Friday, August 25, 2017

'Waiting for Houdini' at the 2000 Official Seance

The 74th annual Official Houdini Seance was held at the Humphrey Scottish Rite Masonic Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Halloween 2000. The event was recorded and released as part of a documentary, Waiting For Houdini. I recently found it on YouTube (misidentified as the 2001 seance), and it's definitely worth watching.

The seance is fascinating as the medium, Rev. Pamla Ashlay, communicates directly with Houdini for some time (you can be the judge of whether she really made contact). Intercut with the seance are interviews with Sidney Radner and Dr. Morris Young. These are a must watch. Sid shows handcuffs and talks at length about his times with Hardeen, even admitting that he passed on acquiring Houdini's diving suit. Dr. Young tells of meeting Houdini himself in September 1926 when he was only 17. I'm sorry to have never met Dr. Young, who passed away in 2002 at age 93. He seems like a very kind man with genuine love for Houdini, and how I would have loved to have heard more about that meeting!

Below is the full documentary. Production values are a little homespun, but there is gold here. Enjoy.

No word yet on the location for this year's Official Houdini Seance, but I've heard a rumor that it may be in the South.



  1. It is definitely worth watching. I have a VHS copy that’s labeled Waiting for Houdini 50 minutes © 2001 Magpie Media, Inc.,

    1. Yeah, the doc is from 2001, but the seance is 2000. Think that's why the YouTuber named it this way.

  2. Such a basic similarity between the Hungarian handcuff and the Mirror cuff. Then you hear Radner say he could get out of the cuff very quickly as he knows the secret. Implying that the Hungarian cuff is gaffed. Makes one better understand the potential history that led to the Mirror cuff development. Perry from NJ.

  3. Excellent video. I love the interviews with Radner and Young. I'm curious about the escape Radner was describing that Houdini intended to replace the water torture cell with. Maybe the stage version of buried alive?

    1. He's taking about a stacked nest of boxes escape. Arthur Moses owned it at one point. I was never quite clear on exactly how it worked. It's not mentioned in any book. Hardeen must have told him it was something that was to replace the USD. But I too was under the impression Buried Alive was going to be the new featured escape of the 3 Shows in One. But maybe he'd use this when Buried Alive was impractical.

  4. Right the same here. Buried alive was to be the big escape for the 3 in 1. Thanks for the link.


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