magicam wrote:1. How reliable was Marie Blood as a source of historical facts? Did she have a track record of making revelatory statements which were subsequently and widely accepted as true by careful and reputable Houdini historians, or was she a font of misinformation and sensationalism (in the spirit of promoting her uncle/family)? Over time, were her statements about certain facts and events consistent, or inconsistent?
Well, during this same conversation Marie told me three other things that were unknown at the time (at least they weren't in print yet) -- that Bess smoked, that she was an alcoholic, and that she spent time in a sanatarium. All of these have since proved to be true. Marie might have misremembered facts at times, but I don't recall anything that I would say she made up.
magicam wrote:2. How well did she really know Bess? How much time did she really spend with Bess? Did Bess like Marie?
Houdini died when Marie was still a child, but Bessie lived on another 17 years, so well into Marie's young adulthood. Bess even lived with Marie and her mother for a time, and Marie says she was privy to conversation between the sisters who were VERY close. By all accounts Bessie and Marie got along well. Well enough to share clothes.
But I'm not certain this info came direct from Bess to Marie, or that it needs to to be true. Marie may have been told this by her mother. It's family history.
magicam wrote:3. John mentions Bloods claim that Bess was very frail and often sick, and she never weighted [sic] more than 98 pounds. Have historians confirmed these claims? From what I recall, young Bess may have been short, but she certainly didnt have rail thin legs, and she seemed to look healthy enough as a young adult. When has it ever been established to a reasonable degree that she never weighed more than 98 pounds? Is it possible that Maries facts (impressions) were colored by the fact that she only really came to know Bess in Bess later years, when Bess actually did look thin and frail?
There are LOTS of references to Bess being ill in Houdini correspondence, etc. Of course, some of these might have been hangovers. :p
Im glad John came forth with this information, but wary of believing that its the
reason why the Houdinis never had children.[quote]
True. There could very well have been some kind of psychological barrier (they didn't adopt), or Houdini could have fried himself with X-rays. But you ain't making an omelet without the eggs.
Glad to see one of my blogs finally spurred some conversation. :)