Monday, March 5, 2018

Delving into The Mystifier file

From 1991 to 2003, the Houdini Historical Center in Appleton published a quarterly newsletter called the Mystifier. The newsletter ran 4 to 6 pages and provided news on current events, reviews, as well as deep dives into Houdini history. Every issue also contained a column by Sidney Radner, who had his finger on the pulse of all that was happening in the Houdini world. It was a treasure trove of information written by people with a passion for Houdini, and in many ways it was the forerunner of blogs like WILD ABOUT HARRY.

Happily, I have a nearly complete set of Mystifiers, so I've decided to take a look back at each and every issue. I've largely forgotten myself what gems these newsletters contain, so I hope you enjoy rediscovering them along with me.

*Missing issues (if anyone can help):
Vol. 3 No. 2 Second Quarter 1993
Vol. 3 No. 3 Third Quarter 1993

Many thanks to Gary Hunt for recently providing me with three missing issues. Be sure and visit Gary's excellent new blog, Handcuff Queens.

UPDATE: I've created an index page where you can see and jump to any specific issue.


  1. I'm looking forward to rediscover these with you, John. The time frame they cover encompasses the USD at the Canadian museum, its restoration by John Gaughan as well as its destruction by fire in 1995 and its ultimate rebuild. I am especially interested in what, if anything, Sid Radner said about these milestones in the history of the USD. I'll be waiting....

  2. That would be nice if a complete file was reprinted in book form

    1. That would be nice. I wonder if that's something they've ever considered.

  3. First issue is up. I'm toying with the idea of making these a regularly scheduled thing -- like every Sunday maybe?