Monday, February 20, 2023

Did Houdini travel by Zeppelin?

One of the Houdini highlights in Haversat & Ewing's upcoming Magic Auction #40 (February 24-26) is a "Houdini family scrapbook." The auction lot shows several preview pages, and on one of those pages is a flyer (right) that has me very intrigued.

This is a German flyer for the "Hamburg-Amerikalinie" showing the schedules for three Zeppelin airships. Houdini has typed on the flyer "September 23, 1913 - Regards from Houdini" and also put a checkmark beside the airship Hansa.

Does this mean Houdini flew aboard the Hansa? He was in Germany at this time and had just traveled aboard the Hamburg-Amerika liner SS Imperator. Could the Hansa have been his connection to Berlin? Unfortunately, I don't have listing for where Houdini was performing on this exact date, but he was in Nuremberg the previous week.

I've always had a bit of a thing for airships. I recall the movie The Hindenburg was released right at the same time I was becoming interested in Houdini, and I became mildly obsessed with all things Hindenburg as well. So Houdini aboard a Zeppelin is an irresistible idea. Guess this is yet another untold story of Houdini in Germany.

The Zeppelin LZ 13 Hansa first flew on July 30, 1912. It had an enclosed passenger cabin with room for 24. From early 1915 used as a training airship, making over 500 flights over Berlin. It was dismantled in 1916.

Houdini wasn't the only Weiss to board a Zeppelin. Check out the top related link below and take flight was Dark Sady!

Thanks to David Haversat and Tom Ewing for providing me with a closer look at this flyer. Check out thier Magic Auction #40 HERE.


  1. If he didn't ride it, the zeppelin did at least get his attention. It's one of those memorable experiences he would put in his diary. A diary research for this time period might tell us: "Rode the Hansa airship yesterday. Incredible!"

    1. I'm sure I could reach out to Bill Kalush and ask him to check. But I don't want to pester him when it isn't essential research. I could have a dozen diary questions a day!

    2. That's interesting! I didn't know Kalush had HH diaries. The Earnst descendents shared their HH diaries with the History Channel folks for that recent documentary. I'd love to see those diaries published.