's Quest for Houdini

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Number 44
Broadcast Date October 31, 2009
Episode Length 1:24:52
Hosts Brian Brushwood, Justin Robert Young, Andrew Mayne
Guests James Randi

Justin Robert Young and Andrew Mayne, along with help from Brian Brushwood, James Randi, Penn & Teller, the chat room and many others, attempt to contact Harry Houdini. Does it work? Watch to find out.


The show opens with Justin and Andrew Mayne dressed in white tie at the James Randi Education Foundation Library introducing the seance of Harry Houdini. James Randi chases Justin and Andrew out, referring to them as "waiters."

James Randi begins reading from a collection of letters from Arthur Conan Doyle. In which, Doyle discusses a test that was performed on a medium by use device designed by Houdini where the medium was locked in a box, with only their head exposed. James Randi explains how Houdini and Doyle were friends, yet Doyle lied after Houdini had died about watching a performance of the milk can escape, where he claimed Houdini "secreted" himself backstage by de-materializing and passing through the walls.

Justin and Andrew come back and explain how many other people are performing similar seances around the globe on Halloween and the 83rd anniversary of Houdini's death. The goal is to read through supernatural means, a collection of words, in sealed envelopes, sent into Randi from famous contemporary magicians that Houdini might want to contact. They will be opened using an "ork-shank."

The list includes:

David Copperfield

Michael Shermer

Penn Jillette


David Nott

Barry & Stuart

and Phil Plait

Sponsors: WeirdThings.Com and The JRFE

Justin reads the invocation

There is a land where we all go,
Whence ne'er the frost nor cold wind blow,
And friends remembered reunite,
And those who hate, forget their spite,
In glow surround these gentle beings,
We call you now to bless our meetings,
Heaven's promise, our spirits thrive,
So now for the living, let the dead come alive.
Greetings spirits,
Speak thee to us: Harry Houdini.
And, break.

First Envelope: David Nott

They will attempt to reach Houdini's spirit by use of a Ouija Board. The Ouiji Board spells "VELOC" and Justin and Andrew conclude the word is velocity, Brian thinks it might be velociraptor.

The word was: Capitalism.

Second Envelope: Barry & Stuart

The chat room is giving their suggestions for the next word. Andrew guesses, "appendicitis." Justin guesses, "Please don't punch me so hard." Brian selects "Budgie" and "Gallows" as the words from the chat room.

The word was: Bagpipe.

Third Envelope: Michael Shermer

Andrew asks everyone to imagine themselves in a theater and that a man walks up to them and whispers a word in their ear. Everyone writes their words on slips of paper. Brian chose, "Windows." Words chosen by those gathered included "Petulant," "Amazing," "Crap," "Cellophane," "Cumquat," "Astronaut," "Trust," "Triple," "Twizzler," "Roger," "System."

The word was: Telepathy.

Fourth Envelope: Phil Plait

The Denver group will attempt to find the word by use of a second Ouiji Board. The prediction was "Shor."

The word was: Floccinaucinihicipilification. (A misspelling of: "Floccinaucinihilipilification")

Fifth Envelope: Teller

Justin will let his conscious mind drift into the astral-plane where Houdini will reveal what Teller had written on the paper inside the sealed envelope. They imply that Teller may have been a better magician in an attempt to anger the spirit. Andrew then hypnotizes Justin and inadvertently hypnotized Brian as well. Justin wrote down "Shadow."

The word was: Gobsmacked Opossum.

Sixth Envelope: David Copperfield

They ask the viewers to "tweet" using #Houdiniword, the first being "Jaguar." Andrew chose "Simian," Justin chose "Cyclops," and Brian chose "Promulgate."

The word was: Island. (Many tweets came in late and inexplicably nearly all of them were indeed "island.")

Seventh Envelope: Penn Jillete

For the final envelope, Justin is placed in a "regulation" straight-jacket, bought from the mental hospital where would-be assassin John Hinckley Jr. was commited, and while holding the ork-shank in his mouth, Andrew flips through a dictionary, that is full of words, and Justin will select a single word using the ork-shank. He selects "Entreat."

The rant was: Hey Randi, if you answered my email and Skype, we wouldn't have to do this essay.

The rest of the episode is shameless self-promotion.

Great Quotes

Andrew: "Look at those manacles."

Justin: "In fact, it could've been a moth."

Amtrekker: "Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango?"


See also

Preceded by:
"Secrets or BS (BBLiveShow episode)"'s Quest for Houdini
Followed by:
"Am I A Troll?"