The stories of H.G. Wells repeatedly warn that scientific research can be dangerously obsessive. In the case of Dr Griffin, however, the obsessive had become the psychopathic, as he revealed when telling an old college acquaintance about his own all-consuming project – to turn a man invisible.
“TO do such a thing would be to transcend magic. And I beheld a magnificent vision of all that invisibility might mean to a man — the mystery, the power, the freedom. Drawbacks I saw none. And I, a shabby, poverty-struck, hemmed-in demonstrator, teaching fools in a provincial college, might suddenly become — this.
“Anyone, I tell you, would have flung himself upon that research. And I worked three years, and every mountain of difficulty I toiled over showed another from its summit. The infinite details! And the exasperation! A professor, a provincial professor, always prying. ‘When are you going to publish this work of yours?’ was his everlasting question. And the students, the cramped means! And after three years of secrecy and exasperation, I found that to complete it was impossible — impossible.”
“How?” asked Kemp.
“Money,” said the Invisible Man, and went again to stare out of the window. He turned around abruptly. “I robbed the old man — robbed my father. The money was not his, and he shot himself.”