Special Halloween Magic Show & Séance
“HARRY HOUDINI, if you’re not too busy this Halloween, I want to talk to you.”
Get ready! I’ll be conducting a séance the Saturday leading into All Hallows’ Eve in an attempt to contact the long passed spirit of Houdini, the most famous magician of the Twentieth Century. The sitting, as these séances are sometimes called, will take place in the dimly lit main dining room at River Lake Inn restaurant in Colon, MI, a small village long recognized as the Magic Capital of the World.
We’ll have a ninety minute magic show first. “A Halloween Tribute to Harry Houdini” is a show specifically designed to celebrate the life and magic of Houdini. Guests will then be invited to help themselves to River Lake Inn’s bountiful salad bar, and dinner will be served shortly afterwards, followed by desserts.
Finally, as everyone relaxes with coffee or wine, the lights will be dimmed, candles will be lit at each table, and the séance will begin. How long it lasts will ultimately be up to Harry.
Harry Houdini died in a Detroit hospital, after a week’s struggle for life, on Halloween in 1926. He was only 52 years old. Before he died, Houdini made a pact with his wife, Bess, promising he would return and make contact from the other side if such were at all possible. Coming from the world’s greatest escape artist, his promise carried weight. For the next ten years, Bess organized a séance every Halloween in hopes of contacting her departed husband.
(We’ll be playing a very eerie recording of one of those original séances at River Lake Inn before our show. It’ll raise the hairs on the back of your neck.)
Bess was never successful. Houdini never appeared to her, and in 1937 his wife eventually gave up. The tradition she started, however, continued.
Every year, on Halloween night, someone somewhere in the world attempts to contact the great Harry Houdini across the veils of death. The séances continue in part because it’s an entertaining history lesson, in part as reverence and love for Houdini, and in part — well, in large part perhaps — because of the hope this year just might be THE year Houdini finally keeps his promise.
The Halloween séances have been conducted everywhere from Houdini’s childhood home in Appleton, Wisconsin, to his adult home in New York City, to the museum dedicated to him in Scranton, New Jersey, to Bess’s final sitting in Hollywood, California — just about everywhere imaginable.
Everywhere, that is, EXCEPT the Magic Capital of the World!
There isn’t a magician in the world who doesn’t know about Colon, and few who haven’t visited the village or longed to visit it. Even The United States Congress has recognized Colon as The Magic Capital of the World. It all started when Harry Blackstone Sr. moved to Colon in 1926 — the same year Houdini took his final bow on Halloween night. Coincidence?
Perhaps, but personally I believe if there’s anywhere in the world where the greatest magician of the Twentieth Century might decide to finally appear, it almost HAS to be in Colon.
Halloween Evening Highlights
- The Magic Show & Seance on both Oct. 26 and 31 start at 5:30 p.m.
- The cost to attend is $34.95, which also includes dinner.
- Dinner includes a full salad bar
- Guests have an entrée choice of “Bloody Drippings” (Sirloin Merlot)
- … or “Zombie Eyes” (Shrimp Scampi)
- The alcoholic beverage for the evening is a “Vampire’s Kiss.”
- Dessert, either carrot cake or cheese cake, is also included with the meal.
- Beverages, taxes and gratuity not included.
River Lake Inn is located at 767 Ralston Road in Colon, MI. There’s limited seating for the show and séance, so call 269-432-2626 or fill in the form below to make reservations on-line. A confirmation will be sent to your email address.
Associate Director, Museum Studies Program at University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI