We find in the Foreword to The Tunnel Thru the Air:
We also find “The future will become an open book.” In searching for Marie Stanton (ultimately Marie Stanton Gordon), Robert Gordon follows four paths. And perhaps we find some events which 'will happen in the future.'
Path 1; Madam Cleo. Take first the suggestive case of Madam Cleo on page 117. Robert Gordon, desperate as he was, sought any insight into the whereabouts of his beloved Marie Gordon. Even to the point of consulting with Madam Cleo, a questionable but apparently popular ‘Clairvoyant’ (spelled with a capital ‘C’). The Madam “could re-unite the separated and bring back lost lovers.” Without taking any substantial information, the Madam pronounced Marie’s return “….in a few days.” Pretty much, end of story.
Hmmm Madam Cleo? Remember the “Psychic Hot Line?”
Quite a character. Interesting, it seems “Miss Cleo”, the psychic, most notably sold her talents in recent years per Wikipedia:
Nah, surely Gann didn’t foresee Miss Cleo. Still, this was the first of Robert’s consultations to find Marie. Regardless, Madam Cleo told Robert that Marie would return as suddenly as she left, in a mere few days. Which, as we know, was not to occur as described. Marie was destined to return, but not in a few days.
I expect Mr. Gann perceived Madam Cleo no more credible than we of our Miss Cleo.
Path 2; Professor O.B. Joyful. The second line of consultation was with the great Canadian astrologer, O.B. Joyful. [Surely that wouldn’t be Mr. Gann’s associate Lorne Edward Johndro; teacher of math and physics, electrician and radio engineer who was born in Franklin Center, Canada. And tragically committed suicide within hours of his wife’s passing on 11/11/1951.] The good Professor took information of Robert’s birth date and place and made many calculations to arrive at a complex and astrologically reasoned conclusion that Robert would find Marie, at earliest, in two years but more likely in three to four years. As we know, the Professor was right, but hardly helpful in terms of an exact date. Would anyone want to place bets on a stock market based on two, three or four years?
The Professor does reveal the chance meeting of Robert and Marie which does come to pass in Paris when he sees her after her passing a mysterious indecipherable note to him.
Path 3; Lady Bersford. The third consultation was with the spiritualist, Lady Bersford, at the recommendation of friends of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. A mystery appropriate to the level of Doyle’s great detective character, Sherlock Holmes emerges. I’ll bypass the ‘friends’ story of Claire Douglass and Aunt Silly despite spiritual implications and get right to Lady Bersford. [As an aside, I find it interesting that Aunt Silly was 110 years old and both the Mammouth Building and the World Trade Center towers were 110 stories, but I digress.]
Lady Bersford was inspired by Conan Doyle to use her spiritual talents to help people in need. Google Sherlock Holmes and Bersford and, likely, the first link you’ll find will be to a collection of Agatha Christie short stories, “Partners in Crime,” first published in September 1929. Not an exact match, the detective in the series of mysteries is Tuppence Beresford with an extra ‘e.’ Nevertheless, the Sherlock Holmes reference comes from the episode “The Case of the Missing Lady.” Now that strikes a chord? No?
Peel it a little further. The ‘missing lady’ is Leigh Gordan. No, not Marie Gordon, but Leigh Gordan. [I was very disappointed that Pythagorean system numerology produced a number 28 for ‘Marie’ and 32 for ‘Leigh’. Regardless, the similarities are striking. The ‘o’ versus ‘a’ in the last name doesn’t “plug” the difference.]
So what happened to Leigh Gordan? She was abducted by the evil Dr. Horriston, “a most unscrupulous quack.” Tommy Beresford (Tuppence’ husband and co detective) indicates the mystery was so unremarkable that they needn’t place the case in their records. And, as we know, Gann does not provide the details of Marie’s disappearance.
So what’s the distinctive feature of this 3rd path? Most naïve readings of TTTA and the reference to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would conclude TTTA is a mystery and we need to decipher it as would Sherlock Holmes. Duh. Perhaps we should look at the substance of Robert’s interaction with Lady Bersford and her teaching if any.
In my thinking, the first importance of Doyle and Bersford is, like Madam Cleo, the chronology. TTTA was published in 1927 (copyrighted in November 1927), and Agatha Christie’s “Partner’s in Crime” was first published, according to Wikipedia, in 1929. Maybe Ms. Christie gave Mr. Gann an advanced copy two years earlier?
My second thought is less farfetched. It’s the substance of Lady Bersford’s teachings regarding the Marie’s mysterious note and the spirit, Laughing Waters. The note that so many translators found objectionable was merely Robert’s strong will and psyche imposing on others its existence. Lady Bersford reveals that she knew it did not exist and planted the suggestion in Robert’s mind. Thereafter, Robert couldn’t find it and came to realize it did not exist. It was Marie’s spirit that had appeared to Robert in Paris to give him hope. And as Marie’s spirit appeared to Robert, so Laughing Waters spirit appears in order to provide Robert hope. Whereupon, Robert realizes he has found the right path:
Greater assurance of Marie’s return. The ‘when’ is when the struggles and sorrows have been overcome. But, there isn’t any date.
Path 4; A proposal. To this point we have a progression of Robert’s inquiry; from the charlatan Madam Cleo who was, at least partly, incorrect, to the greater, but still unspecific, knowledge Canadian O.B. Joyful, to the much more insightful Lady Bersford who leads Robert to understand ‘when’ Marie will return (when his tribulations are complete). I’d argue, each is a step from one level of understanding and specificity to one greater.
Revisit a previous essay regarding the ‘promise’ of the Foreword to TTTA and the monument to its having been realized. Condensed the promise would be:
“The future will become an open book.”
And when will one know when that promise has been realized.
“Robert Gordon’s 7 days will no longer be a mystery because you will have gained an understanding.”
I propose one must understand Robert Gordon’s 7 days and, absent the unraveling of the dynamics of that exercise, one cannot predict the future any greater than by the first three methods. And those methods are indeterminate. As it appears to me as an accountant and amateur mathematician, Robert Gordon’s 7 days is a mystery in math, trigonometry and physics (astrophysics). But that's me and I'm biased. And that said, that constitutes the fourth path IMO.
And when Robert completes the 7 days, Marie returns.