isis unveiled: xiii (alchemy)

“Such feats as the above are nothing in comparison to what is done by professed jugglers; “feats”, remarks the above quoted author, “which might be regarded as simply inventions if told by one author only, but which seem to deserve prominent notice from being recounted by a series of authors, certainly independent of one another, and writing at long intervals of time and place.

Our first witness is Ibn Batuta, and it will be necessary to quote him as well as the others in full, in order to show how closely their evidence tallies. The Arab traveler was present at a great entertainment at the court of the Viceroy of Khansa. ‘That same night a juggler, who was one of the Khan’s slaves, made his appearance, and the Amir said to him, “Come and show us some of your marvels.”

Upon this he took a wooden ball, with several holes in it, through which long thongs were passed, and laying hold of one of these, slung it into the air. It went so high that we lost sight of it altogether. ….(We were in the middle of the palace-court.)

There now remained only a little of the end of a thong in the conjurer’s hand, and he desired one of the boys who assisted him to lay hold of it and mount. He did so, climbing by the thong, and we lost sight of him also! The conjurer then called to him three times, but, getting no answer, he snatched up a knife as if in a great rage, laid hold of the thong, and disappeared also!

Bye and bye, he threw down one of the boy’s hands, then a foot, then the other hand, and then the other foot, then the trunk, and last of all the head! Then he came down himself, puffing and panting, and with his clothes all bloody, kissed the ground before the Amir, and said something to him in Chinese. The Amir gave some order in reply, and our friend then took the lad’s limbs, laid them together in their places, and give a kick, when, presto, there was the boy, who got up and stood before us!

All this astonished me beyond measure, and I had an attack of palpitation like that which overcame me once before in the presence of the Sultan of India, when he showed me something of the same kind. They gave me a cordial, however, which cured the attack. The Kaji Afkharuddin was next to me, and quoth he, “Wallah! ‘Tis my opinion there has been neither going up nor coming down, neither marring, nor mending! ‘Tis all hocus pocus!”‘”

And who doubts but that it is a “hocus-pocus”, an illusion, or Maya, as the Hindus express it? But when such an illusion can be forced on, say, ten thousand people at the same time, as we have seen it performed during a public festival, surely the means by which such an astounding hallucination can be produced merits the attention of science!

When by such magic a man who stands before you, in a room, the doors of which you have closed and of which the keys are in your hand, suddenly disappears, vanishes like a flash of light, and you see him nowhere but hear his voice from different parts of the room addressing you and laughing at your perplexity, surely such an art is not unworthy either of Mr. Huxley or Dr. Carpenter.

Is it not quite as well worth spending time over, as the lesser mystery, why barnyard cocks crow at midnight?”

H. P. Blavatsky

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