After his magic show at the LA Athletics Club, Siegfried told us about some other events to check out. One of them was a guided tour through the Magic Castle, but sadly tickets for that event sold out before I could reserve one. Shortly thereafter, another event for the Magic Castle came up, though: the Harry Houdini Birthday Séance!
While I consider myself curious about the possibility of an afterlife, I would not call myself superstitious.
I was not expecting a real talk with the great beyond, but I was open to it, especially since Houdini’s birthday also happened to be my grandfather’s death anniversary. Houdini himself was famous for discrediting fake psychics and mediums, so I was not sure how the séance would go.
If you are unfamiliar with the Magic Castle, it is the worldwide mecca for magicians. Everyone in the magic community wants to come here to perform or to see their idols perform. The place is actually a Hollywood mansion that was slowly expanded to have several show rooms, bars, and a formal dining area. For those not in the community, the Magic Castle has been compared to LA’s Hogwarts. Guests are only allowed admission by invitation from a member of the Academy of Magical Arts, and must be dressed in formal wear. Also, all photography is disallowed beyond the foyer, for obvious reasons. So here is a picture of me in the foyer:
Since I came around Easter, they had themed decorations up, including dressing the owl on the bookcase in a bunny suit. There is no obvious obvious entrance to the main part of the castle, but when you say a code phrase a discreetly hidden door reveals itself! Once inside, I checked in with Atlas Obscura agents Erin and Sandi and got a drink from the main bar, the NPH-inspired Old Fashioned.
We shuffled up to the Houdini Room, and the show began.
I am so sorry I forgot the Magic Castle’s host’s name, but he The Magic Castle’s host and resident medium, Leo Kostka, was fantastic! I do not want to give much away in case you have the chance to experience it yourself, but I will say that things moved on their own accord, other things mysteriously appearing from nowhere, unexplained voices, an inanimate object reading a guest’s mind, psychic stigmata left on another guest, and more! Plus the room was filled with Houdini artifacts donated to the Magic Castle, because apparently the founders knew him personally.
While I did not get to speak to my grandfather, I would highly recommend the Houdini Séance to anyone!