Spooky. Covering Houdini, Charles Fort and GhostHunting - all related back to Software Testing.
- including - clips from Eurostar 2012 Keynote - Unconventional Influences Talk recordings from 2012
- Charles Fort,
- Ghost Hunting
We are in the Uncertainty Business.
We find and investigate anomalous Phenomena
Anomalous - “deviating from what is standard, normal, or expected.”
We are part of a long tradition of Anomalous Phenomena seekers.
You can find the books of Charles Fort online at Mr X’s Resologist.net
Quotes from Charles Fort’s “The Book of The Damned”
“A PROCESSION of the damned. By the damned, I mean the excluded. We shall have a procession of data that Science has excluded.”
“Our especial interest is in modern science as a manifestation of this one ideal or purpose or process: That it has falsely excluded, because there are no positive standards to judge by: that it has excluded things that, by its own pseudostandards, have as much right to come in as have the chosen.”
“The data of the damned. I have gone into the outer darkness of scientific and philosophical transactions and proceedings, ultra-respectable, but covered with the dust of disregard. I have descended into journalism. I have come back with the quasi-souls of lost data. They will march. "
“I think that things raised from this earth’s surface to that region have been held there until shaken down by storms– The Super-Sargasso Sea. "
The Ghost-Busters Century 1900 illustration was used with permission from the artist
A fantastic artist who has created Dr Seuss style versions of Cthulhu, Doom, HP Lovecraft
Checkout their Twitter feed
And their Deviant Art profile - https://drfaustusau.deviantart.com/
- Houdini - houdini seance, conan doyle,
- skills to learn from:
- brother used to tie him up so he could escape
- ice cold baths, holding his breath
- communication - Houdini dropped his new york speech patterns and learned to communicate in a manner befitting an international showman
- “Don’t allow yourself to go stale on your act.” from The Right Way to do wrong
- physically fit, trained himself to have more dexterity with his toes
Sequence in The Master Mystery where he is tied up, hanging from a wall, knocks out his captor, takes off his shoes and socks, picks the pocket of hist unconcsious guard which his feet, picks up a set of keys with his feet, uses his toes to unlock a door, then walks up the door while hanging to give himself leverage to untie the rope holding him with his teeth. This is all pre- jackie chan stuff.
Later expose of spiritualists “A Magician among the spirits”
- every halloween for 10 years after his Death, Houdini’s wife Beth held a seance
- audio of the last Houdini seance you can find online on Archive.org
- clip from 19:43 - 20:37
- this was then continued by Walter B. Gibson - professional author and magician, author of magic books and pulp novels - particularly known for writing The Shadow
Houdini Museum continues the tradition today and if you go off to, you can join in the seance
Books Shown or Mentioned
- The Complete Books of Charles Fort by Dover
- Memoirs of a Sword Swallower by Daniel P. Mannix
- Houdini’s Strange Tales edited by Patrick Culliton and T.L. Williams
- Houdini, His Life and Art by James Randi and Randolph Sugar
- Houdini by William Lindsay Gresham
- The Great Houdinis by Mel Shavelson
- Houdini on Magic (Dover Magic Books)
- The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America’s First Superhero
- Death and the Magician: The Mystery of Houdini by Raymund Fitzsimons
- The Houdini-Price Correspondence by Gabriel Curon
- Magic and Mystery: The Incredible Psychic Investigations of Houdini and Dunninger
- The Life and Many Deaths of Harry Houdini by Ruth Brandon
- Houdini: A mind in chains : a psychoanalytic portrait by Bernard C. Meyer
- Houdini!!! by Kenneth Silverman
- “A Magician among the spirits” - https://archive.org/details/AMagicianAmongTheSpiritsByHarryHoudini
- “Miracle Mongers and Their Methods” by Harry Houdini - https://archive.org/details/MiracleMongersAndTheirMethodsByHarryHoudini
Before this episode even aired, I managed to stir up some controversy for myself.
The Houdini Seance was recorded in 1936, and according to Archive.org is now in the public domain.
But… YouTube automagically flagged my video as violating the copyright of a heavy metal band called Poison Garden, because their La Danse Macabre song uses the same excerpt from this Public Domain recording, but adds some music on top of it.
It took me weeks to get YouTube to recognise that my image was being used in someone else’s YouTube video, but all of 3 seconds for them to match public domain seance extracts and assign copyright to a heavy metal band.
I raised a copyright dispute with YouTube and Beyond Music quickly released the copyright claim. But this is just another example of ‘Failure Demand’ caused by overzealous Big Data or Machine Learning systems which either haven’t been coded with the ability to specify exceptions and therefore can’t cope with the Requisite Demand on their service, or have just learned the wrong thing, or been overly Big Datafied.
Failure Demand is a concept that I first read in a John Seddon book “I Want You to Cheat” and refers to “demand caused by failure to do something or do something right for the customer”. I think this is a very useful concept for testers and recommend John Seddon’s books. Probably a topic to add to a future episode of The Evil Tester Show.