In the 1931 film, The Spider, Chatrand, the Great performs as a stage magician. Assisting him is a psychic named Alexander, whom Chatrand discovered two years previous. Chatrand announces on his radio-broadcasted performance that Alexander cannot recall his past. The magician urges people who may know Alexander to attend a show. Beverly Lane overhears the broadcast, believing that Alexander might be her missing brother Paul. She expresses the idea to her uncle, John Carrington, who is doubtful.
Despite his skepticism, John agrees to attend the theater performance with Beverly. During the mind-reading display, Chatrand hypnotizes Alexander and causes the psychic to display uncanny knowledge of audience members, a shot is fired, killing John Carrington. Chatrand aids the police in discovering the murderer among the theater audience. Utilizing Alexander's psychic abilities to discover that the killer is wearing a spider ring, the identity of The Spider is revealed.
Afterward, Chatrand and Beverly Lane become romantically entwined, seemingly headed for a long and happy marriage.
Chatrand is a skilled hypnotist and stage magician.