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A Lecture to Remember

by Bertil Falk

“Our guest today,” the master of ceremonies said, “is no less than Karl Indranil Reilly, the foremost scientist in charge of the now-scrapped program on teleportation and bilocation research.

“What is the connection between teleportation and bilocation? Has it something to do with levitation? And why was that program scrapped? These are questions that Mr. Reilly will explain to us. Welcome.”

The man who walked up to the podium was of medium height, brown skin, black hair, blue eyes, dressed in a university shirt and jeans. He seemed to be about 30 to 35 years old, and his face was equipped with a constant smile. He mounted the lectern in a way that showed he was in his natural environment. And he was handed a microphone.

“As to levitation we have found no connection,” he began. “Thanks for having me. I am the result of our melting pot. My forefathers were immigrants from India, Ireland and Sweden, a fact that is reflected in my name: Karl is Swedish, Indranil is a Hindi name and my surname Reilly is obviously Irish.” He paused.

“It is not easy to answer why the program was scrapped. The official reason was that the research is of no immediate commercial value. However, that is not a reason for scrapping research. It is a well-known fact that pure research — or basic research — is surprisingly often turned into applied research.

“I think the authorities fear the ability of bilocation. It may sound like a conspiracy theory, but I have understood that there is a certain fear among the different kinds of decision-makers we depend on for financing our work. For sure, the unmapped worlds of bilocation and teleportation may scare you. Let me say that it has a ghostly quality. I am personally an alarming example of that.”

The audience was very quiet. It was as if the gathered people held their breath. This was not an ordinary speech, and the speaker had grasped their attention. He could sense their anticipation of getting to know something new, and he had to do his best to fulfill their expectations.

“When the program was abruptly discontinued, we had just begun the research concerning the prerequisites for this mental ability. What physical or psychic elements would be able to create the phenomenon of bilocation? Unfortunately, the answers to that are for the time being unknown. But let us discuss what we do know.

“As you can see, there is one chair to my left and another chair to my right. The two chairs are there for a purpose. And now I will introduce to you a very nice person, who is one of the rare individuals who possess the ability of bilocating. She is only twelve years old, but she has already mastered her talent. Welcome, Alice.”

A girl got to her feet in the front row and walked up to the podium. She was dressed in Pippi Longstocking clothes, and her red hair had those Pippi braids.

“You have the guise of Pippi Longstocking,” Karl Indranil Reilly said. “Why not Alice in Wonderland?”

“I like the Pippi look,” Alice said.

“Well, it does not affect your ability. When did you discover that you could be at two different places at the same time, Alice?”

At that a slight buzz went through the hall, when those of the audience who had no idea of what bilocation could be got their first clue as to the significance of this rare power.

“My parents found out when I was born that I could suddenly be at two places in the room at the same time. I took it for granted and thought that all people could do that. Later on I understood that it was a unique gift.”

“I see. What chair will you choose, Alice?” Karl Indranil Reilly asked.

“The one to the right.”

“Very well. Alice will now bilocate and teleport and I will explain to you the relationship between the two abilities. Are you ready, Alice?”

“Yes, I am ready,” the girl said and sat down at the right chair.

“Spectators, are you all prepared for this demonstration?”

There was a “yes” mixed with a few “no”.

“Very well, fasten your seatbelts. Here we go. Alice!”

“I will now perform a bilocation. Just look.”

She covered her tear glands by putting the thumb and the forefinger of her left hand over the root of her nose. All of a sudden there were two Alices in the hall. They occupied the two chairs at the podium. To the audience it was like a magician’s performance, but this was not a trick. This was supposed to be the real thing. A surprised murmur filled the hall.

“As you can see I am right now sitting on two chairs,” Alice One said.

“And I am at the same time both myself and an individual person,” Alice Two said.

“But mostly one of me turns into suspended animation,” Alice One said, “simply because it is very trying to be conscious in two different places at the same time.”

“Especially when I am long-distance bilocating,” Alice Two explained.

“For example, being in Manhattan and London at the same time,” Alice One said.

“Now that strain is not very difficult to handle, since this is a short-distance demonstration,” Alice Two concluded.

“Thank you, Alice. I think that the audience has grasped the meaning of bilocation,” Karl Indranil Reilly said. “Now let’s explain how teleportation is related to bilocation. As you can see for yourself, Alice is simultaneously teleporting when she is bilocating. In other words: teleportation is an integral part of bilocation. It simply means that bilocation can be used for teleportation.”

While Karl Indranil Reilly talked, Alice One disappeared from the chair on the right, while Alice Two remained on the chair to the left.

“I have now used my ability to bilocate in order to teleport,” Alice said. “But even though I have left the other chair I am able to return to that chair.”

At that she disappeared from the one chair and appeared at the other one.

“There is like an invisible connection, like a trail through space that makes this behavior possible,” Karl Indranil Reilly said. “Having explained this, I would like to draw your attention to what I alluded to in the beginning, when I said that there is a ghostly quality to bilocation. We found that bilocation can explain ghost stories and poltergeist phenomena.

“I would have liked to present to you the foremost teleporting individual in the world. Her name is Billie Occasion, but she does not want to show her ability in public. Actually, she has discontinued her habit for reasons I will not discuss here today. But before she did that, she bilocated in a most strange, often bizarre way that may or may not explain why the research program was scrapped.

“Not only did she teleport from one spot to another, she teleported into the past and into the future; yes, she even teleported into fiction, into the made-up world of Jacques Futrelle. She also teleported into the mind of the man who is the father of her twins, and she made a horrible visit into the mind of an octopus.”

“This is ridiculous!” a man screamed.

“Yes, sir, I understand your frustration,” Karl Einar Reilly replied. “I don’t want any opposition to be unheard, so please come up here and give us your arguments.”

The man, who seemed to be a senior citizen, limped to the podium, where Karl Indranil Reilly gave him a mike.

“Be my guest, sir,” Karl Indranil Reilly said. “Who are you?”

“I am Ronald Mason, a retired physicist and I had no trouble following this demonstration, not even the statements about bilocating in space and time and into the minds of people and animals. But your statement about bilocating into fiction was over the top, and I did not swallow it. Fiction is fiction and does not exist in the material world. What you said is totally impossible.”

“Yes, according to all the known rules of the universe, you are right.”

“Then why do you make such an assertion?”

“Because she did do it. she teleported from New York to Boston and back in time and into the fiction of short story writer Jacques Futrelle.”

“Don’t tell me that she teleported into the mind of Jacques Futrelle.”

“An interesting suggestion, sir. Jacques Futrelle was a journalist and a writer of short stories. He went down with the Titanic. He was on his way back to the United States after some time in England, where he wrote some additional stories about his problem-solving hero, the Thinking Machine. Those stories also went down with the Titanic in 1912.

“No, Billie Occasion did not try to penetrate the mind of a dead man, but I would not be surprised if that would be possible. It might, in its turn, explain the existence of spiritism and people who claim that they have the ability to communicate with the dead.”

“How could you say anything like that?”

“Because I have a proof of something similar.”

“Would you show that proof to us?”

Karl Indranil Reilly seemed to hesitate.

“It was not my intention to bring up this subject at this occasion,” he said. “I’m of two minds when it comes to this. If I demonstrate my horrifying experience, what would that mean? How would this audience react? What would happen in the world at large? I would prefer to wait until I’m better prepared, myself, for you can be sure that I have struggled with this situation.”

“What you say makes us more interested than ever. Having said A, you now must say B,” a female voice clamored from the audience.

At that, the master of ceremonies returned to the podium. He took the microphone: “Now we’ll pause for fifteen minutes. Coffee and tea are served at cost price in the vestibule.”

The discussion among the people attending the lecture was animated. Karl Indranil Reilly understood that he had to make an important decision. When the pause came to end, the expectations among those present were on a high level and he decided on grasping the nettle.

“When you look at me, you see a freak,” Karl Indranil Reilly said. “I may look normal, but I am a Boris Karloff in disguise. We all know that two people cannot possibly have exactly the same DNA. Imagine my surprise and horror when I discovered that I, personally, down to the smallest detail, had the same set of DNA as one particular Egyptian mummy, a couple of thousand years old. The result was tested over and over again, but we found no contamination. It was exactly the same DNA.

“What has this impossible discovery to do with bilocation? I have never thought that I personally possessed that power, but I did without knowing it. I must have been unconsciously aware of it on some mental level, and that was perhaps why I choose to study bilocation and was selected to lead the program.”

“This is fantastic,” Ronald Mason said, “but it is nevertheless something that happened within the external world. And this next to impossible coincidence has nothing to do with bilocation, I presume.”

“It very much has to do with bilocation,” Karl Indranil Reilly exclaimed. “Take a look.”

Out of nothing sprung a male gestalt dressed in a kilt-like skirt wrapped around the waist and belted, nothing more. And the man was an exact copy of Karl Indranil Reilly. He was alive. He turned to his Doppeldänger and said something with the same voice but expressed in an unknown tongue.

“In my Egyptian version I say that this was an unexpected event,” Karl Erik Indranil said, “but that I understand that I am used in a demonstration of my ability to bilocate and teleport in space-time.”

At that moment his Egyptian self turned into a gruesome mummy, a dead and dry piece of corpse, horrifying to look at. The dreadful sight remained for about 20 seconds on the platform before it disappeared.

“That’s all for now, folks!” Karl Erik Indranil said and left the stage.

His words were like a whip, and the audience seemed to duck as if they wanted to take cover. Ronald Mason was speechless.

An atmosphere of what can be described as similar to helplessness prevailed when the audience left the hall. But Ronald Mason recovered his composure and exclaimed: “You have still not proved that it is possible to bilocate, teleport or even levitate into fiction, be it fantasy or science fiction!”

Copyright © 2014 by Bertil Falk

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