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THE NEW YORK TIMES Dec. 20, 1924 Page 18, Column 3


Offers to Reproduce All of Margery’s Psychic Phenomena or Forfeit $5,000.


Also Says That Member of Scientific American Staff Added “Little Effects.”

L to R: Prince, Bird (in back), Margery, HoudiniMembers of The Scientific American’s Committee on Psychic Phenomena, who are criticized in the January number of that magazine in an article written by Dr. L.R.G. Crandon of Boston, husband of “Margery,” whose alleged psychic powers are under investigation by the committee, replied yesterday, one openly charging fraud and the other objecting to Dr. Crandon’s presence at the séances.

In asserting that he caught Mrs. Crandon in deliberate fraud, Houdini, who is a member of the committee, offers under forfeit of $5,000 to reproduce everything that “Margery” asserts are psychic phenomena. He also criticizes Hereward Carrington, another member of the committee, and discloses that when he first learned that Dr. Carrington was to be a member he decided to watch him even more closely than the medium. He also charges that Malcolm Bird of the staff of The Scientific American, who attended the séances, was “sufficiently deluded” to add to the phenomena “with little effects at opportune times.”

Dr. Walter F. Prince of the American Society for Psychic Research, disclaiming hostility or resentment, asserts that the committee did not control the test conditions but that these were dictated by the control “Walter.”

“At the beginning of my last sitting,” he adds, “I informed Dr. Crandon that I did not see how it would be possible for me to make progress toward a scientific conclusion so long as two conditions, (1) absolute darkness and (2) himself as one of the immediate controllers, were maintained.” It is not by the committee but by Dr. Crandon himself that “the further development of this many-sided medium is being held up.” Dr. Prince adds, quoting the husband#146;s complaint.

Houdini said:

“Dr. Crandon states that I do not trust Carrington or Bird, and that they return the compliment: and well they might. They know full well that I, never having been nonplused by so-called phenomena, would be very apt to detect any trickery that they might indulge in, countenance or resort to, and possibly that is why Carrington, who knows me better than Bird, kept away from the séances I attended and left it to Bird to assist in fooling the committee. Evidently Bird stupidly thought that I belonged to the same class of believer or ‘easy marks’ he has been in the habit of sitting with.”

After stating that he had asked for the removal of Dr. Carrington from the committee, Houdini also stated:

“We must pay a compliment to Mrs. Crandon for resourcefulness. She certainly was clever in her manoeuvring [sic] 'to pull the wool over the eyes' of the committeemen. However, I detected her in fraud at every sitting I attended. I will admit that her tricks were new and clever; I have since reproduced them before audiences from New York to San Francisco, and not one of those serving as committeemen has detected the method employed until divulged to them after removal of the blindfold, which served them in lieu of darkness. The demonstrations have been in full light, that the audience might appreciate the deception to the limit.”

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