Cast & Crew
Reporter Jimmy Reeves is sent by his editor to do an inside story about the psychic rackets. He is told to answer an ad in the newspaper for a "young character man adept at make-up." At the "offices" of Swami Yomurda, Jimmy makes the acquaintance of Clare Walton, whose father John, an investment banker, is a customer of the swami. Inside his office, the swami reads the fortunes of two businessmen: Walton and George Hunter. He tells them they can invest in Hunter's projected oil field without fear. Lukis, the swami's assistant, interviews Jimmy and tells him that his job is to make himself up to look like the dead relatives of the clients. Back at the hotel, Hunter and Walton run into another man, Browning, who wants to talk stocks. After Walton leaves, Hunter calls Lukis, telling him that both Browning and Walton are ready to be "scammed," but that Walton is the "big game." The next day, the swami holds a seance for the Waltons. Mame, an alcoholic, plays the Walton's recently deceased grandmother, but needs a drink before she can perform. Despite Lukis' threats, Jimmy gives her one and they become friends. During the seance, the swami "communicates" with the dead through Princess Karami, played by another scam artist, Chicago Kate. Mame informs Jimmy to beware of the swami, as he would "kill for twenty-five cents." After the seance, the gang gets together and decides to leave town right after "shaking down" the Waltons. In a meeting with Hunter, Walton expresses his willingness to invest $20,000, but Clare insists that he wait one week. Jimmy then meets with Clare and informs her that the swami is a fake. Hunter overhears their conversation and reports back to the gang, then calls Clare and tells her that her father has taken ill at Princess Karami's. The swami meets with Jimmy, and, after telling him that he is in a "death house," takes him captive. When Clare arrives, the swami hypnotizes her, just as he had Chicago Kate. Through the Princess, the swami tells Walton that Clare was kidnapped by two men and orders him to meet them at 4973 Adams at midnight. At his meeting with the kidnappers, Walton is told to bring them $20,000 at ten o'clock the next night. Jimmy tries to get Mame to call his editor, but she, too, is the swami's prisoner. Finally, Mame convinces Lukis to let her out to "get a drink." She calls Jimmy's editor, but gets the night clerk, who doesn't believe her message. The night clerk finally calls the editor, who realizes Jimmy's dire plight. Walton delivers the money as just the swami poisons Chicago Kate with the thought that Clare will take her place. The police arrive with the editor, but the swami is warned and flees through a trap door with Clare. Mame asks the swami not to kill Jimmy, so he shoots her instead. As Mame dies in Jimmy's arms, and the swami escapes, the police discover the trap door and find Jimmy. The police follow the swami to his meeting place with Hunter, who has the $20,000 ransom. The swami is about to kill Hunter when the police arrive. While trying to kill Clare, the swami is killed by the police, and Clare is released from his spell. Back at the mayor's office, Jimmy plans to marry Clare and become a banker in Oshkosh, leaving his reporter days behind him.
J. Frank Glendon
According to the Variety review, the picture came out one day ahead of Warner Bros.' Mind Reader, a film on the same subject. This review also states that at the Globe theater in New York City, the film was accompanied by the mind reading stage act of Rajah Raboid. The 1932 Willis Kent production Sinister Hands also includes in the cast Mischa Auer as "Swami Yomurda," as well as Phyllis Barrington and Fletcher Norton.