Photo by Lisa Iannucci
This Halloween will be the 90th anniversary of Harry Houdini’s death. The master illusionist was born on March 24, 1874 in Budapest, Hungary, but he moved to the small town of Appleton, Wisconsin when he came to the United States and was known for his incredible escapes from chains and ropes and, most famously, from a sealed milk can.
Here’s what’s happening this month to celebrate Houdini’s life:
The History Museum at the Castle: Located on East College Avenue in Appleton, the museum hosts an exhibit on Houdini, equipped with picks and handcuffs that he used and interactive displays that everyone will enjoy. Visitors can magically lift a table, get out of a box that’s chained closed, and try to escape a straitjacket.
Wisconsin has hosted an Official Houdini Séance every Halloween since his death. The séance was created so Houdini could expose fraudulent mediums. He arranged a code that he would use to contact his wife. Every year, Bess attended the séance waiting for her late husband to send a sign, but nothing. She gave up after 10 years, but the séance goes on. This year, The Official Houdini Séance will be held at the Oriental Theater 2230 N. Farwell Avenue in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The show begins at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $15.
The Houdini Film-Museum Tour & Magic Show: Located in Scranton, Pennsylvania, the museum has an entire building dedicated to Harry Houdini. During your visit, you’ll see rare footage of Harry Houdini and local magicians will perform tricks for audiences of all ages that include a floating audience member in the air, who will travel through a hoop and float back down.
The Ransom Center: The Harry Houdini collection will also be on display from Oct. 1 through Nov. 6 at the Harry Ransom Center, located at The University of Texas in Austin, Texas. The Harry Houdini scrapbook collection includes 10 of his scrapbooks that pertained to the history of magic and contains playbills, theater programs, clippings, photographs, prints, correspondence. The Ransom Center also hosts Houdini Speaks to the Living with New York Magician Patrick Terry as Harry Houdini. The shows will take place from October 21 to October 30, all at 8 p.m.
Houdini Museum of New York: Located in the Big Apple, the Houdini Museum of New York has an animatronic Houdini that escapes from a straitjacket. They also host magic lectures, magic shows, cast parties for Broadway and film and many more events throughout the year. The museum is located within Fantasma Magic, a magic store located across from Madison Square Garden in New York City. The museum also has the coffin that Houdini escaped from back on January 14, 1907. The unbelievable escape took place in Boston, Massachusetts and it took Houdini just 66 minutes to get out of the coffin which had been nailed shut with 6-inch nails.
The “King of Handcuffs” did not die by drowning, but rather his official cause of his death was peritonitis brought on by a ruptured appendix.
Keep up with all the 90th anniversary Houdini events via #Houdini90th.