STEVE INSKEEP, host:
It is Friday morning, time again for StoryCorps, the project that's crossing the country, recording people talking about their lives. Today we hear from 90-year-old Sid Radner and his lifelong fascination with Harry Houdini. The legendary escape artist and magician died on Halloween, and each year on the anniversary of Houdini's death, Radner leads the official Houdini seance to contact his hero.
Mr. SID RADNER: Houdini died in '26 and his wife tried to contact him on the anniversary of his death for 10 years. Well, at that point, she said 10 years was long enough to wait for any man, so she stopped.
Ms. BESS HOUDINI: I do not believe that Houdini can come back to me or to anyone. The Houdini shrine has burned for 10 years. I now turn out the light. Goodnight, Harry.
Mr. RADNER: I started doing seances in the '30s. And as a matter of fact, I own the trademark, the name: Official Houdini Seance. Usually, there could be eight to 12 people and you'll sit around and hold hands, concentrate and wait to see if you get some contact from Houdini.
One time the medium asked for Houdini to make his presence known, and a gal standing around, her beads broke and fell on the floor. Another time, a book fell down off a shelf. We had some strange things happen.
If I can't contact Houdini, and I've been trying for many, many years, maybe it can't be done. But if he does come, I want to be there. Believe me.
INSKEEP: That's Sid Radner at StoryCorps in Holyoke, Massachusetts. He will be trying to contact Harry Houdini again this year in New York City. Oh, come on, Mr. Radner, it's very simple. Just get him into a StoryCorps booth. That'll get him talking. Sid's interview will be archived in the Library of Congress and the StoryCorps podcast is at NPR.org.
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