A week and a half ago, Australia celebrated a pretty significant anniversary. On March 18, 1910, Harry Houdini became the first man to successfully land a powered aircraft in Australia, at Digger’s Rest, north of Melbourne. Although Houdini was well-known as a magician and escape artist, he was also a famous pioneer aviator; after Digger’s Rest, however, he never flew a plane again.

Strangely enough, I didn’t see any mention of it in the mainstream media, and only discovered it in passing via the HP Lovecraft Literary Podcast. The podcast recently did a couple of shows on Under the Pyramids (AKA Imprisoned with the Pharaohs), which Lovecraft ghost-wrote for Houdini for the May-July 1924 issue of Weird Tales magazine. Under the Pyramids was set during a layover in Egypt, en route to Houdini’s historic Australian visit in 1910.

Lovecraft and Houdini later planned to write a book on debunking superstition (with CM Eddy, who cased séances for Houdini and collaborated on fiction with Lovecraft); however, Houdini’s untimely death in October 1926 put an end to the project *ahem* before it got off the ground.

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