Edgar Witherspoon is an old man who acts a little different than the rest. His niece, Cynthia, and his landlord, Mrs. Milligan, visit a psychiatrist, Dr. Jeremy Sinclair, and want Edgar committed. Dr. Sinclair agrees to examine him and the next day heads to Edgar's home, a basement in a building. The doctor knocks on Edgar's door, who opens it immediately and asks his visitor for a doll's head. Dr. Sinclair says he doesn't have one and informs Edgar there are people worried about him because of his strange behavior. While frantically looking for a doll's head in some dumpsters in the basement, Edgar tells Dr. Sinclair that if he doesn't find a doll's head in five minutes, the shaking in Santa Barbara will continue. Edgar sends the confused Dr. Sinclair away.
The next day at his office, Cynthia visits the doctor and insists on having Edgar committed, although Dr. Sinclair thinks he is a happy old man who is just harmless. Suddenly, on the radio Dr. Jeremy listens to the news of an earthquake in Santa Barbara that makes him wonder about the things Edgar said.
A week later, Dr. Sinclair pays Edgar a second visit as he promised to Cynthia. Inside his apartment the doctor sees the strangest machine ever, a mechanism created with thousands of pieces, most of them trash. Edgar tells Dr. Sinclair that this machine keeps the world from going poof. He also says that a voice speaks to him and tells him what to do and what things to add to the mechanism. Dr. Sinclair leaves but comes back the next day with an ambulance and nurses to take Edgar to the mental hospital while he screams that because of this, he will not be able to save Tatoa, and island in the Pacific.
Later that day, Dr. Sinclair hears on the radio that the small island of Tatoa has been destroyed by a tsunami, just as Edgar had predicted. The doctor starts to buy Mr. Witherspoon's story, ordering his secretary to personally drive Edgar to his apartment while he races to Edgar's home, fearing that the landlord is going to destroy the mechanism. A second before Mrs. Milligan destroys the mechanism with a broom, Dr. Sinclair dashes into the room and stops her.
Once Edgar arrives, he packs his clothes and informs Dr. Sinclair that the time has come for him to take a vacation. Dr. Sinclair gets upset because he doesn't know who is going to take care of the machine from now on. As soon as the mechanism needs a little adjustment, Dr. Sinclair instinctively fixes it. Edgar says to Jeremy that now he knows the answer, he is the new person in charge of keeping the mechanism working. Lastly, the voice tells Dr. Sinclair to find a tambourine which he starts urgently looking for.