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The Invisible Man Summary in English by Herbert George Wells
The Invisible Man is a science fiction novella by, Herbert George Wells, regarded as the Father of Science Fiction. First serialised in Pearson’s Weekly in 1897, The Invisible Man was published in the same year, under the title, The Invisible Man: A Grotesque Romance and became an instant hit.
The novel is the story of Griffin, a young scientist, who creates a serum that makes things invisible. He uses it on himself and realizes that he has found the key to invisibility. However, the tragedy is it that he is unable to enjoy it because of his inability to reverse the results of the serum. The Invisible Man is considered a masterpiece of science fiction.
A stranger arrives at the town of Iping on a cold February day, and asks for a room and a fire in the ‘Coach and Horses’ inn. Mrs Hall, the innkeeper, shows him the guest parlour gladly as visitors are rare in winter and the stranger doesn’t even try to haggle over the prices. She serves him lunch and observes that he is strangely dressed, with big blue glasses that hide half his face. The rest of his face is completely covered with white bandages and he covers the lower half of his face with a serviette (a piece of cloth or paper used at meals for protecting one’s clothes and cleaning one’s lips and fingers) when he talks to Mrs Hall during lunch. The only part of his face that is visible is his pink nose. He also wears gloves and a velvet jacket with a high collar.
Mrs Hall assumes that the stranger must have been in a bad accident, but he does not respond properly when she tries to draw him into conversation. He is only interested in knowing if she can arrange for his things to be brought from the station at Bramblehurst. Mrs Hall tells him it can only be arranged to be brought by the next day at the earliest, but feels snubbed by him when she tries to ask him about the accident. She leaves him alone for the rest of the afternoon.
At tea time, Teddy Henfrey arrives to fix the clock in the parlour where the stranger is. Mrs Hall leads him into the room, where she finds the stranger dozing on the armchair before the fire. He gives Mr Henfrey permission to fix the clock and asks Mrs Hall about his luggage again, to which she responds a little coldly. He explains that he is an experimental investigator, and hence, needs his equipment at the earliest; that he had an accident which had left his eyes sensitive and this is why he requires darkness and solitude. Once again, he cuts off Mrs Hall before she can ask any questions.
Mrs Hall leaves and Mr Henfrey delays fixing the clock so that he can get a better look at the stranger. But the man gets angry as he realizes what Mr Henfrey is doing and tells asks his him to hurry up. Mr Henfrey repairs the clock and leaves, feeling irritated and snubbed. He meets Mr Hall in the town and he tells him about the stranger, and warns him that he seems like a suspicious character, perhaps a criminal in disguise. He advises Mr Hall to be careful and warns that Mrs Hall is too trusting. However, when Mr Hall reaches home and tries to question his wife, she is not willing to listen to him and asks him to mind his own business.
The next day, the stranger’s luggage arrives in Fearenside’s cart. Mr Hall observes that it is a very strange mix of objects. In addition to the regular luggage of a couple of trunks, there are also boxes with big books, and many crates and boxes containing unknown objects packed in straw. The stranger, covered from head to toe, comes out to oversee the unloading of the cart. As soon as Fearenside’s dog sees him, it starts growling and attacks the stranger. Fearenside’s dog tries to bite him on the wrist and when he kicks it, it bites him on the leg, ripping the trouser. Fearenside then manages to control the dog and the stranger rushes off to his room. When Mr Hall follows and tries to enter his room to see if he is all right, the stranger shoves him out of the room and slams the door.
He appears at the front door a few minutes later, claiming to be unhurt, and demands angrily that the luggage be unloaded quickly. He begins unpacking with great haste in the parlour and it is revealed that all the six crates have many bottles, of all shapes and sizes and containing powders, poisons and liquids, packed in straw. Once the unpacking is over, he starts working very seriously and doesn’t pay attention to the straw strewn around the room or anything else. This annoys Mrs Hall but he impatiently offers to pay her for the mess he has created. Later, Fearenside is heard telling Henfrey that the stranger is a black man because when the dog ripped off the stranger’s trousers, Fearenside could not see pink skin, only blackness.
The next few months pass without incident and Mrs Hall is more or less satisfied with the stranger because he settles his bills promptly, although Mr Hall has more reservations about him. The stranger is of a moody and irritable nature, but kept to himself, only going out for long walks in the evening, fully covered regardless of the weather. His reserved nature makes the villagers curious about him, leading to speculation and gossip that he was a criminal in disguise, and other theories.
Finally, one of the villagers, the physician named Cuss, tries to satisfy his curiosity by approaching the stranger with some excuse. But after the interview at the inn, Mrs Hall sees him rushing out looking white-faced and shocked. Cuss goes to Mr Bunting, the vicar and tells him the strange story of his meeting with the stranger. He tells him how he approached him with the excuse of collecting funds for the Nurse Fund, and during the conversation that followed, the stranger agitatedly revealed that he was working because he had accidentally burned a five-ingredient prescription. In the course of the conversation, the stranger pulled his hand out of his pockets and Cuss saw that the stranger had no hand but the cuff of his shirt was filled, as if there was a hand there. The stranger then laughed and reached out and touched Cuss with what felt like his hand, even though there was nothing visible. Mr Bunting agrees that the story is indeed remarkable but doesn’t look fully convinced.
The burglary at the vicarage takes place in the early morning on Whit Monday. Mrs Bunting wakes up when she hears noises in the house and so she wakes her husband up too. They get out of the room to investigate, armed with a poker. They see that there is someone in the downstairs study which has their household money, and hear the sound of a match being lit. However, when they rush in to confront the robber, the room is empty, although the candle is lit and their money is gone. They are puzzled, and then they hear sneezing and the back door slamming open and shut, but they still cannot see anyone.
The same morning, Mr and Mrs Hall wake early for some work in the cellar where they brew their beer. Mr Hall notices that the stranger’s door is ajar and later, that the front door is unbolted though it was bolted the previous night. He knocks on the stranger’s door and when there is no answer, he enters. He finds that the room is empty but the stranger’s things, including all his clothes are still there. He fetches Mrs Hall, and on their way to examine the stranger’s room, they hear the front door open and shut but see no one. As they look around the bedroom, the furniture suddenly go mad. The clothes on the bed fling themselves at Mrs Hall and a chair chases them out of the room, banging the door shut behind them.
Mrs Hall almost faints, and is convinced that the room and the furniture must be haunted, and blames the stranger for it. They fetch someone to try to exorcise the room but find that the door is locked from the inside. As they debate breaking the door down, it suddenly opens, and to everyone’s surprise the stranger walks out, looking irritated as usual. He refuses to answer any questions and locks himself into the parlour.
The stranger, after locking himself into the parlour early in the morning, remains there all day. On hearing the news of the burglary in the vicarage, the Halls put two and two together and Mr Hall, along with Mr Wadgers, goes to look for the magistrate, while a curious crowd gathers in the inn and outside the stranger’s parlour window. Meanwhile, Mrs Hall refuses to serve him any food, even though the stranger rings for it many times. Finally, in the evening, he comes out of his parlour and demands food from Mrs Hall, who presents him with his bill and refuses to serve him unless he settles it. Initially, he argues saying that his money has not arrived but later says that he might have still some in his pocket. Mrs Hall, suspecting him of being behind the burglary, challenges him on how he got the money, and enraged, the stranger tells her that she doesn’t know who he is and begins pulling off everything that covers his face. Then the horrified crowd realizes that he has no face, and in fact, is headless! Everybody panics and runs out of the inn and a large crowd begins gathering outside the entrance of the inn. When Mr Hall, Mr Wadgers and Mr Jaffers, the constable, return, they enter the stranger’s parlour and try to arrest him, despite the fact that he is headless. The stranger resists and gets into a scuffle with Jaffers, at the end of which he nevertheless surrenders, and pulls of his gloves revealing that he has no hands. Jaffers is unable to cuff him as he can’t see his hand. The stranger then defends himself saying that being invisible is no crime so he shouldn’t be arrested, but Jaffers shows him the warrant for his arrest in connection with the burglary at the vicarage.
At this point, the stranger begins undressing, revealing that he is invisible under the clothes, and Jaffers realizes that he is trying to escape. The men try to stop him but he is extremely strong, and they are unable to fight an enemy that they cannot see. Finally, they chase the stranger out of the inn and Jaffers catches hold of him but the Invisible Man pushes him off. Jaffers falls on the ground and hits his head on the gravel. The crowd outside the inn scatters and people panic, but Jaffers remains quite still on the ground.
A man named Gibbons, who is lying in the open countryside and enjoying the solitude with not a soul around, suddenly hears someone sneezing, coughing and swearing savagely. He looks around, but is startled to see no one; his peace is broken and he hurries back to his village.
Mr Thomas Marvel is a large, slow-moving tramp, who is sitting outside the town of Adderdean, staring at his two pairs of boots which are in front of him. He hears a voice from behind him, and he has a small conversation about how ugly the boots are, but when he looks back and realizes that there is no one behind him, he begins to panic and doubt his own sanity. The voice continues talking and then starts throwing flints at Marvel in order to convince him that he is not insane or imagining the voice, and introduces itself as an invisible man.
Mr Marvel is finally convinced and the Invisible Man tells him that he could have killed him but he spared him because he felt Marvel, like him, was an outcast from society. By intimidating him this way, and telling him that he had great power, he makes Marvel promise to help him out.
The scene shifts back to Iping, where the celebrations for Whit Monday are continuing despite the strange events of the morning. Very few people have actually witnessed the Invisible Man’s unveiling and so there is growing doubt regarding the rumours about what happened at the ‘Coach and Horses’. People go on with their preparations for the celebrations, and only Jaffers is missing as he is still lying unconscious after the attack in the morning. At four o’clock, some people in the village observe a short, stout stranger enter the village wearing an extraordinary hat and talking to himself. The actions of this man is revealed to us through Mr Huxter’s gaze, who watches him enter the ‘Coach and Horses’ and go into the parlour. When Mr Hall calls out to him that it is private, the man enters the bar, has a drink and reappears to go into the yard which has a window that leads to the parlour. After smoking his pipe for a couple of minutes, the stranger enters the parlour through this window and reappears with some books in one hand and other things bundled into a table cloth in his other hand.
Mr Huxter, realizing that this was a robbery, tries to stop the man, but someone he cannot see grabs him by his shins and throws him into the air, and he falls to the ground with great force.
At the inn, Mr Cuss and Mr Bunting are in the parlour, examining the Invisible Man’s things, and Mrs Hall has cleared the stranger’s clothes from the room and tidied up. Cuss and Bunting find a book marked “Diary”, but it is written is some strange code, in a combination of mathematical symbols and what looks like Russian and Greek. Mr Cuss asks Mr Bunting to interpret the Greek part of it, but Bunting does not want to reveal that he has no knowledge of the language. During their conversation, it is revealed that Bunting is sceptical about the events of that morning and the possibility of an actual invisible man existing. As he pretends to read the diary, however, they are both suddenly held down by the neck by an invisible force and a voice that demands to know where its clothes are. The Invisible Man then threatens to attack them with the poker if they don’t sit quietly.
The reader is now given an account of these events from the perspective of Mr Hall and Henfrey who are discussing the events of the morning. They suddenly hear thudding and other stranger noises from the parlour and they stand outside the door and call out, asking if everything is all right. They hear Mr Bunting’s voice replying that everything is fine and that they should not interrupt, then the same voice raised in protest. Mr Hall and Henfrey are intercepted and scolded by Mrs Hall for being a nuisance but when they explain, she refuses to believe that something is wrong. Then Henfrey thinks he hears the parlour window opening and they hear Mr Huxter yelling for the thief to stop.
Mr Hall, Henfrey and two of the labourers in the bar of the inn rush out, chasing the stout stranger, convinced for some reason that he is the Invisible Man. But before they get very far, they are all attacked by an invisible force. Hearing the commotion, the people of the village come out of the field where the Whit Monday celebrations are taking place and see the men sprawled on the ground. Great confusion ensues as more and more people are attacked by the Invisible Man, who seems to have lost all control and is in a rage. Meanwhile, Mrs Hall is still at the inn and Mr Cuss appears from the parlour wearing a strange costume. He tells her with great agitation that the Invisible Man has taken his trousers and all of the vicar’s clothing! Cuss exits the inn but when he realizes that the Invisible Man is in a rage and attacking everybody in his path, he rushes back into the parlour where Mr Bunting is also trying to cover himself with a rug and a newspaper. He tells him that the Invisible Man is coming and alarmed, they both jump out of the window to escape him.
The people of Iping are all afraid of the Invisible Man’s attack and in panic, try to find places to hide from him. The man, meanwhile, goes around attacking people at random and breaking them windows of the inn and wrecking various things in Adderdean too.
When the narrative resumes, Mr Marvel and the Invisible Man are walking through the woods on the way to the town of Bramblehurst. Mr Marvel is still carrying the bundle and appears to be hurt, and from the conversation it is revealed that the Invisible Man thought Mr Marvel was trying to run away with his things and hurt him. Mr Marvel seems extremely unwilling to work for the Invisible Man, and tells him that he has a weak heart and is not suited for the kind of help that the Invisible Man needs. But the Invisible Man refuses to let him go, telling him that he is his only tool, even if he is a weak one. He constantly bullies and threatens Mr Marvel, telling him that he will be sorry if he doesn’t help him. They pass through a village, with the Invisible Man holding Mr Marvel by the shoulder to prevent him from trying to run off again.
At ten the next morning, a dusty, exhausted Mr Marvel is found sitting on a bench outside an inn in Port Stowe. The Invisible Man has abandoned the bundle in the table-cloth, so now Mr Marvel only has the books. A mariner comes up to him and begins to make conversation about strange news in the newspaper. He tells Mr Marvel the story of the Invisible Man as reported in the paper, in full detail, and Mr Marvel is anxious of being identified but realizes that he has not been described in the newspaper article. He keeps an ear out for the Invisible Man but when he thinks he is safe, he begins to tell the mariner that he knows some information about the Invisible Man. But before he can reveal it, he jumps up and announces he has a toothache and clutches at his ear. He gathers the books and as he leaves, he is prompted by the Invisible Man to tell the mariner that it is all a hoax and that he knows the man who started the rumour. The mariner is irritated with Mr Marvel for letting him tell him the whole story when Mr Marvel knew it already, instead of stopping him right at the beginning.
Later, the mariner hears of the rumours of ‘floating money’, fistfuls of money that are found floating by themselves in various places, from shops and inns and banks, and of people who try to catch them being attacked by a mysterious force. The mariner realizes only much later that this money must have ended up in Mr Marvel’s pocket, and that he had a brush with the Invisible Man.
The reader is introduced to Dr Kemp, a tall, blond, slender scientist, who is resting in his study near the town of Burdock. He is an ambitious young man of science, and suddenly, he catches sight of a man, who the reader recognizes as Mr Marvel, running very fast down the hill at a distance. Dr Kemp is irritated at the sight, as it reminds him of the panic around the rumours of the Invisible Man, which he finds unscientific and medieval.
Those who see the running man nearby, however, realize that he is extremely panicked and feel only sympathy for him, despite the heavy purse full of money that he carries, and begin uneasily to wonder what he is running from. Behind Marvel, there are sounds of someone chasing, but no one is to be seen, and soon word reaches the town even before Mr Marvel that the Invisible Man is coming, causing great fear and panic.
Mr Marvel arrives in complete panic at an inn named the ‘Jolly Cricketers’ at the bottom of the hill, where the barman is in conversation with a cabman and an American with a local policeman. Mr Marvel screams that the Invisible Man is after him and that they should lock the door and protect him. Mr Marvel then hides in the bar and the men lock all the other doors, unlocking only the front door. Arming themselves, they wait for the Invisible Man to enter. Instead, another cabman enters and tells them that the yard door is unlocked and the Invisible Man might have already entered the building. Soon afterwards, the bar door is forced open and Mr Marvel is pulled away by an invisible force and dragged into the kitchen. The policeman, barman and cabman enter the kitchen and almost manage to overpower the Invisible Man but he goes berserk and fights them all and manages to get away, entering the narrow yard.
The American fires five shots into the yard with his revolver, and is certain that he must have shot the Invisible Man. He asks the others to look for his body in the yard.
Dr Kemp hears the shots being fired from where he is working in his study and it disturbs him so much that he is not able to concentrate on his work for the rest of the day. He hears the bell ring and the maid answers it but when he asks her she says that there was no one at the door. He finally gets back to his work and decides to go to bed at two in the morning.
While getting a drink from the kitchen, he notices dried blood on the floor and finds that the door handle of his room is also bloodstained. He enters the room and finds a lot of blood on the sheets and hears a noise in the room, and then someone says his name. The Invisible Man suddenly begins talking to him and Dr Kemp is extremely startled and.frightened. Finally, the Invisible Man manages to calm him enough to ask him for some help as he is tired, hurt and hungry. It so happens that they already know each other and the Invisible Man was Dr Kemp’s junior at the university. For the first time, he introduces himself by name, which is Griffin. He explains that a man stole his money and that some stranger shot him because everyone is afraid of him. He demands some food and clothes from Dr Kemp, who gives him a robe and food from the pantry. Griffin smokes a cigar after finishing his meal. Dr Kemp is startled by his tale and wants to know from where Griffin got the money that was stolen; he is also eager to know how Griffin became invisible but he is too tired to tell him anything. The Invisible Man wants to sleep but even though Kemp assures him that he would be safe, the Invisible Man is scared of being caught and doesn’t want to trust Dr Kemp.
The Invisible Man, despite being suspicious of Dr Kemp, still needs sleep. So, he goes to sleep after locking himself inside Dr Kemp’s room, who goes to the dining room and stays up all night thinking and talking out loud to himself. He spots the newspaper that is lying in the room and reads the reports in it about the strange events in Iping. At the end of it, he concludes that the Invisible Man must be not just mad but also homicidal. The household staff arrive meanwhile and much to their surprise, he asks them to set breakfast for two. He reads in the newspaper about the events of the previous day and about Mr Marvel, although there is no mention of money or the books. He concludes that the Invisible Man is mentally disturbed and sends off a note to someone, just as the man upstairs wakes up in a foul mood.
Griffin smashes Kemp’s chair because he wakes up in a bad temper, but Kemp doesn’t object and instead leads him to the room upstairs for breakfast. Finally, Griffin begins his story about how he gave up medicine because of his interest in science and in particular the theories of optics. He worked under a provincial professor against whom he guarded his work carefully. Griffin realized that the only way matter could become invisible is if it neither reflects, refracts nor absorbs light, i.e., if the refractive index of the object is the same as the air around it; and that the human body is capable of this. The only part of the human body that has colour and therefore cannot do this is the blood and hair, which have pigments. After six years of secret research, however, Griffin found a way to make blood transparent and yet he is at a dead end because of lack of money.
At this point, he reveals that he stole the money he needed from his father, who had borrowed it from someone else and therefore killed himself when it was lost. Griffin went ahead and bought the equipment he needed with his father’s money and gave the man a very cheap funeral, and he does not have any sympathy for him because of his ‘sentimentality’. He went back to his lab where he felt at home and where he figured out how to complete his experiment.
The only thing he reveals to Dr Kemp is that the object whose refractive index is to be reduced must be kept between two vibrating centres of a new kind of vibration. He experimented with wool fabric first, then with a cat that entered his room. The experiment was not wholly successful as the back of the cat’s eyes never became fully invisible. The owner of the cat had come looking for it, but she could not see it in his room, so she left. After the success of the experiment, Griffin did not know what to do with himself, and his money was running out. The landlord then arrived and revealed that the cat’s owner suspected Griffin of torturing his cat in the night. He wanted to look around the room and asked a lot of questions, so Griffin threw him out of the room.
Understanding that now the time had come to act quickly, he began the process of becoming invisible himself. The process of turning the blood colourless is, however, very painful and he became very weak. He had to force himself to finish the process and when he was halfway through it, he was interrupted by the landlord who was horrified to see that Griffin’s face was completely white, like stone! He went away in a hurry and Griffin completed the process, and became fully invisible.
By that time, the landlord returned with his sons and tried to break into the room, while Griffin hid on the ledge outside the window. They were unable to locate him because of his invisibility and were also not able to understand what the equipment in his room was for. Finally, Griffin escaped from there, but admits quite openly that he set the house on fire, and in response to Dr Kemp’s exclamation of horror, he says that the house was probably insured; and that this was the only way to destroy all the evidence.
Griffin describes his first experiences upon becoming invisible. He felt a great sense of power and exultation when he realized the things he can do with invisibility but very soon discovered the problems it brought. Although he was tempted to play pranks on people, he realized how dangerous it could be when someone accidentally knocked into him with a heavy basket. Griffin had grabbed it spontaneously but this caused so much uproar that he realized he would be discovered very soon unless he was careful. He also found that being naked and wandering around in the cold of January was very uncomfortable and that dogs could sense him with their noses even though he was invisible. He wandered around the town and was almost discovered by a group of young men who saw his footsteps in the snow, appearing mysteriously. He was chased, but he lost them in the crowd and made sure thereafter that he travelled only on the small, empty side roads. Suddenly, there were shouts and he looked back and realized that it was a fire—the fire he had set to bum his own clothes and equipment.
The Invisible Man then tells Kemp about his dilemma as he was out in the open in the cold weather, with no shelter or clothing. Finally, an idea struck him and he made his way to the emporium named Omnium which sold many different kinds of things. He managed to slip into the shop and found a hiding place among a pile of mattresses,’and waited for a chance to rob the store of some clothes that would make him look somewhat human at least. Once the shop had shut and all the employees had put away the things on display and had left, Griffin began to prowl around, looking for the things he needed. He found clothes to cover every inch of his body except the eyes, found a fake nose in the toys section and food in the refreshment sections. He also took money from one of the counters and feeling well-fed and warm for the first time in a while, he went to sleep among the mattresses. He dreamt strange dreams of being buried in his father’s grave as he was invisible, and woke to find that the shop had opened.
Since he was fully dressed, he was visible and quickly discovered and what followed was a chase around the store, from one department to the next, and Griffin managed to get away only by wounding his assailants. Finally, he took off his clothes and became invisible again and managed to leave the store undetected, but once again vulnerable.
The Invisible Man thus began discovering the problems of being invisible and unnoticed: any food he ate would be visible till it was assimilated in his system and rain, snow, fog and accumulating dust would give him away. He went back to the poorer section of the city and came across a costume shop with masks and wigs, which gave him an idea. He entered the shop and planned to rob it of costumes and money. The owner of the shop, however, proved more difficult to handle that he anticipated, for he was very alert and had very acute hearing. So, he quickly grew suspicious of the little noises that Griffin made in moving around the house. Griffin waited for him to settle down for the night and then began exploring the house, but forgot that he should not make much noise and so the owner of the house almost discovered him. He started locking the doors of all the rooms in the house because of his suspicions, and when the Invisible Man realized that he would be locked in soon, he got violent, and hit the other man on the head and tied him up with a sheet.
When Dr Kemp expresses his moral objections to these actions, Griffin explains that such morals are for ordinary people and then begins to get irritated with Dr Kemp, who therefore calms down and talks to him in a softer tone. Griffin goes on to narrate how he stole clothes and money from the man’s house, and although he looked hideous with the mask and wig, nobody took much notice of him. He enjoyed the sense of power that being invisible gave him, and decided to live life as he liked it. However, he ran into many unexpected difficulties that came from wanting to keep his invisibility a secret. He finally worked out a plan, a chemical formula that will make him visible again when he wishes to, after finishing all he needs to do as an invisible man. He says he will share the formula with Dr Kemp. Therefore, to work it out properly, he bought the necessary equipment and came to Iping. Griffin asks Dr Kemp if anybody had died because of his attack, and laughs and seems quite unrepentant when Dr Kemp tells him that people were seriously injured and not dead. He complains about how everybody else is stupid and how frustrating this is for him.
When Griffin finishes his story, Dr Kemp asks him what his future plans are, and what he originally planned to do in Port Burdock. Griffin tells him that he had originally planned to leave the country and go south, where the temperature would be better suited for him to wander about invisible, but now that he has run into Dr Kemp, his plans have changed. He wants to get his books. Dr Kemp tells him that Mr Marvel has surrendered himself for safe custody in the strongest cell of the prison there but he, Dr Kemp, might be able to retrieve Griffin’s books if Mr Marvel does not know he is working on Griffin’s behalf. Meanwhile, there are sounds outside, and Dr Kemp realizes that the men he wrote the note to are arriving, and keeps the conversation with Griffin to prevent him from noticing their footsteps. Griffin tells him that with Dr Kemp’s help, he will take over the town and then the country in a reign of terror as it is easy for him to attack and kill anyone as an invisible man. As Dr Kemp objects to this, Griffin finally notices the noises in the house and realizes what has happened.
He calls Kemp a traitor and begins undressing, preparing to flee, but Kemp exits the room and tries to lock him in. But the Invisible Man manages to break free just as Colonel Adye, the police chief that Kemp contacted, reaches the landing. The colonel watches as Kemp is attacked by an invisible force and then he is also attacked viciously. Finally, the Invisible Man runs down the stairs, past the constables downstairs and escapes from there.
Dr Kemp quickly gives Adye a gist of the Invisible Man’s story and warns him with great urgency that he must be caught at once, otherwise he would execute his plan of the reign of terror. He tells Adye of the books that are the only things of value to Griffin, and that Mr Marvel and the books must be protected. He tells Adye that all the houses must be locked in the town and no food should be easily available to Griffin. He hopes for cold weather and rain and instructs Adye to set every man in the force to comb the area for Griffin so that he can neither eat, sleep nor rest. Kemp also suggests that Adye finds dogs which can sniff out the Invisible Man, even if they can’t see him, and that all weapons must be hidden from him.
As a final, plan, Kemp asks Adye to cover the roads with powdered glass. He admits that it is cruel but can think of no other way to stop a man like Griffin, who now seems to be beyond the reach of humane morality, and will kill anyone at will.
The Invisible Man then disappears from human contact for the whole afternoon as he tries to recover from his rage at Kemp’s betrayal. Nobody sees or hears from him but this period of inaction works to his disadvantage as in that time, the news about him spreads like wildfire throughout the district, and people begin preparing to fight him. Schools are shut early and common folk are advised to keep their doors locked. Men gather together in twos and threes with dogs to beat the countryside looking for him. Goods trains into and out of the district are suspended and passenger trains are locked during the journey. From a rumour, the Invisible Man becomes a tangible threat that they must all struggle against.
The Invisible Man commits his first murder and the body of a man named Wicksteed, the steward of Lord Burdock, is found and it is clear from the state of his corpse that he must have been bludgeoned to death by an iron rod that is found nearby.
The story reconstructed from the crime scene is that Griffin must have pulled the iron rod out of a fence, meaning to use it as a weapon, and Wicksteed, perhaps not even knowing of the existence of an Invisible Man, saw the iron rod floating by itself as he was passing by and began following it. At one point, Griffin probably found himself trapped between a bush of stinging needles and a gravel pit, with the middle aged man behind him. In anger at being trapped, he must have gone wild and beaten up Wicksteed severely, killing him. After this, he must have made his way into town and realized that the preparations are being made against him and read the notices put up everywhere. After managing to find something to eat and resting through the night, though, he comes back in full strength and malignancy in the morning.
Dr Kemp receives a letter the next morning from Griffin, accusing him of betraying him and saying that Griffin would now go on a reign of terror for sure. He says in the letter that he will begin by executing Dr Kemp and no matter however much he tries to hide or protect himself, he will be dead by the end of the day, which Griffin calls the First Day of the Terror. Dr Kemp, however, sends notes through his maid to Adye and believes that this threat can become a trap to catch Griffin. Adye arrives soon at the house and tells Dr Kemp that his maid was intercepted by the Invisible Man. At this point, the windows in Dr Kemp’s house begin to be smashed one by one, but all the shutters are drawn so the glass falls outside. Adye borrows Dr Kemp’s revolver and leaves the house to get help, but is stopped by the Invisible Man who takes the gun from him and asks him to return to the house. Adye pretends to agree but tries to attack Griffin, who shoots him with the revolver. Dr Kemp then hears the sound of wood being smashed and realizes that Griffin has found an axe and is forcing his’way through the kitchen window. Two policemen arrive at the house at this point with the maid and Dr Kemp warns them of the danger.
Dr Kemp, the maid and the policemen wait for Griffin, armed with a poker. When he arrives with his axe, he asks the policemen to stand aside and give him Kemp but they begin fighting him. The first one tries to wound him with the poker, but he misses and Griffin hits him on the head with the axe. The second policeman, however, finds his mark and wounds Griffin. Griffin retreats into the hall, and the policemen realize that in the confusion Dr Kemp has escaped with the maid.
Mr Heelas, Dr Kemp’s neighbour, is a sceptic who does not believe in the rumours about the Invisible Man. He wakes up from his afternoon sleep and finds that Dr Kemp’s house looks like it has been hit by a riot. He then observes the maid and Kemp escaping through the window and finally understanding the situation, raises the alarm in his house so that all the doors and windows are locked. He refuses to let Dr Kemp into the house, and so Dr Kemp begins to run down the hill towards the town.
When Dr Kemp reaches the town, people stare at him because of his strange haste and ignoring them, he runs towards the police station. He hears footsteps behind him and calls out that the Invisible Man is after him. He tries to disappear into the crowd and changes his course and takes a little side road. When he emerges on the main street again, he sees there is a crowd chasing after someone, and suddenly, Kemp is struck by an invisible hand. He is hit again and falls to the ground and feels a knee on his diaphragm and hands around his neck, gripping. But the grip is weak and when Kemp catches hold of the wrists, there is an exclamation and his attacker pulls back. By this time, the crowd reaches them and the Invisible Man is struck with a navvy.
Dr Kemp manages to then escape his clutches and pins him down. The crowd surrounds them and begins to beat up Griffin. Dr Kemp, realizing that he is hurt, yells for them to stop. Somebody yells that Dr Kemp shouldn’t let him go as he is only pretending to be hurt. Dr Kemp denies this and tells them that the man is not breathing. Then, suddenly, the crowd sees the ghostly outline of a hand, and from there, slowly, Griffin becomes visible again. The Invisible Man is finally revealed, and they see that he is a young man of thirty with the white hair of an albino. His horrified eyes are open, and he is dead. His body is covered up and he is taken into the ‘Jolly Cricketers’ inn.
The author advises the reader to go to the ‘Jolly Cricketers’ inn if he wants to know more about the Invisible Man. The bartender there tells the whole story, and what happened after Griffin’s death when he was accused of keeping all the money that Griffin stole. The author says that if the reader asks him about Griffin’s lost books, he will deny any knowledge of them. But every night and every Sunday morning, the inn keeper goes into the bar parlour and after making sure no one can spy on him, he pulls out the three books of Griffin from a cupboard and looks through them. Though he cannot understand a word of the cipher, it fills him with a feeling of wonder. And nobody would be able to discover his secret as long as he lives.