Even Harry Houdini couldn’t escape the Grim Reaper
Wizards and magicians are crazy about Harry Houdini. But on the one day of the year his legion of fans most want to pay tribute to the greatest magician ever—Halloween, the date of his death—they can’t.
That’s because his Queens resting place—Macchpelah Cemetery in Glendale—is not open for business that day for fear of real-life goblins.
The legendary illusionist and escape artist was 52 when he died in 1926.
For many years, members of the American Society of Magicians gathered on Oct. 31 at his grave to break a magic wand above Houdini’s monument, according to McGill’s Office of Science and Society.
But the Ritual of the Broken Wand will not be held this year due to closure.
“Cemetery operators have unfortunately found through experience that the holiday is giving rise to acts of vandalism. Indeed, Houdini’s grave has been desecrated several times and was seriously damaged in 1993,” the McGill site says.
But all is not lost. The Houdini Museum in Scranton, Pennsylvania, is holding its annual séance Monday afternoon — Harry died at 1:26 p.m. ET — in an attempt to connect with the mystical GOAT from the afterlife.
The group claims that previous attempts have included spine-tingling moments of flickering candles and swinging chandeliers
Houdini initially made his bones doing card tricks and garden magic acts, but is best known for his ability to escape from almost anything, including handcuffs, water torture cages, ropes and straitjackets.
“I don’t think anyone can compare to Houdini and his ability to smile and run away in the craziest, craziest conditions. There’s nobody doing that today,” mentalist “The Amazing Kreskin” told the Post. “He captured the imagination of audiences around the world.”
He is buried under a granite monument, on which his artistic name is written in block letters.
For years, graveyard spirits traveled to Machpelah to see its most famous resident. These days, the cemetery is pretty much deserted, except for its headliner Houdini.
Born Eric Weiss in Budapest in 1874, Houdini lived in Mrs. Leffler’s former boarding house on East 79th Street between Second and Third Avenues from the age of 9 until his 20s—and reportedly went out from his top floor apartment to practice his magic on the roof.
Houdini’s widow Bess, who died in 1943, had wished to be buried next to her soulmate and business partner, but her Catholic family instead buried her 35 miles north at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Westchester County instead of a Jewish cemetery .
The uber-illusionist once promised his wife that if it were possible to communicate with the dead, he would return to her.