Friday, December 21, 2012
Harry Kellar's Spirit Cabinet Pt1
Houdini coaxed Kellar into coming out of retirement for one more Farewell Show at the New York Hippodrome in 1917. Kellar gave his Spirit Cabinet to Houdini at the conclusion of that event. This Spirit Cabinet was a 'new' cabinet and not the one he toured with years before. The Kellar Book by Mike Caveney and Bill Miesel says so on page 498. Later, in the New Conjurer's Magazine Vol 1, in 1945, Hardeen ran an ad selling off a number of the Houdini/Hardeen equipment, at the top of the list was the Kellar Spirit Cabinet. The ad even says it had been used by Frederick Eugene Powell and also by Hardeen.
Kellar's 'Original' Spirit Cabinet that he used in the U.S. would have been sold to Howard Thurston in the big sale. And Thurston only kept a couple of the Kellar pieces in his show, one was the Floating Lady and the other was The Spirit Cabinet.
Here is an interesting twist to the story. In the Sept 1923 issue of The Sphinx on page 195 a magician by the name of Walter Ross, professionally known as Nazami the Mentalist claims to have had in his possession the ORIGINAL Kellar Spirit Cabinet. According to the little blurb it says the cabinet weighed over 600 lbs and Ross intended to start a tour of Vaudeville with the prop. Hmm, did Thurston sell the cabinet or is this another 'original'?
Now I vaguely recall reading that Joseph Dunninger owned a Spirit Cabinet belonging to someone famous, but I want to say it was the Davenport Spirit Cabinet, though I could be wrong, it very well might be where the Kellar cabinet wound up.
But my big question is, does anyone know where Kellar's Spirit Cabinet resides today? Have any of the Mexican Spirit Cabinets ever showed up? I think I might know...stay tuned for part 2.