Showing posts with label Heller Project. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Heller Project. Show all posts

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Houdini's Grave & More

If you've been following my blog, you know about the October 8th Heller Project to clean up the grave of Robert Heller. Thankfully, there are others in the magic community with this same passion. The very first to do this was Harry Houdini and now his grave is in need of some work. The Houdini Museum in Scranton has been working to make repairs and has restored the bust of Houdini. John Cox does a nice job of covering their efforts and in the link below.

WILD ABOUT HARRY: Houdini Bust Magically Reappears at his Grave Site...

In addition to this, the October 8th date for Hellers grave is right around the corner. It's going to be extremely difficult and will take more than one outing. It probably won't get finished this year. But we need to start it. Below is copy of the email I sent out to those folks who have volunteered to help with the clean up. If you are in the Philidelphia area and would like to help out, please contact me.
AND also, keep in mind, in the case of RAIN or inclement weather the event will be postponed.

 October 8th Clean-up of Robert Heller's grave

Time: from 8am - 1 pm
Date: Saturday Oct 8, 2011
Where: Mt. Moriah Cemetery,  6201 Kingsessing Ave Philadelphia, PA, 19142

What we need: Lots of garden, lawn tools. lawn and hedge clippers and trimmers, saws, shovels, racks, and pretty much anything you think might help get the job done. PLEASE be sure to bring gloves with you and come dressed for this kind of work. IF someone has a first aid kit, that might be a good idea to have handy for cuts and scraps.

Attached is a map of the cemetery and  the location of the Heller gravesite*. Hellers grave is in Section 135 plot 189. We will be working in an area away from most of the other volunteers. The Heller site is greatly overgrown so it's going to be a huge task to get it cleared. How much we can do in a single day is unknown, but at least we will be knocking a dent into it.

Inclement Weather:
The last two clean-up days at Mt. Moriah were called on account of weather. So IF it is raining on October 8th, this event will be cancelled. And in the event of cancellation, I'll let you know when it is rescheduled and hope you are able to make it.

Thanks for your help with this project.

*email me at for a copy of the map of the Cemetery or if you have any other questions.

Monday, September 12, 2011

October 8 Heller Project Update

I just received some photos from the grave area where Robert Heller's tombstone sits. These pictures clearly show the neglect and lack of care this cemetery has received. I'm not even sure where the grave itself IS in these photos. One thing is for sure, it's going to be a daunting task. And not a one weekend task either, but it would be nice to at least get started on it.
 To give you an idea of what it once looked like, below is a photo of Houdini standing next to the grave. Apparently, the metal pole/fencing is gone from this area.

If you're unfamiliar with the October 8 Heller Project, basically, we are looking for volunteers to help clean up the grave site on October 8 in Philadelphia. The grave is at the Mt. Moriah Cemetery. We need able bodied individuals and also we need folks with yard/lawn equipment: rakes, mowers, garden sheers, and much more. Frankly, we probably need a tractor and bushhog, but it's too early to tell.

If you can volunteer your time, please contact me at

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