This preparation was especially directed at a manifestation which
had hitherto baffled all the members of the committee. This involved
an electric bell enclosed in a box, which would ring whenever
a certain pressure was applied to the boards on top of the box.
In previous seances, the bell had rung repeatedly when the box
had been placed on the floor in front of Margery, even though
the sitters were sure that they had perfect control over her hands
and feet. The explanation she gave was that her dead brother Walter
must have closed the circuit. He had not only rung the bell, but
had used code to answer questions with it.
On this particular evening the box was placed between Houdini's
feet, with his right foot between it and Margery's left foot as
we see in these drawings from Houdini's notebook.
"As the seance progressed I could distinctly
feel her ankle slowly and spasmodically sliding as it pressed
against mine while she gained space to raise her foot off the
floor and touch the top of the box. To the ordinary sense of touch
the contact would seem the same while this was being done. At
times she would say: 'Just press hard against my ankle so that
you can see that my ankle is there,' as she pressed I could feel
her gain another half inch. "
When she had maneuvered her leg round into position where she
could reach the bell, Houdini felt the tendons of her leg tighten
whenever she touched the box. Then, when the ringing was finished,
he could feel her leg slide back into its original position with
her foot on the floor beside his own.
On Margery's right sat Bird, and beside him Margery's husband
Dr. Crandon. Bird held Margery's right hand and the doctor's left
hand in one of his, thus leaving his other hand free 'for exploring
purposes'. Suddenly, Margery went into trance and spoke with the
voice of her dead brother Walter, who had been killed in an accident
on the railroad. His voice was gruff and deep pitched, and he
asked for an illuminated plaque to be placed on the lid of the
box containing the bell, and Bird went to get it.
Figure 3 Bird got up to get the luminous plaque
When the spirit Walter called for 'control', Margery immediately
placed her right hand in Houdini's, suddenly the cabinet, which
stood behind Margery, was thrown over violently. She then gave
Houdini her right foot, too, saying, "You now have both hands
and feet." Walter then called, "The megaphone is in
the air. Have Houdini tell me where to throw it."
"Toward me," replied the magician, and it instantly
fell at his feet. This manifestation also had taken place before,
and Houdini said, 'it had converted all skeptics.'
Figure 4 The spirit voice
of Walter calls out, "The megaphone is in the air!"