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Joaquín Argamasilla

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Joaquín Argamasilla "against" Houdini
Joaquín Argamasilla "against" Houdini

Joaquín María Argamasilla de la Cerda y Elío (Madrid, 4 April 1905 – 1985) was a Spanish noble who was the 11th Marquis de Santacara, but he is better known for claiming in the early 1920s a supposed ability to see through opaque objects. Argamasilla convinced important people of the era such as Gustav Geley and Charles Richet of his powers,[1] but he was exposed by Harry Houdini as a fraud in 1924.[2]


Joaquín Argamasilla was encouraged in his parapsychology career by his father, the Marquis de Santa Cara, who was convinced that his son had psychic powers. He soon began to make demonstrations of his power reading paper sheets tucked inside sealed boxes or guessing the hour of clocks (previously handled) also placed indoors. Among the audience of these shows was the Spanish writer Valle-Inclan, who was a friend of the father of the psychic and became convinced that Joaquín's powers were real.[3]

Argamasilla's fame led him in 1924 to the Pennsylvania Hotel in New York City. There he met magician Harry Houdini, who became convinced that he was a fraud who just peeked through his simple blindfold and lifted up the edge of the box so he could look inside it without others noticing. Argamasilla could not replicate his abilities when forced to do the same with a box not owned by him.[4]

Argamasilla never did another psychic demonstration. He later was assigned the position of general director of Film and Theatre (1952-1955).[5]

In fiction

A fictional version of Argamasilla (in which his powers turn out to be real) appears in the 14th episode of the Spanish science-fiction series El Ministerio del Tiempo.[6]


  1. ^ Polidoro, Massimo (2001). Final Séance: The Strange Friendship Between Houdini and Conan Doyle. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books. pp. 171–172. ISBN 1-57392-896-8.
  2. ^ Nickell, Joe (2007). Adventures in Paranormal Investigation. Lexington, Ky.: University Press of Kentucky. pp. 213–215. ISBN 978-0-8131-2467-4.
  3. ^ Valle-Inclán, Harry Houdini y el hombre que tenía rayos X en los ojos in
  4. ^ El español con Raxos X que desafió a Houdini en
  5. ^ El español con visión de rayos X in
  6. ^ "'El Ministerio del Tiempo' viaja al Nueva York de Houdini en 'Tiempo de magia'". RTVE. Retrieved 18 March 2016.

Further reading

This page was last edited on 7 March 2021, at 17:00
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