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'A.K.A. Houdini' Exhibit Reveals The Late Magician's Secret
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APPLETON, Wisconsin - Mike Peterson has always been fascinated with magic. So when he became a curator of the Outagamie Museum, he began lobbying the board to allow him to open a Houdini exhibit. "More than just show what I already knew of the man, I wanted to be able to do the in-depth research to discover the elusive 'how' of what he did. I wanted to know the secrets myself, and I wanted to be able to share them with others," recalled Peterson, "But even I was unprepared for the answers I got. I assure you, I researched it thoroughly and there can be no doubt. Houdini used real magic to perform his stunts."

"Houdini used real magic to perform his stunts."
-- Mike Peterson, curator
Peterson's unconventional view has surprised his fellow curators. "I think we've grown up and become pretty comfortable with the idea that all 'magic', from the arrogant Copperfield to the androgynous Henning, was somehow a trick," explained curator of exhibits Kim Louagie, "So the very idea that Houdini was somehow truly magical in the fairytale sense is a bit foreign. And in view of the hidden panels in the trunks, cut out spaces for hidden keys, and other such modifications Houdini made to his equipment, frankly, I just don't buy it."

"It's true, though, I tell you! It's totally true!" insisted Peterson, "The hidden keys and sliding panels are just there to throw us off the mark! I've tried to make the tricks work using these items and it's just impossible." Peterson demonstrated going into the trunk, then being unable to release himself. "You see?"

"I would submit that knowing how a trick works, and being able to work the trick are not necessarily linked," said magician Ronald "Rondini" Lindberg, "While the magicians' code strictly forbids my revealing the means by which the trunk escape works, I believe I can comfortably intimate that there is no actual metaphysical, unearthly magical skills needed to accomplish it."

In a compromise between Peterson and the museum, the A.K.A. Houdini exhibit will not contain references to Peterson's theories about Houdini, but it will also not specifically preclude them. "I'm sure when the visitors see the materials for themselves, they'll come to the right conclusions on their own," said Peterson confidently.
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