isis unveiled: chapter xv (knowledge is power)

“New York, Feb. 7, 1877 (continued):

The hour was now late, and the company broke up; nor had I any time to interrogate Dr X, upon what we had thus witnessed. But I called on him with Mr. Gledstanes a few evenings afterwards. I found that he admitted the action of spirits, and was a Spiritualist, but also a great deal more, having studied long and deeply into the occult mysteries of the Orient. So I understood him to convey, while he seemed to prefer to refer me to his book, which he would probably publish in the course of the present year.

I observed a number of loose sheets on a table all covered with Oriental characters unknown to me – the work of Madame Y in trance, as he said, in answer to an inquiry. He told us that in the scene I had witnessed, she became, (i.e., as I presumed, was possessed by), a priestess of one of the ancient Egyptian temples, and that the origin of it was this:  A scientific friend of his had acquired in Egypt possession of the mummy of a priestess, and had given him some of the lined swathings with which the body was enveloped, and from the contact with this cloth of 2,000 or 3,000 years old, the devotion of her whole existence to this occult relation, and twenty years seclusion from the world, his medium, as sensitive Madame Y, had become what I had seen.

The language I had heard her speak was the sacred language of the temples in which she had been instructed, not so much by inspiration but very much as we now study languages, by dictation, written exercises, etc., being even chided and punished when she was dull or slow. He said that Jacolliot had heard her in a similar scene, and recognized sounds and words of the very oldest sacred language as preserved in the temples of India, anterior, if I remember right, to the epoch of the Sanscrit.

Respecting the snakes he had employed in the hasty operation of restoring her to life, or rather perhaps arresting the last consummation of the process of death, he said there was a strange mystery in their relation to the phenomena of life and death. I understood that they were indispensable. Silence and inaction on our part were also insisted upon throughout, and any attempt at questioning him at the time was peremptorily, almost angrily, suppressed.

We might come and talk afterward, or wait for the appearance of his book, but he alone seemed entitled to exercise the faculty of speech throughout all these performances – which he certainly did with great volubility, the while, with all the eloquence and precision of diction of a Frenchman, combining scientific culture with vividness of imagination.

I intended to return on some subsequent evening, but learned from Mr. Gledstones that he had given them up for the present, disgusted with his ill-success in getting his professional colleagues and men of science to come and witness what it was his object to show them.

This is about as much as I can recall of this strange, weird evening, excepting some uninteresting details. I have given you the name and address of Dr. X confidentially, because he would seem to have gone more or less far on the same path as you pursue, in the studies of your Theosophical Society. Beyond that I feel bound to keep it private, not having his authority to use it in any way which might lead to publicity.

Very respectfully,
Your friend and obedient servant,

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