The Miracle Mongers

For me, one of the most enduring characters in literature and film is the mountebank. From the disguised Volpone in Ben Jonson’s play of the same name, to Danny Kaye in the 1949 film adaptation of Nikolai Gogol’s The Inspector General, selling Yokov’s Miracle Elixer, there is some kind of archetype in these quacksalvers and their nostrums that touches our collective experience.

About three years ago I read a fascinating book written by the famed illusionist, Harry Houdini, entitled The Miracle Mongers. In this intriguing exposé, Mr. Houdini takes his readers on an eye opening journey through the tricks, both physical and psychological, that have been employed throughout the ages by those who peddle aparent miracles.

Show Me the Risk!

Category: literature
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