Harry Houdini, the world-famous magician and debunker of mediums, earnestly explored the religion of spiritualism and communication with the dead after his beloved mother’s death in 1913.
In this episode for Halloween 2009, skeptics and former professional magicians Joe Nickell and D.J. Grothe discuss how Houdini’s background in magic motivated his debunking of spiritualism. They discuss his religious beliefs. They explore the fraudulent methods of the mediums, including slate writing, the Sprit Trumpet, spirit photography and the use of “ectoplasm.” And they conclude their conversation by conducting the Center for Inquiry’s 13th Annual Houdini Seance.