“”Another had a bow and about fifty steel-pointed arrows. He shot an arrow into the air, when lo! The arrow became fixed in space at a considerable height. Another and another arrow was sent off, each fixing itself in the shaft of the preceding, until all formed a chain of arrows in the air, excepting the last shot, which, striking the chain, brought the whole to the ground in detachments.
They set up two common tents facing each other, and about a bow-shot apart. These tents were critically examined by the spectators, as are the cabinets of the mediums, and pronounced empty. The tents were fastened to the ground all around. The lookers-on were then invited to choose what animals or birds they would have issue from these tents to engage in a battle.
Khaun-e-Jahaun incredulously asked to see a fight between ostriches. In a few minutes an ostrich came out from each tent rushed to combat with deadly earnestness, and from them the blood soon began to stream; but they were so nearly matched that neither could win the victory, and they were at last separated by the conjurers and conveyed within the tents. After this the varied demands of the spectators for birds and animals were exactly complied with, always with the same results.
A large cauldron was set, and into it a quantity of rice thrown, Without the sign of fire this rice soon began to boil, and out from the cauldron was taken more than one hundred platters of cooked rice, with a stewed fowl at the top of each. This trick is performed on a smaller scale by the most ordinary fakirs of the present day. But space fails to give opportunity for illustrating, from the records of the past, how the miserably tame performances – by comparison – of the mediums of the present day were pale and overshadowed by those of other days and more adroit peoples.
There is not a wonderful feature in any of the so-called phenomena or manifestations which was not, nay, which is not now more than duplicated by other skillful performers, whose connection with earth, and earth alone, is too evident to be doubted, even if the fact was not supported by their own testimony.”
It is an error to say that fakirs or jugglers will always claim that they are helped by spirits. In quasi-religious evocations, such as Jacolliot’s Kovindasami is described to have produced before this French gentlemen, when the parties desire to see real “spiritual” manifestations, they will resort to Pitris, their disembodied ancestors, and other spirits. These they evoke but through prayer.
As to all other phenomena, they are produced by the magician and fakir at will. Notwithstanding the state of apparent abjectness in which the latter lives, he is often an initiate of the temples, and is as well acquainted with occultism as his richer brethren.”
H. P. Blavatsky