have always held a fascination with the after life
my mother unexpectedly passed away when I was just twelve years
old. I had a hard time believing she was gone, that she would leave
me and my father and I was determined to uncover any such way that
exists to speak to her. From this morbid curiosity a career was
started, well of sorts. Never quite accomplishing my goal of speaking
to the departed I took upon myself to study the art of illusion
instead. This, I am not ashamed to admit; actually afforded me a
rather pleasant standard of living, and I became well traveled and
my fascination with the afterlife remained. I studied every text
I could find upon the topic. I noted that several people were getting
considerably richer than I by performing séances. I felt
that it was my duty to either discover if they were real or, as
I suspected, merely charlatans. Fakers and opportunists you must
understand were not only getting incredibly rich from taking advantage
of poor people who had recently lost a love one, they were also
discrediting any factual basis to the genuine science of contact
with the after life.
over the last several years I have traveled often the width and
breadth of this great country of ours and encountered numerous so
called mediums. Some of them had been incredibly convincing in their
performance, I was hopeful that finally I had uncovered the genuine
article, yet I was always able to decipher the methods used for
the swindle. Invariable it was nothing more an assembly of clichéd
parlor tricks. I wanted desperately to uncover the genuine article.
You see, there is absolutely no reason for any of us to accept spiritualism,
which is indeed contrary to all our natural experiences and beliefs,
unless we have unadulterated and tangible evidence.
this particular evening I had traveled to Chicago, to a small almost
derelict office building. I had come to learn of this particular
medium through a solid and trusted acquaintance of mine of many
years, a certain Joshua LeBlanc, Joshua who is a man of law and
sound reasoning, whom I trust completely, had with excitement in
his voice brought to my attention this particular fellow. Joshua
had elaborated of how he had been completely astounded by the fellow's
seemingly uncanny abilities. They had been lead up several flights
of stairs then ushered into a small room, which was set up with
a make shift stage, and about two dozen various chairs, the room,
I was informed, was bolted from the inside, and heavy drapes were
hung over the windows. A solitary candle was lit, and overhead lighting
was extinguished, apparently creating an eerie glow on the face
of our medium. Within moments, he began to hum quietly, the room
was spellbound, and all eyes were mesmerized by the gentleman's
long, the candle's flame began to dance, and a cold gust filled
the room. Then the medium began to whisper, in a deep, almost inhuman
"Is there anybody there
Is there anybody there?"
All at once there was a haunting sigh and a whispery "yes,
I am here
am none other than Edgar Pokes."
that response, came a disturbing shrill shriek from the seats, as
a lady dressed in black began to gently whimper...
beloved Edgar is that really you my darling?"
turned to the direction from where the voice came, there was barely
enough light to make out the shadow of a figure
it is I Mildred
It is I
I am here to let you know that
I am finally free of pain, both in the physical body and of mind.
Mildred I am at peace with myself, and please know that I shall
always be with you
the voice had apparently got softer and softer until it was nothing
more than a memory, then the flame of the candle flickered violently
and went out leaving the room in total darkness.
later the overhead lighting was once again turned on
the door still bolted from the inside, and the medium looking exhausted
upon his platform.
elaborated me that Mildred stood up and informed everyone that she
had recently lost her husband in a hunting accident, and for years
he had been inflicted with painful gout, and that she was convinced
that it was indeed his spirit that came to visit. I could discern
by the gleam in my friend's eye that he also believed what he saw
to be factual. As for myself I wasn't so confident that Joshua's
account all was at it appeared. I was so enraptured by his account
that I instantly had informed him to make all the arrangements for
me to see him with my own eyes.
happened several more times, as several other manifestations apparently
occurred, each with a message for an audience member, and each time
the relative was convinced it was their loved one.
weeks later I too arrived in Chicago. Joshua had arranged for me
to travel under the pseudonym of Cedric Harrison, a successful New
York businessman who had very recently lost his business partner,
his oldest brother to pneumonia.
small crowd of about ten people stood standing at the appropriate
address, at nine in the evening. It was a particularly chilly evening
and the notorious Chicago wind bustled about us... I was curious
as to why such a successful medium would chose to operate in such
a seedy, run down building such as the one I was now scrutinizing.
In due course a gentleman approached us and introduced him self
as William Crowder, the world famous medium, he bowed as he spoke.
Despite his pompous voice his appearance was spectacularly ordinary;
he wore an ill fitting cheap grey suit, and a patterned tie that
did not match. He was a skinny man, and was, despite a relative
young age, fast losing his hair. Above his top thin lip sat an equally
thin moustache and the ends were twiddled with wax and made to stick
out nearly an inch. We were dutifully led up several dingy staircases
to the third floor, everyone was silent, and to a casual observer
what a strange procession we must have surely made. A door was opened,
we all filed in to a generous proportioned old office, as Joshua
had informed me, after everyone was inside the door was indeed bolted
from the inside. It occurred to me that these respectable folks
would never consent to being in such a vulnerable position under
normal circumstances. We were advised by Mr. Crowder to take seats,
and before I complied my eyes traveled keenly around the room in
search of the smallest indication of to how the trickery was about
to be performed I walked over and examined the window, and noted
that nothing lead up, or indeed down to it so no-one could enter
the room from there. I looked up and noted that Mr. Chowder appeared
to be scrutinizing me carefully, so I too sat down
medium carefully explained that if the bolted door was somehow opened
during the evening, we would instantly know by the bright light
hanging in the hallway. Of course I knew that it would a simple
matter for any accomplice to switch the light of before sneaking
into the room, yet I kept quiet, and continued to vigilantly observe
made us all examine the room closely, which did not take long as
there was no additional furniture other than the chairs we were
sitting on and the chair and small table where the medium would
be sitting. In addition, the room held no cupboards of any sort,
and the floor itself appeared to conceal no trap doors. This would
have been an unlikely means in a building such as this anyhow I
reasoned. Then he proceeded to hang a thick double black curtain
over the only window. "The spirits require darkness."
He stated in a very matter of fact tone as he performed the task.
Yet, it was already dark outside, and certainly one curtain would
have sufficed the task, I decided that I should reconsider my previous
theory of the window being a key factor in to how the illusion was
going to be performed
scanned the faces of the other people who were there
had one trait in common, somber but with a peculiar air of hope
about them. It was obvious that they all had recently lost a love
one, and equally obvious they were desperate to contact them, just
as I had longed to contact my dear mother all those many years ago
all had, I feel I should mention, one additional trait, all of them
had some degree of wealth as each of us had been required to donate
quite a hefty sum prior to be given the location for the evening.
as Joshua had witnessed, a perplexingly scented candle was lit on
a small table the stage, the smell was both familiar and yet curiously
unrecognizable. Mr. Crowder reached behind him, and pulled a cord,
which extinguished the light, and then sat, in a solitary chair
situated directly behind the table. The candle, quite conveniently
I thought, only gave off enough light to illuminate Mr. Chowder's
villainous face. Before long he began to hum, and sway about in
his seat, I confess that I had to refrain from laughing. Then all
at once there was a sudden gust of cold air, and the candle flickered
I heard Mr. Crowder ask as all eyes were firmly glued to Mr. Crowder.
there anybody there?"
knew that this was my prompt to investigate further. Discretely
getting up from my seat I quietly slipped my way back to the window,
and peered behind the curtain
Just as I had suspected I now
saw a ladder perched against the wall. This was obviously where
Mr. Crowder's helper entered the room, and the cold gush of air
was nothing more than the window being opened. I too opened it,
allowing a surge of cold night air to once more fill the room, and
with a firm push I sent the ladder hurtling to the ground
was then I heard the enormous commotion behind me
a commotion my actions had generated
I managed to race forward
and before Mr. Crowder could prevent me, switch on the light
in front of me was a very embarrassed Mr. Crowder, and at the window
was an equally embarrassed slight man, dressed in black, frantically
looking through the window at the fallen ladder, and his only reasonable
means of escape
Crowder stared at me angrily, and then I slowly saw a look of recognition
form in those eyes of his.
it is you!" He cried "You're the great Symboni
are perhaps the finest magician this land has ever seen." As
he spoke suddenly the look of anger transformed into a far more
interesting look, a look of fear; complete horror filled his eyes
as he spoke
"But, it surely can't be you; you died almost
two weeks ago
that I simply vanished
Right In front of everyone's and an
astounded Mr. Crowder's eyes. After all, please understand, I still
had much catching up to do with my dear mother. It is peculiar though
isn't it; I finally found the answer I was searching for all my
But my mission to expose charlatans
shall continue, after all I confess it was a frightfully fun experience.