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THE SECRET ORIGINS of DR. STRANGE - PART SIX
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XAre ghosts and magic real? This question has puzzled and intrigued humanity since the beginning of time. For the likes of Chandu, Mandrake, Zatara, Dr. Fate, and Dr. Strange, the reality of magic is a given.

But for those following in the footsteps of Sherlock Holmes and Houdini, magic and the supernatural are strictly fantasies. Chief among the comic book "Ghost Busters" is DR. THIRTEEN THE GHOST BREAKER.

The good doctor is the product of a long line of "ghost breakers," starting with the 1935 feature film comedy THE GHOST BREAKERS, starring Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard (poster pictured).

XDOCTOR NEFF

Long before Dr. 13 appeared, there was Dr. Bill Neff, Ghostbreaker, a magician who traveled the country from coast to coast.

The Doctor Neff comic character was based on a real "doctor" who performed magic on stage. He was an expert on haunted houses who broke into show business alongside Jimmy Stewart.

Neff went on to create a haunted house on stage that “captured the imagination of audiences everywhere with a mammoth display of ghosts, zombies and black magic!”

Neff appeared in stories with titles like “Doctor Neff Chases the Jinx From Hoodoo City,” “Dr. Neff Confronts the Hang-Kow Demons,” and “The Chateau of Shadows.”

The good doctor's first appearance came in Red Dragon Comics #3, May 1948.

But now, back to Dr. 13!

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Once, Dr. 13 set out to prove the Spectre was a fake -- a rather dangerous presumption!

BELOW: Original art for GHOSTS #97, pencils and inks by Jim Aparo!
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BELOW: The doc and Spec mixed it up again in GHOSTS #98, pencils and inks by Jim Aparo!
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IS THE SUPERNATURAL REAL?

Dr. 13 raises an interesting question for all superhero-magicians: Do such things as GHOSTS and MAGIC really exist? Is the supernatural real? In the opinion of Robby Reed, creator of this web site and author of Xthis article, the answer is definately -- NO! In reality, there is no such thing as ghosts or magic, or, for that matter -- the supernatural. Here are a few relevant quotations...

"I flatter myself that I have discovered an argument, which, if valid, will serve as an everlasting check to all kinds of superstitious delusion, and consequently, it will be useful so long as the world endures: There must be a uniform experience against every miraculous event, otherwise the event would not merit the appellation. And, since a uniform experience amounts to a proof, here a full and direct proof , from the nature of the fact, against the existance of any miracle."
--David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding

"Nothing can happen without a cause, and nothing can happen that is impossible. When what is capable of happening happens, it ought not to be regarded as a miracle. That which cannot take place never does take place, and that which can take place is Xnot a miracle. Therefore there are no miracles at all."
-- Marcus Cicero, On Divination

WHY are there no miracles at all? Because of the law of conservation make miracles impossible. This law states that the amount of physical matter in the world, as well as the amount of energy, are fixed, and cannot change.

For example, a house may be demolished, but the materials used to build the house cannot be completely obliterated. Bricks and mortar can be smashed to dust, but they cannot be reduced to absolute nothingness. The same applies to energy.

Because no "new" matter or energy can be Xbrought into the world, all forms of magic are impossible. A rabbit cannot be pulled out of a hat using "magical" energies. If it happened, it means that the rabbit must have existed all along, and been "materialized" through normal, completely non-magical means.

Yet despite all this, there IS another way to look at the question...

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
Albert Einstein


As for Dr. 13, he never did manage to prove that The Spectre, the Phantom Stranger and other GHOSTS weren't real, but he's not about to stop trying...
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THE SECRET ORIGIN of DR. STRANGE CONTINUES...
THE DOCTOR(S) ARE IN!
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