Sunday, August 11, 2013

YO HOUDINI! Episode 2: Death Grip

Magician Adam Steinfeld of Magic Live has posted the second installment of his new Houdini-horror web series, YO HOUDINI!

Episode 2 is called "Death Grip" and was shot at Houdini's grave in Queens. It features the 1926 poem by MacKinlay Kantor, which I recently posted here. Adam tracked down the grandson of Kantor and discovered that he was only 22 when he wrote this tribute poem to Houdini two days after the magician's death. Kantor went on to receive a Pulitzer prize in fiction for his civil war novel, Andersonville.

Adam also incorporates some nice Houdini footage into this installment (with permission from Kino), and gave your humble webmaster a nice "Houdini Consultant" credit. Yay. So enjoy the latest episode of YO HOUDINI! It's getting scary...

For more information and to watch other episodes visit


  1. I wonder if this filming would explain why all the stones that people had left on Houdini's grave were cleared off and thrown in the grass recently...they don't seem to be present in the video...and on a recent visit I found all the stones people had left pushed off his grave into the deep grass around it...I replaced them, but had been wondering who would have removed them...perhaps this is the answer. Interesting.

    1. No, I don't think Adam would do that. The cemetery itself might periodically clear off all the rocks. They'd have to. His headstone would be buried by now!

    2. I thought that cemetery was out of business/bankrupt. Is there actually someone still paid to upkeep the grounds? The last time I visited everything looked like it had not been touched in a long time.

    3. Ah, totally not meant as an accusation by any means :) It is very likely someone else pushed them off and they found it clear like that for filming. The staff there seems to leave rocks alone, as most of what is currently on the grave seems to have been there for quite some time, but it does make sense that they must keep it in check in terms of numbers. But the staff would probably not just brush all the rocks, cards, keys, etc into the tall grass next to the stone, as they also cut the grass there regularly with weed-whackers and that would be dangerous if they were piling rocks up in it...I would think. But, again, that is just my figuring, who knows, maybe they would :)

    4. Good points, Colleen.

      Anonymous - the upkeep of the cemetery and gravesite has been controversial. Check out this post from last year: A grave matter.

    5. Yea, I certainly don't know who is paying for it, but it is clear that the staff at Machpelah is grooming the grass within the Weiss plot on a regular basis (certainly as often as they groom the grass in the surrounding family plots, which seems to happen more frequently during certain times of year than others)...but this is all just from casual observation because I live a few blocks away and Machpelah is the nearest grassy/wooded area to my apartment so I happen to go on regular nature walks there and, of course, I always peak in on Houdini :)

    6. How is that area? I live in NJ and the few times I have visited it did not seem very good. Are the gates always open during the day?

    7. Machpelah is open Sundays through Fridays until 4:30pm (I believe) It is closed on Saturdays and Jewish holidays. The gates right by Houdini's family plot are not usually open these days, but there are other gates into the cemetery that are open during their regular hours. Certain parts of the cemetery are in better conditions than others and certain parts were hit harder during Sandy than others...but the area that the Weiss plot and the cemetery immediately surrounding it is in is in a generally good state...though there is an abandoned cemetery office right across from it...that building is more or less in various stages of being torn down...and as noted in the article/post that Jon mentioned above "A grave matter" the marble of Houdini's plot could use some cleaning/repair but the area is more or less what you would expect of an old cemetery.

    8. I'm envious that you're so close you can go take a stroll and see Harry whenever you like, Colleen. :)

      When I was there in 2005, everything seemed to be well tended in the plot.

    9. I feel very very lucky to live so close, John. I think that someday in the future when I eventually make the big move out of nyc that Harry is going to be one of the aspects that I miss the most about living here. It is a lovely space to go and might even say magical :)

  2. Crazy video! For some reason I like it. Houdini meets Night of the living dead.



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