A long-lost manuscript by HP Lovecraft that he was commissioned to write by Harry Houdini, has been found in a collection of magic memorabilia. The manuscript was found in amongst a large collection of memorabilia from a magic shop that is no longer trading and which contained a number of items belonging to the great illusionist and escapologist Harry Houdini that his wife had kept after his death in 1926.
The 31 page manuscript titled The Cancer of Superstition was a piece commissioned by Houdini that was aimed at the public as a ‘campaign against superstition’ with Houdini and Lovecraft claiming that all superstitious beliefs are relics of a common ‘prehistoric ignorance’ in humans.” which considering the authors’ occupations depending upon a belief in the inexplicable is a rather surprising subject matter.
Although the first chapter of the manuscript and a vague outline of the work was known, it is only now that it has appeared in its entirety. It is believed that although the two had begun working together in early 1926 that Houdini’s death later that year meant that the manuscript never came to fruition and was never properly catalogued, researched, or inventoried and eventually became lost to the world.
Potter & Potter Auctions of Chicago who are auctioning the manuscript on April 9th say that the document “explores everything from worship of the dead to werewolves and cannibalism, theorising that superstition is an “inborn inclination” that “persists only through mental indolence of those who reject modern science”.”
However it appears that there is some uncertainty as to who really did pen the manuscript with Lovecraft scholar ST Joshi stating that the manuscript was actually commissioned for Lovecraft and the author is in fact CM Eddy.
Either way the manuscript is a marvellous find and something that has been whispered about among Lovecraft Houdini aficionados for decades and is expected to make somewhere between $25,000-$40,000.