H. Houdini was a famous illusionist specialized in escapism. But he is also known for having uncovered numerous fakes among the mediums who frequented the high society of New York. For example, on one occasion he unmask a medium who pretended to be in contact with a spirit named Alfred who played the tambourine and made capers. Already in his lifetime he had dedicated himself to this activity, thanks to which he allegedly became one of the richest men in New York, becoming associated with the banker J. P. Morgan in a famous number of vaudeville in which Morgan played the castanets. During the séances to which Alfred was summoned, a tambourine rattled endlessly floating around the room while a voice from beyond the grave exclaimed “alehop, alehop!”. Houdini distrusted Alfred’s story. In one of the sessions he demanded that the lights be left on, but the medium refused. Houdini pretended to give up, but in the middle of the session he slipped silently to the light switch, and those present discovered a tumbler playing the tambourine and running in slippers around the table. The incident generated a lot of controversy among the high society of New York, which was divided into two opposing sides: the supporters of the Houdini version and those of the medium.

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