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Today's Stichomancy for Harry Houdini

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Lair of the White Worm by Bram Stoker:

"We know nothing whatever of this creature's power of hearing or smelling, though I presume that both are of no great strength. As to seeing, we may presume the opposite, but in any case we must try to keep in the shade behind the tree-trunks. The slightest error would be fatal to us."

Adam only nodded, in case there should be any chance of the monster seeing the movement.

After a time that seemed interminable, they emerged from the circling wood. It was like coming out into sunlight by comparison with the misty blackness which had been around them. There was light enough to see by, though not sufficient to distinguish things


Lair of the White Worm
The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Circular Staircase by Mary Roberts Rinehart:

tied a white apron around her waist, and she stood making folds in it with fingers that were red and shiny from her soap-suds.

"Well, Mary," I said encouragingly, "what's the matter? Don't dare to tell me the soap is out."

"No, ma'm, Miss Innes." She had a nervous habit of looking first at my one eye and then at the other, her own optics shifting ceaselessly, right eye, left eye, right eye, until I found myself doing the same thing. "No, ma'm. I was askin' did you want the ladder left up the clothes chute?"

"The what?" I screeched, and was sorry the next minute. Seeing her suspicions were verified, Mary Anne had gone white, and stood


The Circular Staircase
The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates by Howard Pyle:

But even yet there were too many to share the booty, in Blackbeard's opinion, and so he marooned a parcel more of them--some eighteen or twenty--upon a naked sand bank, from which they were afterward mercifully rescued by another freebooter who chanced that way--a certain Major Stede Bonnet, of whom more will presently be said. About that time a royal proclamation had been issued offering pardon to all pirates in arms who would surrender to the king's authority before a given date. So up goes Master Blackbeard to the Governor of North Carolina and makes his neck safe by surrendering to the proclamation--albeit he kept tight clutch upon what he had already gained.


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates
The fourth excerpt represents the element of Earth. It speaks of physical influences and the impact of the unseen on the visible world, and is drawn from Fanny Herself by Edna Ferber:

she read Dickens, and Thelma, and old bound Cosmopolitans, and Zola, and de Maupassant, and the "Wide, Wide World," and "Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates," and "Jane Eyre." All of which are merely mentioned as examples of her catholicism in literature. As she read she was unaware of the giggling boys and girls who came in noisily, and made dates, and were coldly frowned on by the austere Miss Perkins, the librarian. She would read until the fading light would remind her that the short fall or winter day was drawing to a close.

She would come, shivering a little after the fetid


Fanny Herself