Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The October 8th Heller Project

Allah Shaw, Charles Carter and Houdini at the grave of William Henry Davenport
Houdini during his life used to visit the graves of magicians. He often paid for their upkeep and clean up. One documentary on Houdini said that he would visit the graves of the past masters like others might visit the grave of a dead saint. I've also heard it said that Houdini liked dead magicians more than those living, lol. One things for sure, he did visit these sites and it's very likely that we know about some of them today because of him. I seem to have developed that same fascination for finding gravesites for magicians and that fascination is now turning into something called The October 8th Heller Project.

Robert Heller's Grave
To the left is a photo of Harry Houdini standing next to the grave of Robert Heller (William Henry Palmer) the great Victorian Age Magician. He was buried in the Mt. Moriah Cemetery in Philadelphia PA. Houdini discovered the grave after much searching. Within a few years after it's discovery the grave site had fallen into disrepair and SAM Assembly #4 in Philadelphia took it upon themselves to raise money to get the grave cleaned up. In the 1940s, SAM #4 again took it upon themselves to help with the restoration of the Heller site.

2011 marks the 133rd Anniversary of Heller's death/burial at Mt. Moriah and the condition of the grave area is apparently very overgrown and poorly maintained. Actually, for several years there has been NO work done to the cemetery at all. It's a disaster basically. Mt. Moriah is a very large cemetery and along with Robert Heller is the grave of famed historical seamstress Betsy Ross. A group called 'The Friends of Mt. Moriah' have come together and organized a number of clean up days. They are seeking volunteers.  I have decided to help them and line up magicians to participate as well.

My goal is to clean up the Heller grave and possibly the surrounding plots. The date of October 8th has been set for this clean-up. If you are interested in participating, please contact me at and I'll add you to the list of people and will contact you via email with all the updates and information you'll need. You don't have to be from Philadelphia, but logistically the closer you are the easier it will be for you to get there. I'll be coming from Washington D.C.
You're help is certainly appreciated. If you would like to get an idea of what we will be up against, click the following link for the cemetery. I'm hoping our section is NOT so overgrown, but as of right now, I don't know.,_abandoned.htm
Houdini at the grave of John Henry Anderson

No comments:

Post a Comment