Los Angeles, CA: Communing with Houdini at Hollywood's eerie private club
The grand 1909 mansion at 7001 Franklin Avenue is now the private clubhouse of the Academy of Magical Arts; only members, or those sponsored by members, can gain casual access to its warren of darkened hallways, its five bars and its hushed, velvet-curtained rooms with names like the Parlour of Prestidigitation. (Ask around: You're likely more closely connected to a member than you think.)
There is one other way in: The Houdini Séance. The Castle celebrates the life, death and potential afterlife of the legendary illusionist (who died on Halloween 1926) with a Victorian dinner séance held in its Houdini room. An hour or two in here would be enough for us, poring over the Houdini memorabilia (including the only pair of handcuffs he was never able to unlock). But the evening goes well beyond that: You're joined by a medium and the evening takes a decidedly unsettling turn as you hear about Houdini's late-life investigations into psychic phenomena and his promise to contact his wife from beyond the grave. Beyond that, who knows?
After the séance, you're free to wander the castle, complete with secret passageways, roving illusionists and performances happening here, there and everywhere.
Gather a 10-12 person group and reserve well in advance.