True Tales from Michigan -"true tales of ghostly & creepy experiences around Michigan..."
The Mystic Marlo - "a nudge from beyond the grave?"
Written by Amberrose Hammond
While doing some research on a haunted house in my hometown, I discovered the Mystic Marlo one night while looking through old micro film of a 1920’s Grand Haven Tribune. He starred back at me with those big, hypnotic eyes, his exotic turban and his face painted dark, a sign of the Vaudeville times he had lived in. The Mystic Marlo would be performing at the Soldiers Fund Fair in southern Michigan February 12, 1923. I hit the print button on the machine and as soon as I got home, I scanned the old ad and gave the Mystic Marlo a place on the Michigan’s Otherside website after being trapped within the confines of an old role ofmicro film all these years.
A few months later, I got an email. I had to reread the email at first, because what I was reading seemed too impossible to be true. I thought at first maybe someone was pulling my leg. The email was from the daughter of the Mystic Marlo. Then, another email followed by a second daughter and then another email from a granddaughter! They all wanted to know how I came about the picture of their father and grandpa on the website. Just when I thought the Internet couldn’t amaze me anymore! I felt like I had stumbled upon a “virtual Antiques Roadshow,” not realizing there was a story behind what I had.
It just so happens that one day, the family was sitting around talking about “grandpa and his crystal ball.” Just for the fun of it, a family member did a Google search on “Mystic Marlo” and low and behold, Michigan’s Otherside came up with his photo because I actually named the file, “Mystic Marlo.” So with enthusiasm, the family wrote me and I told them how I came about the vintage ad in our old Grand Haven Tribune. Of course in return, I had to know more about who this Mystic Marlo was!
The “Mystic Marlo” was actually born Edwin Herbert Marlowe in Appleton, Wisconsin. He eventually shortened his last name to Marlo for his stage act. An acquaintance of Harry Houdini and Harry Blackstone, another very famous magician, Edwin Herbert Marlowe would have been a wonderful and fascinating person to know during his time.
He started his act as the Mystic Marlo on the Vaudeville circuits of the early 20th century and would meet his wife while doing his shows. His wife was part of a song and dance act called the Judah Sisters and after she met Edwin, they became part of his act, “cruising the audience for people to ask supernatural questions or any number of other things” according to one of Edwin’s daughters.
After The Depression hit, Edwin got a job as a traveling salesman and the Vaudeville days were over. He was now married with a family to support. In later years, he taught his family magic tricks and even put on shows for the neighborhood kids. He was also a believer in the supernatural and according to his daughter, had a little something “extra.” Not everything was smoke and mirrors and some of their father’s ESP was also inherited by his family!
The Mystic Marlo passed away in the 1960’s, but it’s almost as if he came back from the other side and gave us all a “poke,” still looking for a little notoriety even in the after life. Maybe finding that photo in the Grand Haven Tribune wasn’t a coincidence, but a friendly hello and a magic trick from beyond the grave that reminded all of us that our modern world is still a very, very mysterious place.
Excert from one of the Soldiers Fund Fair ads:
Do you want to know your future?
Telepathic Test and Psychic Experiments.
Do you love Mystery and the Seemingly Impossible?See the Spirit Hand of the Egyptian Princess Answer Questions. If there is anything you want to know, ask Mystic Marlo. He proves the Impossible Possible.
Positively at each performance Mystic Marlo will present his famous Yoga Séance.
The Most Awe Inspiring Demonstration of Psychic Power every present on Any State.
Ask Mystic Marlo about anything that is troubling you; questions concerning business, travel, trades, finance, investments, love, marriage, domestic matters, lost articles, missing friends or relatives. In fact, Mystic Marlo will answer any questions, write the same at home, seal in any manner you so desire, bring it to the Armory and you will be answered directly and comprehensively.
A big thank you to the Mystic Marlo's family for writing to us and sending more pictures.