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October 31, 2020

Houdini's Last Trick

I doubt very much our paths will ever cross, but if they do, I would very much like to perform some magic tricks for you. I would, but HA! I don’t know any besides making this whisky disappear! But speaking of magicians, Eric Weiss a.k.a. Harry Houdini was one of the all-time great magicians and escape artists. He died on Halloween in 1926, you know the story, if you don’t, it was a punch to the stomach causing peritonitis from a ruptured appendix, and for many years thereafter there was a gathering held each Halloween night. He had told his wife that if it was at all possible, he would be able to contact her from beyond the grave. It would be the ultimate trick. Houdini had campaigned against mediums, mind readers, and other charlatans who claimed supernatural talents but depended on deception. He exposed many of these fakers. Yet, he was deeply interested in spiritualism and said  he would try and communicate with the world of reality from beyond, the spirit world if you will. In the meantime, Houdini would go on to an acting career and made several movies, but his career as an actor was unsuccessful. Then, on that fateful Halloween night in 1926, Houdini himself died at the age of 52. His wife anxiously waited for a communiqué from the spirit world. A late night seance was held to see if he would try to contact others from beyond the grave. They waited for a ghostly apparition to appear...or maybe a gust of the cool october wind to send shivers down their spine...the eerie ringing of a bell perhaps…but, alas there was nothing. Year after year they would wait patiently during the all hallow’s eve seance but nothing to indicate his spiritual presence occurred. So, reluctantly she declared the experiment a failure shortly before her own death in 1943. It appeared that Houdini had run into the ultimate chained trunk, the final handcuffs he could not wiggle out of, an escape that not even he couldn't perform. Some still hold a seance on Halloween in hopes that he will signal them and who’s to say that he won’t on some dark mystical night. Up until now though, his attempted last trick has been a failure.