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Astounding Stories of Super-Science January 1930 Part 40

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Lees' hands closed in a steely grip, and soon Jouret was limp and helpless.

They held him there. An ambulance arrived. A few minutes later a police auto with reserves came on the scene. The police shackled Jouret.

The car that had been hit by the phantom was a light sedan. It was occupied by two women. Their bodies were drawn from the wreckage. Both were dead-innocents sacrificed to the blood madness of a maniac.

Jouret was right about himself. He was a paranoic with a strongly developed homicidal mania.

In the wreckage was found a package containing $200,000 and also two twisted and broken mechanisms. One of these was about the size of an ordinary kitchen coffee-mill, and the other slightly larger.

Regarding these machines, Lees wrote in a report:

"While making a fourth search of Darrow's laboratory, I found the equations, specifications and what I believe to be the full plans for the last invention of the ingenious Darius Darrow.

"Many of the most astounding inventions and discoveries have resulted from theories which were laughed to scorn at the time they were advanced. Roebling's plans for the Brooklyn Bridge resulted in a meeting of the foremost engineers of the day. All agreed that the plans were built on a false premise. They argued that the bridge would fall of its own weight. Then they all had a good laugh. The bridge still stands.

"Watching smoke float over a hill from army camp fires caused an early French scientist to dream of filling a bag full of smoke and riding with it over the hill. The first balloon was the answer to this dream.

"James Watt is said to have gotten his idea for a steam engine from watching a lid on a tea-kettle dance under steam pressure.

"When Langley was flying his man-carrying kites the Wright brothers dreamed of hitching an engine and a propeller to a giant kite. The airplane was the result of these experiments.

"Darrow got his idea from watching a rapidly revolving wheel. He noticed that the spokes and rim blended into a blurred disc when a certain speed was reached. The entire wheel was practically invisible, under certain lighting conditions, when a higher speed was attained.

"Darrow went further and reached the conclusion that there was a rate of vibration that would produce invisibility. This was accepted in practically all engineering research plants, long before it was perfected by Darrow.

"The facts are that any rapidly vibrating object becomes more and more difficult to outline as its rate of vibration increases. All that was left for Darrow was to arrive at the exact mathematical time, tone, or rate of vibration producing invisibility and to construct a vibrator tuned to produce this condition.

"His first machine produced the vibrations of invisibility in a field with a three-foot radius in all directions. That is, it caused every solid object, within this atmospheric field, to vibrate at the rate, tone, or speed of invisibility. This machine was in no sense rotary. It departed from the original example of a revolving wheel and entered instead into general vibration in a given or measured field.

"The pulsations or vibrations of an ordinary automobile engine will cause every ounce of metal, or solid, in the automobile-including the driver-to vibrate at the same rate or momentum. This is a known fact, and it provided the basis for Darrow's experiments.

"Darrow built two machines. The first had a field with a radius of three feet on all sides. This was used by the killer in his murders. Jouret stole this machine first, thus paving his way for the second robbery.

"With the first machine in his possession, Jouret was able to commit the Darrow murder without being seen. He had to have the second and larger machine, however, to make his auto disappear. He stole the larger machine at the time of the Darrow murder, and with it he had his auto vanish, as the gardener testified.

"Both machines were hopelessly smashed in the wreck, but with Darrow's doc.u.ments at hand, we might be able to construct another and a larger model. A machine built on the proper scale will make a plane or a battles.h.i.+p invisible and should, as Darrow said, make war against this country impossible.

"Digging into Jouret's history we found that the 'Misses Jouret' were one-cell triplets. Their mother, Mrs. Doris Nettleton, an English woman, was a member of Jouret's troupe, as was the father.

"The mother died at the birth of the triplets. The father died a few years later. The company was touring Australia at the time. Jouret and the father had the birth of only one baby recorded. She was named Doris, after the mother. The other girls also used this one name. They now have only one name among them until the court gives them individual names.

"Jouret never let but one girl be seen at a time. The reason was that he and the father had planned to use the girls, when grown, to create a surprising stage illusion. In this illusion, one girl was to act as the earthly body and the other girls as the astral bodies of the same purported individual.

"The father died, and Jouret retired before he ever got around to staging the illusion. Jouret continued the deception, however, because it appealed to his showman's nature.

"The girls, at all times, were under the hypnotic control of Jouret, and, of course, knew nothing of his crazed intellect or crimes. Upon his arrest Jouret released the girls from the spell of years.

"The Misses Nettleton say that Jouret was always kind to them and was an ethical showman until his mind gave way.

"I told the triplets that I might find them employment with our concern, but they prefer to follow in the footsteps of their mother and father, and return to the stage."

Ferguson, quite his normal self once more, since Farnsworth was recovering slowly, twitted Lees about being in love with one of the triplets. Lees admitted they were most gorgeous blondes, but insisted he preferred one brunette.

"Then another thing," added Lees. "Any man who falls in love with one of the Nettleton triplets will never be sure just which one he fell in love with."

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