The blog of author Dennis Cooper

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DC’s ostensibly favorite haunted house attractions of Halloween 2022 (Southern California edition) *

* (Halloween countdown post #5)


LACHSA Presents Halls of Horror
State University Drive Building #20, N Warwick Ave, Los Angeles, CA
Info: https://lachsatheatredepartment.ticketspice.com/halls-of-horror

The Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA) will present its annual Halls of Horror this weekend featuring the talented students of the LACHSA Theatre Department. Guests will travel through two immersive experiences and will be transported into the era of Jack the Ripper and H.H. Holmes in a thrilling original and interactive performance. Themed treats and other goodies will be available for purchase after the show. All proceeds will benefit LACHSA Theatre. Due to performances taking place at a public high school grounds on the campus of a public university, LACHSA follows, and in in some cases supersedes, the public health guidelines for live events.



The French Florist
22, Acacias Avenue, Beverly Hills, California, 90210
Dates/Times/Info: dumont@yopmail.com

The house of the haunted French florist, who terrorizes the gardens of Moss Grove, California, from within his shed. It is said this is the ghost of an old grump florist who used to design horrible bouquets, and who could never sell one. His revenge, coming back as a ghost, is to lure his victims with the scent of a rose until he devours their heart…..



34285 County Line Rd., Yucaipa, California, 92399
Info, etc.: https://www.hauntworld.com/countylinefright-com




The Realm of Shadow
11507, Norwalk, California, 90650
Info: https://www.realmofshadow.com

The Lord of Shadow and his Matron are eager eat….I mean greet attendees as you explore the abandoned (but not empty) attic rooms of Hamre Manor – 665 Diabolki Way. Perhaps you’ll be the ones to discover the roots of the tragedy and disappearances all those years ago. Perhaps. A risky business – searching for answers. You may not like what you find…or what finds you!

Nevertheless, good times await.


Rest in peace…I mean…Rest assured…we are hard at work putting together our 2022 Halloween Season schedule. Stay tuned for more info and dates of operation. However, one super cool piece of news is that we will be returning to last year’s location – the back lot of Trinity Christian School! We were so blessed to be there with you last season. The space, school, church, and even the city’s partnership were all amazing!



The 17th Door
1851 W Orangethorpe Ave, Fullerton, California, 92833
Info: https://the17thdoor.com

Heinous crimes deserve a severe sentence at Perpetuum Penitentiary, the most horrendous prison. A darkness has seized control of the inmates. Muffled screams of suffering ooze out of every crack and crevice of the dismal stone walls. At Perpetuum, a new circle of hell has taken root. Courtesy of Vixi Labs, all prison treatment facilities will now be powered by revolutionary Vixi-technology. Operated by vile and sadistic engineers, their unorthodox methods for treating evils of humanity have hit new levels of depravity. They are enjoying every minute. Evil pervades this space which has become a black reality. The question is… Will it become yours? Go cautiously, as the prisoners of Perpetuum’s cell blocks have no concept of confinement and are thirsty for the sweet-smelling blood of new victims. No one escapes. Your only hope is to survive. Will you cry Mercy or will you emerge from Perpetuum Penitentiary stronger than before?



Delusion: Valley of Hollows
2640 Pomona Blvd, Pomona, CA 91768
Info: https://enterdelusion.com

Delusion returns to the Phillips Mansion with a semi-sequel to last year’s Reaper’s Remorse play. This time, it’s the 1970s, and guests are deprogrammers looking to infiltrate and extract someone from a death-obsessed cult that worships Esther Phillips. The psychedelic 70s form the background of this most unreal Delusion entry!

Guests play the role of Deprogrammers; those meant to help rescue people from the influence of cults. During the 1970’s there was an influx of cults popping up around the United States such as Jonestown, Children of God and The Manson Family. Playing upon this phenomenon, Delusion will delve into an era and theme never before explored, swallowing its guests into its most disturbing interactive play to date.



Twisted Dreams Haunt
5815 Panama Dr., Buena Park, CA 90620
Info: https://www.facebook.com/TwistedDreamsHaunt/

This old school haunt conjures up feelings of Knott’s Scary Farm in the early 2000s, with a violent and gritty feel focused on intense scare and abject terror. Sprawling an impressive length around the side and back yards of a Buena Park home, Twisted Dreams doesn’t care about pretty or polished. It just wants to horrify. Not yet announced, typically last weekend of October and Halloween.



The Haunted Amusement Park
14011 Ridge Hill Rd, El Cajon, CA 92021
Info: https://www.scaretrail.com

The Haunted Amusement Park is a HAUNTED Scare Trail set on the desolate grounds of the iconic San Diego Amusement park Marshal Scotty’s Playland. The once joyful sounds of fun and laughter are now replaced with screams of terror as visitors make their way through the remnants of the carnival rides from the 1960’s. The haunted scare trail takes you under the old Roller Coaster, around the Ferris Wheel and in to the Bumper Cars where you will put on 3D glasses to experience out-of-this-world visuals. You will then have to find your way through the Circus maze before the side show freaks find you. But don’t rest yet, you will still have to zig zag your way out of the sleep away camp cabin. See the original haunted ride repair shop, and make your way through the old attraction Graveyard where you will see the broken down cars from the roller coaster, a race car, a ferris wheel gondola still waiting for repair from the undead fix-it crew. The haunted Amusement Park also features a house of curiosities, a truly Haunted House of Horrors, a cemetery, a slaughterhouse, and much more on your nearly 1 mile walk through the spooky grounds of The Haunted Amusement Park.



Murder House Productions presents Ghosted
2525 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90018
Info: https://www.replyordie.com

Getting ghosted sucks… but this time it’s deadly. This October you’re getting GHOSTED. Murder House Productions presents an all new haunted house for 2022- GHOSTED: REPLY OR DIE, Premiering October 1st.



Rotten Apple 907 presents Sssss
907 N. California St, Burbank, CA 91505
Info: https://www.facebook.com/rottenapple907/

Rotten Apple 907 is a legend, and they’re back for their 31st season! Yes, the actual name of this year’s maze is “Sssss.” It stands for Super Slithering Sinister Scare Snakes: The Maze. Okay, no it doesn’t, but guests will go into a creepy jungle. And there will be snakes. So… parseltongues welcome?

Note that the line may be cut off before the 10:00pm closing, as by city permit, Rotten Apple must be shut down by 10pm, not simply line-capped. Also, if you’re in the area, cruise the local neighborhood for some great haunted yard displays. There are several on Clark Ave west of Rotten Apple, and one great one on Ontario Street just on the opposite end of the block and then one block over from Rotten Apple!



FallOut Shelter: L.A.
1142 N. Alameda Ave., Azusa, CA
Info: https://www.facebook.com/falloutshelterLA/

A haunted attraction with its first location coming to Los Angeles is the brain child of Tracy Snow and being designed and created by Filmfoxx Customs.



Elm Street Productions Presents: The Pickerton Legend
4583 W 141st Hawthorne CA 90250
Info: https://jmsmgt.com

This year, we present 2 distinct and separate haunted mazes at 4583 W 141st Hawthorne Ca 90250. Travel back in time to see the origins of the PIckerton family and when the killings began. The Pickerton Castle dates back to 1672 where King Samuel Pickerton once ruled with a tortuous evil spirit. Clarance Pickerton, a direct descendant of the evil King Samual, lived a normal quiet life. A mild manner neighbor that has been terrorizing the Hawthorne area for the last 30 years. He came to known as the Hawthorne Hunter and his house in Hawthorne Ca came to be known as the House of Lost Souls. This haunted walk through experience in Hawthorne, California will not only entertain but terrify the truly brave souls that dare to enter the Pickerton Castle or the House of Lost Souls.



Hauntington Beach Manor presents Midnight Shadows
Westminster Mall, 1025 Westminster Mall, Westminster, CA 92683
Info: https://hauntingtonbeachmanor.com

Hauntington Beach Manor went pro last year and knocked it out of their park with their lengthy, immersive, creative, and super energetic haunt through an asylum filled with terrifying characters. This year, it returns to the Westminster Mall, on the lower level of the old Sears building, facing the 405 freeway, and will be offering their haunt in conjunction with Prism Haunt! It’s going to be a scream!



The Willows
1123 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90038
Info: https://thewillowsla.com

Set in a sprawling early 20th century 10,000 square foot mansion on the most haunted block in Los Angeles, The Willows gained legend status in its 3 year sold-out run (2017-2019) as a one-of-a-kind must-see-it-to-believe-it cult hit.

Tragedy has struck the Willows family, and guests are invited to their home to celebrate the life of a dearly departed friend. Drinks flow and dinner is served, but the night quickly takes a bizarre turn. It seems as though sinister forces are at work inside the house – and within the family. The maid insists she saw a dark figure stalking the home – was it a prowler? A spirit? A figment of her imagination? The friendly family facade begins to crumble, and, soon, guests are taken on a twisted, fully interactive thrill-ride where they aren’t just witnessing a story unfold: they’re living it.

This is an immersive combination of interactive and site-specific theatre, providing an exhilarating 2 hours full of exploration and discovery. With only 18 tickets available for each performance, guests will quickly lose their inhibitions in a uniquely intimate and personalized environment. JFI Productions has been a pioneer of premier immersive entertainment since 2015, and the return of The Willows for the 2022 Halloween season cements its legacy as a must-see attraction for fans of the haunted house genre.



Dark Harvest
5702 E. La Palma Anaheim, California
Info: https://www.facebook.com/darkharvesthauntedattraction/

Guests going through the maze encounter numerous scenes of slaughter, including a hospital where the medical professionals seem to have become the depraved ones, a clown-infested colorful cornucopia of carnage, a realm haunted by fearsome pumpkin beasts, the horror of a space station infested by some brutal alien life form, a serial killer’s den full of butchery, and more. Longtime fans of Perdition and The Fleshyard will recognize elements and settings from their past mazes.

Make no mistake about it, Dark Harvest is incredibly graphic, and it is not for the faint of heart or the feeble of mind. There is nothing slick and polished about this maze, no fancy theatrical effects, no overt use of sophisticated technology like projections or moving rigs. Dark Harvest is just a good ol’ fashioned gorefest, and it is very effective and impactful in what it does.



Tunnel of Terror
Big Wave Car Wash, 2219 West Lincoln Ave, Anaheim, CA 92801
Info: https://tunnelofterroroc.com

Starting at $30 per car, Residents of Southern California are welcomed to come with their family and friends to experience a one-of-a-kind Halloween thrill, filled with chills and Terror to delight the entire group. The Tunnel of Terror is a carefully curated experience, with scary and creepy performers popping up throughout the wash, and special effects providing a terrifying ambiance. Participants can also expect unique surprises each night!



The Gershon Dungeon
13861 Gershon Pl, Tustin, CA 92705
Info: https://www.thegershondungeon.com

One of the longest home haunts in Orange County, this attraction might be viewed as the OC Beware the Dark Realm. Telling the story of one Guinivere Holt, a cruel orange plantation owner who tortured her slaves, The Gershon Dungeon takes place in the modern day, where the burial plot of the entire, long-lost estate has been unearthed, bringing heinous spirits and the ghost of the demonic Guinevere herself back to the realm of the living!



Bones Gulch
Jack Bones Equestrian Center, 26983 Tapia Canyon Rd, Castaic, CA 91384
Info: https://www.bonesgulch.com/index.html

Although we look forward to the return of the classic, big-name haunts every year, there’s nothing quite like the announcement of a brand new haunted attraction to get us excited about the upcoming Halloween season. One of the first new haunts we learned about this year was Bones’ Gulch Haunted Attraction, coming to Castaic, California, this October. But this is no ordinary new player on the professional haunt scene. Behind Bones’ Gulch are three of the biggest names in California home haunting: Beware the Dark Realm, Restless Souls Manor, and The Farm.

The team is already hard at work building the haunt, which, as the name implies, seems to have an Old West theme. The haunt will be located at the Jack Bones’ Equestrian Center in Castaic. From the build photos, we can see many interesting buildings going up already, creating a very intriguing setting for the outdoor walk-through attraction. Based on our previous experiences with the three home haunts, we’re certain that Bones’ Gulch will be full of rich details and plenty of scares.



Coffin Creek
14600 Baron Dr, Corona, CA 92880
Info: http://www.coffincreek.com/index.html

The legend started in 1938 when Southern California had 14 days of rain causing sever flooding. Here is part of the article from the Santa Ana Register (now the OC Register).

As the flood waters subside from 2 week of flooding, 13 coffins were discovered in the wooded area next to River Rd and Archibald Ave in the city of Corona. “The coffins are believed to from the abandoned Guasti Cemetery in the city Ontario” said Officer Willmans. Officer Willmans went on to say “The coffins were found by some locals floating in a small creek that runs through the woods. The authority’s and locals started referring to this area as Coffin Creek.

The authority’s continue to search the woods for the remains of the 13 coffins. Only 2 coffins had the remains found nearby. The remains of 2 other empty coffins were found in the woods, some 30 yards to the west of what is now called Coffin Creek.

As the sun rose, Officer Willmans said ” We had to stop searching last night, those woods got really creepy after dark. I called off the search when I started seeing and hearings things, strange things, like (continued on page 3 see Coffin Creek)

This is all of the article I could find, page 3 was missing. Now it’s up to you to find out what is haunting the woods.



All Saints Lunatic Asylum
22521 Shawnee Rd, Apple Valley, CA 92308
Info: http://www.allsaintsasylum.com/index.html

Nearly 50 years ago, All Saints Lunatic Asylum lost funding and was forced to close its doors. Patients unable to leave, Doctors with nowhere to go, the once cutting edge mental health facility fell into obscurity.

Campus Facilities:
ALL Closed for Refurbishment
Private Guest Suites
Organic Butcher Shop
Campus Infirmary
Visitor’s Lounge
State-of-the-Art Laboratory
Family Cemetery

Current Therapies: Suspended
All Therapies Board Approved

Current Studies: Suspended
Direct Current
Psychological Evaluation
Genetic Determinism
Primal Reversionism

Institution Operations: Suspended
All Saints Lunatic Asylum’s institutional operations have been suspended until further notice.



The Dreich Society presents Nightmare
1130 E. Highland Ct, Ontario, CA 91764
Info: https://www.facebook.com/thedreichsociety

Deep in the woodlands of Japan, stands an ancient temple, untouched by time. Originally designed to hold in the evil Yokai that once prowled freely, the containment sigils have since been broken, allowing travelers to step through the threshold and take a peek behind the curtain into their dark realm where nothing is as it seems. Follow the Kami and find the light to safety. Otherwise, you will be forever trapped in the Yokai’s eternal nightmare…



Desert Decay Manor
55550 Calico Ave, Whitewater, CA 92282
Info: https://desertdecaymanor.com

Nestled in the foothills of the West Palm Springs Village, the Killgore family has resided on these hallowed grounds for generations. Some left trying to escape the family curse of a horrific untimely death. Gravely, they always come home, to dwell within the halls and walls of the manor, hoping to never be sent to the depths of hell which loom so close to their souls. Some turned murderous, some became victims. All are ghostly apparitions that remain here with their secrets to haunt the living in their attempt to take the souls of all who enter and send them to hell in their place. We thought Desert Decay Manor was going away after last year, but I suppose nothing really stays buried.



Beachwood Haunt
702 N Beachwood Dr, Burbank, CA 91506
Info: https://www.instagram.com/beachwoodevents/?hl=en

This maze is modest in size, occupying the space of a home’s driveway; however it is still jam-packed with scares and expert design. Impressively, this haunt is the work of a small group of teenagers. Consisting of a tightly-knit handful of rooms, Beachwood Haunt is reminiscent of the early days of The Farm Home Haunt. One of our favorite rooms was an area where one of the scare actors stabs a head that subsequently sprays you with blood as screams fill the air. The teenage crew of Beachwood Haunt incorporates puppetry, projections, and synchronized audio to create an extremely fun Halloween experience.



Nightmare at Cottonwood Corner
36143 Stable Lanes Rd, Wildomar
Info: https://www.facebook.com/NightmareAtCottonwoodCorner

Nightmare at Cottonwood Corner (formerly Nightmare on Hickory Lane) has been reinvented and is an eclectic mix of a haunted hike, maze, and show all rolled into one. Venture your way down near the swamp waters, through the abandoned town of Cottonwood Corner, and end up at the old cemetery for a show.



4035 Dee Dee Court, Lancaster
Info: https://www.lunarterrorproductions.com/about-1

My upcoming project for the 2022 season is “JORŌ”. A trip into the Edo Period of Japan. I don’t feel entirely comfortable expressing the “deeper” aspects of the haunted houses I create. As to most, it’s just spooky entertainment with zero substance. But as a “hikikomori” with currently/virtually zero friends outside of the internet, I find this as the only way to express myself as an artist and be heard.

I’ve created this haunt as an expression of my Japanese heritage, accompanied by my interpretation of the urban legend, “JORŌGUMO”. I’m relating my life experiences towards aspects and descriptions of this urban legend, I feel like she symbolizes the idea of loss after transformation; The idea of hiding chaos within a mask and how the people close to you, close to your home, your family, sees you like a stranger, see you as the enemy and see you, or what you hope to be as a myth, an urban legend, or something make-believe.

I’m honestly terrified of how the end result may be. Every asset is unpredictable and I genuinely hope this year I could be heard a little bit more. — Brady Crow, Creative Director



The Haunt at Hellizondo
21024 Arminta St, Canoga Park, CA
Info: https://www.facebook.com/HellizondoHaunt



Temecula Terror
301 Hyde Street, Temecula, CA
Info: https://www.temeculaterror.com

Located near Galway Downs equestrian center in Temecula’s wine country, Temecula Terror gets the benefit of its rural surroundings. It feels like the middle of nowhere, and at night, separated from city lights, it seems like the sort of setting where a bunch of teens in an exploitation horror movie might break down and encounter who knows what.

Your GPS will take you to the official address, which is a bit short of where the actual parking lot is, but helpful attendants will point you in the right direction down a gravelly road. After parking, it’s not exactly a short walk but by no means unreasonable to get to the ticket booth. A tunnel of green pulsing light leads from the outside world to the domain of Temecula Terror, which is fronted by an entrance with a giant, grinning devil’s mouth.



Mistress Yvonne’s Annual Haunted House
19206 Bergamont Drive, Riverside, CA
Info: http://www.mistressyvonneshauntedhouse.com/index.html




High Desert Haunted House
9976 Joshua Rd, Apple Valley, CA
Info: https://www.facebook.com/HDHHVM/

High Desert Haunted House is two horror attractions for the price of one. The first, Deadwood Ghost Town, perfectly recreates the authentic dirty feel of an abandoned ranch in a 12-minute, open-air haunted attraction. Victoria Manor, the second, brings guests into the deranged home of a family, for a 15-20 minute intimate experience that is reminiscent of Rob Zombie’s House of a 1000 Corpses.




p.s. Hey. ** Misanthrope, please no reducing Paris to ashes, thank you. 10 years? That is weird to realise. Yikes. Weather’s super sweet here. My weekend looks like it’s going to be a little tough, but ideally I’m tough than it. That movie sounds dreadful, but I suppose you’ll enjoy it because you can look at that guy. Oh, wow, I remember that guest-post. Tell DR hey from his old location. ** _Black_Acrylic, My pleasure, maestro. Oh, my god, I hope this time the completion is actually in full view. Oh, no, I could tell you were only fed up with the circumstance, not the saintly types who work there and are probably as secretly fed up as you are. Good weekend, buddy. ** Dominik, Hi!!! Oh, that’s strange about your inability to insert emojis. I could put a billion them in the p.s., but, don’t worry, I won’t. Huh. Please yes, ha ha, anything but that LdC gif, thank you very much! And people are still using it on Facebook, at least, to this very day. Nice to meet you, Diavolo Antonio. Love putting all of the haunted house attractions above in one place, declaring it a town, and holding a sham referendum that forces the haunt owners to elect me Mayor at gunpoint, G. ** Sypha, Eeny-meeny-miney-mo? Excellent, thank you, thank you, about the NeoDecadence post! November should be fine, I think. Rockin’ weekend. ** Steve Erickson, Extremely fast growing impeccable health to you! ** Tea, Really nice, indeed. I’d be a walking disaster without it. If I could even walk. Wow, I used to do the exact same thing as you’re doing. Birds of feather. It was a very fruitful methodology, it turned out. I’ve only visited sites where people solicit others for online role play. And, at least on the sites I’ve visited, they do the roleplay in private. Understandably. And I figure what I imagine they’re ‘doing’ is probably more exciting than the play. But I shouldn’t praise my own imagination, and who knows. I hope your weekend does everything it can on your behalf. ** Okay. Today’s the weekend you get my annual round up of the best seeming haunted house attractions in the inarguable capitol of Halloween, Southern California. If you’re there, hit up every single one of them, I say. If you’re elsewhere, please dream and cower accordingly. See you on Monday.

Shall I, Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin *, conjurer, introduce myself to you, viewer? And why not?


When I created my theater, I made it a rule for myself to only perform for the audience effects that were my own invention. This was of course a difficult obligation to fulfil, but thanks to my persevering research — and, I must add, much hard work — I succeeded for the entire duration of my performances in unfailingly following the path I had laid out for myself.
It is true that I had a powerful ally in physics, especially dynamic electricity. This science, to which today we owe the transatlantic telegraph, was then known only to a very small number of researchers. I applied it to my routines, and its amazing qualities made several of my effects even more wondrous since the method could not be discovered.
I need not remind you of the additional resources offered to me by mechanics — my favorite science — and conjuring, for which I had always had a true passion.
The eight effects I am about to describe will show how indebted I am to these three combined elements. …

Robert-Houdin’s theater, a recreation




The Robert-Houdin House of Magic

‘Located in Blois, France, the Robert-Houdin House of Magic is the only public museum in Europe bringing together magic collections and permanent live performances. On the facades of the House of Magic a six-headed monster, lady of the house, emerges from the windows every half hour and seems to inspect the entrance, as though to bid you welcome.

‘Imagined in 1998 by Michell and Jean-Pierre Hartmann, the 58-meter sculpture incarnates the audacity of a wish to confound dream and reality. Put your foot in the front door, and let yourself be carried away in a universe permeated with magic and legends.

‘On five floors with a total area of 2,000 m², discover the history of magic, the life and work of the celebrated magician Robert-Houdin, novel exhibitions and optical illusions of all varieties. Replete with opportunities for discovery and family entertainment, the temple of magic will propel you from one surprise to the next.’




The Inexhaustible Bottle

This effect is one of the most brilliant I ever performed. It was always warmly applauded.
I walked onstage with a small bottle filled with Bordeaux. I completely emptied it by pouring its contents into a number of glasses, then rinsed it with a bit of water, taking care to drain it well.
This introduction completed, I walked amongst the spectators and, still holding the upside-down bottle, offered to pour out any type of alcohol they might wish.
My offer was unfailingly welcomed with great enthusiasm. From all sides, requests were called out by people who were anxious to confirm both the reality of my effect and the quality of the drinks.
These beverages were served as soon as they were requested. Whatever the drink, whether a spirit or a liqueur, from whatever country was specified, it was poured out with the greatest generosity.
The service ended only when the audience — fearing that they could not consume everything poured from the bottle and also finding that the longer the routine lasted, the less clear their reasoning would be — finally decided to halt their requests.
To end the effect in a spectacular way, and to prove the inexhaustible gifts of my bottle, I took a large drinking glass able to contain at least half of the vessel, and I filled it to the brim with yet another requested beverage.
The Inexhaustible Bottle was performed at my theatre for the first time on December 1, 1847.




The Fantastic Orange Tree

This mechanical piece was preceded by several magic effects which motivated its introduction onto the stage.
I borrowed a handkerchief from a lady. I rolled it into a ball, which I placed beside an egg, a lemon, and an orange arranged on my table.
I then magically made all the objects pass within one another, and when they were finally all nested within the orange, I used the fruit to create a magical liqueur.
To do so, I pressed the orange between my hands and reduced its size, displaying its various stages from time to time, and I eventually reduced it to a powder which I poured into a flask containing spirits of wine.
My assistant then brought onstage an orange tree without blossoms or fruit. I poured a bit of the elixir that I had just prepared into a tiny vase, set it on fire, and placed it beneath the plant, and as the fumes reached the leaves, one could see flowers blossoming on the tree.
Upon a wave of my wand, these flowers were replaced by oranges, which I handed out to the spectators.
A single orange remained on the tree; I commanded it to open itself into four parts, revealing within the borrowed handkerchief. Two butterflies, flapping their wings, grasped the top corners and unfolded it as they rose into the air.
This effect was my creation.




The Ethereal Suspension

In 1847, one may recall, everyone was talking about ether and its marvelous applications. I thus thought of taking advantage of the public’s fascination and applying it to a routine, which received great acclaim.
“Gentlemen,” I said with the seriousness of a Sorbonne professor, “I have discovered a marvelous new property of ether.
“If one has a living person inhale this liquid when it is at its highest degree of concentration, the body of the patient for a few moments becomes as light as a balloon.”
Following this introduction, I proceeded with the effect. I placed three stools on a wooden bench. My son stepped on the middle one; I had him extend his arms so I could support him with two canes, each of which rested on a stool.
I then simply held under the child’s nose an empty vial, which I carefully uncorked, while backstage an assistant poured ether onto a very hot iron shovel so the vapor would waft into the audience. My son immediately fell asleep and his feet, which had become lighter, began to rise from the stool.
Judging the operation a success, I removed the stool so the child was supported only by the two canes.
This strange balancing already evoked great surprise among the spectators. It grew even more when they saw me remove one of the two canes and the stool that supported it, and it reached its peak when, after having raised my child to a horizontal position using my little finger, I left him sleeping in space, and to defy the laws of gravity, I also removed the feet of the bench at the base of this impossible edifice.


VERY RARE : excerpt from a French TV film, last aired in 1971.




Robert-Houdin’s Portfolio

The most basic of natural laws states that the container must be larger than the contained; here it is the opposite. One might thus call this effect Impossibility Realized.
Thus, I carried onstage under my arm a portfolio for drawings which was no more than a centimeter thick and which I set on thin supports positioned completely isolated in the center of the stage. I then removed, in order:
1. A collection of drawings
2. Two charming ladies’ bonnets decorated with flowers and ribbons, as intact as when they first emerged from the hands of their designer
3. Four live turtle doves
4. Three enormous copper pots, one filled with beans, one containing a crackling fire, and a third full of boiling water
5. A large cage filled with birds flying from perch to perch (The inventor of this effect is one of my good friends, Monsieur Bouly of Cambrai, a distinguished attorney, author of several highly respected works on archeology, and devoted aficionado of arts in general, particularly conjuring. The cage removed from the portfolio is entirely his invention. The other feats which I added to his effect do not in the least minimize the value of his original idea.)
6. Finally, after the portfolio has been closed one last time, my youngest son, the star of The Ethereal Suspension, raised the cover, showed the audience his smiling face, and emerged from this narrow prison.





The Light and Heavy Chest

The amount of tricks I invented for his theatre was extensive, but one of my most remarkable ones was the Light and Heavy Chest.
I took advantage of the infancy of the usage of electricity, especially the then novelty of Hans Christian Oersted’s discovery of electromagnetism, to my advantage. I brought on a small wooden box about a foot wide. I said that I had found a way to protect it from thieves. I asked a spectator to lift it, usually a small child. The child lifted it with ease. Then I brought an adult male up from the audience and asked him to lift the same box. Even though he used all of his might, the adult male was unable to lift the box!
What made this trick even more incredible is that I used this (among others) to help squelch a rebellion.




The Pastrycook of Palais-Royal

You see a charming little automaton. At the command of its master, he comes to the threshold of his door and — as polite a businessman as he is a skillful pastrycook — he bows and awaits the orders of his clientele. Warm brioches straight from the oven, cakes of all kinds, syrups, liqueurs, ice creams, etc. are served as soon as they are requested by the spectators, and when he has filled all the orders, he helps his master with his magic effects.
A lady, for example has placed her ring into a small box which she has locked and holds in her hands. Instantly, the pastrycook brings her a brioche in which she finds her ring, which has vanished from the box.
Here is another example of his intelligence.
A spectator gives him a gold coin in a small basket and tells him the change he would like in francs and centimes. The pastrycook goes into his building and no matter how difficult the mathematics, he calculates and brings out the correct change.
Finally, a comical raffle is held, and the pastrycook is asked to distribute the prizes.
As interesting because of its complex mechanisms as the amusement it brings to the audience, this piece was in the best taste out of all my effects and always brilliantly ended my show.
The Pastrycook of Palais-Royal was performed for the first time during the opening of my theatre.




The Triple Magic Clock

—-My Triple Magic Clock was suspended by two thin cords with a glass bell below. At my command the hand moved back or forth to any number a member of the audience might suggest and the bell would then sound out the relative hour – either loud or soft – as requested.
—-The mystery lies in the movement of the clock’s hands. The workings are hidden from view, so the hands appear to move on their own. I used various optical tricks in my mystery clocks, including a rod that ran up through the ornate clock base and along the right of the top of the case, attaching to a screw that was connected to a second, invisible glass dial that turned behind the visible dial.
—-This feat was achieved using electricity, a subject that fascinated me for years and which lead to my close association with the eminent clockmaker Constantin Louis Detouche with whom I patented an ingenious electro-mechanical escapement.




Diavolo Antonio

I gave this automaton the name of Diavolo Antonio, the famous acrobat, whose perilous movements I attempted to replicate, except that the original was a man and the copy had the size and look of a mere child.
I carried my young wooden artist onstage in my arms as I would have with a living being. I set him on the bar of the trapeze and asked him several questions, which he answered by moving his head.
“Are you afraid of falling?”
“Are you ready to perform your exercises?”
Then, upon the first notes from the musicians, he gracefully bowed to the spectators as he turned to all parts of the audience, then hung by his arms and, following the rhythm of the music, swung himself quickly.
Next came a moment of rest during which he smoked a pipe, after which he performed some amazing feats on the trapeze such as raising himself with his arms and standing upside down while he moved his legs in various directions.
To prove that his mechanism was self-sufficient, my little Diavolo released his hands, hung by his feet, and then jumped completely off the trapeze.
This automaton appeared for the first time in my theatre on October 1, 1849.


* Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin (1805 – 1971) is often credited as being “the father of modern magic”. Before him, magicians performed in marketplaces and fairs, but Robert-Houdin performed magic in theatres and private parties. He also chose to wear formal clothes, like those of his audiences. Many magicians today mimic this by wearing tail-coats. He lived for magic, constantly conjuring new ideas and performing even on vacation. His wife was often involved in his extremely clever and innovative tricks, which he had to admit were ‘deceptions’ to authorities, to avoid prosecution for witchcraft.

The Robert-Houdin Story
The Memoirs of Robert-Houdin
Maison de la Magie Robert-Houdin


Intro to an intro

Marie Antoinette automaton restored by Robert-Houdin

ROBERT-HOUDIN A Magician’s Life






p.s. Hey. ** Jack Skelley, Cooperstown feels brand spanking new to me, Jackalope. Big news? Coffee the fuck up then, man. I don’t know precisely what your placing on the SPD chart means, but it means something good. Autofiction event, eh? Every literary event in France is an Autofiction event. What’s the deal with Ottesa Moshfegh? That person’s name seems like it’s everywhere these days. Secret news! Ron Koertge!!!! If I’m not there and can’t go, tell him he’s the greatest for me. Ha ha, that was like a Poetry Flash squib. Does Poetry Flash still exist? I’m getting so close to seeing you on Zoom, it’s almost scary. ** Tosh Berman, Don’t forget Manic Street Preachers too. Helluva double header. And thank you kindly about my thing, sir. ** Dave Barton, Thank you! ** Dominik, Hi!!! You can’t insert emojis? Or maybe you fear my reaction to seeing an emoji? 😢 My friend did seem to be very delighted by his present, yes! Victoire! I suggested he shoot them off on a roof, and I hope he takes my advice. That legged skeleton is the coolest being in the ether, so thank you. Love making everything as escapable as Houdini made everything escapable until that last stunt that offed him, of course, G. ** Sypha, Never reject the nudging powers of a blog post. That’s a golden rule. Yes, I would definitely be interested in that guest post, and thank you very much for wanting! When does the book come out? The blog is likely be on vacation for two or three weeks during October, I’m not sure when, so it would need to launch after the end of the away time. But, yes, and thank you again! Great! ** _Black_Acrylic, Thanks, buddy. If you didn’t see Dave Barton’s A.M. Homes suggestion, here it is in full: ‘Black: I would highly recommend A. M. Homes’ book of short stories THE SAFETY OF OBJECTS as a gateway drug to the rest of her work. Terrific read. The film version is also good.’ Oh, no, another absurd delay on your pad?! Man, it’s like veritable pulling teeth, for fuck’s sake. I hope that gets righted ASAP, needless to say. Urgh. ** Jamie, The feeling of goodness is very mutual, sir. Thank you about the gif work. I’m not working on gif works right now partly because I’m swamped with the film stuff and writing some short fiction when I’m not. I found new form for the gif fictions in my last gif novel ‘Zac’s Drug Binge’ that got the work away from the scrolling format, which excites me, and I’m taking some time to think about how to move forward. But I’m excited to work on the gif fiction again. Oh, you did a course with Chelsea Hodson. How interesting, and how great that it whipped your writing game. Fantastic about your resurrecting the novella. Yeah, the short fiction I’m working on is mostly older things that I never finished for one reason or another, and now think whatever roadblocks I saw aren’t as blocked as I thought. Or something. Anyway, I’m very, very happy to hear you’re writing! Yes, I’m floating on air at the arrival Autumn here. It still feels like a blessing. Uh, the film stuff really just eats everything, so I’m not up to too much else. Seeing art and films and friends and stuff. Trying to plan a soon-to-be trip to LA to, again, work on the film. Yes, the band you are inquiring about is called Yellow Tears. They’re defunct or were the last time I checked. Panoramic IMAX love, Dennis ** Billy, Thank you very, very much, Billy! xoxo. ** Tea, Hi. Yeah, I’ve had that level of writing addiction, but luckily only for relatively short and thankfully productive periods. But, yeah, it can derail as much as help. Cool: fiction and nonfiction. I mean, you know, my work has a lot of wish fulfilment in it as well, so I hear you. Well, yeah, whenever you want to share your work, I’m both patient and highly interested. Thanks. Have the happiest Friday that’s doable. ** Right. I don’t remember why, but I ended up thinking about Houdini the other day. And I remembered I had made a post about him for the blog years and years ago, but when I went back to check in on it, it was pretty crappy, so I made a new one. So, if you can find it in your curiosity and imagination to think about Houdini for whatever amount of time over the next 24 hours, the blog’s got you covered. And if not, oops. See you tomorrow.

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