Science: Ghost-Hunter

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Spiritualism is so thoroughly honeycombed with flummery, according to Mr. Price, that a medium cannot be searched too carefully before the performance. "Spirit lights" have been known to proceed from ferrocerium or other chemicals concealed in the teeth."Have two medical men in attendance as searchers," Mr. Price advises, "and let them strip and thoroughly search the medium, removing all clothes to another apartment. Women are no good for this job as they are too sympathetic and emotional, more easily deceived; and have less knowledge of deceptive methods. The medium should now be thoroughly medically examined, all body orifices being explored." Mrs. Helen Duncan was an especially tough problem for the investigators. Even a "severe gynecological examination" failed to reveal where she kept the material for her manifestations. Mr. Price finally solved the mystery by x-raying her stomach. She had swallowed wads of cheesecloth which she regurgitated for spook production.

One of the investigator's most entertaining performers was a medium who claimed to be in touch with Oomaruru, Pawleenoos and other inhabitants of the planet Mars. She scribbled curious marks which purported to be the Martian alphabet, sang a Martian song which she wrote down in a code resembling ordinary musical notation. Mr. Price was not taken in by this nonsense. He himself has laid plans to get in touch with Mars by physical means, i. e. a powerful beam of light. He approached the lighthouse engineering firm of Chance Brothers Co., who said they could furnish a special high-intensity arc lamp operating through three lenses to give a single beam of 15,000,000,000 candlepower. Mr. Price then picked out a suitable site on Switzerland's Jungfrau, arranged with the inclined railway to carry up his equipment, furnish electric power. All he needs now is a philanthropist who is willing to part with $47,500.

* Putnam ($3.50).

* A thoroughgoing skeptic like Psychologist Henry Clay McComas of Johns Hopkins (TIME, Oct. 28) might have pointed out to Mr. Price that Rudi Schneider might have contrived to join the hands and feet of the sitters on each side of him, thus free his own without breaking the circuit.

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