Devil-Worship in France/Chapter VII
THE DEVIL AND THE DOCTOR
§ 1. Le Diable au XIXe Siècle
Although the New and Reformed Palladium is said to have been founded so far back as the year 1870, it will be seen that at the close of the year 1891 very little had become public concerning it. It is difficult to conceive that an institution diffused so widely should have remained so profound a secret, when the many enemies of the Fraternity, who in their way are sleepless, would have seized eagerly upon the slightest hint of a directing centre of Masonry. Moreover, an association which initiates ladies is perhaps the last which one would expect to be unknown, for while the essential matter of a secret is undeniably safe with women, it is on condition that they are known to possess it. When the first hint was provided in 1891, Leo Taxil certainly lost no time, and Mgr. Meurin must have written his large treatise almost at fever speed. On the 20th of November in the same year, another witness came forward in the person of Dr Bataille, who speedily made it apparent that he was in a position to reveal everything about Universal Masonry and diabolism in connection therewith, because, unlike those who had preceded him, he possessed first-hand knowledge. If he had not himself beheld Lucifer in all his lurid glory, he had at least seen his messengers; he was an initiate of most secret societies which remotely or approximately are supposed to connect with Masonry; he had visited Charleston; he had examined the genuine Baphomet and the skull of Jacques de Molay; he was personally acquainted with Albert Pike, Phileas Walder, and Gallatin Mackey; he was, moreover, an initiate of the Palladium. He was evidently the missing witness who could unveil the whole mystery, and it would be difficult to escape from his conclusions. Finally, he was not a person who had come out of Masonry by a suspicious and sudden conversion; believing it to be evil, he had entered it with the intention of exposing it, had spent ten years in his researches, and now stepped forward with his results. The office of a spy is not usually clean or wholesome, but occasionally such services are valuable, and in some cases there may be certain ends which justify the use of means which would in other cases be questionable, so that until we can prove the contrary, it will be reasonable to accept the solemn declaration of this witness that he acted with a good intention, and that what he did was in the interests of the church and the world.
But, unfortunately, Dr Bataille has seen fit to publish his testimony in precisely that form which was most calculated to challenge the motive; it is a perfervid narrative issued in penny numbers with absurd illustrations of a highly sensational type; in a word, Le Diable au XIXe Siècle, which is the title given to his memoirs by the present witness, connects in manner and appearance with that class of literature which is known as the "penny dreadful." Some years ago the slums of London and Paris were inundated with romances published in this fashion and continued so long as they maintained a remunerative circulation; in many cases, they ended abruptly, in others they extended, like Le Diable au XIXe Siècle to hundreds of issues; they possess special characteristics which are known to experts in the by-ways of periodical literature, and all these are to be found in the narrative of Dr Bataille. No one in England would dream of publishing in this form a work which was to be taken seriously, nor am I acquainted with any precedent for it abroad. It is therefore a discreditable and unfortunate choice, but seeing that a section of the clerical press in France has agreed to pass over this point, and to accept Dr Bataille as a credible witness, and seeing also that he has been followed by other writers who must be taken into account and stand or fall with him, we must not regard his method as an excuse for refusing to hear him. Apart from him and his adherents there is indeed no first-hand evidence for Palladian Masonry. The present chapter will therefore contain a summary of what was seen and heard by Dr Bataille in the course of his researches.
§ 2. Why Signor Carbuccia was Damned.
In the year 1880, Dr Hacks, who makes, I believe, no attempt to conceal himself under the vesture of Dr Bataille, was a ship’s surgeon on board the steam-boat Anadyr, belonging to the Compagnie des Messageries Maritimes, and then returning from China with passengers and merchandise. On a certain day in the June of the year mentioned, he was to the fore at his post of duty—that is to say, he was extended idly over the extreme length of a comfortable deck-chair, and the hotel flottant was anchored at Point-de-Galle, a port at the southern extremity of Ceylon, and one of the reputed regions of the terrestrial paradise. While the doctor, like a good Catholic, put a polish on the tropical moment by a little gloss of speculation over the mystery of Eden, some passengers presently came on board for the homeward voyage, and among them was Gaëtano Carbuccia, an Italian, who was originally a silk-merchant, but owing to Japanese competition, had been forced to change his métier, and was now a dealer in curiosities. His numerous commercial voyages had made them well acquainted with each other, but on the present occasion Carbuccia presented an appearance which alarmed his friend; a gaillard grand et solide had been metamorphosed suddenly into an emaciated and feeble old man. There was a mystery somewhere, and the ship’s doctor was destined to diagnose its character. After wearing for a certain period the aspect of a man who has something to tell, and cannot summons courage to tell it—a position which is common in novels—the Italian at length unbosomed himself, beginning dramatically enough by a burst of tears, and the terrific information that he was damned. But the Carbuccia of old was a riotous, joyful, foul-tongued, pleasure-loving atheist, a typical commercial traveller, with a strain of Alsatia and the mountain-brigand. How came this red-tied scoffer so far on the road of religion as to be damned? Some foolish fancy had made the ribald Gaëtano turn a Mason. When one of his boon companions had suggested the evil course, he had refused blankly, apparently because he was asked, rather than because it was evil; but he had scarcely regained his home in Naples than he became irreparably initiated. The ceremony was accomplished in a street of that city by a certain Giambattista Pessina, who was a Most Illustrious Sovereign Grand Commander, Past Grand Master, and Grand Hierophant of the Antique and Oriental Rite of Memphis and Misraim, who, for some reason which escapes analysis, recognised Carbuccia as a person who deserved to be acquainted with the whole physiology and anatomy of Masonry. It would cost 200 francs to enter the 33rd grade of the sublime mystery. Carbuccia closed with this offer, and was initiated there and then across the table, becoming a Grand Commander of the Temple, and was affiliated, for a further subscription of 15 francs annually, to the Areopagite of Naples, receiving the passwords regularly.
Impelled by an enthusiasm for which he himself was unable to account, he now lent a ready ear to all dispensers of degrees; Memphis initiates of Manchester allured him into Kabbalistic rites; he fell among occult Masons like the Samaritan among thieves; he became a Sublime Hermetic Philosopher; overwhelmed with solicitations, he fraternised with the Brethren of the New Reformed Palladium, and optimated with the Society of Re-Theurgists, from whom he ultimately received the veritable initiation of the Magi. Everywhere lodges opened to him, everywhere mysteries unveiled; everywhere in the higher grades he found spiritism, magic, evocation; his atheism became impossible, and his conscience troubled.
Ultimately his business led him to revisit Calcutta, where his last unheard-of experience had overwhelmed his whole being, just eight days previously to his encounter with Doctor Bataille. He had found the Palladists of that city in a flutter of feverish excitement because they had succeeded in obtaining from China the skulls of three martyred missionaries. These treasures were indispensable to the successful operation of a new magical rite composed by the Supreme Pontiff of Universal Freemasonry and Vicegerent of Lucifer, General Albert Pike. A séance was about to be held; Brother George Shekleton of immortal memory, the hero who had obtained the skulls, was present with those trophies; and the petrified quondam atheist took part, not because he wished to remain, but because he did not dare to go. The proceedings began, the skulls were placed on the tables; Adonaïi and his Christ were cursed impressively, Lucifer as solemnly blessed and invoked at the altar of Baphomet. Nothing could be possibly more successful—result, shocks of earthquake, threatened immediate demolishment of the whole place, confident expectation of being entombed alive, terrific burst of thunder, a brilliant light, an impressive silence of some seconds, and then the sudden manifestation of a being in human form seated in the chair of the Grand Master. It was an instantaneous apparition of absolute bodily substance, which carried its own warrant of complete bona fides. Everyone fell on their knees; everyone was invited to rise; everyone rose accordingly; and Carbuccia found that he had to do with a male personage not exceeding eight and thirty years, naked as a drawn sword, with a faint flush of Infernus suffusing his skin, a species of light inherent which illuminated the darkness of the salon—in a word, a beardless Apollo, tall, distinguished, infinitely melancholy, and yet with a nervous smile playing at the corners of his mouth, the apparition of Aut Diabolus aut Nihil divested of evening dress. This Unashamed Nakedness, who was accepted as the manifestation of Lucifer, discoursed pleasantly to his children, electing to use excellent English, and foretold his ultimate victory over his eternal enemy; he assured them of continued protection, alluded in passing to the innumerable hosts which surrounded him in his eternal domain, and incited his hearers to work without ceasing for the emancipation of humanity from superstition.
The discourse ended, he quitted the dais, approached the Grand Master, and eye to eye fixed him in deep silence. After a pause he passed on, without committing himself to any definite observation; yet there seems to have been a meaning in the ceremony, for he successively repeated it in the case of every dignitary congregated at the eastern side, and finally of the ordinary members. When it came to the turn of Carbuccia, he would have given ten years of his life to have been at the Galleys rather than Calcutta, but he contrived to pull through, without, however, creating a favourable impression, for adversarius noster diabolus passed on with contracted brow, and when the disconcerting inquiry was over, returned to the centre of the circle, gave a final glance around, approached Shekleton, and civilly requested him to shake hands. The importer of missionary skulls complied with a horrible yell; there was an electric shock, sudden darkness, and general coup-de-théâtre. When the torches were rekindled, the apparition had vanished, Shekleton was discovered to be dead, and the initiates crowding round him, sang: “Glory immortal to Shekleton! He has been chosen by our omnipotent God.” It was too much for the galliard merchant, and he swooned.
Now, this is why Signor Carbuccia concluded that he was damned, which appears to have been precipitate. He has contrived, by the good offices of his lay confessor, to square matters with the hierarchy of Adonaï, who belongs to the Latin persuasion; he has changed his name, adopted a third profession, and is so safe in retreat that his friends are as unlikely to find him as are the enemies who thirst for his blood.
Doctor Bataille, faithful to his rôle of good Catholic, perceived at once that the Merchant’s Story of these new Arabian Nights was characterised by extreme frankness, was devoid of a sinister motive, and was not the narrative of a maniac. A physician, he adds sententiously, is not to be deceived. He determined thereupon that he himself would descend into the abyss, taking with him a mental reservation in all he said and did as a kind of discharge in full. The Church and humanity required it. Behold him then presently at Naples, making acquaintance with Signor Pessina, and outdoing Carbuccia by expending 500 francs in the purchase of the 90th Misraïm grade, thus becoming a Sovereign Grand Master for life! “I will be the exploiter and not the accomplice of modern Satanism,” said the pious Doctor Bataille.
Fortified with the purchase of his Memphis sovereignty, and the possession of various signs and passwords communicated by Carbuccia, which, by some interposition of Providence, must be assumed to have remained unchanged in the intervening period, Dr Bataille entered on his adventurous mission, bedewed with many tears, and sanctified by many blessings of an old spiritual adviser, who, needless to say, was at first hostile to the enterprise, and was afterwards as inevitably disarmed by the eloquence and enthusiasm of his disciple. Having regard to the fact that Masonry and Diabolism abound everywhere, according to the hypothesis, it obviously mattered little at what point he began the prosecution of his design; all roads lead to Rome, and the statement is equally true of the Rome of Masonry and the Vatican of Lucifer. As a fact, he started where Carbuccia may be said to have left off, namely, at Point-de-Galle in Southern Ceylon. There he determined to acquaint himself with Cingalese Kabbalism, a department of transcendental philosophy, about as likely to be met with in that reputed region of the Terrestrial Paradise as a cultus from the great south sea in the back parts of Notting Hill. Signor Pessina, however, had provided him with the address of a society which operated something that the doctor agrees to term Kabbalah, after the same manner that he misnames most subjects. But he was not destined to Kabbalize.
Repairing to the principal hotel, he there witnessed, through one of those fortuitous occurrences which are sometimes the mask of fate, a sufficiently indifferent performance by native jugglers, the chief of whom was exceedingly lean and so dirty as to suggest that he was remote from godliness. During the course of the conjuring this personage held the doctor by a certain meaning glance of his glittering eye, and when all was over the latter had a private information that Sata desired to speak with him. The naive mind of the doctor regarded the name as significant in view of his mission; Sata was assuredly a Satanist. He consented incontinently, and was greeted by the juggler with certain mysterious signs which showed that he was a Luciferian of the sect of Carbuccia, though, by what device of the devil he divined the doctor’s adeptship, the devil and not the doctor could alone explain at the moment.
A miscellaneous language is apparently spoken by the Cingalese jugglers—Tamil, including a little bad French, not less convenient than needful in the present case. It was made clear by some brief explanations that the medical services of Dr Bataille were solicited at the death-bed of a personage named Mahmah, for which purpose the two entered a hired conveyance, while the rank and file of the jugglers followed at a brisk trot. In this manner they traversed a frightful desert, plunged into a forest of brushwood, finally forded a stream, and after two hours arrived at an open clearing, in the centre of which was a hut. An ape occupied the threshold, a vampire bat hung from a convenient beam, a cobra was curled underneath, and a black cat welcomed them with arched back. The ape spoke Tamil freely and then marched off, reflecting upon which circumstance, the doctor thought that it was quite the strangest thing in the world.
The hut was the covering of a species of well, down which, with some quakings for the safety of limbs and body, our adventurer was persuaded to follow his guides, and they reached, at the end of a long flight of steps, an immense mortuary chamber. There, on a bed of cocoa-nut fibre, he found his patient, from whose mummified and hideous appearance he at once concluded that she was entirely given over to Satan and had long been a lost soul. As spiritually, so also physically, she was past all human aid; indeed she seemed dead already, and he gave his medical opinion to that effect. The countenance of this opinion was apparently the warrant required for the proceedings which immediately followed, and it is difficult to understand why fakirs in league with Satan—for such we are told they were—and possessed, no doubt, both of ordinary native and occult methods of diagnosis, could not have discovered this for themselves, more especially as the lady, who seems to have been a pythoness by profession, and commerced with a familiar spirit, had already reached the ripe age of 152 years.
To shorten a long and peculiarly noisome story, the astounded doctor ultimately beheld the dying woman revive suddenly, and crawl to the end of the chamber, where there was an elaborate altar surmounted by a figure of Baphomet; the fakirs crowded round her; the ape, the bat, the snake, the cat, all appeared on the scene; a brilliant illumination was produced by means of eleven lamps suspended from the ceiling; the woman drew herself into an erect position; the fakirs piled resinous branches round her; amidst invocations, mysterious chants, and yells, she permitted herself to be burned to death, her body slowly blackening, her face turning scarlet in the flames, her eyes starting from her head, and so she passed into ashes.
Why was the doctor privileged to be present at these proceedings? Because an agent of the fakirs had previously investigated his portmanteau on the hotel premises, and had discovered his Memphis insignia, which they returned to him in the mortuary chamber. As to the Baphomet, it is very fully described, and is identified with similar images of Masonic lodges in America, India, Paris, Rome, Shanghai, and Monte Video. The doctor says that it is the god of the occultists. The venerable Sata quoted Latin as intelligently as the ape spoke Tamil; he overwhelmed his benefactor with acknowledgments, and instead of a fee presented him with a winged lingam, by means of which he would be received among all worshippers of Lucifer in India, China,—in fact, as Sata said, partout, partout.So did Dr Bataille make his first acquaintance with practical occultism, and these things being done, he returned to his hotel and departed thankfully to bed.
Who would possess a lingam which was an Open Sesame to devildom and not make use thereof? By effecting an exchange with another ship’s doctor, the exploiter of Lucifer found himself presently at Pondicherry, with three months of comparative freedom before him to explore the mysteries of the oriental peninsula. Need I say that he had scarcely landed at the French seaboard town when he at once made acquaintance with the very person who of all others was most suitable to his scheme? This was Ramassamiponnotamly-palé-dobachi—quite a short name, he assures us, for the natives of this part. All Pondicherry more or less abounded in lingams and Lucifer, but as he carried his right hand clenched, the doctor at once suspected the half-naked Ramassam to be more than commonly devoted to the persuasion of perdition; nor was he mistaken, for the latter promptly inquired: “What is your age?” “Eleven years,” said the doctor. “Whence do you come?” “From the eternal flame.” “Whither do you go?” “To the flame eternal.” And to their mutual satisfaction they agreed the sacred name of Baal-Zeboub, the doctor producing his winged lingam, at which the other fell down in the open streets and adored him. The exhibition of the patent of a Sovereign Grand Master ad Vitam of the Rite of Memphis inspired further respect; it was evidently a document with which Ramassam had long been familiar; and he began to talk glibly of tyling. Like the horrors of Udolpho, the explanation was of course very simple: Mr John Campbell, an American, had instituted a lodge of the York Rite at Pondicherry which, in the most natural manner, admitted the Luciferian Fakirs as visitors, the Luciferian Fakirs admitted the members of the York Rite to their conventions, and they all bedevilled one another.It would be idle to suppose that Fr∴ Campbell was not at Pondicherry on business when the doctor chanced to arrive, and in the course of the afternoon the latter was taken by Ramassam to a house of ordinary appearance, into which they were admitted by another Indian, who, of course, like the guide, spoke good French. Through the greenery of a garden, the gloom of a well, and the entanglement of certain stairways, they entered a great dismantled temple devoted to the service of Brahma, under the unimpressive diminutive of Lucif. The infernal sanctuary had a statue of Baphomet, identical with that in Ceylon, and the ill-ventilated place reeked with horrible putrescence. Its noisome condition was mainly owing to the presence of various fakirs, who, though still alive, were in advanced stages of putrefaction. Most people are supposed to go easily and pleasantly to the devil, but these elected to do so by way of a charnel-house asceticism, and an elaborate system of self-torture. Some were suspended from the ceiling by a rope tied to their arms, some embedded in plaster, some stiffened in a circle, some permanently distorted into the shape of the letter S; some were head downwards, some in a cruciform position. It was really quite monstrous, says the doctor, but a native grand master explained, that they had postured for years in this manner, and one of them for a quarter of a century.
Fr∴ John Campbell proceeded to harangue the assembly in ourdou-zaban, but the doctor comprehended completely, and reports the substance of his speech, which was violently anti-Catholic in its nature, and especially directed against missionaries. This finished, they proceeded to the evocation of Baal-Zeboub, at first by the Conjuration of the Four, but no fiend appeared. The operation was repeated ineffectually a second time, and John Campbell determined upon the Grand Rite, which began by each person spinning on his own axis, and in this manner circumambulating the temple in procession. Whenever they passed an embedded fakir, they obtained an incantation from his lips, but still Baal-Zeboub failed. Thereupon the native Grand Master suggested that the evocation should be performed by the holiest of all the fakirs, who was produced from a cupboard more fetid than the temple itself, and proved to be in the following condition:—(a) Face eaten by rats; (b) one bleeding eye hanging down by his mouth; (c) legs covered with gangrene, ulcers, and rottenness; (d) expression peaceful and happy.
blood spirted forth upon the assistants, and the Grand Master sprinkled the Baphomet. A final howl of invocation resulted in complete failure, whereupon it was decided that Baal-Zeboub had business elsewhere. The doctor departed from the ceremony, fraternising with Campbell, and kept his bed for eight-and-forty hours.Entreated to call on Baal-Zeboub, each time he opened his mouth his eye fell into it; however, he continued the invocation, but no Baal-Zeboub manifested. A tripod of burning coals was next obtained, and a woman, summoned for this purpose, plunged her arm into the flames, inhaling with great delight the odour of her roasting flesh. Result, nil. Then a white goat was produced, placed upon the altar of Baphomet, set alight, hideously tortured, cut open, and its entrails torn out by the native Grand Master, who spread them on the steps, uttering abominable blasphemies against Adonai. This having also failed, great stones were raised from the floor, a nameless stench ascended, and a large consignment of living fakirs, eaten to the bone by worms and falling to pieces in every direction, were dragged out from among a number of skeletons, while serpents, giant spiders, and toads swarmed from all parts. The Grand Master seized one of the fakirs and cut his throat upon the altar, chanting the satanic liturgy amidst imprecations, curses, a chaos of voices, and the last agonies of the goat. The
It was in the month of October 1880 that, in the course of his enterprise, Doctor Bataille reached Calcutta. Freemasonry, he informs us, invariably affects the horrible, and as he invests Calcutta with the sombre hues of living death and universal putrefaction, it naturally follows that the Indian city is one of the four great directing centres of Universal Freemasonry. Everywhere the pious Doctor discovered the hand of Lucifer; everywhere he beheld the consequences of superstition and Satanism; cataclysms, floods, tornados, typhoons, plagues, cholera, representing the normal state of health and habit, and the consequences of universal persuasion in favour of the fiend. A corpse, he testifies, is met with at every step, the smoke of burning widows ascends to heaven, and the plain of Dappah, in immediate contiguity to the city, is a vast charnel-house where innumerable multitudes of dead bodies are flung naked to the vultures. The English Mason will at once recognise that of all places in the world Calcutta is most suited to be a Mecca of the Fraternity and the capital of English India. The Kadosch of the Scotch Rite, the Sublime Chosen Master of the Royal Arch, the Commander of the White and Black Eagle of the rite of Herodom, the perfectly initiated Grand Inspector of the Scotch Philosophical Rite, the Elect Brother of the Johannite Rite of Zinnendorf, and the Brother of the Red Cross of Swedenborg, a thousand other dignitaries of a thousand illuminations, gather in the Grand Masonic Temple, and, as the Doctor gravely tells us, are employed in cursing Catholicity. By a special conjunction of the planets, the Doctor, on reaching head-quarters, had immediate intelligence that the great Phileas Walder had himself recently arrived on a secret mission from Charleston. There also he made acquaintance with another luminary of devildom, by name Hobbs, who presided at the important proceedings which resulted in the damnation of Carbuccia. Brother Hobbs, possessed of much experience in Lucifer, gave many assurances concerning the incessant apparitions of The Master of Evil to all worthy persons. Now the Doctor, by virtue of his Misraim patent, was as much a priest for ever according to the Melchisedeck of Masonry, as if he had been born without father or mother, but at the moment he had not received the perfect initiation of the Palladium; technically, therefore, he had no right to participate in the Supreme Mysteries. However, it is needless to say that he had arrived in the nick of time to be present at a ceremony which takes place only once in ten years, provided that he was willing to undergo the trifle of a preliminary ordeal.
On the same evening a select company of initiates proceeded in hired carriages through the desolation of Dappah, under the convoy of initiated coachmen, for the operation of a great satanic solemnity. At an easy distance from the city is the Sheol of the native Indians, and hard by the latter place there is a mountain 500 feet high and 2000 long, on the summit of which seven temples are erected, communicating one with another by subterranean passages in the rock. The total absence of pagodas make it evident that these temples are devoted to the worship of Satan; they form a gigantic triangle superposed on the vast plateau, at the base of which the party descended from their conveyances, and were met by a native with an accommodating knowledge of French. Upon exchanging the Sign of Lucifer he conducted them to a hole in the rock, which gave upon a narrow passage guarded by a line of Sikhs with drawn swords, prepared to massacre anybody, and leading to the vestibule of the first temple, which was filled with a miscellaneous concourse of Adepts, from officers and tea-merchants even to tanners and dentists. In the first temple, which was provided with the inevitable statue of Baphomet, but was withal bare and meagrely illuminated, the doctor was destined to pass through his promised ordeal, for which he was stripped to the skin, placed in the centre of the assembly, and at a given signal one thousand odd venomous cobra de capellos were produced from holes in the wall and encouraged to fold him in their embraces, while the music of flute-playing fakirs alone intervened to prevent his instant death. He passed through this trying encounter with a valour which amazed himself, persisted in prolonging the ceremony, and otherwise proved himself a man of such extraordinary metal that he earned universal respect and received the most flattering testimonials even from Phileas Walder. That the serpents were undoubtedly venomous was afterwards proved upon the person of one of the natives present, who, delivered to their fury, fell, covered with apparently mortal bites, but was subsequently treated by native remedies and carried before the altar of Baphomet to be cured by the special intervention of the good God Lucifer. This ceremony was accomplished by the intervention of a lovely Indian Vestal, by the prayers of the Grand Master, a silk-mercer by commercial persuasion, and by the mock baptism of a serpent, after which the sufferer rose to his feet and the inconvenient venom spurted of itself out of his wounds. From the Sanctuary of the Serpents the company then proceeded, with becoming recollection, into the second temple or Sanctuary of the Phoenix.
The second temple was brilliantly illuminated and ablaze with millions of precious stones wrested by the wicked English from innumerable conquered Rajahs; it had garlands of diamonds, festoons of rubies, vast images of solid silver, and a gigantic Phoenix in red gold more solid than the silver. There was an altar beneath the Phoenix, and a male and female ape were composed at the altar steps, while the Grand Master proceeded to the celebration of a black mass, which was followed by an amazing marriage of the two engaging animals, and the sacrifice of a lamb brought alive into the temple, bleating piteously, with nails driven through its feet. This was intended to symbolize an illuminated reprobation of celibacy and an approval of the married state, or its less expensive substitutes.
The third temple was consecrated to the Mother of fallen women, who, in memory of the adventure of the apple, has a place in the calendar of Lucifer; the proceedings consisted of a dialogue between the Grand Master and the Vestal which the becoming modesty of the doctor prevents him from describing even in the Latin tongue.
The fourth temple was a Rosicrucian Sanctuary, having an open sepulchre, from which blue flames continually emanated; there was a platform in the midst of the temple designed for the accommodation of more Indian Vestals, one of whom it was proposed should evaporate into thin air, after which a Fakir would be transformed before the whole company into a living mummy and be interred for a space of three years. These were among the events of the evening, and were accomplished with great success without much disturbing the mental equilibrium of the doctor, though he confessed to a certain impression when the Fakir introduced his performance by suspension in mid-air.
The fifth temple was consecrated to the Pelican and was used by an English officer to deliver a short discourse on Masonic charity, which the doctor regarded as vulnerable from a moral point of view and suggestive of easy virtue.
The sixth temple was that of the Future and was devoted to divinations, the oracles being given by a Vestal in a hypnotic condition, seated over a burning brazier. The doctor was accommodated with a test, but another inquirer who had the temerity to be curious as to what was being done in the Vatican received a severe rebuff; in vain did the spirit of the Clairvoyante strive to penetrate the “draughty and malarious” palace of the Roman Pontiff, and Phileas Walder, mortified and maddened, began to curse and to swear like the first Pope. The experiment disillusionized the assembly and they thoughtfully repaired to the seventh temple, which, being sacred to Fire, was equipped with a vast central furnace surmounted by a chimney and containing a gigantic figure of Baphomet; in spite of the intolerable heat pervading the entire chamber this idol contrived to preserve its outlines and to glow without pulverising. A ceremony of an impressive nature occurred in this apartment; a wild cat, which strayed in through an open window, was regarded as the appearance of a soul in transmigration, and, in spite of its piteous protests, was passed through the fire to Baal.
And now the crowning function, the Magnum Opus of the mystery, must take place in the Sheol of Dappah; a long procession filed from the mountain temples to the charnel-house of the open plain; the night was dark, the moon had vanished in dismay, black clouds scudded across the heavens, a feverish rain fell slowly at intervals, and the ground was dimly lighted by the phosphorescence of the general putrefaction. The Adepts went stumbling over dead bodies, disturbing Rats and Vultures, and proceeded to the formation of the magic chain, which consisted in high-grade Masons, provided with silk hats, sitting down in a vast circle, every Adept embracing his particular corpse. The ceremony included the recitation of certain passages borrowed from popular grimoires, the object in view being the wholesale liberation of Spirits wandering in the immediate neighbourhood of their bodies. This closed the proceedings and the doctor confesses that the distractions of the evening occasioned him a disturbed sleep accompanied by nightmares.
Before leaving Calcutta our adventurer purchased from Phileas Walder, for the sum of two hundred francs, the serviceable dignity of a Palladian Hierarch, “fortified with which he would be enabled to penetrate everywhere.” Regarding all English possessions as peculiarly productive in the Dead Sea fruit of diabolism, Singapore was the next scene of his curious researches. The English as a nation are criminal, but Singapore is the yeast-house of British wickedness, where vice ferments continually; there man masonifies naturally and most Masons palladise. The doctor states plainly that one thing only has preserved the place from the doom of the cities of the plain, and that is the presence of certain good Christians, otherwise Catholics, in what he terms the accursed city. For himself he tarried only to witness the initiation of a Mistress-Templar according to the Palladian rite, which took place in a Presbyterian Chapel, the Presbyterian persuasion, as he tells us, being one of the broad roads leading to avowed Satanism. The password was appropriately the name of the first murderer, and the doctor was greeted to his great astonishment by an old acquaintance, an English pastor, whom he had frequently seen upon his own magnificent steam-boat, who also rejoiced in the nick-name of the Reverend Alcohol, being, like the majority of Englishmen, almost invariably drunk. The ceremony of initiation, which is described at great length in the narrative, is a variation from that of Leo Taxil; the doctor, in mercy to his readers, suppressing a part of the performance. Speaking generally, it was concerned, as we have previously seen, with an anti-Christian version of Gospel history and some commonplace outrages of the Eucharistic elements, during which proceedings our witness perspired freely. So, as he tells us, did one more Protestant pass over to the worship of Lucifer.
The operations of the ritual were followed by a “divine solemnity,” which had something of the character of an ordinary spiritual séance, supposing it to have been held in a mad-house. I need only say that when the lights were turned up at the end, every article of furniture, including a large organ, was discovered hanging from the ceiling. As a final phenomenon, the Master of the Ceremonies detached his shadow from his substance, arranged it against the wall in the shape of a demon, and it responded to various questions by signs. There was a burst of loud applause, the proceedings terminated, and the Masonic Temple became once more a Presbyterian Chapel.
The doctor informs us that China is the gate of Hell, and that all its inhabitants are born damned; child-like and bland in appearance, the Chinaman is invariably by disposition a Satanist, having tastes wholly diabolical. As to the religion of Buddha, it is simply Satanism â outrance. Chinese occultism is centralised in the San-Ho-Hei, an association “parallel to high grade Masonry,” having its head-quarters at Pekin, and welcoming all Freemasons who are affiliated to the Palladium. It does not, however, admit women, and has only one degree. Its chief occupation is to murder Catholic missionaries. When a Palladian Mason seeks admission for the first time to one of its assemblies, he betakes himself to the nearest opium den, carrying on his person the documents which prove his initiation; he places his umbrella head downwards on his left side, and stupefies himself with the divine drug. He is then quite sure that he will be transported in a comatose condition to the occult reunion. When the doctor reached Shanghai, he experienced some hesitation before he attempted an adventure so uncertain in its issue. He remembered, however, that he was possessed of a miraculous medal of St Benedict, which he regarded as his trump card, a species of passport or return ticket, available at any date and by any line of Devildom. He determined to get drunk accordingly; but even as he entered Masonry with a becoming reservation of conscience, so he entered the drug-shop with a reservation as to the degree of his drunkenness, in spite of which he fell, however, into a deep sleep, and awoke in the assembly of The Secret Avengers, one of whom, to facilitate proceedings, had a good knowledge of English, and a perfect familiarity with all Charleston passwords. The Baphomet, of course, presided, but it appears that the Chinese have certain conscientious scruples on the subject of Goats, and hence a Dragon’s head was substituted for that of the ordinary image. The doctor was not the only European present at the proceedings of the celestial assembly; but while he was the sole representative of his own nation, it goes without saying that there was a fair sprinkling of the abominable British.
So complete is the unanimity which obtains between the initiates of China and Charleston that the bulk of the proceedings takes place in the English language; but for this disposition of Providence, the doctor would have been at a serious disadvantage. The first object of the company was to encompass the destruction of missionaries, and for this purpose a coffin was presently brought in, containing the skeleton of a deceased brother, who had so far diverged from duty that he had entered in league with the Jesuits, and had dared to act as a spy upon the august proceedings of the Sublime Society of Avengers. The first act may be regarded as somewhat bizarre in character; it consisted in evoking an evil spirit to animate the skeleton, and to answer certain questions. This was accomplished with absolute success. The bones of the departed brother had, however, been so consecrated by his Jesuitical proclivities that, even when animated by a devil, they discovered extreme reluctance in disclosing the number and quality of certain Franciscan zealots who had just started from Paris to convert the Empire. Ultimately, however, it was admitted that they were now on the high seas, which information given, the bony oracle could no longer contain its rage, but pursued an English Mason of the 33rd degree from end to end of the assembly, and succeeded in inflicting some furious bites and blows. The second act commenced by uncovering a species of exaggerated baptismal font, filled to the brim with water, and representing the great ocean over which the missionaries were passing. The assembly crowded round it, and by means of magic rods and other devices, succeeded in evoking a minute figure of a steam-ship containing the adventurers. Their magic also raised up a perfect tempest of wind in the closed apartment, but by no device could they effect the slightest disturbance upon the placid bosom of the water. The ceremony had, in fact, to be abandoned as a failure in its desired intention. Too well did the Spirit Yesu protect His missionaries. The assembly accordingly repaired into a second apartment. There the officiating dignitaries assumed the vestments of Catholic priests. They produced a wax figure, designed to represent a missionary, amused themselves with a mock trial, inflicted imaginary tortures, and returned the dummy to a cupboard, after which they proceeded to the crucifixion of a living pig. The third act was an agonising experience for the doctor, being nothing less than the sacrifice of one of the brethren, the selection being determined by lot. The doctor, in his quality of visitor, was, it is true, spared the chance of being himself the victim, but he nearly became executioner. One of the Chinese adepts having been chosen, to his intense satisfaction, and approved by some mechanical movements on the part of the dragon-headed Baphomet, permitted his limbs to be removed, and then earnestly invoked the assistance of the “Charleston brother” for the purpose of severing his head. It was an honour invariably accorded to the visitor of the highest grade. The doctor, who could not bring himself to the point, was saved at the last moment by the miraculous levitation of Phileas Walder from an immense distance, this occult personage having become transcendently cognisant of what was going forward in China, and being anxious to interrogate the severed head as to the possible recovery of his daughter, who was then seriously ill. In virtue of his superior dignity, he claimed the privilege of the execution, and the doctor modestly retired.
Such were the adventures of our witness in the assembly of Holy Avengers. He enumerates at great length the evidence against hallucination as a result of his excess in opium, but I suggest to observing readers that there is a more obvious line of criticism.
It was in March of the year 1881 that Doctor Bataille proceeded for the first time to Charleston, to make acquaintance at head-quarters with the universal Masonry of Lucifer and its Pontiff Albert Pike. Charleston is the Venice of America, the Rome of Satan, and the great City of Lucifer. Always enormously prolix, and adoring the details which swell the flimsy issues of cheap periodical narratives, our witness describes at great length the city and its Masonic temple, with the temple which is within the temple and is consecrated to the good God. My second chapter has already provided the reader with sufficient information upon the persons alleged to be concerned in the foundation of Universal Freemasonry and in the elaboration of its cultus. Nor need I dwell at any length upon the personal communication which passed between Doctor Bataille, Albert Pike, Gallatin Mackey, Sophia Walder, Chambers, Webber, and the rest of the Charleston luminaries. Miss Walder explained to him the great hope of the Order concerning the speedy advent of anti-Christ, the abolition of the papacy, and the destruction of the Christian religion. She also related many of her private experiences with the infernal monarchy, being acquainted with the exact number of demons in the descending hierarchy, and with all their classes and legions. She confidently expected to be the great grandmother of anti-Christ, and in the meantime possessed the transcendental faculty of becoming fluidic at will. Mr Gallatin Mackey exhibited his Arcula Mystica, one of seven similar instruments existing at Charleston, Rome, Berlin, Washington, Monte Video, Naples, and Calcutta. To all appearance it resembled a liqueur-stand, but it was really a diabolical telephone worked like the Urimm and Thummimm, and enabling those who possessed it to communicate with each other, whatever the intervening distance. The Doctor, in his quality of initiate, was, of course, taken over the entire premises; he examined the head of the great templar Molay, deciding by his anthropological knowledge that the relic was not genuine, and that it was not the skull of a European. As to the templar Baphomet, situated in the Sanctum Regnum, and before which Lucifer is supposed to appear, it is sufficient to say that Doctor Bataille, who invariably treads cautiously where it is easy for other steps to follow him, has no personal testimony to furnish upon the subject of the apparition, and the relations of other persons do not concern us at the moment.
The memorials of Charleston are not entirely favourable to the true strength of our witness; it was requisite to “lie low” in America, but the Doctor bristles in Gibraltar; he is once more upon British soil. Does not the Englishman, consciously or otherwise, put a curse on everything he touches? Doctor Bataille affirms it; indeed this quality of malediction has been specially dispensed to the nation of heretics by God himself; so says Doctor Bataille. Since the British braggart began to embattle Gibraltar, having thieved it from Catholic Spain, a wind of desolation breathes over the whole country. An inscrutable providence, of which our witness is the mouthpiece, has elected to set apart this rock in order that the devil and the English, who, he says, are a pair, may continue their work of protestantising and filling the world with malefice. To sum the whole matter, the Britisher is an odious usurper “who has always got one eye open.” Now, having regard to the fact that out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation a proportion to be numbered by millions is given over to devil-worship and Masonry, and that consequently there is an enormous demand for Baphomets and other idols, for innumerable instruments of black Magic, and for poisons to exterminate enemies, it is obviously needful that there should be a secret central department for the working of woods and metals and for Transcendental Toxicology. To Charleston the dogmatic directory, to Gibraltar the universal factory. But so colossal an output focussed at a single point could scarcely proceed unknown to Government at a given place, and any nation save England might object to this class of exports. The cause of Masonry and the devil being, however, dear to the English heart, it would, of course, pass unchallenged at Gibraltar, and at this point an anglo-phobe with a remnant of reason would have remained satisfied. Not so our French physician, who affirms that the exports in question do not merely escape inquisition at the hands of civil authority but are in fact a government industry.
- “Bluish ’mid the burning water, full in face Trafalgar lay;
- In the dimmest north-east distance dawned Gibraltar, grand and gray—
- Here and here did England help me, how can I help England, say?”
These are the words of Browning, and his question has well been answered by the institution of the secret workshops and the secret laboratory; as in most other cases England has helped herself, unless, indeed, it should occur to the doctor that the poet was a Satanist, like Pike, who himself was a poet, and had a chief finger in the pie.
Now the great historic rock is tunnelled by innumerable caverns, which, our deponent witnesses, have never been explored by the tourist, and in the most impracticable portions of the great subterranean maze, whosoever has the audacity to penetrate will discover for himself the existence of the industrial department of diabolism, but he must not expect to come back unless he be a Sovereign Grand Master ad vitam, and an initiate of Lucifer. The doctor has explored these caverns, has seen the factory in full working order, has exhaustively described the way in, has returned from the gulf like Dante, and has given away the whole mystery. Possessed of his key to the labyrinth the wayfaring man shall not err therein, and it will, no doubt, be a new curiosity for the more daring among Cook’s tourists. The workshops are supplied with mechanics by a simple expedient; hopeless specimens of English malefactors, condemned to penal servitude for the term of their natural life, are relegated to this region, a kind of grim humour characterising the selection. The most hideous convicts are chosen, and those most corresponding in outward appearance to the favourite devils of the hierarchy, under whose names they pass in the workshops, where they commonly communicate with each other in the language of Volapuk. The reason given is that this language has been adopted by the Spoeleic Rite, which I confess that I had not heard of previously, but I venture to think that the doctor has concealed the true reason, and that Volapuk has been thus chosen because it is a diabolical invention; a universal language prevailed previously to the confusion of Babel, and the new language is an irreligious attempt to produce ordo ab chao by a return to unity of speech.
The Toxicological Department is worked by a higher class of criminals, as for example, absconding trustees, who are there comfortably settled in life, enjoying many modern conveniences. It produces poisons which usually cause death by cerebral hemorrhage; but each has its special antidote, possessed of which the initiated poisoner can eat and drink with his victim; on this subject the doctor pursues, however, a policy of masterly reticence. But such, in brief, is the deep mystery of Gibraltar, such is the Toxicological department of universal Freemasonry.
It would be impossible to follow the doctor through the entire course of his memoirs, not that they are wholly biographical, exclusively concerned with modern diabolism, or with the great conspiracy of Masons against God, Man, and the universe; one of his subsidiary and yet most important objects is to fill space, in which respect he has almost eclipsed the great classics of the penny dreadful in England. I must pass with a mere reference over his dealings in spiritualism; it is needless to say that in this branch of transcendental investigation he witnessed more astounding phenomena than falls commonly to the lot of even veteran students. His star prevailed everywhere, and the world unseen deployed its strongest forces. At Monte Video, for example, falling casually into a circle of spiritualists, he was seated, surrounded by a family of these unconscious and amateur diabolists, before an open window at night time; across the broad mouth of the river a great shaft of soft light from the lamp of the lighthouse opposite shone in mid-air, over the bosom of the water, and as it fell upon their faces he discerned, floating within the beam itself, the solid figure of a man. It was not the first time that the apparition, under similar circumstances, had been seen by the rest of the household, but for him it bore a message of deeper mystery than for these uninitiated spiritualists; although in man’s clothes, his observant eye recognised the face of the spirit; terrible and suggestive truth, it was the face of the vestal Virgin, who, far off in Calcutta, had fluidified in the third temple, and he uttered a great cry! He has now decided to void the virginity of the vestal, and to assume that she was in reality a demon, and not a being of earth. At the same time, my readers must thoroughly understand that the doctor, when he meddles in spiritualism, is a man who is governed in his narratives by an intelligent faculty of criticism which borders on the purely sceptic; he delights in the display of instances where an element of trickery may be detected; no one better than himself can distinguish between bogus and bogey, and he takes pleasure in directing special attention to his extraordinary good judgment and sound common-sense in each and all these matters. Hence no one will be surprised to hear that at the house of a lady in London, an ordinary table, after a preliminary performance in tilting, transformed suddenly into a full-grown crocodile, and played touchingly on the piano, after which it again changed into a table, but the gin, the whisky, the pale ale, and the other intoxicants which are indispensable at seances in England, had been entirely consumed by the transcendental reptile to fortify him on his return journey to the mud-banks of the Nile. Nor has the spontaneous apparition been wanting to complete the experiences of Dr Bataille. He was seated in his cabin at midnight pondering over the theories formulated in natural history by Cuvier and Darwin, who diabolised the entire creation, when he was touched lightly on the shoulder, and discovered standing over him, in his picturesque Oriental costume, like another Mohini, the Arabian poisoner-in-chief of the Gibraltar Toxicological Department, who, after some honourable assurances that the Bible was not true, departed transcendentally as he came. This personage subsequently proved to be the demon Hermes. Even when he merely masonified, the doctor had unheard-of experiences in magic. For example, at Golden Square, in the west central district of this wicked city, an address which we have heard of before, at the conclusion of an ordinary Lodge meeting, there was an evocation of the demon Zaren, who appeared under the form of a monstrous three-headed dragon completely cased in steel, and, endeavouring to devour his evoker, was restrained by the magical pentagram, ultimately vanishing with the peculiar odour of Infernus.In connection with various marvels the doctor has much to tell us concerning two sisters in Lucifer who have long been at daggers drawn, and considering their supernatural attributes, it is incomprehensible in a high degree that they have not destroyed one another like the Magician and the Princess of a more credible narrative of wonders in the “Arabian Nights.” Diana Vaughan, much heard and little seen, has since become famous by her conversion to the Catholic faith. Honoured with her acquaintance for a considerable period, the doctor invariably testifies the utmost respect for this wealthy, beautiful, and high-placed Palladian lady, so long protected by a demon, of the superior hierarchy, and enjoying what he somewhat obscurely terms an obsessional guardianship. On the 28th of February, 1884, at a theurgic séance of Templar Mistresses and Elect Magi of Louisville, the ceiling of the temple was riven suddenly, and Asmodeus, genius of Fire, descended to slow music, having in one hand a sword, and in the other the long tail of a lion. He informed the company that there had just been a great battle between the leaders of Lucifer and Adonaï, and that it had been his personal felicity to lop the Lion’s tail of St Mark; he directed the members of the eleven plus seven triangle to preserve the trophy carefully, and, that it might not be a lifeless relic, he had thoughtfully informed it with one of his minor devils until such time as he himself should intervene to mark his omnipotent favour towards a certain predestined virgin. The vestal in question was Diana of the Charlestonians, elect sister in Asmodeus, who at that time was not affiliated to Palladism. When the doctor subsequently drew her on the subject of this history, she replied, after the manner of the walrus, “Do you admire the view?” For himself, the good doctor dislikes the narrative, not because it does violence to possibility, but because it did violence to St Mark; there is evidently an incomplete dignity about a tailless evangelist. As to the tail itself, he has no personal doubt that it was the property of an ordinary lion, and that it has since become possessed of a devil.
her initiation was postponed; appeal was made to Charleston; and the formality was dispensed with in her case by the intervention, as it was supposed at the moment, of Albert Pike’s authority, even as her Father’s intervention had excused her beforehand from another ordeal which could not be suffered with propriety. This episode implanted in the breast of Sophia Walder an extreme form of Palladian hatred for the Diana of Philalethes. Now, Sophia was in high favour with all the hosts of perdition, yet her rancorous relations with her sister Adept did not make Diana less a persona grata to the peculiar intelligence which governs the descending hierarchy. In the Mammoth Cave of Kentucky the Palladian Magi and the Mistress Templars decided one day to have a little experiment with the Undines, so they shouldered their magical instruments; but the eager elementaries, habiting the dark abysses, did not wait to be evoked; the water bubbled in the Lake, the roof was constellated with stars, and who should appear but Asmodeus, on the bank opposite, in all his infernal glory! With open arms he loudly called on Diana, and that lady, suddenly transfigured, walked calmly over the water, and kissed the feet of her demon, who incontinently vanished. Inspired by a sense of deficiency, the doctor says that the visit to the Mammoth Cave terminated without any further incident. He was not an ocular witness of what he relates in this instance, but he received it from the lips of Diana, and the lips of Diana, in the opinion of all honourable men, would be preferable to the eyes of the doctor.But the doctor had the testimony of his eyes upon another occasion; it is known that Miss Vaughan’s celebrity began with her hostility to the Italian Grand Master, Adriano Lemmi. When the seat of the Sovereign Pontificate, as deponents testify, was removed from Charleston, the great city of Lucifer, even unto the Eternal City, and many adepts demissioned, there was a doubt in the rebel camp as to the continued protection of Lucifer. If Diabolus had gone over to Lemmi, they were indeed bereft. Miss Vaughan, however, remained calm and sanguine:—“I am certain of the celestial protection At the risk of offending Miss Vaughan, the doctor expatiates on her case, and learnedly demonstrates that her possession is of so uninterrupted a kind that it has become a second nature, and belongs to the 5th degree; however this may be, he establishes at great length one important point in her favour, which has occasioned all French Catholics to earnestly desire her conversion. I have stated already that the grade of Templar-Mistress is concerned partly with profanations of the Eucharist. For example, the aspirant to this initiation is required to drive a stiletto into the consecrated Host with a becoming expression of fury. When Miss Vaughan visited Paris in the year 1885, where Miss Walder had sometime previously established herself, she was invited to enter this grade, and accepted the offer. A séance for initiation was held accordingly, but Miss Vaughan would have none of profanation, and refused blankly to stultify her liberal intelligence by the stabbing of a wheaten wafer. She did not believe in the Real Presence, and she did not wish to be childish. A great sensation followed; of the Genii of Light,” said Diana, and, producing her talisman, she bent her right knee to the ground, turned a complete somersault without falling, flung her tambourine into the air, which descended gently and remained suspended a yard from the ground, while she herself, passing into a condition of ecstasy, also rose into the air in a recumbent posture. She remained in this state for the space of fifteen minutes, the silence being only broken by the distant rumbling of thunder. Many of the spectators could not believe their eyes. At length very gently her body assumed a vertical position, head downwards, but as a concession to polite feeling the remaining laws of gravity were suspended, like herself, and her skirts were not correspondingly inverted. Slowly the ecstatic lady continued to circulate, the assembly stood at gaze “like Joshua’s moon in Ajalon,” and presently she was in the vertical position of a swimmer, the phenomenon concluding by her restoration to terra firma. This wonder was accomplished by the magic power of a diabolical Rose which the lady carried in her bodice.
On yet another occasion the doctor witnessed the prodigy of the bilocation of Diana by the assistance of a simple magical process, when to his most certain knowledge she was hundreds of leagues away; but the recitations of Doctor Bataille have reduced bilocation to a banality, and a mere reference will suffice.
A monograph of Miss Vaughan’s miracles would, however, be incomplete if it failed to exhibit her in her capacity as a breaker of spells; whatsoever has been bound by devildom can be loosed by Diana. At the height of the commotion occasioned by her persistent refusal to participate in sham sacrilege, there was one member of the Paris Triangle who manifested peculiar acrimony in demanding the expulsion of a delinquent who had dared to impeach the ritual. As a punishment for his own presumption, and in the presence of the assembled adepts, his head was suddenly reversed by an unseen power, and for the space of one and twenty days he was obliged to review the situation face backwards. This severe judgment dismayed all present; Miss Walder had recourse to an evocation and discovered that it had been inflicted by Asmodeus, the protector of her rival, who furthermore would not scruple to visit with violent disaster any person who discovered an evil design against so elect a sister as Diana. If the present culprit desired to be set free from his grotesque position, he must humbly have recourse to her. Miss Vaughan was in America at the moment, but she generously came to his rescue as soon as steam could carry her, and restored him his lost front view by a jocose imposition of hands. I should add that on the very day when this misadventure took place at Paris, Miss Vaughan was defending her standpoint in person before the Triangle of Louisville; opinion was divided about her, and the result appeared uncertain, when the demoniac tail of St Mark, evacuating the minor devil, who had hired it on a repairing lease, accepted Asmodeus as a tenant, and violently circumambulating the apartment belaboured all those whose voices had been raised against his Vestal. Finally the tassel of the tail turned into the head of the demon and vowed his devotion to Diana so long as she remained unmarried; did she dare, however, to desert him for an earthly consort, he was commander of fourteen legions, and he would strangle the man of clay.It would be unkind to Miss Sophia Walder if I let it be supposed for a moment that the palm of prestige is borne away by her rival. I have already noted that this lady occasionally fluidifies to the satisfaction of a select audience, but, like the materialising medium, she finds it a depleting performance which usually confines her to her room, and her price, therefore, is five thousand francs. She is first Sovereign in Bitru, and is defined by the doctor to be in a state of latent possession, having a semi-diabolical nature and the gift of substitution. It was possibly at Milan that he witnessed the most persuasive test of her occult powers. She took him confidentially apart and explained to him that she had been in a condition of “penetration” for about three hours. “At dinner the food of which I partake becomes volatile in my mouth; wine evaporates invisibly the moment it makes contact with my lips; I eat and drink in appearance, but my teeth masticate the air.” Now this was due, not to the voracity of Bitru, but to the keen appetite of Baal-Zeboub; the magnetic lady did not, however, explain this point after the common method of speech; she fixed her blazing orbs upon the doctor, and he saw flames everywhere; a moment more and her feet were free from earth; she stretched out her left hand, and on the open palm he beheld the successive apparitions in characters of flame of the ten letters which constitute the great name. With a touch of internal collapse he commended himself to the Virgin Mary, the ecstatic paroxysm passed, and they wandered down another lane, for they were in the midst of leafy umbrage. Presently a tree gracefully arranged a portion of its branches in the form of a fan, and bowed with profound reverence. Still more fantastic, a paralysed branch produced a living human hand, which in the accompanying engraving is ornamented with an immaculate cuff, and that hand presented a bouquet to Sophia. By reason of these matters the doctor became pensive.
luminous, but emitting a green lustre; each hand went wandering in search of its prey, ultimately seizing a brother, whom it drew irresistibly forward in the direction of Sophia. Moved by a mysterious influence, two of them grasped her arms, two clutched her by the shoulders, one placed his hand on her head. The serpent again hissed seven significant times, and in place of the solid Sophia the third Alexander of Macedon was substituted in phantom guise. When he faded Sophia reappeared and continued going and coming with a phantom between each of her appearances, so that she was in turn replaced by Luther, Cleopatra, Robespierre, and others, concluding with the Italian patriot Garibaldi, who eclipsed all the others, for his bust was converted into a bronze urn from which red flames burst forth. The flames took a human form, and gave back Sophia to the assembly.A Palladian séance followed. The litany of Lucifer was chanted, and the prodigy of “substitution” was effected. The ceremony took place in a grotto with a stalactite roof; Miss Walder produced from a basket the serpent which was an inseparable companion of all her travels; it immediately genuflected in front of her, swarmed the wall, and assumed a pendant position attached to one of the stalactites. It was a reptile of no ordinary kind, for it began to develop an interminable length of coils till it had spread itself circlewise over the entire ceiling, and its head was joined to its tail. The doctor says that he was now prepared for anything. The serpent gave forth seven horrible hisses, and in the dim light, for the torches which illuminated the place were successively giving out of themselves, each person became conscious of an unseen entity blowing with burning breath in their faces. When at length there was complete darkness, Sophia herself became radiant, and brilliantly illuminated the grotto with an intense white light; five enormous hands could then be seen floating in space, also intensely
Such is the gift of substitution, which follows penetration, and such is the substance of the memoirs of M. Bataille, ship’s doctor, who, in the year 1880, undertook to exploit Freemasonry and has come forth unsinged from Diabolism. There is one maxim of the Psalmist which the experience of most transcendentalists has taught them to lay to heart, and to repeat without the qualifications of David when certain aspects of supernatural narrative are introduced—Omnis homo mendax! But lest I should appear to be discourteous, I should like to add a brief dictum from the Magus Éliphas Lévi. “The wise man cannot lie,” because nature accommodates herself to his statement. In a polite investigation like the present, there is, therefore, no question whether Doctor Bataille is defined by the term mendax, which is forbidden to literary elegance; it is simply a question whether he is a wise man, or whether nature blundered and did not conform to his statement.
The credibility, in whole or in part, of Dr Bataille’s narrative will involve some extended criticism, and I purpose to postpone it till the remaining witnesses have been examined. We shall then be in a position to appreciate how far later revelations support his statements. Setting aside the miraculous element, which is tolerably separate from what most concerns our inquiry, namely, the existence of Palladian Masonry attached to the cultus of Lucifer, it may be stated that the most sober part of Dr Bataille’s memoirs is the account of his visit to Charleston; here the miraculous element is entirely absent. He confirms by alleged personal investigations the existence of the New and Reformed Palladium; he is the first witness who distinguishes clearly between the Luciferian Order and the Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scotch Rite of Charleston. That distinction is made, however, at one expense; it assumes that the Supreme Council preserved the Baphomet idol as well as the reputed skull of Molay for nearly seventy years, and then surrendered it to another order with which it had no official acquaintance. Under what circumstances and why did it do that? The Ancient and Accepted Scotch Rite is connected by its legend with the Templars, and for the Charleston Supreme Council to part with the trophies of the tradition seems no less unlikely than for a regiment to surrender its colours.