The Psychologist and The Magician

This story of the frightening power of hypnotic suggestion is from a pamphlet referenced by Herbert W. Eustace, CSB in his work entitled Christian Science, its  Clear Concise Teaching.  This work can be viewed in its entirety at www.christiansciencecct.org  The original author of the story as it was published in pamphlet form is not clear.

THE PSYCHOLOGIST

Part I

In the early part of the Twentieth Century (or, to be more

definite, in 1910) when the educational world was challenged to

unravel the mysteries of what is known as Magic or Black Art,

the faculty of Heidelberg University became greatly interested

in the subject, and much discussion followed among the learned

men as to the utility of investigating such a subject.

 

Some claimed that in view of the fact that a thorough investigation

would necessitate a continued residence of experts in a

foreign country, whose time and energies at home could be given

to more practical problems, and therefore, of greater benefit to

man, that, therefore, they would not entertain the idea of an

investigation of this sort. Others thought that even though they

had means to squander in such a frivolous research, the game

would be found to be not worth the candle.

 

Herman von Scholtz, Professor of Science, was favorably disposed

toward the investigation. He thought they would be amply

repaid by adding to the store of scientific knowledge, either from

the discovery of new facts, or by the revealing with certainty

the trickeries of the art, or by proving or disproving certain

psychological theories he had in mind, which theories would

account for the abnormal phenomena revealed or seemingly revealed

by the Magician. Also, that in view of his interest in the

subject, he was willing to exile himself in the wilds of India,

if the Directors would bear but half the expense until he should

be able to scientifically account for the Magician’s art.

With such enthusiasm shown by one of their ablest scientists,

the Regents lost no time in electing Doctor von Scholtz to represent

the University in the investigation of the Art of India’s

Magicians.

 

Von Scholtz was a “big” man, both mentally and physically,

muscular, but not fleshy, straight as an arrow; a great scholar,

a keen observer.  In youth he was known as “Dare-Devil Scholtz” and his badly

scarred features, injured by saber thrusts, bore witness that he

was no stranger to punishment.

 

Von Scholtz decided to “beard the lion in his den” and he

immediately set sail for India, the home of the Magicians. Could

he have foreseen the difficulty and weird experiences he was

destined to encounter, it is probable he would have said, “Let

Bill do it.”

 

Professor von Scholtz was considered one of the ablest scientists

of Europe, and was well qualified in every way to undertake

the hazardous work before him.

 

Arriving at Bombay, and seated on the veranda of the leading

hotel of the city, the Professor heard someone call his name.

On looking around, he saw George Blake, a young English officer,

who had been a few years previously a student at Heidelberg,

approaching with outstretched hand, saying, “To what good

luck do we owe this pleasure?”

 

The Professor, rising, greeted the young officer, and soon made

his mission known. “To be brief,” said von Scholtz, “I’ve come

to study, to unravel, to explode or to explain, scientifically, if

possible, the extraordinary performance of India’s magicians;

but first, I wish to make the acquaintance and win the confidence

of an adept in this line. I cannot afford to waste time

with a tyro. I want a real problem to solve, if they are capable

of giving me one. You understand what I mean? What is the

prospect? What do you know about their magic?”

 

“Well,” said Blake, cautiously, “there are some magicians here

in this city who perform feats, or reveal what seem to be remarkable

phenomena, beyond me to explain. The greatest expert

among them, or rather the one to whom many go for instruction,

gave a performance, here in the city just three days ago. He lives

in Northern India. He was to have left the city today. They say

he gives a performance in a certain cave, known as Black Cat

Cave, up in the Himalaya Mountains, that members of his own

cult cannot follow and keep their sanity. I have heard of some

of his followers leaving the cave for very fear before his performance

was fairly begun. The Magician himself claims that

there is no man living who can go with him from the mouth of

the cave to the end and back again, when once he has started

his performance.

 

“If you think this man will interest you I’ll phone and find

out if he has left the city.”

 

“Do be so kind, Mr. Blake,” said the Professor. “Time will

drag while I wait.”

 

Blake hurried to the hotel phone, and having satisfied himself,

returned with the information that the great Magician would

leave on the 5:15 train for his home in the north, that he could

not change his plans, but that he would be delighted to meet

Professor von Scholtz.

 

Blake took out his watch and said, “We have a good half hour

to make the train. It is now 4:45.”

 

Professor  von Scholtz was quick to see his opportunity; he

decided to take his baggage with him to the station, so that in

case he could not persuade the Magician to stop over in the city

another fortnight, he would in that case go with him, if it were

even to go half way round the world.

 

Accordingly, von Scholtz made known his intentions to Blake,

who lost no time and soon had a conveyance at the Professor’s

disposal.

 

When they arrived at the station, they found the Magician

waiting. “Marbado,” said Blake, greeting the Magician, “shake

hands with Professor von Scholtz, my friend and former instructor,

and one of the world’s leading psychologists, and I

may add” (turning to the Professor) “that Marbado has no peer

in India as a magician.”

 

The two distinguished men greeted each other. Professor von

Schlotz got right down to business and offered to pay Marbado

liberally if he would remain in the city another fortnight, that

he might have an opportunity to witness his performances.

Marbado could make no alterations in his plans, but instead

invited the Professor to go along with him, “Providing,” he said,

“you are sure your trip will not prove useless, for it is but fair

to warn you that any man who will undertake to study me and

my work must have nerves of steel and be a stranger to fear.

So far, I have been unable to discover such a man.”

 

“You will find me qualified,” was von Scholtz’s brief reply.

The toot of the engine’s whistle was the signal for “all aboard.”

With a farewell to Blake, the two experts boarded the train.

Their tickets showed that Rawal was their destination, about

twelve hundred miles northwest, in the Punjab Province. The

trip would prove uneventful and somewhat tiresome to the Psychologist.

When they reached Rawal, Marbado secured mules and attendants

to transport himself and companion and their belongings

to the Indus River Trail into the rugged Himalaya Mountains

still a day’s journey further on.  They reached camp about 6 p.m.

The mouth of the famous cave was about a hundred yards

from the camp.

 

Professor von Scholtz felt the need of a good night’s rest

before permitting himself to witness the art of the Magician,

and besides this, he wanted to go through the cave alone the

next day to see that there was nothing of a tricky or deceptive

nature about the cave or its contents.

 

The next day he satisfied himself on these points and he felt

sure that whatever happened, or seemed to happen, it would be

the result of his own thoughts, influenced possibly by the thoughts

of the Magician. “Could he fully overcome the suggestions of

the Magician?” He was not sure.

 

Nothing could be decided until the first test came, but of one

thing he did feel certain, viz.: that he could walk to the end of

the cave and out again, if it were a physical possibility to do so,

and this was the supreme test Marbado required and claimed

that no man could perform save himself, when his performance

once began and during its operation.

 

After von Scholtz had examined the cave, he swung his hammock

near the mouth of it to watch that no one should enter

until the Magician and himself should enter together. This was

to reduce the possibility of fraud to the minimum.

 

“Well,” said Marbado, approaching the alert scientist, “are

you ready for the ordeal?”

 

” ‘Ordeal’ is a strong word,” said von Scholtz. “But I am

ready. Have you no other instructions to give?”

 

“None,” said the Magician, “except that you go to the end of

this cave and out again regardless of what you will see, hear,

feel or think, and regardless of what becomes of me. I assure

you, however, that no bodily harm will come to you. The cave

will be lighted by our own personal presence, but if you are in

any doubt, or suspect any trickery, take your light with you,

though you will find it a hindrance, as it will interfere with

your vision.”

 

“I’ll hold on to it for awhile,” said the Professor, “and if

I find it superfluous, I’ll abandon it.”

 

Such was the drift of their conversation as they approached

the mouth of the cave.

 

Just as the Magician entered the mouth of the cave, he sprang

to one side, to avoid the stroke of a cobra that sprang at him.

“These reptiles are most lively at night, Professor,” he said,

“and we are liable to encounter their den before our performance

begins.” This was something unexpected, and caused von Scholtz

to hesitate for just a moment, when he essayed to jump over the

serpent. “Wait, Professor, and take no chances; these reptiles

are deadly,” and as Marbado spoke, he hurled a rock and

crushed the cobra.

 

The cave was about three miles long, according to von Scholtz’s

measurements during the day. When the two men were about a

hundred yards inside, the cave lit up from some mysterious source

to about the intensity of early dawn, so that it was possible for

the two men to distinguish each other’s features, so von Scholtz

finding his torch superfluous, discarded it.

 

Marbado, still leading the way, again sprang suddenly aside

and called to the Professor to look out for the cobra. Von Scholtz

saw the floor literally covered with the poisonous snakes. Marbado

advised retiring so as to give the cobras a chance to settle for

the night, that they themselves could pass on unmolested and

without interruption of the exhibition of his art.

 

The two men then walked to the mouth of the cave and sat

until midnight, talking over matters of scientific import, thus

giving the cobras, as von Scholtz supposed, a chance to settle

back in their den.

 

This was an adroit move on Marbado’s part, as it subtly suggested

a simple and natural situation, liable to occur in any

rocky region where reptiles abound. Marbado finally arose and

said: “I think, Professor, the cobras have settled for the night,

and if we move cautiously we can get by without disturbing

them; then I can entertain you with my art.” So saying Marbado

led the way, his companion following.

 

When the leader had reached that part of the cave where the

cobras had checked their progress earlier in the evening, he gave

forth an unearthly yell, and fell. The Professor saw that a

cobra had fastened itself to Marbado’s right hand and from

either side of the cave the venomous reptiles issued by the

hundreds soon covering the prostrate body until it seemed one

writhing mass.

 

Von Scholtz stood transfixed, horrified, yes, petrified with

fear, but as we have noted before, he was not the man to yield

for any length of time to any such emotions; he needed time

for thought, so he withdrew to a safe distance to think the

matter over, there being no time limit set for his task. If this

were a natural phenomenon instead of an exhibition of magic,

certainly he was justified in withdrawing from the cave, but if,

on the other hand, it were but the first trick deftly executed by

the Magician, his duty to science and to his own self-respect

demanded that he should carry out his part of the program.

This was a matter for him alone to decide. Again, if it were a

mere trick, how could he account for the fact that his own senses

were making false reports unless he conceded that he was already

under the magician’s spell? If the things he saw were real, and

he attempted to pass further into the cave, his death would be

certain and terrible. How should he, how could he, decide? Von

Scholtz looked at his problem from every conceivable angle; he

recalled every circumstance of the early evening; the cobra at

the entrance of the cave; the natural and suggestive surroundings;

their conversation; Marbado’s remarks and the killing of

the cobra; and his own expectation of seeing Marbado perform

his magic after they should have passed the cobra’s den. All this

convince him that the Magician’s work had already begun, and

that he had been caught unawares at the very beginning. With

this analysis, he tried to dehypnotize himself; at any rate, upon

some such hypothesis he resolved to advance regardless of personal

consequences.

 

As he again approached the prostrate form covered with animated

venom, cold perspiration covered his person. He hesitated;

there was but one passage; the cave was narrow, and if he advanced

it must be over the body of Marbado covered with the

squirming serpents.

 

“These are not real cobras,” said von Scholtz aloud, as if

addressing Marbado, “and they have no place in a normal mind.”

And as he spoke, he walked straight over their yielding bodies,

but he screamed with pain as the cobras struck from right and

left, but he kept right on going until he had passed over them.

What an experience for a man in his right mind to pass through

and still maintain his sanity! The Professor stood for a moment

wiping the perspiration from his face while his heart beat like

an approaching drum corps. He felt greatly relieved, however,

and somewhat triumphant in that he had overcome the first

barrier.

 

Again he proceeded farther into the cave, but he had not gone

far when he saw Marbado walking ahead of him as though

nothing unusual had happened to him; he tried to overtake the

Magician, but the Hindu maintained his distance without apparent

effort.

 

Suddenly, a wall of rock was seen to stretch across the cave.

Marbado passed through an opening, and the wall silently but

immediately closed, leaving a solid barrier between the psychologist

and the Magician. Von Scholtz knew this was not the end

wall of the cave, for he had noticed during the day that it was

formed of granite, while this obstructing wall was more of the

nature of marble. Von Scholtz walked up to the wall and slapped

it with his open hand, then he kicked it; then he picked up a

rock and pounded it, but all to no purpose for the wall stood as

solid as the mountain itself.

 

“I see my mistake,” said the Professor, throwing away the rock

as if disgusted with himself at his blundering. “To try to knock

the wall down is to admit that it is there and but adds to its

solidity by hammering away at it. The truth is, the wall does not

exist as an objective fact. I should have walked on and not

slapped, kicked and hammered at it; and I should have looked on

it only as a form of thought which the Magician would have me

accept as an objective reality, but which I deny.” So saying, he

closed his eyes and walked straight ahead and passed the apparent

obstruction without hindrance, the wall disappearing as mist

before the sun.

 

As von Scholtz hastened on deeper into the cave, he heard the

voices of men some distance ahead of him. They seemed to be in

distress;; he peered into the gloomy distance in front of him and

soon descried two men running toward him, pursued by a Bengal

tiger. The man in front, in his haste to escape, brushed so close

to the Professor that the learned man was knocked off his feet.

When he arose, he saw the tiger had caught and was eating

the other man, but a few yards in front of him.

 

The mangling of the human form was sickening. Instinctively

the Professor started to leave the cave, but he did not go far

when he began to realize that this was shirking his duty. So,

facing about again, he reasserted himself and leaving the evidence

of his senses, advanced toward the scene of carnage. Not without

difficulty, however.

 

Aside from the sight of the ferocious beast and his half-eaten

prey, the sound of cracking bones in the ferocious jaws, one

sense seeming to corroborate the testimony of the other, a hard

proposition to get over. Yet, nevertheless, the scientist said,

“These are also illusions,” and in saying it showed his faith in

his reasoning and advanced. But in doing so, he received a

stunning blow from the tiger’s paw, managing only to stagger

past before he fell, rising as quickly, seeing neither beast nor

his prey. They had vanished!

 

Encouraged by his continued success, he went deeper into the

cave, wondering what he would encounter next and whether or

not he could keep right on without hesitating and turning back

at every fresh new obstacle or supposed obstacle encountered.

He was beginning to feel quite confident when his attention

was arrested, this time by four men, also about a hundred yards

ahead, coming towards him, whose tools and dress indicated that

they were miners. They were evidently amused at something,

as they chatted and laughed, just as workmen are wont to do

when their shift of toil is over. It all seemed so realistic, and

after all, just what one might expect under similar conditions.

He heard much of their talk and understood some of their coarse

jokes. “This surely is not magic,” thought the Professor, “but

life itself.” Still there was nothing like being prepared for surprises.

Suddenly the earth trembled! The men stopped joking

and looked serious and fear-stricken, and one asked his comrades

in whisper: “Was that an earthquake?” Almost immediately a

still more violent shaking of the earth followed, a large boulder

fell from the roof of the cave, crushing two of the workmen;

the other two, terror-stricken, came rushing toward von Scholtz,

but before reaching him they fell into a chasm that opened in

the floor of the cave – this chasm doubtless the result of the

earthquake! Their cries as they fell were heart-rending, but were

soon hushed by the relentless fingers of Death. “Here is a real

phenomenon, unexpected, sudden, unavoidable, and beyond the

control of any magician,” thought the learned man, “and this

immense gap in the floor of the cave makes it a physical impossibility

for me to get over it.”

 

To cross the chasm was indeed a perplexity. When the earth

had ceased trembling, Von Scholtz climbed upon a large rock

that had fallen near him and sat upon it for a long time with

eyes half closed, his head resting against the side of the cave as

if in deep thought. When at last he opened his eyes and climbed

down from the rock, he said, “I know that I take my life in my

hands, but I’ll try it.” He walked deliberately up to the abyss

and looking down, saw far below a fiery mass of molten rock

and just above the molten mass he saw upon a ledge of rock

the mangled form of one of the unfortunate miners, hanging

as though ready to drop into the cauldron below where doubtless

his comrade had met his fate. The sight only served to

strengthen the testimony of his senses and he withdrew from

the scene with a shudder. He walked a short distance, still in

deep thought. Time was passing and he must come to a decision.

The thought of retreat was more and more distasteful to him

since he had come so far; still he wanted to be sure he was

right in distinguishing the real from the unreal. Again he

turned toward the chasm, saying: “I must prove my faith in

my own course of reasoning.” So with a steady tread, he faced

again the awful cleft, but as he looked down his courage once

more failed him. He grew desperate, censuring himself for his

weakness. With a tremendous effort, he set his jaw, clenched

his fists, and setting out with a firm tread, this time looking

upward, ignoring the sight beneath his feet, walked straight

ahead. For an instant he felt a swimming sensation, but only for

an instant, for instead of falling, he found the floor of the

cave as solid as ever.

 

His relief was inexpressible. If he had never doubted sanity

before, he did now. He walked back to the spot where he had

stood on the other side of the supposed chasm, but found no

trace of earthquake or debris of any kind. “What a fool I have

been, what a fool! Truly that Hindu is no tyro, and still I

have further to do.”

 

Von Scholtz knew he was nearing the end of the cave, so

he hastened his steps.

 

How come that ball of light bounding and rebounding from

the back of the cave? There was no time to reason about it for

it came toward him with such force as to fell him to the ground

so violently that he lay there a long time as one dead. Consciousness

returning, however, he arose, and feeling no pain from

the fall, walked straight to the end of the cave and placed his

hand on the back wall, thus finishing one-half of the arduous

and nerve-racking task he had undertaken in the interests of

science.

 

Part II

As von Scholtz faced about, ready to retrace his steps to

the mouth of the cave, it was not surprising that he should

heave a sigh of relief over the fact that he had accomplished

something no man had ever done before. His experience in

doing this, however, did not make him feel overconfident in

his ability to return without great care and study of each condition

he might now encounter. Moreover, he already felt greatly

fatigued. He sat down a few moments to rest, inclined to give

way to a feeling of drowsiness. He felt hungry, too, though thirst

distressed him more.

 

As he sat leaning with his head against the wall of the cave,

he was consuming a great deal of mental energy by trying to

overcome his sense of weariness, and by trying to ignore the

demands of physical appetites, and in this situation, he fell asleep.

When he awake he heard the gentle splashing of water. He

arose to investigate and found a spring of water issuing from

the wall a few feet from him. His thirst was burning! Should

he drink the water? Was this thirst genuine, or was it a false

sensation superimposed by the thoughts of the Magician? He

must get down to first principles and not be thrown off at a

tangent. The thing he had started out to do was not yet accomplished

and all the sensations and appearances that hindered

him from returning to the mouth of the cave were to be regarded

as false and misleading, but any sensation or appearance

that contributed to his well-being, though he knew it to be false,

he would use if it were to his advantage to do so; for example:

after having calculated the unusual amount of exercise he had

made in coming through the rugged cave and the length of time

he had been without water, he concluded his thirst was genuine,

but having noticed the absence of water in the cave during the

previous day, its presence was now an appearance only, and if

he drank or seemed to drink, and the seeming water quenched,

or seemed to quench his thirst, would this yielding to Marbado’s

suggested water prevent him from reaching the mouth of the

cave? Or, again, if the seeming water appeared to quench his

thirst, would not he be less fatigued than if he tried to get along

without the water or tried to think he was not thirsty?

 

Some psychologists hold to the theory that the moment a

subject  yields to the suggestions of another, he virtually renounces

his objective mind and becomes the obedient servant

to carry out the will of another.

 

Von Scholtz accepted this theory with some reservations,

namely, (a) that it depended somewhat upon the subject to be

influenced; (b) upon the purpose the subject has in being influenced;

© and upon what mental reservations he keeps while

submitting to the suggestions of another.

 

The learned Professor held that if a subject knows definitely

what he wants and is determined to get it at all hazards, that

even though he submits to a suggestion unacceptable to reason,

so that the objective mind of the subject is set adrift in an

abnormal direction, the subjective mind will nevertheless not

cease to carry out its own normal purposes during the time

the contrary influence is at work.

 

It would be possible in that case for an individual to act as

having two personalities working at cross purposes, the objective

mind of the subject being obedient to the will of the suggester

and the subjective mind of the subject carrying out his own will.

In holding to this theory, von Scholtz did not underestimate the

art, skill, or the strength of Marbado. On the contrary, he

had reasons aplenty to acknowledge them as potent factors to

be weighed carefully before he would drink of the magic water.

His mission was not only to convince Marbado that he could get

to the end of the cave and come out again, but that he was there

also to study at first hand from a scientific standpoint Marbado’s

methods, and if he went out of the cave again as he came in

by denying or ignoring the things he saw, he would be very

little wiser than when he came in, so that in order to enter

into a more thorough study of his subject he must abandon his

subjective mind to Marbado’s art, enter into the spirit of the

occasion and follow the motives of the Magician. To do this

he felt the purpose of science would be better served and the

real genius of the Magician better understood.

 

He was aware, of course, that life or limb, or both, were

being jeopardized but in von Scholtz’s estimate, the scientist

should devote his life to the finding of the truth, and if it were

lost in its pursuit, it had served its purpose. So reasoning he

stooped and drank of the magic water and felt greatly relieved,

but in looking about him he found himself in an open country;

the cave was not visible to his senses.

 

To all appearances, the fields were green, the sky blue, the

sun shone and the birds sang, the scenery was new, the landscape

unfamiliar, the fauns were docile and numerous, and the flowers

were beautiful and fragrant, the plumage of the birds brilliant,

and their songs remarkable for sweetness.

 

But where was the cave? He arose to investigate. He had not

taken many steps when he noticed behind a clump of bushes

a banquet table spread for a feast with a tempting meal upon it.

“This will serve my purpose as did the water,” said the Professor

and he sat down to eat. As he did so, he saw Marbado seated at

the opposite side of the table. “Well, comrade,” said von

Scholtz, addressing Marbado, “this is very thoughtful of you

to spread such a feast in a wilderness of difficulties. It comes

just in the nick of time. I was getting a little fagged.”

“As a host,” said the subtle Hindu, “I have been very neglectful

of your comfort. You have been forty-eight hours without

your ususal necessities, but you seem to be prospering in spite

of my neglect; you know the mind works best when the stomach

has an occasional rest.”

 

“You are right,” replied the Professor. “We Germans are

great eaters, but really, I had not thought of my needs until

I reached the end of the cave, being so completely taken up

with the fascinating study of your art.”

 

Von Scholtz, having finished what he regarded as a feast,

looked in the direction of Marbado, but the Magician had

vanished.

 

Von Scholtz was not the man to be distracted from the

problem before him. He saw everything, it is true, and noted

its qualities for this was part of his mission. But the one great

thing he had set out to do was not yet accomplished. Believing

himself no longer in the cave, and searching as he thought in

the open country for it, we must admit he had passed in a

degree under Marbado’s influence.

 

Could he regain the mouth of the cave now that he had

submitted his subjective mind to be controlled by Marbado’s

suggestion? Let us follow him and see where his own subjective

mind leads him and see if possible in what way the Magician

controls his subjective mind.

 

After having partaken of the magic water and of the magic

meal, we observe von Scholtz has already lost his objective

sense of locality in the fact that he does not know that he is

still in the cave but he thinks he is in an open country, and his

objective mind, controlled by Marbado, is wandering about in

the shadows of the superimposed thought to find his way again

into the cave.

 

Now to find how von Scholtz’s subjective mind is working in

connection with and yet independent of Marbado’s influence, we

must follow him and note his every act, and when he comes

out of his hypnotic trance, or rather when again he is in control

of his objective mind, he will tell us in his own words what

were the thoughts and influences that caused him to think, feel,

and act in an abnormal way.

 

We see von Scholtz walking up and down the cave as though

in a partial trance, first very steadily, but with hands up and

fists closed and a foot and a half apart as if he were holding

something such as a wheel which every now and then he would

turn slightly to the right, then to the left. His countenance was

serene as though he were contented, but soon he looked more

serious as he turned the wheel more often, began staggering

like a drunken man as he walked along within the cave. But

as he neared the mouth of the cave, the contortions of his face,

the quick turning to the right, then to the left, his sudden

glance up to the roof of the cave and down to its floor denoted

that his objective mind was greatly alarmed.

 

When he reached the mouth of the cave he fell over from exhausted

into a sound sleep.

 

While in this condition, Marbado found him and called his

attendants to bring a stretcher and carry the Professor to

his tent.

 

Evidently the Professor’s subconscious self directed him

through the cave to its mouth, while at the same time the

Magician was using his influence to baffle the Professor’s ob-

jective mind, cause the unusual antics of the learned man

as he wended his way to his determined goal.

 

After von Scholtz was allowed to sleep for some time, Marbado

struck two loud raps on a gong to call him to dine. At

the second stroke, von Scholtz opened his eyes, looked around

bewildered, took in the situation, then stretched out his hands

to Marbado and said: “How did you do it, Marbado, how did

you do it?” The Magician smiled and said: “I might ask you

the same question, Professor, how did YOU do it? You went

to the end of the cave and out again and I did my best to stop

you, but you won. Now tell me how you did it.”

 

Von Scholtz sat silently for a moment, as if to collect his

thoughts and said: “Marbado, I would not have missed this

experience for a million dollars. It has substantiated some of

my theories, but I shall not go into that now. I will relate to

you, however, my experience after I partook of your magic

hospitality. You know, of course, I lost my bearings as to the

whereabouts of the cave and sought my way out. My objective

mind being controlled by you, it was absolutely of no service

to me. I saw what you would have me see and heard and felt

what you would have me hear and feel, but you did not make

me swerve from my course, because I had previously charged

my own subconsciousness definitely with what I wanted and

was determined to get at all hazards. What you did was to

influence my objective mind with the experience which I will

now relate.

 

“I was trying to find the cave and get back to its mouth

regardless of the mental picture I had of a strange open country.

I followed what I thought was a path through the woods and

found a lake upon which near a landing was a yacht at anchor.

I inspected the yacht and found it in perfect condition and

started to sail across the lake in the direction in which I thought

the cave lay. A slight breeze was blowing in a favorable direction,

the water smooth, so that I saw distinctly the pebbly

bottom of the lake. After having sailed for an hour or more,

the shore toward which I was sailing appeared much farther

away than when I started and the shore I had left behind

seemed but a few rods behind the vessel, yet I was travelling

at a brisk rate of speed, for the breeze was fast becoming a wind

and the bottom of the lake, distinctly seen, was sweeping past

at a rapid rate. I felt the influence of your mind trying to turn

me back to the shore I had left, because the shore was near

and easy to reach, while in front of me difficulties multiplied.

The wind was turned into a gale; tiny clouds were noticed ahead;

the gentle lake was becoming transformed into a turbulent sea;

but on I sailed, straight ahead. The storm was upon me, great

black clouds hurried about as scouts preparing for battle, shutting

off the light of the sun that I might not escape, while behind

their sombre skirts was concealed the artillery of heaven. A

distant peal of thunder was the signal for action. The lightning’s

flash revealed ahead a yawning whirlpool toward which I was

fast approaching; as if to mock me, it as suddenly withdrew

the light and dyed the air an inky blackness. Rain fell in torrents.

The thunder rolled on in derision, while the wind laughed

diabolically as she snatched the rigging from my vessel, and

set me adrift as in a tub, but through all this, my subconscious

mind forsook not its assigned position and held me to the

vessel, steering straight ahead. It was tossed up and down, sidewise,

round and round, this rotary motion becoming more and

more apparent even among the warring elements. The winds and

waves no longer tossed my frail bark, but it was borne steadily

round and round a central point that lay far below me, but

toward which I was steadily approaching. The noise of the

whirlpool was deafening. As I sank deeper and deeper into the

vast funnel I almost regretted my decision in assuming that

the magic phenomena was natural, but whether real or imaginary,

I seemed to have lost control of the craft in which I

was sailing.

 

“I found it too late to recede from the mental attitude I had

taken. There was nothing to do but to face the awful consequences

of my chosen method of research. Swiftly and more

swiftly I was whirled around the vortex when suddenly the

noise of the whirlpool ceased for a second and nothing could

have stopped its hungry bellow save food for its insatiable

maw which I and my vessel furnished and which were swallowed

in one gulp. I met my doom, or at least thought I had, but

instead of blank forgetfulness, as I had expected, I found myself

still conscious in the water and as I stretched out my hands

as if to swim, I felt something hard and clutched it with all the

desperation of a drowning man. It soon dawned on me that

I was not in the water at all, but in a submarine in which I

found myself giving orders to its crew as if it were my accustomed

duty. The vessel was completely under my control, delving

to the bottom of the sea or rising at will to its surface by

manipulating a series of levers placed conveniently at hand.

“I saw in the distance as I arose to the surface an enemy

battleship appearing. I submerged my craft, steered to the

leeward of the vessel and gave a command, ‘Fire.’

“At the report of the explosion I saw a great smoke arise

from my target and the vessel parted in two and sank. I sailed

boldly forward and spied another vessel coming toward me, but

before I could fire or submerge, I saw a flash from the enemy’s

vessel and almost instantly I felt the rude shock and heard a

loud explosion as my submarine went to pieces. I thought surely

my end had come, but being still conscious, I decided to open

my eyes in order to note what the bottom of the sea looked

like, and as soon as I opened them, I was greatly surprised

and chagrined to find myself in your tent.”

 

Marbado arose and, taking the Professor’s hand and pressing it

warmly, replied: “You surely had a right to be surprised, Professor,

but hardly to be chagrined. You have met my condition

and won. If there is to be any chagrin, it shall be mine.”

Then taking a Medal of Distinction from his own breast, he

pinned it on the Professor’s.

 

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One comment on “The Psychologist and The Magician

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