The War Terror
The Rubber Dagger
"Hypnotism can't begin to accomplish what Karatoff claims. He's a fake, Kennedy, a
Professor Leslie Gaines of the Department of Experimental Psychology at the university
paced excitedly up and down Craig's laboratory.
"There have been complaints to the County Medical Society," he went on, without
stopping, "and they have taken the case up and arranged a demonstration for this
afternoon. I've been delegated to attend it and report."
I fancied from his tone and manner that there was just a bit more than professional
excitement involved. We did not know Gaines intimately, though of course Kennedy
knew of him and he of Kennedy. Some years before, I recollected, he had married Miss
Edith Ashmore, whose family was quite prominent socially, and the marriage had
attracted a great deal of attention at the time, for she had been a student in one of his
courses when he was only an assistant professor.
"Who is Karatoff, anyhow?" asked Kennedy. "What is known about him?"
"Dr. Galen Karatoff--a Russian, I believe," returned Gaines. "He claims to be able to treat
disease by hypnotism-suggestion, he calls it, though it is really something more than that.
As nearly as I can make out it must almost amount to thought transference, telepathy, or
some such thing. Oh, he has a large following; in fact, some very well-known people in
the smart set are going to him. Why," he added, facing us, "Edith--my wife--has become
interested in his hypnotic clinics, as he calls them. I tell her it is more than half sham, but
she won't believe it."
Gaines paused and it was evident that he hesitated over asking something.
"When is the demonstration?" inquired Kennedy, with unconcealed interest.
The professor looked at his watch. "I'm going over there now; in fact, I'm just a bit late--
only, I happened to think of you and it occurred to me that perhaps if you could add
something to my report it might carry weight. Would you like to come with me? Really, I
should think that it might interest you."
So far Kennedy had said little besides asking a question or two. I knew the symptoms.
Gaines need not have hesitated or urged him. It was just the thing that appealed to him.
"How did Mrs. Gaines become interested in the thing?" queried Craig, a moment later,
outside, as we climbed into the car with the professor.
"Through an acquaintance who introduced her to Karatoff and the rest. Carita Belleville,
the dancer, you know?"