The Witch of Lime Street: Séance, Seduction, and Houdini in the Spirit World

Written by David Jaher
Review by Janice Derr

In 1924, with America’s interest in Spiritualism in full swing, Scientific American sponsored a contest offering a cash prize to the first authentic medium. A five-member committee was established, and the search began to find one true communicator with the dead among a sea of charlatans and tricksters. The most promising was a woman known as Margery, who was notably championed by Sherlock Holmes’s creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. But to win the prize, Margery would have to face the committee’s toughest and most skeptical member, Harry Houdini. The master of escape desperately wanted to believe there is life after death, but his years as a showman taught him there are many ways to fake occult phenomena.

Some of the 20th century’s most colorful and larger-than-life figures come together in a story that is almost too bizarre to believe. A fascinating examination of Spiritualism and the 1920s. Jaher is a very gifted storyteller.