The Sorcery Club

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15. How Hamar, Curtis and Kelson entered the Astral plane

In order to explain the manner in which Hamar, Kelson and Curtis were initiated into their new properties, I must now go back to the day preceding the gratis performance of the Modern Sorcery Company, that is to say the last day of stage one of the compact.

To Kelson the day had been one of surprises throughout. When he arrived at the building in Cockspur Street (he preferred living alone, and, consequently, rented a handsome suite of rooms in John Street, Mayfair), he was not a little astonished to meet Lilian Rosenberg on the staircase.

"I thank you so much!" she exclaimed, shaking hands with him most effusively. "It is all owing to you I got the post."

"Then Hamar has engaged you," Kelson ejaculated.

"Why, yes! didn't you know!" Lilian said with a smile. "I had a letter from him the very evening of the day I called here."

"Did you! He never told me anything about it! How do you think you will get on?"

"Oh, splendidly! The work is interesting and full of variety. Moreover, I like the atmosphere of the place, it is so weird. I believe the three of you really are magicians!"

"If that be so," Kelson said, "then we have only acted in accordance with our character in engaging the services of a witch—a witch who has already bewitched one member of the trio. Now please don't go to the expense of lunching out: lunch with me instead. Lunch with me every day."

"It is very kind of you," Lilian Rosenberg replied, "and I will gladly do so when I am not lunching with Mr. Hamar. But he has invited me to have all my meals with him."

"That doesn't mean you are obliged to have them with him every day!" Kelson cried. "Lunch with me this morning."

"I am very sorry," Lilian Rosenberg replied, looking at Kelson with mock pleading eyes, "please don't scold me, but I've really promised Mr. Hamar."

"Have tea with me, then," Kelson said.

"I've promised him that, too."

"Supper then!" Kelson said, savagely.

"I'm awfully sorry, but I'm engaged all this evening, and practically every evening."

"With Mr. Hamar?" Kelson asked suspiciously.

"Oh no! my own private business," Lilian Rosenberg replied. "Do forgive me. I should so like to have been able to accept your invitation. Now I must hurry back to my work," and she gave him her hand, which Kelson held, and would have gone on holding all the morning, had he not heard Hamar's well-known tread ascending the stairs.

"Look here!" he said, as they entered his room together, "I want Miss Rosenberg to have luncheon with me one day this week, and she tells me you have already invited her. Let her come with me to-morrow."

"It is impossible," Hamar said. "Now I'll tell you what it is, Matt, I anticipated this the moment I saw you two together, and its got to stop. You would genuinely fall in love with that girl—or as a matter of fact any other pretty girl—if you saw much of her—and love, I tell you, would be absolutely disastrous to our interests. You must let her alone—absolutely alone, I tell you. I have given her strict orders she is to confine herself to her work, and to me."

"I think you take a great deal too much on yourself. I shall see just as much of Miss Rosenberg, when she is disengaged, as I please."

"Then she never shall be disengaged. But come, do be sane and put some restraint on this mad infatuation of yours for pretty faces. Can't you keep it in check anyhow for two years—till after the term of the compact has expired! Then you will be free to indulge in it, to your heart's content. For Heaven's sake, be guided by me. Harmony between us must be kept at all costs. Don't you understand?"

"Oh, yes! I understand all right," Kelson said, "and I'll try. But it's very hard—and I really don't see there would be any danger in my taking her out occasionally."

"Well, I do," Hamar replied, "and there's an end. To turn to something that may spell business. Just before I got up this morning I saw a striped figure bending over me!"

"A striped figure?"

"Yes! A cylindrical figure, about seven feet high, without any visible limbs; but which gave me the impression it had limbs—of a sort—if it cared to show them."

"You were frightened?"

"Naturally! So would you have been. It didn't speak, but in some indefinable manner it conveyed to me the purport of its visit. To-night, at twelve o'clock, we are to go to the house of a Hindu, called Karaver, in Berners Street, where we shall be initiated into the second stage of our compact."

"I hope to goodness we shan't see any spectral trees or striped figures—I've had enough of them," Kelson said.

"Then take care you don't do anything that might lead to the breaking of the compact," Hamar retorted, "otherwise you'll see something far worse."

Shortly before midnight, Hamar, Curtis and Kelson, obeying the injunctions Hamar had received, set off to Berners Street, where they had little difficulty in finding Karaver's house.

To their astonishment Karaver was expecting them.

"How did you know we were coming," Curtis asked.

"A gentleman called here early this morning and told me," Karaver explained. "He said three friends of his particularly wished to be on the Astral Plane, at twelve o'clock this evening, and that they would each pay me a hundred guineas, if I would show them how to get there. I demurred. The secrets that have come down to me through generations of my Cashmere ancestors, I tell only to a chosen few—those born under the sign of Dejellum Brava.

"The stranger showing me the sign—written plainer than I have ever seen it—in the palm of his hand, I at once consented, and I had no sooner done so than he vanished. I knew then that I had been speaking to an Elemental—a spirit of my native mountains."

"My nerves are not in a condition to stand much. Is there anything very alarming in this astral business?" Kelson asked.

"It depends on what you call alarming," the Indian said coldly. "I shouldn't be alarmed."

"Don't be a fool, Matt," Hamar interposed. "I never saw such a frightened idiot in my life. You ought to be ashamed of yourself. Think of what there is at stake."

"Think of Lilian Rosenberg," Curtis whispered, "and be comforted."

Karaver took them upstairs into a dimly lighted attic. In the centre of the carpetless floor was a tripod, around which the three were told to sit. Karaver then proceeded to pour into an iron vessel a mixture composed of: ½ oz. of hemlock, ¾ oz. of henbane, 2 oz. of opium, 1 oz. of mandrake roots, 2 oz. of poppy seeds, ½ oz. of assafœtida, and ¼ oz. of saffron.

"Are these preparations absolutely necessary?" Kelson asked.

"Absolutely," Karaver said. "English clairvoyants will, doubtless, tell you they are not necessary. It is their custom, with a few slipshod instructions, to lead you to suppose that getting on the Astral Plane is mere child's play. It is not! It is extremely difficult and can only be done, in the first place, through the guidance of a skilled Oriental occultist."

He then took a sword, and with it making the sign of a triangle in the air, afterwards scratched a triangle on the floor, over which, in red chalk, he superscribed a tree, an eye, and a hand. Then he heated the mixture in the iron vessel over an oil stove. As soon as fumes arose from it, he placed it on the tripod, crying, "Great Spirits of the mountains, rivers and bowels of the earth, invest me with the heavy seal, in order that I may conduct these three seekers after knowledge to the realms of thy eternal phantoms."

Immediately after this oration Karaver, dipping a twig of hazel in the fumigation, waved it north, south, east and west crying "Give me authority! Give me Ka-ta-la-derany;" and then kneeling down in front of the brazier, in a droning voice repeated these words:

"Green phantom figures of the air,
A ready welcome see that you prepare.
Black phantom figures from the earth,
Of friendly salutations see there is no dearth.
Red phantom figures of the furious fire,
For kindly greeting change your usual ire.
Grey, grizzly googies from the woods and dells,
To gentle whisperings change your harrowing yells.
Flagae, Devas, Mara Rupas,
[19] hie to the Plane, the Astral Plane,
And to these three poor fools, explain, explain
The secrets that they wish to learn, to learn!"

The mixture in the iron vessel was now giving off such dense fumes that Hamar, Curtis and Kelson felt their senses slowly ebbing away. The dark, lithe form of Karaver, his swarthy face and gleaming teeth receded farther and farther into the background, whilst his voice appeared to grow fainter and fainter. They were dimly conscious that he sprayed them all over with some sweet-smelling scent,[20] and that he whispered (in reality he spoke in his normal tones) these words: "Darkona—droomer—doober—parlar—poohmer—perler. A—ta-rama—skatarinek—ook—drooksi—noomig—viartikorsa."[21] Then there came a temporary blank, which was broken by a sudden burst of light. The light, at first, was so blinding that they involuntarily closed their eyes. It was quite different to any light they had been accustomed to—it was far more vivid, and was in a perpetual state of vibration. When they had got sufficiently used to this dazzling effect to keep their eyes open, they became aware that they were standing, apparently on nothing, that the atmosphere was not composed of air such as they knew, but of an indescribable something that rendered the act of breathing wholly unnecessary, and that all around them was no ground, no scenery, but only—space!

They had barely finished remarking on these facts, when there suddenly glided across their vision, forms—of every conceivable shape, i. e., those resembling corpses of human beings and animals, with bloodless faces, glassy eyes and stiff limbs—some apparently just dead and others in an advanced state of decomposition, all possessed and propelled by Impersonating Elementals; phantoms of actual earthbound people—misers, murderers, etc., several of whom approached the trio and tried to peer into their faces.

"For heaven's sake keep off!" Kelson shrieked, as the vibrating form of an epileptic imbecile, with protruding blue eyes and pimply cheeks, came up to him, and thrust its face into his.

"This is a bit thick," Hamar said, vainly attempting to elude the phantom of a short, stout woman with a big head and purple face, who, putting out a large black, swollen tongue, leered at him.

"Curse you! d—n you!" Curtis screamed, throwing out his hands in a vain endeavour to beat off the phantoms of two idiot boys, who were trying to bite him with their loose, dribbling mouths. "A little more of this, and I shall go mad!"

Seeing a tall, grey phantom with a man's body and wolf's head bounding up to them, Kelson would have run away, had not Hamar, whose presence of mind never quite deserted him, gripped him by the arm. "If you leave us, Matt," he said, "we are lost. I feel our safety depends on our keeping together. If I'm not mistaken this is a cunning dodge on the part of the Unknown to separate us. If that happens, I feel we may never get back to our bodies—and the compact will then be broken. We must hang on to each other at all costs." So saying, he slipped his free arm through that of Curtis, and the three stood linked together.

Hamar clung on to the other two, until his hands grew numb, and the sweat stood on his chest and forehead in great beads. As figure after figure stealthily and noiselessly approached them, Kelson and Curtis writhed and shrieked; and, at times, it seemed as if the chain must be broken. But alarming as were these harrowing types of Vice-Elementals—i. e., nude things with heads of beasts and bodies of men and women; grotesque heads; malevolent eyes; mal-shaped hands; headless beasts, etc.; none had so dangerous an effect on the unity of the trio as the alluring types of Vice-Elementals, i. e., shapes of beautiful women that smiled seductively at Kelson, and resorted to every device to entice him away with them. It was then that Hamar was taxed to the utmost, that he exhausted voice, strength, and patience, in holding Kelson back.

He was about to give in, when to his astonishment these Vice-Elementals vanished, and a phantasm, the exact counterpart of Karaver, only much taller, appeared before them, and commenced giving them instructions as to Stage Two.

"You," he said, addressing Hamar, "will possess the property of second sight, i. e., the power to see, at will, earthbound spirits, conditionally, that you fumigate your room, for ten minutes every night, before retiring to rest, with a mixture composed of 2 drachms of henbane, 3 drachms of saffron, ½ oz. of aloes, ¼ oz. of mandrake, 3 drachms of salanum, 2 oz. of assafœtida; that you abstain from animal food and wine, and give up smoking; that, three times every day, you bathe your face in distilled water, to which has been added three drops of the juice of the whortleberry, one drop of the juice of the mountain ash berry, 1 oz. of lavender water, 1 oz. of nitre, and ½ oz. of tincture of arnica; and that, just before going to sleep, you look for three minutes, without blinking, at an equilateral triangle, transcribed in blood, on white paper, and composed of these letters and figures." And he handed Hamar a piece of paper, on which were written these symbols: K.T.O.P.I.6.X.7.4.H.I.P.3.S.4.W.V.2.8.

"So long as you observe these conditions the power will remain with you. To-morrow, only, it will be awarded you without any preparations."

"You," he went on, turning to Kelson, "will possess the property of projection, i. e., the power of leaving your body, and of visiting, where you will, on the material plane. You will continue to possess the same, conditionally, that you carry out the same rules as Leon Hamar, with the exception that, instead of looking at a triangle before going to sleep, you will repeat these words. See, I have written them down for you." And he handed Kelson a slip of paper, on which were transcribed "Darkona, droomer, doober, parlar, poohmer, perler. A—ta—rama—skatarinek—ook—drooksi—noomeg—viartikorsa."

"You," he said, turning to Curtis, "will be endowed with the property of overcoming gravity, i. e., you will be able to fly, to jump great heights, and to lift and move prodigious weights; and this property will remain in your possession during the prescribed period, provided you abstain from all animal food, from smoking and from drinking alcohol; and observe the same rules with regard to fumigating your sleeping apartment, and bathing your face, as Hamar and Kelson. But, always, before you attempt to fly or to jump, it will be necessary for you to set in motion certain vibrations, in the ether, that counteract the attraction of gravity. You must repeat the words 'Karjako Mandarbsa Guahseela,' which I have written on this blue paper; and when you want to move or lift objects, you must first repeat the words 'Perabibo Henlilee Oko-kokotse,' which I have written on this green paper. Gravity, as you will see, is entirely dependent on sound—sound can move mountains. It did so in Atlantis, it did so in Egypt."

Making the sign of a triangle, an eye, and a tree in the air, with the forefinger of his left hand, he slowly repeated the words "Barjakva—ookpoota—trylisa." and the concluding syllable was no sooner uttered, than the trio found themselves standing in Berners Street. But of Karaver's house—the house they had just quitted—there was no trace.

FOOTNOTES:

[19] According to Brahminical teaching there are seven main classes of spirits; some having innumerable sub-divisions. They are—

1. Arrippa Devas, with forms.

2. Arrippa Devas, without forms. (Both Classes 1 and 2 are intelligent, sixth principles of certain planets. I style them Planetians, and classify them with all other spirits hailing from Jupiter Neptune, etc.)

3. Mara rupas (identical with Vice-Elementals).

4. Pisachas, i. e. male and female elementaries. (I have termed them Impersonating Elementals, since they consist of the astral forms of the dead, that may be utilized by Elementals.)

5. Asuras, i. e. gnomes, pixies, etc. (Corresponding to those I have designated Vagrarian Elementals.)

6. Monstrosities. (These I include among Vice-Elementals and Vagrarians.)

7. Kaksasas, viz. souls of wizards, witches, and of clever people with evil tendencies, scientists with cruel or harsh tendencies—such as vivisectionists and sophists. All these come under my division of "earthbound phantasms of the dead"—spirits tied to this earth by passions or vices; and I should add to the list—militant suffragettes, strike agitators, hooligans, apaches, pseudo-humanitarians, religious bigots, misers, all people obsessed with manias, idiots, epileptic imbeciles and criminal lunatics. All such may at times be encountered on the lowest spiritual plane.

[20] Composed of 2 drachms of myrrh, ½ oz. of sweet oil, 2 oz. of attar of roses, ½ oz. heliotrope and ¼ oz. of musk.

[21] These words are so arranged as to set in vibration and loosen the atmosphere, that keeps the spirit incarcerated in the physical body, and so set the latter free.


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