Monday, November 2, 2020

Houdini Seances go virtual for 2020

Due to Covid, The Official Houdini Seance and The Original Houdini Seance were both held virtually this Halloween. But this all-new stage seemed to finally rouse Harry with both seances claiming paranormal activity...if we Believe.

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.

7 comments:

  1. The very moment of contact (33 sec) with Houdini also at
    https://youtu.be/DU4b9JPRepc



    See Magician-Escape Artist Dorothy Dietrich reach Houdini. 2020 seance on day of his death-Halloween.

    On Zoom.us, in 2020, legendary magician, escape artist, Houdini expert, Dorothy Dietrich, curator of Scranton's Houdini Museum, the Only Building in the World totally devoted to Houdini, contacted Houdini on the 94th anniversary of his death, October 31, 1926, Halloween. See it as it happened in this quick video at that very moment. This Zoom event is believed to be the largest Houdini Seance in history there.

    All of Dorothy Dietrich's seances have and will remain free in keeping with the wishes of Harry Houdini's wife Beatrice "Bess" Houdini who was reported in the Jan 10, 1929 of The New York Times to state that all Houdini Seances should be free from "monetary gain".

    This clearly spontaneous jumping across the table of Houdini's printing block that he owned and would have handled many times in real life happened as Dorothy Dietrich was discussing how Houdini has been falsely been portrayed as dying in an escape, The Houdini Water Torture Cell, which Houdini would have hated.

    Interestingly on the Houdini Seance she held on the 50th anniversary of his death, at New York City's Magic Towne House, as everyone in the room were gathered for several minutes around the seance table, at the other end of the room a picture fell from the wall and shattered. It was a picture of the very same Water Torture Cell, that many due to the Tony Curtis movie, believe Houdini died in as a result of a failed escape.

    (33 sec) https://youtu.be/DU4b9JPRepc

    or

    houdini.org/DorothySeanceBlock.mp4

    and
    https://youtu.be/DU4b9JPRepc

    You can find the full event at almost 3 hours or more
    https://vimeo.com/474253310

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    1. An even better slightly longer (52 sec) video as seen above by John Cox where I proclaim that contact was made. It is amazing! You can play it over and over again and it is plain we are far away and it is leaning back out of touch or reach when it jumps as Dorothy mentions the Water Torture Cell.

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    2. The link to the above 52 second video by John Cox wildabouthoudini.com is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjVfhhyHeD4

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  2. That's a nice replica of the Mirror Cuffs on the seance table.

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  3. Thanks for allowing me to be with you last Sat.night for "The Official Houdini Seance." What touched me most of all was not my nervous excitement performing for the "1st" time opening up the Seance but rather "opening" up my heart and sincere thoughts to "Gay Blackstone" about my love for her husband "Harry" and my love for my "Bill Radner's" father, "Sid!" Indeed, it was a most memorable evening and one that will remain with me for the rest of my life! Like "Sidney" would tell me when I would ask him,"Why do you continue holding these annual "Seances?" He would respond, "Benjilini" although,"Houdini" did not come back this year again, I hold these annual Seances because if he does return, I want to be there!" This would ALWAYS make me laugh very hard😆 John, if possible, could you PLEASE send me a hard copy of your article and, thoughts above about our "1st Annual Virtual Zoom Official Houdini Seance" along with an autographed photo of yourself, etc. to: Benjilini, 3111 Aurelia Court, Apt. 607, Brooklyn, NY 11210-3208, 917-331-0377, thegreatbenjilini@gmail.com

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    1. It was pleasure to "share the bill" with you on Sat! But don't thank me. I think we both have Tom and Bill to thank. It was a great seance event.

      Hard copy of my article? Do you mean this post? I don't really have hard copies. But it can be printed.

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  4. John, thanks for the post and the playback. I'm amazed to see that what I thought I saw during Dorothy and Dick's seance is what actually happened - very freaky!

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