Mysterious Stories

Ghost Bluster: Arthur Conan Doyle and his wacky ectoplasm

A flyer for one of the author’s many Carnegie Hall lectures. (Courtesy Carnegie Hall archives) Sir Arthur Conan Doyle made a startling announcement in April 1922. Known for his beliefs in communicating with the afterlife, the famed creator of Sherlock Holmes announced an extraordinary discovery — the existence of ectoplasm, the ghostly goo that emits […]

Amusements and Thrills Mysterious Stories

Harry Houdini sitting upon his own grave 1916

Anybody watching the Houdini mini-series on the History Channel? It’s, um, interesting, I guess.  It breezes over any actual character development — eschews all forms of subtlety — and lingers upon vast areas of speculation in his biography.  This would be totally unacceptable if it were anybody else but Harry Houdini, who routinely blended fact […]

Amusements and Thrills

Don the Talking Dog, German vaudeville sensation, saves a drowning man in Brighton Beach

There once was a talking dog named Don. One hundred years ago today, he saved a man from drowning in Brighton Beach.  Don shouted or barked the word ‘Help!’ then ran to the waters to save him. But perhaps I should explain. In December 1910, the New York Times ran a startling announcement that a dog […]

Mysterious Stories Podcasts

Mysteries and Magicians of New York: Whimsical spirits, scary legends, strange magic and the original ghost busters

A session with a ouija board, a haunting illustration from a piece of 1901 sheet music ‘There’s A Charm About The Old Love Still’. (NYPL) PODCAST Our sixth annual ghost story podcast takes a little twist this time around. Oh sure, we have two of New York’s most FAMOUS horror stories in our first part, […]

Recording our Halloween podcast tonight. Guess who’s joining us (if he doesn’t escape)?

Courtesy NYPL

Magic New York: Martinka & Company casts a spell

Did you know it was National Magic Week? Please cast thoughts of David Blaine hanging upside-down from your mind and return to the mystical days of illusionists in thick capes, beautiful assistants that vanish in mid-air and, almost forgotten, the rustic old-time magic store, with shelves of mysterious accessories for the amateur conjurer. New York […]