George Hardeen and a poster by Theo Hardeen
Ask most people to name a famous magician and many will say Houdini, who died on Halloween in 1926. And although Houdini and his wife Bess had no children, he does have a descendant:
For many years, George Hardeen, one of Houdini’s few living blood relatives, was invited to attend the annual seance to reach his great-uncle. On Halloween night in 2001, he finally agreed.
"They had a big round table. They had some articles that belonged to Houdini," he says. "They had a medium, and he was very entertaining, calling upon Houdini in a very dramatic way. They would beseech him to just show a sign, move something on the table."
After about half an hour, he says, "they threw in the towel, and then it was over." The group went to a really nice bar, drank some scotch and just talked. "And I think that’s the purpose of these seances to give an opportunity for folks to come back and talk about Houdini," he says.
That was a bit strange for him, because admittedly, he knows little about his great-uncle. "I felt ignorant in their presence. But that didn’t matter to them, because I’m the guy that’s got the DNA."
Read or Listen to the entire story: Houdini Relative Unlocks Some Family Secrets, NPR