The “Night of Nights” finally arrived. The table was set and the cast of characters were in readiness. The usual group expected to sit at the séance included; William Radner, Séance Director; from Springfield, MA; Thomas J. Boldt, Séance Director and Houdinite from Appleton, WI; John Cox, Screenwriter and Houdini Historian from Los Angeles; Robert Somerdin, Houdini Collector from Deerfield Beach, FL; Fred Pittella, Houdini Historian and Handcuff Authority from Queens, NY, and: Larry Weeks, Houdini Historian from Brooklyn, NY.
Unfortunately this year due to Hurricane Sandy, Fred Pittella and Larry Weeks could not escape the severe weather. So their replacements came from the Ft. Worth area: Ash Adams, Collector and MC for the evening, and; Kathy Tayefeh, Houdini Enthusiast. Rounding out the Inner Séance Circle were: Derek Kennedy, Magic Collector and Historian from Ft. Worth; Arthur Moses, Houdini Collector, Archivist, Biographer and Historian from Ft. Worth, and; Scott Wells, Medium.
There were two levels of tickets for this seminal event. The “regular” tickets went for $35 who received a commemorative, 3 ½” custom-made padlock emblazoned with a special Ft. Worth Houdini Séance logo. The “VIP” tickets sold for $100 each. They received the padlock, too, but also a pair of metal bookends shaped like large padlocks. They also enjoyed a social hour talking with other devotees while enjoying hors d’oeuvres and wine.
At the appointed hour everyone was ushered into the Commandry of the Ft. Worth Masonic Center. The ushers were appropriately attired in turn of the 20th century clothing complete with top hat and white gloves. Built in the 1930’s, this creepy old building has enough of its own ghosts to wade through to find Harry Houdini.
You can download the evening’s program here to enjoy reading an outline of the evening’s planned activities plus other interesting information about Houdini’s earlier visits to Texas.
The first clip in this podcast features a Keynote® presentation on Houdini which covered a lot of territory with 90 slides in the brief time allotted him. I was seated in the back of the room so the sound quality is not the best, but you will have the feeling you were there.
Next is an audio clip of Bill Radner’s presentation who brought the famed “Séance Handcuffs”. He introduced a short video of his father, Sid Radner. Then finally is the complete Houdini Séance featuring me, Scott Wells, as the Medium. You will hear the Master of Ceremonies, Ash Adams give the “Rules of the Séance” before introducing me.
Following the séance, I sat down with Tom Boldt who discussed his involvement and participation in the Houdini Séance over the past 25 years. The following morning during breakfast in the home of Arthur Moses, we recorded a recap of the whole experience with him as well as with Jamie Salinas, Houston magician who performed the straight jacket escape as part of the evening’s entertainment; and John Cox, Houdini historian and blogger about “all things Houdini” at http://www.WildAboutHoudini.com/ and also with Joe Notaro who blogs about Houdini’s film, “The Grim Game” at http://harryhoudinicircumstantialevidence.com/