A crowd was gathering on a city street so broad it almost seemed to be inside an auditorium. A number of people were trying to get close to one man who was the focus of the crowd's attention. One fellow in particular (wearing a light blue sports coat) caught my attention. Finally the man in whom everyone was interested walked up to a podium and the crowd settled into seats to listen to what he had to say. I managed to find a seat at a long table quite close to the front.
The table at which I was sitting was situated so it stretched out lengthwise from where the speaker was and another table was across from mine on the other side of the aisle (which went straight out in front of the man). People were also sitting at the other table. I noticed the fellow in the blue sports coat there and next to him was a black-haired woman with a small baby.
The speaker began talking and at first it was unclear to me what he was talking about. But gradually I realized he was talking about the occult and he actually professed to have certain powers. I listened to him for quite a while. He went on and on and finally when he was almost finished, I turned to a person sitting next to me and said that maybe now the speaker would "levitate" someone. I had an image in my mind of someone lying on the table and then the speaker causing that person to begin rising into the air. But I didn't think the speaker could do such a thing and I basically pointed that out.
The person next to me didn't find what I said amusing. I repeated the same thing to another person, but likewise received no response.
The speaker turned to the woman holding the baby across from me. I was unclear what he said to her, but he suddenly pulled out some money and counted off $150 to her. Apparently she had answered something he had said which was supposed to demonstrate some occult power and he was rewarding her.
The speaker also had some sort of exchange with the fellow in the blue jacket which further demonstrated the speaker's occult powers.
The speaker said he was going to give another demonstration. He asked the woman with the baby to come up to the podium and she did so carrying her baby with her. The speaker then told the audience that the baby was just one day old. He then said that although the baby of course didn't know how to talk, he was going to make the baby talk.
The speaker stood beside the woman holding the baby and a microphone was placed in front of the baby. After a short pause, the baby seemed to be trying to say something. The baby made several attempts and soon clearly audible words began coming from its mouth. I was quite amazed and the event even seemed a little eerie to me to think that a day-old baby could talk. The baby continued talking, becoming increasingly more proficient. But sometimes it didn't speak directly into the microphone so its words were difficult to understand.
Someone else was now holding the baby and the black-haired woman who had originally been holding the baby was standing beside them. She was facing the audience and was dressed all in white. Somehow her hair seemed to be blowing and the speaker said something to her. It soon becomes clear that she likewise was having some kind of occult experience and she was saying something. The entire scene had taken on somewhat of a carnival atmosphere.
Finally it was announced that the speaker, for $10 per person, was going to do something or other for the members of the audience. People seemed convinced of the speaker's abilities and it appeared that many were going to pay the $10.
Suddenly I stood up and everything became quiet. I hardly hesitated as I began to speak in a loud and clear voice to the people in the audience. I immediately denounced what had occurred as a fraud. I told the audience that the woman, the baby and the fellow in the blue coat were all part of the fraud and that they had been planted in the audience to take part in what was happening here. I pointed to the baby, who now looked quite long, and explained that it wasn't a day-old baby as represented, but about a three year old child dressed up like a baby and that it knew very well how to speak.
I described the affair as "fradulous." I talked about the woman's supposed clairvoyance and I said it was just made up. I pointed out that no one else in the audience had been given any money except the woman. Another woman in the audience appeared to be going to disagree with that, but then she reflected and realized it was true. I told the audience that the $150 given to the woman was just part of the fraud taking place and that the money would be divided up later. I also used the word "clairvoyance" and I said that it hadn't happened here.
I explained to the people that they could give the speaker $10 and participate in whatever it was that he was going to do, but they should at least have the option of knowing the whole thing was a fraud.
I also said the fellow in the blue sports coat was part of the fraud. I thought about asking if anyone here knew these people and I pointed out that they would disappear when the speaker left. But I didn't ask that question, because I remembered a basic rule of trial law, that one shouldn't ask questions unless one already knew the answer. And I reflected that someone in the audience might stand up and say that he knew the couple and that they did live in the community. The person might even be lying, but it would still affect the effectiveness of what I was saying. So I didn't ask that question.
It had been completely quiet while I had been speaking. Finally I stopped. I figured I had said enough and now people could make up their own minds. Many people seem convinced that what I had said was true. But I noticed one man pulling some money out as if he were still going to pay the $10. I didn't try to stop him or say anything else. I figured I had made my point and that was all I needed to do.
I started to walk away and someone told me I had a phone call. I picked up the phone and my father was on the other end. Apparently the whole episode had been filmed and he had just seen me on television in Ohio. He says, "There you go taking on a woman."
I asked, "Did you see me."
He answered, "See you? I was damn proud of you."
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