Professor Curry and shadows.
Detective Fisher had located Professor Curry at Temple University and had secured an appointment with him for Strong. It would be after his normal courses on Tuesday so as not to be too disruptive to him.
Strong and Fisher arrived promptly at 15:00 in the afternoon just as the lecture was about to finish, waiting patiently for Professor Curry. Finally, the lecture ended and as the Professor was putting his papers in order the two detectives approached him.
“Professor Curry, I”m Detective Strong and this is Detective Fisher. We called you previously to have your opinion on a case.” said Strong as he extended his hand to the Professor.
“Ah, yes, the two Detectives who wanted to see me.” They shook hands. “Please, let’s go to my office, it will be better for talking.” the professor said as he began directing them towards his office. The professor was in his 60’s, and seemed to be all brains and not much brawn with a head that seemed larger than normal. He had glasses that seemed to always slip on the bridge of his nose with the result that he was constantly fighting gravity, constantly replacing his glasses where they had to be.
“Here we are. Please take a seat and let’s talk about this case of yours.” the professor said as he sat down. Strong and Fisher sat in front of the professor. The office was what one would expect of a scientist; papers piled high on his desk, mountain of books on each side with more books at the back. A small computer was in front of the professor and at the back was a large blackboard, no doubt to write equations and to solve them.
“You understand of course professor that what I am about to tell you is strictly confidential.” said Strong.
“Yes of course. Not a word will escape my lips.” said the professor smiling at the two detectives.
“We have had three murders in rapid succession, and one man is connected to all three murders indirectly. In two of the cases black smoke seemed to have escaped from the murder scene. Now this suspect claims that one day as he was walking, he noticed that one of the shadows that was accompanying him on one side stopped and escaped. And he claims that this shadow embodies in it evil or anger, with the result that the shadow would be responsible for the three murders.I want to know if such a thing has ever been documented in science or if it is feasible.” Strong said.
The professor had been listening intently at what Strong was saying. He took his glasses off his nose and began wiping them, still looking at the two detectives. No doubt he was amazed at this tale. He then put his hand on his large forehead and began rubbing it.
“Well, no, science has never documented such a case.” the professor said. “That does not mean of course that it could never happen or that it may have happened and we know nothing about this event. You know, there are a lot of things that escapes science still. We still don’t know everything about the mind and how it inter-reacts with the body. Perhaps your suspect only thought he had seen his shadow escape. Maybe he is suffering from hallucinations.Did you submit him to a psychiatric test?”
“No, we haven’t. He seems perfectly normal, holding down a job, making decisions. But I will try and convince him to take one but he won’t be happy about that. He does seem to have a temper.” said Strong, smiling.
“Well in my opinion, I don’t see how physically this is possible, to have one of your shadows escape from you. I will submit to you that it was simply an illusion, a trick that his senses played on his mind. Maybe he was taking drugs?”
“I doubt that. He does not seem the type. But even if it is not possible that a shadow escapes from you, what about the black smoke that was seen at two of the murders?” said Strong.
“And there was no fire?” said the professor.
“No, not at all, not a trace of combustion.” replied Strong.
“Well that seems odd. I can’t explain it. But I can assure you that this black smoke had nothing to do with shadows escaping people.” said the professor with a wry smile.
Strong smiled back and got up on his feet along with Fisher. “Well thank-you for your time professor. Sorry to have wasted it on such a case.”
“Oh no, not at all. I would have loved to help you but I don’t even think that it is a scientific problem. In my opinion it is more in the domain of psychiatry.” he shook hands with them, and then escorted them out of the building.
“Well, it seems to solve that angle of the problem.” said Fisher.
“It does scientifically but it doesn’t solve our problem. Just that according to science what Horn is claiming isn’t possible. Maybe we should submit him to a psychiatric test, just to make sure he is sane. What bothers me is that black smoke that comes out of nowhere and was seen at two of the murder scenes.” Strong said as he was walking back to the car.
“I agree, the smoke needs an explanation. I guess then that it is still possible that someone is framing Horn.”
“Yeah, that’s one possibility. The other is of course that it is Horn who is doing the killing himself, but does not remember it.”
“Are you suggesting that he may have a double personality, one that is perfectly sane and the other who is a killer?” said Fisher.
“Yes, that is still possible. So from now on, I want someone to follow him. I want to know what he does, where he goes. And ask him to come in again so he can talk with our psychiatrist. Let him decide if he is sane or not or if he could be suffering from a double personality.” Strong said as he started the car.