Showing posts with label House. Show all posts
Showing posts with label House. Show all posts

Saturday, August 22, 2015

A True Magical House for Sale

In the past I shared pictures of a number of famous magicians homes. But there is one that I was not aware of until recently. The house was built for Edward Maro, The GREAT MARO and is located in Leland Michigan. It's sits on the shores of North Lake Leelanau and it's breathtaking to say the least.

With any luck, I'll get to see the house in a few weeks as I'm traveling to Michigan to perform in a theatre named after Maro. In fact, I'll be presenting a lecture on Maro while I'm in town as well as doing two shows.

Once the lecture is done, I'll do a nice bio piece on Maro for the blog and hopefully will have a new episode of The Magic Detective Youtube Show to debut.

By the way, the house, dubbed Maronook, after the Great Maro, is for sale. The listing is here,

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Homes of Mystery 1

Please keep in mind that all of these homes are private residences today. They were ONCE owned by famous magicians, but no longer. Enjoy them here, but don't go knocking on doors!


First up, Carter Manor. This was the home of illusionist Charles Carter. It's located in San Francisco and at one time overlooked San Fransisco Bay. There are lots of other homes in the area now. Though I don't know for sure if you can see the Bay or the Ocean from the house itself, possibly you still can. The property was purchased in 1929 and the house was built the following year. Not long after, Carter tried to sell it for $90,000, but had no takers. According to the Carter Book by Mike Caveney, the house contained: "A Magic Theatre w 150 seats, vanishing bars, moving pictures (on the wall), hidden chambers, closets, passages, and the dinning room table came up from the floor below via a trap door". What it's like now on the inside is anyone's guess. This might be the most amazing house owned by a magician.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Houdini Speaks from the Dead!?

January 8th, 1929, eighty two years ago today, Houdini speaks to Bess for the first time since his death in 1926. He speaks, or apparently speaks through medium Arthur Ford of the First Spiritualist Church of New York at Bess's home on Payson Avenue with several witnesses present. Eleven months before on February 8th, 1928, Ford provided the first word from Houdini to Bess, 'Forgive'.

Bess Houdini's NY home on Payson Avenue
Now at just after noon on January 8th,  the curtains were drawn in Bess's living room and Arthur Ford went into a trance. His spirit guide Fletcher begins to speak and says that 'Houdini is here'. Using the code that Bess and Harry used in their mind reading act, a series of words are given which spelled out "Rosabelle, Believe". This is the agreed upon message! Houdini has spoken from the dead and finished with "Tell the world Sweetheart that Harry Houdini Lives and will prove it a thousand times!" and that ended the seance.

The only problem was between Bess being ill and doped up on medications and Ford having learned the code and the words previously, it was all a big fraud. Bess believed it though but later with help from friends, learned that she had been deceived.

She did say something interesting just two days after the seance. She issued a challenge of her own to her detractors. She claimed that there were two more messages in the same code that were stored in a bank vault. One of those messages is for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the other for Remegius Weiss of Philadelphia. "I consider it a fit challenge to ask the magicians and psychics who doubt the genuineness of my message to bring either or both of these through!". Suffice to say, those didn't come through, nor did Houdini speak from the dead a thousand times, like he said he would at the seance.

This bank was the Manufacturers Bank on Fifth Avenue and in the safety deposit box that Bess had there, it contained the envelope with her agreed upon message with Harry, plus two other envelopes as mentioned above.  The envelopes were never taken from the bank and shown to reporters. Bess's attorney claimed these never existed. Did they?

Many people have come out to denounce Arthur Ford and the seance. Early on it was Joseph Dunninger who showed Bess just how Ford could have learned the code. Dash Hardeen, Houdini's brother, said it was all nonsense from the start. The last person to really get involved in the 'Code Debate' was William Rauscher, minister, magician and literary executor to Arthur Ford. He put out a book called "The Houdini Code" which pretty much shows that it was all faked. 

Now here are a couple interesting things to add to the January 8th history lesson. January 8, 1898 was the day that Houdini made his debut as a Spiritualist Performer in Galena Kansas. He began by presenting his version of the Spirit Cabinet. He followed this with relaying messages from the dead to the theatre audience. And to add another dimension of strangeness of the 8th, the Reverend Arthur Ford was born on January 8th, 1896. It's also Elvis's birthday, but I'm not sure that has anything to do with it, lol.

Pretty weird though.. If that isn't strange enough, why not listen to the OTHER SIDE of the debate. This is the side that says, 'the detractors and the debunkers were lying'.  I'm not saying believe it, but it makes for interesting reading.

Do Spirits Return? IF they could, would they really want to? As for Houdini, if he did come back, he only did once and forgot the 1000 other times he mentioned! (hmmm, not like Houdini to do that)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Chung Ling Soo's House

According to the The Glorious Deception, by Jim Steinmeyer, he gives an address for the house that William Ellsworth Robinson owned when he lived in London. In the back yard is his workshop. I have no photo of the workshop, but I do have a picture of the house and WOW what a house it is! I'm really glad it's this house too because most of the houses on this street are obstructed from view by the many trees and shrubs. Not to say that this house has a clear view but you can make it out, many of the other homes can't be seen at all due to the trees. The book says that he lived in a 3 story mansion and indeed that is exactly what we have here, at the exact address from the book.

As you may know, William Ellsworth Robinson was the real name for the Chinese Conjurer Chung Ling Soo. He was American, not Chinese. On March 23rd, 1918 while performing the dangerous Bullet Catching Feat on the stage at the Wood Green Empire Theatre in London, Soo was shot to death. There was a great deal of controversy following the death, some people thought it was murder, others thought it might be a clever method of suicide. But in the end, a faulty gimmicked rifle seemed to reveal the truth, it was an accident. Houdini at one time wanted to perform the Bullet Catching Feat and was persuaded not to by the beloved Dean of Magicians Harry Kellar. Houdini listened to Kellar and decided not to attempt the stunt. The Bullet Catch has a history of killing it's performers. Some 12 people have died presenting this stunt and so far only Penn & Teller have presented it on a continuous basis without being harmed.

Here is a photo of the Wood Green Empire Theatre in London. Sadly, the only thing that remains of the theatre is the facade. The theatre itself was turned into a Television studio in the 1950s and then in the 60s it was demolished to make way for a parking garage and stores. There must be a law in England that says if you have an old theatre it must be torn down to make way for a freaking parking garage! That's frustrating to hear and to continually find out. The building that says 'Halifax' on it is the site of the Wood Green Empire.

I will say that for a magician any books on Chung Ling Soo are required reading. He worked for both Alexander Herrmann and Harry Kellar. He was such an iconic performer that he is the only REAL magician mentioned in the movie 'The Prestige' with Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman. His posters today are some of the most highly prized. I'll be focusing on one of his illusion creations in a later blog to show you his creativity.

Soo/Robinson is buried in East Sheen Cemetery, Section B, grave number 219/220/221 London. Here is a photo of the cemetery entrance. Here is a picture of the grave from Genii Magazine courtesy of
IF you have a color photo of the grave, would you please send it to me so that I can post it on the blog. Thanks!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Houdini & Leopold Connecticut Residents

Houdini's House 278 W 113th St NYC

In 1905 Houdini purchased his brownstone in Harlem. He claimed it was the biggest and greatest home ever purchased by a magician. But he also purchased another property, a 7 acre farm on Webbs Hill Road in Stamford Ct. He used this as a summer retreat and apparently did quite a bit of entertaining there with Bess. The Silverman biography says there were buildings/structures, a garden, fields, even livestock. Search as I have, I haven't been able to find the actual physical address and thus show a photo of the house if it's still there. I have a picture of the road but no picture of the actual farm.

Dr. Leopold Weiss's House

Interestingly his brother Leopold, who he had a falling out with also lived in Connecticut. His brother purchased an estate in Ridgefield called Sunset Hall Estate. I'm wondering if the friction between the brothers wasn't over jealousy!!! Look at that house! Oh, and for the wealthy among us, here is great news, The Estate may still be for sale. I found a listing for Coldwell Bankers as well as this article about the estate, though the article is from 2007.