Take part in — and support — The Official Houdini Séance 2015: a day of science, history, escapes, and magic ... on Halloween!
"What would be more wonderful to me than to ... converse with my beloved mother?" So wrote the 50-year-old Harry Houdini in A Magician Among the Spirits two years before his own death on Halloween, 1926.
On Halloween of this year, October 31, 2015, The Official Houdini Séance will take place at San Francisco's Brava Theater as part of the Bay Area Science Festival. Magician Robert Strong will lead Wonderfest, Bay Area Skeptics, and the Pan-Pacific International Exposition in presenting a day of science, history, escapes, and magic.
Will you help us to fund the following three features of the day?...
- NIGHTTIME SEANCE ($9,000 total needed): An evening extravaganza with two séances: one conducted by a self-described medium, the other by a master magician — with insights from a panel of talented experts (see participant roster, below).
- DAYTIME PRESENTATIONS ($9,000 more needed, $18,000 total): An afternoon forum with presentations by magicians, historians, escape artists (re-enacting Houdini's famous jail cell, water-torture cell, and upside-down straightjacket escapes), and leading authorities on: psychology, coincidence, neuroscience, con-artistry, and magical technology/innovation.
- VIDEO DOCUMENTARY ($7,000 more needed, $25,000 total): A professional video — based on highlights of both daytime & nighttime events — exploring the impact of Houdini as seen through the eyes of modern magicians, scientists, skeptics, and historians. Houdini: Then, Now, and Tomorrow!
Funds raised in excess of $25,000 will make the various events even better by bringing in more great talent and experts. The extra funds will also support Wonderfest, the nonprofit Bay Area Beacon of Science, creator of free science education events, both in-person and online.
Here are the principal components and presenters in the Nighttime Séance:
- Welcome – Robert Strong, MC/Moderator
- Escape – Brian Brushwood, Scam School Creator
- Life – John Cox, Houdini Historian
- Earnest Séance – Terrie Huberman, Psychic Medium (self-described)
- Mind – Melina Uncapher, UCSF Neuroscientist
- Doubt – Michael Shermer, Skeptics Society Founder
- More Doubt – Jamy Ian Swiss, Magician/Skeptic
- Magic – Justin Willman, Magician
- Magical Séance – Paul Draper, Mentalist
Houdini felt great sympathy for those who sought psychic connection with the deceased: "I too would have parted gladly with a large share of my earthly possessions for the solace of one word from my loved departed." Yet Houdini's penetrating understanding of magic — and his determination to learn the truth — led him to expose many séance mediums as frauds.
For every year since Houdini's death, relatives and admirers have tried to make contact with the spirit of the great escape artist. Nowadays, The Official Houdini Séance takes place annually on Halloween, in a different city each year. The Séance is authorized by Tom Boldt and Bill Radner, son of Houdini collector (and protégé of Houndini's brother, Hardeen) Sidney Radner. We in San Francisco now honor an 88-year-old tradition by leveraging the Bay Area's wealth of scientific and technical expertise.
Through The Official Houdini Séance 2015, we may not make contact with the great Houdini. But we will certainly learn much about psychology, history, magic, ... and the balance between skepticism and wonder that makes science such a joy.
Won't you please support us by indulging in these valuable rewards? –––––>
NOTE: If you wish to buy multiple tickets, please multiply the single-ticket price by the number you wish, and then pledge that amount. For example if you want 4 VIP tickets, then pledge $236 (= 4 x $59) using the VIP ticket reward box (at right), and we will reserve 4 VIP tickets for you.
Risks and challenges
The single biggest challenge that The Official Houdini Séance faces in 2015 is generating attendance on Halloween, a very popular night for events in the San Francisco Bay Area. We hope that by recruiting top talent, we will create a once-in-a-lifetime event that people will not want to miss.
Also, we have not yet secured a relationship with a company that is developing virtual reality, augmented reality, holography, and other emerging technologies. If you know of such a company, we'd love for you to connect us.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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