Houdini and Lovecraft's Cancer of Superstition makes $33,500

A manuscript copy of Harry Houdini and HP Lovecraft's The Cancer of Superstition has sold for $33,600.

The lot crossed the block as part of the Houdiania and the Davenport Magic Collection auction at magic specialist Potter & Potter in Chicago on April 9.

Lovecraft Houdini manuscript
The Cancer of Superstition was a polemic against superstition in modern society

Houdini commissioned Lovecraft to ghost-write the text for him in 1926, but died before it was finished.

The project was ultimately cancelled.

The original 31-page document disappeared for many years, only recently resurfacing in an abandoned magic shop.

Lovecraft came to Houdini's attention after he wrote a short story for Weird Tales titled Imprisoned with the Pharaohs.

It was written from Houdini's perspective and relates a terrifying encounter with an ageless, nameless horror beneath the Sphinx.

Houdini liked it so much he got in touch with Lovecraft and offered him more writing work.

While today Lovecraft is acclaimed as one of the most original horror writers of all time, he was largely ignored during his own lifetime.

An archive of correspondence between Houdini and his manager, Martin Beck, realised $26,000.

The lot dates to between 1899 and 1902, at the beginning of Houdini's vaudeville career. Beck worked for Orpheum Circuit Theatres and gave him his big break.  

The letters include remarkable insights into Houdini's early years in show business, including repeated chidings from Beck about his burgeoning "swelled head".

We have an amazing signed photograph of Houdini for sale.

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