“If the above is looked upon as an anecdote unworthy of credence, we will inquire of the reader what we must think of some modern “mediums”, who perform the same while entranced. The testimony of several highly respectable and trustworthy witnesses, such as Lord Adair and Mr. S. C. Hall, is unimpeachable. “Spirits”, the spiritualists will argue.
Perhaps so, in the case of American and English fire-proof mediums; but not so in Tibet and India. In the West a “sensitive” has to be entranced before being rendered invulnerable by the presiding “guides”, and we defy any “medium”, in his or her normal physical state to bury the arms to the elbows in glowing coals.
But in the East, whether the performer be a holy lama or a mercenary sorcerer (the latter class being generally termed “jugglers”), he needs no preparation or abnormal state to be able to handle fire, red-hot pieces of iron, or metal lead. We have seen in Southern India these “jugglers” keep their hands in a furnace of burning coals until the latter were reduced to cinders.
During the religious ceremony of Siva-Ratri, or the vigil-night of Siva, when the people spend whole nights in watching and praying, some of the Sivaites called in a Tamil juggler, who produced the most wonderful phenomena by simply summoning to his help a spirit whom they call Kutti-Sattan – the little demon.
But, far from allowing people to think he was guided or “controlled” by this gnome – for it was a gnome, if it was anything – the man, while crouching over his fiery pit, proudly rebuked a Catholic missionary, who took his opportunity to inform the bystanders that the miserable sinner “had sold himself to Satan.”
Without removing his hands and arms from the burning coals within which he was coolly refreshing them, the Tamil only turned his head and gave one arrogant look at the flushed missionary. “My father and my father’s father”, he said, “had this ‘little one’ at their command. For two centuries the Kutti is a faithful servant in our home, and now, Sir, you would make people believe that he is my master! But they know better.” After this, he quietly withdrew his hands from the fire, and proceeded with other performances.”
H. P. Blavatsky