The Official Houdini Séance in Fort Worth Texas was killer. I had the distinct pleasure and honor to attend this in person and have a VIP seat. It all started in September, when I found out from John Cox that this event was being open to the public for the first time in its four decade plus history. This was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I immediately booked my hotel and flight to Dallas Fort Worth, Texas. According to Arthur Moses, I was one of the first ones to get a VIP seat. And speaking about Arthur Moses, he really knows how to put on an event. He invited special guests to his house on October 30th for a Texas BBQ and to see his world renowned Houdini collection; I was honored to get an invite, but I was not able to fly in until the day of the Séance (October 31st). Arthur told me he was sorry that I couldn’t make the BBQ and to see the collection on the 30th, but he offered me a plan B which was to come over for breakfast on November 1st before my flight leaves in the afternoon. This was an offer I couldn’t refuse. Arthur is a gentleman and a scholar. In fact, he has authored two books (Houdini Periodical Bibliography and Houdini Speaks Out) about Houdini. I had the first one but not the second in my collection, and now thanks to Arthur’s generosity, I have signed copies of both.
On October 31st, I arrived in DFW at around 3:30, just three and half hours before the festivities were going to start. I took a taxi to the hotel across the street from the Masonic Temple where the Official Houdini Séance was going to take place. I just barely had time to walk over to Sundance Square in Downtown Fort Worth, get a bite to eat, get back to the hotel and get ready for an evening that I will never forget:
7 – 8 pm was the VIP private reception on the first floor in the Grand Ball Room, where John Cox introduced me to Arthur Moses and his wife Linda, as well as Bill Radner (son of the late great Sid Radner). I also met a number of people from the local magic club (i.e. Magic Etc) in Fort Worth.
After beer, wine and appetizers, we then took the elevator up to the fourth floor. This is where I received The Official Houdini Séance program and my VIP gift which was an old looking lock & keys with a portrait of Houdini and the words, The Official Houdini Séance Fort Worth 2012, stamped on it.
The Séance table was in the center of the room, with VIP seats surrounding the table. On one side of the stage was a giant Houdini “straightjacket escape poster” from Ash Adams (Master of Ceremonies) extensive magic poster collection; And on the other side of the stage was an authentic Houdini Straight Jacket and an authentic Houdini Street Sign from Arthur Moses extensive Houdini collection.
Next was Introductions and Entertainment.
Ash Adams welcomed everyone and then introduced John Cox, who gave an outstanding talk and presentation on Houdini’s extraordinary career that was well received by all. His talk included some unpublished photos, including a picture of Harry and Bess and a photo from The Grim Game of Houdini in a Bear Trap. John’s presentation also included showing the Desperate Chances clip from The Grim Game which showed two planes crashing together in mid-air and plunging to earth. Everything went over extremely well. John should be very proud.
Next, Ash Adams introduced Bill Radner who gave a very touching tribute to his father Sid Radner. This included showing a video clip of his father explaining two of Houdini’s famous handcuffs. It was an honor and privilege to hear Bill speak about his father. Sid would be very proud of his son, just like Bill showed how proud he was of his father.
Next we had amazing performances by Jamie Salinas who escaped from a strait-jacket and by Shel Higgens who swallowed a sword while standing on a ladder.
Next we got to hear Houdini’s voice.
Next was an intermission, before the Official Houdini Séance began.
The Official Houdini Seace begins.
The members of the Inner Circle were then introduced as they made their way to the Séance table. This included Bill Radner, Thomas J. Boldt, Derek Kennedy, Arthur Moses, John Cox, a lady whose name I didn’t catch, Ash Adams and possibly one other. Due to the storm on the East Coast, at least two invited inner circle members could not be present. This included Fred Pittella who was going to bring Houdini’s spirit trumpet and Larry Weeks who has a complete print of The Grim Game which I am pretty sure he was not bringing to the Séance.
Scott Wells proceeded to conduct the séance in a very professional manner. Although I don’t believe Houdini returned; there were some spooky moments that occurred during the séance that made one wonder. This included a brochure on the table moving, seeing someone up on the balcony fading in and out and a chair on stage moving at the end of the séance. Either way, the entire evening was very entertaining and quite enjoyable. It was all recorded, so who knows what they will see when they play it back.
After the conclusion of the Séance, all guests were invited downstairs to the Grand Ballroom for a Meet & Greet and chance to share their wonderful experience.
This Official Houdini Séance was a complete success and will be hard to top. What an amazing way to spend Halloween.
The next day (November 1), I took a taxi to Arthur’s house and arrived around 9:40 am. Upon arriving, I got to participate in a pod-cast hosted by Scott Wells, the man who conducted the Séance. Participants included myself, Arthur Moses, John Cox, and Magician Jamie Salinas. I got to share my wonderful experience at the Official Houdini Séance event and talk a little bit about The Grim Game and my blog site. After the podcast was over, it was time to worship in Arthur’s Temple of Houdini
It was overwhelming, that is, I was speechless at the amount of information before me. I could spend days doing research, but I only had until 12:00 to absorb what I could before John Cox and I had to leave for the airport. In the short time, that I was there, I was able to take some pictures of the Houdini Shrine, put on a strait-jacket, and look through some items pertaining to The Grim Game and Houdini’s other movies. These included posters, cards, original artwork, photos, programs, magazine ads and some periodicals.
What an amazing experience that I remember for the rest of my life.
Update: Check out these other related links: