“Sphinx Legacy” 編纂記 第9回


今回は、David P. Abbottの考案した’Spirit Painting’というイリュージョンが、Dr.Willmarの考案として演じられたという、ひとつのリップオフに類する事例です。

出典:”Sphinx”,1912年5月号 執筆者: J.H. DeWitz

“Howard Thurston,” the World’s Master Magician, appeared at the Auditorium Theater week of April 22. It is the first time he has been here since 1910. He has a great show and makes a hit with the audience. One of his new tricks he presents, “The Spirit Paintings,” certainly does leave a good impression on the minds of the spectators. And every one that I have spoken to that has seen the trick say it is one of the finest they have seen, and not one can offer a solution as to how it is performed.

‘Spirit Paintings’というイリュージョンがDavid Abbottの考案であるのに、Thurstonが演じているというので、どういう事情であるか、前後の号を再チェックしたら、以下の1912年4月号の記事を見落としていました。

I have in mind two prominent performers presenting the same illusion, an illusion invented by an amateur, who in his love for magic as an art has freely given the results of his researches and discoveries to the magical fraternity, and that without money and without price. One performer in presenting the illusion does so as the invention of Dr. Wilmar of London, while the other at each and every performance tells his audience that is the invention of Mr. David P. Abbott of Omaha.

Neither Dr. Wilmar nor Mr. Selbit ever heard of “The Spirit Paintings” until Mr. Abbott described them to Dr. Wilmar, and yet neither of those gentlemen have ever given Mr. Abbott one word of private thanks or public acknowledgment of their indebtedness to him. On the other hand, Mr. Howard Thurston never shows the paintings without publicly announcing that Mr. Abbott is their author, and in addition has shown his gratitude by sending Mr. Abbott a good-sized check of three figures.

Thurstonは、Abbottから使用許可を得て、使用料を払って’Spirit Painting’を演じていたのです。他方、Selbitは、Dr.Wilmmarが考案したものだとして、Willmarから教えられたものとして演じていました。WillmarはAbbottからやり方を教えられていたのです。そのときの状況が、Abbottによる、”Spirit Portrait Mystery, its Final Solution”(1913年)につぎのように記載されています。

On August 11, 1909, which was nearly six months after my dis covery, Dr. Wilmar (William Marriott) of 84 Bushwood Road, Kew, London, S. W., psychic investigator and lecturer, wrote me a letter of inquiry, which I still have and of which I have furnished the editor of The Open Court a photographic copy. He stated that two of these paintings had arrived in that country, and he asked me to furnish him the fullest report possible of one of these productions. He did not know I had been working on the case and asked the probable expense of having me see a portrait produced.

I replied to this letter on August 25, 1909, and gave him all of the reports on the work then in my possession, and I also freely explained to him the principle which I had discovered for causing the portrait to materialise and demateriaUse. After this a number of letters on the subject passed between us. Dr. Wilmar then asked me not to publish my discovery for a time, and I dropped the matter.

“Magic Wand”, 1946年10月/11月号には、つぎのように書かれています。

The press performance of Dr. Wilmar’s ‘Spirit Painting’ took place at the London Pavillion in 1910, and “Black canvas was chosen, placed in a frame with a brilliant light behind, and the beautiful picture slowly appeared”.

この記述の中には、’Wilmar’s Spirit Painting’と書かれていて、ロンドンのPavillion劇場で報道関係者向けに発表会をやったと書かれています。これほど明確なリップオフの証拠記録は珍しいものです。Abbottが上記の文章を書いた時点で、Wilmarからの手紙を所持していたと言うのですから、嘘を書いているとは思えません。


“Sphinx Legacy”には、このイリュージョンの文章での説明がありますが、ここでは以下の動画を見ていただきましょう。ひとつの演技が2つの動画に分割されていますので、2つを続けてご覧になってください。PDFから動画アドレスにアクセスすると、セキュリティ警告が出ます。それが気になる方は、アドレスをブラウザーのアドレス行にペーストしてご覧になってください。



David P. Abbottのこのイリュージョンの仕掛けや演じ方は、Abbott自身が”The Spirit Portrait Mystery, its Final Solution”という書籍の中で解説していて、その書籍のダウンロードアドレスも紹介しています。当時、このイリュージョンは大センセーションを起こしたそうです。私たちはその秘密を知ることができるのです