“The simple-minded natives, knowing nothing but real magic, which they had inherited from their ancestors, and which consists in each case of some one thing that they can do without knowing why or how, and seeing Houdin, as they thought, accomplish the same results in a more impressive manner, fancied that he was a greater magician than themselves. Many travelers, the writer included, have witnessed instances of this invulnerability where deception was impossible.
A few years ago, there lived in an African Village, an Abyssinian who passed for a sorcerer. Upon one occasion a party of Europeans, going to Soudan, amused themselves for an hour or two in firing at him with their own pistols and muskets, a privilege which he gave them for a trifling fee.
As many as five shots were fired simultaneously, by a Frenchman named Langlois, and the muzzles of the pieces were not above two yards distant from the sorcerer’s breast. In each case, simultaneously with the flash, the bullet would appear just beyond the muzzle, quivering in the air, and then, after describing a short parabola, fall harmlessly to the ground.
A German of the party , who was going in search of ostrich feathers, offered the magician a five-franc piece if he would allow him to fire his gun with the muzzle touching his body. The man at first refused; but, finally, after appearing to hold conversation with somebody inside the ground, consented.
The experimenter carefully loaded, and pressing the muzzle of the weapon against the sorcerer’s body, after a moment’s hesitation, fired…the barrel burst into fragments as far down as the stock, and the man walked off unhurt.
This quality of invulnerability can be imparted to persons both by living adepts and by spirits.”
H. P. Blavatsky