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The Official Houdini Hallowe’en Séance! (Citadel Hill, Halifax)

Hallowe’en night 2013, on Citadel Hill! During a torrential rainstorm (!), a secret cadre of international magicians (including Guinness record holder and outstanding talent, Lucas Wilson, New York’s highly elegant magicienne Margaret Steele, and yours truly) performed for a sold-out crowd atop the historic fortress of Citadel Hill. After the festivities, fellowship and fun, we all tried to contact the spirit of Houdini, who actually died on Hallowe’en, 1926. Was our Séance successful? Here’s a glmpse of the atmosphere for you:

Though Houdini himself was a skeptic of phony psychics, the legendary escape artist declared that if there actually *was* any way possible to escape the world beyond, and to somehow communicate with the living, he would find a way to do so. Who else had a better chance to possibly escape the afterlife, than the World’s Greatest Escape Artist?

Houdini asked that his wife Bess, along with his contemporaries in magic, hold these events after his passing, whenever that would be…just in case. As it turned out, he actually died on October 31st, at age 52 (interestingly, the same number as in a deck of cards…)

Magicians and Houdini fans have kept the tradition going with one ‘Official’ Séance, sanctioned by the Houdini Society Inner Circle every year. Thanks to award-wining author Bruce MacNab (The Metamorphosis: The Apprenticeship of Harry Houdini), Halifax became the host city for the first time in 2013. Just like its a big deal when a city wins the Olympics, The Official Houdini Séance is a major event for magicians and magic lovers, so big thanks to Bruce for scoring this for everyone in Halifax!

This would prove to be the 87th consecutive year (with 87 being a fitting number, since members of Cole Harbour native Sidney Crosby happened to be in the audience).

Also fitting, Houdini’s first officially ‘billed’ performance was actually in Dartmouth (in 1896), as he toured the Maritimes during the very early stages of his career before gaining worldwide fame.

So, did we also experience his first AFTERLIFE performance in this area??

There was one chilling moment when, after the magic performances, we asked the great Houdini to “join us, wherever he is.” Following a long, eerie silence…in a darkened room full of the faithful and the curious, atop Citadel Hill in the pelting Hallowe’en rain, there was a sudden flash of lightning! This was accompanied almost immediately by a loud, rumbling burst of thunder. Then silence. You could not help but feel…hopeful, unsettled, and just a little chilled. Just a coincidence? All I can say on behalf of everyone in attendance that fateful night is…this was an historic night in Halifax!

Check out CBC TV’s coverage of the Official Houdini Hallowe’en Séance, from Citadel Hill in Halifax! (Starting at the 3:40 mark). The Amazing Mr. J performed live, but did Houdini perform from beyond death? Watch and see with your own eyes, magic fans!