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IF you have read "Beyond the Pole" by A. Hyatt Verrill, you will no doubt be interested in the present story by the some author. We have no hesitancy in recommending it, and at the same time stating that we believe it is one of the greatest stories on man-made invisibility which has ever appeared. In these latter days of science it would be rush to say that invisibility can not be produced. Already Dr. Jules Steam, of Alsace-Lorraine, has produced partial invisibility by injecting certain liquids into animal tissue, which makes the animal practically transparent when it is viewed in a certain light. The full details of his experiments were published in the February, 1921, issue of SCIENCE AND INVENTION. No experiments have been made on human beings as yet. There is no question but that sooner or later the problem of invisibility will be solved. Just what might happen when the secret is found is well related by the author of this story, which you will read not only with great interest but with much amusement as well.

THE MAN WHO COULD VANISH

PROLOGUE

ON the third day of last August the public was astounded by a story which appeared in every newspaper in the country. Extra editions of even the most staid and conservative papers appeared on the streets shortly after noon and, in screaming headlines, announced:

"HARTWELL BUILDING DISAPPEARS. TWENTY STORY STRUCTURE VANISHES IN BROAD DAYLIGHT AND REAPPEARS. MARVELOUS AND INEXPLICABLE ILLUSION WITNESSED BY CROWDS. BELIEVED TO BE A DEMONSTRATION BY SOME MASTER HYPNOTIST SEEKING PUBLICITY."

It is not necessary to quote the stories that occupied entire pages of the press, for while all agreed in the main essentials, no two were the same and all contained glaring errors and discrepancies. Moreover, the events must still be fresh in the minds of my readers. Suffice to say that each and every account stated that the new Hartwell Building, in process of construction on Nineteenth Street, had suddenly vanished from sight during the noon hour; that hundreds of citizens had packed the thoroughfare; that the police and fire departments had been called out, and that, for a space of several minutes, only a vacant lot and an immense excavation had been visible where the building had stood. Then, while the crowd looked on, the structure had reappeared as suddenly and mysteriously as it had vanished.

The story was so utterly incredible, that at first, many persons thought it merely a canard or some advertising or publicity scheme. But as, during the following days, the press was filled with accounts of the phenomenon as related by eyewitnesses, and as the police and ?re department officials confirmed the reports, and there could be no question regarding the authenticity of the story, innumerable theories and explanations were suggested, and so for days the crowds thronged the streets near the Hartwell Building and stood, gazing tioned certain phenomena of expectantly, in the hopes that it might repeat its mysterious behavior.

The concensus of opinion was that the astounding occurrence had been brought about by some hypnotist or fakir who, as the East Indian magicians are supposed to do, had hypnotisecl the onlookers, and that the disappearance of the building had been wholly an illusion. "No doubt," said the "Times," "the public will soon be informed that Signor So-and-So, the world's greatest hypnctist and illusionist, will appear at a certain theatre, with a further announcement of the fact that the Signor deluded hundreds of persons, and by his mesmeric powers, caused them to believe that a twenty-story building could vanish into thin arr."

But as time went on and no one came forward to claim the doubtful honor of being able to accomplish such a feat, by hypnotism or otherwise, the mystery deepened, and every conceivable theory—both natural and supernatural, was advanced to explain the wholly unaccountable phenomenon.

Up to the present time the truth has never been known, and only two men in the world are aware of the actual facts and the real solution of the mystery. One of these is Doctor Lemuel Unsinn, Professor of Physics at Stanforth University, and my life-time friend and college chum; the other is myself. As the time has now passsed when any harm can come from giving the true story to the world, and as the explanation is even more incredible and remarkable than any of the imaginary solutions put forth, we have agreed that the public should be made acquainted with the facts. Indeed, the authentic story would have been published some months ago had it not been essential to make certain arrangements to safeguard the secret, and whose making required much more time than had been anticipated.

In order to make clear just how the astounding occurrence took place, and to enable my readers to thoroughly understand my true if incredible story, it will he necessary to begin at the beginning and to recount every detail of the events which led to the final results. To many readers much of this matter will no doubt, prove rather dry, and, if I were writing fiction, l would omit all those portions of the tale which deal with the scientific side and the preliminaries. But both Dr. Unsinn and myself feel that to omit such matters would be a great mistake, and that as the story is of as much interest and importance to the scientific world as to the layman, nothing should be left untold. Moreover, we feel that unless such matters were included my story would be considered as purely fictitious. And at any rate the reader is at liberty to skip such portions of my narrative as the appreciative reader may find to be lacking in real and genuine interest.

CHAPTER I
Doctor Unsinn Propounds Some Theories

IT really began when I was visiting my old friend and chum, Dr. Lemuel Unsinn, soon after his return from an international conference of scientists. He had been telling me of the various new discoveries which had been announced by his fellows, and mentioned certain phenomena of light rays, which, hitherto unseen, had now been brought within the scope of human vision. Although l could not, as a layman, see the importance of the diacovery, my friend was most enthusiastic about the matter, and, among other statements, declared that it might yet be possible to render objects invisible.

I laughed. "That is utterly impossible," I declared.

"Nothing within the realms of Science is impossible," he retorted.

"Perhaps not," I admitted, "but there are many things which are so highly improbable that to all iptents and purposes they are beyond ossibilit or reason.

"Utter nonsense!" he ejaculated. Ignorance, lack of imagination, pig-headed conservatism. Every advance made by Science has been declared improbable or impossible, or both, until its feasibility has been proven. Railways, steamships, the telegraph and telephone, radio, airplanes/—all have been laughed at and declared impossibilities until thev became actualities. "Science." he went on, assuming his lecture-room manner, and looking at me over the rims of his glasses, "science does not acknowledge the existence of the words impossible and improbable. What seems a mere dream today may become an every-day affair tomorrow. The scientist—-"

"Oh, all right," I laughed. "Cut out the lccture. Granting that nothing is beyond Science. as represented by my old friend, Lemuel Unsinn, how do you propose going about it?"

"I presume you refer to the matter of rendering visible objects invisible," he smiled, leaning back in his chair and placing the tips of his fingers together.

I nodded.

"Hmm, I hardly care to divulge all my ideas, even to such an old friend as yourself," he chuckled. "But I am willing to suggest lines along which such investigations might be conducted. You state that it is preposterous to consider making visible, solid matter invisible. Is it any more preposterous than to make inaudible sounds audible, invisible things visible, or audible sounds inaudible?"

I shook my head. "No, I'd say one's as impossible as the other."

Lemuel grinned. "Which shows your monumental ignorance," he exclaimed. "My dear boy," he continued, "those feats are all accomplished facts and are so familiar to you that you do not realize they exist. The inaudible waves transmitted by radio are rendered audible in the receiving set; the audible waves which enter the microphone of the transmitting station are sent inaudibly through the ether; and heat, which is invisible under certain conditions is plainly visible under other conditions which occur every day."

"Yes," I granted rather grudgingly, "I'll admit the matter of sounds, but I'd like to know when and how heat can be seen. That is, unless you refer to the wavy effect seen above a pavement or sand on a hot day."

"No, there you have air," usually invisible, rendered visible by its motion," replied my friend. "But you have undoubtedly seen red~hot and white-hot metal. And there you have heat made visible. Heat, sound, light and probably scent also, are all caused by vibratory waves. Waves varying in length from the shortest X-rays and Gamma rays to the longest recorded waves; waves varying from less than a billionth part of a meter to over one-hundred-and fifty thousand meters in length. Unfortunately, however, the human system it not designed or attuned to register or recognize more than an infinitely small'proportion of these vibratory waves. Our eyes-can only record those which range between violet and red, but our nerves and ears can detect others which are invisible. For example, there are the heat waves which are too long for us to see. But if, by heating an object, we decrease the length of the waves until they come within the limits of our vision we see the heat waves as red. And by still heating the object the hotter waves appear to us as violet, white or yellow; white being, as you know, merely a mixture or combination of the various light waves. In other words, my dear boy, our eyes, our nerves, our ears, and in all probability our noses as well, are much like radio receiving sets. We can 'tune in' waves of light, sound, heat and scent within certain limits, and, like radio receiving sets, we often fail to 'tune out' interferences. Many sounds are far too high or too low for the human ear to detect, just as many light waves are too short or too long for us to see."

"All extremely interesting and educational." I said. "But what bearing does all this have on the matter under discussion—the rendering of various objet-ts—any object I believe you said,—invisible?"

"Let me reply by asking you a question," smiled my friend. "Why are objects—hurnan beings, houses, trees, anything we see,—visible? Merely because they reflect light," he continued without waiting for my answer. "Very well, then. We see an object because it reflects light; we see colors on that object because it has properties which cause it to absorb certain light rays and to reflect others—if red to us, it absorbs the violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow and orange rays. If it appears white it reflects all the rays. If black, it absorbs them. In other words we do not actually see the object at all. We merely see the light waves reflected from the object. And if means can be found to cause the object to absorb the light rays—"

"You'd have a black object instead of a colored one," I laughed.

"Exactly," agreed my friend quite unperturbed. "Provided the absorption was imperfect," he added. "But," he continued, "if the means were such as to cause perfect absorption, in other words to allow the light waves to pass through the object, then it would become invisible, just as clear glass is invisible, even though glass reflects certain waves of light which cannot be detected by the human eye."

I chuckled. The idea of transforming opaque objects to transparent objects seemed highly amusing. "Co to it," I laughed, "Why not begin with the ladies? Their clothes are pretty transparent now."

"If you are trying to be facetious there's no use in my attempting to explain my ideas and theories," commented Dr. Unsinn in an injured tone.

"I wasn't laughing at your theories," I assured him. "And I'm really interested, even if I don't see what you're getting at."

"If your sense of logic and your knowledge of science were as highly developed as your sense of humor and your knowledge of women's garments, you might more readily grasp what I am 'getting at' as you put it," he said dryly. "However," he continued, "I had no intention of conveying the idea that I believed visible objects could be rendered in...

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