The Times from Shreveport, Louisiana on March 31, 1935 · Page 49
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The Times from Shreveport, Louisiana · Page 49

Shreveport, Louisiana
Issue Date:
Sunday, March 31, 1935
Page 49
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X AmSLmf'' SHE II 1 1 Laughs, Squeals and Tumbles a bocietylnes the Ancient Hindu Levitation Trie s The Skeptics Vowed That Vivacious Elsa's f Try This on Your Levitator ! LJERE'S how "ethereal suspension" is achieved. An individual, preferably a heavy man or woman, sits in a chair. Four other persons put their forefingers together. Two place forefingers under sit ter's knees; other two under armpits. All four lifters breathe deeply in unison several times, at a signal from a sixth person. Up, up be or she goes, IF nothing untoward happens to mat the eznerimeat. STRODE AIR Artist' Imaginative Conception of the "Floating Goddess," Astarte, Worshiped by the Ancient Egyptians. "Ethereal Suspension" Was Just a Gag, But Now the Fad Has Furiously Invaded Park Avenue and Mayfair, and the Jumper' Offers Are Active, Too! Left: Hindu Holy Man Reading Religious Book to Enable Him to Become a Leri-tator. I "She hangs in the air with the greatest of ease, "This daring, plump girl with no flying trapeze. "Even old Zoroaster our Elsa can't feaze, "And society follows her fad." FEELS NO PAIN Hindu Ecstatic Photographed in the Actual Act of "Ethereal" Suspension. His Body Rests on an Arrangement of Needle-Sharp Bamboo Sticks. His Fellow Mystics Turn Toward Camera M Shutter Clicks. Drank a $25 Cocktail for Science j j "UST the other day in a Nor wegian labora tory, plump, grave, bespectacled Klaus Hansen, professor of toxicology and pharmacology, lift-ad a beaker of colorless liquid and, with a gesture almost of defiance, .downed the mysterious drink. Nearby stood colleagues, breathless with apprehension. Their hands gripped stomach pumps, pulmotors, restoratives ; for the "bachelor's cocktail" that Professor Hansen had drained off mioht have injured him seriously, might even have cost him his life. What was in the glass? Nothing less than a large "shot" of heavy water, or, chemically expressed, H2H20. As you doubtless know, the symbol H20 stands for ordinary, everyday water. Heavy i water, therefore, is the same fluid in which the hydrogen content has been doubled by electrolysis. I First identified by Dr. Harold Clayton Urey, of Columbia Unive-sity, in 1931, heavy water won him the Nobel Pri2e for scientific discovery. It was found to have strange effects on various organisms. Small animals and plants withered under its wetness. Guppies ' and tadpoles turned up their toes in the death anguish. Flatworms perished. Tobacco seeds failed to sprout. Luminous bacteria had their lights dimmed. Heavy water made mice drunk, with a ferocious thirst attacking them. In the light of these events people naturally began to wonder what H2H20 would do to man. Professor Hansen, in chill, faraway Oslo, determined to find out by personal experimentation. Thirty-nine and unwed, he brewed himself his "bachelor eoektail," valiantly drank it and awaited results with ill-concealed expectancy. HAT'S the brand-new version of a popular song that New York and London bluebloods are chanting these days. The ditty has been re-christened "Those Levitation Blues," and the practitioners of "ethereal suspension" on Park Avenue and in Mayfair are legion. True, there have heen lauehs. saueals and tumbles galore. But not infre quently it works 1 It's on the American side of the Atlantic that the fad has flashed to the proportions of a frenzy. And it's all due to beautiful, buxom Elsa Maxwell, to whom the verses above refer. Surely you know Elsa. She's the pioneer spirit who keeps the yawning aristocrats on their toes when the muscular paralysis of boredom threatens to set in. It was Elsa, no less, who invented the Barnyard BalL who imported the Scavenger Hunt from the Continent, who 'picked the bandsom- Professor Klaus Hansen Imbibing a Drink of Heavy Water Worth $25. Nothing much, curiously enough, happened. Apparently unharmed, the Professor described his experience with heavy water thus: ' "I lifted the beaker to my lips. Immediately I felt a dry, burning sensation in my mouth and then I felt nothing. First my mind became excited and I was impressed with a feeling of crisis. There was some shock, yes. But I said to myself: 'Be calm; you are simply passing through a minor experience.' Then it was all over. I could see, breathe, hear, feel and walk just as before. "My colleagues were delighted, but they didn't abandon the apparatus for resuscitating me in case there was a turn for the worse. To be really harmful, I think, heavy water must be consumed in much larger quantities than I have indicated. But that's just one man's opinion. Actually nobody knows anything about H2H20. "Within the next month or so, I shall either be seriously ill or able to tell what the effects are. For I intend to raise the dose by easy stages during the next fortnight to the final and testing drink of 100 grams." (about 3 ounces.) The Professor's "cocktail" was a cost ly one $25 and barely filled 2 tea spoons. 77 M ; Iff 1 V m it T, .mm. M A if ) Elsa Maxwell. ; v' ' 1 Count S. Colonna Walew L t p 4. V XjL iki, Who Claims He Can Ctf W irrihin? His Concention f of UvitaUon est man in Manhattan, whose dancing was enthusiastically okayed by King Victor Emanul of Italy, and who is on cordial chatting terms with such diverse celebrities as Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt and Fuehrer Hitler. That's Elsa, all over again. But how did this astonishing woman, who has more brains than the pounds she weighs 165 hit upon levitation as a lever to whip and whet the languid interests of society into animation? Of course, there's the dictionary definition: "The act of rendering an object or person light or buoyant" Pretty prosaic, what? But maybe Elsa had read, somewhere, about the flying carpet of Bagdad; of Astarte, the Floating Goddess; of the feats of Count S. Colonna Walew-ski, the Zoroastrian skyscraper jumper-offer, or the thaumaturgic meditations of Jamsetji Battliwalla, keeper of the Vulture Temple of Malabar, who, with legs crossed, rose 11 feet from Mother Earth and stayed put as long as he wanted to. Maybe. Whatever her inspiration, Elsa certainly has wowed the patricians with her novel whim. No longer docs contract bridge allure; no longer are airplane weddings and divorce parties and Da-da dances the thing. One simply mutt levitate, or be socially lost. How did it all start? On the surface at least, scoffed the skeptics, Elsa's first "ethereal suspension" party bore all the earmarks of a gag. Nothing could have been farther from the fact. It seems there were a group of New York debutantes who thought it would be too divine to become actresses. After various managers' doors had slammed in their pretty faces, however, ambition's flame began to gutter and almost expire. But still determined, the debs sought SHE CAN DO IT TOO Petite Hindu Beauty Snapped as She Was Levitated. India Is the Cradle of This Ancient Art or Superstition. out resourceful Elsa and implored her to advise them how to crash the thes-pian gates. One always consults Miss Maxwell in such contingencies, and never is she found wanting. "Just follow me, girls," said Elsa cordially, in effect. "Keep the old I mean young chin up and we'll show them. Some fun." Elsa's fun took the form of a prompt visit to the Casino de Paris. Now the Casino de Faris is one of the three or four really notable New York night clubs where the performers aren't just delectable dolls, but entertainers possessed of technique, address and a sense of the theatre. Knowing her Broadway onions, Elsa Maxwell had unerringly chosen this resort as a fitting spot in which to incubate the untrained talents of her fair protegees. Tactfully, ingratiatingly, she introduced her charges to the suave manager of the club, and suggested ever so delicately mat ne nugnt worn them into an act. WORDS OF SOUL WISDOM Above Statement W Written and Signed by Count Walewski, De scribing His Conception of Levitation. "But," she was asked, "what can they do? These young persons are neophytes; they've had no stage experience." It was then that Miss Maxwell pulled her levitation s u g g e stion. Right heartily the Casino impresario agreed that it might be of interest. Accordingly and forthwith, Elsa and her girls went into their act. It was an immense success, after a few tentative and fumbling fiascos. At first Elsa wouldn't levitate worth a cent. But practice makes perfect, and fi nally she rose in the air with the great est of ease Probably after her one experiment with "ethereal suspension" the inventive Miss Maxwell, dismissing the whole matter from her nimble mind, turned her ever alert attention to other and more important things. But the always reliable grapevine wireless was on the job, and word of her fantastic feat was soon making the rounds of Fifth Avenue and Sutton Place. , . . If one had tapped the proper telephone wires the following morning, one might have chiseled in on the following animated conversation: "Hello. Is that you, Grajce? "Yes, this is Miss Hattondule speaking. Who is it?" "Gtajca my sweet, Helen calling. 1 jnst wondered if you had beard about Elsa Maxwell's latest stunt. My dear . It's like natural magic. You place your Bngers so, and" "Yes, yes, I was just reading about it in the papers. They say London's all agog over it. Why, darling, members of Parliament are being suspended all over the place, like well, suspenders." "Dear, I know. Isn't it too wonderful? And by the way, I was just thinking: I believe I'll throw a levitation party Thursday fortnight. Could you?" "But yes. precious. Now " And so on. far, far into the morning. Hut still determined, the debs sought them into an act. WrtfM. llll, Kiat him SjadlatlBt. Meanwhile r e p o r t era were infest, viewin Count Walewski, disciple of Zoroaster and an authority on the take-a-deep-breath school of levitation, whose proud proclamation it is that he can leap from a lofty building and arrest his descent in mid-air. "Perhaps from this superficial beginning will sprout a growth of infinite interest in the occult," remarked tha Count sententiously. "These London-ers? Bah! Faugh! They're amateurs." Count Walewski spoke with profound contempt. "I have in Persia seen a man lift himself by the opposed magnetic power of the earth and Boat above the surface without any human finger under him. I breathe deep, squeeze out my thoughts and in a kneeling position have Boated straight up into the air. The sensation is indescribable." The Count added that if a person breathed deep enough he could enter a state of trance and be able to lift "tons and tons." Many explanations, some impressive, othersarcical, have been offered to account for the phenomenon of levitation. Says one famous English authority: "W ben the levitators rub their binds in the hair of the subject they generate electricity and a circuit is effected when they place their bands under him." "This proves the superiority of levitation with breathing," announced Count Walewski triumphantly. "Suppose the subject were bald. How, then, could they lift him?" Maybe clever Elsa Maxwell knows that answer. But if she does she isnt giving away the cherished secret. Actually the art or science or what have you of levitation goes back into the mists of history. The tradition is ancient and, even today, widespread. In the pv.ra.nas of Mother India thera is a precise Sanskrit equivalent for levitation. This is laghiman, from lagku (light). The Buddhist tuttas describe a similar power. The most remarkable modern report on levitation is the story of Joseph of Cupertino (1603-1663). in Southern Italy. After he was admitted to a religious order, it was said of him that frequently -he would be raised from his feet and remain suspended in the air. Since such manifestations in public caused much open admiration and considerable disturbance, too Joseph for thirty-fiva years was not permitted to sing in tha choir, but instead was immolated in his room, where a private chapel was installed for him. He "practiced extreme mortification and fasted furiously." Of Daniel Dunglas Home (1833-1886) Sir William Crookes, F.R.S., wrote: "On three separate occasions I hava seen him raised completely from the floor of a room." This would, however, be old hat to Elsa Maxwell. Sh4 knows all the answers, does Elsa.

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