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Mental Radio, by Upton Sinclair, [1930], at

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An extraordinary incident occurred in connection with the fourth series of drawings. While my secretary, E. M. Hart, was making the drawings, there came into the office his brother-in-law, R. H. Craig, Jr., a teller of the Security First National Bank of Long Beach, a person entirely unknown to my wife. He heard what was going on, and said, "I'll give her some that'll stump her." He took a pen and drew two pictures, which were duly wrapped in sheets of green paper and sealed in envelopes, and put with the rest of the series. I was not at the office, and nothing was said to me about Mr. Craig having taken part in the matter.

My wife did this series under my eyes; and when she came to the first of Mr. Craig's two drawings, she wrote, "Some sort of grinning monster," and added an elaborate description. Then she opened the envelope, and found a roller skate with a foot and leg attached. This, naturally, was called a failure; but seven drawings

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later in the same series came Mr. Craig's other drawing, which was as follows (fig. 58):

Fig. 58

Now read the amazing description which my wife had written, seven drawings back, when the first of Mr. Craig's drawings had come under her hand:

"Some sort of grinning monster—see only the face and a vague idea of deformed neck and shoulders. It is a man, but it looks like a cat's face, cat eyes and whiskers. Don't know just how I know it is a man—it is a deformity. Not a cat. See color of skin which is deep, flat pink, as of a colored picture. The face of the creature is broad and weird. The flesh of neck, or somewhere, gives effect of rolls or creases."

I asked my secretary what this drawing was meant to be, and he said "a Happy Hooligan."

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[paragraph continues] My cultural backwardness is such that I wasn't sure just what a "Happy Hooligan" might be, but my secretary told me it is a comic supplement figure, and I then looked it up in the paper, and found that the face of the figure as printed is a very pale pink, and the little cap on top is a bright red. I called Mr. Craig on the phone and asked him this question: "If you were to think of a color in connection with a 'Happy Hooligan,' what color would it be?" He answered, "Red."

Now I ask you, what chance do you think there is of a person's writing a description such as the above by guess work? To be sure, my wife had eight guesses; but do you think that eight million guesses would suffice? And if we call it telepathy, do we say that my wife's mind has the power to dip into the mind of a young man whom she has never seen, nor even heard of? Or shall we say that his mind affected his brother-in-law's, the brother-in-law's affected mine, and mine affected my wife's? Or, if we decide to call it clairvoyance, or psychometry, then are we going to say there is some kind of vibration or emanation from Mr. Craig's drawing, so powerful that when one of his drawings is handed to my wife, she gets what is in another

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drawing which has been done at the same time?

Whatever may be the explanation, here is the fact: Again and again we find Craig getting, not the drawing she is holding under her hand, but the next one, which she has not yet touched. When she picks up the first drawing, she will say, or write: "There is a little man in this series"; or: "There is a snow scene with sled"; or: "An elephant, also a rooster." I am going to show you these particular cases; but first a word as to how I have counted such "anticipations."

Manifestly, if I grant the right to more than one guess, I am increasing the chances of guesswork, and correspondingly reducing the significance of the totals. What I have done is this: where such cases have occurred, I have called them total failures, except in a few cases, where the description was so detailed and exact as to be overwhelming—as in the case of this "Happy Hooligan." Even so, I have not called it a complete success, only a partial success. In order to be classified as a complete success, my wife's drawing must have been made for the particular drawing of mine which she had in her hand at that time; and throughout this account, the reader is to understand that every

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drawing presented was made in connection with the particular drawing printed alongside it—except in cases where I expressly state otherwise.

Now for a few of the "anticipations." In the course of series six, drawn by me on Feb. 8, 1929, drawing number two was a daisy, and Craig got the elements of it, as you see (figs. 59. 59a):

Fig. 59, Fig. 59a

Her mind then went ahead, and she wrote, "May be snow scene on hill and sled." The next drawing was an axe, which I give later (fig. 145); she got the elements of this very well, and then added, on the back: "I get a feeling again of a snow scene to come in this series—a sled in the snow." That was number three; and when number five came Craig made this annotation: "Opened it by mistake, without concentrating.

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[paragraph continues] It's my expected sled and snow scene." Here is the drawing (fig. 60):

Fig. 60

Series number eight, on Feb. 10, brought even stranger results. This is the series in which the laced-up football was turned into a calf wearing a belly-band (figs. 15, 15a). But even while I was engaged in making the drawings, sitting in my study apart, and with the door closed, Craig's busy magic, whatever it is, was bringing her messages. She called out: "I see a rooster!" I had actually drawn a rooster; but of course I made no reply to her words. She at once drew a rooster and several other things, and after I had brought my drawings into the room, but before she had started co work with them, she wrote as follows:

"While Upton was making these drawings I sat before the fire thinking how to dry felt slippers which I had washed. I had my mind on them. Hung them on grating to see if they would hang there without burning. Suddenly saw rooster crowing. Then thought, 'Can U be drawing rooster?' Decided to make note of this.

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[paragraph continues] Did so. Then saw"—and she draws a circle with eight radiating lines, like spokes of a wheel.

In due course came drawing number eight, and before looking at it, Craig wrote: "Rooster." Then she added, "But no—it looks like a picture of coffee-pot—see spout and handle." This is hard on me as an artist, but I give the drawing and let you judge for yourself (fig. 61):

Fig. 61

What about the circle and the radiating spokes? That was, apparently, a fore-glimpse of drawing number five. I give you that, together with what Craig drew for that particular test when it came. Her effort suggests the kind of humor with which the newspaper artists used to delight my childhood; a series of drawings in which one thing turns into some other and quite unexpected thing by gradual changes. You will

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see here how the hub of a wagon-wheel may turn into the muzzle of a deer! (figs. 62, 62a):

Fig. 62, Fig. 62a

Next: Chapter XV