Saturday, September 26, 2015

Houdini Among The Spirits, Oct. 18

On Sunday, October 18, I will be giving an all-new lecture called Houdini Among The Spirits. I'll be doing the talk twice that day. The first will be at 11:00 AM in the Steve Allen Theater at the Center for Inquiry (CFI) in Hollywood. The second will take place at 4:30 PM at the CFI in Costa Mesa. The talk is being presented by the Independent Investigations Group (IIG) and is part of the CFI's regular "Feed Your Brain" series. Here's a description:

Harry Houdini’s role as a skeptic and debunker of fraudulent spirit mediums is one of the most fascinating aspects of his remarkable career. Yet very few people understand the whole story. Was Houdini’s crusade really motivated by his mother’s death? What role did Sir Arthur Conan Doyle play? What really happened between Houdini and the notorious “Margery the Medium”? And what about the sensational claim that Houdini himself escaped the grave in 1929? Using photos, film clips and rare documentation, noted Houdini historian and blogger John Cox ( offers fresh insights and tells the story of how Houdini spent a lifetime among the spirits.
Click to enlarge.

Yes, I realize this is the same day as TCM's airing of The Grim Game, so this is going to be one spectacular Houdini Sunday! Hope to see you there.

Houdini Among The Spirits
Sunday, October 18, 2015
11:00 AM: Center For Inquiry, 4773 Hollywood Blvd. 
Los Angeles, CA 90027.
4:30 PM: Costa Mesa Community Center, 1845 Park Ave. Costa Mesa, CA 92627.

For more, visit the details page at the CFI Los Angeles website and the CFI Costa Mesa website.

UPDATECenter For Inquiry welcomes Houdini (report)



  1. Those of us on the East Coast are out of the loop. Perhaps a follow up set of notes/booklet on your presentation would be really nice for us to read.

    1. That's an idea. But the thing is, these talks are primarily an audio/visual experience. A live "telling of the tale" sort of thing. Not really sure how to bring that to paper. Might be boring! But I would love to do my talks on the East Coast or anywhere anyone will have me.

  2. Wish I could make it, but I will be hosting a Grim Game party on Maui with my family. Maybe you could give it as a daytime presentation at the 2015 Séance in SF or as a perk at the Magic Castle in Hollywood?

    1. Grim Game party in Maui!? Nice.

      If Robert gets the full day funded then, yes, I would love to do this talk. It would be perfect for that event. And, yeah, I could look into doing it at the Castle, although I've done 2 talks at the Castle and I never feel like they go over that well.

  3. Bill Ragsdale did a talk on John Scarne at the Los Angeles Conference on Magic History back in November 2013. He published a 75 page comb bound book that detailed his presentation. It also consists of black and white and color photos. It's still available on eBay.

    If you were to do something similar, the booklet would address the questions that are in the above description. The questions you will answer/discuss in your presentation:

    1. Was HH's crusade motivated by his mother's death?
    2. What role did Doyle play in all this?
    3. What was the straight dope between HH and Margery?
    4. Did HH really come back in 1929?

    Those of us Wild About Harry would snag a copy.

  4. What about taping it and allowing us in the Midwest to purchase a dvd or download of it? Live stream? I guess, John, you're just going to have to go on a nationwide lecture tour :)

  5. Great photo on the advertising flyer !

    1. Yeah, I love that pic. BTW, there are 3 Houdinis in that photo. Can you find them?

  6. I'd love to hear this!!!! Maybe a video?