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Dr. Filostrato believed (incorrectly, as it turns out) that he had preserved the head of François Alcasan. Towards the end of the book, it's revealed that the Macrobes didn't really need Filostrato's setup in order to be able to use Alcasan's head.

That being said, why did the N.I.C.E. bother with Filostrato in the first place? Did they believe that they needed Filostrato's setup too?

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It may have been that the macrobes needed the N.I.C.E. people to believe it was all about "science", and not that an evil spirit was haunting the place. The illusion of science (and the required/attending scientist) was a useful one, and the macrobes were happy to play along with that charade so as to get better cooperation and not scare off their pawns.

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