Sunday, July 31, 2022

A new way to go Wild

Tomorrow I will announce what I believe will be a major complement to this blog. I'm pretty excited about it and think you will be too. So come back here tomorrow and get ready to go wild in a whole new way.

Clipping: The Ottawa Journal, March 7, 1919.

Friday, July 29, 2022

The secret origins of Houdini the debunker

One of the more engrained Houdini myths is that his interest in spiritualism and crusade against fakes began with his mother's death in 1913. It didn't. But I've already tackled that in a post HERE. The question I want to tackle today is what did motivate him to begin exposing spiritualistic fraud?

Turns out Houdini answered that himself in an interview with the Dayton Daily News on September 26, 1925. It's a story that opens a door to a wider speculation, which I will get into in a moment. But first, here's that interview with the key paragraph excerpted:

    Houdini, born in Appleton, Wis., has been actively experimenting with spiritualism since he was 17, soon after his father died.

    "My father left his insurance papers in an usual state," said Houdini. "Innocent then, my mother and I went to a spiritualist.

    "Three of the four mediums enabled us to talk with my father. He said he was perfectly happy. It seems strange to me that my father, knowing or pinch circumstances, would say any such thing.

    "That's what started my suspicions and caused me to expose this cruel deception to the world."

So there we go. Houdini smelled a rat as early as the 1892. But for me this explanation has embedded within it something even deeper.

What I find most interesting here is his mother's participation. It begs the question: Did Cecelia Weiss believe in spiritualism? Could she even have been an ardent believer? 

If so, this would explain the conflicting nature of Houdini's obsession with the subject. On one hand, he was committed to protect his mother by sussing out the frauds that he saw prying on grieving windows like herself. But was he also driven to redeem his mothers belief by finding the real thing. Hence, Houdini's search for a real thing was every bit as strong as his hunt for fakes.

I really think this could be a key to Houdini's psyche and I have thought this for some time. But evidence is scant. Because just as we have a Germany problem, we also have a "Mama problem." 

Houdini was buried with all his mother's letters forming a pillow under his head, so no conversation between them survives. Therefore, we really don't know all that much about the most important person and most influential relationship in Houdini's life. How many of those letters discuss spiritualism, I wonder?

Food for thought!

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Houdini's Unmasking on Pawn Stars

Houdini is back on Pawn Stars. Well, this is actually from 2014, but it was just uploaded to the Pawn Stars YouTube channel. I won't spoil the suspense, but I'm pretty sure the only thing real about this segment is the signature.

Thanks to Roberto Mansilla for the alert.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Johnathon Schaech pays tribute to his Sir Arthur

Houdini (1998) star Johnathon Schaech tweeted out this tribute to actor David Warner, who passed away Monday at age 80.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

R.I.P. David Warner and Paul Sorvino

Yesterday saw the loss of two celebrated actors who, ironically, both appeared in the 1998 TNT original movie HOUDINI.

English actor David Warner passed away at age 80. Warner portrayed Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to Johnathon Schaech's Houdini in the film. The biopic condensed their famous friendship and falling out into a single visit to Doyle's home, but Warner's gravitas made for a great Sir Arthur. I'm also a fan of his turn as Jack the Ripper in the excellent Time After Time.

Actor Paul Sorvino also died yesterday at age 83. Sorvino portrayed the fictional radio announcer "Blackburn" in the movie's recreation of the Final Houdini Seance.

Check out the blog Travalanche by Trav S.D. for tributes to both David Warner and Paul Sorvino.

Monday, July 25, 2022

Houdini 278 parlor photos sell on eBay

Two fantastic photos of Houdini demonstrating magic inside his New York home (278) sold on eBay yesterday for $965 and $930. These photos where taken as part of series of shots for an article in the January 1926 Popular Science Monthly, "Lessons in Magic" by Houdini. 

What I really love about these images is they give a great look at the trophy cases that lined the west wall of the 278 parlor. You can also see the large built-in mirror that is still there. I'm also pretty sure I can spot  the recently rediscovered breakfront, now housed at the Harry Ransom Center, in the background inside the passage to the library. It interesting that Houdini's famous bronze bust, which can be seen in the corner in other photos, appears to have been moved to another location by the time of this shoot.

Below you can see how one of these photos appeared in the Popular Science article. The workshop photo seen here also recently sold on eBay for $1,225.

Original archive photos such as these from Brown Brothers continue to surface and sell on eBay. The high prices are keeping me at bay, but at least we get to mine the valuable Houdini history they contain.

Congrats to the winner of these amazing images.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Houston Escape Room looking for a new Houdini

If you've always dreamed of being the next Houdini, here's your chance! The Man From Beyond Escape Room in Houston, Texas, is searching for actors to play Houdini and his mediumistic rival Madame Daphne. Details below.

HARRY HOUDINI Age 20s-50s. Must be willing and able to fit in a small space (email for details if needed). Role includes minor stage management/game mastering. Auditions on Monday, July 25 or by appointment. Click for details.

MADAME DAPHNE Age 20s-40s, any ethnicity. RP (British) accent. Role includes some stage management/game mastering. Daphne will learn to read tarot cards, according to the company’s style. Auditions on Tuesday, July 26 or by appointment. Click for details.

Good luck, thespians!

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Houdini of Arabia

Here's a photo that you'll sometimes see credited as being Houdini in Egypt. However, this clipping from the March 3, 1912 Virginian Pilot identifies it as being "Aden Arabia". Houdini did indeed stop off in Aden (Yemen) during his journey to Australia in 1910. This would have been after his stop in Port Said, Egypt. I'm not sure I buy the claim that Houdini escaped from their jail. I think this pic is all about the camel.

This appeared as part of a full page profile that ran in anticipation of Houdini's appearance at the Colonial Theater in Norfolk, Virginia, in March 1912. This would mark his first and only appearance in the city and proved to be one wild week! I'll be sharing that story soon...

BONUS: Our good friend David Haversat of David Haversat Magic has sent over this image as a beautiful first generation photo from his own collection. You can see it on my new WILD ABOUT HARRY Patreon by joining at any level. Just click the image below to go:

Below are some more posts about Houdini the world traveller.


Thursday, July 21, 2022

Discover HURRY HOUDINI in Detroit, July 30

A new interactive play, Hurry Houdini, will debut at Midnight Temple in Detroit on Saturday, July 30 at 8pm. The play features Jake Mate as Houdini, Stephanie Stoiko as Bess, and Kristina Camaj as Houdini's fictional manager, Suzi. The show is the creation of Wild Wonder Productions and sounds like a lot of fun! Details below.

Hurry Houdini is an interactive play based in 1922, get your best squad together to compete against all the other teams, you must work together in order to beat Houdinis challenges! Do you have what it takes? ...only time will tell. 
If you have a fun competitive spirit, love to dress up and play, and enjoy escape rooms, then Hurry Houdini is the show for you! Come with friends, family, a date or solo! 
Hurry Houdini premieres Saturday, July 30, 8pm at Midnight Temple in Eastern Market, Detroit. Tickets are $35. Free glass of champagne with every ticket purchased, cash bar only, dress up in your best roaring 20s attire, enjoy our many raffles to win amazing prizes around metro Detroit! Portions of the proceeds go to Children's Hospital of Michigan.
Space is limited, hope to see you there!

Following this Detroit performance, Hurry Houdini will go on tour with Armed Forces Entertainment to provide entertainment for the United States military and their families overseas. The troupe will appear in Greenland, Puerto Rico, and the Bahamas, August 3-12. It then heads to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, October 27- November 1, 2022. 

You can follow Wild Wonder Productions and keep up with all the latest Hurry Houdini news at their Facebook and Instagram.

Thanks to Kristina Camaj.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Houdini living on the air in Cincinnati

Reader Dutch Schantz checks in today with a "Hidden Houdini" he spotted in the classic TV show WKRP in Cincinnati. As you can see below, a "King of Cards" poster can been seen in the background of season 2, episode 7, Mike Fright. The episode first aired November 12, 1979.

You can bet this is a Lee Jacobs reproduction King of Cards poster. You can read the history this famous magic bedroom mainstay HERE.

But what of the real Houdini in Cincinnati?

Houdini appeared in Cincinnati ten times between 1899 and 1925. Eight of those engagements were at the Columbia/B.F. Keith's theater on 5th and Walnut streets. During these runs he did handcuff and a jail escapes from the local police station. He also did a suspended straitjacket escape from the Pickering Building in 1916. Houdini gave his spiritualism lecture at the Emery Auditorium in 1924. His final appearance in Cincinnati was at the Shubert Theater in 1925 with his 3 Shows in One.

Here's something that ties in nicely. Houdini also appeared on Cincinnati radio! During the week of September 20, 1925, Houdini broadcast nightly from station WLM. He addressed spiritualism and even gave magic lessons. I doubt he was as smooth as Dr. Johnny Fever, but I bet he didn't get mike fright!

Rushville Daily Republican, Sept. 20, 1925.

Eagle-eye Dutch also made an interesting sighting in The Greatest American Hero. A pair of straitjackets from the 1953 Tony Curtis Houdini biopic can be spotted in the season 3 episode, "The Resurrection of Carlini", which first aired November 19, 1982. As I covered in my last installment of Deconstruction Houdini '53, these straitjackets where custom made for the movie by Abbott's Magic Co. Wild to see them still available to productions in 1982. I wonder if these are still lurking in some Hollywood prop or costume shop?

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

LINK: What We Hide: Houdini's Final Illusion

Back in March the great Jim Steinmeyer wrote a guest blog for us about Houdini's little-known Walking Through the North Pole illusion. Jim has now continued the investigation at his own blog and offers up his idea of how this mysterious effect was staged. He even provides an illustration. Jim also explains how he believes it was done...but in code!

This is great stuff, so click the headline to read this and other posts at


Monday, July 18, 2022

Hello gorgeous

What a way to start the week. While doing some quick research for a post about Houdini in Cincinnati, I stumbled on a photo I've never seen before. And I love it! So I decide to chuck my plans for the day and immediately share this stunner. What a look.

I guess I should provide a bit of background. This ran on the front page of The Cincinnati Post on April 8, 1925. Houdini is holding a certified check for $5000 as a challenge to local medium, Mrs. Laura A. Pruden, to demonstrate genuine spiritualistic phenomena. Houdini said, "Mrs. Pruden told me she was too busy housecleaning to give me a seance, so I offered $5000 as a special inducement."

Mrs. Pruden (wisely) declined.

Sunday, July 17, 2022

New book! The Houdini Pitchbooks by Arthur Moses

A new book by mega collector Arthur Moses has just appeared on Amazon. This is an exciting and essential new Houdini resource from the man who has it all! Here's a description of The Houdini Pitchbooks.

Harry Houdini (1874-1926) was the quintessential immigrant success story. Brought to America as a small boy, his family had little means of financial support. Yet young Erik Weisz (birth name) rose above his family’s poverty and became the world’s most renowned escape artist, magician, and debunker of spiritualists. He was fearless when taking on a challenge and incapable of accepting defeat.

Pitchbooks, as they were known, were commonly used by performers and businesses in the latter 19th and early 20th centuries as an expansion of early playbills or advertising. Instead of a single sheet flyer, these multi-page pamphlets enabled the advertiser or performer to further extol their talents or products while generating additional financial revenues.

Includes all the known Houdini pitchbooks and their variants. This body of work includes over 40 different rare pitchbooks, including their cover images, along with the history of each. Variants include such differences as cover colors, page counts, minor text changes, revised editions, publication dates, printers, etc. An unmatched and valuable resource guide.

Arthur dedicates the book to our late friend John Bushey, who always wanted to publish a work such as this.

You can purchase The Houdini Pitchbooks in hardcover or paperback at and

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Watch 'Houdini A Magician Among the Spirits' LIVE

Heads up! The new UK production Houdini: A Magician Among The Spirits will be streaming LIVE from The Seagull Theatre at 7:30pm GMT. That's only 40 minutes from the time of this posting! The show can be watched free on YouTube. Enjoy.

For more information visit and Facebook.

UPDATE: The stream has ended, but the recording remains online, so you can still watch above. Well done everyone!

Friday, July 15, 2022

The Grim Game flies high at Heritage poster auction

An original poster for Houdini's 1919 film The Grim Game sold for a hefty $63,000 (with buyers premium) at Heritage Auctions "Treasures of the Silent Screen: The Dwight Manley Collection" auction today. This 2-day sale is the largest auction ever dedicated solely to silent-era movie posters. The Grim Game was the second highest priced poster in session one, beat only by a King Kong one-sheet.

It's not generally known that the dramatic image on this poster is painted from an equally dramatic still photo. That photo has never been reproduced in any book, but you can see it below in this 1920 newspaper clipping.

The Spokesman Review, Jan. 4, 1920.

Congrats to the winner of this stunner!


Thursday, July 14, 2022

Before Beyond

Recently I stumbled on an advertisement showing Houdini on the same vaudeville bill as his future co-star in The Man From Beyond, Jane Connelly. Jane had never appeared in a movie before, and I've often speculated that Houdini may have known her and her husband, Erwin, who also appears in the movie as Dr. Gregory Sinclair, from vaudeville. This clipping seemed to confirm that.

This led me to do a little investigation into Jane's career before she went Beyond. Here's what I found.

Jane and Erwin Connelly appear to have started their vaudeville careers around 1907. Their act was a presentation of the popular english sketch, "Sweethearts," written by W.S. Gilbert. Here's a review from the January 26, 1907 Birmingham News:

"Sweethearts," as presented by Mr. and Mrs. Connelly, seems really more than a vaudeville turn, for the audience feels, as the curtain slowly descends upon the reunion of sweethearts of long ago, true to each other for forty years, as though a drama of several acts was just closing. It is called a "dramatic contrast," for it shows not only the bashful lover filled with the vigor of youth pleading his cause with a maiden, for after forty years waiting they are united, showing a pretty picture, old as love itself. The sketch was written by W.S. Gilbert famous for his composition of "H.M.S. Pinafore."
The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, Dec. 15, 1912.

Unlike Houdini, most vaudevillians did not change their act. That was certainly the case with the Connellys who toured with "Sweethearts" for over 10 years. The first time I find them sharing the bill with Houdini is at Shea's Theater in Buffalo in October 1911. They appeared together again at the Maryland in Baltimore in 1912 and at Keith's Theater in Rhode Island in 1915.

The Connellys on the bill with Houdini....

But it wasn't just Houdini who shared the bill with the Connellys. Check out this appearance by Hardeen at the Columbia Theater in Davenport in April 1916.

...and Hardeen...

You'll notice the act is now billed as Jane Connelly & Co. Ewrin was still part of the act, but Jane was now featured more prominently in advertising. (I can't help but be reminded here of Bess Houdini's belief that billing an act as husband and wife was a bad idea.) The photo at the top of this post is from San Fransisco in 1915 and is a good example of this. Interestingly, that engagement saw the Connellys on the same bill as the Marx Brothers.

...and the Marx Brothers!

Despite a story in The Man From Beyond press book that says Houdini cast Connelly because she perfectly matched a composite photo of famous "psychic types" (you can read about that here), I think it's pretty clear Houdini knew the Connellys from vaudeville and felt comfortable casting the experienced actors in these important supporting roles. It's even possible the Connellys would have been familiar to audiences of the time and that offered some additional appeal. This was their first appearance in a film, and the movie does provide them with a nice scene together.

Erwin and Jane in The Man From Beyond.

The Connellys continued to perform in vaudeville into the 1920s, broadening their repertoire with new comedic sketches written by Erwin such as "A Tale of a Shirt" and "A Strong Cup of Tea". The only other film Jane would appear in was Buster Keaton's classic Sherlock Jr. (1924), again with Erwin.

In 1925 Jane died at her home in Los Angeles. She was only 42. The below is from Variety. I'm not sure what to make of the cause of death being "a nervous breakdown."

After Jane's death, Erwin continued to appear in films, including an uncredited appearance as The Zouave in Rudolph Valentino's final film, The Son of the Sheik (1926). He died from injuries suffered in a car accident in 1931.

Chicago Tribune, Feb. 12, 1931.


Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Houdini meets Mata Hari

Agentes H: Enemigo en Nueva York is a Spanish language pulp style adventure by Paulo César Ramírez Villaseñor. Below is the cover and plot description (via Google translate).

Harry Houdini and Mata Hari team up to work on a special mission, set against the backdrop of 1918 New York. Under the codenames "Double Ax" and "H21", the two investigate a strange robbery of an exhibition of Egyptian archaeological pieces at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in particular, the disappearance of a mysterious mirror. After a series of heinous murders with clear occult overtones, they discover a horrible plan that they must stop before it's too late.

A thriller that combines Alternative History, Espionage Fiction, Detectives of the Occult and a few slight drops of Lovecraftian Horror, all written in pulp code.

Believe it or not, this is not the first fictional pairing of Houdini and Mata Hari. The famous spy joined Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the 1978 play The Houdini Deception. The 2010 book Dear Sweet Harry offered a poetic take on the couple, as did a 2010 concert in Wellington, New Zealand (poster below). As far as I know, the real Houdini and Mata Hari never met.

You can purchase Agentes H: Enemigo en Nueva York at

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

LINK: Deeper Cut: Houdini & Weird Tales

The blog Deep Cuts in a Lovecraftian Vein by Bobby Derie has an extremely well-researched deep dive into Houdini's involvement with Weird Tales magazine. I learned a lot from this. It includes extensive quotes from H.P. Lovecraft's letters in which he talks about working with Houdini, like this: 

I’m hearin’ damn near every day from Henneberger–the owner of the outfit [Weird Tales]–& just had a special delivery order to collaborate on an Egyptian horror with this bimbo Houdini.

-H. P. Lovecraft to James F. Morton, 19 Feb 1924, Letters to James F. Morton 67

Click the headline to take the full journey.

Thanks to Ash Adams for the tip.


Monday, July 11, 2022

Talking Houdini (and Amityville) with Jimi and Joei

It's my pleasure to be a guest on the spooky Please Don't Follow Me Home podcast. Jimi and Joei have taken a multipart deep dive into the world of Houdini in three previous episodes (linked here). I came in to help wrap things up with Part 4. It was a lot of fun. Click below to have a listen.

Harry Houdini Part 4

You can listen and subscribe to "Please Don't Follow Me Home" on Spotify and Apple. Follow them (just not home) at Twitter and Facebook.

Thanks again Jimi and Joei!

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Houdini kicks off his heels for the Ladies

This original press photo sold in Haversat & Ewing's latest magic auction for $560.50. There's a lot to love about this image. But what I especially like is it gives us a good look at Houdini's boots. Look at the size of those heels!

This photo was part of series taken at the White Studios in New York to illustrate Houdini's article, "How I Get Out of My Rope Ties," in the June 1918 The Ladies' Home Journal. I've always thought this was an unusual choice of magazine for this and his companion article, "How I Get Out of a Strait-Jacket." But I love the photos they gave us!


Friday, July 8, 2022

Watch The Great Houdinis (1976)

I've given a lot of attention lately to the 1953 biopic Houdini starring Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh. That's because it's a great movie. But I equally enjoy the 1976 television biopic, The Great Houdinis, starring Paul Michael Glaser and Sally Struthers. Yes, it's wildly fictionalized. In real life there was no pseudo religious war between Mama and Bess with Harry stuck in the middle. The real Cecelia Weiss welcomed her shiksa daughter-in-law with open arms. But I still really love the movie for its excellent writing and amazing cast. It also appeared during my first year of Houdinimania, so I'm sure that has something to do with it.

Made to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Houdini's death, The Great Houdinis first aired as the ABC Friday Night Movie on October 8, 1976. It was retitled The Great Houdini after its first airing and released on VHS in some international markets. The movie never saw a home video release in the United States and never transitioned to DVD in any country. So it's now one of the harder Houdini biopics to see.

Therefore, I've decided to uploaded a full HD version to my WILD ABOUT HARRY YouTube channel for all to enjoy. I'm not sure about copyright so I might need to take this down. But for the moment I give you The Great Houdinis.

A very big thanks to Brad Hansen of Retro Cars Forever for his help converting this to HD and improving the overall video and audio quality.

Thursday, July 7, 2022

James Caan's Houdini moment

I'm sorry to learn today of the passing of actor James Caan. While Caan is well-known for a myriad of famous film roles, I always think of him as one of the actors touted as a possible Houdini. In 1974 Caan was favored by producer Ray Stark for what was then called, The Magic Man: The Story of Houdini.

Variety, Sept. 18, 1974

At this time Caan was on everyone's short-list of leading men, so it's hard to know how seriously he considered the part. Ultimately, Caan never played Houdini and Stark never made his Houdini film. But it's always fun to think about what might have been!

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Houdini freezes the Detroit river in 1912

Recently I came across this intriguing article from the February 11, 1912 Washington Post. The quotes here come from an interview Houdini gave while appearing at the Maryland Theater in Baltimore. It's short so I'm sharing the entire thing, but it's the last part that interests me the most.

The Washington Post, Feb. 11, 1912.

While I've not done an exhaustive search, I believe this might be the first mention of any bridge jump into a frozen river through a hole cut in the ice. Here it's the Belle Isle bridge in Detroit in 1906. That was a real jump, but the river was not frozen nor was it Christmas day. Still, this appears to be the genesis of the famous myth of Houdini being trapped under the ice of a frozen river.

Houdini would tell that story in full for the first time (as far as I know) in an article he wrote for the September 1918 issue of The American Magazine called "The Thrills in the Life of a Magician". But now he relocates the action to Pittsburg and doesn't provide a specific date. It's also become an overboard box escape instead of a handcuffed bridge jump.

The dramatic story was picked up by newspapers at the time, including the Boston Sunday Post below (click to enlarge):

Boston Sunday Post, Sept. 1, 1918

Houdini told the tale again in his 1919 article for Hearst's magazine, "Nearly Dying for a Living". But it's interesting to note that this story, as with other Houdini mythology, does not appear in any of his pitchbooks. It seems to me that Houdini made a distinction between disposable media, such as newspapers and magazines, and what he considered to be the official record. His pitchbook does record that he had to "break through the ice" during a bridge jump in Breman, Germany, which is likely true. That jump was made during a snow storm.

Later biographies made no such distinction, and the full under the ice drama became part of the official record with the publication of Houdini His Life Story by Harold Kellock in 1928. Interestingly, Kellock moves the action from Pittsburg back to the Belle Isle bridge in Detroit in 1906.

Then, of course, the 1953 biopic Houdini starring Tony Curtis dramatized the incident (beautifully) and cemented it in the minds of the public. In the movie the location remained the Detroit river, but the day was changed to Halloween(!). Also, as in Houdini's telling, it's an overboard box escape.

Houdini (1953)

The first doubt was cast on the story by William Lindsay Gresham in his 1959 biography Houdini The Man Who Walked Through Walls. Ironically, Gresham had been one of the recent propagators of the myth, publishing an account with fresh embellishments in SAGA magazine the previous year. But Gresham credited Robert Lund with tracking down the original newspaper accounts of the Belle Isle stunt and calls out the inconstancies, namely that the Detroit river was not frozen. He writes:

The river was not frozen over, Houdini had a rope tied around him all the time, he got out of two pairs of cuffs and was picked up by a boat! As for escaping from under the ice—as Tom Sawyer would say, "He just let on he done it."

The story largely disappears from Houdini books after that.

However, Hollywood doesn't let the truth get in the way of a good story, and the full under the ice drama was resurrected in the 2014 Houdini miniseries biopic starring Adrian Brody, this time relocating it to the Eads bridge in St. Louis. But by this point no one was fooled.

It's fun to see how this all appears to have started in Houdini's mind back in 1912 as a way to add some color to an interview. He understood what reporters wanted!

Below are some more posts related to Houdini's adventure under the ice.

Clipping source:

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Weird Tales: Best of the Early Years 1923-25

A collection of Weird Tales magazine stories edited by Jonathan Maberry and Justin Criado is released today. Houdini's "Imprisoned with the Pharaohs" is one of the 13 stories included. Below is the description.

First hitting newsstands in 1923, Weird Tales magazine quickly became a literary monster in discovering and publishing the best horror, sci-fi and fantasy writers of its day. 

The pulp magazine was one of the earliest publications, if not the first, to feature strange tales of occultism and alien invasions that simply didn't fit into any other magazine at that time. 

The stories struck a chord with those early audiences, and as a result, Weird Tales created asubgenre as "weird" could be attached itself to various genres. Marquee names like master magician Harry Houdini and cosmic horror creator H.P. Lovecraft graced the magazine's pages during those early years with several debut stories, alongside authors who were already giants in their own right-Otis Adelbert Kline, Seabury Quinn, and Greye La Spina. Many lesser known, but no less influential, writers like Frank Belknap Long Jr., Mary S. Brown, Lyllian Huntley Harris, Hasan Vokine, Arthur J. Burks, and H. Warner Munn turned out disturbing yarns that have stood the test of time only to be resurrected nearly a century later. 

From the macabre and morbid to unexplainable stories of the occult, this collection features those early authors across thirteen tales of terror from the impactful years of 1923 to 1925 that are best enjoyed at the witching hour. 

Unfortunately, Houdini's two other weird tales, "The Spirit Fakers of Hermannstadt" and "The Hoax of the Spirit Lover", didn't make the cut. Maybe they weren't weird enough?

You can purchase Weird Tales: Best of the Early Years 1923-25 in hardcover or paperback from and


Monday, July 4, 2022

See 'Houdini A Magician Among The Spirits' in the UK

A new play by Richard Melchior and Joshua Pickering, Houdini: A Magician Among The Spirits, will tour the UK this month. This Thursday, July 7, the play can be seen at 2 Sisters Arts Centre in Felixstowe. It then moves to Bungay and the Fisher Theatre on July 8. On July 14 it will be at The Seagull in Lowestoft. On July 15 you can catch it at The Place in Bedford.

The greatest magician Harry Houdini lives again in this stunning new play.  
Do Spirits Return? Harry Houdini believes they don’t and sets out to expose the popular tricks of the Victorian psychics. Houdini: A Magician Among The Spirits follows the master magician as he lays bare the Seance room, tackles charlatans, navigates a troubled friendship with Arthur Conan Doyle, and performs some of his most famous tricks and escapes.

In a modern age of lies and spin, does Houdini’s scepticism and logic have a resonance? Or does a lack of belief lead to a barren life? Where is the line between magic and misdeed?  
Houdini: A Magician Among the Spirits is haunting and inescapable fun. 
This play is funded by Arts Council England.

For more information and to keep up with future performances visit

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Go WILD on Instagram

For the past several years I've had a private Instagram account. This was the one social media platform I used to share personal stuff with friends and family. However, it seems Instagram, like everything else, has been Zuckerberg'ed into a largely commercial platform, so I was considering deleting my account. But then a friend suggested I turn it into a commercial platform for WILD ABOUT HARRY and share Houdini-related whatnot. I think that's a great idea.

So I've switched houdiniwild to Public and invite anyone and everyone to follow me. Instagram doesn't allow hyperlinks so I don't know how effective it will be in sharing my most recent posts, but we'll see how it develops. There is some fun Houdini stuff there already. Along with a lot of photos of my cat.

So if Instagram is your preferred social media platform, it's now another way to stay Wild About Harry!

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Houdini Museum named 2022 Champion attraction

The Houdini Museum of Scranton has won the 2022 run-off of 16 regional tourist attractions held by the Lackawanna Country Visitors Bureau. I know some of you voted via links shared on Facebook and Twitter, so thanks for making Houdini #1! You can see how the results played out below.

Click to enlarge

Congratulations to our good friends Dorothy Dietrich and Dick Brookz at the Houdini Museum. When in Lackawanna Country...