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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 Records of a Family of Engineers by Robert Louis Stevenson:

MACSTOPHANE CORDINERIUS IN CROSSRAGUEL, 1573, and WILLIAM M'STEEN in Dunskeith (co. Ross), 1605. Stevenson, Steenson, Macstophane, M'Steen: which is the original? which the translation? Or were these separate creations of the patronymic, some English, some Gaelic? The curiously compact territory in which we find them seated - Ayr, Lanark, Peebles, Stirling, Perth, Fife, and the Lothians - would seem to forbid the supposition. (1)

(1) Though the districts here named are those in which the name of Stevenson is most common, it is in point of fact far more wide-spread than the text indicates, and occurs from

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs:

one who might be a brother, or, more likely, the father of this woodland demi-god who was even ignorant of the fact that the locket opened.

Tarzan was still gazing with fixity at the two faces. Presently he removed the quiver from his shoulder, and emptying the arrows upon the ground reached into the bottom of the bag-like receptacle and drew forth a flat object wrapped in many soft leaves and tied with bits of long grass.

Carefully he unwrapped it, removing layer after layer of leaves until at length he held a photograph in his hand.

Pointing to the miniature of the man within the locket he


Tarzan of the Apes
The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Complete Poems of Longfellow by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

To the toil and the task we have to do, We shall sail securely, and safely reach The Fortunate Isles, on whose shining beach The sights we see, and the sounds we hear, Will he those of joy and not of fear!"

Then the Master, With a gesture of command, Waved his hand; And at the word, Loud and sudden there was heard, All around them and below,

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 The Call of the Canyon by Zane Grey:

were a thousand stinging nerves. There was a mortal sickness of horror, of insupportable heartbreaking loss. She could not endure it. She could not live under it.

She lay there until energy supplanted shock. Then she rose to rush into the darkest shadows of the cedars, to grope here and there, hanging her head, wringing her hands, beating her breast. "It can't be true," she cried. "Not after my struggle--my victory--not now!" But there had been no victory. And now it was too late. She was betrayed, ruined, lost. That wonderful love had wrought transformation in her--and now havoc. Once she fell against the branches of a thick cedar that upheld her. The fragrance which had been sweet was now bitter. Life that had been bliss was now hateful! She could


The Call of the Canyon