar's world tour, 1877.—Ling Look's double, 1879.—Electrical effects, The Salambos.—Bueno Core.—Del Kano.—Barnello.—Edwin Forrest as a heat-resister—The Elder Sothern as a fire-eater.—The Twilight of the Art

The Arcana of the fire-eaters: The formula of Albertus Magnus.—Of Hocus Pocus.—Richardson's method.—Philopyraphagus Ashburniensis.—To breathe forth sparks, smoke and flames.—To spout natural gas.—Professor Sementini's discoveries.—To bite off red-hot iron.—To cook in a burning cage.—Chabert's oven.—To eat coals of fire.—To drink burning oil.—To chew molten lead.—To chew burning brimstone.—To wreathe the face in flames.—To ignite paper with the breath.—To drink boiling liquor and eat flaming wax

The spheroidal condition of liquids.—Why the hand may be dipped in molten metals.—Principles of heat resistance put to practical uses: Aldini, 1829.—In early fire-fighting.—Temperatures the body can endure

Sword-swallowers: Cliquot, Delno Fritz, Deodota, a razor-swallower, an umbrella-swallower, William Dempster, John Cumming, Edith Clifford, Victorina

Stone-eaters: A Silesian in Prague, 1006; Francois Battalia, ca. 1641; Platerus' beggar boy; Father Paulian's lithophagus of Avignon, 1760; "The Only One in the World," London, 1788; Spaniards in London, 1790; a secret for two and six; Japanese training.—Frog-swallowers: Norton; English Jack; Bosco; the snake-eater; Billington's prescription for hangmen; Captain Veitro.—Water spouters; Blaise Manfrede, ca. 1650; Floram Marchand, 1650

Defiers of poisonous reptiles: Thardo; Mrs. Learn, dealer in rattle-snakes.—Sir Arthur Thurlow Cunynghame on antidotes for snake-bite.—Jack the Viper.—William Oliver, 1735.—The advice of Cornelius Heinrich Agrippa, (1480-1535).—An Australian snake story.—Antidotes for various poisons

Strongmen of the eighteenth century: Thomas Topham (died, 1749); Joyce, 1703; Van Eskeberg, 1718; Barsabas and his sister; The Italian Female Sampson, 1724; The "little woman from Geneva," 1751; Belzoni, 1778-1823

Contemporary strong people: Charles Jefferson; Louis Cyr; John Grun Marx; William Le Roy.—The Nail King, The Human Claw-hammer; Alexander Weyer; Mexican Billy Wells; A foolhardy Italian; Wilson; Herman; Sampson; Sandow; Yucca; La Blanche; Lulu Hurst.—The Georgia Magnet, The Electric Girl, etc.; Annie Abbott; Mattie Lee Price.—The Twilight of the Freaks.—The dime museums

 

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