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Strange Adventures 22
"The Hands From Nowhere!"


Story: Walter B. Gibson Art By : Bob Oksner and Bernard Sachs

Dr. Leo Thorne was the first man to pierce the barrier which separated our world from the unexplored realm called the Fourth Dimension. His entry to this other-dimension was semi-successful! The doctor couldn't take his hands with him! On the splash page, two billboard workers watch as two disembodied hands take the paintcan and paintbrush from them, and writes, "Help Me!" on the billboard! At the laboratory of Dr. Leo Thorne, millions of volts pass through his scientific apparatus... He monitors the progress, and sees that even though it has gone past the projection point, there is still no result, and that something must be wrong. In his disappointment, Dr. Thorne turns to re-check his formula, not knowing that this would be his final act in this world! He turns on the lamp...

The next moment finds a blast of otherworldly blue light, and a tremendous blast rocks the laboratory... On the street, two pedestrians slowly rise, and know that it wasn't exactly an explosion because it dragged them towards it. The other thinks it was an earthquake, but only one house on the block collapsed. The police arrive to recover the lampshade and the blackboard, while theorizing that the scientist blew himself up in one of his crazy experiments! (Holy Selegue, Batman!) The following day finds another mystery... a pair of human hands have come from nowhere to grab at citizens! (Holy Hoy, Batman!) Intially, the hands are regarded as some sort of publicity stunt, but then their acts are confirmed by reliable sources... A matron tells a beat cop that the hands have stolen her purse, and the officer, thinking that this is some sort of advertising stunt, gives chase! His gun drawn, the beat cop rushes the hands, who pick up a garbage can...

The officer is sent tumbling, and realizes to his surprise that there's no one there, while the matron has recovered her purse, with nothing stolen! Two days pass, with no sighting of the strange hands, but they would next appear at the seance of Swami Delhi... The Swami is about to step into the spirit cabinet, and shows his customers that perhaps one of the dearly departed will write a message on the slate... The rubes tell the Swami to look behind him... for the hands have arrived! He sees them and realizes that ghosts really do exist! The Swami screams for help -- and heads for the door! The following night, the disembodied hands perform a good deed! Two masked hoods are robbing a store when the hands disarm them, and route them with their own guns! The hands vanish after disposing of the guns...

Professor Ray Martin has been gathering information about the sightings, and has come across an important clue... Thorne! In the office of Commissioner Henry...the associate of Dr. Thorne shows the commissioner a blackboard with drawings which represent fourth-dimensional figures. The Commissioner finds this interesting, but wonders what this has to do with the ghostly hands which people have seen. Professor Martin tells him that the hands belong to Thorne, then draws a circle within a circle on the chalkboard, and explains that a person living in a two-dimensional world would be amazed at the sight. Being from the third-dimension, Martin and Henry would find this easy. The Commissioner realizes that Dr. Thorne is in the fourth dimension and is trying to communicate with them. Professor Thorne asks the Commissioner to have the newspapers run a statement for Thorne to meet them at Swami Delhi's seance room -- and hopefully he'll be there! When the newspapers run the story of the Commissioner offering amnesty to the hands, two newsboys are surprised when the hands grab for a paper. In the seance room... Professor Martin and Commissioner Henry check out photographs of Thorne's wreck laborartory, with the Prof. knowing that the damage was caused by an implosion than an explosion. Whatever was inside the lab was pulled in, not hurled out as an explosion would do. The only two items left are the lampshade and the blackboard. Commissioner Henry realizes that Thorne may want these for a reason...

The hands appear, and Swami Delhi wants to disappear, but the Commissioner tells him that he's to stay in case the hands wants to use his slate instead of the blackboard! The witnesses watch as the hands begin to write on the blackboard... After several tests, Thorne had fitted his lab with substances that he knew would be absorbed into the Fourth Dimension, but he forgot about the blackboard and the light. The slate and light are not absorbable, so when the lab was imploded into the Fourth Dimension... he was literally handcuffed to the space which he had left -- and were trapped in a gelantine substance -- instead of Thorne's new dimension! He ran out, trying to get help, but he only scared people. He could see them, but only his hands were visible when projected in the third dimension... He realized that his voice couldn't pass the dimensional screen, he came to the seance room, and wrote on the Swami's slate -- a substance he knew he wasn't dimensionally allergic to. It failed, and so he started helping people in the third dimension, so that hopefully they'd return the favor... Thorne's appeal has been answered. He writes on the blackboard that he needs a lucite box, 12 by 12 by 18 inches... 1 pound of powered graphite... 3 yards of aluminum wire... These substances, Professor Martin tells Commissioner Henry, will enable Thorne to return to our dimension.

Aiding his collegue, Martin puts together the necessary items... including a rubber sponge and a few drops of liquid ammonia. Swami Delhi watches as Thorne's hands enter the box of items, taking the chalk and slate with him. Scarcely had Martin closed the box when another spontaneous implosion occurs within the lucite coffer! Professor Martin sees that Thorne has repeated his experiment, and should be with them momentarily -- They wait and soon see that the box is empty, but there is a message on the slate. Thorne thanks Ray for helping Thorne reunite with his hands in the Fourth Dimension. He had not wanted to come back, but chose to remain there, and can't tell them why! No one would ever believe him! The reason why Dr. Thorne chose to live in the Fourth Dimension is unknown, for the brilliant scientist must have found something there, and which we in the Third Dimension will never know.

Walter B. Gibson is the creator of The Shadow.

The story title would make it sound for the perfect goosing story, and wouldn't that be a strange adventure of its very own?

Bob Oksner and Bernard Sachs present the humor in this strange adventure, especially in the faces of the skeptical cop at the accident, the bewildered witnesses, the frightened Swami Delhi, and the determined Professor Ray Martin.

Dr. Thorne's apparatus has radio tubes and a monitor which has a needle which reads from low to high.

Conman Swami Delhi probably went way up the Swami River for fraud.

Professor Ray Martin resembles the late actor Gregory Peck in his role as Atticus Finch in "To Kill A Mockingbird."

The Commissioner is skeptical at first, but is willing to try out Martin's crazy theories. At least Professor Ray Martin didn't ask for a bunsen burner-signal, a subterranean lab, and a science bookmobile.

It's amazing what you can do with a lucite box, a pound of liquid graphite, 3 yards of aluminum wire, a rubber sponge, and a few drops of liquid ammonia. The return trip must really be something, not to mention the customs check.

Steve Chung
"The Hands From Nowhere!"