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This book is a scholarly but entertaining discussion of one of the most curious cultural phenomena of the 20th century - the spiritualist craze that swept the country after World War I. The focus is on the climactic episode of this era, when the greatest psychic fraud of the movement finally met her nemesis in the Great Houdini. Indeed, the book reminded me of why I always admired him so much. In the last few years of his life he focused his talents and experience on relentlessly exposing those who were so successful at duping the most vulnerable in society. One of the most interesting side stories is Houdini's conflict with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his wife - both dedicated advocates of the spiritualist movement.
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Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
Yes, to anyone who had an interest in history, famous people and alternative thinking. It is truly fascinating.
What other book might you compare The Witch of Lime Street to and why?
Occult America is quite similar, with a history of alternative approaches to the spiritual.
Which character – as performed by Simon Vance – was your favorite?
Simon Vance is one of my favorite narrators and I loved all the voices. But perhaps my favorite in this book would be the voice of Walter.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
I think probably the most moving parts were the invasive, sometimes cruel, and character destroying attacks and investigations that Marjorie (and other psychics) endured. Proving herself a valid medium must have meant a great deal to her to allow it to go on for years and to endure so much with such an obliging attitude.
Any additional comments?
This is such a complex book that there is a great deal that one could comment on. First, it seemed to me that the rigid examination of alleged psychics was extreme and one wonders why the same kind of rigorous examination hasn't been used to question the tenets of most religions? Another thing that stood out to me is that "The Great Houdini" was really quite a petty and vindictive person who would not allow anyone to surpass him. Somewhat of a different view than is popular. Also, just the overall story of the famous people involved in the early Spiritualist movement both in the U.S. and Europe was intriguing. I suppose the question of whether life continues after death will continue to go on as it is human nature to want to know the unanswerable questions. This book was researched beautifully and gives one a feeling of being there as an observer and being part of a new way of thinking in a new century. Really brilliant!
5 of 6 people found this review helpful