“Every animal is more or less endowed with the faculty of perceiving, if not spirits, at least something which remains for the time being invisible to common men, and can only be discerned by a clairvoyant. We have made hundreds of experiments with cats, dogs, monkeys of various kinds, and, once, with a tame tiger.
A round black mirror, known as the “magic crystal” was strongly mesmerized by a native Hindu gentleman, formerly an inhabitant of Dindigul, and now residing in a more secluded spot, among the mountains known as the Western Ghauts. He had tamed a young cub, brought to him from the Malabar coast, in which part of India the tigers are proverbially ferocious; and it is with this interesting animal that we made our experiments.
Like that ancient Marsi and Psylli, the renowned serpent-charmers, this gentleman claimed to be possessed of the mysterious power of taming any kind of animal. The tiger was reduced to a chronic mental numbness, so to say; he had become as inoffensive and harmless as a dog. Children could tease and pull him by the ears, and he would only shake himself and howl like a dog.
But whenever forced to look into the “magic mirror”, the poor animal was instantly excited to a sort of frenzy. His eyes became full of a human terror; howling in despair, unable to turn away from the mirror to which his gaze seemed riveted as by a magnetic spell, he would writhe and tremble till he convulsed with fear at some vision which to us remained unknown.
He would then lie down, feebly groaning but still gazing in the glass. When it was taken away from him, the animal would lie panting and seemingly prostrated for about two hours. What did he see? What spirit-picture from his own invisible, animal-world, could produce such a terrific effect on the wild and naturally ferocious and daring beast? Who can tell? Perhaps he who produced the scene.
The same effect on animals was observed during spiritual seances with some holy mendicants; the same when a Syrian, half-heathen and half-Christian, from Kunankulam (Cochin State), a reputed sorcerer, who was invited to join us for the sake of experimenting.
We were nine persons in all – seven men and two women, one of the latter a native. Besides us, there were in the room, the young tiger, intensely occupied on a bone; a wanderoo, or lion-monkey, which, with its black coat and snow-white goatee and whiskers, and cunning, sparkling eyes, looked the personification of mischief; and a beautiful golden oriole, quietly cleaning its radiant-colored tail on a perch, placed near a large windows of the veranda.”
H. P. Blavatsky