Harry Houdini appeared as a witness before the House Committee of the District of Columbia, which was holding hearings on a bill to regulate clairvoyants, "mediums," etc., in the District of Columbia. In the back of the room sat several mediums. As a climax to his denunciation of their trickery, Mr. Houdini drew a telegram from his pocket, crushed in his hand and dashed it down upon the table before him:
"I'll give $10,000 to any medium in this room who can tell me what that message contains."
Representative Frank R. Reid of Illinois (he who defended Colonel Mitchell) jumped to his feet:
"I can do that," he cried. "That's an invitation to you to appear before this committee this morning. I win $10,000."
But Mr. Houdini was equal to the occasion: "You're not a medium, and anyhow you ought to know what's in the telegram, you sent it to me."
As the hearing went on, Madame Marcia (an astrologer) declared: "There are many men in the Senate and House who consult me regularly."
And Dr. Jane B. Coates, of the "Spiritualist Church of America," asserted: "I have saved many young girls from marrying the wrong man and have kept others from going wrong. My religion goes back to Jesus Christ. Houdini does not know I am a Christian."
At this Mr. Houdini exclaimed: "Jesus was a Jew, and he did not charge $2 a visit."