Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1836-1922 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the
National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. external link Learn more
Image provided by: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL
Newspaper Page Text
THE JACK-IN-THE-BOX AND THE SAWDUST
DOLL ARE STILL A DEEP MySTERY
BY JANE WHITAKER.
Did ever the mention of a name
carry you back through the years to
some trifling thing .that you thought
Yet the picture of the scene or of
the incident flashed through your
brain as clearly as though it had been
registered only yesterday.
I met, the other day, a woman who
is known on the theatrical stage as
Madam Psycho. She began to explain
her work to me and in a second I
"Why I saw you almost ten years
ago in a theater in Philadelphia and
I was so filled with curiosity that I
could not sleep that night."
And right then I was back in the
first row in the balcony, leaning for
ward breathlessly, regretting I was a
girl and wishing I had been a man so
that I might have been one of those
who went on the stage and tried to
do what the actress assured them
they could not.
I even said to the man beside me:
"I bet I could do it if I could go up
there,." and he smiled as one smiles
at a conceited child.
I would not bother writing the
Story if I had yet fathomed what se
cret lies behind the boast of Madam
Psycho that no one can lift her when
she does not wish to be lifted, nor can
they lift a child on whose head she
places a finger.
Because I haven't a bit of curiosity
left when once I stick a knife into
the body of a doll and find it is full
of sawdust, or take off the head of a
Jack-in-the-box and a spring pops
But I haven't found out, and so I
am still interested.
Madam Psycho is a quaint person
ality. She is a little woman with a
very kindly face and affectionate
brown eyes. Whether she knows
about the spring in the Jack-in-the-
box or the sawdust in the doll she
"Show me again what you did on
the stage," I begged. And she jump
ed up and used the services of a man
in the room and told him to lift her.
He lifted her easily. Then she asked
him to try again and he could not
budge her from the floor.
"But the child?" I insisted. "You
might be holding yourself down some
way, but I want to see you keep him
from lifting the child.
She smiled at me. "You are a skep
tic, aren't you?" she charged. "Well,
perhaps the little office girl may be
She was. And again I watched a
big man try to lift a child from the
floor while Madam Psycho laid one
finger on the head of the child', and
the man could not do it.
I adopted my most confidential,
"Please tell me. I won't tell any
one, honest. How do you do it."
She looked at me with her eyes
"Are you positive you won't tell?"
"Honest," I answered. "Cross my
Well, I am not betraying a confi
dence, because she really didn't tell
me. She just looked very serious and
talked' very seriously, and she said:
"I have been before physicians and
psychologists. I was at the stock
show in Chicago and led around a big
horn steer, which,' as you know, is as
dangerous an animal as one can find,
yet I controlled him."
"But how?" I expostulated. "You
surely won't tell me you hypnotized
the bull, will you, because really I am
a skeptical creature and I wouldn't
And then she said juBt what she
said on the stage when I saw her
"Whether it is hypnotism or a trick