Friday, October 21, 2016

'Original Seance' to be held at site of Houdini's first New York home

Dorothy Dietrich and Dick Brookz of the Houdini Museum in Scranton will hold their "Original Houdini Seance" at the Sojourn Restaurant in New York City on October 31 at 12 PM. Among the attendees will be celebrity mentalist Marc Salem. The seance is open to the public. Admission is free.

The choice of location is a meaningful one. Sojourn is located at 244 East 79 St., in a building that was once Mrs. Loeffler's Boarding House. It was here that young Ehrich Weiss and his father stayed when they first arrived in New York in 1887. Amazingly, the building would still be recognizable to Houdini and his father today.

Dorothy and Dick's "Original" seance (not to be confused with the "Official" seance, which this year is being held in Milwaukee) traces back to Walter B. Gibson, who suggested that Dorothy carry on the annual seance tradition. Along with the American Museum of Magic's "Lox and Bagel" seance, it looks like Houdini is going to have a choice of destination on this 90th year!

Marc Salem's new show "Haunted Mind" will play a special Halloween night event at The Gramercy Theatre at 127 E. 23rd Street in Manhattan.

You can read the full Original Houdini Seance press release at



  1. Very cool! Another Houdini landmark in New York that still stands. It looks like both séances will have a bit of Houdini's spirit, even if Harry doesn't show!


  2. I don't believe Harry's spirit would be hanging around this place. In life he was relieved to have escaped this neighborhood, noting in his diary that it had gone downhill since his departure.

  3. This was just temporary lodgings. Eventually the family moved to 305 East 69th Street, which is not far from Mrs. Loeffler's (btw, I'm using Silverman's spelling). That was the family home until HH bought 278. True, Houdini noted that the neighborhood had gone downhill, but that's certainly not the case anymore.

  4. Got it! These buildings must have been ovens during the summer. The window air condition units in the photo tells us that central air conditioning was never installed.

  5. Heck, even 278 didn't have central air in Houdini's day. This is why Bessie spent summers at a vacation house.

  6. Very true but 278 may have high ceilings to better absorb the rising heat during the summer. Ever walked into an old large house and wondered why the ceiling was so high up? To keep the house cooler in hot weather.

    Those old apartment buildings like 244 and 305 may not have had the luxury of high ceilings. I spent a summer once in an old townhouse as a child and it had no AC and no high ceiling. The heat made sleeping at night almost impossible. A cooler vacation house was not an option for me as it was for Bess.