Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Houdini and the spirits in Springfield

I love finding another stop on Houdini's 1924 spirit debunking lecture tours. I also love finding a surviving Houdini theater. And when those two things happen together, it's time to post!

On Sunday, November 30, 1924, Houdini gave his lecture in Springfield, Massachusetts, under the auspices of the Springfield YMCA. His talk was preceded by an organ recital by Mrs. Dorothy Birchard Malroney. The Springfield Republican reported, "Houdini's talk was sprinkled with humorous allusions and statements that pleased the audience greatly. The story of the seance he conducted in a small town was one of the gems."

Houdini's lecture was held in what was then called the Auditorium. Built between 1911-1913, it was a popular public venue for live events in Springfield. And still is! Today, it's called Symphony Hall and looks very much as it did in Houdini's day.

Houdini's Springfield lecture was the second to last stop of his tour that year. His only other appearance in Springfield was early in his career as part of the American Gaiety Girls company. He even did one of his first police station handcuff escapes in the city. But that's another story.

Want more? You can see a collection of newspaper clippings related to this lecture and Houdini's earlier appearance in Springfield as a "Scholar" member of my Patreon.


  1. FUN FACT: The Symphony Hall is notorious for being one of the most challenging venues to work in due to the small stage size, lack of wing space, and harsh load-in conditions. I saw David Copperfield here in 2003, and he managed to get The Shadow Box, Thru Steel, Back Crack, Squeeze Box, and 13 onto that stage.

    1. That is an awesome fun fact, Dan. Thanks for sharing. How cool that Copperfield performed here. I didn't know that.