Monday, November 12, 2007

Norman Mailer dies

Pulitzer Prize winning author, actor, director and personality Normal Mailer has died at age 84 from kidney failure.

Mailer’s many works and accomplishments are well known, but less known is the fact that Mailer played Harry Houdini in the avant guard film Cremaster 2 (1999).

Mailer also wrote the bestseller The Executioners Song, the story of murderer Gary Gilmore who claimed he was an illegitimate descendant of Harry Houdini. Much was made of the Gilmore-Houdini connection when the book was first released in 1979.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Official Houdini Seance held at Fantasma Magic

The Official Houdini Seance was held this year at Fantasma Magic in New York City. The annual seance is organized by Sidney Radner and is a sincere attempt to make contact with Houdini.

No word yet on what happened, but I'm guessing Houdini was a no-show. Here's to next year!

Meanwhile, Joe Nickell, paranormal investigator and CSI senior research fellow, and D.J. Grothe, conducted their own 11th Annual Houdini Seance on their show, Point of Inquiry. You can listen to that HERE.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Unlocking the truth of the Mirror Handcuff challenge

Master Locksmith and Houdini historian Mick Hanzlik has published a terrific booklet, Houdini’s Mirror Handcuff Challenge, Getting Closer to the Truth, which lays out his investigation of the 1904 Mirror Handcuff Challenge, one of Houdini’s most famous and celebrated challenge escapes.

Hanzlik helped authors William Kalush and Larry Sloman research the Mirror Challenge for their book, The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of Americas First Superhero. The authors concluded that the escape was a set-up, citing evidence that the cuff was made a full year before the escape and appeared to be custom-made for Houdini’s wrists.

Hanzlik has now gone on to discover the man he believes actually manufactured the Mirror cuff, Thomas Froggatt, and has found evidence that Froggatt was indeed a friend of Houdini.

It’s all terrific stuff, but the full truth is still elusive. Mick says he’ll continue his investigation and will publish an updated book with new findings.

UPDATE: Mick has released a new book about the making of his Mirror replica: Looking into the Mirror.