“Who that has seen the performance of the fakirs of Southern India, can doubt the existence of theopoea in ancient times? An inveterate skeptic, though more than anxious to attribute every phenomenon to jugglery, still finds himself compelled to testify to facts; and facts that are to be witnessed daily, if one chooses.
“I dare not”, he says, speaking of Chibh-Chondor, a fakir of Jaffna-patnam, “describe all the exercises which he performed. There are things one dares not say even after having witnessed them, for fear of being charged with having been under an inexplicable hallucination! And yet, ten, nay, twenty times, I saw and saw again the fakir obtain similar results over inert matter. It was but child’s play for our ‘charmer’ to make the flame of candles which had, by his directions, been placed in the remotest corners of the apartment, pale and become extinguished at will; to cause the furniture to move, even the sofas on which we sat, the doors to open and shut repeatedly: and all this without quitting the mat upon which he sat on the floor.
Perhaps I will be told that I saw imperfectly. Possibly, but I will say that hundreds and thousands of persons have seen and do see what I have, and things more wonderful; has one of all these discovered the secret, or been able to duplicate these phenomena? And I can never repeat too often that all this does not occur on a stage, supplied with mechanical contrivances for the use of the operator. No, it is a beggar crouched, naked, on the floor, who thus sports with your intelligence, your senses, and all that which we have agreed among ourselves to style the immutable laws of nature, but which he appears to alter at will!
Does he change its course? ‘No, but he makes it act by using forces which are yet unknown to us’, says the believers. However that may be, I have found myself twenty times at similar performances in company with the most distinguished men of British India – professors, physicians, officers. Not one of them but thus summarized his impressions upon quitting the drawing-room. ‘This is something terrifying to human intelligence!’ Every time that I saw repeated by a fakir the experiment of reducing serpents to a cataleptic state, a condition in which these animals have all the rigidity of the dry branch of a tree, my thoughts have reverted to the biblical fable (?), which endows Moses and the priests of Pharaoh with the like power.””
H. P. Blavatsky