STRANGE HISTORY OF A MYSTERIOUS BEING AND
Account of a Remarkable Journey
Illustrated by J. Augustus Knapp
COMMUNICATED IN MANUSCRIPT TO LLEWELLYN DRURY WHO PROMISED TO PRINT THE SAME,
BUT FINALLY EVADED THE RESPONSIBILITY WHICH WAS ASSUMED BY
History of Llewellyn Drury,
INTERLUDE.- THE NARRATIVE INTERRUPTED.
GUEST CONTINUES HIS MANUSCRIPT.
INTERLUDE.-THE NARRATIVE AGAIN INTERRUPTED.
Preface Introduction- " Here lies the bones," etc.
" And to my amazement, saw a white-haired man."
" The same glittering, horrible, mysterious knife."
" Fac-simile of the mysterious manuscript of I-Am-The-ManWho-Did-It.
My arms were firmly grasped by two persons."
" Map of Kentucky near entrance to cavern."
" Confronted by a singular looking being."
102. " This struggling ray of sunlight is to be your last for years."
118. " I was in a forest of colossal fungi."
132. " Monstrous cubical crystals."
148. " Far as the eye could reach the glassy barrier spread as a crystal
158. " Soliloquy of Prof Daniel Vaughn-' Gravitation is the beginning,
and gravitation is the end; all earthly bodies kneel to gravitation."
166. " We came to a metal boat."
198. " Facing the open window he turned the pupils of his eyes upward."
206. " We finally reached a precipitous bluff."
210. " The wall descended perpendicularly to seemingly infinite depths."
298. " We passed through caverns filled with creeping reptiles."
304 " Flowers and structures beautiful, insects gorgeous."
308. " With fear and trembling I crept on my knees to his side."
333 Diagram descriptive of journey from the Kentucky cavern to the " End
of Earth," showing section of earth's crust.
348 " Suspended in vacancy, he seemed to float."
358 " I stood alone in my room holding the mysterious manuscript."
Fac-simile of letter from I-Am-The-Man.
365 Manuscript dedication of Author's Edition.
AND TEXT CUTS.
The Stern Face." Fac-simile, reduced from copper plate title page of the
botanical work ( 1708 ), 917 pages, of Simonis Paulli, D., a Danish physician.
Original plate 7x5 1/2 inches.
The Pleasant Face." Fac-simile of the original copper plate frontispiece
to the finely illustrated botanical work of Joannes Burmannus, M. D., descriptive
of the plants collected by Carolus Plumierus. Antique. Original plate 9x13 inches.
Skeleton forms oppose my own." Photograph of John Uri Lloyd in the gloomy
alcove of the antiquated library.
Let me have your answer now."
I espied upon the table a long white hair."
Drew the knife twice across the front of the doorknob."
I was taken from the vehicle, and transferred to a block-house."
The dead man was thrown overboard."
A mirror was thrust beneath my gaze."
I am the man you seek."
" We approach daylight, I can see your face."
" Seated himself on a natural bench of stone."
" An endless variety of stony figures."
Cuts showing water and brine surfaces.
Cuts showing earth chambers in which water rises above brine.
139. Cuts showing that if properly connected, water and brine reverse the usual
law as to the height of their surfaces.
" I bounded upward fully six feet."
" I fluttered to the earth as a leaf would fall."
" We leaped over great inequalities."
The bit of garment fluttered listlessly away to the distance, and then-vacancy."
Cut showing that water may be made to flow from a tube higher than the surface
of the water.
Cut showing how an artesian fountain may be made without earth strata.
" Rising abruptly, he grasped my hand."
" A brain, a living brain, my own brain."
" Shape of drop of water in the earth cavern."
" We would skip several rods, alighting gently."
" An uncontrollable, inexpressible desire to flee."
" I dropped on my knees before him."
" Handing me one of the halves, he spoke the single word, `Drink.'"
" Each finger pointed towards the open way in front."
" Telescoped energy spheres."
" Space dirt on energy spheres."
" I drew back the bar of iron to smite the apparently defenseless being
in the forehead."
" He sprung from the edge of the cliff into the abyss below, carrying me
with him into its depths."
" The Earth and its atmosphere."
NEVER LESS ALONE THAN WHEN ALONE."
than thirty years ago occurred the first of the series of remarkable events
I am about to relate. The exact date I can not recall; but it was in November,
and, to those familiar with November weather in the Ohio Valley, it is hardly
necessary to state that the month is one of possibilities. That is to say, it
is liable to bring every variety of weather, from the delicious, dreamy Indian
summer days that linger late in the fall, to a combination of rain, hail, snow,
sleet,- in short, atmospheric conditions sufficiently aggravating to develop
a suicidal mania in any one the least susceptible to such influences. While
the general character of the month is much the same the country over,- showing
dull grey tones of sky, abundant rains that penetrate man as they do the earth;
cold, shifting winds, that search the very marrow,- it is always safe to count
more or less upon the probability of the unexpected throughout the month.
day which ushered in the event about to be chronicled, was one of these possible
heterogeneous days presenting a combination of sunshine, shower, and snow, with
winds that rang all the changes from balmy to blustery, a morning air of caloric
and an evening of numbing cold. The early morning started fair and sunny; later
came light showers suddenly switched by shifting winds into blinding sleet,
until the middle of the afternoon found the four winds and all the elements
commingled in one wild orgy with clashing and roaring as of a great organ with
all the stops out, and all the storm
dancing over the key-boards! Nightfall brought some semblance of order to the
sounding chaos, but still kept up the wild music of a typical, November day,
with every accompaniment of bleakness, gloom, and desolation.
of chimneys, exhaling murky clouds of bituminous soot all day, had covered the
city with the proverbial pall which the winds in their sport had shifted hither
and yon, but as, thoroughly tired out, they subsided into silence, the smoky
mesh suddenly settled over the houses and into the streets, taking possession
of the city and contributing to the melancholy wretchedness of such of the inhabitants
as had to be out of doors. Through this smoke the red sun when visible had dragged
his downward course in manifest discouragement, and the hastening twilight soon
gave place to the blackness of darkness. Night reigned supreme.
years ago electric lighting was not in vogue, and the system of street lamps
was far less complete than at present, although the gas burned in them may not
have been any worse. The lamps were much fewer and farther between, and the
light which they emitted had a feeble, sickly aspect, and did not reach any
distance into the moist and murky atmosphere. And so the night was dismal enough,
and the few people upon the street were visible only as they passed directly
beneath the lamps, or in front of lighted windows; seeming at other times like
moving shadows against a black ground.
am like to be conspicuous in these pages, it may be proper to say that I am
very susceptible to atmospheric influences. I figure among my friends as a man
of quiet disposition, but I am at times morose, although I endeavor to conceal
this fact from others. My nervous system is a sensitive weather-glass. Sometimes
I fancy that I must have been born under the planet Saturn, for I find myself
unpleasantly influenced by moods ascribed to that depressing planet, more especially
in its disagreeable phases, for I regret to state that I do not find corresponding
elation, as I should, in its brighter aspects. I have an especial dislike for
wintry weather, a dislike which I find growing with my years, until it has developed
almost into positive antipathy and dread. On the day I have described, my moods
had varied with the weather. The fitfulness of the winds had found its way into
my feelings, and the somber tone of the clouds into my meditations. I was restless
as the elements, and a deep sense of dissatisfaction with myself and everything
else, possessed me. I could not content myself in any place or position. Reading
was distasteful, writing equally so; but it occurred to me that a brisk walk,
for a few blocks, might afford relief. Muffling myself up in my overcoat and
fur cap, I took the street, only to find the air gusty and raw, and I gave up
in still greater disgust, and returning home, after drawing the curtains and
locking the doors, planted myself in front of a glowing grate fire, firmly resolved
to rid myself of myself by resorting to the oblivion of thought, reverie, or
dream. To sleep was impossible, and I sat moodily in an easy chair, noting the
quarter and half-hour strokes as they were chimed out sweetly from the spire
of St. Peter's Cathedral, a few blocks away.
o'clock passed with, its silver-voiced song of " Home, Sweet Home ";
ten, and then eleven strokes of the ponderous bell which noted the hours, roused
me to a strenuous effort to shake off the feelings of despondency, unrest, and
turbulence, that all combined to produce a state of mental and physical misery
now insufferable. Rising suddenly from my chair, without a conscious effort
I walked mechanically to a book-case, seized a volume at random, reseated myself
before the fire, and opened the book. It proved to be an odd, neglected volume,
" Riley's Dictionary of Latin Quotations." At the moment there flashed
upon me a conscious duality of existence. Had the old book some mesmeric power?
I seemed to myself two persons, and I quickly said aloud, as if addressing my
double: " If I can not quiet you, turbulent Spirit, I can at least adapt
myself to your condition. I will read this book haphazard from bottom to top,
or backward, if necessary, and if this does not change the subject often enough,
I will try Noah Webster." Opening the book mechanically at page 297, I
glanced at the bottom line and read, " Nunquam minus solos quam cum solos
" ( Never less alone than when alone ). These words arrested my thoughts
at once, as, by a singular chance, they seemed to fit my mood; was it or was
it not some conscious invisible intelligence that caused me to select that page,
and brought the apothegm to my notice?
like a flash, came the consciousness of duality, and I began to argue with my
other self. " This is arrant nonsense," I cried aloud; " even
though Cicero did say it, and, it is on a par with many other delusive maxims
that have for so many years embittered the existence of our modern youth by
misleading thought. Do you know, Mr. Cicero, that this statement is not sound?
That it is unworthy the position you occupy in history as a thinker and philosopher?
That it is a contradiction in itself, for if a man is alone he is alone, and
that settles it?"
in this vein a few moments, and then resumed aloud: " It won't do, it won't
do; if one is alone- the word is absolute,- he is single, isolated, in short,
alone; and there can by no manner of possibility be any one else present. Take
myself, for instance: I am the sole occupant of this apartment; I am alone,
and yet you say in so many words that I was never less alone than at this instant."
It was not without some misgiving that I uttered these words, for the strange
consciousness of my own duality constantly grew stronger, and I could not shake
off the reflection that even now there were two of myself in the room, and that
I was not so much alone as I endeavored to convince myself.
feeling oppressed me like an incubus; I must throw it off, and, rising, I tossed
the book upon the table, exclaiming
What folly! I am alone,- positively there is no other living thing visible or
invisible in the room." I hesitated as I spoke, for the strange, undefined
sensation that I was not alone had become almost a conviction; but the sound
of my voice encouraged me, and I determined to discuss the subject, and I remarked
in a full, strong voice: " I am surely alone; I know I am! Why, I will
wager everything I possess, even to my soul, that I am alone." I stood
facing the smoldering embers of the fire which I had neglected to replenish,
uttering these words to settle the controversy for good and all with one person
of my dual self, but the other ego seemed to dissent violently, when a soft,
clear voice claimed my ear:
You have lost your wager; you are not alone."
instantly towards the direction of the sound, and, to my amazement, saw a white-haired
man seated on the opposite side of the room, gazing at me with the utmost composure.
I am not a coward, nor a believer in ghosts or illusions, and yet that sight
froze me where I stood. It had no supernatural appearance- on the contrary,
was a plain, ordinary, flesh-and-blood man;
weather, the experiences of the day, the weird, inclement night, had all conspired
to strain my nerves to the highest point of tension, and I trembled from head
to foot. Noting this, the stranger said pleasantly: " Quiet yourself, my
dear sir; you have nothing to fear; be seated." I obeyed, mechanically,
and regaining in a few moments some semblance of composure, took a mental inventory
of my visitor. Who is he? what is he? how did he enter without my notice, and
why? what is his business? were all questions that flashed into my mind in quick
succession, and quickly flashed out unanswered.
sat eying me composedly, even pleasantly, as if waiting for me to reach some
conclusion regarding himself. At last I surmised: " He is a maniac who
has found his way here by methods peculiar to the insane, and my personal safety
demands that I use him discreetly."
Very good," he remarked, as though reading my thoughts ; " as well
think that as anything else."
But why are you here? What is your business?" I asked.
You have made and lost a wager," he said. " You have committed an
act of folly in making positive statements regarding a matter about which you
know nothing- a very common failing, by the way, on the part of mankind, and
concerning which I wish first to set you straight."
coolness with which he said this provoked me, and I hastily rejoined: "
You are impertinent; I must ask you to leave my house at once."
Very well," he answered; " but if you insist upon this, I shall, on
behalf of Cicero, claim the stake of your voluntary wager, which means that
I must first, by natural though violent means, release your soul from your body."
So saying he arose, drew from an inner pocket a long, keen knife, the blade
of which quivenngly glistened as he laid it upon the table. Moving his chair
so: as to be within easy reach of the gleaming weapon, be sat down, and again
regarded me with the same quiet composure I had noted, and which was fast dispelling
my first impression concerning his sanity.
not prepared for his strange action; in truth, I was not repared for anything;
my mind was confused concerning the
night's doings, and I was unable to reason clearly or
or even to satisfy myself what I did think, if indeed I thought at all.
of fear, however, was fast leaving me ; there was something reassuring in my
unbidden guest's perfect ease of manner, and the mild, though searching gaze
of his eyes, which were wonderful in their expression. I began to observe his
personal characteristics, which impressed me favorably, and yet were extraordinary.
He was nearly six feet tall, and perfectly straight; well proportioned, with
no tendency either to leanness or obesity. But his head was an object from which
I could not take my eyes,- such a head surely I had never before seen on mortal
shoulders. The chin, as seen through his silver beard, was rounded and well
developed, the mouth straight, with pleasant lines about it, the jaws square
and, like the mouth, indicating decision, the eyes deep set and arched with
heavy eyebrows, and the whole surmounted by a forehead so vast, so high, that
it was almost a deformity, and yet it did not impress me unpleasantly; it was
the forehead of a scholar, a profound thinker, a deep student. The nose was
inclined to aquiline, and quite large. The contour of the head and face impressed
me as indicating a man of learning, one who had given a lifetime to experimental
as well as speculative thought. His voice was mellow, clear, and distinct, always
pleasantly modulated and soft, never loud nor unpleasant in the least degree.
One remarkable feature I must not fail to mention- his hair; this, while thin
and scant upon the top of his head, was long, and reached to his shoulders;
his beard was of unusual length, descending almost to his waist; his hair, eyebrows,
and beard were all of singular whiteness and purity, almost transparent, a silvery
whiteness that seemed an aureolar sheen in the glare of the gaslight. What struck
me as particularly remarkable was that his skin looked as soft and smooth as
that of a child; there was not a blemish in it. His age was a puzzle none could
guess; stripped of his hair, or the color of it changed, he might be twenty-five,-
given a few wrinkles, he might be ninety. Taken altogether, I had never seen
his like, nor anything approaching his like, and for an instant there was a
faint suggestion to my mind that he was not of this earth, but belonged to some
fancy he must have read my impressions of him as these ideas shaped themselves
in my brain, and that he was quietly
for me to regain a degree of self-possession that would allow him to disclose
the purpose of his visit.
first to break the silence: " I see that you are not disposed to pay your
wager any more than I am to collect it, so we will not discuss that. I admit
that my introduction tonight was abrupt, but you can not deny that you challenged
me to appear." I was not clear upon the point, and said so. " Your
memory is at fault," he continued, " if you can not recall your experiences
of the day just past. Did you not attempt to interest yourself in modern book
lore, to fix your mind in turn upon history, chemistry, botany, poetry, and
general literature? And all these failing, did you not deliberately challenge
Cicero to a practical demonstration of an old apothegm of his that has survived
for centuries, and of your own free will did not you make a wager that, as an
admirer of Cicero's, I am free to accept?" To all this I could but silently
assent. " Very good, then; we will not pursue this subject further, as
it is not relevant to my purpose, which is to acquaint you with a narrative
of unusual interest, upon certain conditions, with which if you comply, you
will not only serve yourself, but me as well."
Please name the conditions," I said.
They are simple enough," he answered. " The narrative I speak of is
in manuscript. I will produce it in the near future, and my design is to read
it aloud to you, or to allow you to read it to me, as you may select. Further,
my wish is that during the reading you shall interpose any objection or question
that you deem proper. This reading will occupy many evenings, and I shall of
necessity be with you often. When the reading is concluded, we will seal the
package securely, and I shall leave you forever. You will then deposit the manuscript
in some safe place, and let it remain for thirty years. When this period has
elapsed, I wish you to publish this history to the world."
Your conditions seem easy," I said, after a few seconds' pause.
They are certainly very simple; do you accept?"
for the prospect of giving myself up to a succession of interviews with this
extraordinary and mysterious personage seemed to require consideration. He evidently
divined my thoughts, for, rising from his chair, he said abruptly: " Let
me have your answer now."
the matter no further, but answered: " I accept, conditionally."
Name your conditions," the guest replied.
I will either publish the work, or induce some other man to do so."
Good," he said; " I will see you again," with a polite bow; and
turning to the door which I had previously locked, he opened it softly, and
with a quiet " Good night" disappeared in the hallway.
after him with bewildered senses; but a sudden impulse caused me to glance toward
the table, when I saw that he had forgotten his knife. With the view of returning
this, I reached to pick it up, but my finger tips no sooner touched the handle
than a sudden chill shivered along my nerves. Not as an electric shock, but
rather as a sensation of extreme cold was the current that ran through me in
an instant. Rushing into the hallway to the landing of the stairs, I called
after the mysterious being, " You have forgotten your knife," but
beyond the faint echo of my voice, I heard no sound. The phantom was gone. A
moment later I was at the foot of the stairs, and had thrown open the door.
A street lamp shed an uncertain light in front of the house. I stepped out and
listened intently for a moment, but not a sound was audible, if indeed I except
the beating of my own heart, which throbbed so wildly that I fancied I heard
it. No footfall echoed from the deserted streets; all was silent as a churchyard,
and I closed and locked the door softly, tiptoed my way back to my room, and
sank collapsed into an easy chair. I was more than exhausted; I quivered from
head to foot, not with cold, but with a strange nervous chill that found intensest
expression in my spinal column, and seemed to flash up and down my back vibrating
like a feverous pulse. This active pain was succeeded by a feeling of frozen
numbness, and I sat I know not how long, trying to tranquilize myself and think
temperately of the night's occurrence. By degrees I recovered my normal sensations,
and directing my will in the channel of sober reasoning, I said to myself: "
There can be no mistake about his visit, for his knife is here as a witness
to the fact. So much is sure, and I will secure that testimony at all events."
With this reflection I turned to the table, but to my astonishment; I discovered
that the knife had disappeared. It needed but this miracle to start the perspiration
in great cold beads from every pore. My brain was in a whirl, and reeling into
a chair, I covered my face with my hands. How long I sat in this posture I do
not remember. I only know that I began to doubt my own sanity, and wondered
if this were not the way people became deranged. Had not my peculiar habits
of isolation, irregular and intense study, erratic living, all conspired to
unseat reason ? Surely here was every ground to believe so; and yet I was able
still to think consistently and hold steadily to a single line of thought. Insane
people can not do that, I reflected, and gradually the tremor and excitement
wore away. When I had become calmer and more collected, and my sober judgment
said, " Go to bed; sleep just as long as you can; hold your eyelids down,
and when you awake refreshed, as you will, think out the whole subject at your
leisure," I arose, threw open the shutters, and found that day was breaking.
Hastily undressing I went to bed, and closed my eyes, vaguely conscious of some
soothing guardianship. Perhaps because I was physically exhausted, I soon lost
myself in the oblivion of sleep.
not dream,- at least I could not afterwards remember my dream if I had one,
but I recollect thinking that somebody struck ten distinct blows on my door,
which seemed to me to be of metal and very sonorous. These ten blows in my semi-conscious
state I counted. I lay very quiet for a time collecting my thoughts and noting
various objects about the room, until my eye caught the dial of a French clock
upon the mantel. It was a few minutes past ten, and the blows I had heard were
the strokes of the hammer upon the gong in the clock. The sun was shining into
the room, which was quite cold, for the fire had gone out. I arose, dressed
myself quickly, and after thoroughly laving my face and hands in ice-cold water,
felt considerably refreshed.
going out to breakfast, while looking around the room for a few things which
I wanted to take with me, I espied upon the table a long white hair. This was
indeed a surprise, for I had about concluded that my adventure of the previous
night was a species of waking nightmare, the result of overworked brain and
weakened body. But here was tangible evidence to the contrary, an assurance
that my mysterious visitor was not a fancy or a dream, and his parting words,
" I will see you again," recurred to me with singular effect. "
He will see me again; very well; I will preserve this evidence of his visit
for future use." I wound the delicate filament into a little coil, folded
it carefully in a bit of paper, and consigned it to a corner in my pocket-book,
though not without some misgiving that it too night disappear as did the knife.
experience of that night had a good effect on me; I became more regular in all
my habits, took abundant deep and exercise, was more methodical in my modes
of study and reasoning, and in a short time found myself vastly improved n every
way, mentally and physically.
went fleeting into weeks, the weeks into months, and while the form and figure
of the white-haired stranger were seldom absent from my mind, he came no more.
rare, in our present civilization, to find a man who lives alone. This remark
does not apply to hermits or persons of abnormal or perverted mental tendencies,
but to the majority of mankind living and moving actively among their fellows,
and engaged in the ordinary occupations of humanity. Every man must have at
least one confidant, either of his own household, or within the circle of his
intimate friends. There may possibly be rare exceptions among persons of genius
in statecraft, war, or commerce, but it is doubtful even in such instances if
any keep all their thoughts to themselves, hermetically sealed from their fellows.
As a prevailing rule, either a loving wife or very near friend shares the inner
thought of the most secretive individual, even when secrecy seems an indispensable
element to success. The tendency to a free interchange of ideas and experiences
is almost universal, instinct prompting the natural man to unburden his most
sacred thought, when the proper confidant and the proper time come for the disclosure.
I kept to myself the events narrated in the preceding chapter. And this for
several reasons: first, the dread of ridicule that would follow the relation
of the fantastic occurrences, and the possible suspicion of my sanity, that
might result from the recital; second, very grave doubts as to the reality of
my experiences. But by degrees self-confidence was restored, as I reasoned the
matter over and reassured myself by occasional contemplation of the silvery
hair I had coiled in my pocketbook, and which at first I had expected would
vanish as did the stranger's knife. There came upon me a feeling that I should
see my weird visitor again, and at an early day. I resisted this impression,
for it was a feeling of the idea, rather than a thought, but the vague expectation
grew upon me in spite of myself, until at length it became a conviction which
no argument or logic could shake. Curiously enough, as the original incident
receded into the past, this new idea thrust itself into the foreground, and
I began in my own mind to court another interview. At times, sitting alone after
night, I felt that I was watched by unseen eyes; these eyes haunted me in my
solitude, and I was morally sure of the presence of another than myself in the
room. The sensation was at first unpleasant, and I tried to throw it off, with
partial success. But only for a little while could I banish the intrusive idea,
and as the thought took form, and the invisible presence became more actual
to consciousness, I hoped that the stranger would make good his parting promise,
" I will see you again."
thing I was resolved; I would at least be better informed on the subject of
hallucinations and apparitions, and not be taken unawares as I had been. To
this end I decided to confer with my friend, Professor Chickering, a quiet,
thoughtful man, of varied accomplishments, and thoroughly read upon a great
number of topics, especially in the literature of the marvelous.
the Professor I went, after due appointment, and confided to him full particulars
of my adventure. He listened patiently throughout, and when I had finished,
assured me in a matter-of-fact way that such hallucinations were by no means
rare. His remark was provoking, for I did not expect from the patient interest
he had shown while I was telling my story, that the whole matter would be dismissed
thus summarily. I said with some warmth:
But this was not a hallucination. I tried at first to persuade myself that it
was illusory, but the more I have thought the experience over, the more real
it becomes to me."
Perhaps you were dreaming," suggested the Professor.
No," I answered; " I have tried that hypothesis, and it will not do.
Many things make that view untenable."
Do not be too sure of that," he said; " you were, by your
in a highly nervous condition, and physically tired. It is possible, perhaps
probable, that in this state, as you sat in your chair, you dozed off for a
short interval, during which the illusion flashed through your mind."
How do you explain the fact that incidents occupying a large portion of the
night, occurred in an interval which you describe as a flash?"
Easily enough; in dreams time may not exist: periods embracing weeks or months
may be reduced to an instant. Long journeys, hours of conversation, or a multitude
of transactions, may be compressed into a term measured by the opening or closing
of a door, or the striking of a clock. In dreams, ordinary standards of reason
find no place, while ideas or events chase through the mind more rapidly than
Conceding all this, why did I, considering the unusual character of the incidents,
accept them as real, as substantial, as natural as the most commonplace events?"
There is nothing extraordinary in that," he replied. " In dreams all
sorts of absurdities, impossibilities, discordancies, and violation of natural
law appear realities, without exciting the least surprise or suspicion. Imagination
runs riot and is supreme, and reason for the time is dormant. We see ghosts,
spirits, the forms of persons dead or living,- we suffer pain, pleasure, hunger,-
and all sensations and emotions, without a moment's question of their reality."
Do any of the subjects of our dreams or visions leave tangible evidences of
Assuredly not," he answered, with an incredulous, half impatient gesture;
" the idea is absurd."
Then I was not dreaming," I mused.
looking at me, the Professor went on: " These false presentiments may have
their origin in other ways, as from mental disorders caused by indigestion.
Nicolai, a noted bookseller of Berlin, was thus afflicted. His experiences are
interesting and possibly suggestive. Let me read some of them to you."
hereupon glanced over his bookshelf, selected a volume, and proceeded to read:
I generally saw human forms of both sexes; but they usually seemed not to take
the smallest notice of each other, moving as in a market place, where all are
eager to press through the crowd; at times, however, they seemed to be transacting
business with each other. I also saw several times, people on horseback, dogs,
All these phantasms appeared to me in their natural size, and as distinct as
if alive, exhibiting different shades of carnation in the uncovered parts, as
well as different colors and fashions in their dresses, though the colors seemed
somewhat paler than in real nature. None of the figures appeared particularly
terrible, comical, or disgusting, most of them being of indifferent shape, and
some presenting a pleasant aspect. The longer these phantasms continued to visit
me, the more frequently did they return, while at the same time they increased
in number about four weeks after they had first appeared. I also began to hear
them talk: these phantoms conversed among themselves, but more frequently addressed
their discourse to me; their speeches were uncommonly short, and never of an
unpleasant turn. At different times there appeared to me both dear and sensible
friends of both sexes, whose addresses tended to appease my grief, which had
not yet wholly subsided: their consolatory speeches were in general addressed
to me when I was alone. Sometimes, however, I was accosted by these consoling
friends while I was engaged in company, and not unfrequently while real persons
were speaking to me. These consolatory addresses consisted sometimes of abrupt
phrases, and at other times they were regularly executed."
I interrupted: " I note, Professor, that Mr. Nicolai knew these forms to
answering my remark, he continued to read:
There is in imagination a potency far exceeding the fabled power of Aladdin's
lamp. How often does one sit in wintry evening musings, and trace in the glowing
embers the features of an absent friend? Imagination, with its magic wand, will
there build a city with its countless spires, or marshal contending armies,
or drive the tempest-shattered ship upon the ocean. The following story, related
by Scott, affords a good illustration of this principle:
`Not long after the death of an illustrious poet, who had filled, while living,
a great station in the eyes of the public, a literary friend, to whom the deceased
had been well known, was engaged during the darkening twilight of an autumn
evening, in perusing one of the publications which professed to detail the habits
and opinions of the distinguished individual who was now no more. As the reader
had enjoyed the intimacy of the deceased to a considerable degree, he was deeply
interested in the publication, which contained some particulars relating to
himself and other friends. A visitor was sitting in the apartment, who was also
engaged in reading. Their sitting-room opened into an entrance hall, rather
fantastically fitted up with articles of armor, skins of wild animals, and the
like. It was when laying down his book, and passing into this hall, through
which the moon was beginning to shine, that the individual of whom I speak saw
right before him, in a standing posture, the exact representation of his departed
friend, whose recollection had been so strongly brought to his imagination.
He stopped for a single moment, so as to notice the wonderful accuracy with
which fancy had impressed upon the bodily eye the peculiarities of dress and
position of the illustrious poet. Sensible, however, of the delusion, he felt
no sentiment save that of wonder at the extraordinary accuracy of the resemblance,
and stepped onward to the figure, which resolved itself as he approached into
the various materials of which it was composed. These were merely a screen occupied
by great coats, shawls, plaids, and such other articles as are usually found
in a country entrance hall. The spectator returned to the spot from which he
had seen the illusion, and endeavored with all his power to recall the image
which had been so singularly vivid. But this he was unable to do. And the person
who had witnessed the apparition, or, more properly, whose excited state had
been the means of raising it, had only to return to the apartment, and tell
his young friend under what a striking hallucination he had for a moment labored."
I was constrained to call the Professor to a halt. " Your stories are very
interesting," I said, " but I fail to perceive any analogy in either
the conditions or the incidents, to my experience. I was fully awake and conscious
at the time, and the man I saw appeared and moved about in the full glare of
Perhaps not," he answered; " I am simply giving you some general illustrations
of the subject. But here is a case more to the point."
A lady was once passing through a wood, in the darkening twilight of a stormy
evening, to visit a friend who was watching over a dying child. The clouds were
thick- the rain beginning to fall; darkness was increasing; the wind was moaning
mournfully through the trees. The lady's heart almost failed her as she saw
that she had a mile to walk through the woods in the gathering gloom. But the
reflection of the situation of her friend forbade her turning back. Fxcited
and trembling, she called to her aid a nervous resolution, and pressed onward.
She had not proceeded far when she beheld in the path before her the movement
of some very indistinct object. It appeared to keep a little distance ahead
of her, and as she made efforts to get nearer to see what it was, it seemed
proportionally to recede. The lady began to feel rather unpleasantly. There
was some pale white object certainly discernible before her, and it appeared
mysteriously to float along, at a regular distance, without any effort at motion.
Notwithstanding the lady's good sense and unusual resolution, a cold chill began
to come over her. She made every effort to resist her fears, and soon succeeded
in drawing nearer the mysterious object, when, she was appalled at beholding
the features of her friend's child, cold in death, wrapt in its shroud. She
gazed earnestly, and there it remained distinct and clear before her eyes. She
considered it a premonition that her friend's child was dead, and that she must
hasten to her aid. But there was the apparition directly in her path. She must
pass it. Taking up a little stick, she forced herself along to the object, and
behold, some little animal scampered away. It was this that her excited imagination
had transformed into the corpse of an infant in its winding sheet."
a little irritated, and once more interrupted the reader warmly: " This
is exasperating. Now what resemblance is there between the vagaries of a hysterical,
weak-minded woman, and my case?"
and again read:
The numerous stories told of ghosts, or the spirits of persons who are dead,
will in most instances be found to have originated in diseased imagination,
aggravated by some abnormal defect of mind. We may mention a remarkable case
in point, and one which is not mentioned in English works on this subject; it
is told by a compiler of Les Causes Celebres. Two young noblemen, the Marquises
De Rambouillet and De Precy, belonging to two of the first families of France,
made an agreement, in the warmth of their friendship, that the one who died
first should return to the other with tidings of the world to come. Soon afterwards
De Rambouillet went to the wars in Flanders, while De Precy remained at Paris,
stricken by a fever. Lying alone in bed, and severely ill, De Precy one day
heard a rustling of his bed curtains, and turning round, saw his friend De Rambouillet,
in full military attire. The sick man sprung over the bed to welcome his friend,
but the other receded, and said that he had come to fulfill his promise, having
been killed on that very day. He further said that it behooved De Precy to think
more of the after world, as all that was said of it was true, and as he himself
would die in his first battle. De Precy was then left by the phantom; and it
was afterward found that De Rambouillet had fallen on that day."
Ah," I said, " and so the phantom predicted an event that followed
Spiritual illusions," explained the Professor, " are not unusual,
and well authenticated cases are not wanting in which they have been induced
in persons of intelligence by functional or organic disorders. In the last case
cited, the prediction was followed by a fulfillment, but this was chance or
mere coincidence. It would be strange indeed if in the multitude of dreams that
come to humanity, some few should not be followed by events so similar as to
warrant the belief that they were prefigured. But here is an illustration that
fits your case: let me read it:
In some instances it may be difficult to decide whether spectral appearances
and spectral noises proceed from physical derangement or from an overwrought
state of mind. Want of exercise and amusement may also be a prevailing cause.
A friend mentions to us the following case: An acquaintance of his, a merchant,
in London, who had for years paid very close attention to business, was one
day, while alone in his counting house, very much surprised to hear, as he imagined,
persons outside the door talking freely about him. Thinking it was some acquaintances
who were playing off a trick, he opened the door to request them to come in,
when to his amazement, he found that nobody was there. He again sat down to
his desk, and in a few minutes the same dialogue recommenced. The language was
very alarming. One voice seemed to say: ` We have the scoundrel in his own counting
house; let us go in and seize him. 'Certainly,' replied the other voice, 'it
is right to take him; he has been guilty of a great crime, and ought to be brought
to condign punishment.' Alarmed at these threats, the bewildered merchant rushed
to the door; and there again no person was to be seen. He now locked his door
and went home; but the voices, as he thought, followed him through the crowd,
and he arrived at his house in a most unenviable state of mind. Inclined to
ascribe the voices to derangement in mind, he sent for a medical attendant,
and told his case, and a certain kind of treatment was prescribed. This, however,
failed; the voices menacing him with punishment for purely imaginary crimes
continued, and he was reduced to the brink of despair. At length a friend prescribed
entire relaxation from business, and a daily game of cricket, which, to his
great relief, proved an effectual remedy. The exercise banished the phantom
voices, and they were no more heard."
So you think that I am in need of out-door exercise?"
And that my experience was illusory, the result of vertigo, or some temporary
calenture of the brain?"
To be plain with you, yes."
But I asked you a while ago if specters or phantoms ever leave tangible evidence
of their presence." The Professor's eyes dilated in interrogation. I continued:
" Well, this one did. After I had followed him out, I found on the table
a long, white hair, which I still have," and producing the little coil
from my pocket-book, I handed it to him. He examined it curiously, eyed me furtively,
and handed it back with the cautious remark:
I think you had better commence your exercise at once."
INTERVIEW WITH THE MYSTERIOUS VISITOR.
not pleasant to have one's mental responsibility brought in question, and the
result of my interview with Professor Chickering was, to put it mildly, unsatisfactory.
Not that he had exactly questioned my sanity, but it was all too evident that
he was disposed to accept my statement of a plain matter-of-fact occurrence
with a too liberal modicum of salt. I say " matter-of-fact occurrence "
in full knowledge of the truth that I myself had at first regarded the whole
transaction as a fantasia or flight of mind, the result of extreme nervous tension;
but in the interval succeeding I had abundant opportunity to correlate my thoughts,
and to bring some sort of order out of the mental and physical chaos of that
strange, eventful night. True, the preliminary events leading up to it were
extraordinary; the dismal weather, the depression of body and spirit under which
I labored, the wild whirl of thought keeping pace with the elements-in short,
a general concatenation of events that seemed to be ordered especially for the
introduction of some abnormal visitor-the night would indeed have been incomplete
without a ghost! But was it a ghost? There was nothing ghostly about my visitor,
except the manner of his entrance and exit. In other respects, he seemed substantial
enough. He was, in his manners, courteous and polished as a Chesterfield; learned
as a savant in his conversation; human in his thoughtful regard of my fears
and misgivings; but that tremendous forehead, with its crown of silver hair,
the long, translucent beard of pearly whiteness, and above all the astounding
facility with which he read my hidden thoughts- these were not natural.
had been patient with me- I had a right to expect that; he was entertaining
to the extent of reading such excerpts as he had with him on the subject of
hallucinations and their supposed causes, but had he not spoiled all by assigning
me at last to a place with the questionable, unbalanced characters he had cited?
I thought so, and the reflection provoked me; and this thought grew upon me
until I came to regard his stories and attendant theories as so much literary
reflections had been sober and deliberate, and had led me to seek a rational
explanation of the unusual phenomena. I had gone to Professor Chickering for
a certain measure of sympathy, and what was more to the point, to secure his
suggestions and assistance in the further unraveling of a profound mystery that
might contain a secret of untold use to humanity. Repulsed by the mode in which
my confidence had been received, I decided to do what I should have done from
the outset- to keep my own counsel, and to follow alone the investigation to
the end, no matter what the result might be. I could not forget or ignore the
silver hair I had so religiously preserved. That was genuine; it was as tangible,
as real, as convincing a witness as would have been the entire head of my singular
visitant, whatever might be his nature.
to feel at ease the moment my course was decided, and the feeling was at once
renewed within me that the gray head would come again, and by degrees that expectation
ripened into a desire, only intensified as the days sped by. The weeks passed
into months; summer came and went; autumn was fast fading, but the mysterious
unknown did not appear. A curious fancy led me now to regard him as my friend,
for the mixed and indefinite feelings I felt at first towards him had almost
unaccountably been changed to those of sincere regard. He was not always in
my thoughts, for I had abundant occupation at all times to keep both brain and
hands busy, but there were few evenings in which I did not, just before retiring,
give myself up for a brief period to quiet communion with my own thoughts, and
I must confess at such times the unknown occupied the larger share of attention.
The constant contemplation of any theme begets a feeling of familiarity or acquaintance
with the same, and if that subject be an individual, as in the present instance,
such contemplation lessens the liability to surprise from any unexpected development.
In fact, I not only anticipated a visit, but courted it. The old Latin maxim
that I had played with, " Never less alone than when alone " had domiciled
itself within my brain as a permanent lodger- a conviction, a feeling rather
than a thought defined, and I had but little difficulty in associating an easy-chair
which I had come to place in a certain position for my expected visitor, with
summer had passed, and the fall was nearly gone when for some inexplicable reason
the number seven began to haunt me. What had I to do with seven, or seven with
me? When I sat down at night this persistent number mixed itself in my thoughts,
to my intense annoyance. Bother take the mystic numeral! What was I to do with
seven? I found myself asking this question audibly one evening, when it suddenly
occurred to me that I would refer to the date of my friend's visit. I kept no
journal, but reference to a record of some business transactions that I had
associated with that event showed that it took place on November seventh. That
settled the importunate seven! I should look for whomever he was on the first
anniversary of his visit, which was the seventh, now close at hand. The instant
I had reached this conclusion the number left me, and troubled me no more.
third had passed, the fourth, and the fifth had come, when a stubborn, protesting
notion entered my mind that I was yielding to a superstitious idea, and that
it was time to control my vacillating will. Accordingly on this day I sent word
to a friend that, if agreeable to him, I would call on him on the evening of
the seventh for a short social chat, but as I expected to be engaged until later
than usual, would he excuse me if I did not reach his apartments until ten?
The request was singular, but as I was now accounted somewhat odd, it excited
no comment, and the answer was returned, requesting me to come. The seventh
of November came at last. I was nervous during the day, which seemed to drag
tediously, and several times it was remarked of me that I seemed abstracted
and ill at ease, but I held my peace. Night came cold and clear, and the stars
shone brighter than usual, I thought. It was a sharp contrast to the night of
a year ago. I took an early supper, for which I had no appetite, after which
I strolled aimlessly about the streets, revolving how I should put in the time
till ten o'clock, when I was to call upon my friend. I decided to go to the
theater, and to the theater I went. The play was spectacular, " Aladdin;
or, The Wonderful Lamp." The entertainment, to me, was a flat failure,
for I was busy with my thoughts, and it was not long until my thoughts were
busy with me, and I found myself attempting to answer a series of questions
that finally became embarrassing. " Why did you make an appointment for
ten o'clock instead of eight, if you wished to keep away from your apartments?"
I hadn't thought of that before; it was stupid to a degree, if not ill-mannered,
and I frankly admitted as much. " Why did you make an appointment at all,
in the face of the fact that you not only expected a visitor, but were anxious
to meet him?" This was easily answered: because I did not wish to yield
to what struck me as superstition. " But do you expect to extend your call
until morning ?" Well, no, I hadn't thought or arranged to do so. "
Well, then, what is to prevent your expected guest from awaiting your return?
Or, what assurance have you that he will not encounter you in the street, under
circumstances that will provoke or, at the least, embarrass you?" None
whatever." Then what have you gained by your stupid perversity?" Nothing,
beyond the assertion of my own individuality. " Why not go home and receive
your guest in becoming style?" No; I would not do that. I had started on
this course, and I would persevere in it. I would be consistent. And so I persisted,
at least until nine o'clock, when I quit the theater in sullen dejection, and
went home to make some slight preparation for my evening call.
my latch-key I let myself into the front door of the apartment house wherein
I lodged, walked through the hall, up the staircase, and paused on the threshold
of my room, wondering what I would find inside. Opening the door I entered,
leaving it open behind me so that the light from the hallway would shine into
the room, which was dark, and there was no transom above the door. The grate
fire had caked into a solid mass of charred bituminous coal, which shed no illumination
beyond a faint red glow at the bottom, showing that it was barely alive, and
no more. I struck a match on the underside of the mantel shelf, and as I lit
the gas I heard the click of the door latch. I turned instantly; the door had
been gently closed by some unknown force if not by unseen hands, for there was
no breath of air stirring. This preternatural interference was not pleasant,
for I had hoped in the event of another visit from my friend, if friend he was,
that he would bring no uncanny or ghostly manifestation to disturb me. I looked
at the clock; the index pointed to half past nine. I glanced about the room;
it was orderly, everything in proper position, even to the arm-chair that I
had been wont to place for my nondescript visitor. It was time to be going,
so I turned to the dressing case, brushed my hair, put on a clean scarf, and
moved towards the wash-stand, which stood in a little alcove on the opposite
side of the room. My self-command well-nigh deserted me as I did so, for there,
in the arm-chair that a moment before was empty, sat my guest of a year ago,
facing me with placid features! The room began to revolve, a faint, sick feeling
came over me, and I reeled into the first convenient chair, and covered my face
with my hands. This depression lasted but an instant, however, and as I recovered
self-possession, I felt or fancied I felt a pair of penetrating eyes fixed upon
me with the same mild, searching gaze I remembered so well. I ventured to look
up; sure enough, there they were, the beaming eyes, and there was he! Rising
from his chair, he towered up to his full height, smiled pleasantly, and with
a slight inclination of the head, murmured: " Permit me to wish you good
evening; I am profoundly glad to meet you again."
full a minute before I could muster courage to answer " I wish I could
say as much for myself."
And why shouldn't you?" he said, gently and courteously; " you have
realized, for the past six months, that I would return; more than that- you
have known for some time the very day and almost the exact hour of my coming,
have even wished for it, and, in the face of all this, I find you preparing
to evade the requirements of common hospitality; are you doing either me or
nettled at the knowledge he displayed of my movements, and of my very thoughts;
my old stubbornness asserted itself, and I was rude enough to say: " Perhaps
it is as you say; at all events, I am obligated to keep an engagement, and with
your permission will now retire."
curious to mark the effect of this speech upon the intruder. He immediately
became grave, reached quietly into an inner pocket of his coat, drew thence
the same glittering, horrible, mysterious knife that had so terrified and bewildered
me a year before, and looking me steadily in the eye, said coldly, yet with
a certain tone of sadness: " Well, I will not grant permission. It is unpleasant
to resort to this style of argument, but I do it to save time and controversy."
back in terror, and reached for the old-fashioned bell-cord, with the heavy
tassel at the end, that depended from the ceiling, and was on the point of grasping
and giving it a vigorous pull.
Not so fast, if you please," he said, sternly, as he stepped forward, and
gave the knife a rapid swish through the air above my head, causing the cord
to fall in a tangle about my hand, cut cleanly, high above my reach!
in dumb stupor at the rope about my hand, and raised my eyes to the remnant
above. That was motionless; there was not the slightest perceptible vibration,
such as would naturally be expected. I turned to look at my guest; he had resumed
his seat, and had also regained his pleasant expression, but he still held the
knife in his hand with his arm extended, at rest, upon the table, which stood
upon his right.
Let us have an end to this folly," he said; " think a moment, and
you will see that you are in fault. Your error we will rectify easily, and then
to business. I will first show you the futility of trying to escape this interview,
and then we will proceed to work, for time presses, and there is much to do."
Having delivered this remark, he detached a single silvery hair from his head,
blew it from his fingers, and let it float gently upon the upturned edge of
the knife, which was still resting on the table. The hair was divided as readily
as had been the bell-cord. I was transfixed with astonishment, for he had evidently
aimed to exhibit the quality of the blade, though he made no allusion to the
feat, but smilingly went on with his discourse: " It is just a year ago
to-night since we first met. Upon that occasion you made an agreement with me
which you are in honor bound to keep, and " - here he paused as if to note
the effect of his words upon me, then added significantly-" will keep.
I have been at some pains to impress upon your mind the fact that I would be
here tonight. You responded, and knew that I was coming, and yet in obedience
to a silly whim, deliberately made a meaningless engagement with no other purpose
than to violate a solemn obligation. I now insist that you keep your prior engagement
with me, but I do not wish that you should be rude to your friend, so you had
better write him a polite note excusing yourself, and dispatch it at once."
that he was right, and that there was no shadow of justification for my conduct,
or at least I was subdued by his presence, so I wrote the note without delay,
and was casting about for some way to send it, when he said: " Fold it,
seal it, and address it; you seem to forget what is proper." I did as he
directed, mechanically, and, without thinking what I was doing, handed it to
him. He took it naturally, glanced at the superscription, went to the door which
he opened slightly, and handed the billet as if to some messenger who seemed
to be in waiting outside,- then closed and locked the door. Turning toward me
with the apparent object of seeing if I was looking, he deftly drew his knife
twice across the front of the door knob, making a deep cross, and then deposited
the knife in his pocket, and resumed his seat.
as he was comfortably seated, he again began the conversation: " Now that
we have settled the preliminaries, I will ask if you remember what I required
of you a year ago?" I thought that I did. " Please repeat it; I wish
to make sure that you do, then we will start fair."
In the first place, you were to present me with a manuscript ".
Hardly correct," he interrupted; " I was to acquaint you with a narrative
which is already in manuscript, acquaint you with it, read it to you, if you
preferred not to read it to me "-
I beg your pardon," I answered ; " that is correct. You were to read
the manuscript to me, and during the reading I was to interpose such comments,
remarks, or objections, as seemed proper; to embody as interludes, in the manuscript,
as my own interpolations, however, and not as part of the original."
afterward that the door-knob, which was of solid metal, was cut deeply, as though
made of putty.
Very good," he replied, " you have the idea exactly; proceed."
I agreed that when the reading had been completed, I would seal the complete
manuscript securely, deposit it in some safe place, there to remain for thirty
years, when it must be published."
Just so," he answered; " we understand each other as we should. Before
we proceed further, however, can you think of any point on which you need enlightenment?
If so, ask such questions as you choose, and I will answer them."
for a moment, but no query occurred to me; after a pause he said: " Well,
if you think of nothing now, perhaps hereafter questions will occur to you which
you can ask; but as it is late, and you are tired, we will not commence now.
I will see you just one week from to-night, when we will begin. From that time
on, we will follow the subject as rapidly as you choose, but see to it that
you make no engagements that will interfere with our work, for I shall be more
exacting in the future." I promised, and he rose to go. A sudden impulse
seized me, and I said: " May I ask one question?"
What shall I call you ?"
Why call me aught? It is not necessary in addressing each other that any name
But what are you?" I persisted.
expression for an instant rested upon his face, and he said, sadly, pausing
between the words: " I-Am-The-Man Who-Did-It."
Ask not; the manuscript will tell you. Be content, Llewellyn, and remember this,
he bade me good night, opened the door, and disappeared down the broad staircase.
thereafter he appeared promptly, seated himself, and producing a roll of manuscript,
handed it to me, saying, " I am listening; you may begin to read."
I found each page to be somewhat larger than a sheet of letter paper, with the
written matter occupying a touch smaller space, so as to leave a wide white
border. One hundred pages were in the package. The last sentence ending abruptly
indicated that my guest did not expect to complete his task in one evening,
and, I may anticipate by saying that with each successive interview he drew
about the same amount of writing from his bosom. Upon attempting to read the
manuscript I at first found myself puzzled by a style of chirography very peculiar
and characteristic, but execrably bad. Vainly did I attempt to read it; even
the opening sentence was not deciphered without long inspection and great difficulty.
man, whom I had promised that I would fulfill the task, observing my discomfiture,
relieved me of the charge, and without a word of introduction, read fluently
FOR KNOWLEDGE.- THE ALCHEMISTIC LETTER.
the man who, unfortunately for my future happiness, was dissatisfied with such
knowledge as could be derived from ordinary books concerning semi-scientific
subjects in which I had long been absorbed. I studied the current works of my
day on philosophy and chemistry, hoping therein to find something tangible regarding
the relationship that exists between matter and spirit, but studied in vain.
Astronomy, history, philosophy and the mysterious, incoherent works of alchemy
and occultism were finally appealed to, but likewise failed to satisfy me. These
studies were pursued in secret, though I am not aware that any necessity existed
for concealment. Be that as it may, at every opportunity I covertly acquainted
myself with such alchemical lore as could be obtained either by purchase or
by correspondence with others whom I found to be pursuing investigations in
the same direction. A translation of Geber's " De Claritate Alchemiae,"
by chance came into my possession, and afterwards an original version from the
Latin of Boerhaave's " Elementa Chemix," published and translated
in 1753 by Peter Shaw. This magnificent production threw a flood of light upon
the early history of chemistry, being far more elaborate than any modern work.
It inspired me with the deepest regard for its talented author, and ultimately
introduced me to a brotherhood of adepts, for in this publication, although
its author disclaims occultism, is to be found a talisman that will enable any
earnest searcher after light to become a member of the society of secret "
Chemical Improvers of Natural Philosophy," with which I affiliated as soon
as the key was discovered. Then followed a systematic investigation of authorities
of the Alchemical School, including Geber, Morienus, Roger Bacon, George Ripley,
Raymond bully, Bernard, Count of Trevise, Isaac Hollandus, Arnoldus de la Villanova,
Faracelsus, and others, not omitting the learned researches of the distinguished
that many talented men are still firm believers in the lost art of alchemy,
and that among the followers of the " thrice-famed Hermes " are to
be found statesmen, clergymen, lawyers, and scientific men who, for various
reasons, invariably conceal with great tact their connection with the fraternity
of adepts. Some of these men had written scientific treatises of a very different
character from those circulating among the members of our brotherhood, and to
their materialistic readers it would seem scarcely possible that the authors
could be tainted with hallucinations of any description, while others,
leaders in the church, were seemingly beyond occult temptation.
number, it was evident, hoped by studies of the works of the alchemists, to
find the key to the alkahest of Van Helmont, that is, to discover the Philosopher's
Stone, or the Elixir of Life, and from their writings it is plain that the inner
consciousness of thoughtful and scientific men rebelled against confinement
to the narrow bounds of materialistic science, within which they were forced
to appear as dogmatic pessimists. To them scientific orthodoxy, acting as a
weight, prohibited intellectual speculation, as rank heresy. A few of my co-laborers
were expert manipulators, and worked experimentally, following in their laboratories
the suggestions of those gifted students who had pored over precious old manuscripts,
and had attempted to solve the enigmatical formulas recorded therein, puzzles
familiar to students of Hermetic lore. It was thus demonstrated,- for what I
have related is history,- that in this nineteenth century there exists a fraternity,
the members of which are as earnest in their belief in the truth of Esoteric
philosophy, as were the followers of Hermes himself; savants who, in secret,
circulate among themselves a literature that the materialism of this selfsame
nineteenth century has relegated to the deluded and murky periods that produced
a postal package came to my address, this being the manner in which some of
our literature circulated, which, on examination, I found to be a letter of
instruction and advice from some unknown member of our circle. I was already
becoming disheartened over the mental confusion into which my studies were leading
me, and the contents of the letter, in which I was greatly interested, made
a lasting impression upon me. It seemed to have been circulating a long time
among our members in Europe and America, for it bore numerous marginal notes
of various dates, but each and every one of its readers had for one reason or
another declined the task therein suggested. From the substance of the paper,
which, written exquisitely, yet partook of the ambiguous alchemistic style,
it was evident that the author was well versed in alchemy, and, in order that
my position may be clearly understood at this turning point in a life of remarkable
adventure, the letter is appended in full:
BROTHER ADEPT WHO DARES TRY TO DISCOVER ZOROASTER'S CAVE, OR THE PHILOSOPHERS'
INTELLECTUAL ECHOES, BY MANS OF WHICH
COMMUNICATE TO ONE ANOTHER FROM THEIR CAVES.
thou, that Hermes Trismegistus did not originate, but he gave to our philosophy
his name- the Hermetic Art. Evolved in a dim, mystic age, before antiquity began,
it endured through the slowly rolling cycles to be bandied about by the ever-ready
flippancy of nineteenth century students. It has lived, because it is endowed
with that quality which never dies- truth. Modern philosophy, of which chemistry
is but a fragment, draws its sustenance from the prime facts which were revealed
in ancient Egypt through Hermetic thought, and fixed by the Hermetic stylus.
The Hermetic allegories," so various in interpretable susceptibility, led
subsequent thinkers into speculations and experimentations, which have resulted
profitably to the world. It is not strange that some of the followers of Hermes,
especially the more mercurial and imaginative, should have evolved nebulous
theories, no longer explainable, and involving recondite spiritual considerations.
Know thou that the ultimate on psychochemical investigation is the proximate
of the infinite. Accordingly, a class came to believe that a projection of natural
mental faculties into an advanced state of consciousness called the " wisdom
faculty " constitutes the final possibility of Alchemy. The attainment
of this exalted condition is still believed practicable by many earnest savants.
Once on this lofty plane, the individual would not be trammelled by material
obstacles, but would abide in that spiritual placidity which is the exquisite
realization of mortal perfection. So exalted, he would be in naked parallelism
with Omniscience, and through his illuminated understanding, could feast his
soul on those exalted pleasures which are only less than deific.
the exploitings of a number of these philosophers, in which, by reason of our
inability to comprehend, sense seemed lost in a passage of incohesive dreamery
and resonancy of terminology, some of the purest spiritual researches the world
has ever known, were made in the dawn of history. The much abused alchemical
philosophers existed upon a plane, in some respects above the level of the science
of to-day. Many of them lived for the good of the world only, in an atmosphere
above the materialistic hordes that people the world, and toiling over their
crucibles and alembics, died in their cells " uttering no voice."
Take, for example, Firenaeus Philalethes, who, bore in 1623, lived contemporaneously
with Robert Boyle. A fragment from his writings will illustrate the purpose
which impelled the searcher for the true light of alchemy to record his discoveries
in allegories, and we have no right to question the honesty of his utterances:
The Searcher of all hearts knows that I write the truth; nor is there any cause
to accuse me of envy. I write with an unterrified quill in an unheard of style,
to the honor of God, to the profit of my neighbors, with contempt of the world
and its riches, because Elias, the artist, is already born, and now glorious
things are declared of the city of God. I dare affirm that I do possess more
riches than the whole known world is worth, but I can not make use of it because
of the snares of knaves. I disdain, loathe, and detest the idolizing of silver
and gold, by which the pomps and vanities of the world are celebrated. Ah! Filthy
evil! Ah! vain nothingness! Believe ye that I conceal the art out of envy? No,
verily, I protest to you; I grieve from the very bottom of my soul that we (
alchemists ) are driven like vagabonds from the face of the Lord throughout
the earth. But what need of many words? The thing that we have seen, taught,
and made, which we have, possess, and know, that we do declare; being moved
with compassion for the studious, and with indignation of gold, silver, and
precious stones. Believe me, the time is at the door, I feel it in spirit, when
we, adeptists, shall return from the four corners of the earth, nor shall we
fear any snares that are laid against our lives, but we shall give thanks to
the Lord our God. I would to God that every ingenious man in the whole earth
understood this science; then it would be valued only for its wisdom, and virtue
only would be had in honor."
there was a more worldly class, and a large contingent of mercenary impostors
( as science is always encumbered ), parasites, whose animus was shamefully
unlike the purity of true esoteric psychologists. These men devoted their lives
to experimentation for selfish advancement. They constructed alchemical outfits,
and carried on a ceaseless inquiry into the nature of solvents, and studied
their influences on earthly bodies, their ultimate object being the discovery
of the Philosopher's Stone, and the alkahest which Boerhaave asserts was never
discovered. Their records were often a verbose melange, purposely so written,
no doubt, to cover their tracks, and to make themselves conspicuous. Other Hermetic
believers occupied a more elevated position, and connected the intellectual
with the material, hoping to gain by their philosophy and science not only gold
and silver, which were secondary considerations, but the highest literary achievement,
the Magnum Opus. Others still sought to draw from Astrology and Magic the secrets
that would lead them to their ambitious goal. Thus there were degrees of fineness
in a fraternity, which the science of to-day must recognize and admit.
the illustrious, respected Geber, of the alchemistic school, and none need feel
compromised in admiring the talented alchemists who, like Geber, wrought in
the twilight of morn for the coming world's good. We are now enjoying a fragment
of the ultimate results of their genius and industry in the materialistic outcomes
of present-day chemistry, to be followed by others more valuable; and at last,
when mankind is ripe in the wisdom faculty, by spiritual contentment in the
complacent furtherings beyond. Allow me briefly to refer to a few men of the
alchemistic type whose records may be considered with advantage.
a conspicuous alchemist, born in 850, first mentioned orpiment, borax, compounds
of iron, copper, arsenic, and other similar substances. It is said, too, that
he discovered the art of making brandy. About a century later, Alfarabe ( killed
in 950 ), a great alchemist, astonished the King of Syria with his profound
learning, and excited the admiration of the wise men of the Fast by his varied
accomplishments. Later, Albertus Magnus ( born 1205 ), noted for his talent
and skill, believed firmly in the doctrine of transmutation. His beloved pupil,
Thomas Aquinas, gave us the word amalgam, and it still serves us. Contemporaneously
with these lived Roger Bacon ( born 1214 ), who was a man of most extraordinary
ability. There has never been a greater English intellect ( not excepting his
illustrious namesake, Lord Bacon ), and his penetrating mind delved deeper into
nature's laws than that of any successor. He told us of facts concerning the
sciences, that scientific men can not fully comprehend to-day; he told us of
other things that lie beyond the science provings of to-day, that modern philosophers
can not grasp. He was an enthusiastic believer in the Hermetic philosophy, and
such were his erudition and advanced views, that his brother friars, through
jealousy and superstition, had him thrown into prison- a common fate to men
who in those days dared to think ahead of their age. Despite ( as some would
say ) of his mighty reasoning power and splendid attainments, he believed the
Philosopher's Stone to be a reality; he believed the secret of indefinite prolongation
of life abode in alchemy; that the future could be predicted by means of a mirror
which he called Almuchese, and that by alchemy an adept could produce pure gold.
He asserted that by means of Aristotle's " Secret of Secrets," pure
gold can be made; gold even purer and finer than what men now know as gold.
In connection with other predictions he made an assertion that may with other
seemingly unreasonable predictions be verified in time to come. He said: "
It is equally possible to construct cars which may be set in motion with marvelous
rapidity, independently of horses or other animals." He declared that the
ancients had done this, and he believed the art might be revived.
came various enthusiasts, such as Raymond, the ephemeral ( died 1315 ), who
flared like a meteor into his brief, brilliant career; Arnold de Villanova (
1240 ), a celebrated adept, whose books were burned by the Inquisition on account
of the heresy they taught; Nicholas Flamel, of France ( 1350 ), loved by the
people for his charities, the wonder of his age ( our age will not admit the
facts ) on account of the vast fortune he amassed without visible means or income,
outside of alchemical lore; Johannes de Rupecissus, a man of such remarkable
daring that he even ( 1357 ) reprimanded Pope Innocent VI., for which he was
promptly imprisoned; Basil Valentine ( 1410 ) he author of many works, and the
man who introduced antimony ( antimonaches ) into medicine; Isaac of Holland
who, with his son, skillfully made artificial gems that could not be distinguished
from the natural; Bernard Trevison ( born 1406 ), who spent $30,000 in the study
of alchemy, out of much of which he was cheated by cruel alchemic pretenders,
for even in that day there were plenty of rogues to counterfeit a good thing.
Under stress of his strong alchemic convictions, Thomas Dalton placed his head
on the block by order of the virtuous (?) and conservative Thomas Herbert, 'squire
to King Edward; Jacob Bohme ( born 1575 ), the sweet, pure spirit of Christian
mysticism, " The Voice of Heaven," than whom none stood higher in
true alchemy, was a Christian, alchemist, theosophist; Robert Boyle, a conspicuous
alchemical philosopher, in 1662 published his " Defense of the Doctrine
touching the Spring and Weight of the Air," and illustrated his arguments
by a series of ingenious and beautiful experiments, that stand to-day so high
in the estimation of scientific men, that his remarks are copied verbatim by
our highest authorities, and his apparatus is the best yet devised for the purpose.
Boyle's " Law " was evolved and carefully defined fourteen years before
Mariotte's " Discours de la Nature de l'Air " appeared, which did
not, however, prevent French and German scientific men from giving the credit
to Mariotte, and they still follow the false teacher who boldly pirated not
only Boyle's ideas, but stole his apparatus.
appeared such men as Paracelsus ( born 1493 ), the celebrated physician, who
taught that occultism ( esoteric philosophy ) was superior to experimental chemistry
in enlightening us concerning the transmutation of baser metals into gold and
silver; and Gueppo Francisco ( born 1627 ), who wrote a beautiful treatise on
" Elementary Spirits," which was copied without credit by Compte de
Gabalis. It seems incredible that the man ( Gueppo Francisco ), whose sweet
spirit-thoughts are revivified and breathe anew in " Undine " and
" The Rape of the Lock," should have been thrown into a prison to
perish as a Hermetic follower; and this should teach us not to question the
earnestness of those who left us as a legacy the beauty and truth so abundantly
found in pure alchemy.
and many others, cotemporaries, some conspicuous, and others whose names do
not shine in written history, contributed incalculably to the grand aggregate
of knowledge concerning the divine secret which enriched the world. Compare
the benefits of Hermetic philosophy with the result of bloody wars ambitiously
waged by self-exacting tyrants- tyrants whom history applauds as heroes, but
whom we consider as butchers. Among the workers in alchemy are enumerated nobles,
kings, and even popes. Pope John XXII was an alchemist, which accounts for his
bull against impostors, promulgated in order that true students might not be
discredited; and King Frederick of Naples sanctioned the art, and protected
Count Cagliostro, the chequered " Joseph Balsamo " ( born 1743 ),
who combined alchemy, magic, astrology, sleight of hand, mesmerism, Free Masonry,
and remarkable personal accomplishments, that altogether have never since been
equalled, burst upon the world. Focusing the gaze of the church, kings, and
the commons upon himself, in many respects the most audacious pretender that
history records, he raised the Hermetic art to a dazzling height, and finally
buried it in a blaze of splendor as he passed from existence beneath a mantle
of shame. As a meteor streams into view from out the star mists of space, and
in corruscating glory sinks into the sea, Cagliostro blazed into the sky of
the eighteenth century, from the nebula of alchemistic speculation, and extinguished
both himself and his science in the light of the rising sun of materialism.
Cagliostro the visionary, the poet, the inspired, the erratic comet in the universe
of intellect, perished in prison as a mountebank, and then the plodding chemist
of to-day, with his tedious mechanical methods, and cold, unresponsive, materialistic
dogmas, arose from the ashes, and sprang into prominence.
the story backward, and you shall see that in alchemy we behold the beginning
of all the sciences of to-day; alchemy is the cradle that rocked them. Fostered
with necromancy, astrology, occultism, and all the progeny of mystic dreamery,
the infant sciences struggled for existence through the dark ages, in care of
the once persecuted and now traducers alchemist. The-world owes a monument to-day
more to Hermetic heroes, than to all other influences and instrumentalities,
religion excepted, combined, for our present civilization is largely a legacy
from the alchemist. Begin with Hermes Trismegistus, and close with Joseph Balsanto,
and if you are inclined towards science, do not criticise too severely their
verbal logorrhea, and their romanticism, for your science is treading backward;
it will encroach upon their field again, and you may have to unsay your words
of hasty censure. These men fulfilled their mission, and did it well. If they
told more than men now think they knew, they also knew more than they told,
and more than modern philosophy embraces. They could not live to see all the
future they eagerly hoped for, but they started a future for mankind that will
far exceed in sweetness and light the most entrancing visions of their most
imaginative dreamers. They spoke of the existence of a " red elixir;"
and while they wrote, the barbarous world about them ran red with blood,-blood
of the pure in heart, blood of the saints, blood of a Saviour; and their allegory
and wisdom formulae were recorded in blood of their own sacrifices. They dreamed
of a " white elixir " that is yet to bless mankind, and a brighter
day for man, a period of peace, happiness, long life, contentment, good will
and brotherly love, and in the name of this " white elixir " they
directed the world towards a vision of divine light. Even pure gold, as they
told the materialistic world who worship gold, was penetrated and whelmed by
this subtle, superlatively refined spirit of matter. Is not the day of the allegorical
" white elixir " nearly at hand? Would that it were!
to you now, brothers of the eighteenth century, as one speaking by authority
to you, cease ( some of you ) to study this entrancing past, look to the future
by grasping the present, cast aside ( some of you ) the alchemical lore of other
days, give up your loved allegories; it is a duty, you must relinquish them.
There is a richer field. Do not delay. Unlock this mystic door that stands hinged
and ready, waiting the touch of men who can interpret the talisman; place before
mankind the knowledge that lies behind its rivets. In the secret lodges that
have preserved the wisdom of the days of Enoch and Elias of Egypt, who propagated
the Egyptian Order, a branch of your ancient brotherhood, is to be found concealed
much knowledge that should now be spread before the world, and added to the
treasures of our circle of adepts. This cabalistic wisdom is not recorded in
books nor in manuscript, but has been purposely preserved from the uninitiated,
in the unreadable brains of unresponsive men. Those who are selected to act
as carriers thereof, are, as a rule, like dumb water bearers, or the dead sheet
of paper that mechanically preserves an inspiration derived from minds unseen:
they serve a purpose as a child mechanically commits to memory a black verse
to repeat to others, who in turn commit to repeat again- neither of them speaking
understandingly. Search ye these hidden paths, for the day of mental liberation
approaches, and publish to the world all that is locked within the doors of
that antiquated organization. The world is nearly ripe for the wisdom faculty,
and men are ready to unravel the golden threads that mystic wisdom has inwoven
in her web of secret knowledge. Look for knowledge where I have indicated, and
to gain it do not hesitate to swear allegiance to this sacred order, for so
you must do to gain entrance to the brotherhood, and then you must act what
men will call the traitor. You will, however, be doing a sacred duty, for the
world will profit, humanity will be the gainer, " Peace on Earth, Good
Will to Man," will be closer to mankind, and at last, when the sign appears,
the " white elixir " will no longer be allegorical; it will become
a reality. In the name of the Great Mystic Vase-Man, go thou into these lodges,
learn of their secrets, and spread their treasures before those who can interpret
this letter ended. It was evident that the writer referred to a secret society
into which I could probably enter; and taking the advice, I did not hesitate,
but applied at once for membership. I determined, regardless of consequence,
to follow the suggestion of the unknown writer, and by so doing, for I accepted
their pledges, I invited my destiny.
of the massive forehead paused for a moment, stroked his long, white beard,
and then, after casting an inquiring glance on me, asked, " Shall I read
Yes," I replied, and The-Man-Who-Did-It, proceeded as follows
OF MY CONFESSION.
become a member of the Secret Society as directed by the writer of the letter
I have just read, and having obtained the secrets hinted at in the mystic directions,
my next desire was to find a secluded spot where, without interruption, I could
prepare for publication what I had gathered surreptitiously in the lodges of
the fraternity I designed to betray. This I entitled " My Confession."
Alas! Why did my evil genius prompt me to write it? Why did not some kind angel
withhold my hand from the rash and wicked deed? All I can urge in defense or
palliation is that I was infatuated by the fatal words of the letter, "
You must act what men will call the traitor, but humanity will be the gainer."
section of the state in which I resided, a certain creek forms the boundary
line between two townships, and also between two counties. Crossing this creek,
a much traveled road stretches east and west, uniting the extremes of the great
state. Two villages on this road, about four miles apart, situated on opposite
sides of the creek, also present themselves to my memory, and midway between
them, on the north side of the road, was a substantial farm house. In going
west from the easternmost of these villages, the traveler begins to descend
from the very center of the town. In no place is the grade steep, as the road
lies between the spurs of the hill abutting upon the valley that feeds the creek
I have mentioned. Having reached the valley, the road winds a short distance
to the right, then turning to the left, crosses the stream, and immediately
begins to climb the western hill; here the ascent is more difficult, for the
road lies diagonally over the edge of the hill. A mile of travel, as I recall
the scene, sometimes up a steep, and again among rich, level farm lands, and
then on the very height, close to the road, within a few feet of it, appears
the square structure which was, at the tune I mention, known as the Stone Tavern.
On the opposite side of the road were located extensive stables, and a grain
barn. In the northeast chamber of that stone building, during a summer in the
twenties, I wrote for publication the description of the mystic work that my
oath should have made forever a secret, a sacred trust. I am the man who wantonly
committed the deplorable act. Under the infatuation of that alchemical manuscript,
I strove to show the world that I could and would do that which might never
benefit me in the least, but might serve humanity. It was fate. I was not a
bad man, neither malignity, avarice, nor ambition forming a part of my nature.
I was a close student, of a rather retiring disposition, a stone-mason by trade,
careless and indifferent to public honors, and so thriftless that many trifling
neighborhood debts had accumulated against me.
I have reluctantly told, for I am forbidden to give the names of the localities,
comprises an abstract of dart of the record of my early life, and will introduce
the extraordinary narrative which follows. That I have spoken the truth, and
in no manner overdrawn, will be silently evidenced by hundreds of brethren,
both of the occult society and the fraternal brotherhood, with which I united,
who can ( if they will ) testify to the accuracy of the narrative. They know
the story of my crime and disgrace; only myself and God know the full retribution
just narrated occurred in the prime of my life, and are partly matters of publicity.
My attempted breach of faith in the way of disclosing their secrets was naturally
infamous in the eyes of my society brethren, who endeavored to prevail upon
me to relent of my design which, after writing my " Confession," I
made no endeavor to conceal. Their importunities and threatenings had generally
been resisted, however, and with an obliquity that can not be easily explained,
I persisted in my unreasonable design. I was blessed as a husband and father,
but neither the thought of home, wife, nor child, checked me in my inexplicable
course. I was certainly irresponsible, perhaps a monomaniac, and yet in the
subject in which I was absorbed, I preserved my mental equipoise, and knowingly
followed a course that finally brought me into the deepest slough of trouble,
and lost to me forever all that man loves most dearly. An overruling spirit,
perhaps the shade of one of the old alchemists, possessed me, and in the face
of obstacles that would have caused most men to reflect, and retrace their steps,
I madly rushed onward. The influence that impelled me, whatever it may have
been, was irresistible. I apparently acted the part of agent, subject to an
ever-present master essence, and under this dominating spirit or demon my mind
was powerless in its subjection. My soul was driven imperiously by that impelling
and rode cribable something, and was as passive and irresponsible as lycopodium
that is borne onward in a steady current of air. Methods were vainly sought
by those who loved me, brethren of the lodge, and others who endeavored to induce
me to change my headstrong purpose, but I could neither accept their counsels
nor heed their forebodings. Summons by law were served on me in order to disconcert
me, and my numerous small debts became the pretext for legal warrants, until
at last all my papers ( excepting my " Confession " ), and my person
also, were seized, upon an execution served by a constable. Minor claims were
quickly satisfied, but when I regained my liberty, the aggression continued.
Even arson was resorted to, and the printing office that held my manuscript
was fired one night, that the obnoxious revelation which I persisted in putting
into print, might be destroyed. Finally I found myself separated by process
of law from home and friends, an inmate of a jail. My opponents, as I now came
to consider them, had confined me in prison for a debt of only two dollars,
a sufficient amount at that time, in that state, for my incarceration. Smarting
under the humiliation, my spirit became still more rebellious, and I now, perhaps
justly, came to view myself as a martyr. It had been at first asserted that
I had stolen a shirt, but I was not afraid of any penalty that could be laid
on me for this trumped-up charge, believing that the imputation and the arrest
would be shown to be designed as willful oppression. Therefore it was, that
when this contemptible arraignment had been swept aside, and I was freed before
a justice of the Peace, I experienced more than a little surprise at a rearrest,
and at finding myself again thrown into jail. I knew that it had been decreed
by my brethren that I must retract and destroy my " Confession," and
this fact made me the more determined to prevent its destruction, and I persisted
sullenly in pursuing my coarse. On the evening of August 12th, 1826, my jailer's
wife informed me that the debt for which I had been incarcerated had been paid
by unknown " friends," and that I could depart; and I accepted the
statement without question. Upon my stepping from the door of the jail, however,
my arms were firmly grasped by two persons, one on each side of me, and before
I could realize the fact that I was being kidnapped, I was thrust into a closed
coach, which immediately rolled away, but not until I made an outcry which,
if heard by anyone, was unheeded.
For your own sake, be quiet," said one of my companions in confinement,
for the carriage was draped to exclude the light, and was as dark as a dungeon.
My spirit rebelled; I felt that I was on the brink of a remarkable, perhaps
perilous experience, and I indignantly replied by asking:
What have I done that you should presume forcibly to imprison me? Am I not a
freeman of America?"
What have you done?" he answered. " Have you not bound yourself by
a series of vows that are sacred and should be inviolable, and have you not
broken them as no other man has done before you? Have you not betrayed your
trust, and merited a severe judgment? Did you not voluntarily ask admission
into our ancient brotherhood, and in good faith were you not initiated into
our sacred mysteries? Did you not obligate yourself before man, and on your
sacred honor promise to preserve our secrets?"
I did," I replied; " but previously I had sworn before a higher tribunal
to scatter this precious wisdom to the world."
Yes," he said, " and you know full well the depth of the self-sought
solemn oath that you took with us- more solemn than that prescribed by any open
court on earth."
This I do not deny," I said, " and yet I am glad that I accomplished
my object, even though you have now, as is evident, the power to pronounce my
You should look for the death sentence," was the reply, " but it has
been ordained instead that you are to be given a lengthened life. You should
expect bodily destruction; but on the contrary, you will pass on in consciousness
of earth and earthly concerns when we are gone. Your name will be known to all
lands, and yet from this time you will be unknown. For the welfare of future
humanity, you will be thrust to a height in our order that will annihilate you
as a mortal being, and yet you will exist, suspended between life and death,
and in that intermediate state will know that you exist. You have, as you confess,
merited a severe punishment, but we can only punish in accordance with an unwritten
law, that instructs the person punished, and elevates the human race in consequence.
You stand alone among mortals in that you have openly attempted to give broadly
to those who have not earned it, our most sacred property, a property that did
not belong to you, property that you have only been permitted to handle, that
has been handed from man to man from before the time of Solomon, and which belongs
to no one man, and will continue to pass in this way from one to another, as
a hallowed trust, until there are no men, as men now exist, to receive it. You
will soon go into the shadows of darkness, and will learn many of the mysteries
of life, the undeveloped mysteries that are withheld from your fellows, but
which you, who have been so presumptuous and anxious for knowledge, are destined
to possess and solve. You will find secrets that man, as man is now constituted,
can not yet discover, and yet which the future man must gain and be instructed
in. As you have sowed, so shall you reap. You wished to become a distributor
of knowledge; you shall now by bodily trial and mental suffering obtain unsought
knowledge to distribute, and in time to come you will be commanded to make your
discoveries known. As your pathway is surely laid out, so must you walk. It
is ordained; to rebel is useless."
Who has pronounced this sentence?" I asked.
A judge, neither of heaven nor of earth."
You speak in enigmas."
No; I speak openly, and the truth. Our brotherhood is linked with the past,
and clasps hands with the antediluvians; the flood scattered the races of earth,
but did not disturb our secrets. The great love of wisdom has from generation
to generation led selected members of our organization to depths of study that
our open work does not touch upon, and behind our highest officers there stand,
in the occult shades between the here and the hereafter, unknown and unseen
agents who are initiated into secrets above and beyond those known to the ordinary
craft. Those who are introduced into these inner recesses acquire superhuman
conceptions, and do not give an open sign of fellowship; they need no talisman.
They walk our streets possessed of powers unknown to men, they concern themselves
as mortals in the affairs of men, and even their brethren of the initiated,
open order are unaware of their exalted condition. The means by which they have
been instructed, their several individualities as well, have been concealed,
because publicity would destroy their value, and injure humanity's cause."
followed these vague disclosures, and the carriage rolled on. I was mystified
and alarmed, and yet I knew that, whatever might be the end of this nocturnal
ride, I had invited
merited it- and I steeled myself to hear the sentence of my judges, in whose
hands I was powerless. The persons on the seat opposite me continued their conversation
in low tones, audible only to themselves. An individual by my side neither moved
nor spoke. There were four of us in the carriage, as I learned intuitively,
although we were surrounded by utter darkness. At length I addressed the companion
beside me, for the silence was unbearable. Friend or enemy though he might be,
anything rather than this long silence. " How long shall we continue in
a time I again spoke.
Can you not tell me, comrade, how long our journey will last? When shall we
reach our destination?"
out my hand, I ventured to touch my mate, and found that he was tightly strapped,-bound
upright to the seat and the back of the carriage. Leather thongs held him firmly
in position; and as I pondered over the mystery, I thought to myself, if I make
a disturbance, they will not hesitate to manacle me as securely. My custodians
seemed, however, not to exercise a guard over me, and yet I felt that they were
certain of my inability to escape. If the man on the seat was a prisoner, why
was he so reticent? Why did he not answer my questions? I came to the conclusion
that he must be gagged as well as bound. Then I determined to find out if this
were so. I began to realize more forcibly that a terrible sentence must have
keen meted me, and I half hoped that I could get from my partner in captivity
some information regarding our destination. Sliding my hand cautiously along
his chest, and under his chin, I intended to remove the gag from his mouth,
when I felt my flesh creep, for it came in contact with the cold, rigid flesh
of a corpse. The man was dead, and stiff.
unnerved me. I had begun to experience the results of a severe mental strain,
partly induced by the recent imprisonment and extended previous persecution,
and partly by the mysterious significance of the language in which I had recently
been addressed. The sentence, " You will now go into the Valley of the
Shadow of Death, and learn the mysteries of life," kept ringing through
my head, and even then I sat beside a corpse. After this discovery I remained
for a time in a semistupor, in a state of profound dejection,- how long I can
not say. Then I experienced an inexplicable change, such as I imagine comes
over a condemned man without hope of reprieve, and I became unconcerned as a
man might who had accepted his destiny, and stoically determined to await it.
Perhaps moments passed, it may have been hours, and then indifference gave place
to reviving curiosity. I realized that I could die only once, and I cooly and
complacently revolved the matter, speculating over my possible fate. As I look
back on the night in which I rode beside that dead man, facing the mysterious
agents of an all-powerful judge, I marvel over a mental condition that permitted
me finally to rest in peace, and slumber in unconcern. So I did, however, and
after a period, the length of which I am not able to estimate, I awoke, and
soon thereafter the carriage stopped, and our horses were changed, after which
our journey was resumed, to continue hour after hour, and at last I slept again,
leaning back in the corner. Suddenly I was violently shaken from slumber, and
commanded to alight. It was in the gray of morning, and before I could realize
what was happening, I was transferred by my captors to another carriage, and
the dead man also was rudely hustled along and thrust beside me, my companions
speaking to him as though he were alive. Indeed, as I look back on these maneuvers,
I perceive that, to all appearances, I was one of the abducting party, and our
actions were really such as to induce an observer to believe that this dead
man was an obstinate prisoner, and myself one of his official guards. The drivers
of the carriages seemed to give us no attention, but they sat upright and unconcerned,
and certainly neither of them interested himself in our transfer. The second
carriage, like that other previously described, was securely closed, and our
journey was continued. The darkness was as of a dungeon. It may have been days,
I could not tell anything about the passage of time; on and on we rode. Occasionally
food and drink mere handed in, but my captors held to their course, and at last
I was taken from the vehicle, and transferred to a block-house.
been carried rapidly and in secret a hundred or more miles, perhaps into another
state, and probably all traces of my journey were effectually lost to outsiders.
I was in the hands of men who implicitly obeyed the orders of their superiors,
masters whom they had never seen, and probably did not know. I needed no reminder
of the fact that I had violated every sacred pledge voluntarily made to the
craft, and now that they held me powerless, I well knew that, whatever the punishment
assigned, I had invited it, and could not prevent its fulfillment. That it would
be severe, I realized; that it would not be in accordance with ordinary human
law, I accepted.
not in secret, in my little room in that obscure Stone Tavern, engrossed on
paper the mystic sentences that never before had been penned and were unknown
excepting to persons initiated into our sacred mysteries? Had I not previously,
in the most solemn manner, before these words had been imparted to my keeping,
sworn to keep them inviolate and secret? And had I not deliberately broken that
sacred vow, and scattered the hoarded sentences broadcast? My part as a brother
in this fraternal organization was that of the holder only of property that
belonged to no man, that had been handed from one to
through the ages, sacredly cherished, and faithfully protected by men of many
tongues, always considered a trust, a charge of honor, and never before betrayed.
My crime was deep and dark. I shuddered.
Come what may," I mused, reflecting over my perfidy, " I am ready
for the penalty, and my fate is deserved; it can not but be a righteous one."
of the occupant of the carriage occurred to me again and again; that one sentence
kept ringing in my brain; I could not dismiss it: " You have been tried,
convicted, and we are of those appointed to carry out the sentence of the judges."
silence of my lonely cell beat against me; I could feel the absence of sound,
I could feel the dismal weight of nothingness, and in my solitude and distraction
I cried out in anguish to the invisible judge: " I am ready for my sentence,
whether it be death or imprisonment for life"; and still the further words
of the occupant of the carriage passed through my mind: " You will now
go into the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and will learn the mysteries of Life."
I slept, to awake and sleep again. I kept no note of time; it may have been
days or weeks, so far as my record could determine. An attendant came at intervals
to minister to my wants, always masked completely, ever silent.
I was not entirely separated from mankind, however, I felt assured, for occasionally
sounds of voices came to me front without. Once I ventured to shout aloud, hoping
to attract attention; but the persons whom I felt assured overheard me, paid
no attention to my lonely cry. At last one night, my door opened abruptly, and
three men entered.
Do not fear," said their spokesman, " we aim to protect you; keep
still, and soon you will be a free man."
quietly to accompany them, for to refuse would have been in vain; and I was
conducted to a boat, which I found contained a corpse- the one I had journeyed
with, I suppose- and embarking, we were silently rowed to the middle of the
river, our course being diagonally from the shore, and the dead man was thrown
overboard. Then our boat returned to the desolate bank.
me into a carriage, that, on our return to the river bank we found awaiting
us, my captors gave a signal, and I was driven away in the darkness, as silently
as before, and our journey was continued I believe for fully two days. I was
again confined in another log cabin, with but one door, and destitute of windows.
My attendants were masked, they neither spoke to me as they day after day supplied
my wants, nor did they give me the least information on any subject, until at
last I abandoned all hope of ever regaining my liberty.
NIGHT.- I AM PREMATURELY AGED.
depths of night I was awakened by a noise made by the opening of a door, and
one by one seven masked figures silently stalked into my prison. Each bore a
lighted torch, and they passed me as I lay on the floor in my clothes ( for
I had no bedding ), and ranged themselves in a line. I arose, and seated myself
as directed to do, upon the only stool in the room. Swinging into a semi-circle,
the weird line wound about me, and from the one seat on which I rested in the
center of the room, I gazed successively upon seven pairs of gleaming eyes,
each pair directed at myself; and as I turned from one to another, the black
cowl of each deepened into darkness, and grew more hideous.
Men or devils," I cried, " do your worst! Make me, if such is your
will, as that sunken corpse beside which I was once seated; but cease your persecutions.
I have atoned for my indiscretions a thousand fold, and this suspense is unbearable;
I demand to know what is to be my doom, and I desire its fulfilment."
one stepped forward, facing me squarely,- the others closed together around
him and me. Raising his forefinger, he pointed it close to my face, and as his
sharp eyes glittered from behind the black mask, piercing through me, he slowly
said: " Why do you not say brothers?"
Horrible," I rejoined; " stop this mockery. Have I not suffered enough
from your persecutions to make me reject that word as applied to yourselves?
You can but murder; do your duty to your unseen masters, and end this prolonged
Brother," said the spokesman, " you well know that the sacred rules
of our order will not permit us to murder any human being. We exist to benefit
humanity, to lead the wayward back across the burning desert into the pathways
of the righteous; not to destroy or persecute a brother. Ours is an eleemosynary
institution, instructing its members, helping them to seek happiness. You are
now expiating the crime you have committed, and the good in your spirit rightfully
revolts against the bad, for in divulging to the world our mystic signs and
brotherly greetings, you have sinned against yourself more than against others.
The sting of conscience, the bitings of remorse punish you."
True," I cried, as the full significance of what he said burst upon me,
" too true; but I bitterly repent my treachery. Others can never know how
my soul is harrowed by the recollection of the enormity of that breach of confidence.
In spite of my open, careless, or defiant bearing, my heart is humble, and my
spirit cries out for mercy. By night and by day I have in secret cursed myself
for heeding an unhallowed mandate, and I have long looked forward to the judgment
that I should suffer for my perfidy, for I have appreciated that the day of
reckoning would surely appear. I do not rebel, and I recall my wild language;
I recant my Confession, I renounce myself! I say to you in all sincerity, brothers,
do your duty, only I beg of you to slay me at once, and end my suspense. I await
my doom. What might it be?"
my hand, the leader said: " You are ready as a member of our order; we
can now judge you as we have been commanded; had you persisted in calling us
devils in your mistaken frenzy, we should have been forced to reason with you
until you returned again to us, and became one of us. Our judgment is for you
only; the world must not now know its nature, at least so far as we are concerned.
Those you see here, are not your judges; we are agents sent to labor with you,
to draw you back into our ranks, to bring you into a condition that will enable
you to carry out the sentence that you have drawn upon yourself, for you must
be your own doomsman. In the first place, we are directed to gain your voluntary
consent to leave this locality. You can no longer take part in affairs that
interested you before. To the people of this State, and to your home, and kindred,
you must become a stranger for all time. Do you consent?"
Yes," I answered, for I knew that I must acquiesce.
In the next place, you must help us to remove all traces of your identity. You
must, so far as the world is concerned, leave your body where you have apparently
been drowned, for a world's benefit, a harmless mockery to deceive the people,
and also to make an example for others that are weak. Are you ready?"
Then remove your clothing, and replace it with this suit."
and changed my garments, receiving others in return. One of the party then,
taking from beneath his gown a box containing several bottles of liquids, proceeded
artfully to mix and compound them, and then to paint my face with the combination,
which after being mixed, formed a clear solution.
Do not fear to wash;" said the spokesman, " the effect of this lotion
is permanent enough to stay until you are well out of this State."
my hand over my face; it was drawn into wrinkles as a film of gelatine might
have been shrivelled under the influence of a strong tannin or astringent liquid;
beneath my fingers it felt like the furrowed face of a very old man, but I experienced
no pain. I vainly tried to smooth the wrinkles; immediately upon removing the
pressure of my hand, the furrows reappeared.
another applied a colorless liquid freely to my hair and beard; he rubbed it
well, and afterward wiped it dry with a towel. A mirror was thrust beneath my
gaze. I started back, the transformation was complete. My appearance had entirely
changed. My face had become aged and wrinkled, my hair as white as snow.
aloud in amazement: " Am I sane, is this a dream?"
It is not a dream; but, under methods that are in exact accordance with natural
physiological laws, we have been enabled to transform your appearance from that
of one in the prime of manhood into the semblance of an old man, and that, too,
without impairment of your vitality." Another of the masked men opened
a curious little casket that I perceived was surmounted by an alembic and other
alchemical figures, and embossed with an Oriental design. He drew from it a
lamp which he lighted with a taper; the flame that resulted, first pale blue,-
then yellow, next violet and finally red, seemed to become more weird and ghastly
with each mutation, as I gazed spellbound upon its fantastic changes. Then,
after these transformations, it burned steadily with the final strange blood-red
hue, and he now held over the blaze a tiny cup, which, in a few moments, commenced
to sputter and then smoked, exhaling a curious, epipolic, semi-luminous vapor.
I was commanded to inhale the vapor.
; the thought rushed upon me, " Now I am another person, so cleverly disguised
that even my own friends would perhaps not know me, this vapor is designed to
suffocate me, and my body, if found, will not now be known, and could not be
identified when discovered."
Do not fear," said the spokesman, as if divining my thought, " there
is no danger," and at once I realized, by quick reasoning, that if my death
were demanded, my body might long since have been easily destroyed, and all
this ceremony would have been unnecessary.
no longer, but drew into my lungs the vapor that arose from the mysterious cup,
freely expanding my chest several times, and then asked, " Is not that
enough?" Despair now overcame me. My voice, no longer the full, strong
tone of a man in middle life and perfect strength, squeaked and quavered, as
if impaired by palsy. I had seen my image in a mirror, an old man with wrinkled
face and white hair; I now heard myself speak with the voice of an octogenarian.
What have you done?" I cried.
We have obeyed your orders; you told us you were ready to leave your own self
here, and the work is complete. The man who entered has disappeared. If you
should now stand in the streets of your village home, and cry to your former
friends, It is I, for whom you seek, they would smile, and call you a madman.
Know," continued the voice, " that there is in Eastern metaphysical
lore, more true philosophy than is embodied in the sciences of to-day, and that
by means of the ramifications of our order it becomes possible, when necessary,
for him who stands beyond the inner and upper Worshipful Master, to draw these
treasures from the occult Wisdom possessions of Oriental sages who forget nothing
and lose nothing. Have we not been permitted to do his bidding well?"
Yes," I squeaked; " and I wish that you had done it better. I would
that I were dead."
When the time comes, if necessary, your dead body will be fished from the water,"
was the reply; " witnesses have seen the drowning tragedy, and will surely
identify the corpse."
And may I go? am I free now?" I asked.
Ah," said he, " that is not for us to say; our part of the work is
fulfilled, and we can return to our native lands, and resume again our several
studies. So far as we are concerned, you are free, but we have been directed
to pass you over to the keeping of others who will carry, forward this judgment-
there is another step."
Tell me," I cried, once more desponding, " tell me the full extent
of my sentence."
That is not known to us, and probably is not known to any one man. So far as
the members of our order are concerned, you have now vanished. When you leave
our sight this night, we will also separate from one another, we shall know
no more of you and your future than will those of our working order who live
in this section of the country. We have no personal acquaintance with the guide
that has been selected to conduct you farther, and who will appear in due season,
and we make no surmise concerning the result of your journey, only we know that
you will not be killed, for you have a work to perform, and will continue to
exist long after others of your age are dead. Farewell, brother; we have discharged
our duty, and by your consent, now we must return to our various pursuits. In
a short time all evidence of your unfortunate mistake, the crime committed by
you in printing our sacred charges, will have vanished. Even now, emissaries
are ordained to collect and destroy the written record that tells of your weakness,
and with the destruction of that testimony, for every copy will surely be annihilated,
and with your disappearance from among men, for this also is to follow, our
responsibility for you will cease."
of the seven men advanced, and grasped my hand, giving me the grip of brotherhood,
and then, without a word, they severally and silently departed into the outer
darkness. As the last man disappeared, a figure entered the door, clad and masked
exactly like those who had gone. He removed the long black gown in which he
was enveloped, threw the mask from his face and stood before me, a slender,
graceful, brightlooking young man. By the light of the candle I saw him distinctly,
and was at once struck by his amiable, cheerful countenance, and my heart bounded
with a sudden hope. I had temporarily forgotten the transformation that had
been made in my person, which, altogether painless, had left no physical sensation,
and thought of myself as I had formerly existed; my soul was still my own, I
imagined; my blood seemed unchanged, and must flow as rapidly as before; my
strength was unaltered, indeed I was in self-consciousness still in the prime
Excuse me, Father," said the stranger, " but my services have been
sought as a guide for the first part of a journey that I am informed you intend
was mild and pleasant, his bearing respectful, but the peculiar manner in which
he spoke convinced me that he knew that, as a guide, he must conduct me to some
previously designated spot, and that he purposed to do so was evident, with
or without my consent.
Why do you call me Father?" I attempted to say, but as the first few words
escaped my lips, the recollection of the events of the night rushed upon me,
for instead of my own, I recognized the piping voice of the old man I had now
become, and my tongue faltered ; the sentence was unspoken.
You would ask me why I called you Father, I perceive; well, because I am directed
to be a son to you, to care for your wants, to make your journey as easy and
pleasant as possible, to guide you quietly and carefully to the point that will
next prove of interest to you."
before him a free man, in the prime of life, full of energy, and this stripling
alone interposed between myself and liberty. Should I permit the slender youth
to carry me away as a prisoner? Would it not be best to thrust him aside, if
necessary, crush him to the earth? go forth in my freedom? Yet I hesitated,
for he might have friends outside; probably he was not alone.
There are no companions near us," said he, reading my mind, " and,
as I do not seem formidable, it is natural you should weigh in your mind the
probabilities of escape; but you can not evade your destiny, and you must not
attempt to deny yourself the pleasure of my company. You must leave this locality
and leave without a regret. In order that you may acquiesce willingly I propose
that together we return to your former home, which you will, however, find no
longer to be a home. I will accompany you as a companion, as your son. You may
speak, with one exception, to whomever you care to address; may call on any
of your old associates, may assert openly who you are, or whatever and whoever
you please to represent yourself, only I must also have the privilege of joining
in the conversation."
I cried, and extended my hand; he grasped it, and then by the light of the candle,
I saw a peculiar expression flit overhisface, as he added:
To one person only, as I have said, and you have promised, you must not speak-
my head, and a flood of sorrowful reflections swept over me. Of all the world
the one whom I longed to meet, to clasp in my arms, to counsel in my distress,
was the wife of my bosom, and I begged him to withdraw his cruel injunction.
You should have thought of her before; now it is too late. To permit you to
meet, and speak with her would be dangerous; she might pierce your disguise.
Of all others there is no fear."
Must I go with you into an unknown future without a farewell kiss from my little
child or from my babe scarce three months old?"
It has been so ordained."
myself on the floor and moaned. " This is too hard, too hard for human
heart to bear. Life has no charm to a man who is thrust from all he holds most
dear, home, friends, family."
The men who relinquish such pleasures and such comforts are those who do the
greatest good to humanity," said the youth. " The multitude exist
to propagate the, race, as animal progenitors of the multitudes that are to
follow, and the exceptional philanthropist is he who denies himself material
bliss, and punishes himself in order to work out a problem such as it has been
ordained that you are to solve. Do not argue furtherthe line is marked, and
you must walk direct."
the blaze of the old fireplace of that log house, for, although it was autumn,
the night was chilly, he then cast his black robe and false face, and, as they
turned to ashes, the last evidences of the vivid acts through which I had passed,
were destroyed. As I lay moaning in my utter misery, I tried to reason with
myself that what I experienced was all a hallucination. I dozed, and awoke startled,
half conscious only, as one in a nightmare; I said to, myself, " A dream!
a dream!" and slept again.
IN MIND STUDY.
of the cabin was open when I awoke, the sun shone brightly, and my friend, apparently
happy and unconcerned, said: " Father, we must soon start on our journey;
I have taken advantage of your refreshing sleep, and have engaged breakfast
at yonder farm-house; our meal awaits us."
washed my wrinkled face, combed my white hair, and shuddered as I saw in a pocket
mirror the reflection of my figure, an aged, apparently decrepit man.
Do not be disturbed at your feeble condition," said my companion; "
your infirmities are not real. Few men have ever been permitted to drink of
the richness of the revelations that await you; and in view of these expectations
the fact that you are prematurely aged in appearance should not unnerve you.
Be of good heart, and when you say the word, we will start on our journey, which
will begin as soon as you have said farewell to former friends and acquaintances."
no reply, but silently accompanied him, for my thoughts were in the past, and
my reflections were far from pleasant.
the farm-house, and as I observed the care and attention extended me by the
pleasant-faced housewife, I realized that, in one respect at least, old age
brought its compensation. After breakfast a man appeared from the farmer's barn,
driving a team of horses attached to an open spring-wagon which, in obedience
to the request of my guide, I entered, accompanied by my young friend, who directed
that we be driven toward the village from which I had been abducted. He seemed
to know my past life as I knew it; he asked me to select those of my friends
to whom I first wished to bid farewell, even mentioning their names; he seemed
all that a patient, faithful son could be, and I began to wonder at his audacity,
even as much as I admired his self-confidence.
journeyed onward we engaged in familiar talk. We sat together on the back seat
of the open spring-wagon, in full sight of passers, no attempt being made to
conceal my person. Thus we traveled for two days, and on our course we passed
through a large city with which I was acquainted, a city that my abductors had
previously carried me through and beyond. I found that my " son "
possessed fine conversational power, and a rich mine of information, and he
became increasingly interesting as he drew from his fund of knowledge, and poured
into my listening ears an entrancing strain of historical and metaphysical information.
Never at a loss for a word or an idea, he appeared to discern my cogitations,
and as my mind wandered in this or that direction he fell into the channel of
my fancies, and answered my unspoken thoughts, my mind-questions or meditations,
as pertinently as though I had spoken them.
for the methods of his perception were unaccompanied by any endeavor to draw
me into word expression, made me aware at least, that, in him, I had to deal
with a man unquestionably possessed of more than ordinary intellect and education,
and as this conviction entered my mind he changed his subject and promptly answered
the silent inquiry, speaking as follows:
Have you not sometimes felt that in yourself there may exist undeveloped senses
that await an awakening touch to open to yourself a new world, senses that may
be fully developed, but which saturate each other and neutralize themselves;
quiescent, closed circles which you can not reach, satisfied circuits slumbering
within your body and that defy your efforts to utilize them? In your dreams
have you not seen sights that words are inadequate to describe, that your faculties
can not retain in waking moments, and which dissolve into intangible nothingness,
leaving only a vague, shadowy outline as the mind quickens, or rather when the
senses that possess you in sleep relinquish the body to the returning vital
functions and spirit? This unconscious conception of other planes, a beyond
or betwixt, that is neither mental nor material, neither here nor located elsewhere,
belongs to humanity in general, and is made evident from the unsatiable desire
of men to pry into phenomena latent or recondite that offer no apparent return
to humanity. This desire has given men the knowledge they now possess of the
sciences; sciences yet in their infancy. Study in this direction is, at present,
altogether of the material plane, but in time to come, men will gain control
of outlying senses which will enable them to step from the seen into the consideration
of matter or force that is now subtle and evasive, which must be accomplished
day means of the latent faculties that I have indicated. There will be an unconscious
development of new mind-forces in the student of nature as the rudiments of
these so-called sciences are elaborated. Step by step, as the ages pass, the
under progressive series of evolutions, imperceptibly pass into higher phases
until that which is even now possible with some individuals of the purified
esoteric school, but which would seem miraculous if practiced openly at this
day, will prove feasible to humanity generally and be found in exact accord
with natural laws. The conversational method of men, whereby communion between
human beings is carried on by disturbing
by means of vocal organs so as to produce mechanical pulsations of that medium,
is crude in the extreme. Mind craves to meet mind, but can not yet thrust matter
aside, and in order to communicate one with another, the impression one mind
wishes to convey to another must be first made on the brain matter that accompanies
it, which in turn influences the organs of speech, inducing a disturbance of
the air by the motions of the vocal organs, which, by undulations that reach
to another being, act on his ear, and secondarily on the earthly matter of his
brain, and finally by this roundabout course, impress the second being's mind.
In this transmission of motions there is great waste of energy and loss of time,
but such methods are a necessity of the present slow, much-obstructed method
is, in cultivated man, an innate craving for something more facile, and often
a partly developed conception, spectral and vague, appears, and the being feels
that there may be for mortals a richer, brighter life, a higher earthly existence
that science does not now indicate. Such intimation of a deeper play of faculties
is now most vivid with men during the perfect loss of mental self as experienced
in dreams, which as yet man in the quick can not grasp, and which fade as he
awakens. As mental sciences are developed, investigators will find that the
medium known as air is unnecessary as a means of conveying mind conceptions
from one person to another; that material sounds and word pulsations are cumbersome;
that thought force unexpressed may be used to accomplish more than speech can
do, and that physical exertions as exemplified in motion of matter such as I
have described will be unnecessary for mental communication. As door after door
in these directions shall open before men, mystery after mystery will be disclosed,
and vanish as mysteries to reappear as simple facts. Phenomena that are impossible
and unrevealed to the scientist of to-day will be familiar to the coming multitude,
and at last, as by degrees, clearer knowledge is evolved, the vocal language
of men will disappear, and humanity, regardless of nationality, will, in silence
and even in darkness, converse eloquently together in mind language. That which
is now esoteric will become exoteric. Then mind will meet mind as my mind now
impinges on your own, and, in reply to your unuttered question regarding my
apparently unaccountable powers of perception, I say they are perfectly natural,
but while I can read your thoughts, because of the fact that you can not reciprocate
in this direction, I must use my voice to impress your mind. You will know more
of this, however, at a future day, for it has been ordained that you are to
be educated with an object that is now concealed. At present you are interested
mainly in the affairs of life as you know them, and can not enter into these
purer spheres. We are approaching one of your former friends, and it may be
your pleasure to ask him some questions and to bid him farewell."
NOT ESTABLISH MY IDENTITY
I perceived coming towards us a light spring wagon, in which rode one of my
old acquaintances. Pleasure at the discovery led me to raise my hat, wave it
around my head, and salute him even at the considerable distance that then separated
us. I was annoyed at the look of curiosity that passed over his countenance,
and not until the two vehicles had stopped side by side did it occur to me that
I was unrecognized. I had been so engrossed in my companion's revelations, that
I had forgotten my unfortunate physical condition.
out my hand, I leaned over almost into the other vehicle, and earnestly said:
Do you not know me? Only a short time ago we sat and conversed side by side."
of bewilderment came over his features. " I have never seen you that I
can recall," he answered.
sank within me. Could it be possible that I was. really so changed? I begged
him to try and recall my former self, giving my name. " I am that person,"
I added; but he, with an expression of countenance that told as plainly as words
could speak that he considered me deranged, touched his horse, and drove on.
broke the awkward silence. " Do you know that I perceived between you two
men an unconscious display of mind-language, especially evident on your part?
You wished with all the earnestness of your soul to bring yourself as you formerly
appeared, before that man, and when it proved impossible, without a word from
him, his mind exhibited itself to your more earnest intellect, and you realized
that he said to himself, This person is a poor lunatic. He told you his thoughts
in mindlanguage, as plainly as words could have spoken, because the intense
earnestness on your part quickened your perceptive faculties, but he could not
see your mental state, and the pleading voice of the apparent stranger before
him could not convince the unconcerned lethargic mind within him. I observed,
however, in addition to what you noticed, that he is really looking for you.
That, is the object of his journey, and I learn that in every direction men
are now spreading the news that you have been kidnapped and carried from your
jail. However, we shall soon be in the village, and you will then hear more
in silence while I meditated on my remarkable situation. I could not resign
myself without a struggle to my approaching fate, and I felt even yet a hope,
although I seemed powerless in the hands of destiny. Could I not, by some method,
convince my friends of my identity? I determined, forgetting the fact that my
guide was even then reading my mind, that upon the next opportunity I would
pursue a different course.
It will not avail," my companion replied. " You must do one of two
things: you will voluntarily go with me, or you will involuntarily go to an
insane asylum. Neither you nor I could by any method convince others that the
obviously decrepit old man beside me was but yesterday hale, hearty, young and
strong. You will find that you can not prove your identity, and as a friend,
one of the great brotherhood to which you belong, a craft that deals charitably
with all men and all problems, I advise you to accept the situation as soon
as possible after it becomes evident to your mind that you are lost to former
affiliations, and must henceforth be a stranger to the people whom you know.
Take my advice, and cease to regret the past and cheerfully turn your thoughts
to the future. On one side of you the lunatic asylum is open; on the other,
a journey into an unknown region, beyond the confines of any known country.
On the one hand, imprisonment and subjection, perhaps abuse and neglect; on
the other, liberation of soul, evolution of faculty, and a grasping of superior
knowledge that is denied most men-yes, withheld from all but a few persons of
each generation, for only a few, unknown to the millions of this world's inhabitants,
have passed over the road you are to travel. Just now you wished to meet your
jailer of a few hours ago; it is a wise conclusion, and if he does not recognize
you, I ask in sincerity, who will be likely to do so? We will drive straight
to his home; but, here he comes."
we were now in the village, where my miserable journey began, and perhaps by
chance- it seems that it could not have been otherwise- my former jailer actually
If you please," said my companion, " I will assist you to alight from
the wagon, and you may privately converse with him."
stopped, my guide opened a conversation with the jailer, saying that his friend
wished to speak with him, and then assisted me to alight and retired a distance.
I was vexed at my infirmities, which embarrassed me most exasperatingly, but
which I knew were artificial; my body appeared unwilling although my spirit
was anxious; but do what I could to control my actions, I involuntarily behaved
like a decrepit old man However, my mind was made up; this attempt to prove
my personality should be the last; failure now would prove the turning point,
and I would go willingly with my companion upon the unknown journey if I could
not convince the jailer of my identity.
myself before the expectant jailer, who, with a look of inquisitiveness, regarded
me as a stranger, I asked if he knew my former self, giving my name.
That I do," he replied, " and if I could find him at this moment I
would be relieved of a load of worry."
Would you surely know him if you met him?" I asked.
Assuredly," he replied; " and if you bring tidings of his whereabouts,
as your bearing indicates, speak, that I may rid myself of suspicion and suspense."
the jailer by name, I asked him if my countenance did not remind him of the
man he wished to find.
Not at all."
Listen, does not my voice resemble that of your escaped prisoner?"
Not in the least."
a violent effort I drew my form as straight as possible, and stood upright before
him, with every facial muscle strained to its utmost, in a vain endeavor to
bring my wrinkled countenance to its former smoothness, and with the energy
that a drowning man might exert to grasp a passing object, I tried to control
my voice, and preserve my identity by so doing, vehemently imploring him, begging
him to listen to my story. " I am the man you seek; I am the prisoner who,
a few days ago, stood in the prime of life before you. I have been spirited
away from you by men who are leagued with occult forces, which extend forward
among hidden mysteries, into forces which illuminate the present, and reach
backward into the past unseen. These persons, by artful and damnable manipulations
the guidance of a power that has been evolved in the secrecy of past ages, and
transmitted only to a favored few, have changed the strong man you knew into
the one apparently feeble, who now confronts you. Only a short period has passed
since I was your unwilling captive, charged with debt, a trifling sum; and then,
as your sullen prisoner, I longed for freedom. Now I plead before you, with
all my soul, I beg of you to take me back to my cell. Seal your doors, and hold
me again, for your dungeon will now be to me a paradise."
that I was becoming frantic, for with each word I realized that the jailer became
more and more impatient and annoyed. I perceived that he believed me to be a
lunatic. Pleadings and entreaties were of no avail, and my eagerness rapidly
changed into despair until at last I cried: " If you will not believe my
words, I will throw myself on the mercy of my young companion. I ask you to
consider his testimony, and if he says that I am not what I assert myself to
be, I will leave my home and country, and go with him quietly into the unknown
to depart, but I threw myself before him, and beckoned the young man who, up
to this time, had stood aloof in respectful silence. He came forward, and addressing
the jailer, called him by name, and corroborated my story. Yes, strange as it
sounded to me, he reiterated the substance of my narrative as I had repeated
it. " Now, you will believe it," I cried in ecstacy; " now you
need no longer question the facts that I have related."
however, of accepting the story of the witness, the jailer upbraided him:
This is a preconcerted arrangement to get me into ridicule or further trouble.
You two have made up an incredible story that on its face is fit only to be
told to men as crazy or designing as yourselves. This young man did not even
overhear your conversation with me, and yet he repeats his lesson without a
question from me as to what I wish to learn of him."
He can see our minds," I cried in despair.
Crazier than I should have believed from your countenance," the jailer
replied. " Of all the improbable stories imaginable, you have attempted
to inveigle me into accepting that which is most unreasonable. If you are leagued
together intent on some swindling scheme, I give you warning now that I am in
no mood for trifling. Go your way, and trouble me no more with this foolish
scheming, which villainy or lunacy of some description must and trouble."
He turned in anger and left us.
It is as I predicted," said my companion; " you are lost to man. Those
who know you best will turn from you soonest. I might become as wild as you
are, in your interest, and only serve to make your story appear more extravagant.
In human affairs men judge and act according to the limited knowledge at command
of the multitude. Witnesses who tell the truth are often, in our courts of law,
stunned, as you have been, by the decisions of a narrow-minded jury. Men sit
on juries with little conception of the facts of the case that is brought before
them; the men who manipulate them are mere tools in unseen hands that throw
their several minds in antagonisms unexplainable to man. The judge is unconsciously
often a tool of his own errors or those of others. One learned judge unties
what another has fastened, each basing his views on the same testimony, each
rendering his decision in accordance with law derived from the same authority.
Your case is that condition of mind that men call lunacy. You can see much that
is hidden from others because you have become acquainted with facts that their
narrow education forbids them to accept, but, because the majority is against
you, they consider you mentally unbalanced. The philosophy of men does not yet
comprehend the conditions that have operated on your person, and as you stand
alone, although in the right, all men will oppose you, and you must submit to
the views of a misguided majority. In the eyes of a present generation you are
crazy. A jury of your former peers could not do else than so adjudge you, for
you are not on the same mental plane, and I ask, will you again attempt to accomplish
that which is as impossible as it would be for you to drink the waters of Seneca
bake atone draught? Go to those men and propose to drain that lake at one gulp,
and you will be listened to as seriously as when you beg your former comrades
to believe that you are another person than what you seem. Only lengthened life
is credited with the production of physical changes that under favorable conditions,
are possible of accomplishment in a brief period, and such testimony as you
could bring, in the present state of human knowledge, would only add to the
proof of your lunacy."
I see, I see," I said; " and I submit. Lead on, I am ready. Whatever
my destined career may be, wherever it may be, it can only lead to the grave."
Do not be so sure of that," was the reply.
instinctively, for this answer seemed to imply that the stillness of the grave
would be preferable to my destiny.
into the wagon again, and a deep silence followed as we rode along, gazing abstractedly
on the open fields and lonely farm houses. Finally we reached to a little village.
Here my companion dismissed the farmer, our driver, paying him liberally, and
secured lodgings in a private ( I believe we were expected ), and after a hearty
supper we retired. From the time we left the jailer I never again attempted
to reveal my indentity. I had lost my interest in the past, and found myself
craving to know what the future had in store for me.
TOWARDS THE END OF EARTH BEGINS. THE
did not attempt to watch over my motions or in any way to interfere with my
I will for a time necessarily be absent," he said, " arranging for
our journey, and while I am getting ready you must employ yourself as best you
can. I ask you, however, now to swear that, as you have promised, you will not
seek your wife and children."
Hold up your hand," he said, and I repeated after him:
All this I most solemnly and sincerely promise and swear, with a firm and steadfast
resolution to keep and perform my oath, without the least equivocation, mental
reservation or self-evasion whatever."
That will answer; see that you keep your oath this time," he said, and
he departed. Several days were consumed before he returned, and during that
time I was an inquisitive and silent listener to the various conjectures others
were making regarding my abduction which event was becoming of general interest.
Some of the theories advanced were quite near the truth, others wild and erratic.
How preposterous it seemed to me that the actor himself could be in the very
seat of the disturbance, willing, anxious to testify, ready to prove the truth
concerning his position, and yet unable even to obtain a respectful hearing
from those most interested in his recovery. Men gathered together discussing
the " outrage "; women, children, even, talked of little else, and
it was evident that the entire country was aroused. New political issues took
their rise from the event, but the man who was the prime cause of the excitement
was for a period a willing and unwilling listener, as he had been a willing
and unwilling actor in the tragedy.
my companion drove up in a light carriage, drawn by a span of fine, spirited,
We are ready now," he said, and my unprecedented journey began.
we stopped, I heard my name mentioned. Men combined against men, brother was
declaiming against brother, neighbor was against neighbor, everywhere suspicion
was in the air.
The passage of time alone can quiet these people," said I.
The usual conception of the term Time- an indescribable something flowing at
a constant rate- is erroneous," replied my comrade. " Time is humanity's
best friend, and should be pictured as a ministering angel, instead of a skeleton
with hour-glass and scythe. Time does not fly, but is permanent and quiescent,
while restless, force-impelled matter rushes onward. Force and matter fly; Time
reposes. At our birth we are wound up like a machine, to move for a certain
number of years, grating against Time. We grind against that complacent spirit,
and wear not Time but ourselves away. We hold within ourselves a certain amount
of energy, which, an evanescent form of matter, is the opponent of Time. Time
has no existence with inanimate objects. It is a conception of the human intellect.
Time is rest, perfect rest, tranquillity such as man never realizes unless he
becomes a part of the sweet silences toward which human life and human mind
are drifting. So much for Time. Now for Life. Disturbed energy in one of its
forms, we call Life; and this Life is the great enemy of peace, the opponent
of steadfast perfection. Pure energy, the soul of the universe, permeates all
things with which man is now acquainted, but when at rest is imperceptible to
man, while disturbed energy, according to its condition, is apparent either
as matter or as force. A substance or material body is a manifestation resulting
from a disturbance of energy. The agitating cause removed, the manifestations
disappear, and thus a universe may be extinguished, without unbalancing the
cosmos that remains. The worlds known to man are conditions of abnormal energy
moving on separate planes through what men call space. They attract to themselves
bodies of similar description, and thus influence one another- they have each
a separate existence, and are swayed to and fro under the influence of the various
disturbances in energy common to their rank or order, which we call forms of
forces. Unsettled energy also assumes numerous other expressions that are unknown
to man, but which in all perceptible forms is characterized by motion. Pure
energy can not be appreciated by the minds of mortals. There are invisible worlds
besides those perceived by us in our planetary system, unreachable centers of
ethereal structure about us that stand in a higher plane of development than
earthly matter which is a gross form of disturbed energy. There are also lower
planes. Man's acquaintance with the forms of energy is the result of his power
of perceiving the forms of matter of which he is a part. Heat, light, gravitation,
electricity and magnetism are ever present in all perceivable substances, and,
although purer than earth, they are still manifestations of absolute energy,
and for this reason are sensible to men, but more evanescent than material bodies.
Perhaps you can conceive that if these disturbances could be removed, matter
or force would be resolved back into pure energy, and would vanish. Such a dissociation
is an ethereal existence, and as pure energy the life spirit of all material
things is neither cold nor hot, heavy nor light, solid, liquid nor gaseous-
men can not, as mortals now exist, see, feel, smell, taste, or even conceive
of it. It moves through space as we do through it, a world of itself as transparent
to matter as matter is to it, insensible but ever present, a reality to higher
existences that rest in other planes, but not to us an essence subject to scientific
test, nor an entity. Of these problems and their connection with others in the
unseen depths beyond, you are not yet in a position properly to judge, but before
many years a new sense will be given you or a development of latent senses by
the removal of those more gross, and a partial insight into an unsuspected unseen,
into a realm to you at present unknown.
It has been ordained that a select few must from time to time pass over the
threshold that divides a mortal's present life from the future, and your lot
has been cast among the favored ones. It is or should be deemed a privilege
to be permitted to pass farther than human philosophy has yet gone, into an
investigation of the problems of life; this I say to encourage you. We have
in our order a handful of persons who have received the calculated fruits of
the close attention others have given to these subjects which have been handed
to them by the generations of men who have preceded. You are destined to become
as they are. This study of semi-occult forces has enabled those selected for
the work to master some of the concealed truths of being, and by the partial
development of a new sense or new senses, partly to triumph over death. These
facts are hidden from ordinary man, and from the earth-bound workers of our
brotherhood, who can not even interpret the words they learn. The methods by
which they are elucidated have been locked from man because the world is not
prepared to receive them, selfishness being the ruling passion of debased mankind,
and publicity, until the chain of evidence is more complete, would embarrass
their further evolutions, for man as yet lives on the selfish plane."
Do you mean that, among men, there are a few persons possessed of powers such
as you have mentioned?"
Yes; they move here and there through all orders of society, and their attainments
are unknown, except to one another, or, at most, to but few persons. These adepts
are scientific men, and may not even be recognized as members of our organization;
indeed it is often necessary, for obvious reasons, that they should not be known
as such. These studies must constantly be prosecuted in various directions,
and some monitors must teach others to perform certain duties that are necessary
to the grand evolution. Hence, when a man has become one of our brotherhood,
from the promptings that made you one of us, and has been as ready and determined
to instruct outsiders in our work as you have been, it is proper that he should
in turn be compelled to serve our people, and eventually, mankind."
Am I to infer from this," I exclaimed, a sudden light breaking upon me,
" that the alchemistic manuscript that led me to the fraternity to which
you are related may have been artfully designed to serve the interest of that
organization?" To this question I received no reply. After an interval,
I again sought information concerning the order, and with more success.
I understand that you propose that I shall go on a journey of investigation
for the good of our order and also of humanity."
True; it is necessary that our discoveries be kept alive, and it is essential
that the men who do this work accept the trust of their own accord. He who will
not consent to add to the common stock of knowledge and understanding, must
be deemed a drone in the hive of nature- but few persons, however, are called
upon to serve as you must serve. Men are scattered over the world with this
object in view, and are unknown to their families or even to other members of
the order; they hold in solemn trust our sacred revelations, and impart them
to others as is ordained, and thus nothing perishes; eventually humanity will
Others, as you soon will be doing, are now exploring assigned sections of this
illimitable field, accumulating further knowledge, and they will report results
to those whose duty it is to retain and formulate the collected sum of facts
and principles. So it is that, unknown to the great body of our brotherhood,
a chosen number, under our esoteric teachings, are gradually passing the dividing
line that separates life from death, matter from spirit, for we have members
who have mastered these problems. We ask, however, no aid of evil forces or
of necromancy or black art, and your study of alchemy was of no avail, although
to save the vital truths alchemy is a part of our work. We proceed in exact
accordance with natural laws, which will yet be known to all men. Sorrow, suffering,
pain of all descriptions, are enemies to the members of our order, as they are
to mankind broadly, and we hope in the future so to control the now hidden secrets
of Nature as to be able to govern the antagonistic disturbances in energy with
which man now is everywhere thwarted, to subdue the physical enemies of the
race, to affiliate religious and scientific thought, cultivating brotherly love,
the foundation and capstone, the cement and union of this ancient fraternity."
And am I really to take an important part in this scheme? Have I been set apart
to explore a section of the unknown for a bit of hidden knowledge, and to return
This I will say," he answered, evading a direct reply, " you have
been selected for a part that one in a thousand has been required to undertake.
You are to pass into a field that will carry you beyond the present limits of
human observation. This much I have been instructed to impart to you in order
to nerve you for your duty. I seem to be a young man; really I am aged. You
seem to be infirm and old, but you are young.
years ago, cycles ago as men record time, I was promoted to do a certain work
because of my zealous nature; like you, I also had to do penance for an error.
I disappeared, as you are destined to do, from the sight of men. I regained
my youth; yours has been lost forever, but you will regain more than your former
strength. We shall both exist after this generation of men has passed away,
and shall mingle with generations yet to be born, for we shall learn how to
restore our youthful vigor, and will supply it time and again to earthly matter.
Rest assured also that the object of our labors is of the most laudable nature,
and we must be upheld under all difficulties by the fact that multitudes of
men who are yet to come will be benefited thereby.
unnecessary for me to give the details of the first part of my long journey.
My companion was guided by a perceptive faculty that, like the compass, enabled
him to keep in the proper course. He did not question those whom we met, and
made no endeavor to maintain a given direction; and yet he was traveling in
a part of the country that was new to himself. I marveled at the accuracy of
his intuitive perception, for he seemed never to be at fault. When the road
forked, he turned to the right or the left in a perfectly careless manner, but
the continuity of his course was never interrupted. I began mentally to question
whether he could be guiding us aright, forgetting that he was reading my thoughts,
and he answered: " There is nothing strange in this self-directive faculty.
Is not man capable of following where animals lead? One of the objects of my
special study has been to ascertain the nature of the instinct-power of animals,
the sagacity of brutes. The carrier pigeon will fly to its cote across hundreds
of miles of strange country. The young pig will often return to its pen by a
route unknown to it; the sluggish tortoise will find its home without a guide,
without seeing a familiar object; cats, horses and other animals possess this
power, which is not an unexplainable instinct, but a natural sense better developed
in some of the lower creatures than it is in man. The power lies dormant in
man, but exists, nevertheless. If we develop one faculty we lose acuteness in
some other power. Men have lost in mental development in this particular direction
while seeking to gain in others. If there were no record of the fact that light
brings objects to the recognition of the mind through the agency of the eye,
the sense of sight in an animal would be considered by men devoid of it as adaptability
to extraordinary circumstances, or instinct. So it is that animals often see
clearly where to the sense of man there is only darkness; such sight is not
irresponsive action without consciousness of a purpose. Man is not very magnanimous.
Instead of giving credit to the lower animals for superior perception in many
directions, he denies to them the conscious possession of powers imperfectly
developed in mankind. We egotistically aim to raise ourselves, and do so in
our own estimation by clothing the actions of the lower animals in a garment
of irresponsibility. Because we can not understand the inwardness of their power,
we assert that they act by the influence of instinct. The term instinct, as
I would define it, is an expression applied by men to a series of senses which
man possesses, but has not developed. The word is used by man to characterize
the mental superiority of other animals in certain directions where his own
senses are defective. Instead of crediting animals with these, to them, invaluable
faculties, man conceitedly says they are involuntary actions. Ignorant of their
mental status, man is too arrogant to admit that lower animals are superior
to him in any way. But we are not consistent. Is it not true that in the direction
in which you question my power, some men by cultivation often become expert
beyond their fellows? And such men have also given very little systematic study
to subjects connected with these undeniable mental qualities. The hunter will
hold his course in utter darkness, passing inequalities in the ground, and avoiding
obstructions he can not see. The fact of his superiority in this way, over others,
is not questioned, although he can not explain his methods nor understand how
he operates. His quickened sense is often as much entitled to be called instinct
as is the divining power of the carrier pigeon. If scholars would cease to devote
their entire energies to the development of the material, artistic, or scientific
part of modern civilization, and turn their attention to other forms of mental
culture, many beauties and powers of Nature now unknown would be revealed. However,
this can not be, for under existing conditions, the strife for food and warmth
is the most important struggle that engages mankind, and controls our actions.
In a time that is surely to come, however, when the knowledge of all men is
united into a comprehensive whole, the book of life, illuminated, thereby, will
contain many beautiful pages that may be easily read, but which are now not
suspected to exist. The power of the magnet is not uniform- engineers know that
the needle of the compass inexplicably deviates from time to time as a line
is run over the earth's surface, but they also know that aberrations of the
needle finally correct themselves. The temporary variations of a few degrees
that occur in the running of a compass line are usually overcome after a time,
and without a change of course, the disturbed needle swerves back, and again
points to the calculated direction, as is shown by the vernier. Should I err
in my course, it would be by a trifle only, and we could not go far astray before
I would unconsciously discover the true path. I carry my magnet in my mind."
such dissertations or explanations concerning related questions were subsequently
made in what I then considered a very impressive, though always unsatisfactory,
manner. I recall those episodes now, after other more remarkable experiences
which are yet to be related, and record them briefly with little wonderment,
because I have gone through adventures which demonstrate that there is nothing
improbable in the statements, and I will not consume time with further details
of this part of my journey.
traversed state after state, crossed rivers, mountains and seemingly interminable
forests. The ultimate object of our travels, a location in Kentucky, I afterward
learned, led my companion to guide me by a roundabout course to Wheeling, Virginia,
by the usual mountain roads of that day, instead of going, as he might perhaps
have much more easily done, via Buffalo and the Lake Shore to Northern Ohio,
and then southerly across the country. He said in explanation, that the time
lost at the beginning of our journey by this route, was more than recompensed
by the ease of the subsequent Ohio River trip. Upon reaching Wheeling, he disposed
of the team, and we embarked on a keel boat, and journeyed down the Ohio to
Cincinnati. The river was falling when we started, and became very low before
Cincinnati was reached, too low for steamers, and our trip in that flat-bottomed
boat, on the sluggish current of the tortuous stream, proved tedious and slow.
Arriving at Cincinnati, my guide decided to wait for a rise in the river, designing
then to complete our journey on a steamboat. I spent several days in Cincinnati
quite pleasantly, expecting to continue our course on the steamer " Tecumseh,"
then in port, and ready for departure. At the last moment my guide changed his
mind, and instead of embarking on that boat, we took passage on the steamer
" George Washington," leaving Shipping-Port Wednesday, December 13,
that entire journey, from the commencement to our final destination, my guide
paid all the bills, and did not want either for money or attention from the
people with whom we came in contact. He seemed everywhere a stranger, and yet
was possessed of a talisman that opened every door to which he applied, and
which gave us unlimited accommodations wherever he asked them. When the boat
landed at Smithland, Kentucky, a village on the bank of the Ohio, just above
Paducah, we disembarked, and my guide then for the first time seemed mentally
Our journey together is nearly over," he said; " in a few days my
responsibility for you will cease. Nerve yourself for the future, and bear its
trials and its pleasures manfully. I may never see you again, but as you are
even now conspicuous in our history, and will be closely connected with the
development of the plan in which I am also interested, although I am destined
to take a different part, I shall probably hear of you again."
DISCOVERED.- BISWELL'S HILL.
that night at a tavern in Smithland. Leaving this place after dinner the next
day, on foot, we struck through the country, into the bottom lands of the Cumberland
River traveling leisurely, lingering for hours in the course of a circuitous
tramp of only a few miles. Although it was the month of December, the climate
was mild and balmy. In my former home, a similar time of year would have been
marked with snow, sleet, and ice, and I could not but draw a contrast between
the two localities. How different also the scenery from that of my native State.
Great timber trees, oak, poplar, hickory, were in majestic possession of large
tracts of territory, in the solitude of which man, so far as evidences of his
presence were concerned, had never before trodden. Prom time to time we passed
little clearings that probably were to be enlarged to thrifty plantations in
the future, and finally we crossed the Cumberland River. That night we rested
with Mr. Joseph Watts, a wealthy and cultured land owner, who resided on the
river's bank. After leaving his home the next morning, we journeyed slowly,
very slowly, my guide seemingly passing with reluctance into the country. He
had become a very pleasant companion, and his conversation was very entertaining.
We struck the sharp point of a ridge the morning we left Mr. Watts' hospitable
house. It was four or five miles distant, but on the opposite side of the Cumberland,
from Smithland. Here a steep bluff broke through the bottom land to the river's
edge, the base of the bisected point being washed by the Cumberland River, which
had probably cut its way through the stony mineral of this ridge in ages long
passed. We climbed to its top and sat upon the pinnacle, and from that point
of commanding observation I drank in the beauties of the scene around me. The
river at our feet wound gracefully before us, and disappeared in both directions,
its extremes dissolving in a bed of forest. A great black bluff, far up the
stream, rose like a mountain, upon the left side of the river; bottom lands
were about us, and hills appeared across the river in the far distance-towards
the Tennessee River. With regret I finally drew my eyes from the vision, and
we resumed the journey. We followed the left bank of the river to the base of
the black bluff,-" Biswell's Hill," a squatter called it,- and then
skirted the side of that hill, passing along precipitous stone bluffs and among
stunted cedars. Above us towered cliff over cliff, almost perpendicularly; below
us rolled the river.
deeply impressed by the changing beauties of this strange Kentucky scenery,
but marveled at the fact that while I became light-hearted and enthusiastic,
my guide grew correspondingly despondent and gloomy. From time to time he lapsed
into thoughtful silence, and once I caught his eye directed toward me in a manner
that I inferred to imply either pity or envy. We passed Biswell's Bluff, and
left the Cumberland River at its upper extremity, where another small creek
empties into the river. Thence, after ascending the creek some distance, we
struck across the country, finding it undulating and fertile, with here and
there a small clearing. During this journey we either camped out at night, or
stopped with a resident, when one was to be found in that sparsely settled country.
there were exasperating intervals between our meals; but we did not suffer,
for we carried with us supplies of food, such as cheese and crackers, purchased
in Smithland, for emergencies. We thus proceeded a considerable distance into
Livingston County, Kentucky. I observed remarkable sinks in the earth, sometimes
cone-shaped, again precipitous. These cavities were occasionally of considerable
size and depth, and they were more numerous in the uplands than in the bottoms.
They were somewhat like the familiar " sink-holes " of New York State,
but monstrous in comparison. The first that attracted my attention was near
the Cumberland River, just before we reached Biswell's Hill. It was about forty
feet deep and thirty in diameter, with precipitous stone sides, shrubbery growing
therein in exceptional spots where loose earth had collected on shelves of stone
that cropped out along its rugged sides. The bottom of the depression was flat
and fertile, covered with a luxuriant mass of vegetation. On one side of the
base of the gigantic bowl, a cavern struck down into the earth. I stood upon
the edge of this funnel-like sink, and marveled at its peculiar appearance.
A spirit of curiosity, such as often influences men when an unusual natural
scene presents itself, possessed me. I clambered down, swinging from brush to
brush, and stepping from shelving-rock to shelving-rock, until I reached the
bottom of the hollow, and placing my hand above the black hole in its center,
I perceived that a current of cold air was rushing therefrom, upward. I probed
with along stick, but the direction of the opening was tortuous, and would not
admit of examination in that manner. I dropped a large pebble-stone into the
orifice; the pebble rolled and clanked down, down, and at last, the sound died
away in the distance.
I wish that I could go into the cavity as that stone has done, and find the
secrets of this cave," I reflected, the natural love of exploration possessing
me as it probably does most men. My companion above, seated on the brink of
the stone wall, replied to my thoughts: " Your wish shall be granted. You
have requested that which has already been laid out for you. You will explore
where few men have passed before, and will have the privilege of following your
destiny into a realm of natural wonders. A fertile field of investigation awaits
you, such as will surpass your most vivid imaginings. Come and seat yourself
beside me, for it is my duty now to tell you something about the land we are
approaching, the cavern fields of Kentucky."
AND CAVERNS OF KENTUCKY." INTO THE
This part of Kentucky borders a field of caverns that reaches from near the
State of Tennessee to the Ohio River, and front the mouth of the Cumberland,
eastward to and beyond the center of the State. This great area is of irregular
outline, and as yet has been little explored. Underneath the surface are layers
of limestone and sandstone rock, the deposits ranging from ten to one hundred
and fifty feet in thickness, and often great masses of conglomerate appear.
This conglomerate sometimes caps the ridges, and varies in thickness from a
few feet only, to sixty, or even a hundred, feet. It is of a diversified character,
sometimes largely composed of pebbles cemented together by iron ore into compact
beds, while again it passes abruptly into gritty sandstone, or a fine-grained
compact, rock destitute of pebbles. Sometimes the conglomerate rests directly
on the limestone, but in the section about us, more often argillaceous shales
or veins of coal intervene, and occasionally inferior and superior layers of
conglomerate are separated by a bed of coal. In addition, lead-bearing veins
now and then crop up, the crystals of galena being disseminated through masses
of fluorspar, talc-spar, limestone and clay, which fill fissures between tilted
walls of limestone and hard quartzose sandstone. Valleys, hills, and mountains,
grow out of this remarkable crust. Rivers and creeks flow through and under
it in crevices, either directly upon the bedstone or over deposits of clay which
underlie it. In some places, beds of coal or slate alternate with layers of
the lime rock; in others, the interspace is clay and sand. Sometimes the depth
of the several limestone and conglomerate deposits is great, and they are often
honeycombed by innumerable transverse and diagonal spaces. Water drips have
here and there washed out the more friable earth and stone, forming grottoes
which are as yet unknown to men, but which will be discovered to be wonderful
and fantastic beyond anything of a like nature now familiar. In other places
cavities exist between shelves of rock that lie one above the other-monstrous
openings caused by the erosive action of rivers now lost, but that have flowed
during unnumbered ages past; great parallel valleys and gigantic chambers, one
over the other, remaining to tell the story of these former torrents. Occasionally
the weight of a portion of the disintegrating rock above becomes too great for
its tensile strength and the material crumbles and falls, producing caverns
sometimes reaching so near to the earth's surface, as to cause sinks in its
crust. These sinks, when first formed, as a rule, present clear rock fractures,
and immediately after their formation there is usually a water-way beneath.
In the course of time soil collects on their sides, they become cone-shaped
hollows from the down-slidings of earth, and then vegetation appears on the
living soil; trees grow within them, and in many places the sloping sides of
great earth bowls of this nature are, after untold years, covered with the virgin
forest; magnificent timber trees growing on soil that has been stratified over
and upon decayed monarchs of the forest whose remains, imbedded in the earth,
speak of the ages that have passed since the convulsions that made the depressions
which, notwithstanding the accumulated debris, are still a hundred feet or more
in depth. If the drain or exit at the vortex of one of these sinks becomes clogged,
which often occurs, the entire cavity fills with water, and a pond results.
Again, a slight orifice reaching far beneath the earth's surface may permit
the soil to be gradually washed into a subterranean creek, and thus are formed
great bowls, like funnels sunk in the earth- Kentucky punch-bowls.
Take the country about us, especially towards the Mammoth Cave, and for miles
beyond, the landscape in certain localities is pitted with this description
of sinks, some recent, others very old. Many are small, but deep; others are
large and shallow. Ponds often of great depth, curiously enough overflowing
and giving rise to a creek, are to be found on a ridge, telling of underground
supply. springs, not outlets, beneath. Chains of such sinks, like a row of huge
funnels, often appear; the soil between them is slowly washed through their
exit into the river, flowing in the depths below, and as the earth that separates
them is carried away by the subterranean streams, the bowls coalesce, and a
ravine, closed at both ends, results. Along the bottom of such a ravine, a creek
may flow, rushing from its natural tunnel at one end of the line, and disappearing
in a gulf at the other. The stream begins in mystery, and ends in unfathomed
darkness. Near Marion, Hurricane Creek thus disappears, and, so far as men know,
is lost to sight forever. Near Cridersville, in this neighborhood, a valley
such as I have described, takes in the surface floods of a large tract of country.
The waters that run down its sides, during a storm form a torrent, and fence-rails,
timbers, and other objects are gulped into the chasm where the creek plunges
into the earth, and they never appear again. This part of Kentucky is the most
remarkable portion of the known world, and although now neglected, in a time
to come is surely destined to an extended distinction. I have referred only
to the surface, the skin formation of this honeycombed labyrinth, the entrance
to the future wonderland of the world. Portions of such a superficial cavern
maze have been traversed by man in the ramifications known as the Mammoth Cave,
but deeper than man has yet explored, the subcutaneous structure of that series
of caverns is yet to be investigated. The Mammoth Cave as now traversed is simply
a superficial series of grottoes and passages overlying the deeper cavern field
that I have described. The explored chain of passages is of great interest to
men, it is true, but of minor importance compared to others yet unknown, being
in fact, the result of mere surface erosion. The river that bisects the cave,
just beneath the surface of the earth, and known as Echo River, is a miniature
stream: there are others more magnificent that flow majestically far, far beneath
it. As we descend into the earth in that locality, caverns multiply in number
and increase in size, retaining the general configuration of those I have described.
The layers of rock are thicker, the intervening spaces broader; and the spaces
stretch in increasingly expanded chambers for miles, while high above each series
of caverns the solid ceilings of stone arch and interarch. Sheltered under these
subterrene alcoves are streams, lakes, rivers and water-falls. Near the surface
of the earth such waters often teem with aquatic life, and some of the caves
are inhabited by species of birds, reptiles and mammals as yet unknown to men,
creatures possessed of senses and organs that are different from any we find
with surface animals, and also apparently defective in particulars that would
startle persons acquainted only with creatures that live in the sunshine. It
is a world beneath a world, a world within a world-" My guide abruptly
entranced, marveling at the young-old adept's knowledge, admiring his accomplishments.
I gazed into the cavity that yawned beneath me, and imagined its possible but
to me invisible secrets, enraptured with the thought of searching into them.
Who would not feel elated at the prospect of an exploration, such as I foresaw
might be pursued in my immediate future? I had often been charmed with narrative
descriptions of discoveries, and book accounts of scientific investigations,
but I had never pictured myself as a participant in such fascinating enterprises.
Indeed, indeed," I cried exultingly; " lead me to this Wonderland,
show me the entrance to this Subterranean World, and I promise willingly to
do as you bid."
Bravo!" he replied, " your heart is right, your courage sufficient;
I have not disclosed a thousandth part of the wonders which I have knowledge
of, and which await your research, and probably I have not gained even an insight
into the mysteries that, if your courage permits, you will be privileged to
comprehend. Your destiny lies beyond, far beyond that which I have pictured
or experienced; and I, notwithstanding my opportunities, have no conception
of its end, for at the critical moment my heart faltered- I can therefore only
describe the beginning."
at the lower extremity of Biswell's Hill, I was made aware of the fact that,
within a short time, I should be separated from my sympathetic guide, and that
it was to be my duty to explore alone, or in other company, some portion of
these Kentucky cavern deeps, and I longed for the beginning of my underground
journey. Heavens! how different would have been my future life could I then
have realized my position! Would that I could have seen the end. After a few
days of uneventful travel, we rested, one afternoon, in a hilly country that
before us appeared to be more rugged, even mountainous. We had wandered leisurely,
and were now at a considerable distance from the Cumberland River, the aim of
my guide being, as I surmised, to evade a direct approach to some object of
interest which I must not locate exactly, and yet which I shall try to describe
accurately enough for identification by a person familiar with the topography
of that section. We stood on the side of a stony, sloping hill, back of which
spread a wooded, undulating valley.
I remember to have passed along a creek in that valley," I remarked, looking
back over our pathway. " It appeared to rise from this direction, but the
source ends abruptly in this chain of hills."
The stream is beneath us," he answered. Advancing a few paces, he brought
to my attention, on the hillside, an opening in the earth. This aperture was
irregular in form, about the diameter of a well, and descended perpendicularly
into the stony crust. I leaned far over the orifice, and heard the gurgle of
rushing water beneath. The guide dropped a heavy stone into the gloomy shaft,
and in some seconds a dull splash announced its plunge into underground water.
Then he leaned over the stony edge, and- could I be mistaken?- seemed to signal
to some one beneath; but it must be imagination on my part, I argued to myself,
even against my very sense of sight. Rising, and taking me by the hand, my guardian
Brother, we approach the spot where you and I must separate. I serve my masters
and am destined to go where I shall next be commanded; you will descend into
the earth, as you have recently desired to do. Here we part, most likely forever.
This rocky fissure will admit the last ray of sunlight on your path."
failed. How often are we courageous in daylight and timid by night? Men unflinchingly
face in sunshine dangers at which they shudder in the darkness.
How am I to descend into that abyss?" I gasped. " The sides are perpendicular,
the depth is unknown!" Then I cried in alarm, the sense of distrust deepening:
" Do you mean to drown me; is it for this you have led me away from my
native State, from friends, home and kindred? You have enticed me into this
wilderness. I have been decoyed, and, like a foolish child, have willingly accompanied
my destroyer. You feared to murder me in my distant home; the earth could not
have hidden me; Niagara even might have given up my body to dismay the murderers!
In this underground river in the wilds of Kentucky, all trace of my existence
will disappear forever."
growing furious. My frenzied eyes searched the ground for some missile of defense.
By strange chance some one had left, on that solitary spot, a rude weapon, providentially
dropped for my use, I thought. It was a small iron bolt or bar, somewhat rusted.
I threw myself upon the earth, and, as I did so, picked this up quickly, and
secreted it within my bosom. Then I arose and resumed my stormy denunciation.
You have played your part well, you have led your unresisting victim to the
sacrifice, but if I am compelled to plunge into this black grave, you shall
go with me!" I shrieked in desperation, and suddenly threw my arms around
the gentle adept, intending to hurl him into the chasm. At this point I felt
my hands seized from behind in a cold, clammy, irresistible embrace, my fingers
were loosed by a strong grasp, and I turned, to find myself confronted by a
singular looking being, who quietly said:
are not to be destroyed; we wish only to do your bidding."
stood in a stooping position, with his face towards the earth as if to shelter
it from the sunshine. He was less than five feet in height. His arms and legs
were bare, and his skin, the color of light blue putty, glistened in the sunlight
like the slimy hide of a water dog. He raised his head, and I shuddered in affright
as I beheld that his face was not that of a human. His forehead extended in
an unbroken plane from crown to cheek bone, and the chubby tip of an abortive
nose without nostrils formed a short projection near the center of the level
ridge which represented a countenance. There was no semblance of an eye, for
there were no sockets. Yet his voice was singularly perfect. His face, if face
it could be called, was wet, and water dripped from all parts of his slippery
person. Yet, repulsive as he looked, I shuddered more at the remembrance of
the touch of that cold, clammy hand than at the sight of his figure, for a dead
man could not have chilled me as he had done, with his sappy skin, from which
the moisture seemed to ooze as from the hide of a water lizard.
to my guide, this freak of nature said, softly:
I have come in obedience to the signal."
at once that alone with these two I was powerless, and that to resist would
be suicidal. Instantly my effervescing passion subsided, and I expressed no
further surprise at this sudden and remarkable apparition, but mentally acquiesced.
I was alone and helpless; rage gave place to inertia in the despondency that
followed the realization of my hopeless condi-tion. The grotesque newcomer who,
though sightless, possessed a strange instinct, led us to the base of the hill
a few hundred feet away, and there, gushing into the light from the rocky bluff,
I saw a magnificent stream issuing many feet in width. This was the head-waters
of the mysterious brook that I had previously noticed. It flowed from an archway
in the solid stone, springing directly out of the rock-bound cliff; beautiful
and picturesque in its surroundings. The limpid water, clear and sparkling,
issued from the unknown source that was typical of darkness, but the brook of
crystal leaped into a world of sunshine, light and freedom.
Brother," said my companion, " this spring emerging from this prison
of earth images to us what humanity will be when the prisoning walls of ignorance
that now enthrall him are removed. Man has heretofore relied chiefly for his
advancement, both mental and physical, on knowledge gained from so-called scientific
explorations and researches with matter, from material studies rather than spiritual,
all his investigations having been confined to the crude, coarse substance of
the surface of the globe. Spiritualistic investigations, unfortunately, are
considered by scientific men too often as reaching backward only. The religions
of the world clasp hands with, and lean upon, the dead past, it is true, but
point to a living future. Man must yet search by the agency of senses and spirit,
the unfathomed mysteries that lie beneath his feet and over his head, and he
who refuses to bow to the Creator and honor his handiwork discredits himself.
When this work is accomplished, as it yet will be, the future man, able then
to comprehend the problem of life in its broader significance, drawing from
all directions the facts necessary to his mental advancement, will have reached
a state in which he can enjoy bodily comfort and supreme spiritual perfection,
while he is yet an earth-bound mortal. In hastening this consummation, it is
necessary that an occasional human life should be lost to the world, but such
sacrifices are noble- yes, sublime, because contributing to the future exaltation
of our race. The secret workers in the sacred order of which you are still a
member, have ever taken an important part in furthering such a system of evolution.
This feature of our work is unknown to brethren of the ordinary fraternity,
and the individual research of each secret messenger is unguessed, by the craft
at large. Hence it is that the open workers of our order, those initiated by
degrees only, who in lodge rooms carry on their beneficent labors among men,
have had no hand other than as agents in your removal, and no knowledge of your
present or future movements. Their function is to keep together our organization
on earth, and from them only an occasional member is selected, as you have been,
to perform special duties in certain adventurous studies. Are you willing to
go on this journey of exploration? and are you brave enough to meet the trials
you have invited?"
my enthusiasm arose, and I felt the thrill experienced by an investigator who
stands on the brink of an important discovery, and needs but courage to advance,
and I answered, " Yes."
Then, farewell; this archway is the entrance that will admit you into your arcanum
of usefulness. This mystic Brother, though a stranger to you, has long been
apprised of our coming, and it was he who sped me on my journey to seek you,
and who has since been waiting for us, and is to be your guide during the first
stages of your subterrene progress. He is a Friend, and, if you trust him, will
protect you from harm. You will find the necessaries of life supplied, for I
have traversed part of your coming road; that part I therefore know, but, as
I have said, you are to go deeper into the unexplored,-yes, into and beyond
the Beyond, until finally you will come to the gateway that leads into the "
TO GODS SUNSHINE.- THE ECHO OF THE CRY.
speaking, my quiet leader, who had so long been as a shepherd to my wandering
feet, on the upper earth, grasped my hands tightly, and placed them in those
of my new companion, whose clammy fingers closed over them as with a grip of
iron. The mysterious being, now my custodian, turned towards the creek, drawing
me after him, and together we silently and solemnly waded beneath the stone
archway. As I passed under the shadow of that dismal, yawning cliff, I turned
my head to take one last glimpse of the world I had known- that " warm
precinct of the cheerful day, " - and tears sprang to my eyes. I thought
of life, family, friends,- of all for which men live - and a melancholy vision
arose, that of my lost, lost home. My dear companion of the journey that had
just ended stood in the sunlight on the banks of the rippling stream, gazing
at us intently, and waved an affectionate farewell. My uncouth new associate
( guide or master, whichever he might be ), of the journey to come, clasped
me firmly by the arms, and waded slowly onward, thrusting me steadily against
the cold current, and with irresistible force pressed me into the thickening
darkness. The daylight disappeared, the pathway contracted, the water deepened
and became more chilly. We were constrained to bow our heads in order to avoid
the overhanging vault of stone; the water reached to my chin, and now the down-
jutting roof touched the crown of my head; then I shuddered convulsively as
the last ray of daylight disappeared.
not been for my companion, I know that I should have sunk in despair, and drowned;
but with a firm hand he held my head above the water, and steadily pushed me
onward. I had reached the extreme of despondency: I neither feared nor cared
for life nor death, and I realized that, powerless to control my own acts, my
fate, the future, my existence depended on the strange being beside me. I was
mysteriously sustained, however, by a sense of bodily security, such as comes
over us as when in the hands of an experienced guide we journey through a wilderness,
for I felt that my pilot of the underworld did not purpose to destroy me. We
halted a moment, and then, as a faint light overspread us, my eyeless guide
directed me to look upward.
We now stand beneath the crevice which you were told by your former guide would
admit the last ray of sunlight on your path. I also say to you, this struggling
ray of sunlight is to be your last for years."
above me, feeling all the wretchedness of a dying man who, with faculties intact,
might stand on the dark edge of the hillside of eternity, glancing back into
the bright world; and that small opening far, far overhead, seemed as the gate
to Paradise Lost. Many a person, assured of ascending at will, has stood at
the bottom of a deep well or shaft to a mine, and even then felt the undescribable
sensation of dread, often terror, that is produced by such a situation. Awe,
mystery, uncertainty of life and future superadded, may express my sensation.
I trembled, shrinking in horror from my captor and struggled violently.
Hold, hold," I begged, as one involuntarily prays a surgeon to delay the
incision of the amputating knife, " just one moment." My companion,
unheeding, moved on, the light vanished instantly, and we were surrounded by
total darkness. God's sunshine was blotted out.
I again became unconcerned; I was not now responsible for my own existence,
and the feeling that I experienced when a prisoner in the closed carriage returned.
I grew careless as to my fate, and with stolid indifference struggled onward
as we progressed slowly against the current of water. I began to interest myself
in speculations regarding our surroundings, and the object or outcome of our
journey. In places the water was shallow, scarce reaching to our ankles; again
it was so deep that we could wade only with exertion, and at times the passage
up which we toiled was so narrow, that it would scarcely admit us. After a long,
laborious stemming of the unseen brook, my companion directed me to close my
mouth, hold my nostrils with my fingers, and stoop; almost diving with me beneath
the water, he drew me through the submerged crevice, and we ascended into an
open chamber, and left the creek behind us. I fancied that we were in a large
room, and as I shouted aloud to test my hypothesis, echo after echo answered,
until at last the cry reverberated and died away in distant murmurs. We were
evidently in a great pocket or cavern, through which my guide now walked rapidly;
indeed, he passed along with unerring footsteps, as certain of his course as
I might be on familiar ground in full daylight. I perceived that he systematically
evaded inequalities that I could not anticipate nor see. He would tell me to
step up or down, as the surroundings required, and we ascended or descended
accordingly. Our path turned to the right or the left from time to time, but
my eyeless guide passed through what were evidently the most tortuous windings
without a mishap. I wondered much at this gift of knowledge, and at last overcame
my reserve sufficiently to ask how we could thus unerringly proceed in utter
darkness. The reply was: " The path is plainly visible to me; I see as
clearly in pitch darkness as you can in sunshine."
Explain yourself further," I requested.
" Not yet;" and continued, " you are weary, we will rest."
me to a seat on a ledge, and left me for a time. Returning soon, he placed in
my hands food which I ate with novel relish. The pabulum seemed to be of vegetable
origin, though varieties of it had a peculiar flesh-like flavor. Several separate
and distinct substances were contained in the queer viands, some portions savoring
of wholesome flesh, while others possessed the delicate flavors of various fruits,
such as the strawberry and the pineapple. The strange edibles were of a pulpy
texture, homogeneous in consistence, parts being juicy and acid like grateful
fruits. Some portions were in slices or films that I could hold in my hand like
sections of a velvet melon, and yet were in many respects unlike any other food
that I had ever tasted. There was neither rind nor seed; it seemed as though
I were eating the gills of a fish, and in answer to my question the guide remarked.
Yes; it is the gill, but not the gill of a fish. You will be instructed in due
time." I will add that after this, whenever necessary, we were supplied
with food, but both thirst and hunger disappeared altogether before our underground
journey was finished.
a while we again began our journey, which we continued in what was to me absolute
darkness. My strength seemed to endure the fatigue to a wonderful degree, notwithstanding
that we must have been walking hour after hour, and I expressed a curiosity
about the fact. My guide replied that the atmosphere of the cavern possessed
an intrinsic vitalizing power that neutralized fatigue, " or," he
said, " there is here an inherent constitutional energy derived from an
active gaseous substance that belongs to cavern air at this depth, and sustains
the life force by contributing directly to its conservation, taking the place
of food and drink."
I do not understand," I said.
No; and you do not comprehend how ordinary air supports mind and vitalizes muscle,
and at the same time wears out both muscle and all other tissues. These are
facts which are not satisfactorily explained by scientific statements concerning
oxygenation of the blood. As we descend into the earth we find an increase in
the life force of the cavern air."
reference to surface earth recalled my former life, and led me to contrast my
present situation with that I had forfeited. I was seized with an uncontrollable
longing for home, and a painful craving for the past took possession of my heart,
but with a strong effort I shook off the sensations. We traveled on and on in
silence and in darkness, and I thought again of the strange remark of my former
guide who had said: " You are destined to go deeper into the unknown; yes,
into and beyond the Beyond."
OF LIGHT DEEP WITHIN THE EARTH
Oh! for one glimpse of light, a ray of sunshine!"
to this my mental ejaculation, my guide said: " Can not you perceive that
the darkness is becoming less intense ?"
No," I answered, " I can not; night is absolute."
Are you sure?" he asked. " Cover your eyes with your hand, then uncover
and open them." I did so and fancied that by contrast a faint gray line
This must be imagination."
No; we now approach a zone of earth light; let us hasten on."
A zone of light deep in the earth! Incomprehensible! Incredible!" I muttered,
and yet as we went onward and time passed the darkness was less intense. The
barely perceptible hue became gray and somber, and then of a pearly translucence,
and although I could not distinguish the outline of objects, yet I unquestionably
I am amazed! What can be the cause of this phenomenon ? What is the nature of
this mysterious halo that surrounds us?" I held my open hand before my
eyes, and perceived the darkness of my spread fingers.
It is light, it is light," I shouted; " it is really light!"
And from near and from far the echoes of that subterranean cavern answered back
joyfully, " It is light, it is light!"
in joy, and threw my arms about my guide, forgetting in the ecstasy his clammy
cuticle, and danced in hysterical glee and alternately laughed and cried. How
vividly I realized then that the imprisoned miner would give a world of gold,
his former god, for a ray of light.
Compose yourself; this emotional exhibition is all evidence of weakness; an
investigator should neither become depressed over a reverse, nor unduly enthusiastic
over a fortunate discovery."
approach the earth's surface ? Soon I will be back in the sunshine again."
Upon the contrary, we have been continually descending into the earth, and we
are now ten miles or more beneath the level of the ocean."
back, hesitated, and in despondency gazed at his hazy outline, then, as if palsied,
sank upon the stony floor; but as I saw the light before me, I leaped up and
What you say is not true; we approach daylight, I can see your form."
Listen to me," he said. " Can not you understand that I have led you
continually down a steep descent, and that for hours there has been no step
upward? With but little exertion you have walked this distance without becoming
wearied, and you could not, without great fatigue, have ascended for so long
a period. You are entering a zone of inner earth light; we are in the surface,
the upper edge of it. Let us hasten on, for when this cavern darkness is at
an end- and I will say we have nearly passed that limit- your courage will return,
and then we will rest."
You surely do not speak the truth; science and philosophy, and I am somewhat
versed in both, have never told me of such a light."
Can philosophers more than speculate about that which they have not experienced
if they have no data from which to calculate? Name the student in science who
has reached this depth in earth, or has seen a man to tell him of these facts?"
I can not."
Then why should you have expected any of them to describe our surroundings?
Misguided men will torture science by refuting facts with theories; but a fact
is no less a fact when science opposes."
tile force of his arguments, and cordially grasped his hand in indication of
submission. We continued our journey, and rapidly traveled downward and onward.
The light gradually increased in intensity, until at length the cavern near
about us seemed to be as bright as diffused daylight could leave made it. There
was apparently no central point of radiation; the light was such as to pervade
and exist in tile surrounding space, somewhat as the vapor of phosphorus spreads
a self-luminous haze throughout the bubble into which it is blown. The visual
agent surrounding us had a permanent, self-existing luminosity, and was a pervading,
bright, unreachable essence that, without an obvious origin, diffused itself
equally in all directions. It reminded me of the form of light that in previous
years I had seen described as epipolic dispersion, and as I refer to the matter
I am of the opinion that man will yet find that the same cause produces both
phenomena. I was informed now by the sense of sight, that we were in a cavern
room of considerable size. The apartment presented somewhat the appearance of
the usual underground caverns that I had seen pictured in books, and yet was
different. Stalactites, stalagmites, saline incrustations,
occasionally reminded me of travelers' stories, but these objects were not so
abundant as might be supposed. Such accretions or deposits of saline substances
as I noticed were also disappointing, in that, instead of having a dazzling
brilliancy, like frosted snow crystals, they were of a uniform gray or brown
hue. Indeed, my former imaginative mental creations regarding underground caverns
were dispelled in this somber stone temple, for even the floor and the fragments
of stone that, in considerable quantities, strewed the floor, were of the usual
rock formations of upper earth. The glittering crystals of snowy white or rain
bow tints ( fairy caverns ) pictured by travelers, and described as inexpressibly
grand and beautiful in other cavern labyrinths, were wanting here, and I saw
only occasional small clusters of quartz crystals that were other than of a
dull gray color. Finally; after hours or perhaps days of travel, interspersed
with restings, conversations, and arguments, amid which I could form no idea
of the flight of time, my companion seated himself on a natural bench of stone,
and directed me to rest likewise. He broke the silence, and spoke as follows:
DARKNESS.- THE NARROWS OF SCIENCE.
In studying any branch of science men begin and end with an unknown. The chemist
accepts as data such conditions of matter as he finds about him, and connects
ponderable matter with the displays of energy that have impressed his senses,
building therefrom a span of theoretical science, but he can not formulate as
yet an explanation regarding the origin or the end of either mind, matter, or
energy. The piers supporting his fabric stand in a profound invisible gulf,
into which even his imagination can not look to form a theory concerning basic
The geologist, in a like manner, grasps feebly the lessons left in the superficial
fragments of earth strata, impressions that remain to bear imperfect record
of a few of the disturbances that have affected the earth's crust, and he endeavors
to formulate a story of the world's life, but he is neither able to antedate
the records shown by the meager testimony at his command, scraps of a leaf out
of God's great book of history, nor to anticipate coming events. The birth,
as well as the death, of this planet is
The astronomer directs his telescope to the heavens, records the position of
the planets, and hopes to discover the influences worlds exert upon one another.
He explores space to obtain data to enable him to delineate a map of the visible
solar universe, but the instruments he has at command are so imperfect, and
mind is so feeble that, like mockery seems his attempt to study behind the facts
connected with the motions and conditions of the nearest heavenly bodies, and
he can not offer an explanation of the beginning or cessation of their movements.
He call neither account for their existence, nor foretell their end."
Are you not mistaken?" I interrupted; " does not the astronomer foretell
eclipses, and calculate the orbits of the
and has he not verified predictions concerning their several motions?"
Yes; but this is simply a study of passing events. The astronomer is no more
capable of grasping an idea that reaches into an explanation of the origin of
motion, than the chemist or physicist, from exact scientific data, can account
for the creation of matter. Give him any amount of material at rest, and he
can not conceive of any method by which motion can disturb any part of it, unless
such motion be mass motion communicated from without, or molecular motion, already
existing within. He accounts for the phases of present motion in heavenly bodies,
not for the primal cause of the actual movements or intrinsic properties they
possess. He can neither originate a theory that will permit of motion creating
itself, and imparting itself to quiescent matter, nor imagine how an atom of
quiescent matter can be moved, unless motion from without be communicated thereto.
The astronomer, I assert, can neither from any data at his command postulate
nor prove the beginning nor the end of the reverberating motion that exists
in his solar system, which is itself the fragment of a system that is circulating
and revolving in and about itself, and in which, since the birth of man, the
universe he knows has not passed the first milestone in the road that universe
is traveling in space immensity.
The mathematician starts a line from an imaginary point that he informs us exists
theoretically without occupying any space, which is a contradictions of terms
according to his human acceptation of knowledge derived from scientific experiment,
if science is based on verified facts. He assumes that straight lines exist,
which is a necessity for his calculation; but such a line he leas never made.
Even the beam of sunshine, radiating through a clear atmosphere or a cloud bank,
widens and contracts again as it progresses through the various mediums of air
and vapor currents, and if it is ever spreading and deflecting can it be straight?
He begins his study in the unknown, it ends with the unknowable.
The biologist can conceive of no rational, scientific beginning to life of plant
or animal, and men of science must admit the fact. Whenever we turn our attention
to nature's laws and nature's substance, we find. man surrounded by the infinity
that obscures the origin and covers the end. But perseverance, study of nature's
forces, and comparison of the past.with the present, will yet clarify human
knowledge and make plain much of this seemingly mysterious, but never will man
reach the beginning or the end. The course of human education, to this day,
has been mostly materialistic, although, together with the study of
there has been more or less attention given to its movingspirit. Newton was
the dividing light in scientific thought; he stepped between the reasonings
of the past and the provings of the present, and introduced problems that gave
birth to a new
tendency, a change from the study of matter from the material side to that of
force and matter, but his thought has since been carried out in a mode too realistic
by far. The study of material bodies has given way, it is true, in a few cases
to the study of the spirit of matter, and evolution is beginning to teach men
that matter is crude. As a result, thought will in its sequence yet show that
modifications of energy expression are paramount. This work is not lost, however,
for the consideration of the nature of sensible material, is preliminary and
necessary to progression ( as the life of the savage prepares the way for
of the cultivated student ), and is a meager and primitive child's effort, compared
with the richness of the study in unseen energy expressions that are linked
with matter, of which men will yet learn."
I comprehend some of this," I replied; " but I am neither prepared
to assent to nor dissent from your conclusions, and my mind is not clear as
to whether your logic is good or bad. I am more ready to speak plainly about
my own peculiar situation than to become absorbed in abstruse arguments in science,
and I marvel more at the soft light that is here surrounding us than at the
metaphysical reasoning in which you indulge."
The child ignorant of letters wonders at the resources of those who can spell
and read, and, in like manner, many obscure natural phenomena are marvelous
to man only because of his ignorance. You do not comprehend the fact that sunlight
is simply a matter-bred expression, an outburst of interrupted energy, and that
the modification this energy undergoes makes it visible or sensible to man.
What, think you, becomes of the flood of light energy that unceasingly flows
from the sun? For ages, for an eternity, it has bathed this earth and seemingly
streamed into space, and space it would seem must have long since have been
filled with it, if, as men believe, space contains energy of any description.
Man may say the earth casts the amount intercepted by it back into space, and
yet does not your science teach that the great bulk of the earth is an absorber,
and a poor radiator of light and heat? What think you, I repeat, becomes of
the torrent of light and heat and other forces that radiate from the sun, the
flood that strikes the earth? It disappears, and, in the economy of nature,
is not replaced by any known force or any known motion of matter. Think you
that earth substance really presents an obstacle to the passage of the sun's
energy? Is it not probable that most of this light producing essence, as a subtle
fluid, passes through the surface of the earth and into its interior, as light
does through space, and returns thence to the sun again, in a condition not
discernible by man?" He grasped my arm and squeezed it as though to emphasize
the words to follow. " You have used the term sunshine freely; tell me
what is sunshine? Ah! you do not reply; well, what evidence have you to show
that sunshine ( heat and light ) is not earth-bred, a condition that exists
locally only, the result of contact between matter and some unknown force expression?
What reason have you for accepting that, to other forms unknown and yet transparent
to this energy, your sunshine may not be as intangible as the ether of space
is to man? What reason have you to believe that a force torrent is not circulating
to and from the sun and earth, inappreciable to man, excepting the mere trace
of this force which, modified by contact action with matter appears as heat,
light, and other force expressions? How can I, if this is true, in consideration
of your ignorance, enter into details explanatory of the action that takes place
between matter and a portion of this force, whereby in the earth, first at the
surface, darkness is produced, and then deeper down an earth light that man
can perceive by the sense of sight, as you now realize? I will only say that
this luminous appearance about us is produced by a natural law, whereby the
flood of energy, invisible to man, a something clothed now under the name of
darkness, after streaming into the crust substance of the earth, is at this
depth, revivified, and then is made apparent to mortal
to be modified again as it emerges from the opposite earth crust, but not annihilated.
For my vision, however, this central light is not a necessity; my physical and
mental development is such that the energy of darkness is communicable; I can
respond to its touches on my nerves, and hence I can guide you in this dark
cavern. I am all eye."
Ah!" I exclaimed, " that reminds me of a remark made by my former
guide who, referring to the instinct of animals, spoke of that as a natural
power undeveloped in man. Is it true that by mental cultivation a new sense
can be evolved whereby darkness may become as light ?"
Yes; that which you call light is a form of sensible energy to which the faculties
of animals who live on the surface of the earth have become adapted, through
their organs of sight. The sun's energy is modified when it strikes the surface
of the earth; part is reflected, but most of it passes onward into the earth's
substance, in an altered or disturbed condition. Animal organisms within the
earth must possess a peculiar development to utilize it under its new form,
but such a sense is really possessed in a degree by some creatures known to
men. There is consciousness behind consciousness; there are grades and depths
of consciousness. Earth worms, and some fishes and reptiles in underground streams
( lower organizations, men call them ) do not use the organ of sight, but recognize
objects, seek their food, and flee from their enemies."
They have no eyes," I exclaimed, forgetting that I spoke to an eyeless
being; " how can they see?"
You should reflect that man can not offer a satisfactory explanation of the
fact that he can see with his eyes. In one respect, these so-called lower creatures
are higher in the scale of life than man is, for they see ( appreciate ) without
eyes. The surfaces of their bodies really are sources of perception, and seats
of consciousness. Man must yet learn to see with his skin, taste with his fingers,
and hear with the surface of his body. The dissected nerve, or the pupil of
man's eye, offers to the physiologist no explanation of its intrinsic power.
Is not man unfortunate in having to risk so much on so frail an organ? The physiologist
can not tell why or how the nerve of the tongue can distinguish between bitter
and sweet, or convey any impression of taste, or why the nerve of the ear communicates
sound, or the nerve of the eye communicates the impression of sight. There is
an impassable barrier behind all forms of nerve impressions, that neither the
microscope nor other methods of investigation can help the reasoning senses
of man to remove. The void that separates the pulp of the material nerve from
consciousness is broader than the solar universe, for even from the most distant
known star we can imagine the never-ending flight of a ray of light, that has
once started on its travels into space. Can any man outline the bridge that
connects the intellect with nerve or brain, mind, or with any form of matter?
The fact that the surface of the bodies of some animals is capable of performing
the same functions for these animals that the eye of man performs for him, is
not more mysterious than is the function of that eye itself. The term darkness
is an expression used to denote the fact that to the brain which governs the
eye of man, what man calls the absence of light, is unrecognizable. If men were
more magnanimous and less egotistical, they would open their minds to the fact
that some animals really possess certain senses that are better developed than
they are in man. The teachers of men too often tell the little they know and
neglect the great unseen. The cat tribe, some night birds, and many reptiles
can see better in darkness than in daylight. Let man compare with the nerve
expanse of his own eye that of the highly developed eye of any such creature,
and he will understand that the difference is one of brain or intellect, and
not altogether one of optical vision surface. When men are able to explain how
light can affect the nerves of their own eyes and produce such an effect on
distant brain tissues as to bring to his senses objects that he is not touching,
he may be able to explain how the energy in darkness can affect the nerve of
the eye in the owl and impress vision on the brain of that creature. Should
not man's inferior sense of light lead him to question if, instead of deficient
visual power, there be not a deficiency of the brain capacity of man? Instead
of accepting that the eye of man is incapable of receiving the impression of
night energy, and making no endeavor to improve himself in the direction of
his imperfection, man should reflect whether or not his brain may, by proper
cultivation or artificial stimulus, be yet developed so as to receive yet deeper
nerve impressions, thereby changing darkness into daylight. Until man can explain
the modus operandi of the senses he now possesses, he can not consistently question
the existence of a different sight power in other beings, and unquestioned existing
conditions should lead him to hope for a yet higher development in himself."
This dissertation is interesting, very," I said. " Although inclined
toward agnosticism, my ideas of a possible future in consciousness that lies
before mankind are broadened. I therefore accept your reasoning, perhaps because
I call not refute it, neither do I wish to do so. And now I ask again, can not
you explain to me how darkness, as deep as that of midnight, has been revivified
so as to bring this great cavern to my view?"
That may be made plain at a future time," he answered; " let us proceed
with our journey."
through a dry, well ventilated apartment. Stalactite formations still existed,
indicative of former periods of water drippings, but as we journeyed onward
I saw no evidence of present percolations, and the developing and erosive agencies
that had worked in ages past must long ago have been suspended. The floor was
of solid stone, entirely free from loose earth and fallen rocky fragments. It
was smooth upon the surface, but generally disposed in gentle undulations. The
peculiar, soft, radiant light to which my guide referred as " vitalized
darkness" or " revivified sunshine," pervaded all the space about
me, but I could not by its agency distinguish the sides, of the vast cavern.
The brightness was of a species that while it brought into distinctness objects
that were near at hand, lost its unfolding power or vigor a short distance beyond.
I would compare the effect to that of a bright light shining through a dense
fog, were it not that the medium about us was, transparent- not milky. The light
shrunk into nothingness. It passed from existence behind and about me as if
it were annihilated, without wasting away in the opalescent appearance once
familiar as that of a spreading fog. Moreover, it seemed to detail such objects
as were within the compass of a certain area close about me, but to lose in
intensity beyond. The buttons on my coat appeared as distinct as they ever did
when I stood in the sunlight, and fully one-half larger than I formerly knew
to be. The corrugations on the palms of my hands stood out in bold serpentine
relief that I observed clearly when I held my hands near my eye, my fingers
appeared clumsy, and all parts of my person were magnified in proportion. The
region at the limits of my range of perception reminded the of nothingness,
but not of darkness. A circle of obliteration defined the border of the luminous
belt which advanced as we proceeded, and closed in behind us. This line, or
rather zone of demarkation that separated the seen from the unseen, appeared
to be about two hundred feet away, but it might have been more or less, as I
had no method of measuring distances.
the chamber through which we now passed I saw by the mellow light great pillars,
capped with umbrella-like covers, some of them reminding me of the common toadstool
of upper Earth, on a magnificent scale. Instead, however, of the grey and somber
shades to which I had been accustomed, these objects were of various hues and
combined the brillancy of the primary prismatic colors, with the purity of clean
snow. Now they would stand solitary, like sentinels; again they would be arranged
in rows, the alingment as true as if established by the hair of a transit, forming
columnar avenues, and in other situations they were wedged together so as to
produce masses, acres in extent, in which the stems became hexagonal by compression.
The columnar stems, larger than my body, were often spiral; again they were
marked by diamond-shaped figures, or other geometrical forms in relief, beautifully
exact, drawn as by a masters hand in rich and delicately blended colors, on
pillars of pure alabaster. Not a few of the stems showed deep crimson, blue
or green, together with other rich colors combined; over which, as delicate
as the rarest of lace, would be thrown, in white, an enamel-like intracate tracery,
far surpassing in beauty of execution the most exquisite needle-work I had ever
seen. There could be no doubt I was in a forest of collossal fungi, the species
of which are more numerous than those of upper earth, cryptomatic vegetation.
The expanded heads of these great thallogens were as varied as the stems I have
described, and more so. Far above our path they spread like beautiful umbrellas,
decorated as if by masters from whom the great painters of upper earth might
learn the art of mixing colors. Their under surfaces were of many different
designs, and were of as many shapes as it is conceivable could be made of combinations
of the circle of hyperbola. Stately and picturesque, silent and immovable as
the sphinx, they studded the great cavern singly or in groups, reminding me
of a grown childs wild imagination of a fairy land. I stopped by a group which
was of unusual conspicuity and gazed in admiration on the huge and yet graceful,
beautiful spectacle. I placed my hand on the stem of one plant, and found it
soft and impressable; but instead of being moist, cold and clammy as the repulsive
toadstool of upper earth, I discovered, to my surprise, that it was pleasantly
warm, and soft as velvet.
your hand, said my guide.
so, and breathed in an aroma like that of fresh strawberries. My guide observed
( I had learned to judge of his emotions by his facial expressions ) my surprised
countenance with indifference.
next one, he said.
being of a different species, when rubbed by my hand exhaled the odor of the
all. Should productions of surface earth have a monopoly of natures methods,
all the flavors, all the perfumes? You may with equal consistency express astonishment
at the odors of the fruits of upper earth if you do so at the fragrance of these
vegetables, for they are also created of odorless elements.
are foul elements of low organization. They are neither animals nor true vegetables,
but occupy a station below that of plants proper, I said.
acquainted with this order of vegetation under the most unfavorable conditions;
out of their native elements these plants degenerate and become then abnormal
, often evolving into the poisonous earth fungi known to your woods and fields.
Here they grow to perfection. This is their chosen habitat. They absorb from
a pure atmosphere the combined foods of plants and animals, and during their
existence meet no scorching sunrise. They flourish in a region of perfect tranquility,
and without a tremor, without experiencing the change of a fraction of a degree
of temperature, exist for ages. Many of these specimens are probably thousands
of years old, and are still growing; why should they ever die? They have never
been disturbed by a breath of moving air, and, balanced exactly on their succulent,
pedestal-like stems, surrounded by an atmosphere of dead nitrogen, vapor, and
other gases, with their roots imbedded in carbonates and minerals, they have
food at command, nutrition inexhaustible.
I do not see why they grow to such mammoth proportions.
adapt themselves to surrounding conditions, he remarked. The oak tree in its
proper latitude is tall and stately; trace it toward the Arctic circle, and
it becomes knotted, gnarled, rheumatic, and dwindles to a shrub. The castor
plant in the tropics is twenty or thirty feet in height, in the temperate zone
it is a herbaceous plant, farther North it has no existence. Indian corn in
Kentucky is luxurient, tall, and graceful, and each stalk is supplied with roots
to the second and third joint, while in the northland it scarcely reaches to
the shoulder of a man, and, in order to escape the early northern frost, arrives
at maturity before the more southern variety begins to tassel. The common jimson
weed ( datura stramonium ) planted in early spring, in rich soil, grows luxuriently,
covers a broad expanse and bears an abundance of fruit; planted in midsummer
it blossoms when but a few inches in height, and between two terminal leaves
hastens to produce a single capsule on the apex of the short stem, in order
to ripen its seed before the frost appears. These and other familiar examples
might be cited concerning the difference some species of vegetation of your
former land undergo under climatic conditions less marked than between those
that govern the growth of fungi here and on surface earth. Such specimens of
fungi as grow in your former home have escaped from these underground regions,
and are as much out of place as are the tropical plants transplanted to the
edge of eternal snow. Indeed, more so, for on the earth the ordinary fungus,
as a rule, germinates afte sunset, and often dies when the sun rises, while
here they may grow in peace eternally. These meandering caverns comprise thousands
of miles of surface covered by these growths which may yet fulfill a grand purpose
in the ceremony of nature, for they are destined to feed tramping multitudes
when the day appears in which the nations of men will desert the surface of
the earth and pass as a single people through these caverns on their way to
the immaculate existence to be found in the inner sphere.
disprove your statement, I again repeated; neither do I accept it. However,
it still seems to me unnatural to find such delicious flavors and delicate odors
connected with objects associated in memory with things insipid, or so disagreeable
as toadstools and rank forest fungi which I abhorred on earth.
leads me to remark,: answered the eyeless seer, that you speak without due consideration
of previous experience. You are, or should be, aware of other and as marked
differences in food products of upper Earth, induced by climate, soil, and cultivation.
The potato which, next to wheat, rice or corn, you know supplies nations of
men with starchy food, originated as a wild weed in South America and Mexico,
where it yet exists as a small, watery, marble-like tuber, and its nearest kindred,
botanically, is still poisonous. The luscious apple reached its present excellence
by slow stages from knotty, wild astringent fruit, to which it again returns
when excaped from cultivation. The cucumber is a near cousin of the griping,
medicinal cathartic bitter-apple, or colocynth, and occasionally partakes yet
of the properties that result from that unfortunate alliance, as too often exemplified
to persons who do not peel it deep enough to remove the bitter, cathartic principle
that exists near the surface. Oranges, in their wild condition, are bitter,
and are used principally as medicinal agents. Asparagus was once a weed, native
to the salty edges of the sea, and as this weed has become a food, so it is
possible for other wild weeds yet to do so. Buckwheat is a weed proper, and
not a cereal, and birds have learned that the seeds of many other weeds are
even preferable to wheat. The wild parsnip is a poison, and the parsnip of cultivation
relapses quickly into its natural condition if allowed to escape and roam again.
The root of a tapioca plant contains a volatile poison, and is deadly; but when
that same root is properly prepared, it becomes a wholesome food, tapioca. The
nut of the African anacardium ( cashew nut ) contains a nourishing kernal that
is eaten as food by the natives, and yet a drop of the juice of the oily shell
upon the skin will blister and produce terrible inflammations; only those expert
in the removal of the kernal dare partake of the food. The berry of the berberis
vulgaris is a pleasant acid fruit; the bough that bears it is intensely bitter.
Such examples might be multiplied indefinitely, but I have cited enough to illustrate
the fact that neither the difference in size and structure of the species in
the mushroom forest through which we are passing, nor the conditions of these
bodies, as compared with those you formerly knew, need excite your astonishment.
Cultivate a potato in your former home so that the growing tuber is exposed
to sunshine, and it becomes green and acrid, and strongly virulent. Cultivate
the spores of the intra-earth fungi about us, on the face of the Earth, and
although now all parts of the plant are edible, the species will degenerate,
and may even become poisonous. They lose their flavor under such unfavorable
conditions, and although some species still retain vitality enough to resist
poisonous degeneration, they dwindle in size, and adapt themselves to new and
unnatural conditions. They have all degenerated. Here they live on water, pure
nitrogen and its modifications, grasping with their roots the carbon of disintegrated
limestone, affiliating these substances, and evolving from these substances
rich and delicate flavors, far superior to the flavor of earth substance foods.
On the surface of the earth, after they become abnormal, they live only on dead
and devitalized organic matter, having lost the power of assimilating elementary
matter. They then partake of the nature of animals, breathe oxygen and exhale
carbonic acid, as animals do, being the reverse of other plant existences. Here
they breathe oxygen, nitrogen and the vapor of water; but exhale some of the
carbon in combination with hydrogen, thus evolving these delicate ethereal essences
instead of the poisonous gas, carbonic acid. Their substance is here made up
of all the elements necessary for the support of animal life; nitrogen to make
up muscle, carbon and hydrogen for fat, lime and bone. The fungoid forest could
feed a multitude. It is probable that in the time to come when man deserts the
bleak earth surface, as he will someday be forced to do, as has been the case
with frozen planets that are not now inhabited on the frozen crust; nations
will march through these spaces on their way from the dreary outside earth to
the delights of the salubrious inner sphere. Here then, when that day of necessity
appears, as it surely will come under inflexible climatic changes that will
control the destiny of outer earth life, these constantly increasing stores
adapted to nourish humanity, will be found accumulated and ready for food. You
have already eaten of them, for the variety of food which I supplied you has
been selected from different portions of these nourishing products which, flavored
and salted, ready for use as food, stand intermediate between animal and vegetable,
supplying the place of both.
placed both hands upon my shoulders, and in silence I stood gazing intently
into his face. Then, in a smooth, captivating, entrancing manner, he continued:
not see that food is not matter? The material part of bread is carbon, water,
gas and earth; the material part of fat is charcoal and gas; the material part
of flesh is water and gas, the material part of fruits is mostly water with
a little charcoal and gas. The material constituents of all foods are plentiful,
they abound everywhere, and yet amid the unlimited, unorganized materials that
go to form foods man would starve.
a healthy man a diet of charcoal, water, lime salts, and air; say to him Bread
contains no other substance, here is bread, the material food of man, live on
this food, and yet the man, if he eat of these, will die with his stomach distended.
So with all other foods; give man the unorganized material constituents of food
in unlimited amounts, and starvation results. No! Matter is not food, but a
carrier of food.
The grain of wheat is a food by virtue of the sunshine fixed within it. The
flesh of animals, the food of living creatures, are simply carriers of sunshine
energy. Break out the sunshine and you destroy the food, although the material
remains. The growing plant locks the sunshine in its cells, and the living animal
takes it out again. Hence it is that after the sunshine of any food is liberated
during the metamorphosis of the tissues of an animal although the material part
of the food remains, it is no longer a food, but becomes a poison, and then,
if it is not properly eliminated from the animal, it will destroy the life of
the animal The material then becomes injurious, but it is still material.
plants a seed in the soil, the sunshine sprouts it, nourishes the growing plant,
and during the season locks itself to and within its tissues, binding the otherwise
dead materials of that tissue together into an organized structure. Animals
eat these structures, break them from higher to lower compounds, and in doing
so live on the stored up sunshine and then excrete the worthless material side
of the food. The farmer spreads these excluded substances over the earth again
to once more take up the sunshine in the growing plant organization, but not
until it does once more lock in its cells the energy of sunshine can it be a
food for that animal.
a food? he abruptly asked.
not become food again, as a part of another plant, when another season passes?
else than energy ( sunshine ) does it differ from food?
is a necessity, I said.
in each molecule of water there is a mine of sunshine. Liberate suddenly the
sun energy from the gases of the ocean held in subjection thereby, and the Earth
would disappear in an explosion that would reverberate throught the universe.
The water that you truly claim to be necessary to the life of man, is itself
water by the grace of this same sun, for without its heat water would be ice,
dry as dust. Tis the sun that gives life and motion to creatures animate and
substances inanimate; he who doubts distrusts his Creator. Food and drink are
only carriers of bits of assimilable sunshine. When the fire worshippers kneeled
to their god, the sun, they worshipped the great food reservoir of man. When
they drew the quivering entrails from the body of a sacrificed victim they gave
back to their God a spark of sunshine- it was due sooner or later. They builded
well in recognizing the source of all life, and yet they acted badly, for their
God asked no premature sacrifice, the inevitable must soon occur, and as all
organic life comes to the Sun-God, so back to that the sun-spark must fly.
are heathen; there is a God beyond their narrow conception of God.
is also a God in the Beyond, past your idea of God. Perhaps to beings of higher
mentalities, we may be heathen; but even if this is so, duty demands that we
revere God within our intellectual sphere. Let us not digress further; the subject
now is food, not the Supreme Creator, and I say to you the food of man and the
organic life of man is sunshine.
and I reflected upon his words. All he had said seemed so consistent that I
could not deny its plausability, and yet it still appeared altogether unlikely
as viewed in the light of my previous earth knowledge. I did not quite comprehend
all the semi-scientific expressions, but was at least certain that I could neither
disprove nor verify his propositions. My thoughts wandered aimlessly, and I
found myself questioning whether man could be prevailied upon to live contentedly
in situations such as I was now passing through. In company with my learned
and philosophical but fantastically created monitor, I moved on.
FROM A DISTANCE- I REBEL AGAINST CONTINUING
paced along, meditating, I became more sensibly impressed with the fact that
our progress was down a rapid declination. The saline incrustations, fungi and
stalagmites, rapidly changed in appearance, an endless variety of stony figures
and vegetable cryptogams recurring successively before my eyes. They bore the
shape of trees, shrubs, or animals, fixed and silent as statues: at least in
my distorted condition of mind I could make out resemblances to many such familiar
objects; the floor of the cavern became increasingly steeper, as was shown by
the stalactites, which, hanging here and there from the invisible ceiling, made
a decided angle with the floor, corresponding with a similar angle of the stalagmites
below. Like an accompanying and encircling halo the ever present earth light
enveloped us, opening in front as we advanced, and vanishing in the rear. The
sound of our footsteps gave back a peculiar, indescribable hollow echo, and
our voices sounded ghostlike and unearthly, as if their origin was outside of
our bodies, and at a distance. The peculiar resonance reminded me of noises
reverberating in an empty cask or cistern. I was oppressed by an indescribable
feeling of mystery and awe that grew deep and intense, until at last I could
no longer bear the mental strain.
Hold, hold," I shouted, or tried to shout, and stopped
for although I had cried aloud, no sound escaped my lips. Then from a distance
could I believe my senses ? from a distance as an echo, the cry came back in
the tones of my own voice, " Hold, hold."
Speak lower," said my guide, " speak very low, for now an effort such
as you have made projects your voice far outside your body; the greater the
exertion the farther away it appears."
him by the arm and said slowly, determinedly, and in a suppressed tone: "
I have come far enough into the secret caverns of the Earth, without knowing
our destination; acquaint me now with the object of this mysterious journey,
I demand, and at once relieve this sense of uncertainty ; otherwise I shall
go no farther."
You are to proceed to the Sphere of Rest with me," he replied, " and
in safety. Beyond that an Unknown Country lies, into which I have never ventured."
You speak in enigmas; what is this Sphere of Rest? Where is it?"
Your eyes have never seen anything similar; human philosophy has no conception
of it, and I can not describe it," he said. " It is located in the
body of the earth, and we will meet it about one thousand miles beyond the North
But I am in Kentucky," I replied; " do you think that I propose to
walk to the North Pole, man- if man you be; that unreached goal is thousands
of miles away."
True," he answered, " as you measure distance on the
of the earth, and you could not walk it in years of time;
are now twenty-five miles below the surface, and you
be aware that instead of becoming more weary as we
you are now and have for some time been gaining
I would also call to your attention that you neither
Proceed," I said, " 'tis useless to rebel; I am wholly in your power,"
and we resumed our journey, and rapidly went forward amid silences that were
to me painful beyond description. We abruptly entered a cavern of crystal, every
portion of which was of sparkling brilliancy, and as white as snow. The stalactites,
stalagmites and fungi disappeared. I picked up a fragment of the bright material,
tasted it, and found that it resembled pure
Monstrous, cubical crystals, a foot or more in diameter, stood out in bold relief,
accumulations of them, as conglomerated masses, banked up here and there, making
parts of great columnar cliffs, while in other formations the crystals were
small, resembling in the aggregate masses of white sandstone.
Is not this salt?" I asked.
Yes; we are now in the dried bed of an underground
Dried bed?" I exclaimed; " a body of water sealed in the
can not evaporate."
It has not evaporated; at some remote period the water has
abstracted from the salt, and probably has escaped upon the
of the earth as a fresh water spring."
You contradict all laws of hydrostatics, as I understand that
I replied, " when you speak of abstracting water from a
substance that is part of a liquid, and thus leaving the solids."
Nevertheless this is a constant act of nature," said he;
how else can you rationally account for the great salt beds and
deposits of saline materials that exist hermetically sealed
the earth's surface?"
I will confess that I have not given the subject much
I simply accept the usual explanation to the effect that salty seas have lost
their water by evaporation, and afterward the salt formations, by some convulsions
of nature, have been covered with earth, perhaps sinking by earthquake convulsions
bodily into the earth."
These explanations are examples of some of the erroneous views of scientific
writers," he replied; " they are true only to a limited extent. The
great beds of salt, deep in the earth, are usually accumulations left there
by water that is drawn from brine lakes, from which the liberated water often
escaped as pure spring water at the surface of the earth. It does not escape
by evaporation, at least not until it reaches the earth's surface."
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of the Earth
THE STORY INTERRUPTED.
GUEST PROVES HIS STATEMENT AND REFUTES
reader who has followed this strange story which I am directed to title "
The End of Earth," and who, in imagination, has traversed the cavernous
passages of the underworld and listened to the conversation of those two personages
who journeyed towards the secrets of the Beyond, return now to upper earth,
and once more enter my secluded lodgings, the home of Llewellen Drury, him who
listened to the aged guest and who claims your present attention. Remember that
I relate a story within a story. That importunate guest of mine, of the glittering
knife and the silvery hair, like another Ancient Mariner, had constrained me
to listen to his narrative, as he read it aloud to ine from the manuscript.
I patiently heard chapter after chapter, generally with pleasure, often with
surprise, sometimes with incredulity, or downright dissent. Much of the narrative,
I must say,- yes, most of it, appeared possible, if not probable, as taken in
its connected sequence. The scientific sections were not uninteresting; the
marvels of the fungus groves, the properties of the inner light, I was not disinclined
to accept as true to natural laws; but when The-Man-Who-Did-It came to tell
of the intra-earth salt deposits, and to explain the cause of the disappearance
of lakes that formerly existed underground, and their simultaneous replacement
by beds of salt, my credulity was overstrained.
Permit me to interrupt your narrative," I remarked, and then in response
to my request the venerable guest laid down his paper.
Well?" he said, interrogatively.
I do not believe that last statement concerning the salt lake, and, to speak
plainly, I would not have accepted it as you did, even had I been in your situation."
To what do you allude?" he asked.
The physical abstraction of water from the salt of a solution of salt; I do
not believe it possible unless by evaporation of the water."
You seem to accept as conclusive the statements of men who have never investigated
beneath the surface in these directions, and you question the evidence of a
man who has seen the phenomenon. I presume you accept the prevailing notions
about salt beds, as you do the assertion that liquids seek a common level, which
your scientific authorities also teach as a law of nature?"
Yes; I do believe that liquids seek a common level, and I am willing to credit
your other improbable statements if you can demonstrate the principle of liquid
equilibrium to be untrue."
Then," said he, " to-morrow evening I will show you that fluids seek
different levels, and also explain to you how liquids may leave the solids they
hold in solution without evaporating from them."
and abruptly departed. It was near morning, and yet I sat in my room alone pondering
the story of my unique guest until I slept to dream of caverns and seances until
daylight, when I was awakened by their vividness. The fire was out, the room
was cold, and, shivering in nervous exhaustion, I crept into bed to sleep and
dream again of horrible things I can not describe, but which made me shudder
in affright at their recollection. Late in the day I awoke.
following evening my persevering teacher appeared punctually, and displayed
a few glass tubes and some blotting or bibulous paper.
I will first show you that liquids may change their levels in opposition to
the accepted laws of men, not contrary to nature's laws; however, let me lead
to the experiments by a statement of facts, that, if you question, you can investigate
at any time. If two vessels of water be connected by a channel from the bottom
of each, the water surfaces will come to a common level."
a curved glass tube, and poured water into it. The water assumed the position
shown in Figure 11.
You have not shown me anything new," I said; " my text-books taught
True, but I have exhibited that which is the foundation of your philosophy regarding
liquids. Let me proceed:
If we pour a solution of common salt into such a U tube, as I do now, you perceive
that it also rises to the same level in both ends."
Of course it does:"
Do not interrupt me. Into one arm of the tube containing the brine I now carefully
pour pure water. You observe that the surfaces do not seek the same level."
Certainly not," I said; " the weight of the liquid in each arm is
the same, however; the columns balance each other."
Exactly; and on this assumption you base your assertion that connected liquids
of the same gravity must always seek a common level, but you see from this test
that if two liquids of different gravities be connected from beneath, the surface
of the lighter one will assume a higher level than the surface of the heavier."
Agreed; however tortuous the channel that connects them, such must be the case."
Is it not supposable," said he, " that there might be two pockets
in the earth, one containing salt water, the other fresh water, which, if joined
together, might be represented by such a figure as this, wherein the water surface
would be raised above that of the brine?" And he drew upon the paper the
Yes," I admitted; " providing, of course, there was an equal pressure
of air on the surface of each."
Now I will draw a figure in which one pocket is above the other, and ask you
to imagine that in the lower pocket we have pure water, in the upper pocket
brine (Figure 14); can you bring any theory of your law to bear upon these liquids
so that by connecting them together the water will rise and run into the brine?"
No," I replied; " connect them, and then the brine will flow into
Upon the contrary," he said; " connect them, as innumerable cavities
in the earth are joined, and the water will flow into the brine."
The assertion is opposed to applied philosophy and common sense," I said.
Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise, you know to
maxim with mortals," he replied; " but I must pardon you; your dogmatic
education narrows your judgment. I now will prove you in error."
from his pocket two slender glass tubes, about an eighth of an inch in bore
and four inches in length, each closed at one end, and stood them in a perforated
cork that he placed upon the table.
one tube he poured water, and then dissolving some salt in a cup, poured brine
into the other, filling both nearly to the top ( Figure 15 ). Next he produced
a short curved glass tube, to each end of which was attached a strip of flexible
rubber tubing. Then, from a piece of blotting paper such as is used to blot
ink, he cut a narrow strip and passed it through the arrangement, forming the
apparatus represented by Figure 16.
he inserted the two tubes ( Figure 15 ) into the rubber, the extremities of
the paper being submerged in the liquids, producing a combination that rested
upright in the cork as shown by Figure 17.
of both liquids were at once lowered by reason of the suction of the bibulous
paper, the water decreasing most rapidly, and soon the creeping liquids met
by absorption in the paper, the point of contact, as the liquids met, being
plainly discernable. Now the old man gently slid the tubes upon each other,
raising one a little, so as to bring the surfaces of the two liquids exactly
on a plane; he then marked the glass at the surface of each with a pen.
Observe the result," he remarked as he replaced the tubes in the cork with
their liquid surfaces on a line.
we sat and watched, and soon it became apparent
the surface of the water had decreased in height as compared with that of the
brine. By fixing my gaze on the ink mark on the glass I also observed that the
brine in the opposing tube was rising.
I will call to-morrow evening," he said, " and we shall then discover
which is true, man's theory or nature's practice."
a short time enough of the water in the tube had been transferred to the brine
to raise its surface considerably above its former level, the surface of the
water being lowered to a greater degree. ( Figure 18) I was discomfited at the
result, and upon his appearance next evening peevishly said to the experimenter:
I do not know that this is fair."
Have I not demonstrated that, by properly connecting the liquids, the lighter
flows into the heavier, and raises itself above the former surface?"
Yes; but there is no porous paper in the earth."
True; I used this medium because it was convenient. There are, however, vast
subterranean beds of porous materials, stone, sand, clay, various other earths,
many of which will answer the same purpose. By perfectly natural laws, on a
large scale, such molecular transfer of liquids is constantly taking place within
the earth, and in these phenomena the law of gravitation seems ignored, and
the rule which man believes from narrow experience, governs the flow of liquids,
is reversed. The arched porous medium always transfers the lighter liquid into
its surface is raised considerably above that of the light one. In the same
way you can demonstrate that alcohol passes into water, sulphuric ether into
alcohol, and other miscible light liquids into those heavier."
I have seen you exemplify the statement on a small scale, with water and brine,
and cannot question but that it is true on a large one," I replied.
So you admit that the assertion governing the surfaces of liquids is true only
when the liquids are connected from beneath. In other words, your thought is
one-sided, as science thought often is."
Now as to the beds of salt deep within the earth. You are
mistaken concerning their origin. The water
ocean that runs through an open channel
the one side may flow into an underground
that by means of the contact action ( suction )
overlying and surrounding strata is being continually emptied of its water,
but not its salt. Thus by absorption of water the brine of the lake in time
becomes saturated, starting crystallization regularly over the floor and sides
of the basin.
the entire cavity is filled with salt, and
mass of rock salt remains. If, however, before the lake becomes solid, the brine
supply is shut off by some natural cause as by salt crystals closing the passage
thereto, the underground lake is at last drained of its water, the salt crystallizing
over the bottom,and upon the cliffs, leaving great crevices through the saline
deposits, as chances to have been the case with the salt formations through
which I passed with my guide, and have recently described to you."
Even now I have my doubts as to the correctness of your explanations, especially
concerning the liquid surfaces."
They are facts, however; liquids capable of being mixed, if connected by porous
arches ( bibulous paper is convenient for illustrating by experiment ) reverse
the rule men have accepted to explain the phenomena of liquid equilibrium, for
I repeat, the lighter one rushes into that which is heavier, and the surface
of the heavier liquid rises. You can try the experiment with alcohol and water,
taking precautions to prevent evaporation, or you can vary the experiment with
solutions of various salts of different densities; the greater the difference
in gravity between the two liquids, the more rapid will be the flow of the lighter
one into the heavier, and after equilibrium, the greater will be the contrast
in the final height of the resultant liquid surfaces."
Men will yet explain this effect by natural laws," I said.
Yes," he answered; " when they learn the facts; and they will then
be able to solve certain phenomena connected with diffusion processes that they
can not now understand. Did I not tell you that after the fact had been made
plain it was easy to see how Columbus stood the egg on its end? What I have
demonstrated by experiment is perhaps no new principle in hydrostatics. But
I have applied it in a natural manner to the explanation of obscure natural
phenomena, that men now seek unreasonable methods to explain."
You may proceed with your narrative. I accept that when certain liquids are
connected, as you have shown, by means of porous substances, one will pass into
the other, and the surface of the lighter liquid in this case will assume a
position below that of the heavier."
You must also accept," said he, " that when solutions of salt are
subjected to earth attraction, under proper conditions, the solids may by capillary
attraction be left behind, and pure water finally pass through the porous medium.
Were it not for this law, the only natural surface spring water on earth would
be brine, for the superficial crust of the earth is filled with saline solutions.
All the spring-fed rivers and lakes would also be salty and fetid with sulphur
compounds, for at great depths brine and foul water are always present. Even
in countries where all the water below the immediate surface of the earth is
briny, the running springs, if of capillary origin, are pure and fresh. You
may imagine how different this would be were it not for the law I have cited,
for the whole earth's crust is permeated by brine and saline waters. Did your
' philosophy ' never lead you to think of this?"
my guest argued as follows: " Do not lakes exist on the earth's surface
into which rivers and streams flow, but which have no visible outlet? Are not
such lakes saline, even though the source of supply is comparatively fresh?
Has it never occurred to you to question whether capillarity- assisted by surface
evaporation ( not evaporation only as men assert ) is not separating the water
of these lakes from the saline substances carried into them by the streams,
thus producing brine lakes? Will not this action after a great length of time
result in crystalline deposits over portions of the bottoms of such lakes, and
ultimately produce a salt bed?"
It is possible," I replied.
Not only possible, but probable. Not only probable, but true. Across the intervening
brute strata above the salt crystals the surface rivers may flow, indeed, owing
to differences in specific gravity the surface of the lake may be comparatively
fresh, while in the quiet depths below, beds of salt crystals are forming, and
between these extremes may rest strata after strata of saline solutions, decreasing
in gravity towards the top."
he took his manuscript, and continued to read in a clear, musical voice, while
I sat a more contented listener than I had been previously. I was not only confuted,
but convinced. And I recalled the saying of Socrates, that no better fortune
can happen a man than to be confuted in an error.
suddenly, for we came unexpectedly to the edge of a precipice, twenty feet at
least in depth.
Let us jump down," said my guide.
That would be dangerous," I answered; " can not we descend at some
point where it is not so deep?"
No; the chasm stretches for miles across our path, and at this point we will
meet with the least difficulty; besides, there is no danger. The specific gravity
of our bodies is now so little that we could jump twice that distance with impunity."
I can not comprehend you; we are in the flesh, our bodies are possessed of weight,
the concussion will be violent."
You reason again from the condition of your former life, and, as usual, are
mistaken; there will be little shock, for, as I have said, our bodies are comparatively
light now. Have you forgotten that your motion is continuously accelerated,
and that without perceptible exertion you move rapidly? This is partly because
of the loss of weight. Your weight would now be only about fifty pounds if tested
by a spring balance."
You trifle with me; I weigh over one hundred and fifty pounds; how have I lost
weight ? It is true that I have noticed the ease with which we have recently
progressed on our journey, especially the latter part of it, but I attribute
this, in part, to the fact that our course is down an incline, and also to the
vitalizing power of this cavern air."
This explains part of the matter," he said; " it answered at the time,
and I stated a fact; but were it not that you are really consuming a comparatively
small amount of energy, you
long before this have been completely exhausted. You have been gaining strength
for some hours; have really been
younger. Your wrinkled face has become more smooth, and your voice is again
natural. You were prematurely aged by your brothers on the surface of the earth,
in order that when you pass the line of gravity, you might be vigorous and enjoying
manhood again. Had this aging process not been accomplished you would now have
become as a child in many respects."
before me. " Jump up," he said. I promptly obeyed the unexpected command,
and sprung upward with sufficient force to carry me, as I supposed, six inches
from the earth; however I bounded upward fully six feet. My look of surprise
as I gently alighted, for there was no concussion on my return, seemed lost
on my guide, and he quietly said:
If you can leap six feet upward without any excessive exertion, or return shock,
cannot you jump twenty feet down? Look!"
leaped lightly over the precipice and stood unharmed on the stoney floor below.
then I hesitated, observing which, he cried:
Hang by your hands from the edge then, and drop."
so, and the fourteen feet of fall seemed to affect me as though I had become
as light as a cork. I fluttered to the earth as a leaf would fall, and leaned
against the precipice in surprise meditation.
Others have been through your experience," He remarked, " and I therefore
can overlook your incredulity; but experiences such as you now meet, remove
distrust. Doing is believing."
revolving in my mind the fact that persons had in mental abstraction, passed
through unusual experiences in
of conditions about them, until their attention had been called to the seen
and yet unnoticed surroundings, and they had then beheld the facts plainly.
The puzzle picture stares the eye and impresses the retina, but is devoid of
character until the hidden form is developed in the mind, and then that form
is always prominent to the eye. My remarkably light step, now that my attention
had been directed thereto, was constantly in my mind, and I found myself suddenly
possessed of the strength of a man, but with the weight of an infant. I raised
my feet without an effort; they seemed destitute of weight; I leaped about,
tumbled, and rolled over and over on the smooth stone floor without injury.
It appeared that I had become the airy similitude of my former self, my material
substance having wasted away without a corresponding impairment of strength.
my flesh to be assured that all was not a dream, and then endeavored to convince
myself that I was the victim of delirium; but in vain. Too sternly my self-existence
confronted me as a reality, a cruel reality. A species of intoxication possessed
me once more, and I now hoped for the end, whatever it might be. We resumed
our journey, and rushed on with increasing rapidity, galloping hand in hand,
down, down, ever downward into the illuminated crevice of the earth. The spectral
light by which we were attreoled increased in intensity, as by arithmetical
progression, and I could now distinguish objects at a considerable distance
before us. My spirits rose as if I were under the influence of a potent stimulant;
a liveliness that was the opposite of my recent despondency had gained control,
and I was again possessed of a delicious mental sensation, to which I can only
refer as a most rapturous exhilaration. My guide grasped my hand firmly, and
his touch, instead of revolting me as formerly it had done, gave pleasure. We
together leaped over great inequalities in the floor, performing these aerial
feats almost as easily as a bird flies. Indeed, I felt that I possessed the
power of flight, for we bounded fearlessly down great declivities and over abysses
that were often perpendicular, and many times our height. A very slight muscular
exertion was sufficient to carry us rods of distance, and almost tiptoeing we
skimmed with ever-increasing speed down the steeps of that unknown declivity.
At length lily guide held back; we gradually lessened our velocity, and, after
a time, rested beside a horizontal substance that lay before us, apparently
a sheet of glass, rigid, immovable, immeasurably great, that stretched as a
level surface before us, vividly distinct in the brightness of an earth light,
that now proved to be superior to sunshine. Far as the eye could reach, the
glassy barrier to our further progress spread as a crystal mirror in front,
and vanishing in the distance, shut off the beyond.
STORY AGAIN INTERRUPTED.
more I must presume to interrupt this narrative, and call back the reader's
thoughts from those mysterious caverns through which we have been tracing the
rapid footsteps of the man who was abducted, and his uncouth pilot of the lower
realms. Let us now see and hear what took place in my room, in Cincinnati, just
after my visitor, known to us as The-Man-Who-Did-It, had finished reading to
me, Lewellyn Drury, the custodian of this manuscript, the curious chapter relating
explorers lost weight as they descended in the
of the earth. My French clock struck twelve of its
silvery notes before the gray-bearded reader finished his
for the occasion, and folded his manuscript preparatory to
it within his bosom.
It is past midnight," he said, " and it is time for me to depart;
but I will come to you again within a year.
Meanwhile, during my absence, search the records, question authorities, and
note such objections as rise therefrom concerning the statements I have made.
Establish or disprove historically, or scientifically, any portion of the life
history that I have given, and when I return I will hear what you have to say,
and meet your argument. If there is a doubt concerning the authenticity of any
part of the history, investigate; but make no mention to others of the details
of our meetings."
some time in thought, then said: " I decline to concern myself in verifying
the historical part of your narrative. The localities you mention may be true
to name, and it is possible that you have related a personal history; but I
can not perceive that I am interested in either proving or disproving it. I
will say, however, that it does not seem probable that at any time a man can
disappear from a community, as you claim to have done, and have been the means
of creating a commotion in his neighborhood that affected political parties,
or even led to an unusual local excitement, outside his immediate circle of
acquaintances, for a man is not of sufficient importance unless he is very conspicuous.
By your own admission, you were simply a studious mechanic, a credulous believer
in alchemistic vagaries, and as I revolve the matter over, I am afraid that
you are now trying to impose on my credulity. The story of a forcible
in the manner you related, seems to me incredible, and not worthy of investigation,
even had I the inclination to concern myself in your personal affairs. The statements,
how ever, that you make regarding the nature of the crust of the earth, gravitation,
light, instinct, and human senses are highly interesting, and even plausible
as you artfully present the subjects, I candidly admit, and I shall take some
pains to make inquiries concerning the recorded researches of experts who have
investigated in that direction."
Collect your evidence," said he, " and I shall listen to your views
when I return."
the door, glided away, and I was alone again.
SCIENTIFIC MEN.- ARISTOTLE'S ETHER.
and weeks passed. When the opportunity presented, I consulted Dr. W. B. Chapman,
the druggist and student of science, regarding the nature of light and earth,
who in turn referred me to Prof. Daniel Vaughn. This learned man, in reply to
my question concerning gravitation, declared that there was much that men wished
to understand in regard to this mighty force, that might yet be explained, but
which may never become known to mortal man.
The correlation of forces," said he, " was prominently introduced
and considered by a painstaking scientific writer named Joule, in several papers
that appeared between 1843 and I850, and he was followed by others, who engaged
themselves in experimenting and theorizing, and I may add that Joule was indeed
preceded in such thought by Mayer. This department of scientific study just
now appears of unusual interest to scientists, and your questions embrace problems
connected with some phases of its phenomena. We believe that light, heat, and
electricity are mutually convertible, in fact, the evidences recently opened
up to us show that such must be the case. These agencies or manifestations are
now known to be so related that whenever one disappears others spring into existence.
Study the beautiful experiments and remarkable investigations of Sir William
Thomson in these directions."
And what of gravitation?" I asked, observing that Prof. Vaughn neglected
to include gravitation among his numerous enumerated forces, and recollecting
that the force gravitation was more closely connected with my visitor's story
than perhaps were any of the others, excepting the mysterious mid-earth illumination.
Of that force we are in greater ignorance than of the others," he replied.
" It affects bodies terrestrial and celestial, drawing a material substance,
or pressing to the earth; also holds, we believe, the earth and all other bodies
in position in the heavens, thus maintaining the equilibrium of the planets.
Seemingly gravitation is not derived from, or sustained by, an external force,
or supply reservoir, but is an intrinsic entity, a characteristic of matter
that decreases in intensity at the rate of the square of the increasing distance,
as bodies recede from each other, or from the surface of the earth. However,
gravitation neither escapes by radiation from bodies nor needs to be replenished,
so far as we know, from without. It may be compared to an elastic band, but
there is no intermediate tangible substance to influence bodies that are affected
by it, and it remains in undying tension, unlike all elastic material substances
known, neither losing nor acquiring energy as time passes. Unlike cohesion,
or chemical attraction, it exerts its influence upon bodies that are out of
contact, and have no material connection, and this necessitates a purely fanciful
explanation concerning the medium that conducts such influences, bringing into
existence the illogical, hypothetical, fifth ether, made conspicuous by Aristotle."
What of this ether?" I queried.
It is a necessity in science, but intangible, undemonstrated, unknown, and wholly
theoretical. It is accepted as an existing fluid by scientists, because human
theory can not conceive of a substance capable of, or explain how a substance
can be capable of affecting a separate body unless there is an intermediate
medium to convey force impressions. Hence to material substances Aristotle added
(or at least made conspicuous) a speculative ether that, he assumed, pervades
all space, and all material bodies as well, in order to account for the passage
of heat and light to and from the sun, stars, and planets."
Explain further," I requested.
To conceive of such an entity we must imagine a material that is more evanescent
than any known gas, even in its most diffused condition. It must combine the
solidity of the most perfect conductor of heat ( exceeding any known body in
this respect to an infinite degree ), with the transparency of an absolute vacuum.
It must neither create friction by contact with any substance, nor possess attraction
for matter; must neither possess weight ( and yet carry the force that produces
weight ), nor respond to the influence of any chemical agent, or exhibit itself
to any optical instrument. It must be invisible, and yet carry the force that
produces the sensation of sight. It must be of such a nature that it can not,
according to our philosophy, affect the corpuscles of earthly substances while
permeating them without contact or friction, and yet, as a scientific incongruity,
it must act so readily on physical bodies as to convey to the material eye the
sensation of sight, and from the sun to creatures on distant planets it must
carry the heat force, thus giving rise to the sensation of warmth. Through this
medium, yet without sensible contact with it, worlds must move, and planetary
systems revolve, cutting and piercing it in every direction, without loss of
momentum. And yet, as I have said, this ether must be in such close contact
as to convey to them the essence that warms the universe, lights the universe,
and must supply the attractive bonds that hold the stellar worlds in position.
A nothing in itself, so far as man's senses indicate, the ether of space must
be denser than iridium, more mobile than any known liquid, and stronger than
the finest steel."
I can not conceive of such an entity," I replied.
No; neither can any man, for the theory is irrational, and can not be supported
by comparison with laws known to man, but the conception is nevertheless a primary
necessity in scientific study. Can man, by any rational theory, combine a vacuum
and a substance, and create a result that is neither material nor vacuity, neither
something nor nothing, and yet an intensified all; being more attenuated than
the most perfect of known vacuums, and a conductor better than the densest metal?
This we do when we attempt to describe the scientists' all-pervading ether of
space, and to account for its influence on matter. This hypothetical ether is,
for want of a better theory of causes, as supreme in philosophy to-day as the
alkahest of the talented old alchemist Van Helmont was in former times, a universal
spirit that exists in conception, and yet does not exist in perception, and
of which modern science knows as little as its speculative promulgator, Aristotle,
did. We who pride ourselves on our exact science, smile at some of Aristotle's
statements in other directions, for science has disproved them, and yet necessity
forces us to accept this illogical ether speculation, which is, perhaps, the
most unreasonable of all theories. Did not this Greek philosopher also gravely
assert that the lion has but one vertebra in his neck; that the breath of man
enters the heart; that the back of the head is empty, and that man has but eight
Aristotle must have been a careless observer," I said.
Yes," he answered; " it would seem so, and science, to-day, bases
its teachings concerning the passage of all forces from planet to planet, and
sun to sun, on dicta such as I have cited, and no more reasonable in applied
And I have been referred to you as a conscientious scientific teacher,"
I said; " why do you speak so facetiously?"
I am well enough versed in what we call science, to have no fear of injuring
the cause by telling the truth, and you asked a direct question. If your questions
carry you farther in the direction of force studies, accept at once, that, of
the intrinsic constitution of force itself, nothing is known. Heat, light, magnetism,
electricity, galvanism ( until recently known as imponderable bodies ) are now
considered as modifications of force; but, in my opinion, the time will come
when they will be known as disturbances."
Disturbances of what?"
I do not know precisely; but of something that lies behind them all, perhaps
creates them all, but yet is in essence unknown to men."
Give me a clearer idea of your meaning."
It seems impossible," he replied; " I can not find words in which
to express myself; I do not believe that forces, as we know them ( imponderable
bodies ), are as modern physics defines them. I am tempted to say that, in my
opinion, forces are disturbance expressions of a something with which we are
not acquainted, and yet in which we are submerged and permeated. Aristotle's
ether perhaps. It seems to me, that, behind all material substances, including
forces, there is an unknown spirit, which, by certain influences, may be ruffled
into the exhibition of an expression, which exhibition of temper we call a force.
From this spirit these force expressions ( wavelets or disturbances ) arise,
and yet they may become again quiescent, and again rest in its absorbing unity.
The water from the outlet of a calm lake flows over a gentle decline in ripples,
or quiet undulations, over the rapids in musical laughings, over a precipice
in thunder tones,- always water, each a different phase, however, to become
quiet in another lake ( as ripples in this universe may awaken to our perception,
to repose again ), and still be water."
Go on," I said.
So I sometimes have dared to dream that gravitation may be the reservoir that
conserves the energy for all mundane forces, and that what we call modifications
of force are intermediate conditions, ripples, rapids, or cascades, in gravitation."
Continue," I said, eagerly, as he hesitated.
OF PROF. DANIEL VAUGHN.- " GRAVITATION IS THE BEGINNING AND GRAVITATION
IS THE END: ALL EARTHLY BODIES KNEEL TO GRAVITATION."
Please continue, I am intensely interested; I wish that I could give you my
reasons for the desire; I can not do so, but I beg you to continue."
I should add," continued Vaughn, ignoring my remarks, " that we have
established rules to measure the force of gravitation, and have estimated the
decrease of attraction as we leave the surfaces of the planets. We have made
comparative estimates of the weight of the earth and planets, and have reason
to believe that the force expression of gravitation attains a maximum at about
one-sixth the distance toward the center of the earth, then decreases, until
at the very center of our planet, matter has no weight. This, together with
the rule I repeated a few moments ago, is about all we know, or think we know,
of gravitation. Gravitation is the beginning and gravitation is the end; all
earthly bodies kneel to gravitation. I can not imagine a Beyond, and yet gravitation,"
mused the rapt philosopher, " may also be an expression of "- he hesitated
again, forgetting me completely, and leaned his shaggy head upon his hands.
I realized that his mind was lost in conjecture, and that he was absorbed in
the mysteries of the scientific immensity. Would he speak again? I could not
think of disturbing his reverie, and minutes passed in silence. Then he slowly,
softly, reverently murmured: " Gravitation, Gravitation, thou art seemingly
the one permanent, ever present earth-bound expression of Omnipotence. Heat
and light come and go, as vapors of water condense into rain and dissolve into
vapor to return again to the atmosphere. Electricity and magnetism appear and
disappear; like summer storms they move in diversified channels, or even turn
and fly from contact with some bodies, seemingly forbidden to appear, but thou,
Gravitation, art omnipresent and omnipotent. Thou createst motion, and yet maintainest
the equilibrium of all things mundane and celestial. An attempt to imagine a
body destitute of thy potency, would be to bankrupt and deaden the material
universe. O ! Gravitation, art thou a voice out of the Beyond, and are other
forces but echoes- tremulous reverberations that start into life to vibrate
for a spell and die in the space caverns of the universe while thou continuest
head and rounded shoulders stooped yet lower; he unconsciously brushed his shaggy
locks with his hand, and seemed to confer with a familiar Being whom others
could not see.
A voice from without," he repeated; " from beyond our realm! Shall
the subtle ears of future scientists catch yet lighter echoes? Will the brighter
thoughts of more gifted men, under such furtherings as the future may bring,
perchance commune with beings who people immensity, distance disappearing before
thy ever-reaching spirit? For with thee, who holdest the universe together,
space is not space, and there is no word expressing time. Art thou a voice that
carriest the history of the past from the past unto and into the present, and
for which there is no future, all conditions of time being as one to thee, thy
self covering all and connecting all together? Art thou, Gravitation, a voice?
If so, there must be a something farther out in those fathomless caverns, beyond
mind imaginings, from which thou comest, for how could nothingness have formulated
itself into a voice? The suns and universe of suns about us, may be only vacant
points in the depths of an all-pervading entity in which even thyself dost exist
as a momentary echo, linked to substances ponderous, destined to fade away in
the interstellar expanse outside, where disturbances disappear, and matter and
gravitation together die; where all is pure, quiescent, peaceful and dark. Gravitation,
Gravitation, imperishable Gravitation; thou seelningly art the ever-pervading,
unalterable, but yet moving spirit of a cosmos of solemn mysteries. Art thou
now, in unperceived force expressions, speaking to dumb humanity of other universes;
of suns and vortices of suns; bringing tidings from the solar planets, or even
infinitely distant star mists, the silent unresolved nebuloc, and spreading
before earth-bound mortal minds, each instant, fresh tidings from without, that,
in ignorance, we can not read? May not beings, perhaps like ourselves but higher
in the scale of intelligellce, those who people some of the planets about us,
even now beckon and try to converse with us through thy subtle, everpresent
self? And may not their efforts at communication fail because of our ignorance
of a language they can read? Are not light and heat, electricity and magnetism
plodding, vacillating agents compared with thy steady existence, and is it even
further possible ?"
had gradually lowered, and now it became inaudible; he was oblivious to my presence,
and had gone forth from his own self; he was lost in matters celestial, and
abstractedly continued unintelligibly to mutter to himself as, brushing his
hair from his forehead, he picked up his well-worn felt hat, and placed it awkwardly
on his shaggy head, and then shuffled away without bidding me farewell. The
bent form, prematurely shattered by privation; uncouth, unkempt, typical of
suffering and neglect, impressed me with the fact that in him man's life essence,
the immortal mind, had forgotten the material part of man. The physical half
of man, even of his own being, in Daniel Vaughn's estimation, was an encumbrance
unworthy of serious attention, his spirit communed with the pure in nature,
and to him science was a study of the great Beyond.
]Mr. Drury can not claim to have recorded verbatim Prof. Vaughn's remarks, but
has endeavored to give the substance. His language was faultless, his word selections
beautiful, his soliloquy impressive beyond description. Perhaps Drury even misstated
an idea, or more than one, evolved then by the great mind of that patient man.
Prof. Daniel Vaughn was fitted for a scientific throne, a position of the highest
honor; but, neglected by man, proud as a king, he bore uncomplainingly privations
most bitter, and suffered alone until finally he died from starvation and neglect
in the city of his adoption. Some persons are ready to cry, " Shame! Shame!"
at wealthy Cincinnati; others assert that men could not give to Daniel Vaughn,
and since the first edition of ETIDORIIPA appeared, the undersigned has learned
of one vain attempt to serve the interests of this peculiar man. He would not
beg, and knowing his capacities, if he could not procure a position in which
to earn a living, he preferred to starve. The only bitterness of his nature,
it is said, went out against those who, in his opinion, kept from him such employment
as returns a livelihood to scientific men; for he well knew his intellect earned
for him such a right in Cincinnati. Will the spirit of that great man, talented
Daniel Vaughn, bear malice against the people of the city in which none who
knew him will deny that he perished from cold and privation? Commemorated is
he not by a bust of bronze that distorts the facts in that the garments are
not seedy and unkempt, the figure stooping, the cheek hollow and the eye pitifully
expressive of air empty stomach? That bust modestly rests in the public library
he loved so well, in which he suffered so uncomplainingly, and starved so patiently.
the first opportunity that presented itself to read the works that Prof. Vaughn
suggested, and sought him more than once to question further. However, he would
not commit himself in regard to the possible existence of other forces than
those with which we are acquainted, and when I interrogated him as to possibilities
in the study of obscure force expressions, he declined to express an opinion
concerning the subject. Indeed, I fancied that he believed it probable, or at
least not impossible, that a closer acquaintance with conditions of matter and
energy might be the heirloom of future scientific students. At last I gave up
the subject, convinced that all the information I was able to obtain from other
persons whom I questioned, and whose answers were prompt and positive, was evolved
largely from ignorance and self-conceit, and such information was insufficient
to satisfy my understanding, or to command my attention. After hearing Vaughn,
all other voices sounded empty.
applied myself to my daily tasks, and awaited the promised return of the interesting,
though inscrutable being whose subterranean sojourneying was possibly fraught
with so much potential value to science and to man.
GUEST RETURNS TO READ HIS MANUSCRIPT,
OF A VOLCANO.-- " YOU CAN NOT DISPROVE, AND
from the evening of the departure of the old man, found me in my room, expecting
his presence; and I was not surprised when he opened the door, and seated himself
in his accustomed chair.
Are you ready to challenge my statements?" he said, taking up the subject
as though our conversation had not been interrupted.
Do you accept my history?"
You can not disprove, and you dare not admit. Is not that your predicament?"
he asked. " You have failed in every endeavor to discredit the truth, and
your would-be scientists, much as they would like to do so, can not serve you.
Now we will continue the narrative, and I shall await your next attempt to cast
a shadow over the facts."
with his usual pleasant smile, he read from his manuscript a continuation of
the intra-earth journey as follows:
Be seated," said my eyeless guide, " and I will explain some facts
that may prove of interest in connection with the nature of the superficial
crust of the earth. This crystal liquid spreading before us is a placid sheet
of water, and is the feeder of the volcano, Mount Epomeo."
Can that be a surface of water?" I interrogated. " I find it hard
to realize that water can be so immovable. I supposed the substance before us
to be a rigid material, like glass, perhaps."
There is no wind to ruffle this aqueous surface,- why should it not be quiescent?
This is the only perfectly smooth sheet of water that you have ever seen. It
is in absolute rest, and thus appears a rigid level plane."
Grant that your explanation is correct," I said, " yet I can not understand
how a quiet lake of water can give rise to a convulsion such as the eruption
of a volcano."
Not only is this possible," he responded, " but water usually causes
the exhibition of phenomena known as volcanic action. The Island of Ischia,
in which the volcanic crater Epomeo is situated, is connected by a tortuous
crevice with the peaceful pool by which we now stand, and at periods, separated
by great intervals of time, the lake is partly emptied by a simple natural process,
and a part of its water is expelled above the earth's surface in the form of
superheated steam, which escapes through that distant crater."
But I see no evidence of heat or even motion of any kind."
Not here," he replied; " in this place there is none. The energy is
developed thousands of miles away, but since the phenomena of volcanic action
are to be partially explained to you at a future day, I will leave that matter
for the present. We shall cross this lake."
as we walked along its edge that the shore of the lake was precipitous in places,
again formed a gradually descending beach, and the dead silence of the space
about us, in connection with the death-like stillness of that rigid mass of
water and its surroundings, became increasingly impressive and awe-inspiring.
Never before had I seen such a perfectly quiet glass-like surface. Not a vibration
or undulation appeared in any direction. The solidity of steel was exemplified
in its steady, apparently inflexible contour, and yet the pure element was so
transparent that the bottom of the pool was as clearly defined as the top of
the cavern above me. The lights and shades of the familiar lakes of Western
New York were wanting here, and it suddenly came to my mind that there were
surface reflections, but no shadows, and musing on this extraordinary fact,
I stood motionless on a jutting cliff absorbed in meditation, abstractedly gazing
down into that transparent depth. Without sun or moon, without apparent source
of light, and yet perfectly
the lofty caverns seemed cut by that aqueous plane into two sections, one above
and one below a transparent, rigid surface line. The dividing line, or horizontal
plane, appeared as much a surface of air as a surface of water, and the material
above that plane seemed no more nor less a gas, or liquid, than that beneath
it. If two limpid, transparent liquids, immiscible, but of different gravities,
be poured into the same vessel, the line of demarkation will be as a brilliant
mirror, such as I now beheld parting and yet uniting the surfaces of air and
in contemplation, I unconsciously asked the mental question
Where are the shadows?"
You have been accustomed to lakes on the surface of the earth; water that is
illuminated from above; now you see by a light that is developed from within
and below, as well as from above. There is no outside point of illumination,
for the light of this cavern, as you know, is neither transmitted through an
overlying atmosphere nor radiated from a luminous center. It is an inherent
quality, and as objects above us and within the lake are illuminated alike from
all sides, there can be no shadows."
That which has occurred before in this journey to the unknown country of which
I have been advised, seemed mysterious; but each succeeding step discovers to
me another novelty that is more mysterious, with unlooked-for phenomena that
are more obscure."
This phenomenon is not more of a mystery than is the fact that light radiates
from the sun. Man can not explain that, and I shall not now attempt to explain
this. Both conditions are attributes of force, but with this distinction-the
crude light and heat of the sun, such as men experience on the surface of the
earth, is here refined and softened, and the characteristic glare and harshness
of the light that is known to those who live on the earth's surface is absent
here. The solar ray, after penetrating the earth's crust, is tempered and refined
by agencies which than will yet investigate understandingly, but which he can
not now comprehend."
Am I destined to deal with these problems ?"
Only in part."
Are still greater wonders before us?"
If your courage is sufficient to carry you onward, you have
enter the portal of the expanse we approach."
Lead on, my friend," I cried; " lead on to these undescribed
the occult wonderland that "-
me almost rudely, and in a serious manner
Have you not learned that wonder is an exemplification of
The child wonders at a goblin story, the savage at
the man of science at an unexplained manifestation
previously unperceived natural law; each wonders in
because of ignorance. Accept now that all you
seen from the day of your birth on the surface of the
to the present, and all that you will meet here are wonderful only because the
finite mind of man is confused with
of evidence, that, from whatever direction we meet
spring from an unreachable infinity. We will continue
farther along the edge of the lake we came to a
boat. This my guide picked up as easily as though it
of paper, for be it remembered that gravitation had slackened its hold here.
Placing it upon the water, he stepped into it, and as directed I seated myself
near the stern, my face to the bow, my back to the shore. The guide, directly
in front of me, gently and very slowly moved a small lever that rested on a
projection before him, and I gazed intently upon him as we sat
in silence. At last I became impatient, and asked him if we would not soon begin
We have been on our way since we have been seated," he answered.
behind with incredulity: the shore had disappeared, and the diverging wake of
the ripples showed that we were rapidly skimming the water.
This is marvelous," I said; " incomprehensible, for without sail or
oar, wind or steam, we are fleeing over a lake that has no current."
True, but not marvelous. Motion of matter is a result of disturbance of energy
connected therewith. Is it not scientifically demonstrated, at least in theory,
that if the motion of the spirit that causes the magnetic needle to assume its
familiar position were really arrested in the substance of the needle, either
the metal would fuse and vaporize or ( if the forces did not appear in some
other form such as heat, electricity, magnetism, or other force ) the needle
would be hurled onward with great speed?"
FROM INHERENT ENERGY.- " LEAD ME DEEPER INTO
I partly comprehend that such would be the case," I said. " If a series
of knife blades on pivot ends be set in a frame, and turned edgewise to a rapid
current of water, the swiftly moving stream flows through this sieve of metallic
edges about as easily as if there were no obstructions. Slowly turn the blades
so as to present their oblique sides to the current, and an immediate pressure
is apparent upon the frame that holds them; turn the blades so as to shut up
the space, and they will be torn from their sockets, or the entire frame will
be shattered into pieces."
I understand; go on."
The ethereal current that generates the magnetic force passes through material
bodies with inconceivable rapidity, and the molecules of a few substances only,
present to it the least obstruction. Material molecules are edgewise in it,
and meet no retardation in the subtle flood. This force is a disturbance of
space energy that is rushing into the earth in one form, and out of it in another.
But your mind is not yet in a condition to grasp the subject, for at best there
is no method of explaining to men that which their experimental education has
failed to prepare them to receive, and for which first absolutely new ideas,
and next words with new meaning, must be formed. Now we, ( by ' we 'I mean those
with whom I am connected ) have learned to disturb the molecules in matter so
as to turn them partly, or entirely, across the path of this magnetic current,
and thus interrupt the motion of this ever-present energy. We can retard its
velocity without, however, producing either magnetism ( as is the case in a
bar of steel ), electricity, or heat, but motion instead, and thus a portion
of this retarded energy springs into its new existence as motion of my boat.
It is force changed into movement of matter, for the molecules of the boat,
as a mass, must move onward as the force disappears as a current. Perhaps you
can accept now that instead of light, heat, electricity, magnetism, and gravitation
being really modifications of force they are disturbances."
Disturbances of what?"
Disturbances of motion."
Motion of what?"
Motion of itself, pure and simple."
I can not comprehend, I can not conceive of motion pure and simple."
I will explain at a future time so that you can comprehend more clearly. Other
lessons must come first, but never will you see the end. Truth is infinite."
Let me ask if there is anything marvelous in this statement. On the earth's
surface men arrest the fitful wind, and by so doing divert the energy of its
motion into movement of machinery; they induce it to turn mills and propel vessels.
This motion of air is a disturbance, mass motion transmitted to the air by heat,
heat in turn being a disturbance or interruption of pure motion'. When men learn
to interrupt this unperceived stream of energy so as to change directly into
material motion the spirit that saturates the universe, and that produces force
expressions, as it is constantly rushing from earth into space, and from space
back again, they will have at command wherever they may be an endless source
of power, light, and heat; mass motion, light and heat being convertible. Motion
lies behind heat, light, and electricity, and produces them, and so long as
the earth revolves on its axis, and circles in its orbit, man needs no light
and heat from such indirect sources as combustion. Men will, however, yet obtain
motion of molecules ( heat ), and material mass motion as well, from earth motion,
without the other dangerous intermediate force expressions now deemed necessary
in their production."
Do you wish me to understand that on all parts of the earth's surface there
is a continual expenditure of energy, an ever-ready current, that is really
distinct from the light and heat of the sun, and also that the imponderable
bodies that we call heat, light, electricity, and magnetism are not substances
Yes," he replied.
And that this imperceptible something-fluid I will say, for want of a better
term- now invisible and unknown to man, is as a medium in which the earth, submerged,
floats as a speck of dust in a flood of space?"
Certainly," he replied.
Am I to infer from your remarks that, in the course of time, man will be able
to economize this force, and adapt it to his wants?"
Go on with your exposition, I again beg of you; lead me deeper into this expanding
There is but little more that you can comprehend now, as I have said,"
he answered. " All materials known to man are of coarse texture, and the
minds of men are not yet in a condition to comprehend finer exhibitions of force,
or of motion modifications. Pure energy, in all its modifications, is absolutely
unknown to man. What men call heat, gravitation, light, electricity, and magnetism
are the grosser attributes attending alterations in an unknown, attenuated,
highly developed force producer. They are results, not causes. The real force,
an unreached energy, is now flooding all space, pervading all materials. Everywhere
there exists an infinite sea of motion absolute. Since this primeval entity
can not now affect matter, as matter is known to man, man's sense can only be
influenced by secondary attributes of this energy. Unconscious of its all-pervading
presence, however, man is working towards the power that will some day, upon
the development of latent senses, open to him this new world. Then at last he
will move without muscular exertion, or the use of heat as an agent of motion,
and will, as I am now doing, bridle the motion of space. Wherever he may be
situated, there will then be warmth to any degree that he wishes, for he will
be able to temper the seasons, and mass motion illimitable, also, for this energy,
I reiterate, is omnipresent. However, as you will know more of this before long,
we will pass the subject for the present."
slowly moved the lever. I sat in deep reflection, beginning to comprehend somewhat
of his reasoning, and yet my mind was more than clouded. The several ambiguous
repetitions he had made since our journey commenced, each time suggesting the
same idea, clothing it in different forms of expression, impressed me vaguely
with the conception of a certain something for which I was gradually being prepared,
and that I might eventually be educated to grasp, but which he believed my mind
was not yet ready to receive. I gathered from what he said that he could have
given clearer explanations than he was now doing, and that he clothed his language
intentionally in mysticism, and that, for some reason, he preferred to leave
my mind in a condition of uncertainty. The velocity of the boat increased as
he again and again cautiously touched the lever, and at last the responsive
craft rose nearly out of the water, and skimmed like a bird over its surface.
There was no object in that lake of pure crystal to govern me in calculating
as to the rapidity of our motion, and I studied to evolve a method by which
I could time our movements. With this object in view I tore a scrap from my
clothing and tossed it into the air. It fell at my feet as if in a calm. There
was no breeze. I picked the fragment up, in bewilderment, for I had expected
it to fall behind us. Then it occurred to me, as by a flash, that notwithstanding
our apparently rapid motion, there was an entire absence of atmospheric resistance.
What could explain the paradox? I turned to my guide and again tossed the fragment
of cloth upward, and again it settled at my feet. He smiled, and answered my
There is a protecting sheet before us, radiating, fan-like, from the bow of
our boat as if a large pane of glass were resting on edge, thus shedding the
force of the wind. This diaphragm catches the attenuated atmosphere and protects
us from its friction."
But I see no such protecting object," I answered.
No; it is invisible. You can not see the obstructing power, for it is really
a gyrating section of force, and is colorless. That spray of metal on the brow
of our boat is the developer of this protecting medium. Imagine a transverse
section of an eddy of water on edge before us, and you can form a comparison.
Throw the bit of garment as far as you can beyond the side of the boat."
so, and saw it flutter slowly away to a considerable distance parallel with
our position in the boat as though in a perfect calm, and then it disappeared.
It seemed to have been dissolved. I gazed at my guide in amazement. " Try
again," said he. I tore another and a larger fragment from my coat sleeve.
my eyes closely upon it, and cast it from me. The bit of
fluttered listlessly away to the same distance, and
vacancy. Wonders of wonderland, mysteries of the
! What would be the end of this marvelous journey ?
again possessed me, and distrust arose. Could not
be blotted out in like manner? I thought
of my New York home, and the recollection of upper
and those broken family ties brought to my heart a flood
emotions. I inwardly cursed the writer of that
letter, and cursed myself for heeding the contents.
gashed from my eyes and trickled through My fingers as I covered my face with
my hands and groaned aloud. Then, with a gentle touch, my guide's hand rested
on my shoulder.
Calm yourself," he said; " this phenomenon is a natural sequence to
a deeper study of nature than man has reached. It is simply the result of an
exhibition of rapid motion. You are upon a great underground lake, that, on
a shelf of earth substance one hundred and fifty miles below the earth's surface,
covers an area of many thousand square miles, and which has an average depth
of five miles. We are now crossing it diagonally at a rapid rate by the aid
of the force that man will yet use in a perfectly natural manner on the rough
upper ocean and bleak lands of the earth's coarse surface. The fragments of
cloth disappeared from sight when thrown beyond the influence of our protecting
diaphragm, because when they struck the outer motionless atmosphere they were
instantly left behind; the eye could not catch their sudden change in motion.
A period of time is necessary to convey from eye to mind the sensation of sight.
The bullet shot from a gun is invisible by reason of the fact that the eye can
not discern the momentary interruption to the light. A cannon ball will compass
the field of vision of the eye, moving across it without making itself known,
and yet the fact does not excite surprise. We are traveling so fast that small,
stationary objects outside our track are invisible."
in a kind, pathetic tone of voice, He said:
An important lesson you should learn, I have mentioned it before. Whatever seems
to be mysterious, or marvelous, is only so because of the lack of knowledge
of associated natural phenomena and connected conditions. All that you have
experienced, all that you have yet to meet in your future journey, is as I have
endeavored to teach you, in exact accordance with the laws that govern the universe,
of which the earth constitutes so small a portion that, were the conditions
favorable, it could be blotted from its present existence as quickly as that
bit of garment disappeared, and with as little disturbance of the mechanism
of the moving universe."
over, resting my face upon my elbow; my thoughts were immethodically wandering
in the midst of multiplying perplexities- I closed my eyes as a weary child,
DREAMS, NIGHTMARE.-" STRANGLE THE LIFE FROM
not how long I sat wrapped in slumber. Even if my body had not been wearing
away- as formerly, my mind had become excessively wearied. I had existed in
a state of abnormal mental intoxication far beyond the period of accustomed
wakefulness, and had taxed my mental organization beyond endurance. In the midst
of events of the most startling description, I had abruptly passed into what
was at its commencement the sweetest sleep of my recollection, but which came
to a horrible termination.
dream I was transported once more to my native land, and roamed in freedom throughout
the streets of my lost home. I lived over again my early life in Virginia, and
I seemed to have lost all recollection of the weird journey which I had lately
taken. My subsequent connection with the brotherhood of alchemists, and the
unfortunate letter that led to my present condition, were forgotten. There came
no though suggestive of the train of events that are here chronicled, and as
a child I tasted again the pleasures of innocence, the joys of boyhood.
my dream of childhood vanished, and the scenes of later days spread themselves
before me. I saw, after a time, the scenes of my later life, as though I viewed
them from a distance, and was impressed with the idea that they were not real,
but only the fragments of a dream. I shuddered in my childish dreamland, and
trembled as a child would at confronting events of the real life that I had
passed through on earth, and that gradually assuming the shape of man approached
and stood before me, a hideous specter seemingly ready to absorb me. The peaceful
child in which I existed shrunk back, and recoiled from the approaching living
Away, away," I cried, " you can not grasp me, I do not wish to become
a man; this can not, must not be the end to a horrible existence."
the Man Life approached, seized and enveloped me, closing around me as a jelly
fish surrounds its living victim, while the horrors of a nightmare came over
Man's life is a fearful dream," I shouted, as I writhed in agony; "
I am still a child, and will remain one; keep off! Life of man, away! Let me
live and die a child."
of Man's Life seized me more firmly as I struggled to escape, and holding me
in its irresistible clutch absorbed my substance as a vampire might suck the
blood of an infant, and while the childish dream disappeared in that hideous
embrace, the miserable man awoke.
myself on land. The Guide, seated at my side, remarked:
You have slept.
I have lived again," I said in bitterness.
You have not lived at all as yet," he replied; " Life is a dream,
usually it is an unsatisfied nightmare."
Then let me dream again as at the beginning of this slumber, " I said;
" and while I dream as a child, do you strangle the life from my body,-
spare me the nightmare, I would not live to reach the Life of Man."
This is sarcasm," he replied; " you are as changeable as the winds
of the Earth's surface. Now as you are about to approach a part of our journey
where fortitude is necessary, behold, you waver as a little child might. Nerve
yourself; the trials of the present require a steady mind, let the future care
for itself; you can not recall the past."
attentive again; the depressing effects of that repulsive dream rapidly lifted,
and wasted away, as I realized that I was a man, and was destined to see more
than can be seen in the future of other mortals. This elevation of my spirit
was evidently understood by my guide. He turned to the lake, and pointing to
its quiet bosom remarked:
For five hours we have journeyed over this sheet of water at the average rate
of nine hundred miles an hour. At the time you threw the fragments of cloth
overboard, we were traveling
speed of not less than twenty miles per minute. You remember that some hours
ago you criticised my assertion when I said that we would soon be near the axis
of the earth beneath the North Pole, and now we are beyond that point, and are
about six thousand miles from where we stood at that time."
You must have your way," I replied; " I can not disprove your assertion,
but were it not that I have passed through so many marvelous experiences since
first we met, I would question the reliability of your information."
The surface of this lake lies as a mirror beneath both the ocean and the land.
The force effect that preserves the configuration of the ocean preserves the
form of this also, but influences it to a less extent, and the two surfaces
lie nearly parallel with each other, this one being one hundred and fifty miles
beneath the surface of the earth. The shell of the earth above us is honeycombed
by caverns in some places, in others it is compact, and yet, in most places,
is impervious to water. At the farther extremity of the lake, a stratum of porous
material extends through the space intervening between the bottom of the ocean
and this lake. By capillary attraction, assisted by gravitation, part of the
water of the ocean is being transferred through this stratum to the underground
cavity. The lake is slowly rising."
remark I interrupted him: " You say the water in the ocean is being slowly
transferred down to this underground lake less by gravity than by capillarity."
I believe that I have reason to question that statement, if you do not include
the salt," I replied.
Pray state your objections."
" Whether a tube be long or short, if it penetrate the bottom of a vessel
of brine, and extend downward, the brine will flow into and out of it by reason
of its weight."
You mistake," he asserted; " the attraction of the sides of the capillary
tube, if the tube is long enough, will eventually separate the water from the
salt, and at length a downward flow of water only will result."
expressed my incredulity.
More than this, by perfectly natural laws the water that is freed from the tubes
might again force itself upward perfectly fresh, to the surface of the earth-
yes, under proper conditions, above the surface of the ocean."
Do you take me for a fool?" I said. " Is it not self-evident that
a fountain can not rise above its source?"
It often does," he answered.
You trifle with me," I said, acrimoniously.
No," he replied; " I am telling you the truth. Have you never heard
of what men call artesian wells?"
Yes, and " ( here I attempted in turn to become sarcastic ) " have
you never learned that they are caused by water flowing into crevices in uplands
where layers of stone or of clay strata separated by sand or gravel slant upward.
The water conducted thence by these channels afterwards springs up in the valleys
to which it has been carried by means of the crevices in these strata, but it
never rises above its source."
surprise he answered:
This is another of man's scientific speculations, based on some facts, it is
true, and now and then correct, but not invariably. The water of an artesian
well on an elevated plane may flow into the earth from a creek, pond, or river,
that is lower than the mouth of the well it feeds, and still it may sport into
the air from either a near or distant elevation that is higher than its source."
I can not admit the truth of this," I said; " I am willing to listen
to reason, but such statements as these seem altogether absurd."
As you please," he replied; " we will continue our journey."
THE STORY INTERRUPTED.
MY UNBIDDEN GUEST ACCEPTS IT.
reader, in whom I had now become deeply interested, no longer an unwelcome stranger,
suspended his reading, laid down his manuscript, and looking me in the face,
Are you a believer?"
No," I promptly answered.
What part of the narrative do you question?"
Have you not already investigated some of the statements I previously made?"
Yes," I said; " but you had not then given utterance to such preposterous
Is not the truth, the truth?" he answered.
You ask me to believe impossibilities," I replied.
You yourself admit," I said warmly, " that you were incredulous, and
shook your head when your guide asserted that the bottom of the ocean might
be as porous as a sieve, and still hold water. A fountain can not rise above
It often does, however," he replied.
I do not believe you," I said boldly. " And, furthermore, I assert
that you might as reasonably ask me to believe that I can see my own brain,
as to accept your fiction regarding the production of light, miles below the
surface of the earth."
I can make your brain visible to you, and if you dare to accompany me, I will
carry you beneath the surface of the earth and prove my other statement,"
he said. " Come!" He arose and grasped my arm.
You confess that you fear the journey."
Well, since you fear that method, I am ready to convince you of the facts by
any rational course you may select, and if you wish to stake your entire argument
on the general statement that a stream of water can not rise above its head,
I will accept the challenge; but I insist that you do not divulge the nature
of the experiment until, as you are directed, you make public my story."
Of course a fluid can be pumped up," I sarcastically observed. " However,
I promise the secrecy you ask."
I am speaking seriously," he said, " and I have accepted your challenge;
your own eyes shall view the facts, your own hands prepare the conditions necessary.
Procure a few pints of sand, and a few pounds of salt; to-morrow evening I will
be ready to make the experiment."
Agreed; if you will induce a stream of water to run up hill, a fountain to rise
above its head, I will believe any statement you may henceforth make."
Be ready, then," he replied, " and procure the materials named."
So saying he picked up his hat and abruptly departed.
substances I purchased the next day, procuring the silver sand from Gordon's
pharmacy, corner of Eighth and Western Row, and promptly at the specified time
we met in my room.
provided with a cylindrical glass jar about eighteen inches high and two inches
in diameter ( such as I have since learned is called a hydrometer jar), and
a long, slender drawn glass tube, the internal diameter of which was about one-sixteenth
of an inch.
You have deceived me," I said; " I know well enough that capillary
attraction will draw a liquid above its surface. You demonstrated that quite
recently to my entire satisfaction."
True, and yet not true of this experiment," he said.- " I propose
to force water through and out of this tube; capillary attraction will not expel
a liquid from a tube if its mouth be above the surface of the supply."
the tip of a capillary tube into a tumbler of water; the water rose inside the
tube about an inch above the surface of the water in the tumbler.
attraction can do no more," he said. " Break the tube one-eighth of
an inch above the water ( far below the present capillary surface ), and it
will not overflow. The exit of the tube must be lower than the surface of the
liquid if circulation ensues."
off a fragment, and the result was as predicted.
he poured water into the glass jar to the depth of about six inches, and selecting
a piece of very thin muslin, about an inch square, turned it over the end of
the glass tube, tied it in position, and dropped that end of the tube into the
The muslin simply prevents the tube from filling with sand," he explained.
Then he poured sand into the cylinder until it reached the surface of the water.
(See Figure 23.)
Your apparatus is simple enough," I remarked, I am afraid with some sarcasm.
Nature works with exceeding simplicity," he replied; " there is no
complex apparatus in her laboratory, and I copy after nature."
he dissolved the salt in a portion of water that he drew from the hydrant into
my wash bowl, making a strong brine, and stirred sand into the brine to make
a thick mush. This mixture of sand and brine he then poured into the cylinder,
filling it nearly to the top. ( See Figure 23, B. The sand settling soon left
a layer of brine above it, as shown by A.) I had previously noticed that the
upper end of the glass tube was curved, and my surprise can be imagined when
I saw that at once water began to flow through the tube, dropping quite rapidly
into the cylinder. The lower end of the curve of the glass tube was fully half
an inch above the surface of the liquid in the cylinder.
present a figure of the apparatus. ( Figure 23.)
man, or man image, I do not know which, sat before me, and in silence we watched
the steady flow of water, water rising above its surface and flowing into the
reservoir from which it was being continually derived.
Do you give up?" he asked.
Let me think," I said.
As you please," he replied.
How long will this continue?" I inquired.
Until strong salt water flows from the tube."
the old man continued:
I would suggest that after I depart you repeat these experi-
The observations of those interested in science must be repeated time and again
by separate individuals. It is not sufficient that one person should observe
a phenomenon; repeated experiments are necessary in order to overcome error
of manipulation, and to convince others of their correctness.
yourself, but many others, after this manuscript appears, should go through
with similar investigations, varied in detail as mind expansion may suggest.
This experiment is but the germ of a thought which will be enlarged upon by
many minds under other conditions. An event meteorological may occur in the
experience of one observer, and never repeat itself. This is
The results of such experiments as you are observing, however, trust be followed
by similar results in the hands of others, and in behalf of science it is necessary
that others should be able to verify your experience. In the time to come it
will be necessary to support your statements in order to demonstrate that your
perceptive faculties are now in a normal condition.
sure that your conceptions of these results are justified
perception? May you not be in an exalted state of
that hinders clear perception, and compels you to imagine
as fact that which does not exist? Do you see what
you see? After I am gone, and the influences that
and mind exert on your own mind have been
will these results, as shown by my experiments, follow
experimental conditions? In the years that are to pass
this paper is to be made public, it will be your duty to
your present sense faculty. This you must do as opportunities present, and with
different devices, so that no question may arise as to what will follow when
others repeat our
To-morrow evening I will call again, but remember, you must not tell others
of this experiment, nor show the
I have promised," I answered.
his manuscript and departed, and I sat in meditation watching the mysterious
had predicted, finally, after a long time, the flow slackened, and by morning,
when I arose from my bed, the water had ceased to drip, and then I found it
salty to the taste.
evening he appeared as usual, and prepared to resume his reading, making no
mention of the previous test of my faith. I interrupted him, however, by saying
that I had observed that the sand had settled in the cylinder, and that in my
opinion his experiment was not true to appearances, but was a deception, since
the sand by its greater weight displaced the water, which escaped through the
tube, where there was least resistance.
Ah," he said, " and so you refuse to believe your own eyesight, and
are contriving to escape the deserved penalty; I will, however, acquiesce in
your outspoken desire for further light, and repeat the experiment without using
sand. But I tell you that mother earth, in the phenomena known as artesian wells,
uses sand and clay, pools of mineral waters of different gravities, and running
streams. The waters beneath the earth are under pressure, induced by such natural
causes as I have presented you in miniature, the chief difference being that
the supplies of both salt and fresh water are inexhaustible, and by natural
combinations similar to what you have seen; the streams within the earth, if
a pipe be thrust into them, may rise continuously, eternally, from a reservoir
higher than the head. In addition, there are pressures of gases, and solutions
of many salts, other than chloride of soda, that tend to favor the phenomenon.
Yon are unduly incredulous, and you ask of me more than your right after staking
your faith on an experiment of your own selection. You demand more of me even
than nature often accomplishes in earth structure; but to-morrow night I will
show you that this seemingly impossible feat is possible."
abruptly left the room. The following evening he presented himself with a couple
of one-gallon cans, one of them without a bottom. I thought I could detect some
impatience of manner as he filled the perfect can with water from the hydrant,
and having spread a strip of thin muslin over the mouth of the other can, pressed
it firmly over the mouth of the can of water, which it fitted tightly, thus
connecting them together, the upper ( bottomless ) can being inverted. Then
he made a narrow slit in the center of the muslin with his pen-knife, and through
it thrust a glass tube like that of our former experiment. Next he wrapped a
string around the open top of the upper can, crossed it over the top, and tied
the glass tube to the center of the cross string.
Simply to hold this tube in position," he explained.
of the bag of salt left from the experiment of the preceding evening was then
dissolved in water, and the brine poured into the upper can, filling it to the
top. Then carefully thrusting the glass tube downward, he brought the tip of
the curve to within about one-half inch of the surface of the brine, when immediately
a rapid flow of liquid exhibited itself.
It rises above its source without sand," he observed.
I can not deny the fact," I replied, " and furthermore I am determined
that I shall not question any subsequent statement that you make." We sat
in silence for some time, and the water ran continuously through the tube. I
was becoming alarmed, afraid of my occult guest, who accepted my self-selected
challenges, and worked out his results so rapidly ; he seemed to he more than
I am a mortal, but a resident of a higher plane than you," he replied,
divining my thoughts. " Is not this experiment a natural one?"
Yes," I said.
Did not Shakspeare write, ` There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
than are dreamt of in your philosophy'?"
Yes," I said.
He might have added, ' and always will be'."
Scientific men will explain this phenomenon," I suggested. " Yes,
when they observe the facts," he replied, " it is very simple. They
can now tell, as I have before remarked, how Columbus stood the egg on end;
however, given the problem before Columbus expounded it, they would probably
have wandered as far from the true solution as the mountain with its edgewise
layers of stone is from the disconnected artesian wells on a distant sea coast
where the underground fresh and salt water in overlying currents and layers
clash together. The explanation, of course, is simple. The brine is of greater
specific gravity than the pure water; the pressure of the heavier fluid forces
the lighter up in the tube. This action continues until, as you will see by
this experiment, in the gradual diffusion of brine and pure water the salt is
disseminated equally throughout the vessels, and the specific gravity of the
mixed liquid becomes the same throughout, when the flow will cease. However,
in the earth, where supplies are inexhaustible, the fountain flows unceasingly."
OF BIOLOGY, THE SCIENCE OF THE LIFE OF MAN.
old man relates a story as an object lesson.)
But you have not lived up to the promise; you have evaded
of the bargain," I continued. " While you have certainly
some curious experiments in physics which seem to
yet, I am only an amateur in science, and your
illustrations may be repetitions of investigations
recorded, that have escaped the attention of the scientific gentlemen to whom
I have hitherto applied."
Man's mind is a creature of doubts and questions," he
" Answer one query, and others rise. His inner self
satisfied, and you are not to blame for wishing for a sign, as all self-conscious
conditions of your former existence compel.
I have brushed aside the more prominent questionings,
upon those omitted, and appeal to me to "- he hesitated.
I asked, curious to see if he had intuitively
my unspoken sentence.
To exhibit to you your own brain," he replied.
That is it exactly," I said; " you promised it, and you shall
strictly to your bargain. You agreed to show me my
and it seems evident that you have purposely evaded
That I have made the promise and deferred its completion
be denied, but not by reason of an inability to fulfill the contract. I will
admit that I purposely deferred the exhibition, hoping on your own account that
you, would forget the hasty promise. You would better release me from the promise;
you do not know what you ask."
I believe that I ask more than you can perform," I answered,
and that you know it."
reader is invited to skip this chapter of horrors.- J. U. L. )
Let me give you a history," he said, " and then perhaps you will relent.
Listen. A man once became involved in the study of anatomy. It led him to destruction.
He commenced the study in order to learn a profession; he hoped to become a
physician. Materia medica, pharmacy, chemistry, enticed him at first, but after
a time presented no charms. He was a dull student in much that men usually consider
essential to the practice of medicine. He was not fitted to be a physician.
Gradually he became absorbed in two branches, physiology and anatomy. Within
his mental self a latent something developed that neither himself nor his friends
had suspected. This was an increasing desire for knowledge concerning the human
body. The insatiable craving for anatomy grew upon him, and as it did so other
sections of medicine were neglected. Gradually he lost sight of his professional
object; he dropped chemistry, materia inedica, pharmacy, and at last, morbidly
lived only in the aforenamed two branches.
His first visit to the dissecting room was disagreeable. The odor of putrid
flesh, the sight of the mutilated bodies repulsed him. When first his hand,
warm in life, touched the clammy flesh of a corpse, he shuddered. Then when
his fingers came in contact with the viscera of a cadaver, that of a little
child, he cried out in horror. The demonstrator of anatomy urged him on; he
finally was induced to dissect part of the infant. The reflex action on his
sensitive mind first stunned, and then warped his senses. His companions had
to lead him from the room. `Wash it off, wash it off,' he repeated, trying to
throw his hand from his person. `Horrid, horrible, unclean. The child is yet
before me,' he insisted. Then he went into a fever and raved. `Some mother will
meet me on the street and curse me,' he cried. " That hand is red with
the blood of my darling ; it has desecrated the innocent dead, and mutilated
that which is most precious to a mother." Take the hand away, wash it,'
he shouted. `The mother curses me; she demands retribution. Better that a man
be dead than cursed by a mother whose child has been desecrated.' So the unfortunate
being raved, dreaming all manner of horrid imaginings. But at last he recovered,
a different man. He returned voluntarily to the dissecting-room, and wrapped
himself in the uncouth work.
in connection with corpse-mutilation was now offensive or unclean. He threw
aside his other studies, he became a slave possessed of one idea. He scarcely
took time to dine respectably; indeed, he often ate his lunch in the dissecting-room.
The blood of a child was again and again on his fingers; it mattered not, he
did not take the trouble to wash it off. `The liver of man is not more sacred
than the liver of a hog,' he argued; `the flesh of a man is the same as other
forms of animal food. When a person dies the vital heat escapes, consciousness
is dissipated, and the cold, rigid remains are only animal. Consciousness and
life are all that is of man-one is force, the other matter; when man dies both
perish and are dissipated.' His friends perceived his fondness for dissection,
and argued with him again, endeavoring now to overcome his infatuation; he repelled
them. ` I learned in my vision,' he said, referring to his fever, `that Pope
was right in saying that the " proper study of mankind is man "; I
care nothing for your priestly superstitions concerning the dead. These fables
are the invention of designing churchmen who live on the superstitions of the
ignorant. I am an infidel, and believe in no spirit intangible; that which can
be seen, felt, and weighed is, all else is not. Life is simply a sensation.
All beyond is chimerical, less than fantastic, believed in only by dupes and
weak-minded, credulous tools of knaves, or creatures of blind superstition.'
He carried the finely articulated, bleached skull of a cadaver to his room,
and placed it beside a marble statue that was a valued heirloom, the model of
Venus of Milo. `Both are lime compounds,' he cynically observed, ` neither is
better than the other.' His friends protested. `Your superstitious education
is at fault,' he answered; `you mentally clothe one of these objects in a quality
it does not deserve, and the thought creates a pleasant emotion. The other,
equally as pure, reminds you of the grave that you fear, and you shudder. These
mental pulsations are artificial, both being either survivals of superstition,
or creations of your own mind. The lime in the skull is now as inanimate as
that of the statue; neither object is responsible for its form, neither is unclean.
To me, the delicate configuration, the exact articulation, the perfect adaptation
for the office it originally filled, makes each bone of this skull a thing of
beauty, an object of admiration. As a whole, it gives me pleasure to think of
this wonderful, exquisitely arranged piece of mechanism. The statue you admire
is in every respect outrivaled by the skull, and I have placed the two together
because it pleases me to demonstrate that man's most artistic creation is far
inferior to material man. Throw aside your sentimental prejudices, and join
with me in the admiration of this thing of beauty;' and he toyed with the skull
as if it were a work of art. So he argued, and arguing passed from bone to bone,
and from organ to organ. He filled his room with abnormal fragments of the human
body, and surrounded himself with jars of preserved anatomical specimens. His
friends fled in disgust, and he smiled, glad to be alone with his ghastly subjects.
He was infatuated in one of the alcoves of science."
Shall I proceed?" he asked.
Yes," I said, but involuntarily moved my chair back, for I began again
to be afraid of the speaker.
At last this scientific man had mastered all that was known concerning physiology
and anatomy. He learned by heart the wording of great volumes devoted to these
subjects. The human frame became to him as an open book. He knew the articulation
of every muscle, could name a bone from a mere fragment. The microscope ceased
to be an object of interest, the secrets of pathology and physiology had been
mastered. Then, unconsciously, he was infected by another tendency ; a new thought
was destined to dominate his brain. `What is it that animates this frame? What
lies inside to give it life?' He became enthused again: `The dead body, to which
I have given my time, is not the conscious part of man,' he said to himself;
`I must find this thing of life within; I have been only a butcher of the dead.
My knowledge is superficial."'
the old man hesitated and looked at me inquiringly.
Shall I proceed?" he repeated.
possessed by horror, but yet fascinated, and answered ,determinedly: "
Beware," he added, " beware of the Science of Life."
he looked at me.
Go on," I commanded.
With the cunning of a madman, this person of profound learning, led from the
innocence of ignorance to the heartlessness of advanced biological science,
secretly planned to seek the vital forces. ` I must begin with a child, for
the life essence shows its first manifestations in children,' he reasoned. He
moved to an unfrequented locality, discharged his servants, and notified his
former friends that visitors were unwelcome. He had determined that no interruption
to his work should occur. This course was unnecessary, however, for now he had
neither friends nor visitors. He employed carpenters and artisans, and perfected
a series of mechanical tables, beautiful examples of automatic mechanism. From
the inner room of that house no cry could be heard by persons outside.
will be seen, by referring to the epilogue, that Mr. Drury agreed to mutilate
part of the book. This I have gladly done, excising the heart-rending passages
that follow. To use the words of Prof. Venable, they do not " comport with
the general delicacy of the book. J. U. I,.]
Hold, old man, cease," I cried aghast; " I have had enough of this.
You trifle with me, demon; I have not asked for nightmare stories, heart-curdling
accounts of maniacal investigators, who madly pursue their revolting calling,
and discredit the name of science."
You asked to see your own brain," he replied.
And have been given a terrible story instead," I retorted.
So men perverted, misconstruing the aim of science, answer the cry of humanity,"
he said. " One by one the cherished treasures of Christianity have been
stolen from the faithful. What, to the mother, can replace the babe that has
The next world," I answered, " offers a comfort."
Bah," he said; " does not another searcher in that same science field
tell the mother that there is no personal hereafter, that she will never see
her babe again ? One man of science steals the body, another man of science
takes away the soul, the third annihilates heaven; they go like pestilence and
famine, hand in hand, subsisting on all that craving humanity considers sacred,
and offering no tangible return beyond a materialistic present. This same science
that seems to be doing so much for humanity will continue to elevate so-called
material civilization until, as the yeast ferment is smothered in its own excretion,
so will science-thought create conditions to blot itself from existence, and
destroy the civilization it creates. Science is heartless, notwithstanding the
personal purity of the majority of her helpless votaries. She is a thief, not
of ordinary riches, but of treasures that can not be replaced. Before science
provings the love of a mother perishes, the hope of immortality is annihilated.
Beware of materialism, the end of the science of man. Beware of the beginning
of biological inquiry, for he who commences, can not foresee the termination.
I say to you in candor, no man ever engaged in the part of science lore that
questions the life essence, realizing the possible end of his investigations.
The insidious servant becomes a tyrannical master; the housebreaker is innocent,
the horse thief guiltless in comparison. Science thought begins in the brain
of man; science provings end all things with the end of the material brain of
man. Beware of your own brain."
I have no fear," I replied, " that I will ever be led to disturb the
creeds of the faithful, and I will not be diverted. I demand to see my brain."
Your demand shall now be fulfilled; you have been warned of the return that
may follow the commencement of this study; you force the issue; my responsibility
ceases. No man of science realized the end when he began to investigate his
throbbing brain, and the end of the fabric that science is weaving for man rests
in the hidden future. The story I have related is a true one, as thousands of
faithful men who unconsciously have been led into infidelity have experienced;
and as the faithful followers of sacred teachings can also perceive, who recognize
that their religion and the hope of heaven is slipping away beneath the steady
inroad of the heartless materialistic investigator, who clothes himself in the
garb of science."
abruptly from his chair, he grasped my hand. " You shall see your brain,
BACKWARD.- THE LIVING BRAIN.
man accompanied his word " come," as I have said, by rising from his
chair, and then with a display of strength quite out of proportion to his age,
he grasped my wrist and drew me toward the door. Realizing at once that he intended
I should accompany him into the night, I protested, saying that I was quite
My hat, at least," I insisted, as he made no recognition of my first demur.
Your hat is on your head," he replied.
was true, although I am sure the hat had been previously hung on a rack in a
distant part of the room, and I am equally certain that neither my companion
nor myself had touched it. Leaving me no time for reflection, he opened the
door, and drew me through the hallway and into the gloom. As though perfectly
familiar with the city, he guided me from my cozy home, on the retired side
street in which I resided, eastwardly into the busy thoroughfare, Western Row.
Our course led us down towards the river, past Ninth, Eighth, Seventh Streets.
Now and then a pedestrian stopped to gaze in surprise at the unique spectacle,
the old man leading the young one, but none made any attempt to molest us. We
passed on in silence, out of the busy part of the thoroughfare and into the
shady part of the city, into the darkness below Fifth Street. Here the residences
were poorer, and tenement-houses and factories began to appear. We were now
in a quarter of the city into which strangers seldom, if ever, penetrated after
night, and in which I would not have cared to be found unprotected at any time
after sunset, much less in such questionable company. I protested against the
indiscretion; my leader made no reply, but drew me on past the flickering gas
lights that now and then appeared at the intersection of Third, Pearl, Second,
and Water Streets, until at last we stood, in darkness, on the bank of the Ohio
the ferry-boat at that time of night only made a
every thirty minutes, and yet it was at the landing as
by appointment. Fear began to possess me, and as my
recur to that evening, I can not understand how it
I allowed myself to be drawn without cry or resistance
my secure home to the Ohio River, in such companionship. I can account for the
adventure only by the fact that I
challenged my companion to make the test
fulfilling, and that an innate consciousness of pride and
compelled me to permit him to employ his own methods.
the river without speaking, and rapidly ascending the levee we took our course
up Main Street into Covington.
in the lead, my aged guide, without hesitation, went onward
intersection of Main and Pike Streets; thence he turned
right, and following the latter thoroughfare we passed
tannery, that I recalled as a familiar landmark, and
started up the hill. Onward we strode, past a hotel
" Niemeyer's," and soon were in the open country on the
Pike, treading through the mud, diagonally up the
back of Covington. Then, at a sharp curve in the road
it rounded the point of the hill, we left the highway,
down the hillside into a ravine that bounded the
side of the avenue. We had long since left the city
and sidewalks behind us, and now, when we left the road
were on the muddy pike at a considerable elevation upon
and, looking backward, I beheld innumerable
throughout the cities of Cincinnati, Covington, and the
of Newport, sparkling away in the distance behind and
Come," my companion said again, as I hesitated, repeating
word he had uttered since telling his horrible story,
the hill into the valley we plunged, and at last he
the door of an isolated log cabin, which we entered.
a candle that he drew from his pocket, and together
facing each other.
Be seated," he said dryly.
I observed that the cold excuse for furniture in that desolate room consisted
of a single rude, hand-made chair with corn-shuck bottom. However, I did not
need a second invitation, but sank exhausted and disconsolate upon the welcome
lost no time, but struck at once into the subject that concerned us, arguing
One of the troubles with humanity is that of changing a thought from the old
to a new channel; to grasp at one effort an entirely new idea is an impossibility.
Men follow men in trains of thought expression, as in bodily form generations
of men follow generations. A child born with three legs is a freak of nature,
a monstrosity, yet it sometimes appears. A man, possessed of a new idea is an
anomaly, a something that may not be impossible, but which has never appeared.
It is almost as difficult to conceive of a new idea as it is to create out of
nothing a new material or all element. Neither thoughts nor things can be invented,
both must be evolved out of a preexisting something which it necessarily resembles.
Every advanced idea that appears in the brain of man is the result of a suggestion
from without. Men have gone on and on ceaselessly, with their minds bent in
one direction, ever looking outwardly, never inwardly. It has not occurred to
them to question at all in the direction of backward sight. Mind has been enabled
to read the impressions that are made on and on the substance of brain convolutions,
but at the same time has been and is insensible to the existence of the convolutions
themselves. It is as though we could read the letters of the manuscript that
bears them without having conceived of a necessity for the existence of a printed
surface, such as paper or anything outside the letters. Had anatomists never
dissected a brain, the human family would to-day live in absolute ignorance
of the nature of the substance that lies within the skull. Did you ever stop
to think that the mind can not now bring to the senses the configuration, or
nature, of the substance in which mind exists? Its own house is unknown. This
is in consequence of the fact that physical existence has always depended upon
the study of external surroundings, and consequently the power of internal sight
lies undeveloped. It has never been deemed necessary for man to attempt to view
the internal construction of his body, and hence the sense of feeling only advises
him of that which lies within his own self. This sense is abstract, not descriptive.
Normal organs have no sensible existence. Thus an abnormal condition of an organ
creates the sensation of pain or pleasure, but discloses nothing concerning
the appearance or construction of the organ affected. The perfect liver is as
vacancy. The normal brain never throbs and aches. The quiescent arm presents
no evidence to the mind concerning its shape, size, or color. Man can not count
his fingers unless some outside object touches them, or they press successively
against each other, or he perceives them by sight. The brain of man, the seat
of knowledge, in which mind centers, is not perceptible through the senses.
Does it not seem irrational, however, to believe that mind itself is not aware,
or could not be made cognizant, of the nature of its material surroundings?"
I must confess that I have not given the subject a thought," I replied.
As I predicted," he said. " It is a step toward a new idea, and simple
as it seems, now that the subject has been suggested, you must agree that thousands
of intelligent men have not been able to formulate the thought. The idea had
never occurred to them. Even after our previous conversation concerning the
possibility of showing you your own brain, you were powerless and could not
conceive of the train of thought which I started, and along which I shall now
further direct your senses."
The eye is so constituted that light produces an impression on a nervous film
in the rear of that organ, this film is named the retina, the impression being
carried backward therefrom through a magma of nerve fibers ( the optic nerve
), and reaching the brain, is recorded on that organ and thus affects the mind.
Is it not rational to suppose it possible for this sequence to be reversed?
In other words, if the order were reversed could not the same set of nerves
carry an impression from behind to the retina, and picture thereon an image
of the object which lies anterior thereto, to be again, by reflex action, carried
back to the brain, thus bringing the brain substance itself to the view of the
mind, and thus impress the senses? To recapitulate: If the nerve sensation,
or force expression, should travel from the
to the retina, instead of from an outward object, it will on the reverse of
the retina produce the image of that which lies behind, and then if the optic
nerve carry the image back to the brain, the mind will bring to the senses the
appearance of the image depicted thereon."
This is my first consideration of the subject," I replied.
Exactly," he said ; " you have passed through life looking at outside
objects, and have been heedlessly ignorant of your own brain. You have never
made an exclamation of surprise at the statement that you really see a star
that exists in the depths of space millions of miles beyond our solar system,
and yet you became incredulous and scornful when it was suggested that I could
show you how you could see the configuration of your brain, an object with which
the organ of sight is nearly in contact. How inconsistent."
The chain of reasoning is certainly novel, and yet I can not think of a mode
by which I can reverse my method of sight and look backward," I now respectfully
It is very simple; all that is required is a counter excitation of the nerve,
and we have with us to-night what any person who cares to consider the subject
can employ at any time, and thus behold an outline of a part of his own brain.
I will give you the lesson."
himself before the sashless window of the cabin, which opening appeared as a
black space pictured against the night, the sage took the candle in his right
hand, holding it so that the flame was just below the tip of the nose, and about
six inches from his face. Then facing the open window he turned the pupils of
his eyes upward, seeming to fix his gaze on the upper part of the open window
space, and then he slowly moved the candle transversely, backward and forward,
across, in front of his face, keeping it in such position that the flickering
flame made a parallel line with his eyes, and as just remarked, about six inches
from his face, and just below the tip of his nose. Speaking deliberately, he
Now, were I you, this movement would produce a counter irritation of the retina;
a rhythm of the optic nerve would follow, a reflex action of the brain accompanying,
and now a figure of part of the brain that rests against the skull in the
of my head would be pictured on the retina. I would see it plainly, apparently
pictured or thrown across the open space before me."
Incredible!" I replied.
Try for yourself," quietly said my guide.
myself in the position designated, I repeated the maneuver, when slowly a shadowy
something seemed to be
out of the blank space before me. It seemed to be as a gray veil, or like a
corrugated sheet as thin as gauze, which as I gazed upon it and discovered its
outline, became more apparent and real. Soon the convolutions assumed a more
decided form, the gray matter was visible, filled with venations, first gray
and then red, and as I became familiar with the sight, suddenly the convolutions
of a brain in all its exactness, with a network of red blood venations, burst
a brain, a brain, a living brain, my own brain, and as an uncanny sensation
possessed me I shudderingly stopped the motion of the candle, and in an instant
the shadowy figure disappeared.
Have I won the wager?"
Yes," I answered.
This experiment is not claimed as original. See Purkinje's Beitrage zur Kenntniss
des Seheus in subjectiver Hinsicht ( Prague, 1923 and 1825 ), whose conclusions
to the effect that the shadow of the retina is seen, I-Am-The-Man ignores.-J.
Then," said my companion, " make no further investigations in this
But I wish to verify the experiment," I replied. " Although it is
not a pleasant test, I can not withstand the temptation to repeat it."
I moved the candle backward and forward, when the figure of my brain sprung
at once into existence.
It is more vivid," I said; " I see it plainer, and more quickly than
Beware of the science of man I repeat," he replied; " now, before
you are deep in the toils, and can not foresee the end, beware of the science
of human biology. Remember the story recently related, that of the physician
who was led to destruction by the alluring voice."
no reply, but stood with my face fixed, slowly moving the candle backward and
forward, gazing intently into the depths of my own brain.
a time the old man removed the candle from my hand, and said: " Do you
accept the fact? Have I demonstrated the truth of the assertion?"
Yes," I replied; " but tell me further, now that you have excited
my interest, have I seen and learned all that man can discover in this direction?"
No; you have seen but a small portion of the brain convolutions, only those
that lie directly back of the optic nerve. By systematic research, under proper
conditions, every part of the living brain may become as plainly pictured as
that which you have seen."
And is that all that could be learned?" I asked.
No," he continued. " Further development may enable men to picture
the figures engraved on the convolutions, and at last to read the thoughts that
are engraved within the brains of others, and thus through material investigation
the observer will perceive the recorded thought of another person. An instrument
capable of searching and illuminating the retina could be easily affixed to
the eye of a criminal, after which, if the mind of the person operated upon
were stimulated by the suggestion of an occurrence either remote or recent,
the mind faculty would excite the brain, produce the record, and spread the
circumstances as a picture before the observer. The brain would tell its own
story, and the investigator could read the truth as recorded in the brain of
the other man. A criminal subjected to such an examination could not tell an
untruth, or equivocate; his very brain would present itself to the observer."
And you make this assertion, and then ask me to go no further into the subject?"
Yes; decidedly yes."
Tell me, then, could you not have performed this experiment in my room, or in
the dark cellar of my house?"
Any one can repeat it with a candle in any room not otherwise lighted, by looking
at a blackboard, a blank wall, or black space," he said.
Why have you treated me so inhumanly? Was there a necessity for this journey,
these mysterious movements, this physical exertion? Look at the mud with which
I am covered, and consider the return trip which yet lies before me, and which
must prove even more exhausting?"
Ah," he said, " you overdraw. The lesson has been easily acquired.
Science is not an easy road to travel. Those who propose to profit thereby must
work circuitously, soil their hands and person, meet discouragements, and must
expect hardships, reverses, abuse, and discomfort. Do not complain, but thank
me for giving you the lesson without other tribulations that might have accompanied
it. Besides, there was another object in my journey, an object that I have quietly
accomplished, and which you may never know. Come, we must return."
the light of the candle, and we departed together, trudging back through the
mud and the night. ( We must acquiesce in the explanation given for this seemingly
uncalled-for journey, and yet feel that it was unnecessarily exacting.)
wearisome return trip I have nothing to say beyond the fact that before reaching
home my companion disappeared in the darkness of a side street, and that the
cathedral chimes were playing for three o'clock A.M., as I passed the corner
of Eighth Street and Western Row.
evening my visitor appeared as usual, and realizing his complete victory, he
made no reference to the occurrences of the previous night. In his usual calm
and deliberate manner he produced the roll of manuscript saying benignantly,
and in a gentle tone:
Do you recollect where I left off reading?"
You had reached that point in your narrative," I answered, " at which
your guide had replaced the boat on the surface of the lake."
mysterious being resumed his reading.
ON VOLCANOES.- PRIMARY COLORS ARE CAPABLE OF
Get into the boat," said my eyeless pilot, " and we will proceed to
the farther edge of the lake, over the barrier of which at great intervals of
time, the surface water flows, and induces the convulsion known as Mount Epomeo."
embarked, and a gentle touch of the lever enabled us rapidly to skirt the shore
of the underground sea. The soft, bright, pleasant earth-light continually enveloped
us, and the absence of either excessive heat or cold, rendered existence delightful.
The weird forms taken by the objects that successively presented themselves
on the shore were a source of continual delight to my mind. The motion of our
boat was constantly at the will of my guide. Now we would skim across a great
bay, flashing from point to point; again we wound slowly through tortuous channels
and among partly submerged stones.
What a blessing this mode of locomotion would be to humanity," I murmured.
Humanity will yet attain it," he replied. " Step by step men have
stumbled along towards the goal that the light of coming centuries is destined
to illuminate. They have studied, and are still engaged in studying, the properties
of grosser forces, such as heat and electricity, and they will be led by the
thread they are following, to this and other achievements yet unthought of,
but which lie back of those more conspicuous."
reached a precipitous bluff, that sprung to my view as by magic, and which,
with a glass-like surface, stretched upward to a height beyond the scope of
my vision, rising
from the surface of the lake. It was composed of a material seemingly black
as jet, and yet when seen under varying spectacular conditions as we skirted
its base it reflected, or emitted, most gorgeously the brilliant lines of the
rainbow, and also other colors hitherto unknown to me.
There is something unique in these shades; species of color appear that I can
not identify; I seem to perceive colors utterly unlike any that I know as the
result of deflected, or transmitted, sunlight rays, and they look unlike the
combinations of primary colors with which I am familiar."
Your observations are true; some of these colors are unknown on earth."
But on the surface of the earth we have all possible combinations of the seven
prismatic rays," I answered. " How can there be others here ?"
Because, first, your primary colors are capable of further subdivision."
Second, other rays, invisible to men under usual conditions, also emanate from
the sun, and under favorable circumstances may be brought to the sense of sight."
Do you assert that the prism is capable of only partly analyzing the sunlight?"
Yes; what reason have you to argue that, because a triangular bit of glass resolves
a white ray into seven fractions that are, as men say, differently colored,
you could not by proper methods subdivide each of these so-called primary shades
into others? What reason have you to doubt that rays now invisible to man accompany
those capable of impressing his senses, and might by proper methods become perceptible
as new colors?"
None," I answered; "only that I have no proof that such rays exist."
But they do exist, and men will yet learn that the term primitive ' ray, as
applied to each of the seven colors of the rainbow, is incorrect. Each will
yet be resolved, and as our faculties multiply and become more subtle, other
colors will be developed, possessed of a delicacy and richness indescribable
now, for as yet man can not comprehend the possibilities of education beyond
the limits of his present condition."
this period of conversation we skirted the richly colored bluff with a rapid
motion, and at last shot beyond it, as with a flash, into seeming vacancy. I
was sitting with my gaze directed toward the bluff, and when it instantly disappeared,
I rubbed my eyes to convince myself of their truthfulness, and as I did so our
boat came gradually to a stand on the edge of what appeared to be an unfathomable
abyss. Beneath me on the side where had risen the bluff that disappeared so
abruptly, as far as the eye could reach, was an absolute void. To our right,
and before and behind us, stretched the surface of that great smooth lake on
whose bosom we rested. To our left, our boat brushing its rim, a narrow ledge,
a continuation of the black, glass-like material, reached only a foot above
the water, and beyond this narrow brink the mass descended perpendicularly to
seemingly infinite depths. Involuntarily I grasped the sides of the boat, and
recoiled from the frightful chasm, over which I had been so suddenly suspended,
and which exceeded anything of a similar description that I had ever seen. The
immeasurable depth of the abyss, in connection with the apparently frail barrier
that held the great lake in its bounds, caused me to shudder and shrink back,
and my brain reeled in dizzy fright. An inexplicable attraction, however, notwithstanding
my dread, held me spell-bound, and although I struggled to shut out that view,
the endeavor failed. I seemed to be drawn by an irresistible power, and yet
I shuddered at the awful majesty of that yawning gulf which threatened to end
the world on which I then existed. Fascinated, entranced, I could not help gazing,
I knew not how long, down, down into that fathomless, silent profundity. Composing
myself, I turned a questioning glance on my guide.
me that this hard, glass-like dam, confined the waters of the slowly rising
lake that we were sailing over, and which finally would rise high enough to
overflow the barrier.
The cycle of the periodic overflow is measured by great intervals," he
said; " centuries are required to raise the level of the lake a fraction
of an inch, and thousands of years may elapse before its surface will again
reach the top of the adamantine wall. Then, governed by the law that attracts
a liquid to itself, and heaps the teaspoon with liquid, the water of the quiet
lake piles upon this narrow wall, forming a ledge along its summit. Finally
the superimposed surface water gives way, and a skim of water pours over into
; I leaned over and meditated, for I had now accustomed myself to the situation.
There is no bottom," I exclaimed.
Upon the contrary," he answered, " the bottom is less than ten miles
beneath us, and is a great funnel-shaped orifice, the neck of the funnel reaching
first down and then upward from us diagonally toward the surface of the earth.
Although the light by which we are enveloped is bright, yet it is deficient
in penetrating power, and is not capable of giving the contour of objects even
five miles away, hence the chasm seems bottomless, and the gulf measureless."
Is it not natural to suppose that a mass of water like this great lake would
overflow the barrier immediately, as soon as the surface reached the upper edge,
for the pressure of the immense volume must be beyond calculation."
No, for it is height, not expanse, which, as hydrostatic engineers understand,
governs the pressure of water. A liquid column, one foot in width, would press
against the retaining dam with the force of a body of the same liquid, the same
depth, one thousand miles in extent. Then the decrease of gravity here
the molecular attraction of the water's molecules to exert itself more forcibly
than would be the case on the surface of the earth, and this holds the liquid
mass together more firmly."
See," he observed, and dipping his finger into the water he held it before
him with a drop of water attached thereto ( Figure 27 ), the globule being of
considerable size, and lengthened as though it consisted of some glutinous liquid.
How can a thin stratum of water give rise to a volcanic eruption?" I next
queried. " There seems to be no melted rock, no evidence of intense heat,either
beneath or about us." FIG. 27.
I informed you some time ago that I would partially explain these facts. Know
then, that the theories of man concerning volcanic eruptions, in connection
with a molten interior of the earth, are such as are evolved in ignorance of
even the subsurface of the globe. The earth's interior is to mankind a sealed
chamber, and the wise men who elucidate the curious theories concerning natural
phenomena occurring therein are forced to draw entirely upon their imagination.
Few persons realize the paucity of data at the command of workers in science.
Theories concerning the earth are formulated from so little real knowledge of
that body, that our science may be said to be all theory, with scarcely a trace
of actual evidence to support it. If a globe ten inches in diameter be covered
with a sheet of paper, such as I hold in my hand, the thickness of that sheet
will be greater in proportion to that of such a globe than the depth men have
explored within the earth is compared with the thickness of the crust of the
earth. The outer surface of a pencil line represents the surface of the earth;
the inner surface of the line represents the depth of man's explorations; the
highest mountain would be represented by a comma resting on the line. The geologist
studies the substances that are thrust from the crater of an active volcano,
and from this makes conjectures regarding the strata beneath, and the force
that casts the excretions out. The results must with men, therefore, furnish
evidence from which to explain the cause. It is as though an anatomist would
form his idea of the anatomy of the liver by the secretion thrown out of that
organ, or of the lung texture by the breath and sputum. In fact, volcanoes are
of several descriptions, and usually are extremely superficial. This lake, the
surface of which is but one hundred and fifty miles underground, is the mother
of an exceptionally deep one. When the water pours over this ledge it strikes
an element below us, the metallic base of salt, which lies in great masses in
some portions of the earth's crust. * Then an immediate chemical reaction ensues,
the water is dissociated, intense heat results, part of the water combines with
the metal, part is vaporized as steam, while part escapes as an inflammable
gas. The sudden liberation of these gases causes an irregular pressure of vapor
on the surface of the lake, the result being a throbbing and rebounding of the
attenuated atmosphere above, which, in gigantic waves, like swelling tides,
dashes great volumes of water over the ledge beside us, and into the depth below.
This water in turn reacts on fresh portions of the metallic base, and the reflex
action increases the vapor discharges, and as a consequence the chamber we are
in becomes a gasholder, containing vapors of unequal gas pressures, and the
resultant agitation of the lake from the turmoil continues, and the pulsations
are repeated until the surface of the lake is lowered to such a degree as at
last to prevent the water from overflowing the barrier. Finally the lake quiets
itself, the gases slowly disappear by earth absorption, and by escape from the
volcanic exit, and for an unrecorded period of time thereafter the surface of
the lake continues to rise slowly as it is doing now."
But what has this phenomenon to do with the volcano?"
It produces the eruption; the water that rushes down into the chasm, partly
as steam, partly as gas, is forced onward and upward through a crevice that
leads to the old crater of the presumed extinct but periodically active Mount
Epomeo. These gases are intensely heated, and they move with fearful velocity.
They tear off great masses of stone, which the resultant energy disturbances,
pressure, gas, and friction, redden with heat. The mixture of gases from the
decomposed water is in large amount, is burning and exploding, and in this fiery
furnace amid such convulsions as have been described, the adjacent earth substance
is fused, and even clay is melted, and carried on with the fiery blast. Finally
the current reaches the earth's surface through the funnel passage, the apex
of which is a volcano- the blast described a volcanic eruption."
One thing is still obscure in my mind," I said. " You assert that
the reaction which follows the contact of the flowing water and metallic bases
in the crevice below us liberates the explosive gases, and also volumes of vapor
of water. These gases rush, you say, and produce a volcanic eruption in a distant
part of the crust of the earth. I can not understand why they do not rush backward
as well, and produce another eruption in Kentucky. Surely the pressure of a
gas in confinement is the
in all directions, is it not?"
Yes," he replied, " but the conditions in the different directions
are dissimilar. In the direction of the Kentucky cavern, the passage is tortuous,
and often contracts to a narrow crevice. In one place near the caverns mouth,
as you will remember, we had to dive beneath the surface of a stream of water.
That stratum of water as effectually closed the exit from the Earth as the stopper
prevents water from escaping from a bottle. Between the point we now occupy
and that water stopper, rest thousands of miles of quiescent air. The inertia
of a thousand miles of air is beyond your comprehension. To move that column
of air by pushing against this end of it, and thus shoving it instantly out
the other end, would require greater force than would burst the one hundred
and fifty miles of inelastic stone above us. Then, friction of the sides is
another thing that prevents its accomplishment. While a gradually applied pressure
would in time overcome both the inertia of the air and the friction of the stone
passages, it would take a supply of energy greater than you could imagine to
start into motion the elastic mass that stands as solid and immovable as a sentinel
of adamant, between the cavern you entered, and the spot we now occupy. Time
and energy combined would be able to accomplish the result, but not under present
other direction, a broad, open channel reaches directly to and connects with
the volcanic shaft. Through this channel the air is in motion, moving towards
the extinct crater, being supplied from another surface orifice. The gases liberated
in the manner in I have described, naturally follow the line of least resistance.
They turn at once away from the inert mass of air that rests behind us, and
move with increasing velocity towards the volcanic exit. Before the pressure
that might be exerted towards the Kentucky cavern would have more than compressed
the intervening column of air enough to raise the water of a well from its usual
level to the surface of the earth, the velocity in the other direction would
have augmented prodigiously, and with its increased rapidity a suction would
follow more than sufficient to consume the increasingly abundant gases from
are therefore local, and the interior of the earth is not a molten mass as I
have been taught, I exclaimed.
If men were far enough along in their thought journey ( for the evolution of
the mental side of man is a journey in the world of thought ), they would avoid
as that which ascribes a molten interior to the earth. Volcanoes are superficial.
They are as a rule, when in activity but little blisters or excoriations upon
the surface of the earth, although their underground connections may be extensive.
Some of them are in a continual fret with frequent eruptions, others, like the
one under consideration, awaken only after great periods of time. The entire
surface of this globe has been or will be subject to volcanic action. The phenomenon
is one of the steps in the world-making, matter-leveling process. When the deposit
of substances that I have indicated, and of which much of the earth's interior
is composed, the bases of salt, potash, and lime and clay is exhausted, there
will be no further volcanic action from this cause, and in some places, this
deposit has already disappeared, or is covered deeply by layers of earth that
serve as a protection."
Is water, then, the universal cause of volcanoes?"
Water and air together cause most of them. The action of water and its vapor
produces from metallic space dust, limestone, and clay soil, potash and soda
salts. This perfectly rational and natural action must continue as long as there
is water above, and free elementary bases in contact with the earth bubbles.
Volcanoes, earthquakes, geysers, mud springs, and hot springs, are the natural
result of that reaction. Mountains are thereby forming by upheavals from beneath,
and the corresponding surface valleys are consequently filling up, either by
the slow deposit of the matter from the saline water of hot springs, or by the
sudden eruption of a new or presumably extinct volcano."
What would happen if a crevice in the bottom of the ocean should conduct the
waters of the ocean into a deposit of metallic bases?"
That often occurs," was the reply; " a volcanic wave results, and
a volcano may thus rise from the ocean's depths."
Is there any danger to the earth itself? May it not be riven into fragments
from such a convulsion?" I hesitatingly questioned.
No; while the configuration of continents is continually being altered, each
disturbance must be practically superficial, and of limited area."
But," I persisted, " the rigid, solid earth may be blown to fragments;
in such convulsions a result like that seems not impossible."
You argue from an erroneous hypothesis. The earth is neither rigid nor solid."
True," I answered. " If it were solid I could not be a hundred miles
beneath its surface in conversation with another being; but there can not be
many such cavities as that which we are now traversing, and they can not surely
extend entirely through its mass; the great weight of the superincumbent material
would crush together the strongest materials, if a globe as large as our earth
were extensively honeycombed in this
Quite the contrary," he replied; " and here let me, for the first
time, enlighten you as to the interior structure of the terrestrial globe. The
earth-forming principle consists of an invisible sphere of energy that, spinning
through space, supports the space dust which collects on it, as dust on a bubble.
By gradual accumulation of substance on that sphere a hollow ball has resulted,
on the outer surface of which you have hitherto dwelt. The crust of the earth
is comparatively thin, not more than eight hundred miles in average thickness,
and is held in position by the central sphere of energy that now exists at a
distance about seven hundred miles beneath the ocean level. The force inherent
to this sphere manifests itself upon the matter which it supports on both sides,
rendering matter the
the nearer it lies to the center sphere. In other words, let me say to you:
" The crust, or shell, which I have just described as being but about eight
hundred miles in thickness,
and solid on both its convex and concave surface, but gradually loses in weight,
whether we penetrate from the outer surface toward the center, or from any point
of the inner surface towards the outside, until at the central sphere matter
has no weight at all. Do you conceive my meaning?"
Yes," I replied; " I understand you perfectly."
a pause my pilot asked me abruptly:
What do you most desire?"
caused my mind to revert instantly to my old home on the earth above me, and
although I felt the hope of returning to it spring up in my heart, the force
of habit caused me involuntarily to answer, " More light!"
More light being your desire, you shall receive it."
to his touch, the bow of the boat turned from the gulf we had been considering
towards the center of the lake; the responsive craft leaped forward, and in
an instant the obsidian parapet disappeared behind us. On and over the trackless
waste of glass-like water we sped, until the dead silence became painfully oppressive,
and I asked:
Whither are we bound?"
Towards the east."
answer raised my spirits; I thought again that in`this man, despite his repulsive
shape, I beheld a friend, a brother; suspicion vanished, and my courage rose.
He touched the lever, and the craft, subject to his will, nearly rose from the
water, and sped with amazing velocity, as was evident from the appearance of
the luminous road behind us. So rapid was our flight that the wake of the boat
seemed as if made of rigid parallel lines that disappeared in the distance,
too quick for the eye to catch the tremor.
his conversation, my companion informed me that he had now directed the bark
toward a point east of the spot where we struck the shore, after crossing the
lake, in order that we might continue our journey downward, diagonally to the
under surface of the earth crust.
This recent digression from our journey proper," said he, " has been
made to acquaint you with a subject, regarding which you have exhibited a curiosity,
and about which you have heretofore been misinformed; now you understand more
clearly part of the philosophy of volcanoes and earthquakes. You have yet much
to learn in connection with allied phenomena, but this study of the crude exhibition
of force-disturbed matter, the manipulation of which is familiar to man under
the above names, is an introduction to the more wonderful study destined yet
to be a part of your field, an investigation of quiescent matter, and pure motion."
I can not comprehend you," I replied, " as I stated once before when
you referred to what you designated as pure motion."
IS RETARDED MOTION.
It is possible - is it not? - for you to imagine a continuous volley of iron
balls passing near you in one line, in a horizontal direction, with considerable
velocity. Suppose that a pane of glass were to be gradually moved so that a
corner of it would be struck by one of the balls; then the entire sheet of glass
would be shivered by the concussion, even though the bullet struck but a single
spot of glass, the point of contact covering only a small area. Imagine now
that the velocity of the volley of bullets be increased a thousand fold; then
a plate of glass thrust into their track would be smoothly cut, as though with
a file that would gnaw its way without producing a single radiating fracture.
A person standing near the volley would now hear a deep purr or growling sound,
caused by the friction between the bullets and the air. Increase gradually the
rapidity of their motion, and this growl would become more acute, passing from
a deep, low murmur, into one less grave, and as the velocity increased, the
tone would become sharper, and at last piercingly shrill. Increase now the rapidity
of the train of bullets again, and again the notes would decrease in turn, passing
back again successively through the several keys that had preceded, and finally
would reach the low growl which first struck the ear, and with a further increase
of speed silence would ensue, silence evermore, regardless of increasing velocity.
From these hundreds of miles in a second at which the volley is now passing,
let the rapidity be augmented a thousand times, reaching in their flight into
millions of miles each second, and to the eye, from the point where the sound
disappeared, as the velocity increased, a dim redness would appear, a glow just
perceptible, indicating to the sense of sight, by a continuous line, the track
of the moving missiles. To all appearance, the line would be as uniform as an
illuminated pencil mark, even though the several integral bullets of the trail
might be separated one from another by miles of space. Let a pane of glass now
be thrust across their track, and from the point of contact a shower of sparks
would fly, and the edges of glass close to either side of the orifice would
be shown, on withdrawing the glass, to have been fused. Conceive now that the
velocity of the bullets be doubled and trebled, again and again, the line of
red light becomes brighter, then brilliant, and finally as the velocity increases,
at a certain point pure white results, and to man's sense the trail would now
be a continuous something, as solid as a bar of metal if at a white heat, and
( even if the bullets were a thousand miles apart ) man could not bring proof
of their separate existence to his senses. That portion of a pane of glass or
other substance, even steel or adamant, which should cross its track now would
simply melt away, the portion excised and carried out of that pathway neither
showing itself as scintillations, nor as fragments of matter. The solid would
instantly liquefy, and would spread itself as a thin film over the surface of
each ball of that white, hot mass of fleeing metal, now to all essential conditions
as uniform as a bar of iron. Madly increase the velocity to millions upon millions
of miles per second, and the heat will disappear gradually as did the sound,
while the bright light will pass backward successively through the primary shades
of color that are now known to man, beginning with violet, and ending with red,
and as the red fades away the train of bullets will disappear to the sense of
man. Neither light nor sound now accompanies the volley, neither the human eye
nor, the human ear can perceive its presence. Drop a pane of glass or any other
object edgewise through it, and it gives to the sense of man no evidence; the
molecules of the glass separate from in front to close in from behind, and the
moving train passes through it as freely as light, leaving the surface of the
Hold," I interrupted; " that would be as one quality of matter passing
through another quality of matter without disturbance to either, and it is a
law in physics that two substances can not occupy the same space at the same
law holds good as man understands the subject, but bullets are no longer matter.
Motion of mass was first changed into motion of molecules, and motion of molecule
became finally augmented into motion of free force entities as the bullets disintegrated
into molecular corpuscles, and then were dissociated, atoms resulting. At this
last point the sense of vision, and of touch, ceased to be affected by that
moving column ( neither matter nor force ), and at the next jump in velocity
the atoms themselves disappeared, and free intangible motion resulted in nothing,
This result is the all-pervading spirit of space ( the ether of mankind ), as
solid as adamant and as mobile as vacuity. If you can reverse the order of this
phenomenon, and imagine an irregular retardation of the rapidity of such atomic
motion, you can read the story of the formation of the material universe. Follow
the chain backward, and with the decrease of velocity, motion becomes tangible
matter again, and in accordance with conditions governing the change of motion
into matter, from time to time the various elements successively appear. The
planets may grow without and within, and ethereal space can generate elemental
dirt. If you can conceive of an intermediate condition whereby pure space motion
becomes partly tangible, and yet is not gross enough to be earthy matter, you
can imagine how such forces as man is acquainted with, light, heat, electricity,
magnetism, or gravity even are produced, for these are also disturbances in
space motion. It should be easily understood that, according to the same simple
principle, other elements and unknown forces as well, now imperceptible to man's
limited faculties, could be and are formed outside and inside his field of perception."
I fear that I can not comprehend all this," I answered.
So I feared, and perhaps I have given you this lesson too soon, although some
time ago you asked me to teach you concerning the assertion that electricity,
light, heat, magnetism, and gravity are disturbances, and you said, 'Disturbances
of what?' Think the lesson over, and you will perceive that it is easy. Let
us hope that the time will come when we will be able to glance beneath the rough,
material, earth surface knowledge that man has acquired, and experience the
mind expansion that leads to the blissful insight possessed by superior beings
who do not have to contend with the rasping elements that encompass all who
dwell upon the surface of the earth."
over these words, and a vague light, an undefined, inexpressible something that
I could not put into words broke into my mind; I inferred that we were destined
to meet with persons, or existences, possessed of new senses, of a mind development
that man had not reached, and I was on the point of questioning my pilot when
the motion of the boat was suspended, land appeared ahead, we drew up to it,
and disembarked. Lifting the boat from the water my guide placed it on land
at the edge of the motionless lake, and we resumed our journey. The scenery
seemed but little changed from that of the latter part of our previous line
of travel down the inclined plane of the opposite side of the lake that we had
crossed. The direction was still downward after leaving the high ridge that
bordered the edge of the lake, the floor of the cavern being usually smooth,
although occasionally it was rough and covered with stony debris. The mysterious
light grew perceptibly brighter as we progressed, the fog-like halo previously
mentioned became less dense, and the ring of obscurity widened rapidly. I could
distinctly perceive objects at a great distance. I turned to my companion to
ask why this was, and he replied:
Because we are leaving one of the undiscovered conditions of the upper atmosphere
that disturbs the sunlight."
Do you say that the atmosphere is composed of substances unknown to man?"
Yes; several of them are gases, and others are qualities of space condition,
neither gas, liquid, nor solid.
has since been partly supported by the discovery of the element Argon. However,
the statement has been recorded many years. Miss Ella Burbige, stenographer,
Newport, Ky., copied the original in 1887; Mr. S. D. Rouse, attorney, Covington,
Ky., read it in 1889; Mr. Russell Errett, editor of the Christian Standard,
in 1890, and Mr. H. C. Meader, President of the American Ticket Brokers' Association,
in 1892. It seems proper to make this explanation in order to absolve the author
from any charge of plagiarism, for each of these persons will recall distinctly
this improbable [then ] assertion.- J. U. L. )
interferes with light in its passage. It is an entity that is not moved by the
motion of the air, and is unequally distributed over the earth's surface. As
we ascend above the earth it decreases, so it does as we descend into it. It
is not vapor of water, is neither smoke, nor a true gas, and is as yet sensible
to man only by its power of modifying the intensity of light. It has no color,
is chemically inactive, and yet modifies the sun's rays so as to blot objects
from view at a comparatively small distance from a person on the face of the
earth. That this fact is known to man is evident from the knowledge he possesses
of the difference in the power of his organs of vision at different parts of
the earth. His sight is especially acute on the table lands of the Western Territories."
I have been told," I answered, " that vapor of water causes this obscuration,
or absorption, of light."
Vapor of water, unless in strata of different densities, is absolutely transparent,
and presents no obstacle to the passage of light," he said. " When
vapor obstructs light it is owing to impurities contained in it, to currents
of varying densities, or wave motions, or to a mechanical mixture of condensed
water and air, whereby multitudes of tiny globular water surfaces are produced.
Pure vapor of water, free from motion, is passive to the sunlight."
I can scarcely believe that a substance such as you describe, or that any constituent
of the air, can have escaped the perception of the chemist," I replied.
I thought, a facetious manner he repeated after me the word " chemist,"
Have chemists detected the ether of Aristotle, that you have mentioned, and
I have defined, which scientists nevertheless accept pervades all space and
every description of matter, and that I have told you is really matter itself
changed into ultra, atomic motion? Have chemists explained why one object is
transparent, and another of equal weight and solidity is opaque? Have chemists
told you why vermilion is red and indigo is blue ( the statement that they respectively
reflect these rays of light is not an explanation of the cause for such action
)? Have chemists told you why the prism disarranges or distorts sunlight to
produce the abnormal hues that men assume compose elementary rays of light?
Have chemists explained anything concerning the why or wherefore of the attributes
of matter, or force, or even proven that the so-called primary forms of matter,
or elements, are not compounds? Upon the contrary, does not the evolution that
results in the recorded discoveries of the chemist foretell, or at least indicate,
the possible future of the art, and promise that surrounding mysteries are yet
to be developed and expanded into open truths, thus elaborating hidden forces;
and that other forms of matter and unseen force expressions, are destined to
spring into existence as the sciences progress? The chemist of to-day is groping
in darkness; he is a novice as compared with the elaborated chemist of the near
future; the imperfectly seen of the present, the silent and unsuspected, will
become distinctly visible in a time that is to come, and a brightening of the
intellect by these successively upward steps, up stairs of science, will, if
science serves herself best, broaden the mind and give power to the imagination,
resulting finally in " - He hesitated.
Go on," I said.
The passage of mortal man, with the faculties of man intact, into communion
with the spirit world."
A STUDY OF SCIENCE IS A STUDY OF GOD."- COMMUNING WITH
This is incredible," I exclaimed.
You need not be astonished," he answered. " Is there any argument
that can be offered to controvert the assertion that man is ignorant of many
I can offer none."
Is there any doubt that a force, distinct and separate from matter, influences
matter and vivifies it into a living personality?"
I do not deny that there is such force."
What then should prevent this force from existing separate from the body if
it be capable of existing in it?"
I can not argue against such a position."
If, as is hoped and believed by the majority of mankind, even though some try
to deny the fact, it is possible for man to exist as an association of earth
matters, linked to a personal spirit force, the soul, and for the spirit force,
after the death of the body, to exist independent of the grosser attributes
of man, free from his mortal body, is it not reasonable to infer that the spirit,
while it is still in man and linked to his body, may be educated and developed
so as, under favorable conditions, to meet and communicate with other spirits
that have been previously liberated from earthly bondage?"
I submit," I answered; " but you shock my sensibilities when you thus
imply that by cold, scientific investigation we can place ourselves in a position
to meet the unseen spirit world "
now my turn to hesitate.
Go on," he said.
To commune with the angels," I answered.
A study of true science is a study of God," he continued. " Angels
are organizations natural in accordance with God's laws. They appear superhuman,
because of our ignorance concerning the higher natural forces. They exist in
exact accordance with the laws that govern the universe; but as yet the attraction
between clay and clay-bound spirit is so great as to prevent the enthralled
soul of man from communicating with them. The faith of the religionist is an
example of the unquenchable feeling that creates a belief as well as a hope
that there is a self-existence separate from earthy substances. The scoffing
scientific agnostic, working for other objects, will yet astonish himself by
elaborating a method that will practically demonstrate these facts, and then
empirical religion, as exemplified by the unquestioning faithful believer, and
systematic science, as typified in the experimental materialist, will meet on
TO BREATHE, AND YET I LIVE.
this conversation we had been rapidly walking, or I
better say advancing, for we no longer walked as men
skipped down into the earth, down, ever downward.
were long periods of silence, in which I was engaged in
over the problems that successively demanded solution, and even had I desired
to do so I could have kept no record of time; days, or even weeks, may have
been consumed in this journey. Neither have I any method of judging of the rapidity
of our motion. I was sensible of a marked decrease in the amount of muscular
energy required to carry us onward, and I
that my body was quite exempt from weariness. Motion
restful instead of exhausting, and it seemed to me that
of the loss of weight, as shown by our free movements,
to the distance we traversed, was greater than
The slightest exhibition of propelling force cast us
forward. Instead of the laborious, short step of upper
a single leap would carry us many yards. A slight
and with our bodies in space, we would skip several
alighting gently, to move again as easily. I marveled, for,
I had been led to anticipate something unusual, the
evidence was wonderfully impressive, and I again questioned my guide.
We are now nearing what physicists would call the center of gravity," he
replied, " and our weight is rapidly diminishing. This is in exact accordance
with the laws that govern the force called gravitation, which, at the earth's
surface, is apparently uniform, though no instrument known to man can demonstrate
its exact variation within the field man occupies. Men have not, as yet, been
in a position to estimate this change, although it is known that mountains attract
objects, and that a change in weight as we descend into the earth is perceptible;
but to evolve the true law, observation, at a distance of at least ten miles
beneath the surface of the ocean is necessary, and man, being a creature whose
motions are confined to a thin, horizontal skin of earth, has never been one
mile beneath its surface, and in consequence his opportunities for comparison
are extremely limited."
I have been taught," I replied, " that the force of gravitation decreases
until the center of the earth is reached, at which point a body is without weight;
and I can scarcely understand how such positive statements from scientific men
can be far from the truth."
It is supposed by your surface men that the maximum of weight is to be found
at one-sixth the distance beneath the surface of the earth, and therefrom decreases
until at the center it is nothing at all," he replied. " This hypothesis,
though, a stagger toward the right, is far from the truth, but as near as could
be expected, when we consider the data upon which men base their calculations.
Were it not for the purpose of controverting erroneous views, men would have
little incentive to continue their investigations, and as has been the rule
in science heretofore, the truth will, in time, appear in this case. One generation
of students disproves the accepted theories of that which precedes, all working
to eliminate error, all adding factors of error, and all together moving toward
a common goal, a grand generalization, that as yet can not be perceived. And
still each series of workers is overlooking phenomena that, though obvious,
are yet unperceived, but which will make evident to future scientists the mistakes
of the present. As an example of the manner in which facts are thus overlooked,
in your journey you have been impressed with certain surprising external conditions,
or surroundings, and yet are oblivious to conditions more remarkable in your
own body. So it is with scientists. They overlook prominent facts that stare
them boldly in the face, facts that are so conspicuous as to be invisible by
reason of their very nearness."
This statement I can not disprove, and therefore must admit under protest. Where
there is so much that appears mysterious I may have overlooked some things,
but I can scarcely accept that, in ignorance, I have passed conditions in my
own organization so marked as this decrease in gravity which has so strikingly
been called to my attention."
You have, and to convince you I need only say that you have nearly ceased to
breathe, and are unconscious of the fact."
short, in momentary alarm, and now that my mind was directed to the fact, I
became aware that I did not desire to breathe, and that my chest had ceased
to heave with the alternate inhalation and exhalation of former times. I closed
my lips firmly, and for a long period there was no desire for breath, then a
slight involuntary inhalation followed, and an exhalation, scarcely noticeable,
succeeded by a great interval of inaction. I impulsively turned my face toward
the passage we had trod; a feeling of alarm possessed me, an uncontrollable,
inexpressible desire to flee from the mysterious earth-being beside me, to return
to men, and be an earth-surface man again, and I started backward through the
chamber we had passed.
seized me by the hand, " Hold, hold," he cried;" where would
you go, fickle mortal?"
To the surface," I shouted; " to daylight again. Unhand me, unearthly
creature, abnormal being, man or devil; have you not inveigled me far enough
into occult realms that should be forever sealed from mankind? Have you not
taken from me all that men love or cherish, and undone every tie of kith or
kin? Have you not led me into paths that the imagination of the novelist dare
not conjure, and into experiences that pen in human hand would not venture to
describe as possible, until I now stand with my feet on the boundary line that
borders vacancy, and utter loss of weight; with a body nearly lost as a material
substance, verging into nothing, and lastly with breath practically extinguished,
I say, and repeat, is it not time that I should hesitate and pause in my reckless
It is not time," he answered.
When will that hour come?" I asked in desperation, and I trembled as he
When the three Great Lights are closed."
POINT WITHIN A SPHERE."- MEN ARE AS PARASITES ON THE ROOF OF EARTH.
again, as I had so many times before, that it was useless for me to rebel. "
The self-imposed mystery of a sacrificed life lies before me," I murmured,
" and there is no chance to retrace my footsteps. The 'Beyond' of the course
that I have voluntarily selected, and sworn to follow, is hidden; I must nerve
myself to pursue it to the bitter end, and so help me God, and keep me steadfast."
Well said," he replied; " and since you have so wisely determined,
I am free to inform you that these new obligations, like those you have heretofore
taken, contain nothing which can conflict with your duty to God, your country,
your neighbor, or yourself. In considering the phenomena presented by the suspension
of the act of breathing, it should occur to you that where little labor is to
be performed, little consumption of energy is required. Where there is such
a trifling destruction of the vital force ( not mind force ) as at present is
the case with us, it requires but slight respiration to retain the normal condition
of the body. On earth's surface the act of respiration alone consumes by far
the larger proportion of vital energy, and the muscular exertion involved thereby
necessitates a proportionate amount of breathing in order that breath itself
may continue. This act of respiration is the result of one of the conditions
of surface earth life, and consumes most of the vital force. If men would think
of this, they would understand how paradoxical it is for them to breathe in
order to live, when the very act of respiration wears away their bodies and
shortens their lives more than all else they have to do, and without adding
to their mental or physical constitution in the least. Men are conversant with
physical death as a constant result of suspended respiration, and with respiration
as an accompaniment of life, which ever constant and connected conditions lead
them to accept that the act of breathing is a necessity of mortal life. In reality,
man occupies an unfortunate position among other undeveloped creatures of external
earth; he is an animal, and is constitutionally framed like the other animals
about him. He is exposed to the warring elements, to the vicious attacks of
savage beasts and insidious parasites, and to the inroads of disease. He is
a prey to the elementary vicissitudes of the undesirable exposure in which he
exists upon the outer surface of our globe, where all is war, even among the
forces of nature about him. These conditions render his lot an unhappy one indeed,
and in ignorance he overlooks the torments of the weary, rasping, endless slavery
of respiration in the personal struggle he has to undergo in order to retain
a brief existence as an organized being. Have you never thought of the connected
tribulations that the wear and tear of respiration alone inflict upon the human
family? The heaving of the chest, the circulation of the blood, the throbbing
of the heart, continue from mortal birth until death. The heart of man forces
about two and one-half ounces of blood with each pulsation. At seventy beats
per minute this amounts to six hundred and fifty - six pounds per hour, or nearly
eight tons per day. The lungs respire over one thousand times an hour, and move
over three thousand gallons of air a day. Multiply these amounts by three hundred
and sixty-five, and then by seventy, and you have partly computed the enormous
life-work of the lungs and heart of an adult. Over two hundred thousand tons
of blood, and seventy-five million gallons of air have been moved by the vital
force. The energy thus consumed is dissipated. No return is made for the expenditure
of this life force. During the natural life of man, more energy is consequently
wasted in material transformation resulting from the motion of heart and lungs,
than would be necessary to sustain the purely vital forces alone for a thousand
years. Besides, the act of respiration which man is compelled to perform in
his exposed position, necessitates the consumption of large amounts of food,
in order to preserve the animal heat, and replace the waste of a material body
that in turn is worn out by these very movements. Add this waste of energy to
the foregoing, and then you will surely perceive that the possible life of man
is also curtailed to another and greater degree in the support of the digestive
part of his organism. His spirit is a slave to his body; his lungs and heart,
on which he imagines life depends, are unceasing antagonists of life. That his
act of breathing is now a necessity upon the surface of the earth, where the
force of gravity presses so heavily, and where the elements have men at their
command, and show him no mercy, I will not deny; but it is exasperating to contemplate
such a waste of energy, and corresponding loss of human life."
You must admit, however, that it is necessary?" I queried.
No; only to an extent. The natural life of man should, and yet will be, doubled,
trebled, multiplied a dozen, yes a thousand fold."
in front of him; we stood facing each other.
Tell me," I cried, " how men can so improve their condition as to
lengthen their days to the limit you name, and let me return to surface earth
a carrier of the glad tidings."
on my knees before him.
I implore you in behalf of that unfortunate humanity, of which I am a member,
give me this boon. I promise to return to you and do your bidding. Whatever
may be my subsequent fate, I promise to acquiesce therein willingly."
me to my feet.
Be of good cheer," he said, " and in the proper time you may return
to the surface of this rind of earth, a carrier of great and good news to men."
Shall I teach them of what you have shown me ?" I asked.
Yes; in part you will be a forerunner, but before you obtain the information
that is necessary to the comfort of mankind you will have to visit surface earth
again, and return again, perhaps repeatedly. You must prove yourself as men
are seldom proven. The journey you have commenced is far from its conclusion,
and you may not be equal to its subsequent trials; prepare yourself, therefore,
for a series of events that may unnerve you. If you had full confidence and
faith in your guide, you would have less cause to fear the result, but your
suspicious human nature can not overcome the shrinking sensation that is natural
to those who have been educated as you have been amid the changing vicissitudes
of the earth's surface, and you can not but be incredulous by reason of that
I stopped as I observed before me a peculiar fungus- peculiar because [ it was
]unlike all others I had seen. The convex part of its bowl was below, and the
great head, as an inverted toadstool, stood upright on a short, stem-like pedestal.
The gills within were of a deep green color, and curved out from the center
in the form of a spiral. This form, however, was not the distinguishing feature,
for I had before observed specimens that were spiral in structure. The extraordinary
peculiarity was that the gills were covered with fruit. This fruit was likewise
green in color, each spore, or berry, being from two to three inches in diameter,
and honeycombed on the surface, corrugated most beautifully. I stopped, leaned
over the edge of the great bowl, and plucked a specimen of the fruit. It seemed
to be covered with a hard, transparent shell, and to be nearly full of a clear,
green liquid. I handled and examined it in curiosity, at which my guide seemed
not to be surprised. Regarding me attentively, he said:
What is it that impels a mortal towards this fruit?"
It is curious," I said; " nothing more."
As for that," said he, " it is not curious at all; the seed of the
lobelia of upper earth is more curious, because, while it is as exquisitely
corrugated, it is also microscopically small. In the second place you err when
you say it is simply curious, ' nothing more,' for no mortal ever yet passed
that bowl without doing exactly as you have done. The vein of curiosity, were
it that alone that impels you, could not but have an exception."
he cracked the shell of the fruit by striking it on the stony floor, and carefully
opened the shell, handing me one of the halves filled with a green fluid. As
he did so he spoke the single word, " Drink," and I did as directed.
He stood upright before me, and as I looked him in the face he seemingly, without
a reason, struck off into a dissertation, apparently as distinct from our line
of thought as a disconnected subject could be, as follows:
THE DRINKS OF MAN.
Intemperance has been the vice of every people, and is prevalent in all climes,
notwithstanding that intoxicants, properly employed, may serve humanity's highest
aims. Beginning early in the history of a people, the disease increases with
the growth of a nation, until, at last, unless the knife is used, civilization
perishes. A lowly people becomes more depraved as the use of liquor increases;
a cultivated people passes backward into barbarism with the depravities that
come from dissipation. Here nations meet, and individuals sink to a common level.
No drinking man is strong enough to say, ' I can not become dissipated-' no
nation is rich and cultivated enough to view the debauch of its people without
The disgusting habit of the drunken African finds its counterpart in the lascivious
wine-bibber of aristocratic society. To picture the indecencies of society,
that may be charged to debauchery, when the Grecian and Roman empires were at
the height of greatness, would obscure the orgies of the barbarous African,
and make preferable the brutality of the drunken American Indian. Intemperance
brings men to the lowest level, and holds its power over all lands and all nations."
Did the aborigines know how to make intoxicants, and were barbarians intemperate
before contact with civilized nations?"
But I have understood that drunkenness is a vice inherent only in civilized
people; are not you mistaken?"
No. Every clime, unless it be the far North where men are scarcely more than
animals, furnishes intoxicants, and all people use them. I will tell you part
of this record of nations.
The Nubians make a barley beer which they call bouze, and also a wine, from
the palm tree. The savages of Africa draw the clear, sweet juice of the palm
oil tree into a gourd, in the morning, and by night it becomes a violent intoxicant.
The natives of the Malayan Archipelago ferment and drink the sap of the flower
stems of the cocoanut. The Tartar tribes make an intoxicating drink from mare's
milk, called koomis. In South America the natives drink a vile compound, called
cane, distilled from sugar cane; and in the Sandwich Islands, the shrub kava
supplies the intoxicant kava-kava, drunk by all the inhabitants, from king to
slave, and mother to child. In the heart of Africa, cannibal tribes make legyce
of a cereal, and indulge in wild orgies over their barbaric cup. In North America
the Indians, before Columbus discovered America, made an intoxicating drink
of the sap of the maple tree. The national drink of the Mexicans is pulque,
a beastly intoxicant, prepared from the Agave Americana. Mead is an alcoholic
drink, made of honey, and used in many countries. In China wine was indulged
in from the earliest day, and in former times, had it not been for the influence
of their philosophers, especially Confucius, who foresaw the end, the Chinese
nation would have perished from drunkenness. Opium, that fearful enslaver of
millions of human beings, is in every sense a narcotic intoxicant, and stands
conspicuous as an agent, capable of being either a friend, a companion, or a
master, as man permits. History fails to indicate the date of its introduction
to humanity. In South America the leaf of the cocoa plant is a stimulant scarcely
less to be dreaded than opium. The juice of a species of asclepias produces
the intoxicant soma, used once by the Brahmins, not only as a drink, but also
in sacrificial and religious ceremonies. Many different flavored liquors made
of palm, cocoanuts, sugar, pepper, honey, spices, etc., were used by native
Hindoos, and as intoxicants have been employed from the earliest days in India.
The Vedic people were fearfully dissipated, and page after page of that wonderful
sacred book, the Rig-Veda, is devoted to the habit of drunkenness. The worst
classes of drunkards of India used Indian hemp to make bhang, or combined the
deadly narcotic stramonium with arrack, a native beer, to produce a poisonous
intoxicant. In that early day the inhabitants of India and China were fearfully
depraved drunkards, and but for the reforms instituted by their wise men, must
have perished as a people. Parahaoma, or ' hotna,' is an intoxicant made from
a lost plant that is described as having yellow blossoms, used by the ancient
dissolute Persians from the day of Zoroaster. Cannabis sativa produces an intoxicant
that in Turkey is known as hadschy, in Arabia and India as hashish, and to the
Hottentots as dacha, and serves as a drunkard's food in other lands. The fruit
of the juniper produces gin, and the fermented juice of the grape, or malt liquors,
in all civilized countries are the favorite intoxicants, their origin being
lost in antiquity. Other substances, such as palm, apples, dates, and pomegranates
have also been universally employed as drink producers.
Go where you will, man's tendency seems to be towards the bowl that inebriates,
and yet it is not the use but the abuse of intoxicants that man has to dread.
Could he be temperate,
But here," I replied, " in this underground land, where food is; free,
and existence possible without an effort, this shameful vice has no existence.
Here there is no incentive to intemperance, and even though man were present
with his inherent passion for drink, he could not find means to gratify his
Ah," my guide replied, " that is an error. Why should this part of
the earth prove an exception to the general rule? Nature always supplies the
means, and man's instinct teaches him how to prepare an intoxicant. So long
as man is human his passions will rule. If you should prove unequal to the task
you have undertaken, if you shrink from your journey, and turn back, the chances
are you will fail to reach the surface of the earth. You will surely stop in
the chamber which we now approach, and which I have now prepared you to enter,
and will then become one of a band of earth drunkards; having all the lower
passions of a mortal you will yet be lost to the virtues of man. In this chamber
those who falter and turn back, stop and remain for all time, sinking until
they become lower in the human scale than any drunkard on earth. Without any
restraining influence, without a care, without necessity of food or incentive
to exertion, in this habitation where heat and cold are unknown, and no motive
for self-preservation exists, they turn their thoughts toward the ruling passion
of mankind and- Listen! Do you not hear them? Listen!"
I noticed a medley of sounds seemingly rising out of the depths beyond us. The
noise was not such as to lead me to infer that persons were speaking coherently,
but rather resembled a jargon such as might come from a multitude of persons
talking indiscriminately and aimlessly. It was a constant volley, now rising
and now falling in intensity, as though many persons regardless of one another
were chanting different tunes in that peculiar sing-song tone often characteristic
of the drunkard. As we advanced, the noise became louder and more of a medley,
until at last we were surrounded by confusion. Then a single voice rose up strong
and full, and at once, from about us, close to us, yes, against our very persons,
cries and shrieks unearthly smote my ears. I could distinguish words of various
tongues, English, Irish, German, and many unfamiliar and disjointed cries, imprecations,
and maledictions. The cavern about seemed now to be resonant with voices,- shrieks,
yells, and maniacal cries commingled,- and yet no form appeared. As we rushed
onward, for now my guide grasped my arm tightly and drew me rapidly down the
cavern floor, the voices subsided, and at length sounded as if behind us. Now
however it seemed as though innumerable arrows, each possessed of a whistle
or tone of its own, were in wave-like gusts shrieking by us. Coming from in
front, they burst in the rear. Stopping to listen, I found that a connection
could be traced between the screech of the arrow-like shriek, and a drunkard's
distant voice. It seemed as though a rocket made of an escaping voice would
scream past, and bursting in the cavern behind, liberate a human cry. Now and
then all but a few would subside, to burst out with increased violence, as if
a flight of rockets each with a cry of its own would rush past, to be followed
after their explosion by a medley of maniacal cries, songs, shrieks, and groans,
commingled. It was as though a shell containing a voice that escaped slowly
as by pressure from an orifice, were fired past my ears, to explode and liberate
the voice within my hearing. The dreadful utterance was not an echo, was not
hallucination, it was real.
and looked at my guide in amazement. He explained: " Did you not sometime
back experience that your own voice was thrown from your body?"
Yes," I answered.
These crazed persons or rather experiences depraved, are shouting in the cavern
beyond," he said. " They are in front; their voices pass us to burst
into expression in the rear."
even as he spoke, from a fungus stalk near us, a hideous creature unfolded itself,
and shambled to my side. It had the frame of a man, and yet it moved like a
serpent, writhing towards me. I stepped back in horror, but the tall, ungainly
creature reached out an arm and grasped me tightly. Leaning over he placed his
hideous mouth close to my ear, and moaned : " Back, back, go thou back."
no reply, being horror-stricken.
Back, I say, back to earth, or "-
and still possessed of fear, and unable to reply, I was silent.
Then go on," he said, " on to your destiny, unhappy man," and
slinking back to the fungus whence he arose, he disappeared from sight.
Come," said my guide, "let us pass the Drunkard's Den. This was but
a straggler; nerve yourself, for his companions will soon surround us."
progressed the voices in our rear became more faint, and yet the whistling volleys
of screeching voice bombs passed us as before. I shuddered in anticipation of
the sight that was surely to meet our gaze, and could not but tremble for fear.
Then I stopped end recoiled, for at my very feet I beheld a huge, living human
head. It rested on the solid rock, and had I not stopped suddenly when I did,
I would have kicked it at the next leap. The eyes of the monster were fixed
in supplication on my face; the great brow indicated intelligence, the finely
cut mouth denoted refinement, the well-modeled head denoted brain, but the whole
constituted a monster. The mouth opened, and a whizzing, arrow voice swept past,
and was lost in the distance.
What is this?" I gasped.
The fate of a drunkard," my guide replied. " This was once an intelligent
man, but now he has lost his body, and enslaved his soul, in the den of drink
beyond us, and has been brought here by his comrades, who thus rid themselves
of his presence. Here he must rest eternally. He can not move, he has but one
desire, drink, and that craving, deeper than life, can not be satiated."
But he desires to speak; speak lower, man, or head of man, if you wish me to
know your wants," I said, and leaned toward him.
the monster whispered, and I caught the words:
Back, back, go thou back!"
Back I say, back to earth or "-
I remained silent.
Then go on," he said; " on to your destiny, unhappy man." "This
is horrible," I muttered.
Come," said the guide, " let us proceed."
perceived many such heads about us, all resting upright on the stony floor.
Some were silent, others were shouting, others still were whispering and endeavoring
to attract my attention. As we hurried on I saw more and more of these abnormal
creatures. Some were in rows, resting against each other, leaving barely room
for us to pass between, but at last, much to my relief, we left them behind
found that I had no cause for congratulation, when I felt myself clutched by
a powerful hand- a hand as large as that of a man fifty feet in height. I looked
about expecting to see a gigantic being, but instead beheld a shrunken pigmy.
The whole man seemed but a single hand- a Brobdingnag hand affixed to the body
of a Lilliputian.
Do not struggle," said the guide; " listen to what he wishes to impart."
over, placing my ear close to the mouth of the monstrosity.
Back, back, go thou back," it whispered.
What have I to fear ?" I asked.
Back, I say, back to earth, or "-
Or what?" I said.
Then go on; on to your destiny, unhappy man," he answered, and the hand
loosed its grasp.
drew me onward.
from about us, huge hands arose; on all sides they waved in the air; some were
closed and were shaken as clenched fists, others moved aimlessly with spread
fingers, others still pointed to the passage we had traversed, and in a confusion
of whispers I heard from the pigmy figures a babble of cries, " Back, back,
go thou back." Again I hesitated, the strain upon my nerves was becoming
unbearable; I glanced backward and saw a swarm of misshaped diminutive fortes,
each holding up a monstrous arm and hand. The passage behind us was closed against
retreat. Every form possessed but one hand, the other and the entire body seemingly
had been drawn into this abnormal member. While I thus meditated, momentarily,
as by a single thought each hand closed, excepting the index finger, Listen,"
he said, " have you not observed that these creatures do not seek to harm
you? Have not all of them spoken kindly, have any offered violence?"
No," I replied, " but they are horrible."
That they realize; but fearing that you will prove to be as weak as they have
been, and will become as they are now, they warn you back. However, I say to
you, if you have courage sufficient, you need have no fear. Come, rely on me,
and do not be surprised at anything that appears."
we went forward. I realized now my utter helplessness. I became indifferent
again; I could neither retrace my footsteps alone, nor guide them forward in
the path I was to pursue. I submissively relied on my guide, and as stoical
as he appeared to be, I moved onward to new scenes.
to a great chamber which, as we halted on its edge, seemed to be a prodigious
amphitheater. In its center a rostrum-like stone of a hundred feet in diameter,
flat and circular on the top, reared itself about twelve feet above the floor,
and to the base of this rostrum the floor of the room sloped evenly. The amphitheater
was fully a thousand feet in diameter, of great height, and the floor was literally
alive with grotesque beings. Imagination could not depict an abnormal human
form that did not exhibit itself to my startled gaze. One peculiarity now presented
itself to my mind; each abnormal part seemed to be created at the expense of
the remainder of the body. Thus, to my right I beheld a single leg, fully twelve
feet in height, surmounted by a puny human form, which on this leg, hopped ludicrously
away. I saw close behind this huge limb a great ear attached to a small head
and body; then a nose so large that the figure to which it was attached was
forced to hold the face upward, in order to prevent the misshaped organ from
rubbing on the stony floor. Here a gigantic forehead rested on a shrunken face
and body, and there a pair of enormous feet were walking, seemingly attached
to the body of a child, and yet the face was that of a man. If an artist were
to attempt to create as many revolting figures as possible, each with some member
out of proportion to the rest of the body, he could not add one form to those
upon this floor. And yet, I again observed that each exaggerated organ seemed
to have drawn itself into existence by absorbing the remainder of the body.
We stood on, the edge of this great room, and I pondered the scene before my
eyes. At length my guide broke the silence:
You must cross this floor; no other passage is known. Mark well my words, heed
This is the Drunkards' Den. These men are lost to themselves and to the world.
Every member of this assembly once passed onward as you are now doing, in [
the ] charge of a guide. They failed to reach the goal to which you aspire,
and retreating, reached this chamber, to become victims to the drink habit.
Some of these creatures have been here for ages, others only for a short period."
Why are they so distorted?" I asked.
Because matter is now only partly subservient to will," he replied. "
The intellect and mind of a drunkard on surface earth becomes abnormal by the
influence of an intoxicant, but his real form is unseen, although evidently
misshapen and partly subject to the perception of a few only of his fellow men.
Could you see the inner form of an earth surface drunkard, you would perceive
as great a mental monstrosity as is any physical monster now before you, and
of the two the physically abnormal creature is really the least objectionable.
Could you see the mind configurations of an assembly of surface earth topers,
you would perceive a class of beings as much distorted mentally as are these
physically. A drunkard is a monstrosity. On surface earth the mind becomes abnormal;
here the body suffers."
Why is it," I asked, " that parts of these creatures shrink away as
some special organ increases?"
Because the abnormal member can grow only by abstracting its substance from
the other portions of the body. An increasing arm enlarges itself by drawing
its strength front the other parts, hence the body withers as the hand enlarges,
and in turn the hand shrinks when the leg increases in size. The total weight
of the individual remains about the same.
Men on earth judge of men not by what they are, but by what they seem to be.
The physical form is apparent to the sense of sight, the real man is unseen.
However, as the boot that encloses a foot can not altogether hide the form of
the foot within, so the body that encloses the life entity, can not but exhibit
here and there the character of the dominating spirit within. Thus a man's features
may grow to indicate the nature of the enclosed spirit, for the controlling
character of that spirit will gradually impress itself on the material part
of man. Even on surface earth, where the matter side of man dominates, a vicious
spirit will produce a villainous countenance, a mediocre mind a vapid face,
and an amorous soul will even protrude the anterior part of the skull.
Carry the same law to this location, and it will be seen that as mind, or spirit,
is here the master, and matter is the slave, the same rule should, under natural
law, tend to produce such abnormal figures as you perceive. Hence the part of
a man's spirit that is endowed most highly sways the corresponding part of his
physical body at the expense of the remainder. Gradually the form is altered
under the relaxing influence of this fearful intra-earth intoxicant, and eventually
but one organ remains to tell of the symmetrical man who formerly existed. Then,
when he is no longer capable of self-motion, the comrades carry the drunkard's
fate, which is here the abnormal being you have seen, into the selected corridor,
and deposit it among others of its kind, as in turn the bearers are destined
sometime to be carried by others. We reached this cavern through a corridor
in which heads and arms were abnormal, but in others may be found great feet,
great legs, or other portions of self-abused man.
I should tell you, furthermore, that on surface earth a drunkard is not less
abnormal than these creatures; but men can not see the form of the drunkard's
spirit. Could they perceive the image of the real man life that corresponds
to the material part, it would appear not less distorted and hideous. The soul
of a mortal protrudes from the visible body as down expands from a thistle seed,
but it is invisible. Drink drives the spirit of an earth-surface drunkard to
unnatural forms, not less grotesque than these physical distortions. Could you
see the real drunkard on surface earth he would be largely outside the body
shell, and hideous in the extreme. As a rule, the spirit of an earth-surface
drunkard dominates the nose and face, and if mortal man could be suddenly gifted
with the sense of mind-sight, they would find themselves surrounded by persons
as misshapen as any delirious imagination can conjure. Luckily for humanity
this scene is as yet withheld from man, for life would otherwise be a fearful
experience, because man has not the power to resist the temptation to abuse
Tell me," I said, " how long will those beings rest in these caverns?"
They have been here for ages," replied the guide; " they are doomed
to remain for ages yet."
You have intimated that if my courage fails I will return to this cavern and
become as they are. Now that you Have warned me of my doom, do you imagine that
anything, even sudden death, can swerve me from my journey ? Death is surely
preferable to such an existence as this."
Do not be so confident. Every individual before you has had the same opportunity,
and has been warned as you have been. They could not undergo the test to which
they were subjected, and you may fail. Besides, on surface earth are not men
constantly confronted with the doom of the drunkard, and do they not, in the
face of this reality, turn back and seek his caverns? The journey of life is
not so fearful that they should become drunkards to shrink from its responsibilities.
You have reached this point in safety. You have passed the sentinels without,
and will soon be accosted by the band before us. Listen well now to my advice.
A drunkard always seeks to gain companions, to draw others down to his own level,
and you will be tried as never have you been before. Taste not their liquor
by whatever form or creature presented. They have no power to harm him who has
courage to resist. If they entreat you, refuse; if they threaten, refuse; if
they offer inducements, refuse to drink. Let your answer be No, and have no
fear. If your strength fail you, mark well my "-
he could complete his sentence I felt a pressure, as of a great wind, and suddenly
found myself seized in an embrace irresistible, and then, helpless as a feather,
was swept out into the cavern of the drunkards.
once to have stood on the edge of Niagara's great whirlpool, but not more fearful
did its seething waters then seem than did the semi-human whirl into which I
had now been plunged. Whether my guide had been aware of the coming clove that
separated us I never knew, but, as his words were interrupted, I infer that
he was not altogether ready to part from my company. Be this as it may, he disappeared
from sight, and, as by a concerted move, the cries of the drunkards subsided
instantly. I found myself borne high in the air, perched on a huge hand that
was carried by its semi-human comrades. It seemed as though the contents of
that vast hall had been suddenly thrown beneath me, for, as I looked about,
I saw all around a sea of human fragments, living, moving parts of men. Round
and round that hall we circled as an eddy whirls in a rock-bound basin, and
not less silently than does the water of an eddy. Then I perceived that the
disjointed mass of humanity moved as a spiral, in unison, throbbing like a vitalized
stream, bearing me submissively on its surface. Gradually the distance between
myself and the center stone lessened, and then I found that, as if carried in
the groove of a gigantic living spiral, I was being swept towards the stone
platform in the center of the room. There was method in the movements of the
drunkards, although I could not analyze the intricacies of their complex reel.
I was borne to the center stone, and by a sudden toss of the hand, in the palm
of which I was seated, I was thrown upon the raised platform. Then in unison
the troop swung around the stone, and I found myself gazing on a mass of vitalized
fragments of humanity. Quickly a figure sprung upon the platform, and in him
I discerned a seemingly perfect man. He came to my side and grasped my hand
as if he were a friend.
not resist his pleasing promise. I suddenly and unaccountably believed in his
sincerity. He impressed the with confidence in his truthfulness, yes, against
my better judgment, convinced me that he must be a friend, a savior. Grasping
him by the hand I thanked him for his interest in a disconsolate wanderer, and
assured him of my confidence.
I am in your hands," I said, " I will obey you implicitly. I thank
you, my deliverer; lead me back to surface earth and receive the gratitude of
a despairing mortal."
This I will surely do," he said; " rest your case in my hands, do
not concern yourself in the least about your future. Before acquiescing in your
desire, however, I will explain part of the experiences through which you have
recently passed. You have been in the control of an evil spirit, and have been
deceived. The grotesque figures, the abnormal beings about you, exist only in
your disordered imagination. They are not real. These persons are happy and
free from care or pain. They live in bliss inexpressible. They have a life within
a life, and the outward expression that you have perceived is as the uncouth
hide and figure that incloses the calm, peaceful eye of a toad. Look at their
eyes, not at their seemingly distorted forms."
to the throng and beheld a multitude of upturned faces mildly beaming upon me.
As I glanced from eye to eye of each countenance, the repulsive figure disappeared
from my view, and a sweet expression of innocence was all that was disclosed
to me. I realized that I had judged by the outer garment. I had wronged these
fellow-beings. A sense of remorse came over me, a desire to atone for my short-sightedness.
What can I offer as a retribution?" I asked. " I have injured these
Listen," was the reply. " These serene intelligences are happy. They
are as a band of brothers. They seek to do you a kindness, to save you from
disaster. One hour of experience such as they enjoy is worth a hundred years
of the pleasures known to you. This delicious favor, an hour of bliss, they
freely offer you, and after you have partaken of their exquisite joy, I will
conduct you back to earth's surface whenever you desire to leave us." He
emphasized the word, desire.
I am ready, ' I replied; " give me this promised delight."
Do not fear," he said; " obey our request, and you will not be harmed."
What do you desire?" I asked.
to the center of the stone, and I saw thereon many gigantic, inverted fungus
bowls. The gills of some had been crushed to a pulp, and had saturated themselves
with liquid which, perhaps by a species of fermentation, had undergone a structural
change; others were as yet intact; others still contained men intently cutting
the gills into fragments and breaking the fruit preparatory to further manipulation.
You are to drink with us," he replied.
No," I said; " I will not drink."
Then you must die; to refuse to drink with us is to invite death."
So must it be; I will not drink."
facing each other, apparently both meditating on the situation.
to have been surprised, not that the man before me had been able to spring from
the floor to the table rock on which I stood, but that so fair a personage could
have been a companion of the monstrosities about me. He was a perfect type of
manhood, and was exquisitely clothed in a loose, flowing robe that revealed
and heightened the beauty of his symmetrical form. His face was fair, yet softly
tinted with rich, fresh color; his hair and beard were neatly trimmed; his manner
was polished, and his countenance frank and attractive. The contrast between
the preternatural shapes from among whom he sprung and himself was as between
a demon and an angel. I marveled that I had not perceived him before, for such
a one should have been conspicuous because so fair; but I reflected that it
was quite natural that among the thousands of grotesque persons about me, one
attractive form should have escaped notice. Presently he spoke again, seemingly
having repented of his display of temper.
I am a friend," he said; " a deliverer. I will serve you as. I have
others before you. Lean on me, listen to my story, accept my proffered friendship."
he continued: " When you have rested, I will guide you in safety back to
upper earth, and restore you to your friends."
allurer turned to the table rock behind us, and continued:
In these fungus bowls we foment the extract of life. The precious cordial is
as a union of the quintessential spirits of joy, peace, tranquillity, happiness,
and delight. Could man abstract from ecstasy the thing that underlies the sense
that gives that word a meaning, his product would not approach the power of
the potent liquids in these vessels."
Of what are they composed?" I asked.
Of derivatives of the rarest species of the fungus family," he answered.
" They are made by formulae that are the result of thousands of years of
experimentation. Come, let us not delay longer the hour of bliss."
me by the hand, my graceful comrade led me to the nearest bowl. Then on closer
view I perceived that its contents were of a deep green color, and in active
commotion, and although no vapor was apparent, a delightful sensation impressed
my faculties. I am not sure that I inhaled at all,- the feeling was one of penetration,
of subtile, magic absorption. My companion took a tiny shell which he dipped
into the strange cauldron. Holding the tiny cup before me, he spoke the one
word, " Drink."
to acquiesce, forgetful of the warning I had received, I grasped the cup, and
raised it to my lips, and as I did so chanced to glance at my tempter's face,
and saw not the supposed friend I had formerly observed, but, as through a mask
fair in outline, the countenance of an exulting demon, regarding me with a sardonic
grin. In an instant he had changed from man to devil. I dashed the cup upon
the rock. " No; I will not drink," I shouted.
the cavern rung with cries of rage. A thousand voices joined as by accord, and
simultaneously the throng of fragments of men began to revolve again. The mysterious
spiral seemed to unwind, but I could not catch the method of its movement. The
motion was like that of an uncoiling serpent bisected lengthwise, the two halves
of the body seeming to slide against each other. Gradually that part of the
cavern near the stone on which I stood became clear of its occupants, and at
last I perceived that the throng had receded to the outer edge.
the encircling side walls of the amphitheater became visible, and as water sinks
into sand, the medley of fragments of humanity disappeared from view.
to my companion; he, too, had vanished. I glanced towards the liquor cauldrons;
the stone was bare. I alone occupied the gigantic hall. No trace remained to
tell of the throng that a short time previously had surrounded and mocked me.
distracted, I threw myself upon the stone, and cursed my miserable self. "
Come back," I cried, " come back. I will drink, drink, drink."
End of the Earth
as my voice reverberated from the outer recesses, I caught a sound as of music
in the distance. I raised my head and listened- yes, surely there was music.
The melody became clearly distinct, and soon my senses were aware that both
vocal and instrumental music were combined. The airs which came floating were
sweet, simple, and beautiful. The voices and accompanying strains approached,
but I could distinguish no words. By and by, from the corridors of the cavern,
troops of bright female forms floated into view. They were clad in robes ranging
from pure white to every richest hue, contrasting strangely, and in the distance
their rainbow brilliancy made a gorgeous spectacle. Some were fantastically
attired in short gowns, such as I imagine were worn by the dancing girls of
sacred history, others had kirtles of a single bright color, others of many
shades intermingled, while others still were dressed in gauze-like fabrics of
filed into the cavern, and approached me, they formed into platoons, or into
companies, and then, as dissolving views come and go, they presented first one
and then another figure. Sometimes they would stretch in great circling lines
around the hall, again they would form into squares, and again into geometrical
figures of all shades and forms, but I observed that with every change they
drew nearer to the stone on which I rested.
were now so near that their features could be distinguished, and never before
had I seen such loveliness in human mold. Every face was as perfect as a master's
picture of the Madonna, and yet no two seemed to possess the same type of beauty.
Some were of dark complexion with glossy, raven hair, others were fair with
hair ranging from light brown to golden. The style of head dress, as a rule,
was of the simplest description. A tinted ribbon, or twisted cord, over the
head, bound their hair with becoming grace, and their silken locks were either
plaited into braids, curled into ringlets, or hung loosely, flowing in wavelets
about their shoulders. Some held curious musical instruments, others beautiful
wands, and altogether they produced a scenic effect of rare beauty that the
most extravagant dream of fairyland could not surpass. Thus it was that I became
again the center of a throng, not of repulsive monsters, but of marvelously
lovely beings. They were as different from those preceding as darkness is from
any man from the data of my past experiences have predicted such a scene? Never
before had the semblance of a woman appeared, never before had an intimation
been given that the gentle sex existed in these silent chambers. Now, from the
grotesque figures and horrible cries of the former occupants of this same cavern,
the scene had changed to a conception of the beautiful and artistic, such as
a poetic spirit might evolve in an extravagant dream of higher fairy land. I
glanced above; the great hall was clothed in brilliant colors, the bare rocks
had disappeared, the dome of that vast arch reaching to an immeasurable height,
was decorated in all the colors of the rainbow. Tags and streamers fluttered
in breezes that also moved the garments of the angelic throng about me, but
which I could not sense; profiles of enchanting faces pervaded the glimmering
space beyond; I alone was but an onlooker, not a participant of the joys about
of the seraph-like figures continued, innumerable forms and figures followed
forms and figures innumerable, and music indescribable blended with the poetry
of motion. I was rapt, the past disappeared, my former mind was blotted from
existence, the world vanished, and I became a thrill of joy, a sensation of
of spirits or fairy forms reached the rock at my feet, but I did not know how
long a time they consumed in doing this; it may have been a second, and it may
have been an eternity. Neither did I care. A single moment of existence such
as I experienced, seemed worth an age of any other pleasure.
about me, these ethereal creatures paused from their motions, and, as the music
ceased, I stood above them, and yet in their midst, and gazed out into a distance
illimitable, but not less beautiful in the expanse than was the adjacent part.
The cavern had altogether disappeared, and in the depths about me as far as
the eye could reach, seemingly into the broad expanse of heaven, I saw the exquisite
forms that I have so imperfectly described.
a single band from the throng lightly sprung upon the stony terrace where I
stood, and sung and danced before me. Every motion was perfect as imagination
could depict, every sound was concentrated extract of melody. This band retired
to be replaced by another, which in turn gave way to another, and still another,
until, as in space we have no standard, time vanished, and numbers ceased to
of the band of dancers were clothed alike, no two songs were similar, though
all were inexpressibly enchanting. The first group seemed perfect, and yet the
second was better, and each succeeding band sung sweeter songs, were more beautiful,
and richer in dress than those preceding. I became enveloped in the aesthetic
atmosphere, my spirit seemed to be loosened from the body, it was apparently
upon the point of escaping from its mortal frame; suddenly the music ceased,
the figures about became passive, and every form standing upright and graceful,
gazed upon my face, and as I looked at the radiant creatures, each successive
face, in turn, seemed to grow more beautiful, each form more exquisite than
in the distance, I observed the phalanx divide, forming into two divisions,
separated by a broad aisle, stretching from my feet to the limit of space without,
and down this aisle I observed a single figure advancing toward me.
approached, the phalanx closed in behind her, and when at last she reached the
stone on which I stood, she stepped, or was wafted to my side, and the phalanx
behind moved together and was complete again.
My name is Etidorhpa. In me you behold the spirit that elevates man, and subdues
the most violent of passions. In history, so far back in the dim ages as to
be known now as legendary mythology, have I ruled and blessed the world. Unclasp
my power over man and beast, and while heaven dissolves, the charms of Paradise
will perish. I know no master. The universe bows to my authority. Stars and
suns enamored pulsate and throb in space and kiss each other in waves of light;
atoms cold embrace and cling together; structures inanimate affiliate with and
attract inanimate structures; bodies dead to other noble passions are not dead
to love. The savage beast, under my enchantment, creeps to her lair, and gently
purrs over her offspring; even man becomes less violent, and sheathes his weapon
and smothers his hatred as I soothe his passions beside the loved ones in the
privacy of his home.
I have been known under many titles, and have comforted many peoples. Strike
my name from Time's record, and the lovely daughters of Zeus and Dione would
disappear; and with them would vanish the grace and beauty of woman; the sweet
conception of the Froth Child of the Cyprus Sea would be lost; Venus, the Goddess
of love, would have no place in song, and Love herself, the holiest conception
of the poet, man's superlative conception of Heaven's most precious charms,
would be buried with the myrtle and the rose. My name is Etidorhpa; interpret
it rightly, and you have what has been to humanity the essence of love, the
mother of all that ennobles. He who loves a wife worships me; she, who in turn
makes a home happy, is typical of me. I am Etidorhpa, the beginning and the
end of earth. Behold in me the antithesis of envy, the opposite of malice, the
enemy of sorrow, the mistress of life, the queen of immortal bliss.
Do you know," she continued, and her voice, soft and sweet, carried with
it a pleasurable sense of truthfulness indescribable, " do you know that
man's idea of heaven, places me, Etidorhpa, on the highest throne? With the
charm of maiden pure, I combine the devotion of wife and the holiness of mother.
Take from the life of man the treasures I embody, and he will be homeless, childless,
loveless. The thought of Heaven will in such a case be as the dismal conception
of a dreary platitude. A life in such a Heaven, a Heaven devoid of love ( and
this the Scriptures teach ), is one of endless torment.
Love, by whatever name the conception is designated, rules the world. Divest
the cold man of science, of the bond that binds him to his life-thought, and
his work is ended. Strike from the inaster in music the chord that links his
soul to the voice lie breathes, and his songs will be hushed. Deaden the sense
of love which the artist bears leis art, and as the spirit that underlies leis
thoughtscenes vanishes, his touch becomes chilled, and his brush inexpressive.
The soldier thinks of his home and country, and without a murinur sheds his
And yet there are debasing phases of love, for as love of country builds a nation,
so love of pillage may destroy it. Love of the Holy and tile beautiful stalids
in Iiullian life opposed to love of the debasing and vicious, and I, Etidorhpa,
am typical of the highest love of man. As the wine force binds the molecules
of the rose acid the violet as well as those of noxious drugs, so the same soul
conception may serve the love of good or the love of evil. Love may guide a
tyrant or actuate a saint, may make man torture his fellow, or strive to case
Thus, man's propensity to serve his holy or his evil passion may each be called
a degree in love, and in the serving of that passion the love of one heart may
express itself as the antithesis of love in another. As bitter is to some men's
taste more pleasant than sweet, and sour is yet more grateful to others, so
one man may love the beautiful, another dclight in the grotesque, and a third
may love to see his neighbor suffer. Amid these, the phase of love that ennobles,
brings the greatest degree of pleasure and comfort to mankind, but the love
that degrades is love nevertheless, by whatever name the expression of the passion
may be called. Love rules the world, and typical of man's interisest, holiest
love, I, Etidorlipa, stand the Soul of Love Supreme." She hesitated.
I have already said, and in saying this have told the truth, I come from beyond
the empty shell of a materialistic gold and silver conception of Heaven. Go
with me, and in my bottle you will find mail's soul devotion, regardless of
material surroundings. I have said, and truly, the corridors of the Heaven mansion,
enriched by precious stones and metals fine, but destitute of my smiles and
graces, are deserted. The golden calf is no longer worshiped, cobwebs cling
in festoons motionless, and the dust of selfish thoughts perverted, dry and
black as the soot from Satan's fires settling therein, as the dust of an antiquated
sarcophagus, rest undisturbed. Place on one side the Heaven of which gold-bound
misers sing, and on the other Etidorhpa and the treasures that come with me
to man and woman, ( for without me neither wife, child, nor father could exist,)
and from any other heaven mankind will turn away. The noblest gift of Heaven
to humanity is the highest sense of love, and I, Etidorhpa, am the soul of love."
speaking, and as I looked at the form beside me I forgot myself in the rapture
of that gaze.
the colors of the rainbow into a single line possessed of the attributes of
all the others, and multiply that entity to infinity, and you have less richness
than rested in any of the complex colors shown in the trimming of her raiment.
Lighten the softness of eiderdown a thousand times, and yet maintain its sense
of substance, and you have not conceived of the softness of the gauze that decked
her simple, flowing garments. Gather the shadows cast by a troop of radiant
angels, then sprinkle the resultant shade with star dust, and color therewith
a garment brighter than satin, softer than silk, and more ethereal than light
itself, and you have less beauty than reposed in the modest dress that enveloped
her figure. Abstract the perfume from the sweetest oriental grasses, and combine
with it the essential spirit of the wild rose, then add thereto the soul of
ambergris, and the quintessential extracts of the finest aromatics of the East,
and you have not approached the exquisite fragrance that penetrated my very
being at her approach. She stood before me, slender, lithe, symmetrical, radiant.
Her hair was more beautiful than pen can depict; it was colorless because it
can not be described by colors known to mortals. Her face paled the beauty of
all who had preceded her. She could not be a fairy, for no conception of a fairy
can approach such loveliness; she was not a spirit, for surely material substance
was a part of her form; she was not an angel, for no abnormal, irrational wing
protruded from her shoulder to blemish her seraphic figure.
No," I said musingly ; " she is a creature of other climes; the Scriptures
tell of no such being; she is neither human nor angelic, but "-
But what?" she said.
I do not know," I answered.
Then I will tell you," she replied. " Yes; I will tell you of myself
and of my companions. I will show you our home, carrying you through the shadows
of heaven to exhibit that fair land, for heaven without Etidorhpa casts a shadow
in comparison therewith. See," she said, as with her dainty fingers she
removed from her garment a fragment of transparent film that I had not previously
observed; " see, this is a cobweb that clung to my skirt, as, on my way
to meet you, I passed through the dismal corridors of the materialists' loveless
it on the floor, and I stooped to pick it up, but vainly- my fingers passed
through it as through a mist.
You must be an angel," I stammered.
Come," she said, " do not consume your time with thoughts of materialistic
heaven; come with me to that brighter land beyond, and in those indescribable
scenes we, you and I, will wander together forever."
out her hand; I hesitatingly touched it, and then raised it to my lips. She
made no resistance.
upon my knees. " Are you to be mine?" I cried. " Mine forever?"
Yes," she answered; " if you will it, for he who loves will be loved
I will do it," I said ; " I give myself to you, be you what you may,
be your home where it may, I give up the earth behind me, and the hope of heaven
before me, the here and the hereafter I will sacrifice. Let us hasten,"
I said, for she made no movement.
her head. " You must yet be tempted as never before, and you must resist
the tempter. You can not pass into the land of Etidorlipa until you have suffered
as only the damned can suffer, until you have withstood the pangs of thirst,
and have experienced heat and cold indescribable. Remember the warning of your
former guide, mark well the words of Etidorhpa: you must not yield. 'Twas to
serve you that I came before you now, 'twas to preserve you from the Drunkard's
Cavern that I have given you this vision of the land beyond the End of Earth
where, if you will serve yourself, we will meet again.
aloft two tiny cups; I sprung to my feet and grasped one of them, and as I glanced
at the throng in front of me, every radiant figure held aloft in the left hand
a similar cup. All were gazing in my face. I looked at the transparent cup in
my hand; it appeared to be partly filled with a green liquid. I looked at her
cup and saw that it contained a similar fluid.
the warning she had so recently given, I raised the cup to my lips, and just
before touching it glanced again at her face. The fair creature stood with bowed
head, her face covered with her hand; her very form and attitude spoke of sorrow
and disappointment, and she trembled in distress. She held one hand as though
to thrust back a form that seemed about to force itself beyond her figure, for
peering exultingly from behind, leered the same Satanic face that met my gaze
on the preceding occasion, when in the presence of the troop of demons, I had
been tempted by the perfect man.
the cup to the floor I shouted:
No; I will not drink."
dropped upon her knees and clasped her hands. The Satanic figure disappeared
from sight. Realizing that we had triumphed over the tempter, I also fell upon
my knees in thankfulness.
the bubbles in a glass shrink and vanish when the first collapses, so the troop
of fairy-like forms before me disintegrated, and were gone. The delicate being,
whose hand I held, fluttered as does a mist in the first gust of a sudden gale,
and then dissolved into transparency. The gaily decked amphitheater disappeared,
the very earth cavern passed from existence, and I found myself standing solitary
and alone in a boundless desert. I turned towards every point of the compass
only to find that no visible object appeared to break the monotony. I stood
upon a floor of pure white sand which stretched to the horizon in gentle wave-like
undulations as if the swell of the ocean had been caught, transformed to sand,
down and scooped a handful of the sand, and raised it in the palm of my hand,
letting it sift back again to earth; it was surely sand. I pinched my flesh,
and pulled my hair, I tore my garments, stamped upon the sand, and shouted aloud
to demonstrate that I myself was still myself. It was real, yes, real. I stood
alone in a desert of sand. Morning was dawning, and on one side the great sun
rose slowly and majestically.
Thank God for the sun," I cried. " Thank God for the light and heat
of the sun."
again on surface earth; once more I beheld that glorious orb for the sight of
which I had so often prayed when I believed myself miserable in the dismal earth
caverns, and which I had been willing to give my very life once more to behold.
I fell on my knees, and raised my hands in thankfulness. I blessed the rising
sun, the illimitable sand, the air about me, and the blue heavens above. I blessed
all that was before me, and again and again returned thanks for my delivery
from the caverns beneath me. I did not think to question by what power this
miracle had been accomplished. I did not care to do so; had I thought of
at all I would not have dared to question for fear the transition might prove
towards the sun, and walked eastward. As the day progressed and the sun rose
into the heavens, I maintained my journey, aiming as best I could to keep the
same direction. The heat increased, and when the sun reached the zenith it seemed
as though it would melt the marrow in my bones. The sand, as white as snow and
hot as lava, dazzled my eyes, and I covered them with my hands. The sun in the
sky felt as if it were a ball of white hot iron near my head. It seemed small,
and yet appeared to shine as through a tube directed only towards myself. Vainly
did I struggle to escape and get beyond its boundary, the tube seemed to follow
my every motion, directing the blazing shafts, and concentrating them ever upon
my defenseless person. I removed my outer garments, and tore my shirt into fibers
hoping to catch a waft of breeze, and with one hand over my eyes, and the other
holding my coat above my head, endeavored to escape the mighty flood of heat,
but vainly. The fiery rays streamed through the garment as mercury flows through
a film of gauze. They penetrated my flesh, and vaporized my blood. My hands,
fingers, and arms puffed out as a bladder of air expands under the influence
of heat. My face swelled to twice, thrice its normal size, and at last my eyes
were closed, for my cheeks and eyebrows met. I rubbed my shapeless hand over
my sightless face, and found it as round as a ball; the nose had become imbedded
in the expanded flesh, and my ears had disappeared in the same manner.
no longer see the still, but felt the vivid, piercing rays I could not evade.
I do not know whether I walked or rolled along; I only know that I struggled
to escape those deadly rays. Then I prayed for death, and in the same breath
begged the powers that had transferred me to surface earth to carry the back
again to the caverns below. The recollection of their cool, refreshing atmosphere
was as the thought of heaven must be to a lost spirit. I experienced the agony
of a damned soul, and now, in contradistinction to former times, considered
as my idea of perfect happiness the dismal earth caverns of other days. I thought
of the day I had stood at the mouth of the Kentucky cave, and waded into the
water with my guide; I recalled the refreshing coolness of the stream in the
darkness of that cavern when the last ray of sunshine disappeared, and I cursed
myself for longing then for sunshine, and the surface earth. Fool that man is,
I mentally cried, not to be contented with that which is, however he may be
situated, and wherever he may be placed. This is but a retribution, I am being
cursed for my discontented mind, this is hell, and in comparison with this hell
all else on or in earth is happiness. Then I damned the sun, the earth, the
very God of all, and in my frenzy cursed everything that existed. I felt my
puffed limbs, and prayed that I might become lean again. I asked to shrink to
a skeleton, for seemingly my misery came with my expanded form; but I prayed
and cursed in vain. So I struggled on in agony, every moment seemingly covering
a multitude of years; struggled along like a lost soul plodding in an endless
expanse of ever-increasing, ever-concentrating hell. At last, however, the day
declined, the heat decreased, and as it did so my distorted body gradually regained
its normal size, my eyesight returned, and finally I stood in that wilderness
of sand watching the great red sun sink into the earth, as in the morning I
had watched it rise. But between the sunrise and the sunset there had been an
eternity of suffering, and then, as if released from a spell, I dropped exhausted
upon the sand, and seemed to sleep. I dreamed of the sun, and that an angel
stood before me, and asked why I was miserable, and in reply I pointed to the
sun. " See," I said, " the author of the misery of man."
the angel: " Were there no sun there would be no men, but were there no
men there would still be misery."
Misery of what?" I asked.
Misery of mind," replied the angel. " Misery is a thing, misery is
not a conception- pain is real, pain is not an impression. Misery and pain would
still exist and prey upon mind substance were there no men, for mind also is
real, and not a mere conception. The pain you have suffered has not been the
pain of matter, but the pain of spirit. Matter can not suffer. Were it matter
that suffered, the heated sand would writhe in agony. No; it is only mind and
spirit that experience pain, or pleasure, and neither mind nor spirit can evade
its destiny, even if it escape from the body."
I awoke and saw once more the great red sun rise from the sand-edge of my desolate
world, and I became aware of a new pain, for now I perceived the fact that I
experienced the sense of thirst. The conception of the impression drew my mind
to the subject, and instantly intense thirst, the most acute of bodily sufferings,
possessed me. When vitalized tissue craves water, other physical wants are unfelt;
when man parches to death all other methods of torture are disregarded. I thought
no longer of the rising sun, I remembered no more the burning sand of yesterday,
I felt only the pain of thirst.
Water, water, water," I cried, and then in the distance as if in answer
to my cry, I beheld a lake of water.
every nerve was strained, every muscle stretched, and I fled over the sands
towards the welcome pool.
on I ran, and as I did so, the sun rising higher and higher, again began to
burn the sands beneath my feet, and roast the flesh upon my bones. Once more
I experienced that intolerable sense of pain, the pain of living flesh disintegrating
by fire, and now with thirst gnawing at my vitals, and fire drying up the residue
of my evaporated blood, I struggled in agony towards a lake that vanished before
my gaze, to reappear just beyond.
day was more horrible than the preceding, and yet it was the reverse so far
as the action of the sun on my flesh was concerned. My prayer of yesterday had
been fearfully answered, and the curses of the day preceding were being visited
upon my very self. I had prayed to become lean, and instead of the former puffed
tissue and expanded flesh, my body contracted as does beef when dried. The tightening
skin squeezed upon the solidifying flesh, and as the moisture evaporated, it
left a shriveled integument, contracted close upon the bone. My joints stood
out as great protuberances, my skin turned to a dark amber color, and my flesh
became transparent as does wetted horn. I saw my very vitals throb, I saw the
empty blood vessels, the shriveled nerves and vacant arteries of my frame. I
could not close my eyes. I could not shield them from the burning sun. I was
a mummy, yet living, a dried corpse walking over the sand, dead to all save
pain. I tried to fall, but could not, and I felt that, while the sun was visible,
I must stand upright; I could not stop, and could not stoop. Then at last the
malevolent sun sank beneath the horizon, and as the last ray disappeared again,
I fell upon the sand.
not sleep, I did not rest, I did not breathe nor live a human; I only existed
as a living pain, the conception of pain realized into a conscious nucleus,-
and so the night passed. Again the sun arose, and with the light of her first
ray I saw near at hand a caravan, camels, men, horses, a great cavalcade. They
approached rapidly and surrounded me. The leader of the band alighted and raised
me to my feet, for no longer had I the power of motion. He spoke to me kindly,
and strange as it may seem to you, but not at all strange did it seem to me,
called me by name.
We came across your tracks in the desert," he said; " we are your
for water; I could not speak.
Yes," he said, " water you shall have."
from one of the skins that hung across the hump of a camel he filled a crystal
goblet with sparkling water, and held it towards me, but just before the goblet
touched my lips he withdrew it and said:
I forgot to first extend the greetings of our people."
I noticed in his other hand a tiny glass containing a green liquid, which he
placed to my lips, pronouncing the single word, " Drink."
my gaze upon the water, and opened my lips. I smelled the aroma of the powerful
narcotic liquid within the glass, and hastened to obey, but glanced first at
my deliverer, and in his stead saw the familiar face of the satanic figure that
twice before had tempted me. Instantly, without a thought as to the consequences,
without a fear as to the result, I dashed the glass to the sand, and my voice
returning, I cried for the third time, " No; I will not drink."
of camels instantly disappeared, as had the figures in the scenes before, the
tempter resolved into clear air, the sand beneath my feet became natural again,
and I became myself as I had been before passing through the hideous ordeal.
The fact of my deliverance from the earth caverns had, I now realized, been
followed by temporary aberration of my mind, but at last I saw clearly again,
the painful fancy had passed, the delirium was over.
upon my knees in thankfulness; the misery through which I had passed had proven
to be illusory, the earth caverns were beneath me, the mirage and temptations
were not real, the horrors I had experienced were imaginary- thank God for all
this- and that the sand was really sand. Solitary, alone, I kneeled in the desert
barren, from horizon to horizon desolation only surrounded, and yet the scene
of that illimitable waste, a fearful reality, it is true, was sweet in comparison
with the misery of body and soul about which I had dreamed so vividly.
'Tis no wonder," I said to myself, " that in the moment of transition
from the underground caverns to the sunshine above, the shock should have disturbed
my mental equilibrium, and in the moment of reaction I should have dreamed fantastic
and horrible imaginings."
and refreshing breeze sprung now, from I know not where; I did not care to ask;
it was too welcome a gift to question, and contrasted pleasantly with the misery
of my past hallucination. The sun was shining hot above me, the sand was glowing,
parched beneath me, and yet the grateful breeze fanned my brow, and refreshed
Thank God," I cried, " for the breeze, for the coolness that it brings;
only those who have experienced the silence of the cavern solitudes through
which I have passed, and added thereto, have sensed the horrors of the more
recent nightmare scenes, can appreciate the delights of a gust of air."
of surrounding conditions, as connected with affairs rational, did not appeal
at all to my questioning senses, it seemed as though the cool breeze, coming
from out the illimitable desolation of a heated waste was natural. I arose and
walked on, refreshed. From out that breeze my physical self drew refreshment
Tis the cold," I said; " the blessed antithesis of heat, that supports
life. Heat enervates, cold stimulates; heat depresses, cold animates. Thank
God for breezes, winds, waters, cold."
and faced the gladsome breeze. " Tis the source of life, I will trace it
to its origin, I will leave the accursed desert, the hateful sunshine, and seek
the blissful regions that give birth to cool breezes."
rapidly, and the breeze became more energetic and cooler. With each increase
of momentum on my part, corresponding strength seemed to be added to the breeze-both
strength and coolness.
Is not this delightful?" I murmured; " my God at last has come to
be a just God. Knowing what I wanted, He sent the breeze; in answer to my prayer
the cool, refreshing breeze arose. Damn the heat," I cried aloud, as I
thought of the horrid day before; " blessed be the cold," and as though
in answer to my cry the breeze stiffened and the cold strengthened itself, and
I again returned thanks to my Creator.
ragged coat wrapped about my form I faced the breeze and strode onward towards
the home of the gelid wind that now dashed in gusts against my person.
I heard my footstep crunch, and perceived that the sand was hard beneath my
feet; I stooped over to examine it and found it frozen. Strange, I reflected,
strange that dry sand can freeze, and then I noticed, for the first time, that
spurts of snow surrounded me, 'twas a sleety mixture upon which I trod, a crust
of snow and sand. A sense of dread came suddenly over me, and instinctively
I turned, affrighted, and ran away from the wind, towards the desert behind
me, back towards the sun, which, cold and bleak, low in the horizon, was sinking.
The sense of dread grew upon me, and I shivered as I ran. With my back towards
the breeze I had blessed, I now fled towards the sinking still I had cursed.
I stretched out my arms in supplication towards that orb, for from behind overhanging
blackness spread, and about me roared a fearful hurricane. Vainly. As I thought
in mockery the heartless still disappeared before my gaze, the hurricane surrounded
me, and the wind about me became intensely cold, and raved furiously. It seemed
as though the still had fled from my presence, and with the disappearance of
that orb, the outline of the earth was blotted from existence. It was an awful
blackness, and the universe was now to me a blank. The cold strengthened and
froze my body to the marrow of my bones. First came the sting of frost, then
the pain of cold, then insensibility of flesh. My feet were benumbed, my limbs
motionless. I stood a statue, quiescent in the midst of the roaring tempest.
The earth, the sun, the heavens themselves, my very person now had disappeared.
Dead to the sense of pain or touch, sightless, amid a blank, only the noise
of the raging winds was to me a reality. And as the creaking frost reached my
brain and congealed it, the sound of the tempest ceased, and then devoid of
physical senses, my quickened intellect, enslaved, remained imprisoned in the
frozen form it could not leave, and yet could no longer control.
after reflection passed through that incarcerated thought entity, and as I meditated,
the heinous mistakes I had committed in the life that had passed, arose to torment.
God had answered my supplications, successively I had experienced the hollowness
of earthly pleasures, and had left each lesson unheeded. Had I not alternately
begged for and then cursed each gift of God? Had I not prayed for heat, cold,
light, and darkness, and anathematized each? Had I not, when in perfect silence,
prayed for sound ; in sheltered caverns, prayed for winds and storms; in the
very corridors of heaven, and in the presence of Etidorhpa, had I not sought
for joys beyond?
not found each pleasure of life a mockery, and notwithstanding each bitter lesson,
still pursued my headstrong course, alternately blessing and cursing my Creator,
and then myself, until now, amid a howling waste, in perfect darkness, my conscious
intellect was bound to the frozen, rigid semblance of a body? All about me was
dead and dark, all within was still and cold, only my quickened intellect remained
as in every corpse the self-conscious intellect must remain, while the body
has a mortal form, for death of body is not attended by the immediate liberation
of mind. The consciousness of the dead man is still acute, and he who thinks
the dead are mindless, will realize his fearful error when devoid of motion
he lies a corpse, conscious of all that passes on around him, waiting the liberation
that can only come by disintegration and destruction of the flesh.
of pain, unconscious of any physical sense, I existed on and on, enthralled,
age after age passed and piled upon one another, for time was to me unchangeable,
no more an entity. I now prayed for change of any kind, and envied the very
devils in hell their pleasures, for were they not gifted with the power of motion,
could they not hear, and see, and realize the pains they suffered? I prayed
for death- death absolute, death eternal. Then, at last, the darkness seemed
to lessen, and I saw the frozen earth beneath, the monstrous crags of ice above,
the raging tempest about, for I now had learned by reflection to perceive by
pure intellect, to see by the light within. My body, solid as stone, was fixed
and preserved in a waste of ice. The world was frozen. I perceived that the
sun, and moon, and stars, nearly stilled, dim and motionless, had paled in the
cold depths of space. The universe itself was freezing, and amid the desolation
only my deserted intellect remained. Age after age had passed, aeons of ages
had fled, nation after nation had grown and perished, and in the uncounted epochs
behind, humanity had disappeared. Unable to free itself from the frozen body,
my own intellect remained the solitary spectator of the dead silence about.
At last, beneath my vision, the moon disappeared, the stars faded one by one,
and then I watched the sun grow dim, until at length only a milky, gauze-like
film remained to indicate her face, and then- vacancy. I had lived the universe
away. And in perfect darkness the living intellect, conscious of all that had
transpired in the ages past, clung still enthralled to the body of the frozen
mortal. I thought of my record in the distant past, of the temptations I had
undergone, and called myself a fool, for, had I listened to the tempter, I could
at least have suffered, I could have had companionship even though it were of
the devils in hell. I lived my life over and over, tunes without number; I thought
of my tempters, of the offered cups, and thinking, argued with myself:
No," I said; " no, I had made the promise, I have faith in Etidorhpa,
and were it to do over again I would not drink."
as this thought sped from me, the ice scene dissolved, the enveloped frozen
form of myself faded from view, the sand shrunk into nothingness, and with my
natural body, and in normal condition, I found myself back in the earth cavern,
on my knees, beside the curious inverted fungus, of which fruit I had eaten
in obedience to my guide's directions. Before me the familiar figure of my guide
stood, with folded arms, and as my gaze fell upon him he reached out his hand
and raised me to my feet.
Where have you been during the wretched epochs that have passed since I last
saw you?" I asked.
I have been here," he replied, " and you have been there."
You lie, you villainous sorcerer," I cried; " you lie again as you
have lied to me before. I followed you to the edge of demon land, to the caverns
of the drunkards, and then you deserted me. Since last we met I have spent a
million, billion years of agony inexpressible, and have had that agony made
doubly horrible by contrast with the thought, yes, the very sight and touch
of Heaven. I passed into a double eternity, and have experienced the ecstacies
of the blessed, and suffered the torments of the damned, and now you dare boldly
tell me that I have been here, and that you have been there, since last I saw
you stand by this cursed fungus bowl."
Yes," he said, taking no offense at my violence; " yes, neither of
us has left this spot; you have sipped of the drink of an earth-damned drunkard,
you have experienced part of the curses of intemperance, the delirium of narcotics.
Thousands of men on earth, in their drunken hallucination, have gone through
hotter hells than you have seen; your dream has not exaggerated the sufferings
of those who sup of the delirium of intemperance."
Let me tell you of man's conception of eternity."
Man's conception of eternity is that of infinite duration, continuance without
beginning or end, and yet everything he knows is bounded by two or more opposites.
From a beginning, as he sees a form of matter, that substance passes to an end."
Thus spoke my guide.
he asked, and showed by his question that he appreciated the nature of my recent
experiences: " Do you recall the instant that you left me standing by this
bowl to start, as you imagined, with me as a companion, on the journey to the
cavern of the grotesque?"
No; because I did not leave you. I sipped of the liquid, and then you moved
on with me from this spot; we were together, until at last we were separated
on the edge of the cave of drunkards."
Listen," said he; " I neither left you nor went with you. You neither
went from this spot nor came back again. You neither saw nor experienced my
presence nor my absence; there was no beginning to your journey."
You ate of the narcotic fungus; you have been intoxicated."
I have not," I retorted. " I have been through your accursed caverns,
and into hell beyond. I have been consumed by eternal damnation in the journey,
have experienced a heaven of delight, and also an eternity of misery."
Upon the contrary, the time that has passed since you drank the liquid contents
of that fungus fruit has only been that which permitted you to fall upon your
knees. You swallowed the liquor when I handed you the shell cup; you dropped
upon your knees, and then instantly awoke. See," he said; " in corroboration
of my assertion the shell of the fungus fruit at your feet is still dripping
with the liquid you did not drink. Time has been annihilated. Under the influence
of this potent earth-bred narcoto-intoxicant, your dream began inside of eternity;
you did not pass into it."
You say," I interrupted, " that I dropped upon my knees, that I have
experienced the hallucination of intoxication, that the experiences of my vision
occurred during the second of time that was required for me to drop upon my
Then by your own argument you demonstrate that eternity requires time, for even
a millionth part of a second is time, as much so as a million of years."
You mistake," he replied, " you misinterpret my words. I said that
all you experienced in your eternity of suffering and pleasure, occurred between
the point when you touched the fungus fruit to your lips, and that when your
knees struck the stone."
That consumed time," I answered.
Did I assert," he questioned, " that your experiences were scattered
over that entire period?"
May not all that occurred to your mind have been crushed into the second that
accompanied the mental impression produced by the liquor, or the second of time
that followed, or any other part of that period, or a fraction of any integral
second of that period?
I can not say," I answered, " what part of the period the hallucination,
as you call it, occupied."
You admit that so far as your conception of time is concerned, the occurrences
to which you refer may have existed in either an inestimable fraction of the
first, the second, or the third part of the period."
Yes," I replied, " yes; if you are correct in that, they were illusions."
Let me ask you furthermore," he said; " are you sure that the flash
that bred your hallucination was not instantaneous, and a part of neither the
first, second, nor third second ?"
Continue your argument."
I will repeat a preceding question with a slight modification. May not all that
occurred to your mind have been crushed into the space between the second of
time that preceded the mental impression produced by the liquor, and the second
that followed it? Need it have been a part of either second, or of time at all?
Indeed, could it have been a part of time if it were instantaneous?"
Suppose the entity that men call the soul of man were in process of separation
from the body. The process you will admit would occupy time, until the point
of liberation was reached. Would not dissolution, so far as the separation of
matter and spirit is concerned at its critical point be instantaneous?"
If the critical point is instantaneous, there would be no beginning, there could
be no end. Therein rests an eternity greater than man can otherwise conceive
of, for as there is neither beginning nor end, time and space are annihilated.
The line that separates the soul that is in the body from the soul that is out
of the body is outside of all things. It is a between, neither a part of the
nether side nor of the upper side; it is outside the here and the here-after.
Let us carry this thought a little further," said he. " Suppose a
good man were to undergo this change, could not all that an eternity of happiness
might offer be crushed into this boundless conception, the critical point? All
that a mother craves in children dead, could reappear again in their once loved
forms; all that a good life earns, would rest in the soul's experience in that
eternity, but not as an illusion, although no mental pleasure, no physical pain
is equal to that of hallucinations. Suppose that a vicious life were ended,
could it escape the inevitable critical point? Would not that life in its previous
journey create its own sad eternity? You have seen the working of an eternity
with an end but not a beginning to it, for you can not sense the commencement
of your vision. You have been in the cavern of the grotesque,the realms of the
beautiful, and have walked over the boundless sands that bring misery to the
soul, and have, as a statue, seen the frozen universe dissolve. You are thankful
that it was all an illusion as you deem it now; what would you think had only
the heavenly part been spread before you?"
I would have cursed the man who dispelled the illusion," I answered.
Then," he said, " you are willing to admit that men who so live as
to gain such an eternity, be it mental illusion, hallucination or real, make
no mistake in life."
I do," I replied; " but you confound me when you argue in so cool
a manner that eternity may be everlasting to the soul, and yet without the conception
Did I not teach you in the beginning of this journey," he interjected,
" that time is not as men conceive it. Men can not grasp an idea of eternity
and retain their sun bred, morning and evening, conception of time. Therein
lies their error. As the tip of the whip-lash passes with the lash, so through
life the soul of man proceeds with the body. As there is a point just when the
tip of the whip-lash is on the edge of its return, where all motion of the line
that bounds the tip ends, so there is a motionless point when the soul starts
onward from the body of man. As the tip of the whip-lash sends its cry through
space, not while it is in motion either way, but from the point where motion
ceases, the spaceless, timeless point that lies between the backward and the
forward, so the soul of man leaves a cry ( eternity) at the critical point.
It is the death echo, and thus each snap of the life-thread throws an eternity,
its own eternity, into eternity's seas, and each eternity is made up of the
entities thus cast from the critical point. With the end of each soul's earth
journey, a new eternity springs into existence, occupying no space, consuming
no time, and not conflicting with any other, each being exactly what the soul-earth
record makes it, an eternity of joy ( heaven ), or an eternity of anguish (
hell ). There can be no neutral ground."
The drunkard is destined to suffer in the drunkard's eternity, as you have suffered;
the enticement of drink is evanescent, the agony to follow is eternal. You have
seen that the subregions of earth supply an intoxicant. Taste not again of any
intoxicant; let your recent lesson be your last. Any stimulant is an enemy to
man, any narcotic is a fiend. It destroys its victim, and corrupts the mind,
entices it into pastures grotesque, and even pleasant at first, but destined
to eternal misery in the end. Beware of the eternity that follows the snapping
of the life-thread of a drunkard. Come," he abruptly said, " we will
pursue our journey."
Morphine, belladonna, hyoscyamus and cannabis indica are narcotics, and yet
each differs in its action from the others. Alcohol and methyl alcohol are intoxicants;
ether, chloroform and chloral are anesthetics, and yet no two are possessed
of the same qualities. Is there any good reason to doubt that combinations of
the elements as yet hidden from man can not cause hallucinations that combine
and intensify the most virulent of narcotics, intoxicants, and anesthetics,
and pall the effects of hashish or of opium?
the course of experimentation, a chemist should strike upon a compound that
in traces only would subject his mind and drive his pen to record such seemingly
extravagant ideas as are found in the hallucinations herein pictured, would
it not be his duty to bury the discovery from others, to cover from mankind
the existence of such a noxious fruit of the chemist's or pharmaceutist s art?
Introduce such an intoxicant, and start it to ferment in humanity's blood, and
before the world were advised of its possible results, might not the ever increasing
potency gain such headway as to destroy, or debase, our civilization, and even
to exterminate mankind?- J. U. L.)
Drury, had been so absorbed in the fantastic story the old man read so fluently
from the execrably written manuscript, and in the metaphysical argument which
followed his account of the vision he had introduced so artfully as to lead
me to think it was a part of his narrative, that I scarcely noted the passage
of time. Upon seeing him suspend his reading, fold the manuscript, and place
it in his pocket, I reverted to material things, and glancing at the clock,
perceived that the hands pointed to bed-time.
Tomorrow evening," said he, " I will return at nine o'clock. In the
interim, if you still question any part of the story, or wish further information
on any subject connected with my journey, I will be prepared to answer your
queries. Since, however, that will be your last opportunity, I suggest that
you make notes of all subjects that you wish to discuss."
in his usual self-possessed, exquisitely polite manner, he bowed himself out.
the next day reviewing the most questionable features. of his history, recalling
the several statements that had been made. Remembering the humiliation I had
experienced in my previous attempts to confute him, I determined to select such
subjects as would appear the most difficult to explain, and to attack the old
man with vehemence.
that notwithstanding my several failures, and his successful and constant elucidation
and minute details in regard to occurrences which he related, and which anticipated
many points I had once had in mind to question, misgivings still possessed me
concerning the truthfulness of the story. If these remarkable episodes were
true, could there be such a thing as fiction? If not all true, where did fact
end and fancy begin ?
I devoted the following day to meditating my plan of attack, for I felt that
I had been challenged to a final contest. Late the next day, I felt confident
of my own ability to dispossess him, and in order further to test his power,
when night came I doubly locked the door to my room, first with the key and
next with the inside bolt. I had determined to force him again to induce inert
material to obey his command, as he had done at our first interview. The reader
will remember that Prof. Chickering had deemed that occurrence an illusion,
and I confess that time had dimmed the vividness of the scene in my own mind.
Hence I proposed to verify the matter. Therefore, at the approach of nine o'clock,
the evening following, I sat with my gaze riveted on the bolt of the door, determined
not to answer his knock.
me no chance to neglect a response to his rap. Exactly at the stroke of nine
the door swung noiselessly on its hinges, the wizard entered, and the door closed
again. The bolt had not moved, the knob did not turn. The bar passed through
the catch and back to its seat,- I sprung from my chair, and excitedly and rudely
rushed past my guest. I grasped the knob, wrenched it with all my might. Vainly;
the door was locked, the bolt was fastened. Then I turned to my visitor. He
was quietly seated in his accustomed place, and apparently failed to notice
my discomposure, although he must have realized that he had withstood my first
pronounced defeat, at the very beginning of our proposed contest, produced a
depressing effect; nevertheless I made an effort at self-control, and seating
myself opposite, looked my antagonist in the face. Calm, dignified, with the
brow of a philosopher, and the countenance of a philanthropist, a perfect type
of the exquisite gentleman, and the cultured scholar, my guest, as serene and
complacent as though, instead of an intruder, he were an invited participant
of the comforts of my fireside, or even the host himself, laid his hat upon
the table, stroked his silvery, translucent beard, and said:
the challenge, for the word, as he emphasized it, was a challenge, and hurled
at him, in hopes to catch him unprepared, the following abrupt sentence:
I doubt the possibility of the existence of a great cavern such as you have
described. The superincumbent mass of earth would crush the strongest metal.
No material known to man could withstand a pressure so great as would overlie
an arch as large as that you depict; material would succumb even if the roof
were made of steel."
Do not be so positive," he replied. " By what authority do you make
By the authority of common sense as opposed to an unreasonable hypothesis. You
should know that there is a limit to the strength of all things, and that no
substance is capable of making an arch of thousands of miles, which, according
to your assertion, must have been the diameter of the roof of your inland sea."
Ah," he replied, " and so you again crush my facts with your theory.
Well, let me ask a question."
Did you ever observe a bubble resting on a bubble?"
Did you ever place a pipe-stem in a partly filled bowl of soap water, and by
blowing through it fill the bowl with bubbles?"
Did you ever calculate the tensile strength of the material from which you blew
No; for soap water has no appreciable strength."
And yet you know that a bubble made of suds has not only strength, but elasticity.
Suppose a bubble of energy floating in space were to be covered to the depth
of the thickness of a sheet of tissue paper with the dust of space, would that
Suppose two such globes of energy, covered with dust, were to be telescoped
or attached together, would you marvel at the fact ?"
a picture on a piece of paper, in which one line was inclosed by another, and
The pencil mark on this paper is proportionately thicker than the crust of the
earth over the earth cavern I have described. Even if it were made of soap suds,
it could revolve through space and maintain its contour."
But the earth is a globe," I interjected.
You do not mean an exact globe?"
No; it is flattened at the poles."
from his pocket two thin rubber balls, one slightly larger than the other. With
his knife he divided the larger ball, cutting it into halves. He then placed
one of the sections upon the perfect ball, and held the arrangement between
the gas light and the wall.
See; is not the shadow flattened,as your earth is, at the poles?"
Yes; but the earth is not a shadow."
We will not argue that point now," he replied, and then asked: " Suppose
such a compound shell as this were to
through space and continuously collect dust, most of it of the earth's temperature,
forming a fluid ( water ), would not that dust be propelled naturally from the
Yes; according to our theory."
Perhaps," said he, " the contact edge of the invisible spheres of
energy which compose your earth bubbles, for planets are bubbles, that have
been covered with water and soil during the time the energy bubble, which is
the real bone of the globe, has been revolving through space; perhaps, could
you reach the foundation of the earth dust, you would find it not a perfect
sphere, but a compound skeleton, as of two bubbles locked, or rather telescoped
together. See dig. 34.1
Are you sure that my guide did not lead me through the space between the bubbles?"
Do not be shocked at what I am about to assert, for, as a member of materialistic
humanity, you will surely consider me irrational when I say that matter, materials,
ponderous substances, one and all, so far as the ponderous part is concerned,
have no strength."
What! No strength ?"
Is not this matter?"
I can not break it."
Have not I strength?"
Confine your argument now to the poker; we will consider you next. You can not
I can break this pencil, though," and I snapped it in his face.
my lip in disdain.
You carry this argument too far."
I can break the pencil, I can not break the poker; had these materials not different
strengths there could be no distinction; had I no strength I could not have
Are you ready to listen?" he replied.
Yes; but do not exasperate me."
I did not say that the combination you call a poker had no strength, neither
did I assert that you could not break a pencil."
A distinction without a difference; you play upon words."
I said that matter, the ponderous side of material substances, has no strength."
And I say differently."
the end of the poker into the fire, and soon drew it forth red-hot. Is it as
strong as before ?" No." Heat it to whiteness and it becomes plastic.
Heat it still more and it changes to a liquid."
Has liquid iron strength?"
Very little, if any."
Is it still matter?"
Is it the material of the iron, or is it the energy called heat that qualifies
the strength of the metal? It seems to me that were I in your place I would
now argue that absence of heat constitutes strength," he sarcastically
Cool this red-hot poker by thrusting it into a pail of cold water, and it becomes
very hard and brittle."
Cool it slowly, and it is comparatively soft and plastic."
The material is the same, is it not?"
What strength has charcoal?"
Crystallize it, and the diamond results."
I did not speak of diamond."
Ah! and is not the same amount of the same material present in each, a grain
of diamond and a grain of charcoal? What is present in a grain of diamond that
is not present in a grain of charcoal?"
Answer my question."
I can not."
Why does brittle, cold zinc, when heated, become first ductile, and then, at
an increased temperature, become brittle again? In each case the same material
I do not know; but this I do know: I am an organized being, and I have strength
man grasped the heavy iron poker with both hands, and suddenly rising to his
full height, swung it about his head, then with a motion so menacing that I,
shrunk back into my chair and cried out in alarm, seemed about to strike, with
full force, my defenseless brow.
My God," I shouted, " what have I done that you should
the weapon, and calmly asked:
Suppose that I had crushed your skull-where then would be your vaunted strength?"
no reply, for as yet I had not recovered from the mental shock.
Could you then have snapped a pencil? Could you have broken a reed? Could you
even have blown the down from a thistle bloom ?"
Would not your material body have been intact?"
Listen," said he. " Matter has no strength, matter obeys spirit, and
spirit dominates all things material. Energy in some form holds particles of
matter together, and energy in other forms loosens them. 'Tis this imponderable
force that gives strength to substances, not the ponderable side of the material.
Granite crushed is still granite, but destitute of rigidity. Creatures dead
are still organic structures, but devoid of strength or motion. The spirit that
pervades all material things gives to them form and existence. Take from your
earth its vital spirit, the energy that subjects matter, and your so-called
adamantine rocks would disintegrate, and sift as dust into the interstices of
space. Your so-called rigid globe, a shell of space dust, would dissolve, collapse,
and as the spray of a burst bubble, its ponderous side would vanish in the depths
Listen," he repeated. " You wrong your own common sense when you place
dead matter above the spirit of matter. Atoms come and go in their ceaseless
transmigrations, worlds move, universes circulate, not because they are material
bodies, but because as points of matter, in a flood of force, they obey the
spirit that can blot out a sun, or dissolve the earth, as easily as it can unlink
two atoms. Matter is an illusion, spirit is the reality."
that he had silenced me against my will, and although I could not gainsay his
assertions, I determined to study the subject carefully, at my leisure.
As you please," he interjected into my musings; " but since you are
so determined, you would better study from books that are written by authors
who know whereof they write, and who are not obliged to theorize from speculative
data concerning the intrastructural earth crust."
But where call I find such works? I do not know of any."
Then," said he, " perhaps it would be better to cease doubting the
word of one who has acquired the knowledge to write such a book, and who has
no object in misleading you."
Still other questions arise," I said.
I consider the account of the intra-earth fungus intoxicant beyond the realm
In what respect?"
The perfect loss of self that resulted immediately, in an instant, after swallowing
the juice of the fungous fruit, so that you could not distinguish between the
real guide at your side and the phantom that sprung into existence, is incredible.
An element of time is a factor in the operation of nerve impressions."
Have you investigated all possible anaesthetics?" he asked.
Of course not."
Or all possible narcotics?"
How long does it require for pure prussic acid to produce its physiological
I do not know."
my reply, and continued:
Since there exists a relative difference between the time that is required for
ether and chloroform to produce insensibility, and between the actions and resultant
effects of all known an xstlletics, intoxicants, and narcotics, I think you
are hypercritical. Some nerve excitants known to you act slowly, others quickly;
why not others still instantaneously? If you can rest your assertion on any
good basis, I will gladly meet your questions, but I do not accept such evidence
as you now introduce, and I do not care to argue for both parties."
is well that reference was made to this point. Few readers would probably notice
that Chapter XXXVI. begun a narcotic hallucination.- J. U. L. )
I was becoming irritated, for I was not satisfied with the manner in which I
upheld my part of the argument, and naturally, as is usually the case with the
defeated party, became incensed at my invincible antagonist.
Well," I said, " I criticise your credulity. The drunkards of the
drunkards' cavern were beyond all credence. I cannot conceive of such abnormal
creations, even in illusion. Had I met with your experiences I would not have
supposed, for an instant, that the fantastic shapes could have been aught but
a dream, or the result of hallucination, while, without a question, you considered
You are certainly pressed for subjects about which to complain when you resort
to criticising the possibilities in creations of a mind under the influence
of a more powerful intoxicant than is known to surface earth " he remarked.
" However, I will show you that nature fashions animals in forms more fantastic
than I saw, and that even these figures were not overdrawn "
heeding his remark, I interrupted his discourse, determined to have my say:
And I furthermore question the uncouth personage you describe as your guide.
Would you have me believe that such a being has an existence outside an abnormal
Ah," he replied, " you have done well to ask these two questions in
succession, for you permit me to answer both at once. Listen: The Monkey, of
all animals, seems to approach closest to man in figure, the Siamang Gibon of
Asia, the Baldheaded Saki of South America, with its stub of a tail, being nearest.
From these types we have great deviations as in the Wanderer of India, with
its whiskered face, and the Black Macaque of the Island of Celebes, with its
hairy topknot, and hairless stub of a tail, or the well-known Squirrel Monkey,
with its long supple tail, and the Thumbless Spider Monkey, of South America.
Between these types we have among monkeys, nearly every conceivable shape of
limb and figure, and in color of their faces and bodies, all the shades of the
Some Squirrels jump and then sail through the air. The Sloth can barely move
on the earth. Ant-eaters have no teeth at all, while the Grizzly Bear can crush
a gun barrel with its molars.
The Duck-billed Platypus of South Australia has the body of a mole, the tail
of a raccoon, the flat bill of a duck, and the flipper of a seal, combined with
the feet of a rat. It lays eggs as birds do, but suckles its young as do other
mammalia. The Opossum has a prehensile tail, as have some monkeys, and in addition
a living bag or pouch in which the female carries her tiny young. The young
of a kind of tree frog of the genus Hylodes, breathe through a special organ
in their tails; the young of the Pipa, a great South American toad, burrow into
the skin of the mother, and still another from Chili, as soon as hatched, creep
down the throat of the father frog, and find below the jaw an opening into a
false membrane covering the entire abdomen, in which they repose in safety.
Three species of frogs and toads have no tongue at all, while in all the others
the tongue is attached by its tip to the end of the mouth, and is free behind.
The ordinary Bullfrog has conspicuous great legs, while a relative, the Cocilia
( and others as well ) have a head reminding of the frog, but neither tail nor
legs, the body being elongated as if it were a worm. The long, slender fingers
of a Bat are united by means of a membrane that enables it to fly like a bird,
while as a contrast, the fingers of a Mole, its near cousin, are short and stubby,
and massive as compared with its frame. The former flies through the air, the
latter burrows ( almost flies ) through the earth. The Great Ant-eater has a
curved head which is drawn out into a slender snout, no teeth, a long, slender
tongue, a great bushy tail, and claws that neither allow the creature to burrow
in the earth nor climb into trees, but which are admirably adapted to tear an
ant-hill into fragments. Its close relatives, the Apar and Armadillo, have a
round body covered with bony plates, and a short, horny, curved tail, while
another relative, the Long-tailed Pangolin, has a great alligator-like tail
which, together-with its body, is covered with horny, overlapping scales.
The Greenland Whale has an enormous head occupying more than one-third its length,
no teeth, and a throat scarcely larger than that of a sucker fish. The Golden
Mole has a body so nearly symmetrical that, were it not for the snout, it would
be difficult to determine the location of the head without close inspection,
and it has legs so short that, were it not for the powerful claws, they would
not be observed at all. The Narwhal has a straight, twisted tusk, a "-
Hold, hold," I interrupted; " do you think that I am concerned in
these well known contrasts in animal structure?"
Did you not question the possibility of the description I gave of my grotesque
drunkards, and of the form of my subterranean guide?" my guest retorted.
Yes; but I spoke of men, you describe animals."
Man is an animal, and between the various species of animals that you say are
well known, greater distinctions can be drawn than between my guide and surface-earth
man. Besides, had you allowed me to proceed to a description of animal life
beneath the surface of the earth, I would have shown you that my guide partook
of their attributes. Of the creatures described, one only was of the intra-earth
origin- the Mole,-and like my guide, it is practically eyeless."
Go on," I said; "'tis useless for me to resist. And yet "-
And yet what?"
And yet I have other subjects to discuss."
I do not like the way in which you constantly criticise science, especially
in referring thereto the responsibilities of the crazed anatomist. It seems
to me that he was a monomaniac, gifted, but crazed, and that science was unfortunate
in being burdened with such an incubus."
True, and yet science advances largely by the work of such apparently heartless
creatures. Were it not for investigators who overstep the bounds of established
methods, and thus criticise their predecessors, science would rust and disintegrate.
Besides, why should not science be judged by the rule she applies to others
What do you mean?"
Who is more free to criticise religion than the materialistic man of science?"
But a religious man is not cruel."
Have you not read history? Have you not shuddered at the crimes recorded in
the name of the religions of man?"
section ( see p. 190 ) was excised, being too painful.- J. U. L.
Yes; but these cruelties were committed by misguided men under the cloak of
the church, or of false religions, during the dark ages. Do not blame religion,
but the men who abused the cause."
Yes," he added, " you are right; they were fanatics, crazed beings,
men; yes, even communities, raving mad. Crazed leaders can infuse the minds
of the people with their fallacies, and thus become leaders of crazed nations.
Not, as I have depicted in my scientific enthusiast, one man alone in the privacy
of his home torturing a single child, but whole nations pillaging, burning,
torturing, and destroying. But this is foreign to our subject. Beware, I reiterate,
of the science of humnan biology. The man who enters the field can not foresee
the end, the man who studies the science of life, and records his experiments,
can not know the extremes to which a fanatical follower may carry the thought-current
of his leader. I have not overdrawn the lesson. Besides, science is now really
torturing, burning, maiming, and destroying humanity. The act of destruction
has been transferred from barbarians and the fanatic in religion to the follower
of the devotees of science."
No; I say, no."
Who created the steam engine? Who evolves improved machinery? Who creates improved
artillery, and explosives? Scientific men."
Accumulate the maimed and destroyed each year; add together the miseries and
sorrows that result from the explosions, accidents, and catastrophes resulting
from science improvements, and the dark ages scarcely offer a parallel. Add
thereto the fearful destruction that follows a war among nations scientific,
and it will be seen that the scientific enthusiast of the present has taken
the place of the misguided fanatic of the past. Let us be just. Place to the
credit of religion the good that religion has done, place to the credit of science
the good that science is doing, and yet do not mistake, both leave in their
wake an atmosphere saturated with misery, a road whitened with humanity's bones.
Neither the young nor the old are spared, and so far as the sufferer is concerned
it matters not
the person has been racked by the tortures of an inquisition, or the sword of
an infidel, is shrieking in the agony of a scald by super-heated steam, or is
mangled by an explosion of nitroglycerin."
One of science's most serious responsibilities, from which religion has nearly
escaped, is that of supplying thought-food to fanatics, and from this science
can not escape."
Who places the infidel in possession of arguments to combat sacred teachings?
Who deliberately tortures animals, and suggests that biological experimentation
in the name of science, before cultured audiences even, is legitimate, such
as making public dissections of living creatures?"
Enough, enough," I cried, thinking of his crazed anatomist, and covering
my face with my hands; " you make my blood creep."
Yes," he added sarcastically; " you shudder now and criticise my truthful
study, and to-morrow you will forget the lesson, and perhaps for dinner you
will relish your dish of veal, the favorite food of mothers, the nearest approach
to the flesh of babies."
his manner changed, and in his usual mild, pleasant way, he said:
Take what I have said kindly; I wish only to induce your religious part to have
more charity for your scientific self, and the reverse. Both religion and science
are working towards the good of man, although their devotees are human, and
by human errors bring privations, sufferings, and sorrows to men. Neither can
fill the place of the other; each should extend a helping hand, and have charity
for the shortcomings of the other; they are not antagonists, but workers in
one field; both must stand the criticisms of mutual antagonists, and both have
cause to fear the evils of fanaticism within their own ranks more than the attacks
of opponents from without. Let the religious enthusiast exercise care; his burning,
earnest words may lead a weakminded father to murder an innocent family, and
yet 'tis not religion that commits the crime. Let the zealous scientific man
hesitate; he piles up fuel by which minds unbalanced, or dispositions perverted,
seek to burn and destroy hopes that have long served the yearnings of humanity's
soul. Neither pure religion nor true science is to blame for the acts of its
devotees, and yet each must share the responsibility of its human agents."
We will discuss the subject no further," I said; " it is not agreeable."
The idea of eternity without time is not quite clear to me, although I catch
an imperfect conception of the argument advanced. Do you mean to say that when
a soul leaves the body, the earth life of the individual, dominated by the soul,
is thrown off from it as is the snap of a whip-lash, and that into the point
between life and death, the hereafter of that mortal may be concentrated?"
I simply give you the words of my guide," he replied, " but you have
expressed the idea about as well as your word language will admit. Such a conception
of eternity is more rational to one who, like myself, has lived through an instant
that covered, so far as mind is concerned, a trillion years of time, than is
ail attempt to grasp a conception of an eternity, without beginning or end,
by basing an argument on conditions governing material substances, as these
substances are known to man. You have the germ of the idea which may be simply
a thought for you to ponder over; you can study the problem at your leisure.
Do not, however, I warn you, attempt to comprehend the notion of eternity by
throwing into it the conception of time as men accept that term, for the very
word time, as men define it, demands that there be both a beginning and an end.
With the sense of time in one's mind, there can be no conception of the term
as I had so often done before, I unwarily gave him an opportunity to enlarge
on his theme, to my disadvantage. I had determined not to ask any questions
concerning his replies to my criticism, for whenever I had previously done so,
the result had been disastrous to me. In this case I unwittingly said:
Why do you say that our language will not permit of clearer conceptions than
Because your education does not permit you to think outside of words; you are
You astonish me by making such an arrogant assertion. Do you mean to assert
that I can not think without using words?"
Yes. Every thought you indulge in is circumscribed. You presumably attempt to
throw a thought-line forward, and yet you step backward and spin it in words
that have been handed you from the past, and, struggle as you may, you can not
liberate yourself from the dead incubus. Attempt to originate an idea, and see
if you can escape your word-master?"
Go on; I am listening."
Men scientific think in language scientific. Men poetical think in language
poetic. All educated men use words in thinking of their subjects, words that
came to them from the past, and enslave their intellect. Thus it is that the
novelist can not snake fiction less real than is fact; that scientists can not
commence at the outside, and build a theory back to phenomena understood. In
each case the foundation of a thought is a word that in the very beginning carries
to the mind a meaning, a something from the past. Each thought ramification
is an offshoot from words that express ideas and govern ideas, yes, create ideas,
even dominating the mind. Men speak of ideas when they intend to refer to an
image in the mind, but in reality they have no ideas outside of the word sentences
they uncon-sciously reformulate. Define the term idea correctly, and it will
be shown that an idea is a sentence, and if a sentence is made of words already
created, there can be no new idea, for every word has a fixed meaning. Hence,
when men think, they only rearrange words that carry with themselves networks
of ideas, and thus play upon their several established meanings. How can men
so circumscribed construct a new idea or teach a new science ?"
New words are being created."
Language is slowly progressing, but no new word adds itself to a language; it
is linked to thought-chains that precede. In order to create a word, as a rule,
roots are used that are as established in philology as are building materials
in architecture. When a new sound is thrust into a language, its intent must
be introduced by words already known, after which it conveys a meaning derived
from the past, and becomes a part of mind sentences already constructed, as
it does of spoken language. Language has thus been painfully and slowly evolved
and is still being enlarged, but while new impressions may be felt by an educated
person, the formulated feeling is inseparable, from well-known surviving words."
Some men are dumb."
Yes; and yet they frame mind-impressions into unspoken words of their own, otherwise
they would be scarcely more than animals. Place an uneducated dumb person in
a room with a complicated instrument, and although he may comprehend its uses,
he can not do so unless he frames sense-impressions into, what is to him, a
formulated mind-word sequence."
But he can think about it."
No; unless he has already constructed previous impressions into word-meanings
of his own, he can not think about it at all. Words, whether spoken or unspoken,
underlie all ideas. Try, if you believe I am mistaken, try to think of any subject
outside of words?"
a moment, and mentally attempted the task, and shook my head.
Then," said the old man, " how can I use words with established meanings
to convey to your senses an entirely new idea? If I use new sounds, strung together,
they are not words to you, and convey no meaning; if I use words familiar, they
reach backward as well as forward. Thus it is possible to instruct you, by a
laborious course of reasoning, concerning a phenomenon that is connected with
phenomena already understood by you, for your word-language can be thrust out
from the parent stalk, and can thus follow the outreaching branches. However,
in the case of, phenomena that exist on other planes, or are separated from
any known material, or force, as is the true conception that envelops the word
eternity, there being neither connecting materials, forces, nor words to unite
the outside with the inside, the known with the unknown, how can I tell you
more than I have done? You are word-bound."
Nevertheless, I still believe that I can think outside of words."
Well, perhaps after you attempt to do so, and fail again and again, you will
appreciate that a truth is a truth, humiliating as it may be to acknowledge
A Digger Indian has scarcely a word-language," I asserted, loth to relinquish
You can go farther back if you desire, back to primitive man; man without language
at all, and with ideas as circumscribed as those of the brutes, and still you
have not strengthened your argument concerning civilized man. But you are tired,
Yes; tired of endeavoring to combat your assertions. You invariably lead me
into the realms of speculation, and then throw me upon the defensive by asking
me to prove my own theories, or with apparent sincerity, you advance an unreasonable
hypothesis, and then, before I am aware of your purpose, force me to acquiesce
because I can not find facts to confute you. You very artfully throw the burden
of proof on me in all cases, for either by physical comparisons that I can not
make, I must demonstrate the falsity of your metaphysical assertions, or by
abstract reasonings disprove statements you assert to be facts."
You are peevish and exhausted, or you would perceive that I have generally allowed
you to make the issue, and more than once have endeavored to dissuade you from
doing so. Besides, did I not several times in the past bring experimental proof
to dispel your incredulity ? Have I not been courteous ?"
Yes," I petulantly admitted; " yes."
I determined to imitate his artful methods, and throw him upon the defensive
as often as he had done with me. I had finally become familiar with his process
of arguing a question, for, instead of coming immediately to his subject, he
invariably led by circuitous route to the matter under discussion. Before reaching
the point he would manage to commit me to his own side of the subject, or place
me in a defenseless position. So with covert aim I began:
I believe that friction is one method of producing heat."
I have been told that the North American Indians snake fires by rubbing together
two pieces of dry wood."
I have understood that the light of a shooting star results from the heat of
friction, producing combustion of its particles."
Partly," he answered.
That when the meteoric fragment of space dust strikes the air, the friction
resulting from its velocity heats it to redness, fuses its surface, or even
burns its very substance into ashes."
I have seen the spindle of a wheel charred by friction."
I have drawn a wire rapidly through a handkerchief tightly grasped in my hands,
and have warmed the wire considerably in doing so."
that I had him committed to my side of the question, and I prepared to force
him to disprove the possibility of one assertion that he had made concerning
You stated that you rode in a boat on the underground lake."
Rapid motion produces friction, I believe?"
Why did not your boat become heated even to redness? You rode at the rate of
nine hundred miles an hour," I cried exultingly.
For two reasons," he calmly replied; " two natural causes prevented
such a catastrophe."
he warned me, as he had done before, by saying:
While you should not seek for supernatural agencies to account for any phenomena
in life, for all that is is natural, neither should you fail to study the differences
that varying conditions produce in results already known. A miracle ceases to
be a miracle when we understand the scientific cause underlying the wonder;
occultism is natural, for if there be occult phenomena they must be governed
by natural law; mystery is not mysterious if the veil of ignorance that envelops
the investigator is lifted. What you have said is true concerning the heat that
results from friction, but-
First, the attraction of gravitation was inconsiderable where the boat, to which
you refer, rested on the water.
Second, the changing water carried away the heat as fast as it was produced.
While it is true that a cannon ball becomes heated in its motion through the
air, its surface is cooled when it strikes a body of water, notwithstanding
that its great velocity is altogether overcome by the water. The friction between
the water and the iron does not result in heated iron, but the contrary. The
water above the rapids of a river has practically the temperature of the water
below the rapids, regardless of the friction that ensues between these points.
Admit, however, that heat is liberated as the result of the friction of solids
with water, and still it does not follow that this heat will perceptibly affect
the solid. With a boat each particle of water carries the heat away, each succeeding
portion of water takes up the heat liberated by that preceding it. Thus the
great body of water, over which our boat sped, in obedience to the ordinary
law, became slightly warmed, but its effect upon the boat was scarcely perceptible.
Your comparison of the motion of a meteor, with that of our boat, was unhappy.
We moved rapidly, it is true, in comparison with the motion of vessels such
as you know, but comparison can not be easily drawn between the velocity of
a boat and that of a meteor. While we moved at the rate of many miles a minute,
a meteor moves many times faster, perhaps as many miles in a second. Then you
must remember that the force of gravitation was so slight in our position that
Enough," I interrupted. " We will pass the subject. It seems that
you draw upon science for knowledge to support your arguments, however irrational
they may be, and then you sneer at this same method of argument when I employ
to my peevish complaint with the utmost respect by calling to my attention the
fact that my own forced argument had led to the answer, and that he had simply
replied to my attacks.
If I am wrong in my philosophy, based on your science thought, I am right in
my facts, and science thought is thus in the wrong, for facts overbalance theory.
I ask you only to give me the attention that my statements merit. I am sincere,
and aim to serve your interests. Should investigation lead you hereafter to
infer that I am in error, at our final interview you can have my considerate
attention. Be more charitable, please."
Is there any other subject you wish to argue?"
Yes," I answered, and again my combativeness arose; " yes. One of
the truly edifying features of your narrative is that of the intelligent guide,"
and I emphasized the word intelligent, and curled up my lip in a sarcastic manner.
He was verily a wonderful being; an eyeless creature, and yet possessed of sight
and perception beyond that of mortal man; a creature who had been locked in
the earth, and yet was more familiar with its surface than a philosopher; a
cavern-bred monstrosity, and yet possessed of the mind of a sage; he was a scientific
expert, a naturalist, a metaphysical reasoner, a critic of religion, and a prophet.
He could see in absolute darkness as well as in daylight; without a compass
he could guide a boat over a trackless sea, and could accomplish feats that
throw Gulliver and Munchausen into disrepute."
composure my aged guest listened to my cynical, and almost insulting tirade.
He made no effort to restrain my impetuous sentences, and when I had finished
replied in the polished language of a scholarly gentleman.
You state truly, construe my words properly, as well as understand correctly."
he continued musingly, as though speaking to himself:
I would be at fault and deserve censure did I permit doubts to be thrown upon
so clear a subject, or discredit on so magnanimous a person."
to me he continued:
Certainly I did not intend to mislead or to be misunderstood, and am pleased
to find you so earnest a scholar."
in his soft, mild manner, he commenced his detail reply, pouring oil upon the
waters of my troubled soul, his sweet, melodious voice being so in contrast
to my rash harangue. He began with his expressive and often repeated word, "
Listen. You are right, my guide was a being wonderful to mortals. He was eyeless,
but as I have shown you before, and now swear to the fact, was not sightless;
surely," he said, " surely you have not forgotten that long ago I
considered the phenomenal instinct at length. He predicted the future by means
of his knowledge of the past- there is nothing wonderful in that. Can not a
civil engineer continue a line into the beyond, and predict where the projection
of that line will strike; can he not also calculate the effect that a curve
will have on his line's destiny? Why should a being conversant with the lines
and curves of humanity's journey for ages past not be able to indicate the lines
that men must follow in the future? Of course he could guide the boat, in what
was to the a trackless waste of water, but you err in asserting that I had said
he did not have a guide, even if it were not a compass. Many details concerning
this journey have not been explained to you; indeed, I have acquainted you with
but little that I experienced. Near surface earth we passed through caverns
filled with creeping reptiles; through others we were surrounded by flying creatures,
neither beast nor bird; we passed through passages of ooze and labyrinths of
apparently interminable intra-earth structures; to have disported on such features
of my journey would have been impracticable. From time to time I experienced
strains of melody, such as never before had I conceived, seemingly choruses
of angels were singing in and to my very soul. From empty space about me, from
out the crevices beyond and behind me, from the depths of my spirit within me,
came these strains in notes clear and distinct, but yet indescribable. Did I
fancy, or was it real? I will not pretend to say. Flowers and structures beautiful,
insects gorgeous and inexplicable were spread before me. Figures and forms I
can not attempt to indicate in word descriptions, ever and anon surrounded,
accompanied, and passed me by. The canvas conceptions of earth-bred artists
bring to mind no forms so strange and weird and yet so beautiful as were these
compound beings. Restful beyond description was it to drink in the indescribable
strains of poetry of motion that I appreciated in the movements of fair creatures
I have not mentioned, and it was no less soothing to experience the soul relief
wrought by the sounds about me, for musicians know no notes so sweet and entrancing.
There were also, in side caverns to which I was led, combinations of sounds
and scenes in which floating strains and
figures were interwoven and interlaced so closely that the senses of both sight
and hearing became blended into a single sense, new, weird, strange, and inexpressible.
As flavor is the combination of odor and taste, and is neither taste nor odor,
so these sounds and scenes combined were neither scenes' nor sounds, but a complex
sensation, new, delicious. Sometimes I begged to be permitted to stop and live
forever 'mid those heavenly charms, but with as firm a hand as when helping
me through the chambers of mire, ooze, and creeping reptiles, my guide drew
But to return to the subject. As to my guide being a cavern-bred monstrosity,
I do not remember to have said that he was cavern-bred, and if I have forgotten
a fact, I regret my short memory. Did I say that he was always a cavern being.
Did I assert that he had never lived among mortals of upper earth? If so, I
do not remember our conversation on that subject. He was surely a sage in knowledge,
as you have experienced from my feeble efforts in explaining the nature of phenomena
that were to you unknown, and yet have been gained by me largely through his
instruction. He was a metaphysician, as you assert; you are surely right; he
was a sincere, earnest reasoner and teacher. He was a conscientious student,
and did not by any word lead me to feel that he did not respect all religions,
and bow to the Creator of the universe, its sciences, and its religions. His
demeanor was most considerate, his methods faultless, his love of nature deep,
his patience inexhaustible, his sincerity unimpeachable. " Yes," the
old man said; " you are right in your admiration of this lovely personage,
and when you come to meet this being as you are destined yet to do- for know
now that you too will some day pass from surface earth, and leave only your
name in connection with this story of myself- you will surely then form a still
greater love and a deeper respect for one so gifted, and yet so self-sacrificing."
Old man," I cried, " you mock me. I spoke facetiously, and you answer
literally. Know that I have no confidence in your sailor-like tales, your Marco
Ah ! You discredit Marco Polo? And why do you doubt?"
Because I have never seen such phenomena, I have never witnessed such occurrences.
I must see a thing to believe it."
And so you believe only what you see?" he queried.
Now answer promptly," he commanded, and his manner changed as by magic
to that of a master. " Did you ever see Greenland?"
Then you do not believe that these conditions, countries, and animals have an
Of course they have."
Others have seen them."
Ah," he said; " then you wish to modify your assertion you only believe
what others have seen?"
Excepting one person," I retorted.
he continued, seemingly not having noticed my personal allusion.
Have you ever seen your heart?" I hesitated.
Answer," he commanded.
Your stomach ?"
Have you seen the stomach of any of your friends?"
The back of your head?"
irritated, and made no reply.
Answer," he again commanded.
I have seen its reflection in a glass."
I say no," he replied ; " you have not."
You are impudent," I exclaimed.
Not at all," he said, good humoredly; " how easy it is to make a mistake.
I venture to say that you have never seen the reflection of the back of your
head in a mirror."
Your presumption astounds me."
I will leave it to yourself."
a hand-glass from the table and held it behind my head.
Now, do you see the reflection?"
No; the glass is behind me."
Ah, yes; and so is the back of your head."
Look," I said, pointing to the great mirror on the bureau; " look,
there is the reflection of the back of my head."
No; it is the reflection of the reflection in my hand glass."
You have tricked me; you quibble!"
Well," he said, ignoring my remark; " what do you believe?"
I believe what others have seen, and what I can do."
Excluding thyself as to what others have seen," he said facetiously.
Perhaps," I answered, relenting somewhat.
Has any man of your acquaintance seen the middle of Africa?"
The center of the earth ?"
The opposite side of the moon?"
The soul of man ?"
Heat, light, electricity?"
Then you do not believe that Africa has a midland, the earth a center, the moon
an opposite side, man a soul, force an existence?"
You distort my meaning."
Well, I ask questions in accord with your suggestions, and you defeat yourself.
You have now only one point left. You believe only what you can do?"
I will rest this case on one statement, then, and you may be the judge."
You can not do what any child in Cincinnati can accomplish. I assert that any
other man, any other woman in the city can do more than you can. No cripple
is so helpless, no invalid so feeble as not, in this respect, to be your superior."
You insult me," I again retorted, almost viciously.
Do you dispute the assertion seriously?"
Well, let me see you kiss your elbow."
I twisted my arm so as to bring the elbow towards my mouth, then, as I caught
the full force of his meaning, the ridiculous result of my passionate wager
came over me, and I laughed aloud. It was a change of thought from the sublime
to the ludicrous.
guest smiled in return, and kindly said:
It pleases me to find you in good humor at last. I will return to-morrow evening
and resume the reading of my manuscript. In the meantime take good exercise,
eat heartily, and become more cheerful."
and bowed himself out.
MAN CONTINUES HIS MANUSCRIPT.
ABYSS.- THE EDGE OF THE EARTH SHELL.
at eight o'clock the next evening the old man entered my room. He did not allude
to the occurrences of the previous evening, and for this considerate treatment
I felt thankful, as my part in those episodes had not been enviable. He placed
his hat on the table, and in his usual cool and deliberate manner, commenced
reading as follows:
long time thereafter we journeyed on in silence, now amid stately stone pillars,
then through great cliff openings or among gigantic formations that often stretched
away like cities or towns dotted over a plain, to vanish in the distance. Then
they scene changed, and we traversed magnificent avenues, bounded by solid walls
which expanded into lofty caverns of illimitable extent, from whence we found
ourselves creeping through narrow crevices and threading winding passages barely
sufficient to admit our bodies. For a considerable period I had noted the absence
of water, and as we passed from grotto to temple reared without hands, it occurred
to me that I could not now observe evidence of water erosion in the stony surface
over which we trod, and which had been so abundant before we reached the lake.
My guide explained by saying in reply to my thought question, that we were beneath
the water line. He said that liquids were impelled back towards the earth's
surface from a point unnoticed by me, but long since passed. Neither did I now
experience hunger nor thirst, in the slightest degree, a circumstance which
my guide assured me was perfectly natural in view of the fact that there was
neither waste of tissue nor consumption of heat in my present organism.
I observed far in the distance a slanting sheet of light that, fan-shaped, stood
as a barrier across the way; beyond it neither earth nor earth's surface appeared.
As we approached, the distinctness of its outline disappeared, and when we came
nearer, I found that it streamed into the space above, from what appeared to
be a crevice or break in the earth that stretched across our pathway, and was
apparently limitless and bottomless.
Is this another hallucination?" I queried.
No; it is a reality. Let us advance to the brink."
we pursued our way, for I hesitated and held back. I had really begun to distrust
my own senses, and my guide in the lead was even forced to demonstrate the feasibility
of the way, step by step, before I could be induced to follow. At length we
neared the edge of the chasm, and while he stood boldly upright by the brink,
with fear and trembling I crept on my knees to his side, and together we faced
a magnificent but fearful void that stretched beneath and beyond us, into a
profundity of space. I peered into the chamber of light, that indescribable
gulf of brilliancy, but vainly sought for an opposite wall; there was none.
As far as the eye could reach, vacancy, illuminated vacancy, greeted my vision.
The light that sprung from that void was not dazzling, but was possessed of
a beauty that no words can suggest. I peered downward, and found that we stood
upon the edge of a shelving ledge of stone that receded rapidly beneath us,
so that we seemed to rest upon the upper side of its wedge-like edge. I strained
my vision to catch a glimpse of the bottom of this chasm, but although I realized
that my eyes were glancing into miles and miles of space, there was no evidence
of earthly material other than the brink upon which we stood.
of vision seemed to be bounded by a silvery blending of light with light, light
alone, only light. The dead silence about, and the new light before me, combined
to produce a weird sensation, inexplicable, overpowering. A speck of dust on
the edge of immensity, I clung to the stone cliff, gazing into the depths of
that immeasurable void.
THROB IS STILLED, AND YET I LIVE.
It now becomes my duty to inform you that this is one of the stages in our journey
that can only be passed by the exercise of the greatest will force. Owing to
our former surroundings upon the surface of the earth, and to your inheritance
of a so-called instinctive education, you would naturally suppose that we are
now on the brink of an impassable chasm. This sphere of material vacuity extends
beneath us to a depth that I am sure you will be astonished to learn is over
six thousand miles. We may now look straight into the earth cavity, and this
streaming light is the reflected purity of the space below. The opposite side
of this crevice, out of sight by reason of its distance, but horizontally across
from where we stand, is precipitous and comparatively solid, extending upward
to the material that forms the earth's surface. We have, during our journey,
traversed an oblique, tortuous natural passage, that extends from the spot at
which you entered the cave in Kentucky, diagonally down into the crust of the
globe, terminating in this shelving bluff. I would recall to your mind that
your journey up to this time has been of your own free will and accord. At each
period of vacillation- and you could not help but waver occasionally- you have
been at liberty to return to surface earth again, but each time you decided
wisely to continue your course. You can now return if your courage is not sufficient
to overcome your fear, but this is the last opportunity you will have to reconsider,
while in my company."
Have others overcome the instinctive terrors to which you allude ?"
Yes; but usually the dread of death, or an unbearable uncertainty, compels the
traveler to give up in despair before reaching this spot, and the opportunity
of a lifetime is lost. Yes; an opportunity that occurs only in the lifetime
of one person out of millions, of but few in our brotherhood."
Then I can return if I so elect?"
Will you inform me concerning the nature of the obstacle I have to overcome,
that you indicate by your vague references?"
We must descend from this cliff."
You can not be in earnest."
Do you not see that the stone recedes from beneath us, that we stand on the
edge of a wedge overhanging bottomless space?"
That I understand."
There is no ladder," and then the foolish remark abashed me as I thought
of a ladder six thousand miles in length.
no reference to my confusion.
There is practically no bottom," I asserted, " if I can believe your
words; you told me so."
And that I reiterate."
The feat is impracticable, impossible, and only a madman would think of trying
to descend into such a depth of space."
an idea came over me; perhaps there existed a route at some other point of the
earth's crevice by which we could reach the under side of the stone shelf, and
I intimated as much to the guide.
No; we must descend from this point, for it is the only entrance to the hollow
from the brink, and I meditated in silence. Then I crept again to the edge of
the bluff, and lying flat on my chest, craned my head over, and peered down
into the luminous gulf. The texture of the receding mineral was distinctly visible
for a considerable distance, and then far, far beneath all semblance to material
form disappeared- as the hull of a vessel fades in deep, clear water. As I gazed
into the gulf it seemed evident that, as a board floating in water is bounded
by water, this rock really ended. I turned to my guide and questioned him.
Stone in this situation is as cork," he replied; " it is nearly devoid
of weight; your surmise is correct. We stand on the shelving edge of a cliff
of earthly matter, that in this spot slants upward from beneath like the bow
of a boat. We have reached the bottom of the film of space dust on the bubble
of energy that forms the skeleton of earth."
the edge of the cliff with both hands.
Be not frightened; have I not told you that if you wish to return you can do
so. Now hearken to me:
A short time ago you endeavored to convince me that we could not descend from
this precipice, and you are aware that your arguments were without foundation.
You drew upon your knowledge of earth materials, as you once learned them, and
realized at the time that you deluded yourself in doing so, for you know that
present conditions are not such as exist above ground. You are now influenced
by surroundings that are entirely different from those that govern the lives
of men upon the earth's surface. You are almost without weight. You have nearly
ceased to breathe, as long since you discovered, and soon I hope will agree
entirely to suspend that harsh and wearying movement. Your heart scarcely pulsates,
and if you go with me farther in this journey, will soon cease to beat."
up and turned to flee, but he grasped and held me firmly.
Would you murder me? Do you think I will mutely acquiesce, while you coolly
inform me of your inhuman intent, and gloat over the fact that my heart will
soon be as stone, and that I will be a corpse?" He attempted to break in,
but I proceeded in frenzy. " I will return to upper earth, to sunshine
and humanity. I will retreat while yet in health and strength, and although
I have in apparent willingness accompanied you to this point, learn now that
at all times I have been possessed of the means to defend myself from personal
violence." I drew from my pocket the bar of iron. " See, this I secreted
about my person in the fresh air of upper earth, the sweet sunshine of heaven,
fearing that I might fall into the hands of men with whom I must combat. Back,
back," I cried.
his hold of my person, and folded his arms upon his breast, then quietly faced
me, standing directly between myself and the passage we had trod, while I stood
on the brink, my back to that fearful chasm.
single push he could thrust me into the fathomless gulf below, and with the
realization of that fact, I felt that it was now a life and death struggle.
With every muscle strained to its utmost tension, with my soul on fire, my brain
frenzied, I drew back the bar of iron to smite the apparently defenseless being
in the forehead, but he moved not, and as I made the motion, he calmly remarked:
" Do you remember the history of Hiram Abiff?"
that held the weapon dropped as if stricken by paralysis, and a flood of recollections
concerning my lost home overcame me. I had raised my hand against a brother,
the only being of my kind who could aid me, or assist me either to advance or
recede. How could I, unaided, recross that glassy lake, and pass through the
grotesque forests of fungi and the labyrinth of crystal grottoes of the salt
bed? How could I find my way in the utter darkness that existed in the damp,
soppy, dripping upper caverns that I must retrace before I could hope to reach
the surface of the earth? " Forgive me," I sobbed, and sunk at his
feet. " Forgive me, my friend, my brother; I have been wild, mad, am crazed."
He made no reply, but pointed over my shoulder into the space beyond.
and in the direction indicated, saw, in amazement, floating in the distant space
a snow and ice-clad vessel in full sail. She was headed diagonally from us,
and was moving rapidly across the field of vision Every spar and sail was clearly
defined, and on her deck, and in the rigging I beheld sailors clad in winter
garments pursuing their various duties.
gazed, enraptured, she disappeared in the distance.
A phantom vessel," I murmured.
No," he replied; " the abstraction of a vessel sailing on the ocean
above us. Every object on earth is the second to an imprint in another place.
There is an apparent reproduction of matter in so-called vacancy, and on unseen
pages a recording of all events. As that ship sailed over the ocean above us,
she disturbed a current of energy, and it left its impress as an outline on
a certain zone beneath, which is parallel with that upon which we now chance
I can not comprehend," I muttered.
No," he answered; " to you it seems miraculous, as to all men an unexplained
phenomenon approaches the supernatural. All that is is natural. Have men not
been told in sacred writings that their every movement is being recorded in
the Book of Life, and do they not often doubt because they can not grasp the
problem? May not the greatest scientist be the most apt skeptic?"
Yes," I replied.
You have just seen," he said, " the record of an act on earth, and
in detail it is being printed elsewhere in the Book of Eternity. If you should
return to earth's surface you could not by stating these facts convince even
the persons on that same ship, of your sanity. You could not make them believe
that hundreds of miles beneath, both their vessel and its crew had been reproduced
in fac simile, could you?"
Were you to return to earth you could not convince men that you had existed
without breath, with a heart dead within you. If you should try to impress on
mankind the facts that you have learned in this journey, what would be the result?"
I would probably be considered mentally deranged; this I have before admitted."
Would it not be better then," he continued, " to go with me, by your
own free will, into the unknown future, which you need fear less than a return
to the scoffing multitude amid the storms of upper earth? You know that I have
not at any time deceived you. I have, as yet, only opened before you a part
of one rare page out of the bound-less book of nature; you have tasted of the
sweets of which few persons in the flesh have sipped, and I now promise you
a further store of knowledge that is rich beyond conception, if you wish to
continue your journey."
What if I decide to return ?"
I will retrace my footsteps and liberate you upon the surface of the earth,
as I have others, for few persons have courage enough to pass this spot."
Binding me to an oath of secrecy?"
No," he answered; " for if you relate these events men will consider
you a madman, and the more clearly you attempt to explain the facts that you
have witnessed, the less they will listen to you; such has been the fate of
It is, indeed, better for me to go with you," I said musingly ; to that
effect my mind is now made up, my course is clear, I am ready."
a motion so quick in conception, and rapid in execution that I was taken altogether
by surprise, with a grasp so powerful that I could not have repelled him, had
I expected the movement and tried to protect myself, the strange man, or being
beside me, threw his arms around my body. Then, as a part of the same movement,
he raised me bodily from the stone, and before I could realize the nature of
his intention, sprung from the edge of the cliff into the abyss below, carrying
me with him into its depths.
CIRCLE, OR THE END OF GRAVITATION.- IN THE
a whirling sensation, and an involuntary attempt at self-preservation, in which
I threw my arms wildly about with a vain endeavor to clutch some form of solid
body, which movement naturally ended by a tight clasping of my guide in my arms,
and locked together we continued to speed down into the seven thousand miles
of vacancy. Instinctively I murmured a prayer of supplication, and awaited the
approaching hereafter, which, as I believed, would quickly witness the extinction
of my unhappy life, the end of my material existence; but the moments ( if time
can be so divided when no sun marks the division ) multiplied without bodily
shock or physical pain of any description; I retained my consciousness.
Open your eyes," said my guide, " you have no cause for fear."
in an incredulous, dazed manner.
This unusual experience is sufficient to unnerve you, but you need have no fear,
for you are not in corporal danger, and can relax your grasp on my person."
obeyed him, misgivingly, and slowly loosened my hold, then gazed about to find
that we were in a sea of light, and that only light was visible, that form of
light which I have before said is an entity without source of radiation. In
one direction, however, a great gray cloud hung suspended and gloomy, dark in
the center, and shading therefrom in a circle, to disappear entirely at an angle
of about forty-five degrees.
This is the earth-shelf from which we sprung," said the guide; " it
will soon disappear."
I glanced this radiant exhalation, a peaceful, luminous envelope, this rich,
soft, beautiful white light appeared. The power of bodily motion I found still
a factor in my frame, obedient, as before, to my will. I could move my limbs
freely, and my intellect seemed to be intact. Finally I became impressed with
the idea that I must be at perfect rest, but if so what could be the nature
of the substance, or material, upon which I was resting so complacently? No;
this could not be true. Then I thought: " I have been instantly killed
by a painless shock, and my spirit is in heaven;" but my earthly body and
coarse, ragged garments were palpable realities; the sense of touch, sight,
and hearing surely were normal, and a consideration of these facts dispelled
my first conception.
Where are we now?"
Moving into earth's central space."
I comprehend that a rushing wind surrounds us which is not uncomfortable, but
otherwise I experience no unusual sensation, and can not realize but that I
am at rest."
The sensation, as of a blowing wind is in consequence of our rapid motion, and
results from the friction between our bodies and the quiescent, attenuated atmosphere
which exists even here, but this atmosphere becomes less and less in amount
until it will disappear altogether at a short distance below us. Soon we will
be in a perfect calm, and although moving rapidly, to all appearances will be
at absolute rest."
perhaps, my mind attempted, as it so often had done, to urge objections to his
statements, and at first it occurred to me that I did not experience the peculiar
sinking away sensation in the chest that I remembered follows, on earth, the
downward motion of a person falling from a great height, or moving rapidly in
a swing, and I questioned him on the absence of that phenomenon.
The explanation is simple," he said; " on the surface of the earth
a sudden motion, either upward or downward, disturbs the equilibrium of the
organs of respiration, and of the heart, and interferes with the circulation
of the blood. This produces a change in blood pressure within the brain, and
the ;' sinking ' sensation in the chest, or the dizziness of the head of a person
moving rapidly, or it may even result in unconsciousness, and complete suspension
of respiration, effects which sometimes follow rapid movements, as in a person
falling from a considerable height. Here circumstances are entirely different.
The heart is quiet, the lungs in a comatose condition, and the blood stagnant.
Mental sensations, therefore, that result from a disturbed condition of these
organs are wanting, and, although we are experiencing rapid motion, we are in
the full possession of our physical selves, and maintain our mental faculties
I interposed an objection:
If, as you say, we are really passing through an attenuated atmosphere with
increasing velocity, according to the law that governs falling bodies that are
acted upon by gravity which continually accelerates their motion, the friction
between ourselves and the air will ultimately become so intense as to wear away
Upon the contrary," said he, " this attenuated atmosphere is decreasing
in density more rapidly than our velocity increases, and before long it will
have altogether disappeared. You can perceive that the wind, as you call it,
is blowing less violently than formerly; soon it will entirely cease, as I have
already predicted, and at that period, regardless of our motion, we will appear
to be stationary."
over the final result of this strange experience I became again alarmed, for
accepting the facts to be as he stated, such motion would ultimately carry us
against the opposite crust of the earth, and without a doubt the shock would
end our existence. I inquired about this, to me, self-evident fact, and he replied:
Long before we reach the opposite crust of the earth, our motion will be arrested."
begun now to feel a self-confidence that is surprising as I recall that remarkable
position in connection with my narrow experience in true science, and can say
that instead of despondency, I really enjoyed an elated sensation, a curious
exhilaration, a feeling of delight, which I have no words to describe. Life
disturbances and mental worry seemed to have completely vanished, and it appeared
as if, with mental perception lucid, I were under the influence of a powerful
soporific; the cares of mortals had disappeared. After a while the wind ceased
to blow, as my guide had predicted, and with the suspension of that factor,
all that remained to remind me of earth phenomena had vanished. There was no
motion of material,
to roar or disturb the most perfect peace imaginable; I was so exquisitely happy
that I now actually feared some change might occur to interrupt that quiescent
existence. It was as a deep, sweet sleep in which, with faculties alive, unconsciousness
was self-conscious, peaceful, restful, blissful. I listlessly turned my eyes,
searching space in all directions- to meet vacancy everywhere, absolute vacancy.
I took from my pocket ( into which I had hastily thrust it ) the bar of iron,
and released it; the metal remained motionless beside me.
Traveling through this expanse with the rapidity of ourselves," said my
my eyes and endeavored to convince myself that I was dreaming- vainly, however.
I opened my eyes, and endeavored to convince myself that I was moving, equally
in vain. I became oblivious to everything save the delicious sensation of absolute
rest that enveloped and pervaded my being.
I am neither alive nor dead," I murmured; " neither asleep nor awake;
neither moving nor at rest, and neither standing, reclining, nor sitting. If
I exist I can not bring evidence to prove that fact, neither can I prove that
I am dead."
Can any man prove either of these premises?" said the guide.
I have never questioned the matter," said I; " it is a self-evident
Know then," said he, " that existence is a theory, and that man is
incapable of demonstrating that he has a being. All evidences of mortal life
are only as the phantasms of hallucination. As a moment in dreamland may span
a life of time, the dreamer altogether unconscious that it is a dream, so may
life itself be a shadow, the vision of a distempered fancy, the illusion of
a floating thought."
Are pain, pleasure, and living, imaginary creations?" I asked facetiously.
Is there a madman who does not imagine, as facts, what others agree upon as
hallucinations peculiar to himself? Is it not impossible to distinguish between
different gradations of illusions, and is it not, therefore, possible that even
self-existence is an illusion? What evidence can any man produce to prove that
his idea of life is not a madman's dream?"
Proceed," I said.
At another time, perhaps," he remarked; " we have reached the Inner
Circle, the Sphere of Rest, the line of gravity, and now our bodies have no
weight; at this point we begin to move with decreased speed, we will soon come
to a quiescent condition, a state of rest, and then start back on our rebound."
WITHOUT EARS.- " WHAT WILL BE THE END?"
of recollections came over me, a vivid remembrance of my earth-learned school
philosophy. " I rebel again," I said, " I deny your statements.
We can neither be moving, nor can we be out of the atmosphere. Fool that I have
been not to have sooner and better used my reasoning faculties, not to have
at once rejected your statements concerning the disappearance of the atmosphere."
I await your argument."
Am I not speaking? Is oth