Houdini Movie Short – The Annual Harry Houdini Seances – Sonoma County, CA

HH Seances Sonoma Documentary DVDI recently acquired a DVD on eBay of The Annual Harry Houdini Seances – Sonoma County, CA.  This is the documentary by Tom Wyrsch that first screened at the Boulevard Cinemas in downtown Petaluma on November 3, 2012 and then premiered October 30, 2014 on the PBS station KRBC in Northern California.

From 1964 to 2002 authentic Harry Houdini Seances were held each Halloween Night in Sonoma County, California.  This documentary film tells the story of how the séances started, the secret locations where they were held, the people who attended, and if contact was made.  It was a 37 year annual Halloween event not to be forgotten.  Interviews, music, photographs, film footage, and narration tell the complete story.

Special Features on the DVD included:

HH Seances Sonoma Documentary Special Features DVD backWilliam Alstrand Tribute:

According to the DVD, William Alstrand was a San Francisco area professional stage show magician.  Mrs. Houdini entrusted Bill the secret coded message she and her husband had created in order to prove whether or not Houdini was really breaking through from the afterlife.

Alstrand attended many of the Sonoma County Seances despite his Houdini Séance experience on Halloween of 1954 where he said “never again”:


Houdini Movie Short:

I was curious to see what footage from The Master Mystery made up the Houdini Movie Short and if it included any missing footage.   Although not identified as such, it was obvious to me that this was footage from Episode 15, Bound At Last.   A quick check online confirmed my suspicion, that this was indeed Episode 15 which is not missing any footage as far as I know.

The DVD has a 2012 copyright from Garfield Lane Productions.

5 thoughts on “Houdini Movie Short – The Annual Harry Houdini Seances – Sonoma County, CA

  1. By coincidence, I just got a message that this will be repeating on PBS, probably KRBC again (I haven’t looked it up). It now goes by the title, “Harry Houdini: Magic Among The Spirits.” I grabbed one of these DVDs at the Niles silent movie museum, which had a screening last Oct.

  2. Now Joe, is it Sonoma or Somona County, Ca.? The latter is in the first sentence.

    Was there ever a breakthrough at those historic séances at Sonoma? Somona?

    • LoL! I think you know the answer to both questions. The sentence has been corrected to say Sonoma. And as far as a breakthrough, there was dead silence for 13 minutes every year.

  3. You got me! Glad the confusion was sorted out. I’m going to miss Somona, Ca. I know about Pomona, Ca.

    Dead silence at each séance, thank you Joe! That certainly wasn’t surprising. Neil Young sang “And once you’re gone, you can’t come back…”

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