I have first to thank you for your warm welcome and to express my gratitude for your attention while I was your guest. Since my return I have written many inquiries about Schweeringen's father. There are so far no replies, but I have some hope that people who will not tell of their own experiences may tell about someone else—especially someone now dead. This may be a useful device to get at least some information from people who so far have refused any. Naturally I will pass on to you anything I learn.
I try to work again upon the task assigned me—to investigate the rise and power of The Leader. I find it hard to concentrate. My mind goes back to your laboratory. I am deeply shaken by my experience there. I had thought nothing could be more bewildering than my own work. Consider: Today I received a letter in which a man tells me amazedly of the life he led in a slave-labor camp during the time of The Leader's rule. He describes the attempt of another prisoner to organize a revolt of the prisoners. While he spoke of the brutality of the guards and the intolerably hard labor and the deliberately insufficient food, they cheered him. But when he accused The Leader of having ordered these things—the prisoners fell upon him with cries of fury. They killed him. I had this information verified. It was true.
I cannot hope for a sane explanation of such things. But a sane explanation for my experience seems even less probable. I am impressed by your rat who levitates crumbs of cheese. But I am appalled; I am horrified; I am stupefied by what I did! You asked me to wait for you in a certain laboratory beyond a door. I entered. I saw a small, fat, mangy she-dog in a dog-run. She looked at me and wagged her tail. I thereupon went to the other end of the laboratory, opened a box, and took out a handful of strange objects you later told me are sweetmeats to a dog. I gave them to the animal.
Why did I do it? How was it that I went directly to a box of which I knew nothing, opened it as a matter of course, and took out objects I did not even recognize, to give them to that unpleasant small beast? How did I know where to go? Why did I go? Why should I give those then-meaningless objects to the dog? It is as if I were enchanted!
You say that it is a psi phenomenon. The rat causes small objects to move. The dog, you say, causes persons to give it canine candy. I revolt against the conclusion, which I cannot reason away. If you are right, we are at the mercy of our domestic animals! Dog-lovers are not people who love dogs, but people who are enslaved by dogs. Cat-lovers are merely people who have been seized upon by cats to support and pet and cater to them. This is intolerable! I shall fear all pets from now on! I throw myself back into my own work to avoid thinking of it. I—
Later. I did not mail this letter because an appalling idea occurred to me. This could bear upon my investigation! Do you think The Leader—No! It could not be! It would be madness....
Extract from a letter from Dr. Karl Thurn to Professor Albrecht Aigen.
... I deplore your reaction. It has the emotional quality of a reaction to witchcraft or magic, but psi is not witchcraft. It is a natural force. No natural force is either nonexistent or irresistible. No natural force is invariably effective. Psi is not irresistible under all circumstances. It is not always effective. My rat cannot levitate cheese-crumbs weighing more than 1.7 grams. My she-dog could not make you give her dog-candy once you were on guard. When you went again into the laboratory she looked at you and wagged her tail as before. You say that you thought of the box and of opening it, but you did not. It was not even an effort of will to refrain.
A lesser will or a lower grade of personality cannot overwhelm a greater one. Not ever! Lesser beings can only urge. The astrologers used to say that the stars incline, but they do not compel. The same can be said of psi—or of magnetism or gravitation or what you will. Schweeringen could not make the computer err when it had to err too egregiously. A greater psi ability was needed than he had. A greater psi power than was available would have been needed to make you give the dog candy, once you were warned.
I do not apply these statements to your so-called appalling idea. I carefully refrain from doing so. It is your research, not mine....
Extract from letter to Professor Albrecht Aigen from the Herr Friedrich Holm, supervisor of electrical maintenance, municipal electrical service, Untersberg.
You have written to ask if I knew a certain Herr Schweeringen, attached to The Leader's personal staff during his regime. I did know such a person. I was then in charge of electrical maintenance in The Leader's various residences. Herr Schweeringen was officially one of The Leader's secretaries, but his actual task was to make predictions for The Leader, like a soothsayer or a medium. He had a very remarkable gift. There were times when it was especially needful that there be no electrical failures—when The Leader was to be in residence, for example. On such occasions it was my custom to ask Herr Schweeringen if there was apt to be any failure of apparatus under my care. At least three times he told me yes. In one case it was an elevator, in another refrigeration, in a third a fuse would blow during a State dinner.
I overhauled the elevator, but it failed nevertheless. I replaced the refrigeration motor, and the new motor failed. In the third case I changed the fuse to a new and tested one, and then placed a new, fused line around the fuse Herr Schweeringen had said would blow, and placed a workman beside it. When the fuse did blow as predicted, my workman instantly closed the extra-line switch, so that the lights of the State dinner barely flickered. But I shudder when I think of the result if Herr Schweeringen had not warned me.
He was executed a few days before the period of confusion began, which ended as everyone knows. I do not know the reason for his execution. It was said, however, that The Leader executed him personally. This, Herr Professor, is all that I know of the matter.