Saturday, November 11, 2006

Houdini and C. M. Eddy, Jr.

Before I get to the HPL revelations, I need to recite a few notes on his pal - C.M. Eddy, Jr.

Houdini and Eddy apparently knew each other in passing and enough that Eddy is mentioned in Joshi's biography (1) as working in 1926 [with HPL] on The Cancer of Superstition.

Kalush and Sloman (2) have tantalizing things to say about Eddy.

[p. 461] "...a few men worked as secretive operatives. Clifford Eddy, Jr., a magazine writer who was collaborating with Houdini on a few literary projects, filed many field reports."

The context is in the section primarily concerned with 1925. Chrispy has asked the author's web site what the status of the expansive on-line footnotes but as of Tuesday, the editors have not had a chance to upload them.

[p. 502] "In Providence [early Oct 1926], the next stop of the [Mystery of the Sphinx] tour, Houdini and Bess [Houdini's wife] went to dinner with H. P. Lovecraft and Clifford Eddy, Jr. Both men were working on a book for Houdini called The Cancer of Superstition but Eddy was also an undercover operative for Houdini, filing many field reports on his visits to fraudulent mediums. ... Shortly after meeting with Eddy and Lovecraft, Bess was stricken with a non-specific form of poisoning, probably from food."

When I first read this I nearly fainted! Lovecraft and Eddy and poisoning?? I'm sure the authors did not intend to link Lovecraft with a plot, but it sure reads as a pot boiler!

In any event, the charge of spying they make on Houdini which rocked both the secular and magic world, has now painted HPL's Mythos insider group.

If any of you have comments or read any additional details blog them here.

1. p. 407, 408, H. P. Lovecraft: A Life, Necronomicon Press, 1996. This is the exhaustive version.
2. The Secret Life of Houdini: The making of America's First Superhero, Atria Books, NY, NY, 2006.

1 comment:

Michele said...

c.m. eddy jr is actually my great grandfather and my great uncle publishes his books now... your blog was pretty interesting because i don't know much about my family, and this guy fascinates me!!


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