What could explain the mysterious streak
of light? Houdini's report seems to exclude
all possibilty of trickery.
Houdini discussed the photo in his lecture
on Spiritualism at the Hillstreet Theatre
Los Angeles Express, ApriI 27 1923
HOUDINI NOT CONVINCED OF SPIRITUALISM
It was probably the most unusual audience
gathered in  a local vaudeville house as the "king
of handcuffs" showed 30 odd slides of mediums
and seances, embellishing them with the result
of 25 years investigation in  the spiritualistic field.
Most of the lecture dealt with the work of
mediums and Houdini's investigations. The latter
denied his being a sceptic, but contended that his
observations prevented him from being
convinced regarding the supernatural character of
feats performed by mediums. Houdini assured
his hearers that he earnestly desired of being
convinced, that he is religiously inclined (He
urged the audience to attend the lecture in LA that
Doyle will deliver the  last week in May).
A stir went through the public as a photograph,
taken a few days ago at the First Spiritualist
church here and showing, what has been
explained by certain investigators as the astral
body of the late Mrs. Fairfield McVickers, who
before her death said she would appear the day
after her death at 5 o'clock in the afternoon at that
church.
Houdini explained that he had engaged a camera
man and bought his own supplies of negatives.
"We trained the camera on the black curtain
before which Mrs. McVickers said she would
appear at that hour in her spirit body. Of the 10
plates this one only, showing a white streak of
light, produced anything which was not visible to
us with the naked eye. The negative itself shows
an ethereal form surrounding this streak of light
in a shape that might resemble the shroud of a
small woman ....I cannot say that this is a spirit
photograph of Mrs McVickers, nor can I deny it.
Photographers who examined the plate declare
that the negative was flawless and that nothing
was on it to cause this white figure. I am having
the place sent to Rochester for a final
examination.
"I have disproven, however, that what seemed the
faint apparitions which some claimed to be spirit
faces in the middle and the right side of the
negative were produced by color and light reflects
on the wall. These are not visible either in this
print. On the other hand, I must admit That I have
taken more photographs the day after under the
same light conditions and before the same black
curtain before Mrs. McVickers said she would
appear, and none of the plates show anything."
Patrick Culliton's email: pkcull@aol.com
"The negative itself shows an ethereal form surrounding this streak of light in a shape
that might resemble the shroud of a small woman ....I cannot say that this is a spirit
photograph of Mrs McVickers, nor can I deny it." Houdini 4-23-1923
"We trained the camera on the black curtain
before which Mrs. McVickers said she would
appear at that hour in her spirit body. Of the 10
plates this one only, showing a white streak of
light, produced anything which was not visible to
us with the naked eye. The negative itself shows
an ethereal form surrounding this streak of light in
a shape that might resemble the shroud of a
small woman ....I cannot say that this is a spirit
photograph of Mrs McVickers, nor can I deny it.
Photographers who examined the plate declare
that the negative was flawless and that nothing
was on it to cause this white figure. I am having
the plates sent to Rochester for a final
examination."