dianne salerni author
dianne salerni author


Authors are full of useless information, which we’ll expound upon at length, given half a chance or a person who won’t run away.   Researching Maggie Fox and Elisha Kane turned me into an expert on 19th century spiritualism and Arctic exploration.  Research for a subsequent project immersed me in the history of famous psychic frauds, and I may have picked up a few de-bunking skills!

Last fall, my husband and I and our friends, Kelley and Eric, attended a paranormal show in Scranton, PA. The Psychic Theatre, tucked into one of the main streets of Scranton, shares a building with The Harry Houdini Museum. When you understand that the magicians who perform in the daytime are the same paranormalists who perform at night, you’ll realize that there’s more sleight-of-hand than spectral activity afoot here!

The paranormalists started the show by asking if anyone in the audience was a skeptic. I raised my hand, and then looked around to realize I was the only one with my hand up. Even my husband and my friends had left me hanging out to dry! Thus christened “The Skeptic Lady,” I was repeatedly called up to the stage to act as a “control.”

I’m not going to post any spoilers here, but I have a plausible explanation for all the things they did — except one. One of the performers gave me a paper bag and dropped in a normal fork. I peeked at it, then handed the bag to my husband, Bob. Bob took the fork out and examined it, then folded the bag shut. We passed it back and forth while the guy continued his act, “psychically” bending other forks, and eventually we put the bag on the floor beneath my feet. When the paranormalist asked us to open it later, the darned fork was bent like a pretzel!! Kelley and Eric were seated behind us and swore that nobody touched that bag!

Oh, well. It was a lot of fun, and I’m actually glad I couldn’t figure out everything! The show ended with a séance in the dark. The medium was tied up; the lights went out; and then all kinds of scary stuff happened. When the lights came back on, the medium was still bound to her chair.

Of course, this was The Harry Houdini Museum. I’m just sayin’.

If you’re ever in the Scranton area, this place is worth a visit — in either one of its fascinating guises! Both shows are highly entertaining, and the performers are top notch!

Psychic Theater website
Harry Houdini Museum website