Unlike an average Fringe activity,
Stek introduces Conan Doyle's and Houdini's relationship with Spiritualism.
Welcoming each individual with an annotated bibliography and a copy of an interview with Arthur Conan Doyle from 'beyond', Robert Stek stirs up the fervour and curiosity of his audience. Commencing with an obligatory Sherlock Holmes joke – “I believe our tent has been stolen, dear Watson!” – Stek introduces Conan Doyle's and Houdini's relationship with Spiritualism.
With Houdini being sceptical and Conan Doyle a Spiritualist, there is a keener focus on Conan Doyle's life within this conversation. A video of Conan Doyle discussing his ideology is a fascinating thing to witness; even just to see Conan Doyle's mannerisms (and his dog!) as he explains his spiritual thinkings is impressive. Stek reassures that these videos can be found on the Internet by anyone interested.
Aiming to prevent the ideology sweeping over the audience's head, Stek breaks down the various definitions and sects of Spiritualism and the methods in which mediums can be validated and tested. Though the process and theory of the verity of séances, mediums and Bibliomancy is an exciting and engaging topic, it did distract from the main thrust of this presentation: Conan Doyle and Houdini's spiritual relationship. Unfortunately the tail-end of the presentation needed to be moved forward quickly and cut short, which meant the pièce de résistance of actually hearing a recording of these men in a séance lost its climax.
Open to discussion and feedback, Stek is positively proud to show the audience his findings. However, as too many topics are covered in a short time-frame and become a touch information-heavy in some instances, it's easy to nod and summarise with one doubting audience member's citation of David Hume: “extraordinary events need extraordinary evidence”.