Page:Weird Tales volume 31 number 02.djvu/106

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The Piper From Bhutan


An eery wailing floated from the pipe in the wizened old piper's hands, and suddenly the corpse on the slab–but read the story for yourself

I REGRET, gentlemen, the trouble I have caused; but I'm deeply grateful for this chance to tell my side of the story. And I believe I can show you that, despite the bitter remarks by Professor Du Bois, my action does not warrant my expulsion from this college.

I've studied psychology under Professor Du Bois for four years; my record and the testimony of my classmates will prove that, prior to the experiment the other night, my relationship with Professor Du Bois was mutually satisfactory. I say now, as I've said, that he's intellectually dishonest and untrue to the spirit of experimental science. The truth, gentlemen, is no insult.

It started with the wizened old man from Bhutan. He came to the college with delegates from some mystic society. He could play music, so they told Professor Du Bois, that could restore vitality to the recently dead, keeping them alive until he stopped playing on his pipe. I was working in the laboratory with Professor Du Bois; he told the delegates he was busy.

"Besides," he said, "I have tested at least a dozen individuals with similar claims in the past and unfailingly showed them up as frauds or clever hypnotists. The thing is just physiologically impossible; when you're dead, as the old saying goes…. Good day, my friends."

Well, I won't repeat what the mystics said, but they left in a huff, taking the shriveled little man, in his outlandish costume, with them. And soon after we were again disturbed by a visit. It was the professor's brother-in-law, Detective-Lieutenant Crane, and he had bad news about Richford Mason, a friend of Professor Du Bois.

"Mason died early this morning," Lieutenant Crane said, "snuffed out by an overdose of morphine given to him as medicine." Then he went on to tell the shocked professor that Mason's partner, Rumster, was being held. "We know he's guilty as hell, but he's got enough of an alibi to beat conviction if we bring him to trial–unless we can break him."

And that, gentlemen, is how the experiment started: Professor Du Bois to demonstrate the power of suggestion, his special field in psychology; Lieutenant Crane to "break" a confession.

The professor called the mystic society, saying he had decided to give the old Bhutanese piper a scientific test. They apologized for calling him a closed-minded bigot, and other choice epithets, and said they'd give him all the space he wanted in the next issue of their magazine to report his findings. They, of course, had already "proven" the piper's magical ability to their complete satisfaction. They were disappointed when the professor said they couldn't have representation at the experiment, but after all, scientific recognition is scientific recognition.

Well, gentlemen, I accompanied the professor, Lieutenant Crane, and the little