The first seance of the day was Dorothy Dietrich and Dick Brookz' Original Houdini Seance. This was held via ZOOM at 1:26 PM (the time of Houdini's death). The seance was open to the public, hitting a high of 201 viewers by mid seance. The S.A.M. hosted the event with Dorothy and Dick conducting the seance from Scranton, PA.
But it's what happened at 1:29 PM that has us all scratching our heads. A printers block that was used by Houdini toppled over on the seance table in a way that seemed utterly inexplicable. I spoke with Dorothy and Dick afterwards, and they assured me there was no trickery involved. Luckily, it was all captured on video. Below is the moment. The printer's block is propped against the photograph of Harry, Mama, and Bess on the right. This is pretty weird!
Next came The Official Houdini Seance run annually by Bill Radner and Tom Boldt. This was also conducted via ZOOM, but was a private invitation only event. Always a class production, the seance featured a performance by Benjilini, brief talks by myself, Gay Blackstone, George Hardeen, and David Muller. Bill Radner showed the seances cuffs and Tom Boldt hosted. Teller was also among the virtual attendees. The Official Houdini Seance always invites a professional medium to conduct their seance. This time it was Robyn Fritz, a "certified past life regression specialist" and author.
Unlike recent Official seance mediums, Robyn had no problem instantly contacting "Mr. Houdini," whom she said she had been "working with" all week in preparation. She explained Houdini was trapped in a grey area of the afterlife (her version of purgatory) and was searching for his wife. Roybn was able to bring forth Bess and reunite the two, who then traveled off together into what Roybn calls the "party."
Roybn seemed nice and I think she believes in her abilities. But I was far from convinced. At one point she asked the group if we had any questions for Houdini, and I volunteered a few test questions to verify it really was Houdini we were speaking to. I explained Houdini himself would understand this and demand it of any seance. But Houdini was unable or unwilling to answer a single question.
This was the first Official Seance I've attended in which the medium actually claimed clear and unequivocal contact. But I don't think she appreciated my test. Or was it Houdini who didn't like it? Either way, I'm convinced no one was convinced.
Finally, while it wasn't a seance, another virtual highlight of this Halloween weekend was the Magic Collector's Corner #29, which focused on Houdini for the third time. I thought this was the best of the three Houdini specials, with appearances by myself, Fred Pittella, Dorothy Dietrich, Mike Caveney, and, best of all, Houdini's Ghost himself, Patrick Culliton! If you saw it I know you enjoyed it as much as I did. If you want to watch a replay (or see the full video of Fred Pittella's amazing collection), you can check it out by joining the Magic Collectors' Corner Facebook group.
Hope everyone had a Happy Halloween!
UPDATE: Dick and Dorothy have shared with me a photo of the phantom printer's block to show this was not a trick (not a Telekinetic Timber). This came out of 278 in 1980.