By Don Wilcox (Cleo Eldon Wilcox, 1905-2000).
First appearance: Fantastic Adventures, August 1941.
Short story (13 pages).
Online at SFFAudio HERE (PDF).
"Who were the five members of the telepathy league, and why had Frank Hammond, who could really read minds, been invited as the sixth?"Finding himself with time to kill, a young custodian of antiquities answers a want ad in a Cairo newspaper asking for people with genuine telepathic talent to become part of a centuries old group that perpetuates "highly developed arts of mental transfer." He doesn't know it, but he's about to encounter something even more outré than mind-reading—not to mention a pretty girl who sends concealed messages in her teacup.
~ Frank Hammond (an assistant curator of a mid-western museum): "Some natural musi-cians, you know, make some discoveries about piano playing without taking lessons—and that's what had happened to me in this telepathy business."
~ The (unnamed) narrator (who's in "the story-writing business"): "Think it over, my friend. And don't forget what I said about the new insights that telepathy is bound to bring us."
~ Miss Winthrop ("a very lovely English girl"): "Perhaps you have more finesse at mind-reading than I."
~ Lamar (a "nondescript one-armed Arab"): "You still believe that thoughts can be transmitted directly from one brain to another? How far do your mental powers go?"
There's nothing like a hobby. Especially when you feel as though it's releasing some natural talent that you knew all along you had, but never got to use properly.Resources:
- Background info about our author (who also turned out Western stories) is HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.
- A general article about mental telepathy is HERE, while a skeptical one is HERE.
The bottom line: "If you could read my mind, love, What a tale my thoughts could tell."
— Gordon Lightfoot