Happy Birthday, Harry Houdini!

“Houdini stirred me to the deep” –Charmian London’s diary 


Harry Houdini’s 145th birthday is today, March 24, and even at his ripe old age he is the most famous magician in history. Here is just one story that gives us a glimpse into his life and his affair with Charmian London, wife of author Jack London:

Houdini kept the secrets of his illusions to himself, so much that even his friends thought he had supernatural powers. When his good friend, stage star, Sarah Bernhardt lost her leg to gangrene, she asked Houdini to restore it!

Apparently, Houdini did not tell anyone about the affair which took place in 1918, just as American entered WW I. During this time, they carried on their torrid affair in Greenwich Village, while Houdini was training American troops escapes and codes and keeping secrets.

Historians and biographers, Kenneth Silverman, William Kalush and Larry Sloman discovered the affair in Charmian London’s diaries.

“A passionate, romantic whirlwind. There is swooning, trembling, experiences that stir to the depths. Charmian can barely sleep, “too sept still.” Houdini declares “I’m mad about you. I give all myself to you.”

Only after his death did Bess discover love letters Houdini kept, which undoubtedly contained letters from Charmian, who she considered her friend. She invited the women to tea at the Houdini brownstone. When they left, she presented each with a gift of their letters.


A novel reveals Houdini’s affair with Jack London’s wife, Charmian London.The Secret Life of Mrs. London is a historical fiction release from author
Rebecca Rosenberg and Lake Union Publishing, is Wiki’s Marvelous Novels of the 20th Century, a Spirited Woman top pick, a Pulpwood Queen five-diamond book. It was also nominated for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize.

In 1915, when the Houdinis and Londons met at the Orpheum Theater in Oakland, California, the two men were the most famous men in America. Jack London was the most popular, highest paid author with fifty books, and Harry Houdini had performed his astounding escapes and magic all over the world.

How did they fall in love with the same woman, Jack London’s wife, Charmian London?

One of America’s most provocative women, Charmian London, was the bohemian, flamboyant, yet devoted wife of Jack London, the most popular author of his era, until their fateful meeting with Harry Houdini and his wife, Bess Houdini.

“An impressively original and exceptionally well-crafted novel by an author who is a master of character- and narrative-driven storytelling, Rebecca Rosenberg’s The Secret Life of Mrs. London is an inherently riveting and thoroughly reader-engaging story from beginning to end and features many an unexpected plot twist and turn.”—Midwest Book Review

Charmian London typed Jack London’s work as he dictated, editing later. She would draw character sketches, fill in descriptions, and smooth over the rough spots. She was a modern working woman in 1915, with credentials of her own. Charmian was a serious writer, particularly in travel writing. Her full-length books include The Log of the Snark (1915), Our Hawaii (1917), The Book of Jack London (1921) and The New Hawaii (1923).

“One of Houdini’s best kept secrets was his affair with Charmian London in 1918. Now Rebecca Rosenberg tells the story using an elegant blend of fact and fiction, creating a Houdini book like no other. The Secret Life of Mrs. London is a true peek behind the curtain and a page-turner.” –John Cox, wildabouthoudini.comIn

January 1918, Charmian London traveled across country to New York City to see Houdini in the patriotic World War I extravaganza, "Cheer Up" at the Hippodrome Theater, where he famously made a five-ton elephant disappear on stage. Evidence of their affair comes from Charmian London's diaries at the Huntington Library in Pasadena, Calif. Charmian wrote that after they saw each other a few times, Houdini made a "declaration" that "rather shakes me up." They became intimate a short time later. She wrote that Houdini’s visits "stirred me to the deep," and that he felt the same, declaring, "I'm mad about you," and "I give all of myself to you." Throughout, she refers to him alternately as "Magic," her "Magic Man," or "Magic Lover."

“The Secret Life of Mrs. London is a heart-wrenching portrait of a marriage between two people who utterly depend on one another, but ultimately aren't enough for each other. With skillful precision of language, Rosenberg weaves a narrative that defines the complexities of love, passion and art. Anyone who has ever loved another person will want to read this book.”–Victoria Kelly, Author of Mrs. Houdini

After London died in 1916, Charmian dealt with London’s literary estate, which entailed more than 50 works of fiction and non-fiction and hundreds of short stories and letters translated into 70 languages. She died in 1955 at the age of 83.

Get your copy of The Secret Life of Mrs. Londonon Amazon. It's free with on Kindle with your Amazon Prime account. https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Life-Mr...
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Published on March 24, 2019 07:00 Tags: houdini, jack-londin, rebecca-rosenberg, the-secret-life-of-mrs-london
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message 1: by Maureen (new)

Maureen Looking forward to reading this, thanks!

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