Wednesday, July 3, 2024

William V. Rauscher (1932-2024)

David Haversat reports that William V. Rauscher has died. Below is the email David sent out moments ago.

William V. Rauscher (1932-2024)  

The Reverend Canon William V. Rauscher was a magician, a psychic researcher, a biographer, and an Episcopal priest who served as rector of Christ Church in Woodbury, New Jersey, for 36 years. For four years Bill served as president of Spiritual Frontiers Fellowship (SFF), an organization focused on the implications of psychic phenomena for religion. At its peak SFF had 6000 members.

Bill was a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, Order of Merlin Excelsior. He was also a collector of magic and owned and performed the Flight of Time, the last illusion invented by Harry Houdini. He wrote 17 biographies of magicians. Bill maintained friendships with psychics, debunkers, fraudulent mediums, and the sixth man who walked on the moon, Edgar Mitchell, of whom he wrote a biography. He had psychic experiences himself but also exposed fraud in Spiritualism. He played a key role in publication of The Psychic Mafia, a most amazing exposé in the history of Spiritualism.

Rauscher received five writing awards from The Linking Ring, the magazine of the International Brotherhood of Magicians (I.B.M.) and had been a member of the organization for 75 years. He was elected to the Society of American Magicians (S.A.M.) Hall of Fame. In 1996 the New England Magic Collectors Association honored him for his many contributions to the art of magic. In 1991 he received the Milbourne Christopher Foundation award for his contributions to magic, noting his performing and writing, and in 2007 he was honored with the Christopher Literary Award. In 2023 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Magic Castle’s Academy of Magical Arts in Hollywood. That same year he was honored with the prestigious John Neville Maskelyne Prize for noteworthy contributions to the art or literature of magic from London’s Magic Circle.

Today we remember our friend Bill, an amazing person who touched the lives of so many.

Rauscher the Magician performing Houdini's Flight of Time.

Houdini buffs will know Bill Rauscher as the author of The Houdini Code Mystery, Hardeen: Monarch of Manacles, and co-author of Arthur Ford: The Man Who Talked With The Dead. Bill knew Arthur Ford well. He also lectured on the Houdini Code and controversy.

I'm honored to have known Bill. He was always generous with his time and information. He was one of the rare Houdini truth seekers. He will be missed.

UPDATE: You can now read his full obituary in The Philadelphia Inquirer.



  1. Oh man. I just purchased his short biography book on Walter Gibson. I eagerly await that book in the mail.

  2. Thoughts & Prayers

  3. Bill Rauscher was highly knowledgeable and was able to reach by phone. He had me on the phone for a while discussing Jewish German Magicians that survived the Holocaust and really enjoyed our conversations. He was very clear, friendly and wise. I don't believe we ever met physically but we were the same "spiritually" respecting our fellow magicians 'alive or gone.' He was a great source for me. I will miss him but will always recall his soft spoken voice via something that my generation calls, "a ☎."