by Dennis E. Power
(with much assistance from Matthew Baugh, Win Eckert and Chuck Loridans)
Special thanks to fellow Wold Newtonian researcher Dr. Peter Coogan who brought The Invisible Murderer by Philip Wylie to my attention. Information on William Carpenter gave me the necessary clues to see where the other Invisibles fit.
CARPENTER 1897-1929 (no known photograph)
In this section of the Invisibles family, we intend to demonstrate how the activities of the
As stated in a
release the purpose of this wave of terrorism was part of a plan to
world. Although the person behind the plot never mentioned his name, he
outline part of his plan. He wised the
The diabolical mind behind this insidious plan and its accompanying terrorism was William Carpenter, biochemist and financier. Unknown to the public at large he was also an invisible man. William Carpenter is the main protagonist of the novel Invisible Murderer by Philip Wylie.
We first meet
William Carpenter had been in Sinkak since the summer before which would place him there about 1928. He had bought up a mansion and had imported a lot of machinery, enough to fill a factory, as one resident claimed. Carpenter had also hired his laborers from outside of town, which caused immediate conflict with the townspeople of Sinkak who felt he had taken money out of the town. Additionally Carpenter had bricked over the windows of all of the lower floors so he could not be spied upon. This gave the residents of Sinkak reason to believe he had something to hide.
Another strike against him so far as the good people of Sinkak were concerned was Carpenter's appearance. It was also unusual to say the least. William Carpenter was six and a half feet tall, with overly large feet and hands. He had a bony, hairy chest but hunched shoulders. His features were also distorted having a large jaw with a beaked nose but small mouth. His head seemed oversized on a skinny neck. Although his large hands and feet and reddish hair might seem make him a close relative of John Renwick, the famed world renowned engineer associate of Dr. James Clarke Wildman, he was in fact not a close relative of the Renwicks, although he may have been distantly related. William Carpenter appeared to suffer from the same condition that also appears to have affected John Renwick. John Renwick however had a minor manifestation of the condition. This condition is acromegaly, a pituitary disorder that causes growth distortions. Although some forms of acromegaly are genetic, most are not. (1)
gone to Sinkak to carry out his researches in private. He had been
the public arena by devastating losses in the Stock Market. William
was the second of two children of a prominent New Jersey Banking
had been a bitter disagreement between the father and the eldest son.
eldest son attended medical school and moved to
As a result of the argument, William inherited the family fortune. Exceedingly brilliant William barely attended college before attending medical school. He spent two years at medical school and took his medical boards. He then specialized in biochemical research. At the same time he dabbled in the stock market and doubled his fortune. The ease in which he made his fortune without applying any apparent effort made William Carpenter the enemy of several powerful men. Together they colluded to break Carpenter. By 1927, William Carpenter had been left with a tenth of his original inheritance. He used all that remained to buy the Mortland house in Sinkak and reshape it into his laboratory.
William Carpenter believed that it was his misshapen appearance that caused his fellow financiers to turn against him, that, and envy over his towering intellect. In Sinkak he devoted his vast intellect into his biochemical studies with the burning desire to accomplish three goals; one to remove himself from his body, to achieve world recognition for his merits and to wreak vengeance upon those who had wronged him. The direction in which his biochemical researches took was almost as if decreed by fate.
It was a pivotal day when William Carpenter learned of his true origins.
Within a couple
of having met his niece, William Carpenter had declared to her that he
obligation to her since she was not any closer a relation to him than
This was a theme he would reiterate several times. It was his justification for having inherited all of the family fortune and not sharing a cent of it with his brother. Yet it was deeper than that, for he was in many ways trying to convince himself of the veracity of the statement, for it was false. Daryl Carpenter's father had not been adopted. It was in fact William Carpenter who had been adopted. He had learned this fact upon his "father's" death.
The knowledge that he had been adopted drove William Carpenter to discover who his biological parents had been. He wondered not only where his great intellect was derived but he also wished to discover the source of his malformation. Discovering the information had not been cheap but William Carpenter eventually discovered that his birth mother had been a seventeen-year old girl named Rebecca Randall. Miss Randall had because of her willful nature sent to an English boarding school for polishing. Her parents however did not investigate the school too deeply for it was run by former Prostitute. The school was plagued by a poltergeist that sexually attacked several of the girls. Three or more of them, Rebecca among them became pregnant as a result of this sexual assault. She returned to the United States gave birth and promptly gave the child up for adoption before returning to her Sunnybrook farm. (2)
The poltergeist was in fact a living man, an invisible living man. He was John Hawley Griffin; the Invisible Man made famous by H. G. Wells.
The true facts
birth shattered William Carpenter and at the same time provided to him
explanation for his intellect and his malformations. He believed that
invisibility had factored into cause his acromegaly. Knowledge of his
also gave him a sense of purpose and a sense of destiny. Having learned
Carpenter did not
have access to
Despite his claim that Daryl Carpenter was not related to him and indeed not a true Carpenter, he offered her a job as a bottle washer in his laboratory. He most likely did this because he did need someone and someone he could count on to be silent about his work. William knew that she was in desperate straits so far as her finances were concerned. He also knew that despite having told her that they were not related she would still consider him a relative, having no one else in the world. She was also very beautiful and Carpenter was immediately infatuated with her.
Her affections however gravitated towards William Carpenter's new laboratory assistant, Bromwell Baxter. Although this infuriated him, Carpenter did not let this affect the course of their work.
Carpenter achieved invisibility upon a fungus, then moved quickly and successfully through the animal chain, until he resolved to test it upon himself. Prior to doing so he locked his assistant and niece in separate sections of the house. If the experiment was successful he planned spirit away his niece and force her to love him. His assistant would be disappearing permanently.
Carpenter took a dose of the invisibility formula measured for a man of his height and weight. It was only moderately successful. It first bleached him white as the coloration left his body, then his flesh became translucent and finally invisible. It made all but his skeleton invisible. He could see with great detail the distorted bone structure of his skeleton. His bones remained stubbornly visible. He believed that the formula was slower to be absorbed into his skeletal structure yet after two hours it was still visible. Carpenter had failed to account for the fact that because of his condition his bones were denser than of most humans.
Carpenter was reluctant to take more of the formula since he did not know the effects of too much of the formula on the human body. He was concerned that too much would be fatal.
His housekeeper had seen his flesh turn white and had run from the house believing Carpenter had contracted leprosy. A friend of the housekeeper went to Carpenter's home to demand her things. He saw the walking skeleton that Carpenter had become and also ran from the house.
Fearful that the frightened man would alert the townspeople, who would then confront Carpenter and possibly find Carpenter's prisoners, Carpenter gave chase. Carpenter in turn found himself hunted by the townspeople. Carpenter was eventually surrounded and kept covered with guns. Being enlightened men of the twentieth century, they resolved to burn him as a devil. As the lynch mob built his pyre, Carpenter desperately drank the last of his formula. The extra dose was enough to make even his dense bones fade from site. As Carpenter shed his clothes, many of the townspeople swore that Carpenter sank into the earth to return to hell. Unfortunately this was not true and Carpenter escaped to cause death and devastation on a vast scale.
William Carpenter returned to his house in a near panic, not certain if the good people of Sinkak had followed his trail. He had little doubt that if they somehow discovered him he would be killed without a thought. William Carpenter discovered that his prisoners Daryl Carpenter and Bromwell Baxter had escaped from his grasp. They were either long gone or hiding in the house. Either way he did not have time to waste on them. William Carpenter put into motion the second phase of his plan. He had previously planted enough of a high explosive of his own devising to disintegrate the Mortland house and all its furnishings. This included his laboratory, his equipment and all of his paperwork. As he drove away in his car, he had reached Sinkak's outskirts when the Mortland house blew up.
abandoned house in
Carpenter visited Daryl and threatened Baxter's safety. He boasted that she would eventually come to love only William Carpenter.
William Carpenter visited Simeon Page, a Wall Street financier, multi-million dollar wheat operator and the brains behind the cabal that had stripped Carpenter of his wealth. After Carpenter told Page who his attacker was, he plunged a knife into Page's chest. A few hours later William Carpenter walked unseen into the brokerage house of Bradley, Pine and Schlessinger. As soon as Bradley was alone in his private office Carpenter announced himself and told Bradley why he deserved execution. Bradley tried to escape his fate. Carpenter stabbed him in the back. Bradley managed however to take a swing at Carpenter and knocked him unconscious.
The police gathered fingerprint evidence from the crime scenes and soon discovered Page and Bradley had the same killer.
The next day William Carpenter traveled to the home of Malcolm Gates, the third of the men who had stripped him of his fortune. Gates and his wife were engaged in a game of double dummy bridge. Carpenter waited patiently. When their housekeeper called Gate's wife to the phone, Carpenter crept over to where Gates sat and cut his throat.
The screaming began as Carpenter exited the house. He had not originally planned to kill his enemies but rather terrify, humiliate and ruin them but he had gotten so carried away with the sense of power that invisibility gave him that he had given into his darker impulses.
There was a fourth victim to Carpenter's plan of revenge, which is unrecorded in the Murderer Invisible. In the early twenties there was a well known stockbroker named Robert Caine. He was sent to jail for embezzlement. His son Robert Caine jr. who had graduated from college and was poised to take over the family brokerage turned to crime to pay off the family debts. He was eventually caught and sent to the same prison as his father. It would eventually be discovered that Robert Caine had taken the blame for the embezzlement out because he had believed that it was his uncle had that committed the embezzlement. The true thief was one of their clerks. The crime that had put Robert Caine jr. into prison had been a frame job and he was eventually exonerated. (3)
The Caine brokerage house reopened but only did a modest amount of business until William Carpenter became their client. Carpenter did not truly blame Robert Caine jr. for the loss of his fortune. He doubted that Caine would never have had anything to do with anything remotely resembling fraud or sharp practice and he would never have gulled a client. Yet Caine had handled the transactions that ultimately led to Carpenter's financial downfall, so some retribution was in order. Carpenter decided to be merciful planned merely planned to frighten Caine and his wife.
Carpenter stole into the Caine's bedroom late that night. He chloroformed Caine, dragged him out of his bed and lugged him downstairs to Caine's study. He tied Caine to a chair and gagged him. When Caine awoke, Carpenter began to throw the contents of Caine's filing cabinet into his fireplace and so destroy all of his financial records. When this was done Carpenter began to toss Caine's collection of rare books into the fire.
Robert Caine's was never certain if what he saw was a nightmare or reality. To him it seemed as though papers magically flew out of self opening drawers to land on the fire, as if books magically flew from their shelves to add themselves to the pyre. Carpenter might have been satisfied with merely destroying Caine's prized possessions and his financial records had not Mrs. Caine walked into the library to see what was causing the noise and to see where her husband had gotten to. Seeing him gagged and bound to a chair, she began to scream. Carpenter quickly shut her up by clapping a large hand over her mouth.
Mrs. Caine was quite beautiful; she was in fact a former showgirl. The proximity of her nearly naked form, the overwhelming sense of power that Carpenter felt because of his invisibility and his long denied sexual passion, which had been inflamed by Daryl Carpenter gave him the idea to truly humiliate Caine by "taking" his wife before his eyes.
Robert Caine jr.'s nightmare deepened as he saw his wife raped by an invisible assailant. When he was finished, Carpenter chloroformed Caine and his wife and placed them back in their beds. He straightened out the down stairs to the point of removing the ashes from the fireplace. It pleased him to think that the Caines would never really know what happened to them that night. (4)
Having finished his vengeance, William Carpenter decided to embark upon his quest for power.
First Carpenter stole three quarters of a million dollars from the Manhattan National Bank. Part of it he kept for operating expenses, the majority he sent to an investment firm to once again invest in wheat futures and also in banking.
The next ten days were called the Crime Siege by the newspapers of the day.
On Sunday, a prominent fundamentalist preacher whose savage attacks on science and modern life had garnered him thousands of devoted followers toppled from the pulpit in mid sermon with a knife planted between his shoulder blades.
head of the greatest banking house in
William Carpenter visited the homes of dozens of prominent business executives and terrorized them with his invisibility. He told them not to go to their places of employment ever again other wise they or their families would suffer. Many left the country, went on extended vacations or became suddenly ill.
On Monday several banks, jewelry stores and museums were robbed of stocks and bonds, of rare and precious gems, of great masterpieces.
Carpenter spent the day as an arsonist. Fifty-two buildings in
On Wednesday several explosions rocked Wall Street, the Hall of Fame was destroyed and three blasts damaged the subway system.
Also on this day it became apparent that someone was making a huge profit from the tragedies on the Stock Exchange and so the Stock Market was closed.
The city was placed under martial law. People were panicked and on edge. It was not uncommon for tempers to flare and for violence to occur. The police became so overwhelmed that two of its top officials committed suicide out of stress.
On Friday another preacher was killed as he tried to calm his flock. The congregation fled into the streets in sheer blind panic. Shortly thereafter the Police Commissioner was stabbed to death in his home, all the while surrounded by a legion of police officers. (5) All public buildings were closed. Soldiers filled the streets. The death toll was purported to be in the thousands.
Carpenter sent a
letter to the newspapers; called A Notice to the World that
stated his intent
to set up an autocracy which would culminate in a world state. The main
this world state was to forcibly leap mankind in one generation the
evolutionary processes of hundreds or thousand of years. He would use
to end bloodshed. He demanded that the
In the novel The Murderer Invisible, the Capitol is destroyed. However this was a dramatic flourish on Mr. Wylie's part. The explosive filled truck that were intended to blast the Capitol to kingdom come were spotted hours before their time of detonation. However the truck that was transporting the explosions was destroyed as it drove away. One of the devices malfunctioned and exploded prematurely. The steps to the Capitol were singed and a couple were cracked. This near miss however brought home to the nation at large just how serious a threat this Unseen Hand was.
Due to his
connections to the business elite and to many
Hoover was one
of those Presidents who never informed of the existence of Bureau 13
covert op organizations working for the
blow up the Capitol building was a error that sent him spinning into
depression, Carpenter kept his presence known by randomly occurring
William Carpenter's failure to bring the nation to its knees was a crushing blow to his ego. He realized that even if he did achieve the supreme power he wished he would always remain a man. Having successfully divorced himself his hideous form he thought he would transcend his humanity. Even though he was no longer able to see his body, he still felt human. Carpenter still had all the needs and desires and physical requirements of a human body. Yet he would not be able to share his life or his achievement with anyone. He would remain a lone ghost.
His thoughts once again turned to his niece. Carpenter conceived a burning desire to possess her and to force her to love him.
in Washington D.C. William Carpenter tracked down his niece and told
he had Bromwell Baxter in his power, to save him she would have to come
him and become Carpenter's companion. He took her to a house he had
Daryl went with him and pretended to soften her affections towards Carpenter. She believed that her presence would keep Baxter from harm and would mitigate Carpenter from carrying out any more acts of terrorism.
However when it
as though Daryl returned his affections, William Carpenter's desire to
humanity also returned. Once again he sent a note to the
which he stated his intention to rule the nations of the world. Since a
had passed and the
The next day at an explosion rocked Grand Central Station. The novel The Murderer Invisible states that it was destroyed.
Although this was not the case it did suffer a great deal of damage and hundreds of people were killed or injured.
success Carpenter bragged to Daryl how he would use the military might
Having realized that instead of mollifying William Carpenter's violent impulses she actually inflamed them, Daryl Carpenter escaped from her locked room the next time that Carpenter went out. She managed to make her way to a phone and called for Bromwell Baxter to bring help and capture Carpenter. She returned but could not get back into the house. Carpenter found her outside the house and was incensed that she had left. She explained that she had been forced to break out of her room because of a fire.
accepted her story. He bragged out he had destroyed the
the newly appointed Police Commissioner that he knew the whereabouts of
maniac who was blowing up
surrounded Chrome Gables, Carpenter's
Yet it was ultimately William Carpenter's ego that lead to his downfall. See his rival for Daryl's affections there, he realized that Daryl had betrayed him for Baxter. Carpenter boasted that he would escape easily and remake the world to his liking. As a gesture of magnanimity he told Baxter he would give Daryl to him. Carpenter pulled Daryl to him for one last kiss. As he groped her she grabbed and broke a bottle of ink over his head.
The ink marked William Carpenter and made him an easy target for the bullets of Baxter and the police.
Carpenter was not
the first mad scientist to threaten the city of
with the world wide depression it was this perceived weakness of
of all stripes would perceive a malaise in the spirit of the nation,
to be exploited in the local, state and federal governments
maintain order and peace during times of crisis.
dozens of similarly minded madmen, all with dreams of power and
riches and fame. After a time,
of terror accomplished one good thing; it gave
Despite the fact that many United States cities had one or more costumed vigilantes or non-costumed vigilantes aiding the overworked and understaffed police departments against crime and terrorism, New York accumulated more heroes and more villains than most of these combined.
William Carpenter's terrorist campaign demonstrated just how deadly one man could be, how much chaos, destruction and financial ruin he could cause. So although it might seem that New York would have Doc Savage, the Shadow, The Spider, the Avenger, the Whisper, Bat-Man, Superman and various other minor vigilantes tripping over one another, this was not the case each filled an essential niche in keeping New York and thus the United States freed of villainy.
One can only
our nation and society would have fared without these heroes that kept
WILLIAM CARPENTER 1897-1929
1. One other famous sufferer from acromegaly was the man known as the variously as the Creeper or Lothar. Unlike most sufferers of this dreadful condition, Lothar and Carpenter became mad killers. This was more likely the result of innate sociopathic tendencies than a result of their physical condition, although hatred for their appearance may have been a contributing factor. Lothar's career as the Creeper was related in the films PEARL OF DEATH, THE HOUSE OF HORRORS and THE BRUTE MAN, also in THE ROCKETEER: CLIFF'S NEW YORK ADVENTURE and Rocketeer; The Movie.
There is some evidence to suggest that between the time of Cliff's New York Adventure (1938) and the events of the Rocketeer movie (circa 1942 <I am aware that the film ostensibly takes place in 1938 but evidence suggests that this was later adventure of Clifford Secord with filler material from his previous adventures to cover gaps created by classified events) Lothar had spent some time in England where he had met Neville Sinclair.
Lothar was in
was also unique in his physiognomy in addition to acromegaly he also
had a mild
form of Proteus Syndrome that had the peculiar effect of toughening his
and bones. The Proteus syndrome is one of the conditions from which
Merrick, the so-called Elephant Man suffered. Despite his appearance,
was exceedingly hard to kill. He survived gunshots, fire and a
explosion. His appearance however suffered in each instance. Lothar
the events of Rocketeer the movie and once again went to
As Moloch Lothar became involved with Dr. Stendahl. Dr. Stendahl attempted to cure or control the unfortunate being known as the Paula Dupree the Jungle Woman, a female gorilla who had been transformed into a human being or a close semblance of one. Moloch kidnapped a female nurse in order to have a female blood donor. In the film version of these events, The Jungle Captive, the nurse was called Ann Forrester, although her real name was Flora Cranley Forrester. She had become involved with Paula Dupree through her acquaintance with Dr. Sigmund Walters. Moloch disappeared after this incident.
Sunnybrook Farm being located in
The birth date of 1899 would make William Carpenter 30 years of age during the events of 1929. There is some textual evidence that he was forty-five years old in 1929. This was a mistake or bit of misinformation by Mr. Wylie. While I do find it hard to believe that a researcher such as Mr. Wylie would be mistaken, it is possible. The birth records for William Carpenter were rather hard to find. His facial and physical irregularities made it hard for many people to gauge his age correctly and indeed he looked much older than he was. Wylie also may have increased William Carpenter's age so that the difference between his age and that of Daryl Carpenter's was exaggerated. Not only would it appear that William Carpenter was a man lusting after his niece but that he was a dirty old man as well.
3. The story of the Robert Caine jr. and by extension that of his father was made into a motion picture named Johnny Apollo. Johnny Apollo was Robert Caine jr.'s underworld moniker. Mabel "Lucky" Duberry was originally the girlfriend of powerful gangster Mickey Dwyer.
4. The result of this rape is in the Sebastian Caine section of this article.
5. The question naturally arises who was the Police Commissioner killed in 1929. It seems a simple enough question. Yet we really only have sketchy information about some of the officials in the WNU. In most cases they are near duplicates of the officials in our world. The Presidents and Vice President uncannily follow the same pattern as our universe. Often when we refer to New York City we are referring to the geographical location which is analogous to our New York City yet in the WNU New York City has a slightly different political make up. The WNU New York is split into two distinct yet politically interdependent cities. These are Metropolis and Gotham. The City of New York failed to undergo an incorporation of the Five Boroughs in 1897, although some incorporation did take place. Gotham is Brooklyn, Bronx and part of Queens; Metropolis is Manhattan, Staten Island, and the rest of Queens and part of the outlying areas. Each of the municipalities has its own local government structure including a fire department, police department etc. However just as in some areas where multiple counties form a joint government, Gotham and Metropolis have a Greater New York City government run by There is one Mayor and two Deputy Mayors and a Greater City Council that coordinates services city wide.
While I find other efforts to locate Gotham and Metropolis elsewhere laudable they just do not work so far as I am concerned.
The reason I stick with these cities comprising New York is partially because of their portrayal in the comics of those cities but mainly because if there two other major urban centers on the East Coast just like New York, it would change economic history and so the WNU would probably not be that much similar to our world. Two other major East Coast cities such as New York would diffuse the financial, economic and transportation hub of the East Coast and dramatically change history.
There are three major cities of prominence in the United States at least in the thirties and forties. New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. If Superman and Batman's adventures had taken place in smaller cities, then they would not have become famous. For example Eliot Ness became famous when he was in Chicago, when he went to Cleveland he became obscure.
Possibly this will also resolve the Police Commissioner conundrum. We know that James Gordon was Commissioner of Gotham for quite a number of years as was his son Tony Gordon. Yet at the same time Weston, Kirkpatrick and a few others are supposed to have been Commissioner of the New York police department at the same time. It is possible that they all were Commissioner at differing times but matching the man to the term office is outside the scope of this article. Hopefully someone else will take up that challenge.
7. This was the famous misquote of Calvin Coolidge. For more a more accurate rendition
For more on the whereabouts of the Shadow, Doc Savage, The Avenger and
costumed fighters during the Crime Siege please visit the following
A Chronology for The Avenger by Rick Lai.
The Avenger Chronology by Win Eckert.
The Complete Chronology of Bronze by Rick Lai
The Doc Savage Chronology additions by Win Eckert to Philip José Farmer's Chronology in Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life.
Chronology of Shadows, Part 1 and Part 2 by Rick Lai
The Shadow Chronology by Win Eckert
1897 Invisible Man by H.G. Well (John Hawley Griffin. OIM Original Invisible Man)
1898 League of Extraordinary Men (John Hawley Griffin)
1922 Invisible Man (John (Jack) Griffin)
1929 Invisible Murderer with William Carpenter as the Invisible Man
1931 Invisible Man's Return (Frank Griffin----- with Geoffrey Radcliffe as the IM
1935 Invisible Man's Revenge (Robert Griffin) the IM
1938 Invisible Woman (Kitty Caroll)
1942 (twenty years after Invisible Man) Invisible Agent (Frank Griffin a.k.a. Frank Raymond)
1948 Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (Geoffrey Radcliffe IM)
1949 Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man (Tommy Nelson IM)
1966 Invisibility Affair Willard Morthley and Kerry Griffin inventors of the OTSMID (Omnidirectional Total Spectrum Molecular Interpenetration Device) which can render objects invisible
1974 Daniel Westin becomes an Invisible Man
1998 Darien Fawkes surgically implanted with quicksilver gland to become an Invisible Man
1999 Sebastian Caine has a brief and deadly career as an Invisible Man as seen in The Hollow Man