Friday, August 14, 2015

The Houdini seance inside Room 401

It wasn't an "official" Houdini seance, but in 1978 four researchers led by Mark McPherson gathered for a Halloween seance at what must go down as the best location of them all; the very room in which Houdini died! The article below from the The San Bernardino County Sun describes the seance inside Room 401 of Grace Hospital.

Click to enlarge.

As the article states, this was a year before Grace Hospital was scheduled to be torn down, so it's likely this section of the hospital was already closed and offered the investigators a unique one-time opportunity to hold a seance in the infamous Room 401 (Corridor D). But what about the claim that contact was made?

In 1997, seance organizer Mark McPherson wrote and hosted a Houdini documentary called The Houdini File which aired on local Michigan television. In it, he offered a few more specifics about the 1978 seance.

McPherson said the team of mediums reached Houdini via a "trunk call" to Harry Price and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The ghost of Houdini claimed that "direct voice communication" had been difficult for him, and that at the time of his death, he had been working on an effect having to do with "bilocation." Houdini also claimed he had been a reincarnated soul (hmmm) and that he would incarnate again through the child of a family member. When asked what he thought of the entire seance proceedings, the ghost of Houdini is said to have replied: "Misagosh!"

Now if we could only see more photos of this seance and get a last good look inside Room 401. Are you out there, Mr. McPherson?

Thanks to Jon Oliver for providing me with a copy of The Houdini File.



  1. Based on the photo of the old Grace Hospital, the 4th floor appears to be the top floor of the building.

  2. Misagosh is Yiddish for crazy/craziness.

  3. This is my first encounter with this production. I presented a séance program featuring the "spirits" of Houdini and Conan Doyle back in the 1980s and 1990s. We had two versions, one for the stage (more family-oriented), and a more serious, and hopefully more frightening, version for the home. We featured items actually owned by Houdini and Conan Doyle in the presentations. The show was called "Phantoms," and used to be listed at