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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Magicians of old » » Seers, Mindreaders, etc. of the 19th and early 20th Century (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Bill Palmer
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I've been reading and translating a lot of material from Germany concerning some of the more popular mindreaders, etc. of the late 19th and early 20th Century.

While some of the material is on a proprietary basis for a friend of mine, and I am therefore not permitted to comment upon it directly, I can explain some things about these people that I found rather interesting.

The comments I have read have come from newspapers and magazines that were for general circulation. There were a number of "serious researchers" in Germany and Austria, who had absolutely no credentials whatsoever. Not surprisingly, many of them were duped by several of these people.

Two that I can comment upon in specific detail were Hermann (or Herschmann) Chaim Steinschneider, AKA Erik Jan Hanussen and Joe Labero. Both of them were muscle readers.

Labero had an interesting modus operandi. While everything he did used trickery, he gained his prominence in the field by writing letters to newspapers and magazines, exposing the practices of various and sundry "mindreaders." He was almost as vituperative as Harry Houdini when it came to exposing frauds.

In 1914, Labero got on a high horse about Eugen Rubini, who was working in Vienna at the Café Louvre, performing a muscle reading act. He wrote a letter to Der Blitz about Rubini, who was apparently claiming that he was doing this through mindreading. Hanussen, who was calling himself Harry Steinschneider at the time, offered Labero a fee of 200 Kr. to write an article exposing Rubini's methods. Labero did, and it was published in Der Blitz under the name "Sabero."

Shortly afterwards, Steinschneider approached Labero with an offer of an undisclosed amount of money to give him personal instruction in the art of muscle reading. Labero did this with the proviso that Steinschneider would not perform this for personal gain, nor reveal how it was done.

History tells us the result. Steinschneider, who changed his name to Hanussen, not only performed it for monetary gain, he wrote a book within a few months called Worauf beruht das? (what is this based upon?), explaining how the principles of muscle reading worked. Four years later, he wrote Das Gedankenlesen/Telepathie (Mindreading and Telepathy) which is arguably one of the best texts on how to learn muscle reading. In this book, Hanussen also gave a fairly complete history of how muscle reading worked from an historical perspective, naming names and exposing methods.

The last part of his book contains a complete description of how other aspects of, as he called it, false mindreading was done. This included codes, billet reading, etc.

After the nazi's "adopted" Hanussen as their "mindreader" (and he joined the SA), he tried to have all the copies of the book destroyed. Nevertheless, it did survive, also with the indication, to me at least, that Hanussen really would tolerate no competition when it came to "psychic entertainers," which was why he had tipped so many methods.

Nineteen years later, shortly after Hanussen's death, Labero published his own book called Wundermaenner, ich enthuelle Eure Geheimnisse! (Miracleworkers, I reveal your secrets). Labero always performed as an "experimental psychologist" and felt that people like Hanussen, who claimed to be genuine mindreaders, were frauds.

Basically, his book revealed the same material that Hanussen's book revealed. Some of it was presented in a somewhat more compact form. It's a good book. Jimmy Bix will be republishing it in German. It will probably not be translated into English, because the market for this kind of thing seems to be a bit small.
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julieannjohnson
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Thanks for some great information. It would sure be nice if these books could make it into English. Muscle reading is one of my interests, and I would certainly stand in the line to purchase any such translations.
Slim King
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Very interesting Smile
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Bill Palmer
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Quote:
On 2009-11-27 20:58, julieannjohnson wrote:
Thanks for some great information. It would sure be nice if these books could make it into English. Muscle reading is one of my interests, and I would certainly stand in the line to purchase any such translations.


The Hanussen book is available in English. If you don't have it, I know where it can be gotten fairly easily.

Posted: Nov 27, 2009 9:41pm
One of the ironic coincidences about Labero and Hanussen is that each one of them made it a practice to debunk the "fake mindreaders" when both of them were using the same methods. Labero's chief redeeming factor, in my mind, was that, unlike Hanussen, he did not open a "palace of the occult" which was basically no more than an upscale, downtown mitt joint.

Labero describes the way that people would enter this "palace" and how the setting worked.

Wilfried Kugel, who wrote an extensive biography of Hanussen (in German) believed that Hanussen could really "do it," because prior to one of his performances, his advance man was held up by the authorities, and according to Kugel, Hanussen got everything 100% correct without his helper. Hanussen knew how to work all of this, and much of his material required no assistant, whatsoever.
"The Swatter"

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julieannjohnson
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Please do let me know about the Hanussen book's availability.
Bill Palmer
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PM'ed you.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Steve_Mollett
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On 2009-11-28 01:05, Bill Palmer wrote:
PM'ed you.


I'd be interested as well.
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lin
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Mr. Palmer,

I'm interested too, please.
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