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THE NEW YORK TIMES August 16, 1927 Page 28, Column 4


Brother of Dead Magician Tells Police His Brooklyn Home Was Broken Into

Felony for the sake of art is suspected by Theodore Weiss Hardeen of 537 East Twenty-first Street, Brooklyn, brother of Houdini, the magician, who informed the police of the Snider Avenue Station yesterday that thieves had broken into his home in search of the secret of the Flight of Time and the Chinese Torture Cell illusions. Jewels, linen, other valuables and $15,000 in Liberty bonds were in the house and available to thieving hands, Mr. Hardeen told the police, but not the Flight of Time or the Chinese Torture Cell secrets. These illusions, the fruit of his brother’s genius, were with Mr. Hardeen on a theatrical tour from which he returned terday [sic], so, Mr. Hardeen added, the thieves not being able to find what they desired retired defeated.

Decoration Day is the date on which Mr. Hardeen believes the robbers broke into his home. On that date the magician was performing in Oakland, Cal. A friend of Mr. Hardeen, entering the house the following Tuesday to forward mail, found that the pantry door had been forced and two panes in a door from the pantry to the kitchen cut away. Various illusions less important than the Flight of Time had been taken apart and measured, Mr. Hardeen says, to learn their secrets.

Mr. Hardeen indicated to the police that it was natural for a jealous magician to seek to learn the mystery of the Flight of Time and of the Chinese Torture Cell. These illusions, along with many others of the great Houdini, are to be destroyed, according to the master magician’s will, at the time Mr. Hardeen dies. Mr. Hardeen added that he has been approached with offers of thousands of dollars for the secrets, and also that he has captured jealous practitioners of the art of magic seeking to pry into them.

Eight alarm clocks and eight watch chains comprise the properties of the Flight of Time trick. Houdini would throw the clocks across the stage and they would mysteriously attach themselves to the chains. The Torture Cell stunt Mr. Hardeen says he cannot perform because he is too heavy. His brother used to be placed head first in a tank filled with water. After a moment’s suspense he would reappear, freed from the bonds.

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