Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


I’VE RECENTLY ENCOUNTERED invisible men; I’ve even seen one of them. A photo, actually. One encounter was in an episode of Murdoch Mysteries, a Canadian TV series that Wife Dottie and I enjoy about the adventures of its Toronto Constabulary, circa 1900. The other encounter was in BBC History Magazine, January 2020.

Murdoch, Tesla, and TV. As Greg David wrote in TV, eh?, January 25, 2019, about a year ago the Canadian program Murdoch Mysteries featured inventor Nikola Tesla teaming up with the Toronto Constabulary’s William Murdoch to help in a murder investigation of a man experimenting with invisibility.

Toronto Constabulary Detective William Murdoch, left, with inventor Nikolas Tesla, in Murdoch Mysteries, Season 12, Episode 13, “Murdoch and the Undetectable Man.” Here’s a trailer for the episode.

Maybe the invisibility claim turns out to be bogus…. But the neat part of the plot is Tesla and Murdoch concocting a means of transmitting images electrically. “Television,” Tesla wisely names it, though he confesses he cannot see any marketing potential for the invention. It would just encourage people to sit around instead of doing things.

Aleister Crowley’s Invisibility Cloak. “Aleister Crowley—A First-Rate Nut Case” has already entertained readers here at SimanaitisSays. As I noted back in 2017, “Here’s a guy who invented his own religion, practiced English Magick, channeled an ancient supernatural Egyptian, popped recreational drugs, climbed Himalayan peaks, and maybe even acted as a British intelligence agent.”

In the Q&A section of BBC History Magazine, January 2020, author/journalist Nick Rennison writes, “The occultist Aleister Crowley, once dubbed ’the wickedest man in the world’ by the tabloid press, possessed a cloak that he believed rendered him invisible.”

Edward Aleister Crowley, 1875–1947, English occultist, magician, poet, painter, novelist, and mountaineer. Founder of Thelema religion, possibly a Satanist. Image from BBC History Magazine, January 2020.

“In the 1930s.” Rennison says, “he would regularly enter London’s Café Royal to stalk about and mutter incantations, firm in the belief that no one could see him.”

Rennison continues, “A new waiter, witnessing this for the first time, anxiously approached his superior to ask what he should do.”

“ ‘Don’t worry,’ he was told, ‘It’s only Crowley being invisible.’ ” ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2020

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