Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Houdini's "Girl Detective": The Real-Life Ghost-Busting Adventures of Rose Mackenberg Paperback – August 17, 2016
|New from||Used from|
See the Best Books of 2017
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for the best books of the year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Rose Mackenberg is one of those characters.
Mackenberg was a tenacious New York private investigator who specialized in exposing paranormal con-artists during the heyday of Spiritualism. As part of Harry Houdini’s legendary undercover "ghostbuster squad” Mackenberg traveled across the United States, infiltrating séances, using a wide array of disguises and false identities to test the validity of each medium. Along the way, Rose matched wits with all manner of spirit photographers, poltergeist children, haunted homeowners, ectoplasmic vomiters, amulet dealers, love potion chemists, and crystal gazers. None of their claims were able to withstand her rigorous, skeptical investigation.
Rose’s detailed reports formed the back-bone of Houdini’s excellent A Magician Among the Spirits (ghost-written with C. M. Eddy, Jr.). In 1929, she authored a fascinating series of syndicated newspaper articles on the “ghost racket,” which Tony Wolf has edited and republished in HOUDINI’S “GIRL DETECTIVE.” These columns expose the clever tricks of psychic fraud - from the quaint relics of spiritualism (ectoplasm, spirit-tapping, table tipping, billet reading, and spirit trumpets) to phenomena that are recognizable to anyone whose cable package includes SyFy and The Discovery Channel. One chapter includes Rose's interesting analysis of clairvoyant Arthur Ford’s claim to have made contact with Houdini during a 1929 séance. Ford gained quite a bit of notoriety in paranormal circles by transmitting a coded message to the magician’s wife, which was confirmed as being legitimate. Mackenberg’s opinions on this matter carry weight, in that Rose was one of the chosen few who were actually given the “Rosabelle cypher” by Houdini himself. She later discovered, much to her bemusement, that the so-called “death code” had essentially been published in Harold Kellock’s popular 1928 biography of the magician.
Every fan of modern paranormal debunking – from James Randi to Martin Gardner to Penn & Teller – owes a debt of gratitude to Rose Mackenberg.