Boo Houdini!

By Phil Plait | October 27, 2009 2:00 pm

quest_for_houdiniLooking for a little skeptical spookiness to add to your Halloween this year? The James Randi Educational Foundation will be holding a seance to contact the spirit of Harry Houdini live on the internet!

Houdini was a hero to James Randi, and he famously said that if there were an afterlife, he would do whatever he could after he died to contact his wife. She held a seance, and… nothing happened. However, when you have people like Randi and magician Andrew Mayne involved, why, anything can happen!

OK, maybe not anything. Like, say, actually contacting a dead spirit. But I bet this will be a very fun event, and I encourage all skeptics and believers — especially believers — young and old to drop in. For more info, stay tuned to Randi.org and WeirdThings.com.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, Debunking, JREF, Skepticism

Comments (8)

  1. Kees

    It is no good. The Randi-Radiation that Randi emits consistently thwarts any paranormal activity. This phenomenon has been known by psychics for years and causes paranormal things to stop functioning when a sufficiently skeptical person is nearby.

  2. Gary

    #1: “It is no good. The Randi-Radiation that Randi emits consistently thwarts any paranormal activity. This phenomenon has been known by psychics for years and causes paranormal things to stop functioning when a sufficiently skeptical person is nearby.”

    Does this mean that if Randi was near a Catholic Mass at communion time that the wafer would fail to become the body of Jesus and prevent the faithful from playing swallow the leader?

  3. Of course, if Randi actually does contact Houdini, would he be eligible to collect on his own JREF challenge? Seems only fair.

  4. pontoppi

    >OK, maybe not anything. Like, say, actually contacting a dead spirit.
    >

    It would be quite a feat to contact a dead spirit. I thought the idea was that his spirit would live on! :)

  5. MadScientist

    I hope the seance will be posted to YouTube for people to view at their leisure. :)

    I’ve met many people who have this ridiculous notion that Houdini was a mystic and I’ve often wondered how people can have such a cock-eyed impression of a man who had great fun exposing the frauds and making money while at it. I’d definitely part with some money to see a stage show in which the performers discussed the woo-woo from Houdini’s era, demonstrated the tricks which Houdini exposed (and the often hilarious means in which it was done) and went on to do the same to contemporary woo-woo.

  6. mike burkhart

    As a Catholic I beleve in an afterlife but I think the departed don’t want to talk to us there happer were they are . I think seances don’t work and in many cases are a con job James Randi should know that

  7. withheld

    I used to live near Appleton, WI, where Houdini lived as a child for a short time. Are they still holding a seance every year trying to contact him?
    http://www.foxvalleyhistory.org/houdini/facts.asp

  8. roy

    The ad says the event is at 9PM EST, but I presume they mean EDT, right?

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