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… Read More

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… Read More

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… Read More

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,… Read More

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… Read More