Tuesday, October 31, 2023

What remains of Harry Houdini?

Hello, ghouls. Happy Halloween and National Magic Day.

Here we are on the 97th anniversary of Houdini's death. As we march ever closer to the 100th, you might be wondering what remains of our hero deep down in that grave in Machpelah Cemetery? I know I think about it! When I visit his grave, I think about how I am just six feet away from Houdini himself. That blows my mind. But in 2023, what exactly am I six feet from?

Well, the news is not great, as the video below explains. This is all a bit gruesome, but it is Halloween.

Recall Houdini was (allegedly) buried in an air-tight copper casket. This would mean the decomposition process would be a bit slower. But from what I've gleaned from other online sources, it would not make a difference after 100 years. 
I've never had any objection to exhumation. For me, it would be archaeology. I'm not squeamish or religious, and I'd like to see what's down there. When Houdini exhumed his father and brother to move them into the new Machpelah plot, he opened the coffins and had a look. He even commented on the excellent condition of Herman's teeth.

Had Houdini been exhumed on the 50th anniversary of his death in 1976, we would have very likely seen mummified remains. This would have been the time to do it. Houdini was still with us and maybe even recognizable. That's wild. 

Had Bill Kalush and his crew gotten their way in 2006, we would have likely found a brittle skeleton. If anyone was ever serious about testing for poisoning--which I think is worth doing--this would have been our last good chance. The fact that time was running out was never part of the argument back then, but maybe it should have been. 

Today, as the video states, all that might remain of Houdini are his teeth. So as we near the 100th, it's sad to think the most significant Houdini artifact of them all, his mortal remains, may be gone forever. 

Unless he was never there!

on the
October 31, 1926

Monday, October 30, 2023

Will Houdini return?

Here's a press release detailing this year's Official Houdini Séance being held at Holy City Magic in Charleston, South Carolina. Could this be the year Houdini decides to join the circle?

Houdini Enthusiasts Meet for Annual Séance
Do the spirits return from the world beyond?

Houdini experts and magic historians will convene in Charleston, SC for the Official Houdini Séance® on the evening of October 31. The event has been a tradition since Harry Houdini, the magician and escapologist died on Halloween in 1926.

“Houdini made a pact with various magicians that if there was a way to return from the dead, he would do it,” said Séance co-director, Bill Radner, West Springfield, MA.

The Official Houdini Séance® has taken place at numerous locations throughout America and internationally with prestigious groups of Inner Circle members. This year is no exception. Inner Circle members include noted magic historians and collectors Fred Pittella, Arthur Moses, Dr. Bruce Averbook, Tom Boldt, Debbie Hardeen Bloom and Midge Markey.

The site of the Official Houdini Séance® 2023 will be Howard Blackwell’s Holy City Magic in downtown Charleston, SC. Blackwell, a longtime Houdini fan, has been interested in the exploits of one of the world's most famous magicians. “Since I was a kid, Houdini fascinated me,” said Blackwell. “I had always wanted to participate in The Houdini Séance. I’m thrilled we can do it in Charleston.”

Blackwell will entertain a sold out theater before the Séance. “We’re going to demonstrate the power of magic for this special group,” said Blackwell.

“The success of a séance is often determined by the skills of the medium. We are optimistic that our psychic medium will be effective”, said Radner. Well-known psychic, Andrea St. Amand, Charleston, SC will lead the participants as they explore the world of the afterlife in search of Houdini.

“I’m an optimist,” said Radner. “I want to believe Houdini can and will return.”

The Official Houdini Séance® 2023 is sold out. Members of the media may contact Bill Radner for additional information at 413-531-3333 (cell), rendar1@aol.com or Séance co-director Tom Boldt 920-428-2335 (cell), tom.boldt@boldt.com.

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Banner day for Houdini at auction

A large banner poster (42¼ × 108¾") advertising Houdini's "3 Shows in One" sold yesterday at Potter & Potter's Ricky Jay Collection Part II auction for $14,400 (with buyers premium). A reasonable price for a Houdini poster. I've always loved this artwork as the Halloween imagery makes it eerily prescient.

Another standout was a 4-page flyer from early 1900 advertising Houdini "Assisted by Mme. Beatrice Houdini," which sold for $9,600 (with buyers premium). The auction notes it as "the first example we have encountered." Issued by Martin Beck while Houdini was en route to Europe, the irony is that it announces his "Return Engagement on the Orpheum Circuit." That return would take seven years.

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Houdini Museum in Scranton invites you to their Houdini Seance

Dorothy Dietrich and Dick Brookz will hold their annual Houdini Seance at the Houdini Museum in Scranton on Halloween. They will showcase select items from their collection, including one rarity that might provide a way for Houdini to phone home this Halloween.

You can attend this year's seance in person or watch it on Zoom. Below are details. 

You’re Invited to attend The Houdini Seance on Tuesday, October 31, 2023, at The Houdini Museum, 1433 North Main Avenue, Scranton, PA 18508

Doors open at 12 noon Eastern. There will be a meet and greet with snacks and refreshments. The seance will start at 1pm.

If you can make it in person, please call to get your name on the guest list: 570-342-5555

Everyone is invited to attend the seance on Zoom.

Topic: Houdini Seance
Time: Oct 31, 2023 @ 1:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting: 
Passcode: 849780

I'll be attending online. Hope to see you there!

Friday, October 27, 2023

The Amazing Houdini by Becca Heddle

The Amazing Houdini by Becca Heddle with illustrations by Barry Ablett is released today in the UK as part of the Reading Planet Cosmos series. I believe this marks the only new non-fiction Houdini book release this year.

Harry Houdini was the world's most famous magician and escapologist. He was so good at escaping from things that people thought he must have magical powers. But how did he fool his audiences and why is he still so famous today. 

The Amazing Houdini is part of the Reading Planet Cosmos range of books from Hodder Education. Cosmos provides a vibrant collection of fiction and non-fiction books that will widen children's reading horizons. Reading Planet books have been carefully levelled to support children in becoming fluent and confident readers. Each book features useful notes and questions to support reading at home and develop comprehension skills. Reading age: 8-9 years.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Houdini and his Packard Eight

We just can't seem to keep out of Cleveland this year! Here's a terrific clipping from the March 15, 1925, Plain Dealer showing Houdini with a "Packard Eight" that he used during his two-week run in Cleveland that month.

Thom Taylor on the website Hagerty writes:

Originally introduced in 1924, Packard’s eights were known for quality, high machining tolerances, durability, super-smooth idle, and torque-monster pull. To consumers they out-classed Cadillac and Lincoln, surviving the likes of Duesenberg, Marmon, and Pierce-Arrow, to lead the luxury field.

Nothing but the best for Harry!

Here's a detailed video by magician and automotive enthusiast David Charvet looking at a twin of this car in 2011.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

'Houdini vs The Mystics' Halloween Show

Magician Shawn Reida and Mentalist Dave May tell the story of Houdini vs The Mystics in this adults only Halloween show this Thursday, Oct. 26, at The Dealership Building in Council Grove, Kansas. Sounds like fun!

For more information, visit the Council Grove website or The Dealership Building's event page on Facebook.


Monday, October 23, 2023

A magician among the monsters

Here's a fun way to kick off Halloween week. This 2022 collection of monster trading cards by award-winning artist Mark Spears includes a nice collection of Houdini cards and stickers. You can buy the box on Amazon or find individual cards on eBay.

Joe Notaro discovered these and showcased all the Houdini cards on his site, so I will redirect you there to have a look.

Where were these when I was a kid!?

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Lee Terbosic returns in The Life and Death of Harry Houdini

Magician Lee Terbosic presents a return engagement of his acclaimed show, The Life and Death of Harry Houdini at his Liberty Magic Theater in Pittsburgh from October 25 to December 3, 2023. Below are details.

Harry Houdini died on Halloween night in 1926. It seems quite appropriate that the world's most famous magician should pass away on the year's most mysterious day. Even more intriguing, Houdini was 52 years old when he died, the exact number of playing cards in a deck. Further, he was born 26 years before the start of the new century and died 26 years into the next one- as if his "life's deck" had been deftly cut in half by Fate, the ultimate magician.
Lee Terbosic is an internationally touring magician, comedian, actor, daredevil and entertainer from Pittsburgh, PA who is proving that anything is possible. Lee is the co-star of Discovery Channel’s recent smash HOUDINI’S LAST SECRETS, a four-part TV docuseries that uncovers incredible secrets about Harry Houdini’s life, family, magic and science behind some of his biggest stunts and escapes. On November 6, 2016 Lee performed his biggest stunt to date with “Houdini100” a tribute to Harry Houdini's death defying upside down straight jacket escape in downtown Pittsburgh.
In this special LIMITED ENGAGEMENT event, Lee will lead audiences through an exploration of some of Houdini's most magical moments. The 75-minute performance, part lecture, part Q&A, part demo, and all magic- will leave you wondering if there was something more sinister afoot on the night of Houdini's passing 97 years ago. 
Purchase tickets here

Lee recently appeared on CBS Pittsburgh which you can watch HERE.


Friday, October 20, 2023

LINK: Harry Houdini Amazes the Cleveland Police

Here's a very well-researched article by Cleveland Police Historical Society and Museum Executive Director Mazie Adams about Houdini's appearances in Cleveland and the police officers who took part in his stunts. It includes many rare images from The Averbook Magic Art Museum & Library (including the image on the right).

Some of this I covered in my own overview of Houdini in Cleveland earlier this year, but here's how a grown-up handles it. 😉 Click the headline link above and enjoy.

Thursday, October 19, 2023

The Vanishing Elephant reappears in New York

The story of Jennie the elephant is being dramatized at The New Victory Theater's Stage 42 in New York in The Vanishing Elephant. The play opened on October 14 and runs through October 29, 2023.

Pack your trunk for a jumbo journey as Jenny the elephant is captured and taken from India to America, far from her family and her forever friend, Opu. Swept up in the circus, she makes magic and history as The Vanishing Elephant with Harry Houdini himself, but Jenny never stops thinking of home. Watch in wonder as this puppet pachyderm grows from tot to teen to towering adult in an unforgettable tale from the imagination of Cahoots NI.

You can buy tickets to The Vanishing Elephant at The New Victory Theater website. Here's a preview.

The website warns the play depicts animal cruelty. For the record, Houdini loved animals and had very strong feelings about animal cruelty. I've read a moving letter he wrote to Harry Kellar (in the David Copperfield collection) in which he bemoans what he has seen during his career and expresses his opinion that there should be laws against such mistreatment. As for Jennie, Houdini said, "I never allowed a hook to be used, relying on block sugar to make her go through her stunt, and she certainly is very fond of me."

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Foster Lardner: the man on the platform

Last week I shared the exciting news that David Haversat had acquired photo albums that once belonged to Foster Lardner. For 26 years Lardner worked with the Keith's organization in Providence, Rhode Island. He can even be seen standing on the platform with Houdini during a suspended straitjacket escape in 1924.

I've done a little more research into Lardner. Turns out he had much more of a connection to the world of magic than I realized. He was a student of Al Baker and a member of the SAM. He even made the cover of The Sphinx in October 1928. In that issue, Dr. A.M. Wilson writes:

     It is with no little pleasure and pride that I present the portrait of Mr. Foster Lardner, manager of the E. F. Albee Theatre, Providence, R.I. Mr. Lardner is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, a scholar as well as a theatrical manager and magician. He has been practically interested in magic from his boyhood days. During the late World War he gave frequent magical entertainments for the soldiers in hospitals and gives frequent shows in the children's hospital of Providence. Magic has no better friend than Mr. Lardner. He knows the game from back stage to footlights. Every reputable magician, amateur or professional, has a friend and him. Mr. Lardner is too modest to write his own biography or to give me sufficient data to write it for him. [...] I consider my life richer for the friendship of Foster Lardner.

Lardner left Keith's in 1930 after it had become part of RKO. From this point on, he appears to indulge his passion for magic. In 1931, he stage-managed the SAM's "Carnival of Magic" featuring Hardeen, Cardini, and Jarrow. He also worked up a lecture, "Behind the Scenes with the Master Magicians," which you can see advertised below. You can bet Houdini was part of this talk!

Evening Bulletin, March 30, 1932.

As Wilson noted, Lardner frequently performed magic for children. Below is a nice set of photos showing Lardner entertaining tykes at the Rhode Island Hospital in 1931. He even used a rabbit named "Houdini."

Evening Bulletin, Dec. 20, 1931.

While Lardner might have been considered an amateur magician, in 1934 he joined the rarified ranks of only a handful of magicians to die onstage (literally). Below is an account of the evening and also offers a nice obituary of Lardner's life overall.

Evening Bulletin, May 18, 1934.

So there's a little primer on Foster Lardner, no longer just the man on the platform. I'm sure there's more to uncover, and maybe someone like Dean Carnegie, The Magic Detective, will do so one day. But I certainly consider Foster Lardner now part of the Houdini story.

Thanks to Joe Fox of the William Larsen Sr. Memorial Library at the Magic Castle for The Sphinx images and info.

Monday, October 16, 2023

'Trumpets and Table Tipping' reading in LA, Oct. 23

Magician and author Charlie Mount will present a reading of his play, "Trumpets and Table Tipping," at The Road Theater in North Hollywood on October 23rd at 7:30 PM.

During a day in Sleepy Hollow, New York, 1913, Harry Houdini visits his friend Kathleen D’Arcy, who is suffering from tuberculosis and must not be upset. Kathleen has engaged a clairvoyant to contact her dead husband and Houdini must decide whether to challenge the veracity of the clairvoyant or expose him as a fraud, which would put Kathleen’s fragile emotional health, and therefore her life, at risk. 
And there is the question of whether or not Houdini possesses strange and outré powers of his own, as Kathleen’s daughter Eliza believes, and the skeptical Dr. Jasper Perry does not. Houdini’s wily wife, Bess, proving to be a master magician herself, skillfully navigates matters towards a satisfying conclusion.

Charlie had a reading earlier this year that I reviewed HERE. This is a great play, and I look forward to attending this reading as well. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, October 14, 2023

Houdini Vaudeville Vignette by Al Rosson

Here's a delightful video created by animator, cartoonist, and Magic Castle member Al Rosson. This uses the familiar 1914 recording of Houdini's real voice. Enjoy!

Thanks to Al Rosson and Joe Fox. You can check out more of Al's work on his YouTube and website.

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Foster Lardner photo albums find a new home

Today I have some exciting news about a fantastic find! Our good friend David Haversat has just acquired several photo albums from the family of the late Foster Lardner.

Foster Lardner was an actor, magician, and head of the Keith's organization in and around Providence, Rhode Island, during the height of vaudeville. He was also a photography enthusiast. Lardner's albums chronicle the history of Providence's theaters and include an incredible collection of photos of performers who played the city, including about two dozen unpublished photos of Houdini!

Lardner's great-granddaughter, Claire, was kind enough to show me the albums and the Houdini photos last week. Lardner captured Houdini's handcuffed jump from the steamer Warwick in 1911 and his suspended straitjacket escape before 80,000 people in downtown Providence in 1924. He also appears to have been friendly with Houdini as there are candid shots of them visiting the Providence Arts Club (still there) and photos of Houdini with Edward Albee. A treasure trove to be sure!

Lardner himself can be seen in film of Houdini's suspended straitjacket in Providence (which, thanks to the album, I can now date as Sept. 18, 1924). He is standing on the platform beside Houdini with his camera in hand. In fact, at 17 seconds, you can see him snap a photo facing directly into the camera.

Here is the photo Lardner took at that moment preserved in the album today. How cool is this? This is just one of several photos Lardner took that day from his unique vantage point on the platform. 

David plans to leave the albums intact to preserve Lardner's work and all the history they contain. Congratulations to all!

Thanks to Claire and David for letting me share in this adventure. You can see more album images as a member of my Patreon.

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Houdini's final outdoor stunt described at last

Houdini's last outdoor stunt occurred in Worcester, Massachusetts, on September 30, 1926. At least we think it did! Not a single book mentions this air-tight coffin test, and while I've found advertisements and newspaper articles promoting it, I've never found an actual account of the stunt itself. Also, no photos have ever surfaced. At times, I've wondered if, for one reason or another, it never took place.

Well, I can now put those doubts to rest because I've finally found the proof I've been looking for. It happened! Below is an account from the September 30, 1926 Worcester Evening Gazette which offers some terrific details.

Evening Gazette, Sept. 30, 1926

I love the detail about Houdini blinking his responses to Collins and also that he wrote on the fogged glass. I believe this would have become Houdini's new go-to outdoor stunt, forever replacing the suspended straitjacket, and it's striking how similar this is to what David Blaine would be doing 70 years later. It's also chilling to hear Houdini declaring this would be the casket in which he would be buried. Only a month later that would prove to be the case, so the people who saw Houdini on this day saw something darkly prophetic.

Now that we know this happened, I am more hopeful than ever that a photograph will one day surface. Considering this took place outside and lasted for an hour, it seems certain that photos were taken. Yes, there's the mystery casket photo that could be the Summerfield's test, but we need another photo to confirm this.

The building that housed Summerfield's still stands at 184 Main St. in Worcester and doesn't look all that different than it did in 1926.

Speaking of Worcester, our friend Jessica Jane and The Foolers will appear tomorrow at The Hanover Theatre and Conservatory for the Performing Arts in Worcester. So if you see the show, why not swing by the location of Houdini's last outdoor stunt?

Want more? You can read all the newspaper clippings and images I've gathered about the Summerfield's test as a "Scholar" member of my Patreon.

Monday, October 9, 2023

Kellar joins Houdini on Catalina Island

Our friends at the Catalina Museum recently refreshed their permanent Catalina history display. Happily, Houdini remains part of the story, and he's now joined by Harry Kellar who was a regular visitor to the island. I can't help but think Houdini would love sharing this space with the Dean of Magicians.

You'll also notice that the lost overboard box footage from Terror Island, discovered by Joe Notaro in 2018, is still a part of the exhibit and still the only place you can see it.

If you've never been to Catalina "Terror" Island, I highly recommend it. The two Harrys would agree. It's a magical place!

Thanks to Joe Notaro at HHCE for the alert.

Sunday, October 8, 2023

Ambassador's Tour extra

After my 278 sleepover, homeowner Vincent showed me some curious writing they had recently discovered on a stairway landing. When I got home, I realized what it said. If you're a patron, click below to see for yourself.

Not a patron? No reason you can't join today! You'll instantly unlock a year's worth of posts and receive this month's reward: The Final Houdini Seance mp3. Hope to see you inside!

Friday, October 6, 2023

Ambassador's Tour

Following the Milbourne Christopher Awards last month––where I was honored to receive the Ambassador of Magic Award––I embarked on a whirlwind tour of Houdini locations in the region. Four states in three days! Here's what I saw on my self-proclaimed "Ambassadors Tour."

My explorations began the day of the Awards, Sept. 16, with a visit to the site of the former Winchell Smith Dam and Grist Mill in Farmington, Connecticut. This is where Houdini filmed the rapids action for The Man from Beyond. I also got to slip on the steel straitjacket from the Tony Curtis Houdini movie. I covered both these with photos in my award roundup post. The day after the awards is when my tour began in earnest.

Sunday, Sept. 17
I left New London early and drove down the 95, a beautiful drive on a sunny Sunday. As I passed through Stamford, Connecticut, I resisted the urge to turn off and seek out the location of the short-lived Weiss farm. I hadn't anticipated passing through Stamford, so I wasn't ready with the address and research. And I had a lady to meet! So I reluctantly let that location pass as I headed toward New York with the perfect soundtrack playing.

I soon arrived at my first New York destination: Gates of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne. This is where Bess Houdini is buried. I've never seen Bessie's grave, so I was excited to finally make this pilgrimage. However, the cemetery is huge, and Bess isn't easy to find. In fact, I was getting worried about ever finding her! So I began to walk and call out, "Show yourself to me, Bessie," and I'll be darned if I didn't walk right to her.

This was a very different experience than visiting Houdini's grave. It was much more emotional. It's sad to see her here alone, but her headstone is beautiful. I realized I should have brought flowers (something I've never felt the need to bring to Houdini's grave) so I left and returned with a lovely bouquet acquired from a florist just outside the cemetery gates. I ensured it had no yellow flowers as Bess was superstitious about the color yellow. I sang Rosabel (badly) and spent a fair amount of time talking to her. Again, this is something I never do at Houdini's grave. It was a cathartic experience that really took me by surprise. Thank you, Bessie. We love you.

I was now ready for my next stop. So I returned to my rental car and dialed a familiar address into the GPS: 278 West 113th Street. Yes, I was headed "home"!

Little did I know that this Sunday was the 54th Annual African American Day Parade in Harlem, so the streets around 113th were closed and packed! I was nervous enough about driving into NYC and trying to find parking. Now trying to do so in a parade...holy smokes. But maybe Bess was watching over me as I quickly found a parking garage just a few blocks away.

I'm always thrilled to visit 278! As far as Houdini locations go, this is easily #1. As I approached the house, I took a photo. The fact that there were no cars parked on the street was a rare opportunity to get a clean pic. It wasn't until later that I looked at the pic and noticed a strange oval of light directly over the house. Not something you often see in digital photos. I think this is pretty weird!

Homeowners Niro and Vincent were out for the afternoon, but Vincent's friendly father, John, visiting from Kansas City, let me inside and invited me to make myself at home. I cleaned up and was able to relax like it was my very own house. I was also able to enjoy the paraders on 113th Street. I imagined it was a parade for the new Ambassador of Magic!

When Niro and Vincent returned, they caught me up on all the latest renovations and discoveries. We had a wonderful dinner, and it was so much fun to enjoy the house as the Houdinis enjoyed it, filled with family and warmth. Vincent also made a terrific cocktail that I think he should name the "278." I had two!

But it gets even better. Niro and Vincent had invited me to spend the night. (Well, I invited myself and they said yes.) Vincent's parents were in the guest bedroom, so I took a fold-down couch in Houdini's top-floor workroom. Ironically, this is the room I always envisioned myself sleeping in. I even set my Christopher Award on the fireplace mantel to forever imbue it with Houdini 278 energy.

As night fell, it began to rain and continued to pour all night long. In my pajamas, I could look down on a rain-swept 113th Street from Houdini's office window and hear the rain tapping on the skylights. The atmosphere was indescribably perfect, and the entire experience was a dream come true. I'm the luckiest Houdini nut in the world.

Unfortunately, I had no dreams about Houdini or ghostly visitations in the night. However, early in the morning, I heard what sounded like a parrot somewhere on the top floor. Could this have been the spirit of the mischievous Laura who, by all accounts, was the true boss of the house?


Monday, Sept. 18
After a lovely morning coffee with Vincent and his father, I said my goodbyes and set out in light rain toward my next state: Pennsylvania. Eventually, the skies cleared and it was a beautiful drive into the Poconos. Around noon, I rolled into Scranton. I was there to see another famed Houdini location: the Houdini Museum!

I was so happy to see Dorothy Dietrich and Dick Brookz! For the next several hours we never stopped talking, gossiping, laughing, and having a generally wonderful time. Their museum is incredible! It's packed with memorabilia both old and new. Some reproduction material is there to help tell Houdini's story to visitors, especially children. But the longer you stay and the deeper you look, the more treasure you find. Dorothy then guides you through each with a twinkle in her eye. She also shared some rarities not available to the general public. It was one of the most extraordinary and unique Houdini museum experiences I've ever had.

But there was more to my day in Scranton. After a terrific dinner at a Chinese buffet, Dorothy, Dick, and I traveled downtown to see what used to be Poli's Theatre where Houdini appeared the week of February 22, 1915. The theater has undergone extensive renovation and is today called The Ritz. But it's a surviving Houdini theater, and we love those!

Dorothy also insisted we go see Scranton's famed Lackawanna Building. I'm so glad she did. The building is remarkable inside and out and said to be very haunted. Now a hotel, it was once Scranton's train station. Houdini and his equipment passed through the massive lobby, so this was a bonus Houdini location!

It was hard to say goodbye to Dorothy and Dick, but it was time to move on. Dorothy invited me to sleep in the museum, and I wish I would have! But I had already booked a motel in nearby Wilkes-Barre where another Houdini location was waiting.

Tuesday, Sept. 19
I woke up in Wilkes-Barre and set out early to find a location that was even more obscure than the Farmington rapids. With some luck, I had nailed down the exact spot where the Welsh Bros. Circus set up their tents for two days of performances in July 1898. The streets have changed and the exact site is now occupied by a construction company (who don't care for nosey visitors). These buildings appear to be new as Google Maps still shows the lots empty as recently as November 2020. 

However, the railroad tracks directly adjacent to the property are unchanged and afford a great view of the site. I noticed that the tracks branch off here, which makes sense as the circus train would have parked along the side track during these two days. It's a fantastic early Houdini location and the first Welsh Bros. location I've ever visited. (I'll have some other details about Houdini's time in Wilkes-Barre in the diary book.) I also picked up a few railroad spikes off the ground. So this location comes with free souvenirs!

This Welsh Bros. location was good enough that I could have called this the grand finale of the tour. But I had one last stop and one last state to go.

Around eleven, I rolled into picturesque Wayne, New Jersey, and the home of our friend Roger Dreyer. Here is where Roger houses his amazing Houdini Revealed Museum. Roger was super generous and welcoming as always. He had bagels waiting for me and some awesome gifts, including a new retail 278 item that I will be posting about later. I gave him a Welsh Bros. railroad spike. Then we got down to "work!"

I had seen the museum when it was located in Fantasma Magic in New York City, but Roger's setup here is far larger and jaw-dropping. Roger has an excellent sense of how to frame and display his treasures. He even let me try on Houdini's top hat and a pair of authentic jump cuffs.

Roger then let me go through his Houdini files. I only wish I had more time. I had to leave some files unseen if I was going to make it to Newark and my flight home. But what I saw was incredible, and this was a perfect way to end my Ambassador's Tour.

Thank you to Niro & Vincent, Dorothy & Dick, and Roger Dreyer. You are the true Ambassadors of Magic!


Miss Porter's School Administration (formerly Winchell Smith Dam and Grist Mill)
44 Mill Lane
Farmington, CT

Gate of Heaven Cemetery 
10 W Stevens Ave
Hawthorne, NY 10532 
Bess plot: Section 48, 184-10 

Houdini's House
278 W 113th Street 
New York, NY
Private. Tours by appointment only.

Houdini Museum and Magic Show
1433 N Main Ave.
Scranton, PA 18508

The Ritz (formally Poli's Theater)
222 Wyoming Ave.
Scranton, PA 18503

Lackawanna Building
700 Lackawanna Ave.
Scranton, PA 18503

Welsh Bros. location 
E. Ross Street & S. Pennsylvania Street
Wilkes Barre, PA

Roger Dreyer's Houdini Revealed Museum
Wayne, NJ

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Jessica Jane finds Houdini in Kansas City

Our friend and fellow Houdini nut Jessica Jane was in Kansas City yesterday with The Foolers. Jessica owns a fantastic original photo of Houdini, his dog Charlie, and a fellow performer taken in Kansas City in 1907. So she went in search of the photo's location and posted her adventure on Instagram. Enjoy!

Tonight, Jessica and The Foolers are at Houdini's historic Orpheum Theater in Wichita.