Most people wish that every day could be Christmas, but here at GeniiOnline, we’re more partial to the spookiness and spectacle of Halloween. So it was a happy discovery to find that illusionist Bizzaro had shared a video of his performance of Franken-Snacks at the Magic Castle this year on that most sugar-driven of holidays. The routine is a signature one for Bizzaro. If the idea of a mutant bag of Doritos eating your hand off sounds either horrifying or hilarious to you, then this is definitely worth a watch.
Halloween may be over, but watching spooky magic is a fun year-round activity. Besides, Nabeel Bera had to compile and edit footage from six different performances taken over three days during Halloween weekend (Halloweekend?) in Bahrain, and that takes time. Not only do you get to watch a bunch of cool magic, you’ll also get to watch Santa and his reindeer lay the smackdown on Doctor Strange. This 16 minute video starts weird and stays weird, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Whether you believe in an afterlife or not, attending a Houdini Séance is an entertaining (and often spooky) way to celebrate the legendary escape-artist’s lifelong commitment to the pursuit of knowledge. The Magic Castle hosts its own Houdini Séances, but there’s also an Official Houdini Séance hosted at a different location each year on Halloween—the anniversary of Houdini’s death. And this year, on the 90th consecutive performance of the Official Houdini Séance in Cleveland, Ohio, Harry Houdini and his wife Bess apparently made contact with a spirit medium.
Houdini was incredibly skeptical of the existence of spirits and the paranormal, but made a pact with his wife Bess that should either of them die first, the other would attempt to make contact with the other. Bess attempted contact for years, and then other magicians and purveyors of the spirit world continued the tradition for nearly a century.
A short video posted by Cleveland.com (embedded above) chronicles the event, showing a small, intimate gathering of magicians and members of the public at the Crop Bistro as they await a potential response from Houdini. Houdini, speaking through the medium, mentions getting screwed out of money at a theater in Cleveland, and Bess talks about stopping the Séances as they only continued to bring up memories of the loss of her husband.
Did Harry and Bess Houdini actually make contact on Halloween after nearly 100 years of silence? Or is this all a load of hogwash? We leave it to you to decide.
Every day is Halloween for anti-conjurer Dan Sperry, who impressed Megyn Kelly with his distinctive brand of trickery on The Today Show. Given how the trick unfolds, it seems clear we need to launch a series of PSAs educating the public about suits of cards. The curly ones are clubs, Joy.
So, while we here at GeniiOnline are doing our part to elevate the art of magic into the public consciousness, we’re also not above messing with people for our own amusement. The Web actually combines a pretty neat card trick with some extreme creep-out factor. The routine begins innocently enough, as webs appear and disappear on four seemingly blank cards. The volunteer then covers the cards to discover a real (plastic) spider perched on the back of their hand. Yes, it’s evil. Yes, it’s perfect for Halloween. Yes, it’s only $10.
Buy The Web by Jim Pace on Penguin Magic
Whether you’re looking for a spooky new parlour trick or simply want to entertain a few guests at a Halloween party, the Penny Dreadful Detective turns mentalism into a fun round of whodunit. Inspired by Edwardian parlour games, the Penny Dreadful Detective simulates a murder mystery with a small pack of cards and a pendulum, allowing you to instantly transform your volunteers into psychic sleuths. Includes everything you need to make the trick work, including a stunning vintage pocket watch and velvet pouch.
Buy Penny Dreadful Detective from Penguin Magic
Every year, the Magic Castle goes all-out for Halloween, and this year, the mansion will be transformed into a retro sci-fi wonderland. The Magic Castle calls this year’s Halloween extravaganza Invasion!, where 1950s celluloid classics like The Day the Earth Stood Still and Invasion of the Body Snatchers will come to life in a series of very special series of evenings held from October 23 through October 31.
Invasion! will feature a variety of performances and treats all week long, including:
-“INVASION!” decorated clubhouse.
-Themed magic in the showrooms.
-Our legendary candy coffin!
-Tarot card & palm readings.
-Themed cocktails in souvenir glassware & themed menu items.
-RFID special FX-triggerable gags around the club.
-No door charges for member plus 5 guests during “off-peak” evenings:
On peak days (Friday, Saturday, and Tuesday), even more festivities are planned, including a photo booth, costume contests, and dancing in the Inner Circle. If you plan on attending these days (as well as the members-only night on Wednesday), costumes are mandatory. Costumes are optional but encouraged on off-peak days.
For more information on what’s in store at the Magic Castle this Halloween, as well as details on how to become a member of the Magic Castle, be sure to visit the official site.
Halloween is perhaps the one time of year you can safely prank strangers without getting punched in the face. Magician/actor Steve Valentine has five pranks you can pull on trick-or-treaters, party guests, the gang at the pub or your own kids using just stuff you’ve already got around the house. They’re creepy without being too over the top or gross, and they don’t require much practice or skill to pull off. Just please remember, after you cut a hole in the box, step two is putting your finger in the box. Your finger.
Click here to watch the playlist with all five pranks.
Halloween is about a week away, but that’s more than enough time to learn this easy but incredibly effective bit of mentalism. It’s a bit of magic dubbed the ‘Seance Trick’, created by Spidey and hosted by Chris Ramsay. By writing two different cards on a slip of paper and burning them, you can call upon the spirits to cut right to the card secretly chosen by your subject—and have them cut right to yours.
All you need is a deck of cards, some blank slips of paper, a pouch to store them in, a pen, and a bit of practice. Spidey uses matches, some lighter fluid, and a creepy goblet to dispose of the paper with some theatrical flair, but you can come up with your own disposal method if you’d rather not use fire. (If you do go with fire, please please please do not burn your house down. If you’re under 18, use adult supervision.)
For the full method on how to pull the trick off, watch the video above. And while this is a solid bit of mentalism you can perform the whole year round, you can use your presentation, patter, and accessories to make it as spooky or as simple as you like.
Halloween is the perfect time to revisit the fascinating figure of Harry Houdini, who died on October 31st in 1926. The Library of Congress has assembled an outstanding selection of articles about Houdini’s penchant for debunking spiritualists from newspapers of the time. They’re worth perusing for the ads alone, but also for stories like this one from the July 1, 1922 edition of the Ocala Evening Star.
Houdini’s point in fooling Roosevelt was to illustrate that if he could get one over on a room full of intelligent, worldly men, small wonder that skilled spiritualists could fool an audience who came in wanting to believe.
The Library of Congress has even assembled a selection of Houdini’s column in The Washington Times where he would respond to readers’ questions about psychic phenomena. One gentleman, for example, was astounded when a medium could tell him various aspects of his life, like his name, family members, and other “facts connected with my life which were all true.” Rattled, he was hoping Houdini could explain what happened, a favor the master was more than happy to grant.
Houdini goes on at length about the many, many methods mediums employed to appear to be in touch with know-it-all spirits. It’s clear that his goal is to not to make the duped feel foolish, but rather to protect them against future attempts to part them from their cash. Houdini had no time for fakers, and watching him take them apart is still great a hundred years later.
The post on the Library of Congress site about Houdini is intended to provide guidance for teachers, but dig into its links and you’ll find a marvelous collection of first-hand stories.