Houdini's final seance

1st November 2022. Reading Time: 4 minutes General, Harry Houdini, Famous Paranormal Cases. 1028 page views. 0 comments.

Every 31st of October, for 10 years, Bess Houdini held yearly seances to contact her husband Harry using a secret code. In 1936, she participated in her final seance. Listen to the final seance!

Harry Houdini died on October 31st, 1926 - on Halloween. On the anniversary of his death, each year his wife Bess would hold a seance to contact her husband and offered a prize of $10,000 to anyone who could correctly deliver a message from Houdini.

What was the code?

The secret password that Houdini came up with was not just some random word he thought of. It of course had significance. It was a phrase that he and Bess used for years as a communication tool during their Vaudeville mind-reading act. The message itself was to begin with the word 'Rosabelle'. Rosabelle was the name of the song she sang in the act where they first met. This was also inscribed on her wedding band so it was hugely significant for the couple. The rest of the words were randomly selected by his close friend Arthur Conan Doyle.

1 Pray

2 Answer

3 Say

4 Now

5 Tell

6 Please

7 Speak

8 Quickly

9 Look

10 Be Quick

The secret message was Rosabelle- Answer * Tell * Pray Answer * Look * Tell * Answer Answer * Tell

According to www.infinitelymystical.com, this is how the code is deciphered:

The message starts with “Answer,” which is the second word on the key-word list. The second letter in the alphabet is “B.” So the message starts with a “B.” The second letter in the message is “Tell,” which is the fifth word on the key-word list. Since the fifth letter in the alphabet is “E,” we see that the second letter in the message is an “E.” “Tell” is also used for the fifth and seventh letter in the message so we now have: B E ? ? E ? E The third letter in the message is the word pair: “Pray Answer.” This is the first and second word from the key-word list. So we have 1 and 2 or 12. Since “L” is the 12th letter in the alphabet, we now have: B E L ? E ? E The forth letter in the message is "Look", the ninth word on the key-word list. The ninth letter in the alphabet is “I,” so we have: B E L I E V E The sixth letter in the message is the word pair: “Answer Answer.” This is 2 and 2 or 22. “V” is the 22nd letter in the alphabet. So putting it all together, we have: B E L I E V E

So the code word was ROSABELLE BELIEVE

3 years later in January of 1929, a man came ford called Arthur Ford claimed he was ready to speak to Houdini. In Bess's home on the 7th of January 1929, they held a seance. Ford's 'spirit guide' known as Fletcher, delivered the message of Rosabelle- Answer * Tell * Pray Answer * Look * Tell * Answer Answer * Tell. Mrs Houdini was quick to decipher the code as ROSABELLE BELIEVE. Mrs. Houdini went on to do an interview on the 9th of January to New York World stating "I had no idea what combination of words Harry would use, and when he said 'believe,' it was a surprise."

Ford had her sign a document to prove that she believed he had successfully contacted her husband. “Regardless of any statements made to the contrary, I wish to declare that the message, in its entirety, and in the agreed upon sequence, given to me by Arthur Ford, is the correct message prearranged between Mr. Houdini and myself.” (Signed) Beatrice Houdini

It turned out that when Mrs Houdini allowed the seance, she was very unwell. She had a fall the week before and was bedridden with influenza and on a lot of medication. She was said not to be of sound mind. It was claimed by a source that Ford paid Mrs Houdini to give him the code in advance. A claim both Ford and Mrs Houdini denied. It also was revealed that the code had been published in a book the year prior by Harold Kellock in his Houdini, His Life-Story. Mrs Houdini also alluded that she may have accidentally revealed the code in a newspaper interview in the years prior. Ford never chased his $10,000 prize. Mrs Houdini took back her claim that the seance had been successful stating 'There was a time when I wanted intensely to hear from Harry. I was ill, both physically and mentally, and such was my eagerness that spiritualists were able to prey upon my mind and make me believe that they had really heard from him.'

Mrs Houdini continued the yearly tradition of seances until the 10th anniversary. She decided to gracefully bow out of the seances confirming that she had never received a message from her husband. “Yes, Houdini did not come through. My last hope is gone. I do not believe that Houdini can come back to me - or to anyone. The Houdini shrine has burned for ten years. I now, reverently ... turn out the light. It is finished. Good night, Harry!”  Here is the audio of the final seance.

Video belongs to https://www.youtube.com/user/houdinimuseum

If you enjoy LLIFS, consider buying me a book (otherwise known as buy me a coffee but I don't drink coffee and I LOVE books). Your donation helps to fund the LLIFS website so everyone can continue to access great paranormal content and resources for FREE!

Follow LLIFS on Facebook

Don't forget to follow the Facebook page for regular updates 

Mailing List

Join the mailing list to receive weekly updates of NEW articles.  Never miss an article again!

Haunted Magazine

Buy the latest and past issues Haunted Magazine

Books by LLIFS

Check out the books written by LLIFS