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Personal note from Harold Sherman's archive

By Harold M. Sherman

At 533 Diversey Parkway, in the smoke-begrimed city of Chicago, stands a dirty, gray-stone three-story combination office building and dwelling house. In outward appearance it has nothing whatever to distinguish it. Had you lived in the neighborhood for years you would have passed it by with ever more than a casual glance.

That is, until the day you might have heard rumors that a strangely assorted group of men and women of all ages were meeting secretly in that dark and forbidding place, who believed they had a “direct wire to God”. Then you would have noticed the name “Dr. William S. Sadler” by the door, and, upon inquiry would have found him to be a former renowned surgeon turned psychiatrist.

Instantly this would have brought to mind the picture of a procession of poor, distraught mental cases trooping in and out – afflicted with a variety of frighteningly labeled disorders such as paranoia, dementia praecox, schizophrenia, dipsomania, nymphomania, and the like. And your picture would not have been far wrong.

But this “direct wire to God” business. What of it?

No one on the outside seemed to know, exactly. There had been charwomen who had come out of 533, shaking their heads and mumbling vaguely about the “goings on”. And, occasionally, one of the maidenly secretaries who had long served the little Napoleonic-figured doctor would let drop a remark in the nearby beauty parlor.

That’s how the "direct wire to God" rumor got started. This particular secretary thought perhaps the girl who gave her the permanent might be ready for “spiritual enlightenment”. She wasn’t, but she found out all she could about it, after promising never to tell anybody what was revealed to her. She didn’t tell, either, until the next customer arrived.

“This Doctor Sadler – he’s running some kind of a psychic racket over there. Every Sunday he’s got a lot of his patients and other people coming to a kind of Forum meeting where he reads ‘em messages that he claims he’s received during the week, direct from God. Honest! That’s just what she told me. Did you ever hear anything so nutty?”