“Sphinx Legacy” 編纂記 第33回


出典:”Sphinx”, 1920年7月号 執筆者:A.M. Wilson

Magic breaks out in many unexpected places as evidenced by the skill of George Polley, “The Human Fly.” Polley played a two weeks’ engagement at the Doric Theater. K. C., and demonstrated as pure a specimen of real magic as I have ever seen. Polley’s “Thumb Tie” has them all beat from Ten Ichi down to date.

George Polleyの’Thumb Tie’が、先進的なやり方で天一を凌駕していた、という記述が気になりますが、ここではそのことではなく、彼が’The Human Fly’と呼ばれていたと書かれていることに着目しました。どんなことかと思って調べると、”Wikipedia”に以下の説明がありました。

George Gibson Polley (1898–1927) was an American pioneer of (the then-unnamed act of) buildering, or climbing the walls of tall buildings, earning him the nickname “the human fly”.

According to himself, he began his climbing career at the age of 12 in 1910 when an owner of a clothing store promised him a suit if he would climb to the roof of the building. He succeeded.

Over his career Polley climbed over 2000 buildings. In 1920 he climbed the Woolworth building but was arrested, just when he reached the 30th floor and had 27 floors to go, for climbing without official permission. He also climbed 500 ft up the Custom House Tower in Boston. He would often spice up his performance by pretending to slip and fall from a windowsill to another. George G. Polley was also a talented magician and performed in vaudeville with his wife the amazing Helen Stillman. He was a good friend of Harry Houdini and learned some of his tricks from him.

以上の説明では、Polleyが建物を登るのに、何かの道具を使うかどうかについては触れられていません。その点がわかることが、”Linking Rings: William W. Durbin and the Magic and Mystery of America”という長い書名の本に書かれていました。

The town also delighted in the antics of George G. Polley, “The original Human Fly”, Mr. Polley will give a thrilling performance on the Hardin County courthouse Thursday”, the newspaper Predicted. “Using only his hands and feet, he will ascend from the ground to the top of the flag pole on that building. He will use neither hooks or ropes nor rely on the assistance of anyone in getting over the most difficult projections on the sides and corners of the courthouse”.

前述の”Wikipedia”のPolleyの説明では、彼が’Human Fly’のアメリカでのパイオニアだと書かれていますが、同じ”Wikipedia”でも、’Human Fly’で検索すると、Polleyよりも少しまえに、Harry Gardinerが同じようなことをやっていたことが書かれています。”Wikipedia”というのは、同じ執筆者が書くわけではないので、このような違いがあり得るのです。こんどは’Gardiner’で検索すると、”Vancouver Courier”サイトに、つぎの記事がありました。同サイトの以下の写真を見ると、道具を使っていないことがよくわかります。

American daredevil Harry Gardiner, better known as the Human Fly, scales the 17-storey Sun Tower building at the corner of Pender and Cambie in front of a crowd of thousands.

Known at the time as the World Building, the 82-metre-high building was the tallest in the British Empire and the death-defying climb was a publicity stunt to encourage people to buy Victory Loans as part of the war effort. Gardiner, 47, wore ordinary street clothes and did not use any safety equipment.