Upper East Side Séance Attempts to Contact Harry Houdini on the Anniversary of his Death

On the 90th anniversary of famed magician Harry Houdini's death, a group of people gathered at his former home on the Upper East Side and attempted to contact him. Our Michael Scotto has the story.

Tied up in a straitjacket, magician Dorothy Dietrich worked to free herself from straps and handcuffs.

Her work is inspired by Harry Houdini. So it was no surprise she led a séance on Halloween aimed at making contact with the late magician and escape artist.

"Please give us a sign Houdini. Are you here?" the séance leader chanted.

Houdini died 90 years ago, on Halloween, 1926. And on this Oct. 31st, a group of people gathered again, as they do nearly every year on this date, at his childhood home on E. 79th Street.

Surrounded by photos of the legendary magician, and by burning candles, they tried repeatedly to talk to him.

Born in Budapest, Houdini and his family moved to an apartment in the building when he was a teenager.

We went up to see where he developed his legendary escape techniques. When Houdini was a teenager, he'd climb out of a window and onto the roof to practice some of his famed magic tricks. 

Houdini was skeptical of claims that people could communicate with the dead.

But before he died he told his wife that he would use the code words "Rosabelle believe" to contact her. In 1927, on the first anniversary of his death, the séances began.

"Houdini didn't want to die and he figured if anyone could come back from the beyond it would be him," magician Dorothy Dietrich said.

But since the 1920s, the annual attempts to reach him have been met with silence.

This year... was no exception.

No lights flickered.

No objects moved.

No one heard, "Rosabelle believe."

His fans were disappointed -- but not that surprised the séance didn't work.

"It's sad," Dietrich said.

But even though Houdini has never been contacted — his spirit is felt through his legacy, which continues to inspire magicians.

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