Thursday, March 29, 2007
Harry Houdini, Sherlock Holmes, and the Pope in Hell
Sometimes when I walk through Edinburgh late at night....past the old medical school, it's hard not to think of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his creation Sherlock Holmes. It's still so much like their world, especially on a foggy night. That when you come across a lonely figure under a streetlight, you can almost see the Great Detective tapping out his pipe on the lamp post .
Instead of a junkie looking for a vein. Or a drunken yob having a smoke.
That's why I found this story so fascinating. The idea that Harry Houdini could have been murdered....
Some of Houdini's descendants, the authors of the book and some notable forensic pathologists have been attempting to get permission to exhume the body in order to search for evidence of poisoning
And that Sir Arthur could have done it.
At the time of his death, Houdini was embroiled in an acrimonious battle with Conan Doyle and other followers of Spirtualism, which held that human "mediums" could communicate with the dead.
Houdini, he wrote, would "get his just desserts very exactly meted out ... I think there is a general payday coming soon".
Wow! Can you believe that? And I thought we killed him.
Lying on a couch, he chatted with three students from McGill University. One of them, a ruddy six-footer, asked if it was true that Houdini could take the hardest punches to his stomach.
Hovering over Houdini, elbow bent, the student began forcibly punching him in the stomach....
Very ingenious Professor Moriarty....dispose of the crazy chain freak by putting poison in his padlock...and pin it on a dum Canuck.
But you know the weird thing is that all that "general payday coming" stuff that Conan Doyle was muttering darkly about? So is the Nazi Pope
"Christ came to tell us that he desires all of us in heaven and that hell, which isn't spoken about much in our time, exists and is eternal for those who close their hearts to his love...
he described hell as a state of existential abandonment, "the loneliness into which love can no longer reach."
Well that explains it doesn't it? Nobody said being a closet queen would be easy. But at least after all those lonely self loathing years he should find hell somewhat comforting....
I mean where did he think he was going to end up anyway? In the gay part of heaven?
And what's going on in the Vatican anyway....or in Ratzinger's head? If the Nazi Pope gets any darker he'll turn into a vampire. And will be forced to hold 20-minute after midnight masses to give him time to clamber out of his gilded coffin, and into his red Prada slippers.
But then, of course, all religious fanatics have an infinite capacity for self delusion. If you don't believe me just check out the mad mullahs in Iran.
They seem to think they've scored some kind of propaganda victory by seizing the British sailors.
When all they're doing is making themselves even bigger targets. And of course.... sullying the honour of our women.
I mean isn't forcing that sailor girl to put on a head scarf the equivalent of parading a Muslim female prisoner around dressed only in a niqba and a bikini? And as for her saying that they trespassed....judging from the picture...some people will say anything for a smoke. If I was in her situation I certainly would...
But I'm sure our brave hostages will keep a stiff upper lip, and show those crazy mullahs what they're made of. And that they can go as long as they have to without their freedom ...as long as they don't have to go too long without their pork sausages, bacon rolls, or beer.
No I'm not worried about them.
I'm worried about Tony Blair. Once the poodle was just a fool....or a foodle. Now he's acting like an idiot.
Oh yeah..... as I've wondered so many times before...
What is it about superstition and religion that drives people crazy?