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A thousand alarms are pouring into Police Headquarters! The Invisible Master broods over the city! Who is He? We defy any reader to guess the secret!

Even the editorial staff of SCIENTIFIC DETECTIVE MONTHLY was astounded at the conclusion of this scientific yarn. Write and tell us you were able to foretell the ending.


IF you were to ask us which, in our opinion, is the greatest scientific detective story of the year, we certainly would pronounce the present story to be that unusual gem.

Here is a story that will keep you fascinated, not only in connection with its excellence of science, understandable by everyone, but by the fast-moving action for which this well-known author is famous.

Invisibility in this sort of story is perhaps not a new idea; but we venture to say that no one can foretell the O. Henry-like ending, which is as unexpected as it is dramatic.


As Dr. Grantham turned the rheostat control ... the black disc against the sunlight ... began to disappear.

The Invisible Master

By Edmond Hamilton

Author of The Hidden World, Cities in the Air, etc.

CHAPTER I
Carton Earns His Salary

"AND to think," Charlie Carton exclaimed, "that they pay you a city editor's salary for ideas like that!"

The other looked up from his desk, nettled. "I didn't say I took any stock in the thing, Carton," he pointed out. "But I got the tip that the Courier and the Sphere have their men hurrying out to the university, and we can't afford to miss anything."

"And I'm to write a breath-holding tale of how Dr. Howard Grantham, the super-physicist, has discovered the secret of invisibility?" demanded Carton.

The city editor smiled. "Write it any way you please," he said, turning to the papers on his desk. "But whatever you get out of it, see that the Courier and Sphere men don't get more!"

"I'll get out of it some pointers on the methods of publicity-crazy scientists, if nothing else," was Carton's parting shot.

It was with this skepticism strong in him that he rode uptown on the west-side subway, nor had his mood changed by the time he emerged again into the morning sunlight. East and northward from him stretched the campus of America University, a sweep of green from which rose the great gray buildings. Carton walked quickly toward the building, one of the nearest to him, that held the university's world-famed department of physical science.

Once inside, he was directed through long corridors and past the doors of laboratories filled with gleaming apparatus and intent students, until he reached the door he sought. When he pushed it open he walked into a small ante-room in which two men of his own age and unscholarly appearance were lounging and smoking. They greeted him with calls of joy.

"Carton, you're not stuck with this yarn too?" one asked. "You'll be graduating to the Sunday supplements if you keep on."

"I can see the Inquirer's headlines tonight," chaffed the other. "'Noted scientist makes amazing discovery——'"

"Where is our noted scientist?" asked Carton of Burns, the Courier's man.

"Dr. Grantham is even now engaged upon the tremendous work which he will presently reveal to the eager press," said the other. "In other words, he and that sour-faced assistant of his, Gray, are cooking, up something to get page-one space."

"I don't know about that, Burns, at that," put in the third reflectively. "Dr. Grantham's got a great rep among the science boys, and he's never been any space-hound."

"Well, why his announcement of this stuff, then?" demanded Carton. "Claiming to be able to make matter invisible at will—rot! It's just the old cancer-cure dodge the ambitious medics use, worked out in a different way."

"Perhaps so," said the other, "but—"

He was interrupted by the entrance of a man from the room beyond, at sight of whom Carton found himself revising some of his conceptions. Dr. Howard Grantham was a man of over middle age, big and of average appearance with his graying hair and clean-shaven face, but with very unaverage eyes, gray and strong and steady. When he spoke his voice seemed to hold a calm and contained power.

Powers of Invisibility

"I APOLOGIZE for keeping you waiting, gentlemen," he told them, "but you will appreciate that a demonstration of my discovery at this stage is somewhat difficult. However, Gray and I think we can give you an idea, at least, of the thing."

"You mean you're going to make some matter invisible before us?" Carton asked incredulously, and as the scientist turned toward him, added quickly, "I'm Carton—of the Inquirer."

Dr. Grantham bowed. "Yes," he said quietly, "we think we can give you a demonstration of it on a small scale. Will you step this way, gentlemen?"

As Carton passed after the physicist with his two companions into the room beyond, he felt his skepticism fading still farther. It was apparently Dr. Grantham's private laboratory into which they were ushered. Beside a table in it there awaited them a dark young man of thirty or so, with quick black probing eyes. When introduced to the reporters as Gray, Dr. Grantham's assistant, he gave them but a curt nod.

The room seemed full of physical apparatus for the most part of outlandish appearance to Carton, he and his two fellow-journalists looking alertly around them. Upon the table before them, just inside the casement through which the brilliant sunlight was streaming, rested a squat cabinet of black metal, but inches square, with a small metal framework on it and with connections to what seemed small batteries and a row of three switches.

Dr. Grantham was drawing their attention to this when the door behind them opened and another entered, an impeccably-dressed older man whose white head and genial countenance the reporters recognized instantly as that of Dr. Calvin Ellsworth, America University's very prominent president. He waved Grantham back as the latter turned toward him.

"Don't let me interrupt, Grantham," he adjured him. "I just wanted to be a spectator like the rest."

Dr. Grantham nodded in understanding, and turned back to the reporters.

"To describe understandingly what I am going to show you," he told them, "you must understand something of the principle involved in this. I can make invisible, and that may seem a strange thing to many, who have not ever stepped to wonder just why matter is visible at all."

"Why is it, then? Why do we see a house? We see it for two reasons, its obstruction and reflection of light. The light rays come to us from all around it, but not from behind the house because they are stopped by it. The house, then, is an area of comparative darkness to us, and so is outlined against the light. Also light is reflected from all sides upon it and to our eyes."

"But suppose that the light-rays behind, instead of being stopped by the house, curved round it? Then we would see what was behind the house, with ease, and the house itself would be quite invisible to us, granted that light striking it from all sides did not really strike it but curved around it. Then if I want to make a house, or a tree, or a stone, invisible, all I need to do is to deflect the light-rays around it in such a way that they will curve around and avoid it instead of ever striking it."

"Can that be done? In principle, it has been possible for years, for years ago we learned that light does not always travel in straight lines but can be deflected to one side or another by certain forces. Einstein's discoveries showed that, it being photographically confirmed after his theory that the light-rays of stars curve in toward the sun in passing it in space. If there is a force that will attract light-rays and make them curve in toward an object, why not a force that will repel the light-rays and make them curve outward to avoid an object?"

Sought for Years

"IT is that force which for years I have sought and which I have finally found. It is an electromagnetic force which repels light-rays and by curving them around the zone of force can make all matter in that zone invisible. Understand, it does not blot out light in any way, it simply makes the light-rays detour around an object and so makes that object invisible."

"So much for theory. I have here a small cabinet of black metal in which is an apparatus for projecting this force upward for a few inches. Any small object placed on top of the cabinet will become invisible when the force from within is put into operation. If the force were more powerful, and radiated out in every direction instead of upward only, the cabinet itself and all around it would be made invisible."

Dr. Grantham cast a quick glance around and then picked from the table a small disk-shaped paper-weight of black, opaque glass.

"I shall endeavor to make this paper-weight invisible to your eyes—by placing it on the cabinet and using the force within to bend the light-rays around it."

He was turning with it to the little cabinet when Carton reached forth a hand.

"May I look at the thing first?" he asked.

Dr Grantham handed it to him, smiling. "Of course, and I trust you'll find nothing faked about it."

The three reporters examined it closely, as did with evident interest President Ellsworth. It was quite obviously no more than a disk of the black glass used for paperweights and inkstands. When they handed it back to Dr. Grantham he leaned forward and placed it upright in the little metal framework on the cabinet's top. It stood out there against the brilliant sunlight streaming through the window just behind it, a dead-black disk against that brilliant light.

Dr. Grantham turned to the assistant. "All ready, Gray?" he queried, and the other nodded briefly.

"Everything on it set," he said. "The batteries are on."

"Please watch very closely," the physicist told those behind him. "These tests are rather hard to arrange, and I don't want you to have any doubts." He pressed one of the switches beneath his hands, and from the cabinet came a thin, almost inaudible whining. The three reporters and President Ellsworth were watching spellbound. A half-dozen feet before them the black disk of the paper-weight lay as dark as ever against the sunlight streaming in. But as Dr. Grantham slowly turned a small rheostat control they all uttered something like a sigh. The black disk against the sunlight was becoming translucent, transparent. It was disappearing.

Dr. Grantham's hand still moved on the rheostat handle and as the thin whine from the cabinet came louder they saw that the disk was but a mere ghost-like shape against the sunlight, and then that too had vanished. The paper-weight was invisible! They gazed silently, fascinated, and then as Grantham moved back the control in his hand the shadowy circle of the disk appeared again, it grew quickly more opaque, and as the switch clicked and the cabinet's whine ceased it rested there as black and opaque and visible as ever!

Dr. Grantham leaned and grasped it, handed it to the four. Wonderingly they passed it from hand to hand, seeing it the same as before, quite black and commonplace and visible. Carton, himself oddly stirred by what he had seen, heard Burns' exclamation from beside him.

"Good Lord! What a story!"

"And you can do that to anything?" Carton demanded of the physicist.

The Invisible Man

DR. Grantham nodded. "To any matter. Gray and I are now finishing a cabinet-projector that will be of sufficient power to make invisible itself and all for a few feet around it. With it a man would be perfectly invisible."...

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