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  • Gaston Ouvrieu and Blindfold Driving July 30, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary , trackback

    A delightful end of month story. Our hero is Gaston Ouvrieu who, in 1917, received a serious injury while serving in the French army. When he woke up in hospital he was alleged to be able to read the minds of other patients, as the doctor took his pulse: Ouvrieu needed this ‘telegraph’ effect for his telepathy to work. Cant or wonder? Well, in either case, this trick from 1934 deserves some celebration. We are in central Spain, in the city of Madrid, ‘where the roads meet’.

    A blindfolded man has driven a motor-car through the main streets of Madrid. He kept it up for minutes. This driver is a Frenchman. M. Gaston Ouvrieu. He is stated to have acquired extraordinary telepathic power as the result a war wound. The mental specialist and two reporters accompanied him on the drive. He told them to keep silence and to concentrate on the route. M. Ouvrieu completed the trip in a semi-cataleptic rendition owing to the efforts made to render himself impervious to distraction by the street noises. He says that in no city in the world do motorists and taxi-drivers sound their klaxons so much as in Madrid.

    Gaston had perhaps not visited Italy by 1934. Now talking of distractions…

    Thousands of spectators lined the route, and a stream of cars followed M. Ouvrieu

    There is, in Alan Moore’s Top Ten, a blind taxi driver who rides around the city causing accidents everywhere: ‘nah got zen senses. Instead, I follow the car, you know?’ But Gaston and the doubtless terrified journalists apparently hit nothing. Interestingly, Gaston, the year before these shenanigans, had ridden a racing car, blindfold, at the track at Brooklands reaching speeds of 238 km per hour. So what was his trick? How rigorous were controls?

    Anything else on Gaston Ouvrieu: drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com

    30 Jul 2017: Southern Man writes in with this. Our man had form.

    30 Jul 2017: Bruce T. ‘I’ve never heard of the Frenchman. I saw it performed on two different occasions by an Indian man on a moped via a couple of those “Believe It Or Not” type television shows that were so popular here from the mid-70s to the early 80s. Both were lengthy rides, ten miles plus on fairly busy four lane streets. I believe the city was Delhi, but it’s been so long ago, I can’t say so with complete certainty? He was quite a character, he’d ride with no hands for a bit and do other little things to add to the drama. There was a legally blind guy driving in California at roughly the same time. You would see little news blurbs on him getting pulled over. He claimed he could see via his skin. He made the talk show circuit for a very brief while. He struck me as a guy seeking publicity. There was a guy I went to HS school with who was legally blind but retained some peripheral vision. He lived down the street from me. I saw him driving illegally every day with his head tilted to one side or the other. I suspect the guy on West Coast was pulling a similar trick. The Indian fellow is harder to explain. Tufts of cotton were placed over his eyes before the initial blindfold was put in place. Then a larger one was wrapped over that. When he finished the ride he was unwrapped, everything came off in the order in which it was placed. I don’t know how he did it? Perhaps a small receiver in his ear to a chase car with a transmitter? The camera car/truck it’s would have worked as a blocker vehicle for the stunt, as they wanted to get it on tape. Follow it’s sound and hope for no sudden stops or getting cut off by a car. With the Frenchman it would depend on the type of blindfold. If he had some vision on the side, he could perform my neighbors tilt trick. If it was a blindfold made for him, it could have been designed to look more effective at blocking his vision than it actually did and he could drive fairly normally. There’s a lot of info on the internet on how to pull off blindfolded stunts these days. Most of it is drawn from techniques stage performers and acrobats used for  centuries. Before you had to go to the library to find out, and well before that you had to learn it from someone who trusted you enough to show you it how it was done. Blindfold tricks used to be show-stoppers. You didn’t give away your bread and butter stunts to just anyone.

    30 Jul 2017: Johnny 99, ‘He was supposedly injured in the nape of the neck. Not sure how this would help a psychic revelation….’

    Chris from Haunted Ohio Books 29 Aug 2017, ‘If, as reported, Ouvrieu needed this ‘telegraph’ effect for his telepathy to work, he might have been using “muscle reading.” It does not mention whether the two reporters and the mental specialist held his hands or wrist, but this is a well-known mentalist trick where subtle muscle movements direct the “psychic” to the correct location or path. There are several examples of blindfolded drivers navigating correctly due to muscle reading, mentioned in this entry:

    Kuda Bux also drove blindfolded, but he is said to have admitted that his success was due to a “little peek.”