This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
Edited by Jarett Kobek A Kobek.Com Klassic Reprint 2005/2006
Many writings on the topic of Roslyn D’Onston may be found online at Casebook: Jack the Ripper, the ﬁnest existing resource on those unsavory murders: http://casebook.org This revised edition updates the previous 2005 release, reformatting the pages and including D’Onston’s “African Magic” piece.
In a less savage time these works would have been considered part of the public domain. Times change but not always. Do what thou wilt.
The Whitechapel Demon’s Nationality: and Why He Commited the Murders.
by One Who Thinks He Knows
1 December 1888 Pall Mall Gazette.
In calmly reviewing the whole chain of facts connected with these daring and bloodthirsty atrocities, the ﬁrst thing which strikes one is the fact that the murderer was kind enough to (so to speak) leave his card with the Mitre-square victim. But this most important clue to his identity, which ‘he who runs may read’, seems to have bafﬂed the combined intellects of all grades of the police. This admits of no question, because we ﬁnd in all the journals a note from Sir C. Warren to the effect that ‘no language or dialogue is known in which the word “Jews” is spelt “Juwes”.’ O! most sapient conclusion! Let us see what we can make of the word. It will be remembered that a chalk inscription (which it is not denied was written by the murderer) was found on the wall in Mitre-square, just above the body of the murdered woman. It ran as follows: ‘The Juwes are the men who will not be blamed for nothing’, and was evidently intended to throw suspicion on the Jews. This writing was seen by the police by means of artiﬁcial light, and was unfortunately obliterated by them before daylight. Hinc illae lachrymae.! Why did the murderer spell the word Jews ‘Juwes’? Was it that he was an uneducated Englishman who did not know how to spell the word; was he in reality an ignorant Jew, reckless of consequences and glorying in his deeds; or was he a foreigner, well accustomed to the English language, but
[ 4 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
who in the tremendous hurry of the moment unconsciously wrote the fatal word in his native tongue? The answers to these three queries, on which the whole matter rests, are easy. Juwes is a much too difﬁcult word for an uneducated man to evolve on the spur of the moment, as any philologist will allow. Any ignorant Jew capable of spelling the rest of the sentence as correctly as he did, would know, certainly, how to spell the name of his own people. Therefore, only the last proposition remains, which we shall now show, in the most conclusive manner, to be the truth. To critically examine an inscription of this kind, the ﬁrst thing we naturally do is not to rest satisﬁed with reading it in print, but to make, as nearly as we can, a facsimile of it in script, thus:-
Inspection at once shows us, then, that a dot has been overlooked by the constable who copied it, as might easily occur, especially if it were placed at some distance, after the manner of foreigners.
Therefore we place a dot above the third upstroke in the word Juwes, and we ﬁnd it to be Juives, which is the French word for Jews. Strictly Juives and grammatically speaking, of course, it is the feminine form of Juifs and means ‘Jewesses.’ But in practice it will be found that (Frenchmen being notoriously the worst linguists in the world) most Frenchmen who are not either litterateurs or men of science are very inaccurate as to their genders. And almost all the ouvrier and a large majority of the bourgeois class use the feminine where the word should be masculine. Even the Emperor Napoleon III was a great sinner in this respect, as his voluminous correspondence amply shows. Therefore, it is evident that the native language – or, to be more accurate, the language in which this murderer thinks – is French. The murderer is, therefore, a Frenchman. It may here be argued that both Swiss and Belgians make French
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 5 ]
almost their mother tongue; but Flemish is the natural and usual vehicle for the latter, while the idiosyncrasy of both those nationalities is adverse to this class of crime. On the contrary, in France, the murdering of prostitutes has long been practised, and has been considered to be almost peculiarly a French crime. Again, the grammatical construction of the sentence under examination is distinctly French in two points — ﬁrst, in the double negative contained; and, secondly, in the employment of the deﬁnite article before the second noun. An Englishman or an American would have said, ‘The Jews are men who, &c.’ But the murderer followed his native idiom ‘Les Juifs sont des hommes’ in his thoughts, and when putting it into English rendered des hommes ‘the men’. Again, neither Belgians nor Swiss entertain any animosity to the Jews, whereas the hatred of the French proletarian to them is notorious. The ground for research being thus cleared and narrowed, the next question is, what is the motive? Speculation has been rife, the cries are many; almost every man one meets, who is competent to form an opinion, having a different one. And in endeavouring to sift a mystery like this one cannot afford to throw aside any theory, however extravagant, without careful examination, because the truth might, after all, lie in the most unlikely one. There seems to be no doubt that the murderer, whether mad or not, had a distinct motive in his mutilations; but one possible theory of that motive has never yet been suggested. In the nineteenth century, with all its enlightenment, it would seem absurd, were it not that superstition dies hard, and some of its votaries do undoubtedly to this day practice unholy rites. Now, in one of the books by the great modern occultist who wrote under the nom de plume of ‘Eliphaz Levy’, ‘Le Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie,’ we ﬁnd the most elaborate directions for working magical spells of all kinds. The second volume has a chapter on Necromancy, or black magic, which the author justly denounces as a profanation. Black magic employs the agencies of evil spirits and demons, instead of the beneﬁcent spirits directed by the adepts of la haute magie. At the same time he gives the clearest and fullest details of the necessary steps for evocation by this means, and it is in the list of substances prescribed as absolutely necessary to success that we ﬁnd the link which joins modern
[ 6 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
French necromancy with the quest of the East-end murderer. These substances are in themselves horrible, and difﬁcult to procure. They can only be obtained by means of the most appalling crimes, of which murder and mutilation of the dead are the least heinous. Among them are strips of the skin of a suicide, nails from a murderer’s gallows, candles made from human fat, the head of a black cat which has been fed forty days on human ﬂesh, the horns of a goat which has been made the instrument of an infamous capital crime, and a preparation made from a certain portion of the body of a harlot. This last point is insisted upon as essential and it was this extra-ordinary fact that ﬁrst drew my attention to the possible connection of the murderer with the black art. Further, in the practice of evocation the sacriﬁce of human victims was a necessary part of the process, and the profanation of the cross and other emblems usually considered sacred was also enjoined. In this connection it will be well to remember one most extraordinary and unparalleled circumstance in the commission of the Whitechapel murders, and a thing which could not by any possibility have been brought about fortuitously. Leaving out the last murder,-committed indoors, which was most probably not committed by the ﬁend of whom we speak, we ﬁnd that the sites of the murders, six in number, form a perfect cross. That is to say, a line ruled from No. 3 to No. 6, on a map having the murder sites marked and numbered, passes exactly through Nos. 1 and 2, while the cross arms are accurately formed by a line from No. 4 to 5. The seventh, or Dorset-street murder, does not fall within either of these lines, and there is nothing to connect it with the others except the mutilations. But the mutilations in this latter case were evidently not made by any one having the practical knowledge of the knife and the position of the respective organs which was exhibited in the other six cases, and also in the mutilated trunk found in the new police-buildings, which was probably the ﬁrst of the series of murders, and was committed somewhere on the lines of the cross, the body being removed at the time. Did the murderer, then, designing to offer the mystic number of seven human sacriﬁces in the form of a cross – a form which he intended to profane – deliberately pick out beforehand on a map the places in which he would offer them to his infernal deity of murder? If not, surely these six coincidences(?) are the most marvellous event of our time. To those persons to whom this theory may seem somewhat farfetched, we would merely remark that the French book referred to was
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 7 ]
only published a few years ago; that thousands of copies were sold; that societies have been formed for the study and practice of its teachings and philosophy; and, ﬁnally, that within the last twelve months an English edition has been issued. In all things history repeats itself, and the superstitions of yesterday become the creeds of today.
The Real Origin of “She.” by One Who Knew Her.
3 January 1889, Pall Mall Gazette
THE psychological and psychical portions of Rider! Haggard’s “She’’ strike me as being not so much the creation of a vivid imagination as the simple recital—or, perhaps one should say, the skilful adaptation—of facts well-known to those who penetrated the recesses of be West Coast of Africa a generation ago. Astounding, terrifying, and incredible as the powers of Ayesba appear to the casual. reader, yet to the men who laboriously threaded the jungles and swamps of the riverain portion of \Vest Africa, long before Stanley was thought of, they only seem like a well-known and familiar tale. The awful mysteries of Obeeyah (vulgò Obi) and the powers possessed by the Obeeyah women of those days, were sufﬁciently known to all the slave-traders of the West Coast to make the wonders worked by “ She “ seem tame by comparison. And, always excepting the idea of the revivifying and rejuvenating ﬂame in the bowels of the earth in which “ She “ bathed, there is nothing but what any Obeeyah woman was in the habit of doing every day. And, the fact forces itself upon one that “ She “ is neither more nor less than a weak watercolour sketch of an Obeeyah woman, made white, beautiful, and young, instead of being, as she invariably is, or was, black, old, and hideous as a mummy of a monkey. This is not only my own opinion, but that of all the old comrades of “ the coast “ of thirty years ago to whom the subject bas been mentioned. Although the Obeeyah men were, without exception, clumsy and ignorant charlatans, and simply worshipped Mumbo Jumbo, the Obeeyah women were of a different creed : offered human sacriﬁces under the most awful conditions, to Satan himself, whom they believed to habit the body of a hideous man-eating spider; practised evocation of evil spirits ; and, beyond all dispute, possessed powers far exceeding anything ever yet imagined in the wildest pages of ﬁction. To even hint at some of
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 9 ]
these wonders would be to subject one to one of three alternatives—to be considered either menteur, farceur, or fou. Well in the interests of occult science, I shall risk these kind imputations, and in a forthcoming work of professed ﬁction shall relate thewonders of Obeeyah. One who has witnessed them can easily believe in the fabled Medusa, and in many mythological transmutations of which he read in schooldays. There is nothing on record in the ancient myths of any religion that is not done by the Obeeyah of to-day. The human imagination-whatever philosophers may think—has not the power to create ; and whatever you have read of magical powers—especially those of necromancy mare absolutely possible; absolutely true; absolutely accomplished ! From Moses to Bulwer Lytton ; from Jannes and Jambres, of the Egyptians, to all the wonders of India, there is nothing—never has been anything—that cannot be done, and is not done, by the African Obeeyah. I remember, more than thirty years ago, meeting an Obeeyah woman, some hundreds of miles up the Cameroons river, and who bad her residence in the caverns at the foot of the Cameroons Mountains. In parenthesis, I may remark that I could not have existed “there for one moment had I not been connected, in some form or other, with the slave trade. That by the way. Judge for yourselves, O my readers, whether “ She “ was not “ evolved from Subè, the well-known Obeeyah woman of the Cameroons, or from one of a similar type. Subè stood close on 6 ft., and was supposed by the natives to be many hundred years of age. Erect as a dart, and with a stately walk, she yet looked 2,000 years old. Her wrinkled; mummiﬁed, gorilla-like face, full of all iniquity, bate, and uncleanness (moral and physicaI), might have existed since the Creation, while her superb form and full limbs might have teen those of a woman of twenty-four. “ Pride in her port and venom in her eye,” were her chief characteristics ; while her dress was very simple, consisting of a head-dress made of sharks’ teeth, brass bosses, and tails of some species of lynx. Across her bare bosom was a wide scarf or baldric made of scarlet cloth, on which were fastened, four rows of what appeared like large Roman pearls, of the size of a large walnut. These apparent pearls, however, were actually human intestines, bleached to a pearly whiteness, inﬂated and constricted at short intervals, so as to make a series of little bladders. On the top of her bead appeared the head of a large spotted serpent—presumably some kind of boa constrictor—the cured skin of ‘which hung down her
[ 10 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
back nearly to the ground. Round her neck she wore a solid brass quoit of some four pounds weight, too small to pass over her head, but which had no perceptible joint or place of union. Heavy bangles on wrists and ankles reminded one somewhat of the Hindoo woman’s; but hers were heavier, and were evidently formed from the thick brass rods used in “ the Coast trade,” and hammered together in situ. Her skirt was simply a fringe of pendent tails of some animal—presumably the mountain lynx— intermingled with goats’ tails. In her hand she carried what seemed to be the chief instrument of her power, and what we in Europe should call a “ magic wand.” But this was no wand; it was simply a hollow tube about four inches long, closed at one end, and appearing to be made of a highly glittering kind of carved ivory. Closer inspection, however, showed that it was some kind of reed about an ich in diameter, and encrusted with human molar teeth, in a splendid state of preservation, and set with the crowns outwards. When not borne in the right hand, this instrument was carried in a side pouch, or case, leaving the open end out. Strange to say—this mystery I never could fathom—there was always a faint blue smoke proceeding from the mouth of this tube, like this smoke of a cigarette, though it was perfectly cold and apparently empty. I shall never forget the ﬁrst day on which I asked her to give me a specimen of her powers. I had previously witnessed all the marvels of the Indian conjurers, as well as the ink mirror of the Arab dervishes. Therefore I quietly settled down to enjoy the performance without expecting to be astonished, but only amused. I was astonished, though, to ﬁnd this six feet of humanity, weighing at least eleven stone, standing on my outstretched hand when I opened my eyes (previously closed by her command), and when I could feel not the slightest weight thereon. I was still more so when, still standing on my outstretched palm, she told me to shut my eyes again and reopen them instantaneously. I did so, and she was gone. But that was not all ; while I looked round for her, a stone fell near me, and, looking upwards, I saw her calmly standing on the top of a cliff nearly 500 ft. in height. I naturally thought it was a “double”— that is, another woman dressed like her, and said so to the bystanding natives, who shouted something in the Ephic language to her. Without more ado she walked—not jumped—over the side of the cliff, and with a gentle motion, as though suspended by Mr. Baldwin’s parchute, gradually dropped downwards till she alighted at my feet. My idea always was that this tube of hers was charged with some (to us) unknown ﬂuid, or gas,
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 11 ]
which controlled the forces of nature ; she seemed powerless without it. Further, none of her “ miracles “ was, strictly speaking, non-natural. That is, she seemed able to control natural forces in most astounding ways, even to suspend and overcome them, as in the previous instance of the suspension of the laws of gravitation ; but in no case could she violate them. For instance, although she could take an arm lopped off by a low of a cutlass, and, holding it to the stump, pretend to mutter some gibberish while she carefully passed her reed round the place of union (in a second of time complete union was effected, without a tract of previous injury), yet, when I challenged her to make an arm sprout from the stump of our quartermaster, who had lost his left forearm in action some years before, she was unable to do so, and candidly declared her inability. She Said, “ It is dead : I have no power. “ And over nothing dead had she any power. After seeing her change toads into tic-polongas (the most deadly serpent on the coast), I told her to change a stone into a trade-dollar. But no, the answer was the same—” it was dead.” Her power over life was striking, instantaneous, terrible. The incident in “ She “ of the three blanched ﬁnger-marks on the hair of the girl who loved Kallikrates, and the manner of her death, would have been child’s play to Subè. When she pointed her little reed at a powerful warrior, in my presence a man of vast thews and sinews—with a bitter, hissing curse, he simply faded away. The muscles began to shrink visibly, and within three minutes’ space he was actually an almost ﬂeshless skeleton. Again, in her towering rage against a woman, the same action was followed by instantaneous results. But instead of withering, the woman absolutely petriﬁed there and then ; and, standing erect; motionless, her whole body actually froze as hard as stone, as we see the carcasses of beasts in Canada. A blow from my revolver on the hand (and, afterwards, all over the body) rang as if I were striking marble. Until I saw this actually done I must confess that I never really believed in Lot’s wife being turned into a pillar of rock salt. After it, I was disposed to believe a good deal. One of the things which most impressed me was when she poured water from a calabash into a little cavity scooped by her hands in the soft earth. That this was nothing but water I satisﬁed myself by the taste. Telling me to kneel down and gaze steadfastly on the surface of the water, she told’ me to call for any person whom I might wish to see. And here a rather curious point arose. She insisted on having the name ﬁrst. I gave her the name of a relative, Lewis, which she repeated after me three times
[ 12 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
to get it ﬁxed correctly on her memory. In repeating her incantation, a few minutes afterwards she pronounced the word “ Louise, “ though I did not pay much attention to it at the time. When, however, her wand was waved over the water, evolving clouds of luminous smoke, and I saw distinctly reﬂected in it, after those clouds had passed away, the face and form of a relative of mine standing in front of an audience, evidently reciting some composition, I told her she bad made a mistake. I did not acknowledge to having seen anything for some time, but at last I told her that it was the wrong person. Then, naturally, argument followed. She insisted that I said “ Louise. “ However, at last, I taught her the correct pronunciation of Lewis, and I saw the man I wanted, sitting with his feet elevated above his head, more Americano, and calmly pufﬁng his pipe while reading a letter. I need scarcely say that I veriﬁed the time at which these things occurred ; and in both instances I found them; allowing for the difference in longitude, absolutely and exactly correct. Space will not allow, or I could go on for hours relating the wonders that I have seen Subè perform. And the most wonderful all I have left untold, because they seem, even to myself, utterly incredible. Yet they are there, burned into my brain ever since that awful night when I was a concealed and unsuspected witness of the awful rites and mysteries of the Obeeyah in the caverns of the Cameroons. R. D.
What I Know of Obeeyahism. by the Author of the Original of “She.”
15 February 1890 Pall Mall Gazette
THE unexpected and extraordinary amount of interest excited by my article in the Pall Mall Gazette of the 3rd ult., and the numberless letters of inquiry which I have received, have decided me to give a few particulars with regard to obeeyahism which will, I think, give all the information my correspondents’ desire. First, then, the very root and essence of obeeyahism is “devil worship “—i.e., the use of rites, ceremonies, adjurations, and hymns to some powerful and personal spirit of evil, whose favour is obtained by means of orgies which for horror, blasphemy, and obscenity cannot have been exceeded—if, indeed, they have ever been equalled—in the history of the world. These things are too utterly horrible even to be hinted at. It is the fashion at present to deny the existence of Satan, Shaitan, Ahrimanes (or whatever you please to call the incarnation of all evil). But all occults, of whatever school, know that everything in Nature has its counter-part, that you cannot have light without shadow, heat without cold, good without evil, nor yet a personal Deity without an equally personal evil principle. The term Obeeyah (vulg. Obi, pronounced Obee) conveys a truer idea of the sound of the word than Obi, because always after the pronunciation of the last syllable there is the African pant or grunt, which I have roughly endeavoured to represent by the syllable yah-O-bee-yah. One curious fact in connection with the Obeeyah, and which seems almost to link it with bygone ages as a remnant of the old serpent worship is that we read in the Mosaic Scriptures about the “Witch of Endor.” The Hebrew phrase, thus freely rendered by the translators, literally means “one who asks or consults O-B—not Ob, but O—B, the combination of the two letters signifying “a serpent.” Now, the Obeeyah women always wore a serpent
[ 14 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
on the head, and some of them would even have a live one twisted round their necks. Some of my correspondents, I am glad to ﬁnd, mention feats which to their own knowledge, or by the testimony of unimpeachable witnesses, have been performed by Indian and other operators, and which certainly approach in some degree the marvellous feats of Subè. I shall have more to say about her powers directly ; but in the meantime I will mention a feat done by a party of Hindoos. They ﬁnished their al fresco performance by building a ladder of long and short pieces of bamboo, balancing it on end on the earth, and ascending to the top, and disappearing there and then from the gaze of the spectators ! Now, this feat, simplicity itself when compared with what I have seen was vouched for by a man of unimpeachable veracity, great acumen and “smartness,” as having been seen by him—no less a personage than the late Rev. Norman Macleod, D.D., her Majesty’s chaplain in Scotland. Again, the book on the subject of Indian Magic, written (from his own experience) by the late Dr. Hunter, of Wilton-place (father of the perhaps better known surgeon of the same address), will be found to contain many examples quite as startling. What resident in India has not seen “the mango-trick”? A mango seed or orange pip planted in a ﬂower-pot full of earth ; a cloth thrown over it, an incantation muttered, and the cloth rises to a height of three or four feet ; a luxuriant young tree being then unveiled. It is again covered and rises, almost instantaneously, higher; the cloth removed shows a large shrub covered with blossom. Again the process is repeated, and ﬁnally a tree covered with ripe fruit is shown. The performers gather and distribute the fruit, which is eaten by the bystanders. Once more the cloth is thrown over the tree and at the word of command it rapidly sinks down to the ground. When removed for the last time there is nothing but the large ﬂower-pot, in which the operator digs with his ﬁnger and produces the original seed. Now, they do this in your own compound on hard earth or stones, on a chunam pavement as hard as granite, or anywhere you like ; and, as they are perfectly naked, with the exception of a cummerbund (wrapped like a waist-cloth and bathing-drawers), it is evident that nothing can be concealed. These are generally travelling “jugglers”—as they are called by the British. Again, “ the basket-trick,” a wretched imitation of which has been shown in England, is equally common. As I said before, with bare trunk and legs, they take a little girl about four years of age, and on hard ground
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 15 ]
place her under an old hamper or rice basket, scarcely large enough to cover her kneeling down. It is made to do so, however, and the child pressed to the ground by one of the men sitting on it. The other then begins his invocations, and taking a tulwar (sword), as sharp as a razor, thrusts it rapidly and furiously through and through the old basket in every direction, leaving not an inch untouched. The shrieks of the child are fearful, the blood spouts along the blade, the man sitting on the basket has evidently difﬁculty in keeping the child down by reason of her terrible struggles, which gradually grow fainter and fainter, as do her shrieks, until at last all is over. A deathly stillness prevails, the “ juggler” calmly wipes the blood from his sword and lifts up the basket. There is nothing there ! The crowd opens, and the child comes running into the circle unharmed. Now, thousands of English ofﬁcers and civilians have seen these two feats, and will vouch for them upon their honour. I have only mentioned them to prepare to some extent the minds of my readers for one or two more things I intend to relate which I have seen Subè do. Parenthetically, I would observe that the Hindoo conjurers always employ a little girl, and are unable to perform the feat with a boy—why, I have not quite been able to fathom, although I have a theory on the point. Also I can produce a lady now living, the daughter of an English missionary, who was operated on in the manner described, to the great terror of her mother, who witnessed the performance, and was only presented from jumping from the ﬂat roof of the bungalow into the compound to save her child through being held fast by the missionary, who had seen the performance frequently, and knew the child would be unharmed. That lady, like all the other female children whom I have seen, put under the basket, and afterwards closely questioned, has not the slightest recollection of the fact. Her father and mother, with others, can, however, substantiate the circumstance. The Obeeyah seem to worship the arch-demon under different forms: Subè, of the Cameroons, and her tribe believing that he occupied the body of a man-eating spider, to whom they offered living human beings. I shall most probably, enter fully into this subject, and give a description of one of these sacriﬁces in my forthcoming book, “ Subè, the Obeeyah, “ a work of professed ﬁction. Its readers will have to decide for themselves how much is absolute matter of fact—whether all or none—and how much imagination. It will not be my part to give any clue to the student of occultism;
[ 16 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
it may convey many new ideas, and indicate the true lines on which his investigations should proceed : to the holiday maker and simple novelreader it will certainly give a fresh and hitherto unexperienced sensation. One point alone, the awful and mysterious bar placed by Subè between the hero and his love Ismè, the granddaughter of the Obeeyah woman, has never before been attempted—never even been dreamed of by the wildest romaces of ﬁction. Neither has anything like the terrible death of Ismè through the magical arts of Subè, ever been imagined. But enough of this : let me revert for a moment to the religion of the Obeeyah before I give some further details of Subè’s powers. And here I do not think that I am committing a breach of conﬁdence in quoting two sentences from the private journal of a gentleman (Mr. G. Wilmot Brooke) who has just returned from the Congo. He says “A very curious, institution of the place is the Egbo, or Ekpè, secret society. Egbo, or Ekpè, is supposed to be a mysterious person who lives in the jungle, from which he has to be brought, and whither he must be brought back and loosed by the initiates alone, after any great State ceremonial. All initiates are bound together by a bond like Freemasonry. The more I inquire, the more I have got mystiﬁed by its many ramiﬁcations, its religion, and its social aspect. The people recognize two persons—Abusi buni (God) and Ekpè or Egbo (Satan).” Now, although it is “ a far cry” from the Congo to, the Cameroons, yet it is a curious and signiﬁcant fact that while the Obeeyah recognize no God nor a beneﬁcent spirit of any kind, yet the name which they give to the demon whom they believe to be incarnated in the form of the Terrible Spider is Egbe, which is evidently derived from the same root as Egbo or Ekpè. In my ﬁrst article I stated that none of Subè’s marvellous powers was non-natural ; but I scarcely think that I made my meaning sufﬁciently clear. I must premise that she professed to exercise “all power” at ﬁrst; and my chief amusement in the weeks in which I was kept a prisoner by her (and undergoing the process of being fattened up to form an appetising bonne bouche for the spider god) was in proving to her that she not do this, that, and the other—in fact, what schoolboys call “ setting her cappers.” Vide the instance of the stone and trade dollar. But on what I call “natural lines“ she was perfect. Thus, when she took up a toad to change it into a tic-polonga, it was not done by any word of command, or “word of power” (as in Hindoo and Talmudic magic), but she rolled it between her bands for a few moments, and pulled and manipulated it
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 17 ]
until it was more like a lizard than anything, having distinctly the legs intact. The next process was to rub away the legs, the body all the time gradually lengthening ; and, last of all, to manipulate the head, and putting her ﬁngers into its mouth, pull out and develop the long, ﬂexible, split tongue of the serpent. When we wanted food, it was only a variety of the Indian “mango trick.” If mealies were wanted she would plant a grain of mace in the earth, and gaze steadfastly upon the place, her lips moving, but no audible sounds issuing from them. In a few moments (no covering up) a bright green shoot would come up, which grew and grew, and in ﬁve minutes’ time was a considerable tuft of mealies (Indian corn), every head ripe and ﬁt for use. She would gather these and boil them for our dinners : but I always noticed that within half an hour the stalks, leaves, &c., of the plants had turned black, wet, and rotten., although the food was satisfactory. A curious point here. Unknown to her, I one day abstracted one of the mealies so produced, and after we had had a good feed, I went out to examine it. It was only two hours after its production, but it had begun already to decay, and in a little more time was absolutely perished. As I said just now, I delighted in showing her her incapacity. Thus, I used to challenge her to produce an orange tree from a mango seed or plantains from mealies ; but this was entirely beyond her power. Give her a seed a leaf, or a portion of the plant required, and she could do it ; but she could never in any single instance “gather grapes from thorns, or ﬁgs from thistles.” Likewise, from an egg she would develop a full-grown bird in a few minutes, but she could not turn a bird into a monkey, nor a ﬁsh into a lynx. The towering rages she used to get into on these occasions generally used to end in a series of violent epileptic ﬁts. She tried all the resources of her magical arts upon me ; but I was proof against any charm in the world but one, and that was one with which she was unacquainted. I possessed a talisman, given me by Bulwer Lytten (who also taught me the use of it), which not only enabled me to defy all her spells, incantations, and curses, but which was eventually the means, not only of her death, but of her absolute annihilation. Still this talisman, ancient and powerful as it was, could only preserve from mimical magical processes, and demoniac agencies ; it could not protect from death or ordinary physical dangers. Such a talisman has yet to be discovered.
[ 18 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
When Subè wanted to kill an animal, serpent, or anything else, either for food or other purposes, she simply pointed her tube at it with a steady gaze, as though taking aim with a revolver. Nothing ever appeared to issue from the tube : but in a few moments the animal appeared surrounded by a kind of reddish cloud or thin vapour through which its dying struggles could be seen. On examination, no perforation or injury of any kind could be found. I believe that Subè could do this at any distance ; she could certainly do it up to 800 yards. But the most terrible example, to my mind, of her power was in the transformation of the sexes. One day, being offended with a chief, who sought in vain to pacify her, she said to him. “ I will degrade you and you shall become a woman! “ Placing her hands upon him while be stood powerless as though turned to stone—his eyeballs staring in horror—she commenced her manipulations. Beginning with his face she rubbed away every vestige of beard and moustache. The prominent cheek bones fell in and the smooth rounded face of a woman became apparent. Next the powerful biceps and triceps were rubbed down, and the lank lean aim of the African woman appeared. Next, seizing hold of his vast pectoral muscles, she began a different process, pinching up and pulling them out until there were shortly visible well-developed mammae. And so she proceeded, from head to foot, until, in less than ten minutes, every vestige of manhood had disappeared, and there stood before us a hulking, clumsy, knock-kneed woman. Transformations of another kind, and of the most hideous character, were a feature of the orgies which constituted the worship of the demon. During the frantic dances which took place, and over which Subè presided, there was a certain amount of transformation of the faces to the resemblance of certain animals, while the bodies remained human. Not all kinds of animals, only apes, goats, and serpents, were represented ; yet while human lineaments were still traceable, the resemblance to these loathsome objects was utterly horrible, and more like an awful nightmare than anything else. When I was a boy at school I used to read the Greek, Roman, and other mythologies, and when I carne across the transformations of Circe, and descriptions of satyrs, centaurs, &c., I used to admire the vivid imaginations of the ancients. But ever since I witnessed, long years ago, the awful powers of Obeeyah, I genuinely believe that those old writers only related what was actually matter of common knowledge at the time. As to centaurs I don’t know ; but as to
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 19 ]
the former existence of satyrs, the transformations of Circe, and the petrifying action of the Medusa’s head, I am as certain as I am of my own existence. ROSLYN D’ONSTON.
African Magic By Tau-Triadelta
Lucifer, November, 1890
Before we enter into the subject of the occult art as practised on the West Coast of Africa, it will be well to clear the ground by ﬁrst considering for a moment what we mean by the much-abused term “Magic.” There are many deﬁnitions of this word; and, in bygone ages, it was simply used to designate anything and everything which was “not understanded of the vulgar.” It will be sufﬁcient for our purpose to deﬁne it as the knowledge of certain natural laws which are not merely unknown but absolutely unsuspected by the scientists of Europe and America. It is a recognized fact that no law of Nature can be – even for a single moment – abrogated. When, therefore, this appears to us to be the case – when, for instance, such a universally known law as that of the attraction of gravitation seems to be annihilated, we must recognize the fact that there may be other laws at present unknown to Western science which have the power of overriding and suspending for the time being the action of the known law. The knowledge of these hidden laws is what we understand by the term occult science, or magic. And there is no other magic than this, and never has been, at any period of the world’s history. All the so-called “miracles” of ancient times can be and are reproduced at the present day by magists when occasion requires. An act of magic is a pure scientiﬁc feat, and must not be confounded with legerdemain or trickery of any kind. There are several schools of magism, all proceeding and operating on entirely different lines. The principal of these, and on whose philosophy all others are founded, are the Hindu; the Thibetan, the Egyptian (including
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 21 ]
the Arab) and the Obeeyan or Voodoo. The last named is entirely and fundamentally opposed to the other three: it having its root and foundation in necromancy or “black magic,” while the others all operate either by means of what is known to experts as “white magic,” or in other cases by “psychologizing” the spectator. And, a whole crowd of spectators can be psychologized and made at the will of the operator to see and feel whatever things he chooses, all the time being in full possession of their ordinary faculties. Thus, perhaps a couple of travelling fakirs give their performance in your own compound or in the garden of your bungalow. They erect a small tent and tell you to choose any animal which you wish to see emerge therefrom. Many different animals are named in rotation by the bystanders, and in every case the desired quadruped, be he tiger or terrier dog, comes out of the opening in the canvas and slowly marches off until he disappears round some adjacent corner. Well, this is done simply by “psychologizing,” as are all the other great Indian feats, such as “the basket trick” “the mango tree,” throwing a rope in the air and climbing up it, pulling it up and disappearing in space, and the thousand and one other similar performances which are “familiar as household words” to almost every Anglo-Indian. The difference between these schools and that of the Voodoo or Obeeyah is very great, because in them there is a deception or want of reality in the performance. The spectator does not really see what he fancies he sees: his mind is simply impressed by the operator and the effect is produced. But in African magic, on the contrary, there is no will impression: the observer does really and actually see what is taking place. The force employed by the African necromancers is not psychological action but demonosophy. White magists have frequently dominated and employed inferior spirits to do their bidding, as well as invoked the aid of powerful and beneﬁcent ones to carry out their purposes. But this is an entirely different thing: The spirits which are naturally maleﬁcent become the slaves of the magist, and he controls them and compels them to carry out his beneﬁcent plans. The necromancer, or votary of black magic, is, on the contrary, the slave of the evil spirit to whom he has given himself up. While the philosophy of the magist demands a life of the greatest purity and the practice of every virtue, while he must utterly subdue and have in perfect control all his desires and appetites, mental and physical, and must become simply an embodied intellect, absolutely purged from
[ 22 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
all human weakness and pusillanimity, the necromancer must outrage and degrade human nature in every way conceivable. The very least of the crimes necessary for him (or her) to commit to attain the power sought is actual murder, by which the human victim essential to the sacriﬁce is provided. The human mind can scarcely realise or even imagine one tithe of the horrors and atrocities actually performed by the Obeeyah women. Yet, though the price is awful, horrible, unutterable, the power is real. There is no possibility of mistake about that. Every petty king on the West Coast has his “rain-maker.” It is the fashion among travellers, and the business of the missionaries, to ridicule and deny the powers of these people. But they do possess and do actually use the power of causing storms of rain, wind, and lightning. When one considers that however ignorant and brutal a savage may be, yet that he has an immense amount of natural cunning, and his very ignorance makes him believe nothing that cannot be proved to him, no “rain-maker” could live for one year unless he gave repeated instances of his powers when required by the king. Failure would simply mean death. And the hypothesis that they only work their conjurations when the weather is on the point of change is only an invention of the missionaries. The native chiefs are, like all savages, able to detect an approaching change of weather many hours before it takes place. And is it at all likely that they would send for the rain-maker and give him sufﬁcient cattle to last him for twelve months, besides wives and other luxuries, if there were the slightest appearance of approaching rain? I remember well my ﬁrst experience of these wizards. For weeks and weeks there had been no rain, although it was the rainy season. The mealies were all dying for want of water; the cattle were being slaughtered in all directions; women and children had died by scores, and the ﬁghting men were beginning to do the same, being themselves scarcely more than skeletons. Day after day, the sun glared down on the parched earth, without one intervening cloud, like a globe of glowing copper, and all Nature languished in that awful furnace. Suddenly the king ordered the great war drum to be beaten, and the warriors all gathered hurriedly. He announced the arrival of two celebrated rain-makers, who would forthwith proceed to relieve the prevailing distress. The elder of the two was a stunted, bow-legged little man, with wool which would have been white had it not been messed up with grease, ﬁlth and feathers. The
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 23 ]
second was rather a ﬁne specimen of the Soosoo race, but with a very sinister expression. A large ring being formed by the squatting negroes, who came – for some unknown reason – all armed to the teeth, the king being in the centre, and the rain-makers in front of him, they commenced their incantations. The zenith and the horizon were eagerly examined from time to time, but not a vestige of a cloud appeared. Presently the elder man rolled on the ground in convulsions, apparently epileptic, and his comrade started to his feet pointing with both hands to the coppercolored sky. All eyes followed his gesture, and looked at the spot to which his hands pointed, but nothing was visible. Motionless as a stone statue he stood with gaze rivetted on the sky. In about the space of a minute a darker shade was observable in the copper tint, in another minute it grew darker and darker, and, in a few more seconds developed into a black cloud, which soon overspread the heavens. In a moment, a vivid ﬂash was seen, and the deluge that fell from that cloud, which had now spread completely overhead, was something to be remembered. For two days and nights that torrent poured down, and seemed as if it would wash everything out of the ground. After the king had dismissed the rain-makers, and they had deposited the cattle and presents under guard, I entered the hut in which they were lodged, and spent the night with them, discussing the magical art. The hut was about fourteen feet in diameter, strongly built of posts driven ﬁrmly into the ground, and having a strong thatched conical roof. I eventually persuaded them to give me one or two examples of their skill. They began singing, or rather crooning, a long invocation, after a few minutes of which the younger man appeared to rise in the air about three feet from the ground and remain there unsuspended, and ﬂoating about. There was a brilliant light in the hut from a large ﬁre in the centre, so that the smallest detail could be distinctly observed. I got up and went to feel the man in the air, and there was no doubt about his levitation. He then ﬂoated close to the wall and passed through it to the outside. I made a dash for the doorway, which was on the opposite side of the hut, and looked round for him. I saw a luminous ﬁgure which appeared like a man rubbed with phosphorised oil; but I was glad to rapidly take shelter from the torrents of rain. When I re-entered the hut, there was only the old man present. I examined the logs carefully, but there was no aperture whatever. The old man continued his chant, and in another moment his comrade re-appeared ﬂoating in the air. He sat down on the ground, and I
[ 24 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
saw his black skin glistening with rain, and the few rags he wore were as wet as if he had been dipped in a river. The next feat was performed by the old man, and consisted in several instantaneous disappearances and reappearances. The curious point about this was that the old man also was dripping wet. Following this was a very interesting exhibition. By the old man’s directions we arranged ourselves round the ﬁre at the three points of an imaginary triangle. The men waved their hands over the ﬁre in rhythm with their chant when dozens of tic-polongas, the most deadly serpent in Africa, slowly crawled out from the burning embers, and interlacing themselves together whirled in a mad dance on their tails round the ﬁre, making all the while a continuous hissing. At the word of command they all sprang into the ﬁre and disappeared. The young man then came round to me, and, kneeling down, opened his mouth, out of which the head of a tic-polonga was quickly protruded. He snatched it out, pulling a serpent nearly three feet long out of his throat, and threw it also into the ﬁre. In rapid succession he drew seven serpents from his throat, and consigned them all to the same ﬁery end. But I wanted to know what they could do in the way of evocation of spirits. The incantation this time lasted nearly twenty minutes, when, rising slowly from the ﬁre, appeared a human ﬁgure, a man of great age, a white man too, but absolutely nude. I put several questions to him, but obtained no reply. I arose and walked round the ﬁre, and particularly noticed a livid scar on his back. I could get no satisfactory explanation of who he was, but they seemed rather afraid of him, and had evidently – from the remarks they interchanged – expected to see a black man. After the appearance of this white man, I could not persuade them that night to attempt anything more, although the next night I had no difﬁculty with them. A most impressive feat, which they on a subsequent occasion performed, was the old custom of the priests of Baal. Commencing a lugubrious chant they slowly began circling around the ﬁre (which said ﬁre always is an essential part of the proceedings), keeping a certain amount of rhythm in both their movements and cadences. Presently, the movement grew faster and faster till they whirled round like dancing dervishes. There were two distinct movements; all the time during which they were gyrating round the circle, they were rapidly spinning on their own axes. With the rapidity of their evolutions their voices were raised higher and higher until the din was terriﬁc. Then, by a simultaneous
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 25 ]
movement, each began slashing his naked body on arms, chest, and thighs, until they were streaming with blood and covered with deep gashes. Then the old man stopped his erratic course, and sitting down on the ground narrowly watched the younger one with apparent solicitude. The young man continued his frantic exertions until exhausted Nature could bear no more, and he fell panting and helpless on the ground. The old man took both the knives and anointed the blades with some evil smelling grease from a calabash, and then stroked the young man’s body all over with the blade which had done the injuries, and ﬁnished the operation by rubbing him vigorously with the palms of the hands smeared with the unguent. In a few minutes time the young man arose, and there was not the slightest trace of wound or scar in his ebony skin. He then performed the same good ofﬁces on the old man with the same effect. Within ten minutes afterwards they were both laid on their mats in a sweet and quiet sleep. In this performance there were many invocations, gestures, the circular ﬁre, and other things which satisﬁed me that some portion, at all events, of the magical processes of West Africa had been handed down from the days when Baal was an actual God, and mighty in the land.
Dead or Alive
Review of Reviews 1892. (New Year’s Extra Number).
Mr. R. D’Onston sends me the following communication: ‘To those instances in Real Ghost Stories of ghosts who have kept promises made in life to appear to those dear to them, may I add my own experience? The incident occurred to me some years ago, and all the details can be substantiated. The date was August 26th, 1867, at midnight. I was then residing in the neighbourhood of Hull, and held an appointment under the Crown which necessitated my repairing thither every day for a few hours’ duty. My berth was almost a sinecure; and I had been for some time engaged to a young North-country heiress, it being understood that on our marriage I should take her name and “stand for the county”, or rather for one of its divisions. ‘For her sake I had to break off a love affair, not of the most reputable order, with a girl in Hull. I will call her Louise. She was young, beautiful, and devoted to me. On the night of the 26th August we took our last walk together, and a few minutes before midnight paused on a wooden bridge running across a kind of canal, locally termed the “drain”. We paused on the bridge, listening to the swirling current against the wooden piles and waiting for the stroke of midnight to part forever. In the few minutes’ interval she repeated, sotto voce, Longfellow’s Bridge, the words of which, “I stood on the bridge at midnight”, seemed terribly appropriate. After nearly twenty-ﬁve years I can never hear that piece repeated without feeling a deathly chill and the whole scene of two souls in agony again rising before me. Well! midnight struck, and we parted; but Louise said: “Grant me one favour, the only one that I shall ever ask you on this earth, promise to meet me here twelve months to-night at this same hour.” I demurred at ﬁrst, thinking it would be bad for both of us, and only re-open partially healed wounds. At last, however, I consented, saying:
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 27 ]
“Well, I will come if I am alive!” but she said, “Say alive or dead!” I said, “Very well then, we will meet, dead or alive.” ‘The next year I was on the spot a few minutes before the time; and, punctual to the stroke of midnight, Louise arrived. By this time, I had begun to regret the arrangement I had made; but it was of too solemn a nature to be put aside. I therefore kept the appointment, but said that I did not care to renew the compact. Louise, however, persuaded me to renew it for one more year, and I consented, much against my will; and we again left each other repeating the same formula, “Dead or alive”. ‘The next year after that passed rapidly for me until the ﬁrst week in July, when I was shot dangerously in the thigh by a ﬁsherman named Thomas Piles, of Hull, a reputed smuggler. A party of four of us had hired his 10 ton yawl to go yachting round the Yorkshire coast, and amuse ourselves by shooting sea-birds amongst the millions of them at Flamborough Head. The third or fourth day out I was shot in the right thigh by the skipper Piles; and the day after, one and a quarter ounce of No.2 shot were cut therefrom by the coastguard surgeon at Bridlington Quay (whose name I forget for the moment), assisted by Dr. Alexander Mackay, at the Black Lion Hotel. The affair was in all the papers at the time, about a column of it appearing in the Eastern Morning News, of Hull. ‘As soon as I was able to be removed (two or three weeks) I was taken home, where Dr. Kelburne King, of Hull, attended me. The day — and the night — (the 26th August) came. I was then unable to walk without crutches, and that for only a short distance, so had to be wheeled about in a Bath chair. The distance to the trysting being rather long, and the time and circumstances being very peculiar, I did not avail myself of the services of my usual attendant, but specially retained an old servant of the family, who frequently did conﬁdential commissions for me, and who knew Miss Louise well. We set forth “without beat of drum”, and arrived at the bridge about a few minutes to midnight. I remember that it was a brilliant starlight night, but I do not think that there was any moon, at all events, at that hour. “Old Bob”, as he was always affectionately called, wheeled me to the bridge, helped me out of the Bath chair, and gave me my crutch. I walked on to the bridge, and leaned my back against the white painted top rail, then lighted my briar-root, and had a comfortable smoke. ‘I was very much annoyed that I had allowed myself to be persuaded
[ 28 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
to come a second time, and determined to tell “Louise” positively that this should be the last meeting. Besides, now, I did not consider it fair to Miss K., with whom I was again negotiating, en rapport to a certain extent. So, if anything, it was in rather a sulky frame of mind that I awaited Louise. Just as the quarters before the hour began to chime I distinctly heard the “clink, clink” of the little brass heels, which she always wore, sounding on the long ﬂagged causeway, leading for 200 yards up to the bridge. As she got nearer I could see her pass lamp after lamp in rapid succession, while the strokes of the large clock at Hull resounded through the still night. ‘At last the patter, patter of the tiny feet sounded on the woodwork of the bridge, and I saw her distinctly pass under the lamp at the farther end – it was only twenty yards wide, and I stood under the lamp at my side. When she got close to me I saw that she had neither hat nor cape on, and concluded that she had taken a cab to the farther end of the ﬂagged causeway, and (it being a very warm night) had left her wraps in the cab, and for purposes of effect had come the short distance in evening dress. “Clink, clink” went the brass heels, and she seemed about passing me, when I, suddenly urged by an impulse of affection, stretched out my arms to receive her. She passed through them, intangible, impalpable, and as she looked at me I distinctly saw her lips move, and form the words, “Dead or alive”. I even heard the words, but not with my outward ears, with something else, some other sense – what, I know not. I felt startled, surprised, but not afraid, until a moment afterwards, when I felt, but could not see, some other presence following her. I could feel, though I could not hear, the heavy, clumsy “thud” of feet following her; and my blood seemed turned to ice. Recovering myself with an effort, I shouted out to “Old Bob” who was safely ensconced with the Bath chair in a nook out of sight round the corner. “Bob, who passed you just now?” In an instant the old Yorkshireman was by side. “Ne’er a one passed me, sir!” “Nonsense, Bob,” I replied, “I told you that I was coming to meet Miss Louise, and she just passed me on the bridge, and must have passed you, because there’s nowhere else she could go! You don’t mean to tell me you didn’t see her?” The old man replied solemnly, “Maister Ros, there’s something uncanny aboot it. I heerd her come on the bridge, and off it, I’d knaw them clicketty heels onywhere; but I’m dommed, sir, if she passed me. I’m thinking we’d better gang.” And “gang” we did; and it was the small hours of the morning (getting daylight) before we left off talking over the affair, and went to bed.
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 29 ]
‘The next day I made inquiries from Louise’s family about her, and ascertained that she had died in Liverpool three months previously, being apparently delirious for a few hours before her death, and our parting compact evidently weighing on her mind, as she kept repeating “Dead or Alive! Shall I be there?” to the utter bewilderment of her friends, who could not divine her meaning, being of course entirely unaware of our agreement.’
of the life of
(MRS. JOHN BIDDULPH MARTIN)
“Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may ye also do good that are accustomed to do evil.” –Jeremiah xiii. 23. “The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.” –Jeremiah xxxi. 29. “Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart…...that I may discern between good and bad.”—1 Kings iii. 9. “Whom he did foreknow he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his son, that he might be the ﬁrst born among many brethren. Moreover, whom he did predestinate them he also called, and whom he called them he also justiﬁed, and whom he justiﬁed them heal so gloriﬁed.” –Roman viii. 29. “I admonish thee, whosever art that desirest to dive into the inmost parts of nature, if that thou seekest thou ﬁndest not with thee, thou wilt NEVER FIND IT WITHOUT THEE. If thou knowest not the excellency of thine own house, why dost thou seek after the excellency of other things? O man, know thyself; in thee is the treasure of treasures.”—Arabian Alchemist.
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 31 ]
January 6th, 1893. Sitting in the British Museum on this which the Church of England calls the Epiphany or Manifestation of the Gentiles, I am impressed to write of that New Epiphany and that modern Manifestation which I feel to be imminent. To-day the Chaldean Magi came, started from their homes in the far East to a lowly cot in Palestine, where they presented their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to one whom seemed scarcely destined to revolutionise the religious thought and practice of the world. But so it was. Throughout Europe, beyond the Isles of the sea, to the great American continent, faith in that unlikely Messiah was spread until it comes that, at the beginning of the opening year, we have an account of laying the foundation-stone of a cathedral in New York, beside which the cathedrals and ministers of the old country will show as pygmies. And in the shifting of the scene from East to West the old lines have not been abandoned. It is still the Virgin Mother—virgin in mind and spirit, while mother in body—who is to “have the pre-eminence.” Other women have paved the way for the Annus Dominae—the year of our lady. It is not necessary to mention their names. They must decrease while she will increase. The gestation period is over. The new birth began in 1893. The travail pains are past; the nativity passes into Epiphany. NIKH—Victoria! The name is prophetic. Already it is on the lips of the vanguard. Soon it will echo all along the line. By this sign conquer. Such the phrase Which turns to gain a seeming loss ; When, in the antique pagan days, The eagle quailed before the cross. Once more behold the wondrous change The ﬂag ﬂoats white o’er boundless lands, And still, ‘mid mystic signs and strange,
[ 32 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
The ancient legend NIKH stands. Victoria, see us bending low While dawns the crucial Ninety-three, “The royal banners, forward go” To hail thy bright Epiphany.
The Hand of Mrs. Victoria Woodhull Martin.
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 33 ]
A PALMIST, meeting from thirty to forty persons a day, will naturally see many curious and startling hands ; many clever ones—many indicating talent for some particular career—many with power ; but it would be hard to ﬁnd a hand more extraordinary than this. The whole nature is so many-sided—Art, Literature, Commerce—all well marked, all so equal in power, all so crowned with success. Look, for instance, at the Line of the Head ; it is independent of all the other lines ; it rises high on the mount of Jupiter (ﬁrst ﬁnger), and sweeps across the hand, having power and strength to the very last. Its purpose is high ; its ambition strong and ﬁrm ; it is resolute, undaunted, and determined. It ﬁnds an even balance between the mounts of Mars and Luna, thus giving a hold on the two great worlds of life—on the one (Mars) practical common sense and martial vigour; on the other (Luna) the brilliancy of thought of imagination, fervent eloquence, enthusiasm, and the perpetual craving for the ideal ; the longing for the higher life, and the practical application of those higher-life truths to the every-day actions of this work-a-day world. It will be observed that the Line of Head, at its point of rising, comes in contact with a line encircling the ﬁrst ﬁnger, the ﬁnger of Jupiter. The circle has been called, from time immemorial, Solomon’s Ring, and gives to its possessor wisdom, discernment, and marvelous intuition ; whilst at the same time, it seems to unlock the doors of things occult, and initiates its possessor into the secrets of clairvoyance, and the mysteries of life beyond the veil of human doubt and unbelief. Those who possess this sign have the extraordinary power of learning almost without trouble, nothing being too difﬁcult for their minds to grasp at once. This may seem hard to believe, but such is the fact that there are persons like this, who learn without effort; who acquire knowledge in a moment; at whose control there lie inexhaustible stores of thought, and whose mind are for ever giving and reﬂecting the half-forgotten truths of some far-distant age. Such persons have generally some strange destiny to compete, some work left unfulﬁlled by some previous race, and are as unconquerable as the truths whereof they speak. They are like sudden stars on the horizon of humanity ; they attract the world by their leadership ; and, passing on to a higher sphere, they leave behind a world puriﬁed and made better by their presence. The Line of Heart is long and very distinct upon the hand. It will be
[ 34 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
observed that its branches run on and touch the large Mount of Jupiter which has such power. In this matter it takes the qualities of this mount into the life, and carries them to the end. These qualities are:—The power of leadership—the control of others—the great ambition to make all their work a success ; and the never-satisﬁed longing for something higher—the pride of conquering difﬁculties, and the never-ﬂagging energy that knows no rest. From the breadth and formation of the Mount, we get the softer qualities expressed. The love of helping others—the self-denial and selfsacriﬁce—the veneration for the aged, and the earnest cultivation of religion—that is, as it were, the furnace of life in which the thoughts of the soul are moulded and fashioned. Thus the Line of Heart starts ; it suffers keenly and deeply, but it never turns from its high purpose ; it goes on gathering strength from its trials, and is stronger at the end than at the beginning. There is weak action of the heart indicated, which will, I fear, cause illness before the end. This could be avoided by ease and rest, but this nature will never rest ; it has been given energy and ambition for some great purpose, and while that purpose is unaccomplished it will work and labour, asking for life only that it may give life to others, only praying that the work may be ﬁnished before the labourer can work no more. The Line of Life is strongly marked ; at about 15 years of age some decided change is told, probably Marriage. There is great responsibility attached to this change, and it seems to affect the whole afterlife ; this change does not last long, trouble and disappointment are the result. There is again an important change at about thirty, and this seems to be the real starting point of the great purpose of the heart; from that orb great success is shown, but all for the furtherance of the work that by this time lies close at hand. Now, looking to the Line of Fate, we ﬁnd that it appears on the hand with power and strength ; it sends branches up to almost every ﬁnger ; one to the ﬁnger of Mercury giving success in business, and of another to the third, giving dramatic power and success in a public life ; while the third branch is the great line of Desitny itself, and by its termination it foretells a great future, and ambition gratiﬁed before the end of life. There is a complete change of climate marked on this line, and also on the Line of Life ; it denotes that two countries will hold the affections, but that the land in which the great work of the heart commenced will be the
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 35 ]
land destined to see its ultimate perfection. There will be power and fame offered to these hands ; money will come from almost every clime in the furtherance of the work in which they will be engaged. There will be a high position of dignity and importance offered ; there will be position and power given, but with tremendous responsibility. These hands will govern and care for millions ; their inﬂuence is extended far and wide, and before the end is reached there comes a struggle, greater than all the battles of the past, a struggle with grave issues at stake, a battle for a great purpose. It is long ; there is incessant travelling and fatigue ; it is victorious ;—the highest point in life is gained; glory and honour come from all sides ; the very enemies of life are humbled ; they come to kiss the hands they once despised; they come too late! the hands that led to -victory are clasped in death. The end is given at about seventy, the end of life; a history that will yet be written in the annals of nations; a life devoted to the people’s good ; a life that, passing away, will leave behind: “ Footprints on the Sands of Time.” CHEIRO, the Palmist.
106, NEW BOND ST., LONDON, W. 30th September, 1892.
[ 36 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
Sketches of Victoria C. Woodhull’s Life.
THE following is taken from the Toronto Mail, Canada, which was published twenty-one years ago : Victoria Claﬂin Woodhull ; a young woman, whose career has been as singular as any heroine’s in a romance ; whose ability is of a rare, and whose character of the rarest, type ; whose personal sufferings are of themselves a whole drama of pathos ; whose name (through the malice of some and the ignorance of others) has caught a shadow in strange contrast with the whiteness of her life; whose position as a representative of her sex in the greatest reform of modern times, renders her an object of peculiar interest to her fellow citizens. In Homer, Ohio, in a picturesque cottage, white-painted and high-peaked, with a porch running round it and a ﬂower garden in front, this daughter, the seventh of ten children of Roxana and Buckman Claﬂin, was born September 23rd, 1838. As this was the year when Queen Victoria was crowned, the new-born babe was immediately christened as the Queen’s namesake ; her parents little dreaming that their daughter would one day aspire to a higher seat than the English throne. The Queen, with that early matronly predilection which her subsequent life has done so much to illustrate, foresaw that many glad mothers, who were to bring babies into the world during the coronation year, would name them after the chief lady of the earth ; and accordingly she ordained a gift to all her little namesakes of Anno Domini 1838. Mrs. Woodhull, who was a candidate for the Presidency of the United States, should defer her visit to receive that gift till after her election, when she will have a beautiful opportunity to invite her elder sister
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 37 ]
in sovereignty, the mother of our mother country—to visit her fairest daughter, the Republic of the West. Victoria’s school-days comprised, all told, fewer than three years—stretching, with broken intervals, between her eighth and eleventh. The aptest learner of her class, she was the pet alike of scholars and teacher. Called “ The Little Queen “ (not only from her name, but her demeanour), she bore herself with mimic royalty, like one born to command. Fresh and beautiful, her countenance being famed throughout the neighbourhood for its striking spirituality, modest yet energetic, and restive from the overfulness of an inward energy, such as quickened the young blood of Joan of Arc, she was a child of genius. The little old head on the little shoulders was often bent over her school book at the midnight hour. She acquired her studies, performed her work, and lived her life by the help (as she believes) of Heavenly spirits. From her childhood till now, her anticipation of the other world has been more vivid than her realisation of this. She has entertained angels, and not unawares. The gracious guests have been her constant companions. They abide with her night and day. They dictate her life with daily revelation ; and, like St. Paul, she is “ not disobedient to the Heavenly vision. ” She goes and comes at their behest. Her enterprises are not the coinage of her own brain, but of their divine invention. Her writings and speeches are the products, not only of their indwelling in her soul, but of their absolute control of her brain and tongue. Like a good Greek of the olden time, she does nothing without consulting her oracles. Never, as she avers, have they deceived her ; nor ever will she neglect their decrees. One-third of the human life is passed in sleep ; and in her case a goodly fragment of this third is spent in trance. Seldom a day goes by but she enters into this fairy land, or, rather, spirit realm. She is a religious devotee—her simple theology being an absorbing faith in God and the angels. Moreover, I may as well mention here, as later, that every characteristic utterance which she gives to the world is dictated while under spirit inﬂuence, and most often in a totally unconscious state. The words that fall from her lips are gathered by the swift pen of her sister Tennessee, and, published almost verbatim as she gets and gives them. To take an illustration, after her recent nomination to the presidency of “The Victoria League,” she sent to that committee a letter marked by superior dignity and moral weight. It was a composition which she had dictated while so outwardly oblivious to the dictation that, when she ended and awoke, she had no memory at all of what she had
[ 38 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
just done. The product of that strange and weird mood was a beautiful piece of English, not unworthy of Macaulay ; and, to prove what I say, I adduce the following eloquent passage, which (I repeat) was published without change as it fell from her unconscious lips :—”I ought not to pass unnoticed,” she says, “your courteous and graceful allusion to what you deem the favouring omen of my name. It is true that a Victoria rules the great rival nation opposite to us on the other shore of the Atlantic, and it might grace the amity just sealed between the two nations, and be a security of peace, if a twin sisterhood of Victoria were to preside over the two nations. It is true, also, that in its clear etymology the name signiﬁes Victory ! and the victory for the right is what we are bent on securing. It is again true, also, that to some minds there is a consonant. harmony between the idea and the word, so that its euphonious utterance seems, to their imaginations, to be itself a genius of success. However this may be, I have sometimes imagined that there is, perhaps, something providential and prophetic in the fact that my parents were prompted to confer on me a name which forbids the very thought of failure ; and as the great Napoleon believed in the star of his destiny, you will, at least, excuse me, and charge it to the credulity of the woman, if I also believe in the fatality of triumph as somehow inhering in my name.” This (she says) she derives from the spirit world. One of her texts is : “I will lift up mine eyes to the hills whence cometh my help—my help cometh from the Lord who made heaven and earth.” She reminded me of the old engraving of St. Gregory, dictating his homilies under the outspread wing of the Holy Dove. It has been so from childhood. So that her school studies were, literally, a daily miracle. She would glance at a page and know it by heart. The tough little mysteries which bother the bewildered brains of the county-school dullards were always to her as vivid as the sunshine, and when sent on errands she believes she has been lifted over the ground by her angelic helpers—”lest she should dash her foot against a stone.” When she had anything to carry, an unseen hand would always carry it for her. All this may seem an illusion to everybody else, but will never be other than a reality to her. Let me cite some details of these: spiritual phenomena, curious in themselves, and illustrating the forces that impel her career. “My spiritual vision,” she says, “dates back as early as my third year.” In Victoria’s birthplace, a young woman, about twenty-ﬁve years of age, who had been Victoria’s nurse, suddenly died. On the day of her death, Victoria was picked up by the departing spirit and borne off into the spirit
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 39 ]
world. To this day Mrs. Woodhull describes vividly her childish sensations as she felt herself gliding through the air—like St. Catherine winged away by the angels. Her mother testiﬁes that, while this scene was enacting to her child’s inner consciousness, her little body lay as if dead for three hours. Two of her sisters, who had died in childhood, were constantly with her. She would talk to them as a girl tattles to dolls. They were her most fascinating playmates, and she never cared for any others while she had their invisible society. In her tenth year, one day, while sitting by the side of a cradle rocking a sick babe to sleep, she says that two angels came, and, gently pushing her away, began to fan the child with their white hands until its face grew fresh and rosy. Her mother then suddenly entered the chamber, and beheld in amazement the little nurse lying in a trance on the ﬂoor, her face turned upward towards the ceiling, and the pining babe apparently in the bloom of youth. The chief among her spiritual visitants, and one who has been a majestic guardian to her from the earliest years of her remembrance, she describes as a matured man, of stately ﬁgure, clad in a Greek tunic, solemn and graceful in his aspect, strong in his inﬂuence. For many years, notwithstanding an almost daily visit to her vision, he withheld his name, nor would her most importunate questionings induce him to utter it. But he always promised that in due time he would reveal his identity. Meanwhile, he prophesied to her that she would rise to great distinction ; that she would publish and conduct a journal ; and that, ﬁnally, to crown her career, she would become the ruler of her people. At last, after patiently waiting on this spirit guide for twenty years, one day, in 1868, during a temporary sojourn at Pittsburg, and while she was sitting at a marble table, he suddenly appeared to her, and wrote on the table in Englishletters the name “Demosthenes.” At ﬁrst the writing was indistinct, but grew to such a lustre that the brightness ﬁlled the room. The apparition, familiar as it had been before, now affrighted her to trembling. The stately and commanding spirit told her to journey to New York, where she would ﬁnd at 17 Great James Street a house in readiness for her, equipped in all things to her use and taste. She unhesitatingly obeyed, although she never before had heard of Great James Street, nor until that revelatory moment had entertained an intention of taking such a residence. On entering the house, it fulﬁlled in reality the picture which she saw of it in her vision— the self-same hall, stairways, rooms, and furniture. Entering with some bewilderment into the library, she reached out her hand by chance, and,
[ 40 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
without knowing what she did, took up a book which, on idly looking at its title, she saw, to her blood-chilling astonishment, to be “The Orations of Demosthenes.” From that time onwards the Greek statesman has been more palpably than in her earlier years her prophetic monitor, mapping out the life which she must follow, as a chart for a ship sailing the sea. She believes him to be her familiar spirit—the author of her public policy, and the inspirer of her published words. Without intruding my own opinion as to the authenticity of this inspiration, I have often thought that, if Demosthenes could arise and speak English, he could hardly excel the ﬁerce light and heat of some of the sentences which I have heard from this singular woman in her glowing hours. Previous to this there had occurred the remarkable incident which more than ever conﬁrmed her faith in the guardianship of spirits. One day, during the severe illness of her son, she left him to visit her parents, and, on her return, was startled with the news that the boy had died two hours before. “No !” she exclaimed, “I will not permit his death.” And with frantic energy she stripped her bosom naked, caught up his lifeless form, pressed it to her own, and sitting thus, ﬂesh to ﬂesh, glided insensibly into a trance, in which she remained seven hours, at the end of which time she awoke ; a perspiration started from his clammy skin, and the child that had been thought dead was brought back again to life—and lives to this day. It is her belief that the spirit of Jesus Christ brooded over the lifeless form, and re-wrought the miracle of Lazarus for a sorrowing woman’s sake. The malice of enemies, together with her bold opinion on social questions, has combined to give her reputation a stain. But no slander ever fell on any human soul with greater injustice. A more unsullied woman does not walk the earth. She carries in her very face the fair legend of a character kept pure by a sacred ﬁre within. She is one of those aspiring devotees who tread the earth merely as a stepping-stone to Heaven, and whose chief ambition is ﬁnally to present herself at the supreme tribunal “spotless, and without wrinkle or blemish, or any such thing.” Knowing her as well as I do, I cannot hear an accusation against her without recalling Tennyson’s line of King Arthur “Is thy white blamelessness; accounted blame?” Fulﬁlling a previous prophecy, and following a celestial mandate, in 1869 she founded a bank and published a journal. These two events took the town by storm. When the doors of her ofﬁce in Broad Street
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 41 ]
were ﬁrst thrown open to the public, several thousand visitors came in a ﬂock on the ﬁrst day to see the “lady brokers,” as they were called. The daily press interviewed them ; the weekly wits satirised them ; the comic sheets caricatured them ; but, like a couple of fresh dolphins, breasting the sea side by side, they showed themselves native to the element, and cleft gracefully every threatening wave that broke over their heads. The breakers could not dash the brokers. Indomitable in their energy, the sisters won the good graces of Commodore Vanderbilt—who of all the lower animals prefers the horse, and of all higher virtues admires pluck. , Both with and without Commodore Vanderbilt’s help, Mrs. Woodhull has more than once shown the pluck that has the rein of the stock market as the Commodore holds his horse. Her journal, as one seeks it week by week, is generally a willow basket full of audacious manuscripts, stunning the reader with a medley of politics, ﬁnance, and a new version of the Bible. In 1870, following the English plan of self-nomination, Mrs. Woodhull announced herself as a candidate for the Presidency—mainly for the purpose of drawing public attention to the claims of women to political equality with man. She accompanied this announcement with a series of papers in the Herald on politics and ﬁnance, which have since been collected in a volume entitled “The Principles of Government.” She has lately received a more formal nomination to that high ofﬁce by “The Victoria League,” an organisation which, being somewhat Jacobinical in its secrecy, is popularly supposed, though not deﬁnitely known, to be presided over by Commodore Vanderbilt, who is also similarly imagined to be the golden corner-stone of the business house of Woodhull, Claﬂin, & Co. Should she be elected to the high seat to which she aspires (an event concerning which I make no prophecy), I am at least sure that she would excel any queen now on any throne in her native faculty to govern others. One night in December, 1869, when she lay in deep sleep, her Greek guardian came to her, and, sitting transﬁgured by her couch, wrote on a scroll (so that she could not only see the words, but immediately dictated them to her watchful amanuensis) the memorable document now known in history as “The Memorial of Victoria C. Woodhull“—a petition addressed to Congress, claiming under the fourteenth amendment the right of women, as of other citizens of the United States, to vote in “the States wherein they reside”—asking, moreover, that the State of New York, of which she was a citizen, should be restrained, by Federal
[ 42 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
authority, from preventing the exercise of this constitutional right. The document was shown to a number of friends, including one eminent judge, who ridiculed its logic and conclusions. But the lady herself, from whose sleeping, and yet unsleeping, brain the strange document had sprung like Minerva from the head of Jove, simply answered that her antique instructor, having never misled her before, was guiding her aright then. Nothing doubting, but much wondering, she took the novel demand to Washington, where, after a few days of laughing from the shallowminded, and of neglect from the indifferent, it suddenly burst upon the Federal Capital like a storm, and then spanned like a rainbow. She went before the Judiciary Committee, and delivered an argument in support of her claim to the franchise under the new amendments, which some who heard it pronounced as one of the ablest efforts which they have ever heard on any subject. She caught the listening ears of Senator Carpenter, General Butler, Judge Woodward, George W. Julien, General Ashley, Judge Loughridge, and other able statesmen in Congress, and harnessed these gentlemen as steeds to her chariot. Such was the force of her appeal that the whole city rushed together to hear it, like the Athenians to the market-place when Demosthenes stood in his own and not a borrowed clay. A great audience, one of the ﬁnest ever gathered in the capital, assembled to hear her defend her thesis in the ﬁrst public speech of her life. At the moment of rising, her face was observed to be very pale, and she appeared about to faint. On being afterwards questioned as to the cause of her emotion, she replied that, during the ﬁrst prolonged moment, she remembered an early prediction of her guardian-spirit, until then forgotten, that she would one day speak in public, and that her ﬁrst discourse would be pronounced in the capital of her country, The sudden fulﬁlment of this prophecy smote her so violently that for a moment she was stunned into apparent unconsciousness. But she recovered herself, and passed through the ordeal with great success, which is better luck than happened to the real Demosthenes, for Plutarch mentions that his maiden speech was a failure, and that he was laughed at by the people. Assisted by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Paulina Wright Davis, Isabella Beecher Hooker, Susan B. Anthony, and other staunch and able women, whom she swiftly persuaded into accepting this construction of the Constitution, she succeeded, after her petition was denied by a majority of the Judiciary Committee, in obtaining a minority report in its favour, signed jointly
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 43 ]
by General Benjamin F. Butler, of Massachusetts, and Judge Loughridge, of Iowa. To have clutched this report from General Butler—as if it were the scalp front the ablest head in the House of Representatives—was a sufﬁcient trophy to entitle the brave lady to an enrolment in the political history of her country. Her personal appearance deﬁes portrayal whether by photograph or by pen. She is above medium stature, lithe and elastic, free and graceful. Her side face, looked at over her left shoulder, is of perfect aquiline outline, as classic as ever went into a Roman marble, and resembles the mask of Shakespeare, taken after death. Her countenance is variable, dependent on her moods. Her soul comes into it and goes out of it, giving her the look of a superior and almost saintly intelligence. When under a strong spiritual inﬂuence, a strange and mystical light irradiates from her face, reminding the beholder of the Hebrew Lawgiver who gave to men what he received from God, and whose face, during the transfer, shone. Tennyson, as with the hand of a gold-beater, has beautifully gilded the same expression in his stanza of St. Stephen the Martyr, in the article of death : “ And looking upward, full of grace, He prayed, and from a happy place God’s glory smote him on the face.” In conversation, until she is somewhat warmed with earnestness, she halts, as if her mind were elsewhere ; but the moment she brings all her faculties to her lips for the full utterance of her message, whether it be of persuasion or of indignation, and particularly when under spiritual control, she is a very orator for eloquence—pouring forth her sentences like a mountain stream, sweeping everything that frets its ﬂood. Her hair, when left to itself, is as long as those tresses of Hortense in which her son, Louis Napoleon, used to play hide-and-seek. “Difﬁculties,” says Emerson, “exist to be surmounted.” This might be the motto of her life. In her lexicon (which is still of youth) there is no such word as “fail.” Prescient of the grandeur of her destiny, she goes forth with a resistless energy to accomplish it. Believing thoroughly in herself (or rather not in herself, but in her spiritual aids), she allows no one else to doubt either her or them. In her case the old miracle is enacted anew—the faith which removes mountains. A soul set on edge is a conquering weapon in the battle of life. Such, and of Damascus temper, is hers. In making an epitome of her views, I may say that she is a down-right
[ 44 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
Democrat. Springing from the old German families of the Hummels and Moyers, whose ancestors were of royal blood, Mrs. Woodhull stands in birth the equal of the highest-born. While the power of her subtle mind places her on a level with the most intellectual levers that move the earth, Mr. Claﬂin himself comes from one of the oldest and most aristocratic houses in England. In thus speaking of her views, I will add to them another fundamental article of her creed, which an incident will best illustrate. Once a sick woman, who had been given up by the physicians, and had received from a Catholic priest extreme unction in expectation of death, was put into the care of Mrs. Woodhull, who attempted to lure her back to life. This zealous woman, unwilling to be bafﬂed, stood over her patient day and night, neither sleeping nor eating for ten days and nights, at the end of which time she was gladdened not only at witnessing the sick woman’s recovery, but at ﬁnding that her own body, instead of weariness and exhaustion from the double lack of sleep and food, was more fresh and bright than at the beginning. Her face, during this discipline, grew uncommonly fair and ethereal, her ﬂesh wore a look of transparency ; and the ordinary earthiness of mortal nature began to disappear from her physical frame, and its place to be supplied with what she fancied were the foretokens of a spiritual body. These phenomena were so vivid to her own consciousness and to the observation of her friends that she was led to speculate profoundly on the transformation from our mortal to our immortal state, deducing the idea that the time will come when the living human body, instead of ending death by dissolution in the grave, will be gradually reﬁned away until it is entirely sloughed off, and the soul only, and not the ﬂesh, remain. It is in this way that she fulﬁls to her daring hope the prophecy that “the last enemy that shall he destroyed is death.” Engrossed in business affairs, she would nevertheless at any moment rather die than live—such is her inﬁnite estimate of the outer world over this. But she disdains all common-place parleyings with the spirit realm, such as are had in ordinary spirit manifestations. On the other hand, she is passionately eager to see the spirits face to face—to summon them at her will, and commune with them at her pleasure. Twice (as she unshakingly believes) she has seen a vision of Jesus Christ—honoured thus doubly over St. Paul, who saw his Master but once, and then was overcome by the sight. The Sermon on the Mount’ ﬁlls her eyes with tears. The exulting exclamations of the Psalmist are familiar outbursts
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 45 ]
of devotion. For two years as a talisman against any temptation towards untruthfulness (which, with her, is the unpardonable sin) she wore, stitched into the sleeve of every one of her dresses, the second verse of the 120th Psalm, namely, “Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue.” Speaking the truth punctiliously, whether in great things or small, she rigorously exacts the same of others ; so that a deceit practised upon her enkindles her soul to a ﬂame of ﬁre: and she has acquired a clairvoyant or intuitive power to detect a lie in the moment of its utterance, and to smite the liar in his act of guilt. She believes that intellectual power has its fountains in spiritual inspiration. And once, when I put to her the searching question, “What is the greatest truth that has ever been expressed in words ?” she thrilled me with the sudden answer : “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” As showing that her early clairvoyant power still abides, I will mention a fresh instance. An eminent judge in Pennsylvania, in whose court-house I had once lectured, called lately to see me. On my enquiring after his family, he told me that a strange event had just happened in it. “Three months ago,” said he, “while I was in New York, Mrs. Woodhull said to me, with a rush of feeling, ‘Judge, I foresee that you will lose two of your children within six weeks.’“ This announcement, he said, wounded him as a tragic sort of triﬂing with life and death. “But,” I asked, “did anything follow the prophecy ?” ”Yes,” he replied, “fulﬁlment : I lost two children within six weeks.” The Judge, who is a Methodist, thinks that Victoria the clairvoyant is like “Anna the Prophetess.” Let me say that I know of no person against whom there arc more prejudices, nor anyone who more quickly disarms them. This strange faculty is the most powerful of her powers. She shoots a word like a sudden sunbeam through the thickest mist of people’s doubts and accusations, and clears the sky in a moment. Questioned by sonic committee or delegation who have come to her with idle tales against a busy life, I have seen her swiftly gather together all the stones which they have cast, put them like the miner’s quartz into the furnace, melt them with ﬁerce and fervent heat, bring out of them the purest gold, stamp thereon her image and superscription as if she were’ sovereign of the realms, and then (as the marvel of it all) receive the sworn allegiance of the whole company on the spot. At one of her public meetings, when the chair (as she hoped) would be occupied by Lucretia Mott, this venerable woman had been persuaded to decline the responsibility, but afterwards
[ 46 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
stepped forward on the platform and lovingly kissed the young speaker in the presence of the multitude. To see her is to respect her—to know her is to vindicate her. She has faults, but were she without the same traits which produce these she would not possess the magniﬁcent energies which make her a heroine of history. In conclusion, amid all the rush of her active life, she believes with Wordsworth that “The Gods approve the depth, and not The tumult of the Soul.” So, whether buffeted by criticism, or defamed by slander, she carries herself in that religious peace which through all turbulence is “a measureless content.” When apparently about to be struck down, she gathers unseen strength, and goes forward conquering and to conquer.
Victoria Woodhull: A Memory. By a Church of England Clergyman.
“ She openeth her mouth with wisdom, and in her tongue is the law of kindness. ” — Prev. xxxi. 26.
Every seven years—so the wise tell us—the material structure of our being is completely changed. Every atom of ﬂesh, blood, and bone
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 47 ]
is, renewed ; we are, so to say, “ disintegrated,” and then “recipitated” afresh. If this is the case—and it is more than likely—do the impressions made from without perish with the ﬂeshly tablet on which they were written ? or is it true, as De Quincey says, that the human brain is “a mighty palimpsest“ from which nothing is obliterated—only covered up and written over with subsequent impressions ; but so that the older impressions may be at any time evoked by what has been so aptly termed the master-spell of memory ? It is twice seven years since —I know not on what pretext—I, called on Victoria Woodhull and her sister. The memory of that event is fresh, though the details are for the moment obliterated by the lapse of time. I have forgotten what we talked about, just as I have ceased to remember the occasion of my visit ; but I have no doubt that both will be recalled by-and-by through an act of anamnesis, as Plato calls it,—of “ recollection.” What I do recollect is that the merely physical beauty of the lady of which beauty I had heard so much, was even eclipsed by the higher charm of her conversation, and that I mentally anathematised the din of the trafﬁc in that Bloomsbury thoroughfare which rendered it so difﬁcult for me to follow the thread of our discourse. It is often these triﬂing accessories that linger on the mental retina to the exclusion of more important objects. I cannot recollect what we talked about, but. I recollect it was very difﬁcult to talk at all. Then followed a brief period of social intercourse. I used to meet Victoria Woodhull at dinner parties (I call her so rather than Mrs. Woodhull—we do not speak of Mr. Shakespeare !) ; I am even reminded that she came to my home, won the friendship of my wife, and played with my little children, now grown to be men and women and giving me grandchildren to sup-ply their place. But this social phase has faded considerably. It has to be recalled bit by hit, as the scholar recovers from the palimpsest, letter by letter, the valuable text lying down below the “trivial, fond records“ that have been superscribed upon it. Then comes the epoch of the St. James’s Hall lecture on “The Human Body, the Temple of God.” I have that lecture by me in a volume which I carefully put aside unread for the moment, because I am, in this brief memoir, recording only my own impressions. Here no effort of anamnesis is necessary. The whole incident stands before “my mind’s eye” like a picture. It was an epoch in my existence to hear a woman speak in public on those usually tabooed topics—why tabooed I never could understand—and I had never heard a woman speak at all as this woman
[ 48 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
spoke. I see that vast hall packed from ﬂoor to ceiling with eager listeners, many of whom may have come to scoff, but they stopped to applaud. I see a slight woman, who looked even more petite by comparison with her colossal surroundings, stepping nervously on to that platform, Bible in hand, and I hear her speaking as one inspired during hours which seemed as minutes. How well I recollect her exposition of the old Paradise-legend in the Genesis and the new Paradise vision in the Apocalypse ! It came to me, as it must have come to a thousand others, in the light of a revelation. Again all physical attraction was merged in the mental charm. I cannot recall any details of dress or what not. But the boldness of that woman’s intuition and the perfect incisiveness of her ﬂuent eloquence have lingered by me through those twice seven years, and survive the effacements of that twofold period of “disintegration.” Then the vision faded ; again I know not how. This alone I recall. 1 heard that Victoria Woodhull and her sister had made wealthy marriages and retired into privacy. The incident of that St. James’s Hall lecture remained only as a memory, but a fadeless memory. Perhaps I thought, with more or less harshness, that the whole plan so ably and eloquently projected had expended itself in talk like so many others. Its originator had said her say, and there left matters. I do not know that I criticised thus. I have forgotten if I did, but it might have been so. Subsequently I listened to other women who dared to speak out—to Annie Besant,, whose powers I foresaw from the ﬁrst ; to Anna Kingsford, the young Hypatia whose persona charms perhaps went far to outweigh some little acerbity of manner, sat at the feet of H. P. Blavatsky, and would not say that I gained nothing by that discipleship ; but none of these latter experience overlaid or obliterated the memory of those hours in St. James’s Hall. That, however, survived only as a “memory.” The oracle was dumb “Slowly all things right themselves.” The long years have come and gone, but that memory, it seems, is not the mere shadow of a shade. Victoria Woodhull, in her mature womanhood, resolves to fulﬁl the promise of her earlier prime. She accepts the maxim of good of Bishop Cumberland, that “it is better to wear out than to rust out.” After long retirement she girds on her armour again and prepare for the bloodless battle. Once more I have seen her in her sequestered home. She is about to go on a lecturing tour, on fabulous terms, at the invitation of the great country where, for the truth’s sake, she was more than once cast into prison. She may yet be the ﬁrst woman President the United
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 49 ]
States. That is not to my present purpose. I am thinking of her as the brave, wise woman, on whose lip, as the old proverb, monger wrote, is the law of kindness. Say, rather, who was, and is, here the embodied Gospel of kindness ; a Gospel to that great sisterhood hers for whom ignorance has been too long made to stand as the fair synonym for innocence. How many a woman’s blighted life might have blossomed in: happy wifehood and motherhood had she only known what this bola good woman would have taught her ! Of course, her boldness in traduced as prurience. Where was ever the Church whose seed was other than the martyr’s blood ? If they said of the Master that He has the devil, must they not, to be consistent with their stern and scholastic logic, credit with diablerie the disciple who puts aside with ﬁrm but gentle: hand the petty conventionalities of so-called “society,” and speaks as only a woman may dare to speak to women, but whose womanly intutions have a message for men also; a message which, spoken as se can and will speak it, they “cannot choose but hear”? As such as living memory do I, a man, welcome back to public life and woman ministry one who must ever be associated in my mind with that day “to be much remembered” in my own experience, when I ﬁrst saw ad heard her unfold that ﬁrst page in her Gospel of kindness. That Gospel in its fulness has yet to be written and preached to the world.
The Apostle of Womanhood.
This is a day of new cults, of new dogmas and new prophets ; the old landmarks are torn up and cast aside, and wherever we look around— whether in science, in faith, or in morals—we ﬁnd new departures
[ 50 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
everywhere, new orders of things continually arising and pushing to the front. “The old things pass away, behold ! all things shall become new !” It is not our purpose, within the short space of this article, to dwell upon these new features in the moral and social aspects of the world ; but we do intend to deal with one phase of the grand upheaval—the great awakening of the social conscience from its death-like trance—one which bears within its bosom the seeds of the greatest and most magniﬁcent possibilities for the regeneration, the social and physical redemption, of the human race. Not only is the crying need of some new departure in this direction widely felt, but all kinds of empirical nostrums are proposed by a host of spiritual quacks to remedy the rottenness of modern social life, most of them being founded on the sublime idea of the universal Brotherhood of Man. But the diverse ways in which it is sought to bring about this grand result are either utterly impotent in themselves, dangerous to the wellbeing of society, or are, by their very essence, capable of being entered into only by the few. An example of the ﬁrst of these is the modern Spiritualism, which has been weighed in the balance and found wanting; no single addition to the moral code, nor any improved method of applying the existent one, having been vouchsafed in all the myriad séances which have been held around the inspired mahogany of its followers. Even supposing, for the sake of argument, that the “manifestations“ were actually caused by the spirits of those gone before (a premise we are by no means prepared to admit), even then they have added no .single stone to the cairn of human knowledge, nothing to the sum of human happiness. Spiritualism—even if true—is only a “ Dead Sea fruit.” The second proposition, that of being “dangerous to the welfare of society,” is well exempliﬁed by modern Socialism, whose followers soon become dissatisﬁed with even its advanced tenets and proclaim themselves anarchists. Socialism, then, is a delusion and a snare ! The third and last phase is seen in the new “Theosophy.” We do not propose to discuss either Theosophy or its professors here and now ; but we may say of it that what is true is not new, and what is new is not true ! It is the last and most awful Gospel of Despair ! None of these quack remedies will ever avail to save the body politic,
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 51 ]
or to elevate the soul of man ; we turn from them all weary heart-sick, and disappointed, with the haunting doubt arising in our minds—the horrible question hissing in our ears—”Is life worth living?” A calm, serene, and silver voice, having within it a thrill of ecstatic triumph, answers us “Yes!” We turn and see before us the apostle and prophets of the new faith— the new cult of “Womanhood.” This is her mission— ﬁrst to free her sisters from the moral serfdom in which they live to-day, and then to teach them a new and sublime interpretation of Christian morality which shall ﬁrst regenerate themselves and next—through them—shall purify and elevate all mankind. This grand system is founded—as all true systems are—on the ever lasting principles of eternal truth as contained in natural religion. And, as truth cannot oppose truth, therefore we ﬁnd that nowhere is in opposition to, but in the fullest harmony with, the divinely-revealed religion of the Bible. Its keystone is the dogma that “the human body is the temple of God,” and its prophet and apostle is Victoria Woodhull Martin, woman who has suffered a real martyrdom for her opinions and persistent courage in declaring them. Every single one of her teachings has been misrepresented throughout the civilised world; doctrines of which she has always had the greatest horror have been attributed to her, while falsehoods and slanders of the most ﬁendish malignity and cruelty have been sown broadcast. The grossest charges of immorality were brought against her and triumphantly disproved. She has, from ﬁrst to last, been mulcted in sums amounting to more than a quarter of a million of her money; she and her sister were even thrown into prison in America through the malignity of their persecutors. They were acquitted without being called upon for any defence, so palpable was the injustice of the charges. This lady, now for fourteen years the devoted wife of Mr. J. Biddulph Martin, the Lombard Street banker, was formerly well-known to both hemispheres as “Victoria Woodhull,” and her sister (the wife of Sir Francis Cook, Bart., Marquis of Montserrat, of Doughty 1-louse, Richmond Hill) as “Tennie C. Claﬂin.” Shattered in health, reduced in pocket, almost heart-broken, she came to England, with the instinct of a wounded deer, to hide in solitude.
[ 52 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
Victoria Woodhull found the heart and the home of a great-souled English gentleman open to receive her, and afford her a haven of rest and peace. But now, having recovered her old energy, her Divine mission presses on her once more, and urges her to resume her public labours for the welfare of humanity. There has been a perfect revulsion of feeling in the United States with regard to this injured lady, who at one time enjoyed such a wealth of popularity that she was actually nominated as a candidate for the Presidency of the Republic by the “Equal Rights Party “—a nomination supported by 509 delegates, representing twenty-six States and four territories. There is no doubt—judging from the utterances of the American papers—that her tour through the States will be one long triumphant “progress,” more like the return of a long-exiled queen to her devoted subjects than anything else under the sun. The Americans feel—and say that they feel—that they have done the purest-minded and most philanthropic woman whom God ever made an incalculable and irreparable wrong, and they mean to atone for it by their welcome back. And when the impulsive, warm-hearted Americans do make the amends honorable, they do it in no half-hearted way. Americans are “thorough,” or they are nothing at all. But Mrs. Martin, for herself personally, cares for none of these things ; she is too highsouled for that. Of course, it is always more pleasant to hear cheers than to be hooted at ; but she will accept the ovations awaiting her, not as a personal tribute, but as homage to her mission. She will hail them simply as signs that her countrymen and countrywomen are at least prepared to throw off the chains in which they have hitherto been bound, and to take to their inmost hearts the life-giving message of the naked truth which she brings, as an apostle, to their shores. This, and this alone, will repay her for the exhausting effort which she is about to make, and for the long years of suffering under which her vigorous vitalty was all but crushed. A divine pity and forgiveness for her countrymen and countrywomen ﬁlls the whole soul of this tender, brave-hearted woman, and she believes, nay, she feels, that the long-delayed harvest of her tears and prayers is about to be abundantly reaped, and they will enter into the “glorious and perfect freedom in the Kingdom of God.” As Mrs. Martin will, in the course of a very few months, dominate
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 53 ]
public interest on the other side of the Atlantic, and excite a reﬂected one of more or less intensity on this side, and as, so to speak, a new generation has arisen since she vacated the arena of debate, a very brief outline of her history and a short exposition of real doctrines becomes now advisable. We need scarcely say that the sisters are Americans—or the GermanAmerican type—everyone knows that much ; but it will be news to many that some of the bluest blood in Britain ﬂows in their veins. They are the daughters of Mr. Claﬂin, of Sandersﬁeld, in the State of Massachusetts, who was the grandson of Thomas Hamilton an ofﬁcer in the king’s navy, who settled in the then colony; and, after the Revolution, became the ﬁrst Senator from Massachusetts. Thomas Hamilton was a direct descendent in a straight line of Lord Hamiton and the Princess Mary, daughter of King James II, from which couple also descend the Dukes of Hamiton. James II. descended from King Robert I. (Robert Bruce), of Scotland. Therefore, it is evident Victoria C. Martin shares the blood not only of the ducal houses of Hamiton and Sutherland, but of the royal line of Stuart and the Bruce : and is, by consequence, entitled to quarter the ancient royal arms if England upon her shield, in addition to those just mentioned. Her husband, Mr. J. Biddulph Mann, is the great-grandson of Michael Biddulph, the brother-in-law of Washington. The “ Father of his country” married Martha Dandridge, and Michael Biddulph wedded her sister Penelope. At all events the warmth of the reception by the American nation not be likely to be lessened by the fact that Mr. and Mrs. Martin are the representatives of America’s ﬁrst President. So much, Men, for Mrs. Martin’s origin. As to her appearance, that is simply impossible to describe. Ask a painter to reproduce faithfully for you the ﬂash of sunlight in a translucent dew-drop, or a sculptor to render you in marble the aerial effect of the ﬂeecy clouds of June, or a musician to give you an exact repetition, in all its liquid melody and purity of tone, of the song of a nightingale ; and when they can do those things, then, and not until then, will it be possible for pen to describe or pencil delineate Victoria Woodhull Martin. She is beautiful beyond dispute, but it is a mystic beauty which, when you come away from her presence, leaves you in doubt as to where it lies. It is there—whether or not you can detect it with your bodily eye
[ 54 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
—you feel its presence, the presence of a beautiful soul gleaming through the mortal clay which enshrines it, but cannot present its manifestation. A ﬁgure above medium height, graceful in its free movements, and queenly in its pose. Eyes that look; and, looking, read; magnetic, earnest, candid eyes. Mystical eyes, which—whatever their passing change of expression according to the feeling of the moment—have ever in their depths a faroff look which tells of mysterious experiences too sacred for utterance, of knowledge and “ illumination “ too divine to pass the portals of the lips. Such a look one well might bear who had gazed within the opened gates of pearl, and carried thence a holy memory which should never die nor fade away. The balance of the head and every gesture convey the idea of latent “power,” not the sense of vulgar material power which is borne in upon one’s consciousness by the stately bearing of some of the great ones of the earth. It is something far different from this, it is not of the earth earthy. In her presence you at once instinctively recognise a perfectly true nature ; one which hides nothing, because it has nothing to conceal. It is like gazing into the depths of a clear mountain lake, where the eye of the observer gradually loses its power of discerning in proportion as the depth increases, and fails to see the bottom. There is no cloudy or muddy water ; but the gazer feels that, however deeply his eye may pierce them, yet that there is still something more beyond his ken. To few men is given the wondrous power of vision to see all ; but those who possess this power to the fullest extent would ﬁnd nothing there but a sublime purity. Like some of the prophetesses of old, Mrs. Victoria Woodhull Martin has the power of instantly detecting falsehood, no matter how carefully disguised or wrapped up in fragments of truth. Her unerring instinct pounces at once on the joint in the armour, and the most plausible liar would feel himself quailing and obliged to own his deception ; for she seems to hold in her hand the touchstone of truth. A mouth that expresses ineffable sweetness and tenderness, with arare capacity for enjoying all that is truly exquisite in the realms of sound, sight, or sensation. She has a very highly-strung nervous organisation, like that of a racehorse, with a terrible capacity for suffering throw its very tenderness. Feelings sensitive as a child, often deeply wounded, but
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 55 ]
be trying no sign; combined with a power of passionate indignation which could, on occasion, culminate in a whirlwind. A chin whose modelling shove a ﬁrmness and unshakeable resolution which is simply unalterable courage which noting can daunt and no consequences deter, whether with a magnetic atmosphere surrounding her which proclaims her individuality, are some of the chief characteristics of this last and greatest High Priestess of Nature. That she has a mission from an High, that she has a new message to mankind, which she has not yet herself fully received or understood, is as certain as that she herself exist. But, whether the new gospel—never even hinted at hitherto in any of her writings or speeches—will be communicated to the world, or whether it will be (for a period, at all events) reserved as esoteric truth to be conﬁded only to the chosen few, to the initiated souls who are now and for all time emancipated and partakers of “the Kingdom,” time alone can tell. She herself knows not yet. We shall now conclude this brief notice by a few lines descriptive of the prophetess from an occultist point of view, which were written by “Tautriadelta,” an initiate of the Hermetic Lodge at Alexandria. Roslyn D’onston.
“ VICTORIA VITRIX.”
A wheel of ﬁre ; a never-settirg sun ; A lava ﬂood which shall for ever run ; A healing balm ; and a devoring sword : These all contrasted yet they all accord. Who reads this mstery right bath surely been, Within the radian of the living sheen.”
III.-Our Gallery of Borderlands.
A Modern Magician : An Autobiography.
by a Pupil of Lord Lytton.
Borderland, April 1896.
THE writer of the following extraordinary fragment of autobiography has been known to me for many years. He is one of the most remarkable persons I ever met. For more than a year I was under the impression that he was the veritable Jack the Ripper ; an impression which I believe was shared by the police, who, at least once had him under arrest ; although, as he completely satisﬁed them, they liberated him without bringing him into court. He wrote for me, while I was editing the Pall Mall Gazette, two marvellous articles on the Obeahism of West Africa, which I have incorporated with this article. The Magician, who prefers to be known by his Hermetic name of Tautriadelta, and who objects even to be called a magician, will undoubtedly be regarded by most people as Baron Munchausen Redivivus. He has certainly travelled in many lands, and seen very strange scenes. I cannot, of course, vouch personally for the authenticity of any of his stories of his experiences. He has always insisted that they are literally and exactly true. When he sent me this MS., he wrote about it as follows “ If you do chop it up, please do it by omitting incidents bodily. The evidence of an eyewitness deprived even of its trivialities is divested of its vraisemblance. If you leave them as I have written them, people will know, will feel, that they are true. Editing, I grant, may improve them as a literary work, but will entirely destroy their value as evidence, especially to people who know the places and persons.” I have therefore printed it as received, merely adding cross-heads. W.T. Stead
[ 58 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
I.—EARLY HISTORY. I was always, as a boy, fond of everything pertaining to mysticism, astrology, witchcraft, and what is commonly known as “ occult science “ generally ; and I devoured with avidity every book or tale that I could get hold of having reference to these arts. I remember, at the early age of 14, practising mesmerism on several of my schoolfellows particularly on my cousin, a year younger than myself. But on this boy (now, by the way, a hardheaded north country solicitor) developing a decided talent for somnambulism, and nearly killing himself in one of his nocturnal rambles, my experiments in that direction were brought to an untimely close. As a medical student. however, my interest in the effects of mind upon matter once more awoke, and my physiological studies and researches were accompanied by psychological experiments. I read Zanoni at this time with great zest, but I am afraid with very little understanding, and longed excessively to know its author; little dreaming that I should one day be the pupil of the great magist, Bulwer Lytton—the one man in modern times for whom all the systems of ancient and modern magism and magic, white and black, held back no secrets. II.— LORD LYTTON. MY INTRODUCTION TO LORD LYTON. It was in the winter after the publication of the weird “ Strange Story “ in which the Master attempted to teach the world many new and important truths (under the veil of ﬁction) that I made the acquaintance at Paris of young Lytton, the son of (the then) Sir Edward. He was at that time, I suppose, about ten years my senior; and though passionately attached to his father, who was both father and mother to him, did not share my intense admiration and enthusiasm for his mystic studies and his profound lore. Anyhow, in the spring following, he presented me to his father as an earnest student of occultism. I was then about an years of age, and I suppose Sir Edward was attracted to me partly by my irrepressible hero-worship, of which he was the object, and partly because he saw that I possessed a cool, logical brain and iron nerve ; and, above all, was
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 59 ]
genuinely, terribly in earnest. CRYSTAL-GAZING. I remember that the ﬁrst time on which he condescended to teach me anything, he seated me before an egg-shaped crystal and asked me what I saw therein. For the ﬁrst ten minutes I saw nothing and was somewhat discouraged, thinking that he would blame me for my inability ; but presently, to my astonishment and delight, I very plainly descried moving ﬁgures of men and animals. I described the scenes as they came into view, and the events that were transpiring; when, to my intense satisfaction—and I am afraid self-gloriﬁcation—he said, “ Why, you are a splendid fellow! you are just what I want.’ He then asked me if I would really like to seriously study Magism under his guidance. His words on this point are as fresh in my memory as ever. He said, “ Remember, my boy, it will be very hard work, fatiguing to body and brain. There is no royal road, nothing but years of study and privation. Before you can conquer ‘ the powers ‘ you will have to achieve a complete victory over Self—in fact, become nothing more nor less than an incarnate intellect. Whatever knowledge you may gain, whatever powers you may acquire, can never be used for your advancement in the world, or for your personal advantage in any way. Even if you obtain the power of a King and the knowledge of a Prophet, you may have to pass your life in obscurity and poverty ; they will avail you nothing. Weigh well my words : three nights from this I will call you.” LORD LYTTON’S DOUBLE. On the third evening, I never left my rooms after dinner, but lit up my pipe and remained anxiously awaiting Sir Edward’s arrival. Hour after hour passed, but no visitor, and I determined to sit up all night, if need be, feeling that he would come. He did ; but not in the way I expected. I happened to look up from the book which I was vainly attempting to read, and my glance fell upon the empty arm-chair on the other side of the ﬁre-place. Was I dreaming, or did I actually see a ﬁlmy form, scarcely more than a shadow, apparently seated there? I awaited developments and watched. Second by second the ﬁlm grew more dense until it became something like Sir Edward. I knew
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 61 ]
then that it was all right, and sat still as the form got more and more distinct, until at last it was apparently the Master himself sitting opposite to me—alive and in propriâ personâ. I instantly rose to shake hands with him ; but, as I got within touching distance, he vanished instantly. I knew then that it was only some variety of the Scin-Laeca that I had seen. It was my ﬁrst experience of this, and I stood there in doubt what to do. Just then his voice whispered close to my ear, so close that I even felt his warm breath, “Come.” I turned sharply round, but of course, no one was there. INITIATION. I instantly put on my hat and greatcoat to go to his hotel, but when I got to the corner of the ﬁrst street, down which I should turn to get there, his voice said, “Straight on.” Of course, I obeyed implicitly. In a few minutes more, “ Cross over” and, so guided, I came where he was. Where matters not ; but it was certainly one of the last places in which I should have expected to ﬁnd him. I entered, he was standing in the middle of the sacred pentagon, which he had drawn upon the ﬂoor with red chalk, and holding in his extended right arm the baguette, which was pointed towards me. Standing thus, he asked me if I had duly considered the matter and had decided to enter upon the course. I replied that my mind was made up. He then and there administered to me the oaths of a neophyte of the Hermetic lodge of Alexandria — the oaths of obedience and secrecy. It is self-evident that any further account of my experiences with Lord Lytton, or in Hermetic circles, is impossible. But in my travels in the far East, and in Africa and elsewhere, I have met with many curious incidents connected with what Magists term “ black magic,” and also manifestations of psychic force and occult science as practised by other schools than that to which I belong ; and I will recall a few of them for the beneﬁt of the readers of BORDERLAND. III.—GERMAN EXPERIENCES. DOUBLING. The ﬁrst of these was when I was studying chemistry under Dr. Allan (who was for so many years Baron Liebig’s principal assistant at the great laboratory at the University of Giessen). Among the more advanced
[ 62 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
students was a Saxon named Karl Hoffmann, who was much given to the study of psychology, psychic force, and the effects of the magnetic current and odic force upon the nervous system. I need scarcely say that we fraternised, and soon became almost inseparable. One day we were talking of the “doppel-ganger,” and he proceeded forthwith to illustrate his position. He told me that his doppel-ganger should visit a public ball which was to be held that night ; should speak to and dance with many persons to whom he was well known ; should spend three hours there, and yet that all the time his real body should be present with me in my rooms. This was very interesting to me : because, although I knew how to produce the Scin-Laeca, and even the ordinary doppel-ganger, yet these were intangible and impalpable. But he was to shake hands with friends, drink with them, and hold others in his grasp during the dances, and I was impatient for the night to come. I employed the interval in making one or two little private arrangements unknown to him; amongst others borrowing from an inspector the smallest pair of hand-cuffs which they had at the police station, and to which there was only one key, which I also requisitioned. These were kept for the use of women, if required : why I procured them will appear later on. As the clocks were striking the hour for the commencement of the ball, Karl entered my rooms, faultlessly dressed in his evening suit. I was also “ in full armour, “ because I myself purposed going there latter on. THE ORIGINAL HANDCUFFED AT HOME. After we had chatted and smoked for an hour, Karl said, “Well ! shall I go to the ball now ?” I assented, and he quietly lay down on my sofa on his back, folded his arms across his chest ; and, saying, “ In ten minutes’ time I shall be in the ball-room,” closed his eyes, and remained motionless. I watched the clock for ten minutes and then went over to his side. He was in a perfectly cataleptic condition : no pulse to be felt : not the slightest ﬂutter of the heart to be detected by the stethoscope : not a breath dimmed the handmirror that I held to his lips. I shook him, spoke to him, but, of course, made no impression; he lay there, to all intents and purposes, dead. I then prepared to go to the ball myself, and see if he had really carried out his intention : and I knew if I locked the door no one could get in or
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 63 ]
out, because it was fastened with a Bramah lock. But, “to make assurance doubly sure,” I got out the borrowed hand-cuffs and snapped them on his wrists, putting the key in my pocket. THE “DOUBLE” DANCING AT THE BALL. Then I went to the dance, after carefully securing the room door—the windows having a clear forty feet drop. I hurried rapidly the few hundred yards to the Assembly Rooms and went in ; and almost the ﬁrst person I saw was Karl, solemnly revolving in an old deux-temps waltz, with a lovely girl in his arms. When the dance was over he took her to a seat, and went to the refreshment counter to get her something—I forget what, now ; I tapped him on the shoulder, and he turned round and said, “ Well, you see, I am here, as I told you.” He went off to his partner; and I, leaving him with her, shot off at a rapid run to my rooms. There, on my couch, was still extended the form of Karl ! I again returned to the ball, and there was my friend, promenading with another belle. I remained at the ball enjoying myself, ever and anon coming across Karl, either dancing or ﬂirting ; but I kept a watchful eye on the time. When it was nearly half an hour of the time for Karl to return I went home and sat down to watch the body until the three hours should have expired. I had perfect conﬁdence in my fellow-student’s ability, and so waited without anxiety for the denouement. THE TWO BECOME ONE. A few seconds after the three hours had expired, a slight tremor was observable in the eyelids, a long breath was drawn, and then another, and Karl partially sat up. Then his eye fell on the handcuffs, and for the next few moments the air was ﬁlled with a series of German expletives and objurgations not to be found in any dictionary. I went laughingly to unlock them, but I saw that he was really offended. After a pipe, however, he re-covered his usual sunny temper, and discussed the whole process at some length. AN EXCHANGE OF PERSONALITIES.
[ 64 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
A few days after this, Karl proposed to me to exchange bodies for the space of twenty-four hours. I didn’t quite see the force of this, having heard of other cases of German students having effected the exchange for a time, and then one of the men had refused to return to his own body, and had permanently occupied his new tenement ; and for this there was no remedy. Therefore I declined point-blank. However, after many days’ persuasions, entreaties, and arguments—and reﬂecting that, after all, it would not destroy the identity of my Ego : I should still have the same mind, the same knowledge, the same soul ; and also, that his was in every way a superior body to mine—I decided to risk it, but for four hours only. Another thing weighed considerably with me, and that was that it might be some day useful to me to know the modus operandi, not merely in theory but practically. So, one ﬁne summer’s day, we soon effected the exchange. *
* The transfer of souls between the living is rare; the transfer of souls between the living and the dead is not so unusual. Mr. Glendinning often tells of a remarkable case which occurred in his own family. The story of the Watseka wonder is a classic in the history of Spiritualism. But as I wrote I came across the following in an American exchange. “ One of the most remarkable cases ever known in the history of Spiritualism,” says the Butte Inter-Mountain. “is agitating the community in the vicinity of Westﬁeld, S. D. Several months ago, Henry, the fourteen-year-old son of John Small, a well-to-do farmer near the village, died of consumption, after a lingering illness of over a year. The elder Small and his wife were somewhat advanced in years. Henry was the only remaining child of a large family, and for a long time the couple were quite inconsolable. They are spiritualists, however, and, after began to tell their friends that they had received several visits from their dead son, who had told them that his absence was only temporary, and that he would he with them again in a few weeks. Among the lad’s companions had been a Scandinavian named Nets Larsen, a boy aged seventeen or eighteen, whom John Small had for several years employed as an assistant in his farm work. Nets was an orphan, and had not even a near relative living. A few days ago he informed Lis employer that he had seen Henry’s spirit in a dream, and that, as his own death would make little difference to any one except himself, he had consented to withdraw from his body in favor of his old comrade, in order that the latter might be near his parents. The change, he said, would be made the following night. The next day when he appeared he actually seemed to possess not only the voice and manner, but all the characteristics of the dead son. His body alone remained unchanged. The old couple were at once convinced of the genuineness of the transformation, and immediately took the young man into their home as their son. In order to have c everything in due form they will, however, formally adopt him, and make him heir to their property. One of the most remarkable features of the case is that, while young Small was well educated and Larsen had received scarcely any schooling and spoke English with a strong foreign accent, the latter seems, since the alleged transfer of souls, to be possessed of all Small’s acquirements, speaks good English, and shows none of the marks of the Scardinavian’s former habits.”
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 65 ]
Yes, I consented to let Karl borrow my body for the short time stipulated : but I should not have done so, in spite of the foregoing reasons, had it not been that I found that the whole happiness of his life was at stake ; and if I did not consent it would be irretrievably ruined. Now, as I have previously stated, I had a very strong affection, almost more than friendship, for Karl ; and, when he conﬁded tome the true state of affairs, I had not the heart to refuse them. Of course, there was a lady in the case. It appeared that he had been engaged for two years to a very pretty girl who was, in reality, absolutely de-voted to him, but of whom he was insanely jealous. He carried this so far that, if she were only fairly civil to any other man, he accused her of ﬂirting, and was only too ready to believe that every man who paid her the slightest attention was seriously endeavouring to cut him out in her affections. Time after time did the poor girl convince him that his suspicions were unfounded, only for fresh ones to arise the next day with the advent of any stranger. And it was unfortunate that the girl happened to be the daughter and chief handmaid of the landlord of a hostelry much affected by students, and which was scarcely ever free from the presence of some one or other of these rackety young blades. Latterly, he had taken it into his head that I—his bosom friend and companion—had designs upon her; and, although both she and I had striven our best to exorcise the demon of jealousy, yet it still lay hiding in his breast. A NOVEL CURE FOR JEALOUSY. So, a brilliant thought struck him. He would, at one bold stroke, either convict me of perﬁdy or else reassure himself completely ; and then, never—no, never— doubt the mädchen any more. I gave him credit for candour in telling me that this was the reason why he wanted to borrow my body; and he explained fully his intended course of action. When duly equipped with my corpus vile, he proposed visiting the fraulein, and—as me—not merely making love to her, but proposing an immediate elopement. If she would have none of my endearments, would not listen to my proposal, he would then know she was his own dear mädchen. If, on the contrary, she allowed me to kiss and caress her, he
[ 66 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
would have done with her for ever. It has frequently struck me since that he would have been in an awkward dilemma if she had consented to elope with “ me “ ; but that by the way. He said, “ Now I shall know for certain how she receives you in my absence.” THE TRANSMIGRATION OF SOULS. Well, to be brief, we effected the desired exchange; and I awoke to consciousness to see myself sitting in the arm-chair opposite. For the moment I sat utterly aghast, forgetting the bargain we had made and the transmigration just effected. Then, all at once it ﬂashed across me, and I said, “How do you feel, Karl ?” He rejoined, “My name is Ross; you are Karl ! “ Of course, I had forgotten that the name must go with the body. I looked down at myself and saw Karl’s monstrous great German feet, ditto hands. I began to feel a little disgusted with myself—that is, my new outward-seeming self. I spoke again, and I had a decided guttural German accent. Then, of course, I got up and looked at myself in the glass over the mantel. I was Karl, sure enough. And there was I (Me) walking- out of the door, humming, “ Good-bye, sweetheart, good-bye. “ I fancied there was a jeering tone in the voice ; but it might have been imagination. So there was nothing to be done until Karl returned, but to spend the time in the best manner possible. THE EXTENT AND LIMITS OF THE TRANSFER. I sat down and began to examine myself to see if the physical change had produced a corresponding mental one. So, as Karl was a skilled musician, I sat down with every conﬁdence to the piano to solace myself with music. I boldly struck the instrument, but only a discord resulted ; that was no good. Wanting a smoke, I felt for my pipe ; but Karl had it out with him in my clothes, so I picked up his great porcelain-bowled German pipe, and ﬁlled it with the coarse-cut “kanaster” he invariably smoked to my great disgust. I took a few whiffs, and actually enjoyed it ! Had my tastes, then, become Teutonic as well as my body ? I was destined to prove that they had.
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 67 ]
Sallying forth, I went to a restaurant for lunch, and the kellner, seeing a typical Deutscher enter, at once placed before me the carte du jour of German viands. Now German cookery had always been an utter abomination to use, and I had sedulously refrained from it. But now I felt a longing for some wurst and sauerkraut. I ate enormously of this, washing it down with sundry backs of lager beer, and wound up with some Limburger cheese. How I luxuriated in these hitherto unspeakably horrible comestibles! being mentally disgusted with myself all the time. A TEMPTATION OF TIIE BODY. My repast ﬁnished, I strolled back to my rooms, and while rummaging my (his) pockets for matches, found the portrait of Karl’s ﬁancée. I steadfastly looked at it, and began to experience a strong feeling of passionate admiration of the charms there depicted. I no longer wondered at Karl’s attachment, for the girl struck in my physical nature the keynote of such an overmastering passion as I had never yet experienced. In short, I was head over ears in love with her, and a strong determination arose within me to have her for my very own. I forgot all about Karl. I only knew that I loved her; and I seemed to have a consciousness that she loved me, and I revelled in that knowledge. I was aroused by the church clock chiming the quarters, and then I remembered all, and that in a quarter of an hour more Karl would return. I was conscious then of possessing two distinct identities there present—not counting my own body, which was absent with Karl. There was my mind—my Ego, my real self—which was not in the least drawn towards the girl ; and furthermore, which strongly remonstrated with my (his) brain for being so attracted, and with my whole body for the overpowering physical longing for her which thrilled its every nerve. My Ego told me that to gratify my passion, or even to indulge it in the slightest degree, would be treachery to my friend and more than brother ; that even my present feelings were an insult and a wrong to him. The atmosphere of the. place seemed to choke me ; I could scarcely breathe, and again 1 went out into the open air.
[ 68 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
THE SOUL SUCCUMBS. There were two ways leading to the inn where Karl’s inamorata dwelt, and I knew which way he always went, returning by the same. Presently, almost unconsciously, I found myself on the way to the inn, but by the other road. I asked myself what I was doing there: what was my purpose (having accustomed myself to self-examination) ? I found that I was going there to pass myself off as Karl on the unsuspecting girl, with a purpose as yet undeﬁned, but the very thought of which ﬁlled me with a ﬁerce delight, a savage joy that was akin to madness. My Ego said to me, “You are an infernal villain ; the height of treachery could no farther go—black-hearted Judas!” I stopped, appalled, as the sudden sight opened to my mental eye of the fearful depth of the moral abyss into which I was about to plunge I turned, and began to retrace my steps, knowing that by that time Karl would have returned and he waiting to resume his body. His body ? Yes !—for the time of air agreement had expired, and if I kept it any longer I should be a thief as well as a villain. I was turning down the street where my lodging was situated, and the temporarily-conquered longing arose with ten-fold force in my heart. I could stand no more, the physical inﬂuence of his body maddening my brain and overpowering the calm, still voice of my Ego. I turned and rushed from the spot; but not home. I went to the inn. [It must he remembered here, not as any excuse, but as some palliation, that I was then only eighteen, and that I had not then become the pupil of the great Magist.] LOVE-MAKING EXTRAORDINARY. As I entered the inn door, Lisa ran to meet me, and I showered passionate kisses on her like rain. She said, with some surprise, “ What ! back again, Karl ? “ We went into the inner room—her chosen place for courting with Karl—and for a full hour I made love to her as Karl. Then, horror of horrors! “ My” voice was heard without asking if “ Karl “ was here, as he had been seen to come in this direction. I looked through a little peep-hole into the public room, and saw Karl (in my form) looking excessively agitated and uneasy, because he wanted to resume his own proper person again. And, if anything had happened to me, or I had
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 69 ]
run away, he would never be able to recover it, and Lisa would be lost to him. I whispered to Lisa, “Go out to him, and tell him you have not seen me; and send him home.” She did so, and in that interval of absence, my Ego resumed his mastery. I said to her on her return, “ I must go now but promise me something before I go.” She promised and I, knowing that Karl would visit her in the evening, after the exchange, said—” I will come again to-night but, for very special reasons, do not then, nor ever after, refer to my coming back again this afternoon and spending this hour with you.” 1 made her swear it, and I knew the secret was safe. THE DIVIDED RESPONSIBILITY, Looking back at this distance of time, I can see that I was only actuated by a desire to save them both from utter misery : I had no thought of saving myself, as might naturally be supposed. This is the only bright spot in a thoroughly black business. [And here, in self-defence, I must make a remark. Had I, in my own proper person, allowed any temptation to lead me to betray my friend, I should have been an unmitigated scoundrel ; and the recollection of such a crime would have clouded and embittered the whole of my after life. But I was Karl! It was not only Karl’s body but Karl’s brain that yielded—and it was not mine.] Well, I slowly walked homewards, and found Karl in a fever of anxiety regarding my prolonged absence. We immediately effected the reexchange of bodies, which I found—somewhat to my surprise--was more easily, and, certainly, more quickly, effected than a change of clothing. My own body felt rather strange to me for a couple of hours, as though it didn’t quite ﬁt me ; but that was all. KARL’S JEALOUSY CURED. I asked Karl how Lisa had received him (in my body). He said that he had got her to sit down by him, and then began telling her how he had for a long time entertained a strong love for her. She reproached him bitterly for his treachery to his friend, and absolutely refused to listen to a word. He was perfectly satisﬁed with her reception of him, and said that he should never doubt her again. He visited her again (as Karl) that night,
[ 70 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
but she had never referred to the occurrences of the afternoon. I accompanied him the next day, and, oh !—the irony of circumstances ; she was brimming over with affection to him, while she could barely be civil to me. I was punished with coldness and disdain for crimes of which I was not guilty ; and Karl was receiving redoubled endearments through my sin of the previous afternoon. Karl and I never exchanged bodies again; one experience of that kind was sufﬁcient for us both. I, however, applied myself for some time to the study of the phenomena of the doppel-ganger, and derived considerable harmless amusement therefrom. I would walk about the town, meet with a friend, talk to him ; and, suddenly, while in the middle of an interesting conversation would, by an effort of volition, ﬁnd myself on the couch in my own room. The mystiﬁcation of my friends was immense. THE DOUBLE ON THE TRAPEZE. At this time I met Mr. Price, the proprietor of the largest continental circus, then stationed at Madrid. This gentleman was travelling in search of novelties, and happened to hear of some of my exploits. He asked me to give him an exhibition of my powers in that line, privately. I did so. The next day he called at my place and asked me if I could do it in his circus. I said that the locale made not the slightest difference. He then said that his idea was to have a trapeze performance, in which I should take part ; and the last act of which should be that I should ascend to the ﬂying trapeze, get it into good swing, and then throw a “somersault off.” But instead of catching the other trapeze, or alighting on the ground, as other performers do ; I should, while describing the somersault in mid-air, vanish into space. Could I do that? Of course I could ; because, in reality, I should not appear on the trapeze at all, it would be only my doppel-ganger. There was only one difﬁculty in the way, and that was, as I could not do a trapeze performance, it followed that neither could my double. He soon found a way out of that by suggesting that I should only come on for the somersault. So that all that I should have to do would be to climb up the rope, seat myself on the trapeze, swing by my hands, and then throw the somersault. For this performance he would give me £200 for six nights to appear in Madrid. I accepted his proposal, on the condition that my real name did not
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 71 ]
appear on the bills, or be allowed to leak out ; and the contract was to be drawn up on his return to Madrid in the following week. Circumstances— Fate, if you will—however, intervened ; and at the time that I should have joined him in Madrid to undergo the preliminary training, I was down with brain fever. It was not to be. But, enough of “ doubles “ ; I will turn to pleasanter themes. IV.—IN ITALY. THE EVIL EYE. When engaged in the Italian War of Independence in 1860, I visited a place called La Cava, a few miles from Salerno. While taking some food in a trattoria, I saw an excited crowd rush past the door, following an old peasant woman, who was evidently ﬂying for her life from as uglylooking a lot of rufﬁans—principally lazzaroni—as the whole kingdom of the Two Sicilies could produce. I bolted out into the street, and after the crowd ; and being, after a few months’ campaigning, in magniﬁcent wind and condition, soon overtook the fellows. They were shouting mal’ occh’ ! and Mort’ ! (the Neapolitans never by any chance ﬁnishing a word), by which they meant “ The Evil Eye “ and ‘ Death to her ! ‘ I congratulated myself on being again in luck, as I had heard a great deal in Southern Italy of the mal’ occhio, but had never been fortunate enough hitherto to come across one. So I easily outstripped the crowd, the old woman racing along like a greyhound. As I got within about ten or a dozen yards of her she caught her foot and fell. I then stopped, faced about to the gang of pursuers ; and, drawing my revolver, halted the lot in an instant. Cowards to the backbone, none of them liked to be the six men who would infallibly “ lose the number of their mess “ from the rapid ﬁre of that unerring barrel, and they did nothing but stand and jabber, while the old woman sat up in the middle of the road glaring at them. At last one of them on the extreme ﬂank, thinking that I did not see him, picked up a sharp stone and hurled it with all its force at the old woman. I turned sharply to see if it had hit her; meaning, in that case, to shoot that fellow—at all events—where he stood.
[ 72 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
PARALYSED BY A GLANCE. The stone had missed its aim ; and the old hag (for she looked like a veritable Moenad just then) had sprung to her feet and was standing pointing with a shaking fore-ﬁnger at her assailant, and staring straight in his face : her eyes verily seeming to shoot forth ﬁre. A yell of horror and rage broke from the crowd when the man fell to the ground as though smitten by lightning. Then a reaction set in, and they all bolted back to La Cava at an even quicker rate than they came, shrieking out cries of dismay and terror, and leaving their comrade on the ground. I went up to him—he was not dead, as I at ﬁrst thought ; but he was helplessly, hopelessly paralysed : it was a case of ‘’right hemiplegia.’’ I dragged him to the side of the road, out of the way of passing vehicles, and went up to the old woman. I said, “ Well, mother, you’ve punished that scoundrel properly ! “ She replied, “ Ah ! signor, I could have killed him if I had wanted, but I never take life now.” I thought she was a cool old customer, but as I wanted some more information, I offered to see her in safety to her home. She seemed overpowered by gratitude, and consented. IN THE WITCH’S CAVE. In a short time we arrived at one of the numerous caves in the mountain side, where she said she lived. She added—” All the province know where Matta, the witch of La Cava lives, but they dare not molest me here.” I went in and sat down and talked with her. She told me that she lived by telling the fortunes of the country-girls, and selling them charms and philtres to win the affections of their lovers; and I shrewdly suspected that she dabbled a little in poisons; and that, when a jealous husband became too obnoxious, old Matta furnished the means of his removal. I examined her medicaments and tested her fortune-telling powers ; and found that the ﬁrst were useless and the second did not exist. But her knowledge of poisons was wide and profound, and her power of “the evil eye “ was real.
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 73 ]
THE GREEN OINTMENT. At last I startled her. I said, “ Show me the green ointment !” She did not go pale—her mahogany face could not accomplish that feat—but she trembled violently, and clasping her hands together in supplication, said, “ No ! Signor, no ! “ However, I soon made her produce it, in a little ancient gallipot about the size of a walnut. I asked her if she made it herself, or who supplied her with it. She acknowledged to the manufacture, and then I quietly told her what she made it from, and how she prepared it. Of course, I simply knew all this from the books of “black magic” I had studied under Lytton. Hermetics have to learn all the practices of “the forbidden art “ to enable them to combat and overcome the devilish machinations of its professors. When she found that I knew more than she did, she was in a paroxysm of terror ; and I really believe that she thought she was at last standing face to face with her master—Satan. I put the gallipot, carefully stopped, in my pocket and left her. I need scarcely say that, in the experiments I subsequently made with it, I never tried it on a human being. But I found that all that was recorded of it was true : that the slightest smear of it on the ﬁfth pair of nerves (above the eyes) gave a fatal power to the glance when so determined by the will ; and, on various occasions, I have killed dogs, cats, and other animals as by an electric shock in this manner. V.—IN INDIA. MY EXPERIENCE WITH INDIAN FAKIRS. I think the main inducement which caused me to go to India was the chance of studying the methods of the fakirs. So, to abridge my tale, I will merely say that I had not been long up the country before my khitmutgar announced that a couple of fakirs were waiting in the compound to exhibit before the sahib-log. My two companions were “ old Indians,” who had seen these performances repeatedly ; but even they saw something new that day. The fakirs were told that we would not allow them to perform unless they removed all their clothing except their cummerbunds, wound around them in the manner of bathing-drawers. They consented at once to this, and then went through the usual exhibitions of “ the mango-tree growing,” and the “basket trick.”
[ 74 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
THE MANGO TRICK. The mango seed or orange pip was planted in a ﬂower-pot full of earth, a cloth thrown over it, an incantation muttered, the cloth raised to a height of three or four feet, a luxuriant young tree having been unveiled. It was again covered, and was raised almost instantaneously higher. When the cloth was removed it showed a large shrub covered with blossoms. Again, the process was repeated, and, ﬁnally, a tree covered with ripe fruit was shown. The performers gathered and distributed the fruit, which was eaten by the bystanders. Once more the cloth was thrown over the tree. At the word of command it rapidly sank down to the ground. When removed for the last time, there was nothing but a large ﬂower-pot, in which the operator dug his ﬁngers and produces the original seed. They will do this in your own compound, or hard earth or stone, or a chunam pavement hard as granite, or anywhere you like, and as they are perfectly naked, with the exception of a cummerbund (wrapped like a waist cloth and bathing drawers) it is evident that no-thing can be concealed. These are generally travelling “ jugglers,” as they are called by the British. THE BASKET ILLUSION. Then they did “the basket trick,” a wretched imitation of which has been shown in England. They took a little girl of about four years of age, and on a hard ground, placed her under an old hamper or rice basket, scarcely large enough to cover her kneeling down. It was made to do so, however. The child was pressed to the ground by one of the men sitting on it ; the other then began his invocations, and taking the tulwar (sword) as sharp as a razor, thrust it rapidly and furiously through and through the old basket, in every direction, leaving not an inch untouched. The shrieks of the child were fearful, the blood spouted along the blade, the men sitting on the basket seemed to have a difﬁculty in keeping the child down by reason of her terrible struggles, which gradually grew fainter and fainter, as did her shrieks, until at last all was over. A deadly stillness prevailed, the “ juggler “ calmly wiped the blood from his sword, and lifted up the basket. There was nothing there. The crowd opened, and the child came running into the circle unharmed. Thousands of English ofﬁcers and civilians have seen these two feats, and will vouch for them upon their honour. I can procure a lady now living, the daughter of an
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 75 ]
English missionary, who was operated en in the manner described, to the great terror of her mother who witnessed the performances, and was only prevented from jumping from the ﬂat room of the bungalow into the compound, to save her child through being held fast by the missionary, who had seen the performance frequently, and who knew the child would be unharmed. That lady, like all the other female children whom I have seen put under the basket, and afterwards closely questioned, had not the slightest recollection of the fact ; her father and mother with others can, however, substantiate the circumstance. THE RUPEE CONVERTED INTO A FROG. After these, one of them asked me to take a rupee from my pocket and hold it tightly in my clenched right hand. I did so, and he—standing at some twenty paces distant—made a series of “ passes “ in my direction for a few moments, and then appeared to throw some-thing at my outstretched ﬁst. On the instant I felt that, instead of my rupee, something cold and clammy was in my hand. I thought, of course, that it was a small snake, and threw it hastily on the ground. It was a lively frog, perfectly harmless ; and, as we stood looking at it, the fakir advanced and picked it up by one leg. He then opened his mouth and dropped it down his throat. It was seen no more, nor my rupee either; but I reckoned it in afterwards when he held out his brass tray with a plaintive “ Bukhshish ! sahib ! “ IMPROVISING A MENAGERIE. The next feat was rigging up a kind of tent with cloths and draperies, borrowed from the khansamah, in one angle of the compound. Then they asked us what animals we would like to see come out of the tent. One of my friends suggested a water-buffalo. Instantly one of those useful animals appeared in the tent-opening, came out, and wandered off round a clump of bushes. Next, a royal tiger was selected, and, with a terriﬁc roar, a splendid brute bounded out nearly to our feet, then turned and went after the buffalo. My turn came then, and I was determined to select an animal that I knew neither of the fakirs had ever seen, thinking that that would test their power to the utmost, if not prove an impossibility. So I said, “a kangaroo.” I could not make them understand what kind of an animal it was—at which I secretly rejoiced, and at once said, “Never
[ 76 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
mind what it is like, produce it.” They rejoined, “Will the Sahib log know him when they see him ?” “Oh, yes !” we all said, “trot him out ! “--and, at the word “ Hitherow ! “ a ﬁne “old man” kangaroo hopped out, took a ﬂying leap over the bushes, and disappeared. I hope he didn’t fall in with that hungry-looking Bengal tiger. SPITTED, BUT UNHURT. Next, the thin fakir took a tulwar of a straighter patterned blade than those usually met with ; and placing its point to the right side of the stouter one, quietly and deliberately ran it through his abdomen until at least three inches of the point protruded at the left side. There was no blood to be seen, and the man walked round for us to inspect the genuineness of the transﬁxion. We wanted to pull it out, but he would let no one but his comrade touch it. When withdrawn we carefully examined the sword, and saw that it was a teal weapon—no spring business. CLIMBING INTO THE SKY. Various other minor feats were shown, and then came the piece de resistance. Borrowing a long cord, which was brought by one of the syces, the thin man threw one end up in the air to its full stretch—about 39 feet, more or less. It appeared to catch on to some invisible support, and hung down straight ; and the fakir invited us to pull at it and test it, which we accordingly did. He then began climbing up the rope until he arrived at the top, where he calmly seated himself on air, and commenced pulling it up. When he had completely done this, his companion called out, “ ‘Jaldi jao ! “ (Go quickly !), and, while we looked at him, he vanished. We naturally expected to see him come walking up to us afterwards from behind the bushes, or elsewhere. Bat no : his comrade collected the “ bukhshish,” and, with many salaams, departed to join him elsewhere. MR. JACOB, OF SIMLA My next reminiscence is an experience at Simla. I had made the acquaintance of many fakirs, and had examined their feats and probed their mysteries ; but I heard of one man to whom common report attributed all
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 77 ]
the powers of Moses—and more. This was a native jeweller and diamond merchant at Simla, a man of immense wealth, highly educated and polished. I determined to go to Simla, in the hills, and interview him. I knew a man who had been sent up there to recover after an attack of enteric fever, a captain of Bengal Lancers, and I prepared to visit him. In brief I did so, and arrived at the bungalow, jointly occupied by my friend and a Scotch surgeon-major of Ghoorkhas, just before sunset. During the evening, over our cheroots and brandy-pawnee. I asked if they knew Mr. Jacob. “ Rather ! who didn’t, at Simla ? “ I expressed my intention of making his acquaintance, but my friend said that he did not think I should manage it in the few days I had at disposal. The surgeon-major said, relapsing into broad Scotch in his excitement, “Dinna go, laddie ; he’s na canny.” I said that uncanny or not, I had come on purpose ; and, being an obstinate Yorkshireman, I meant to carry it through. The next morning I went to Mr. Jacob’s bungalow, higher up, about three-quarters of a mile from where I was staying. His bearer informed me that he was away, and was not expected home for three days, when he had invited three gentlemen to tifﬁn. I left my card aid promised to call again, as I was obliged to leave Simla the day after his expected return ; and I left word that I had come some hundreds of miles to see him. To strengthen my chances, I marked in pencil a hieroglyphic on the card ; not knowing to what school he belonged, except that he was not a Hermetic. Had he been so, no single word about him would have appeared in these pages from my pen. I thought it just possible that he might recognise and know the meaning of the hieroglyph. The result exceeded my wildest expectations. Three days afterwards, 1 returned from an early morning ride to ﬁnd that Mr. Jacob had himself called at our bungalow, and left his card for me, with the hope that I would join his party at tifﬁn that day. My Scotch friend looked very glum, and was sure some harm would come of it. However, at the appointed time, I gaily mounted the captain’s tat, and set forth. When I arrived, the other three guests were there—one of them, a general ofﬁcer whose name is a household word in England and India. I was received with great empressement by Mr. Jacob (thanks to the hieroglyph), and we proceeded to enjoy the repast.
[ 78 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
GRAPES GROWN ON A WALKING-STICK. Afterwards, when the Trichinopolis were lighted and desultory conversation set in, our host was asked by the General to show us some, what he called “tricks.” I could see that Jacob didn’t like the word ; but he simply said, “ Yes, I will show you a trick.” Then he told a servant to bring in all the sahibs’ walking-sticks. Selecting one, a thick grapevine stick with a silver band, he said, “ Whose is this ? It was claimed by the General, and a glass bowl of water, similar to those in which gold-ﬁsh are kept, was placed on the table. Mr. Jacob then simply stood the stick on its knob in the water and held it upright for a few moments. Then we saw scores of shoots like rootlets issuing from the knob till they ﬁlled the bowl and held the stick upright; Jacob standing over it muttering all the time. In a few moments more a continuous crackling sound was heard, and shoots, young twigs, began rapidly putting forth from the upper part of the stick. These grew and grew ; they became clothed with leaves, and ﬂowered before our eyes. The ﬂowers became changed to small bunches of grapes ; and, in ten minutes from the commencement, a ﬁne, healthy standard vine loaded with bunches of ripe black Hamburgs stood before us. A. servant carried it round, and we all helped ourselves to the fruit. It struck me at the time that this might only be some (to me new) form of hypnotic delusion. So, while eating my bunch, I carefully transferred half of it to my pocket, to see if the grapes would be there the next day. When the tree was replaced or, the table Jacob ordered it to be covered with a sheet ; and, in a few minutes, there was nothing there but the General’s stick, apparently none the worse for its vicissitudes. HOW IT FEELS TO BE THRUST THROUGH. I then described the performances of different fakirs whom I had seen, especially the only one which puzzled me—the transﬁxion of the body with a tulwar. Mr. Jacob smiled and said, “Oh, that’s nothing. Stand up.” I did so, and he, taking down a superbly mounted and damascened yataghan from Persia, which formed part of a trophy of arms on the wall, drew it from its scabbard and held the point to my breast, saying only “Shall I?” I had absolute conﬁdence in him, so simply said “Certainly.” He dropped the point to about two inches below the sternum (breast-bone) and pushed slowly but forcibly. I distinctly felt the passage of the blade,
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 79 ]
but it was entirely painless, though I experienced a curious icy feeling, as though I had drunk some very cold water. The point came out of my back and penetrated into the wood panelling behind, which, if I remember rightly, was of cedar wood. He left no of the weapon and laughingly remarked that I looked like a butterﬂy pinned on a cork. Several jokes at my expense were made by the others ; and, after a minute or two, he released me. I looked rather ruefully at the slit the broad blade had made in my clothes, but Jacob said, “Never mind them ; they’ll be all right byand-bye.” He began to show us another wonder, and I forgot all about it. But about an hour afterward there was no trace whatever of any damage to the clothes. PICTURES FROM THE ASTRAL LIGHT. Presently he said, “ Well, gentlemen, I hope I have amused you. I want you now to amuse me by each giving me an account of some battle he was in (especially an occasion of being wounded). I am intensely fond of tales of war and heroism.” Well, we had all four of us plenty of experiences of that sort, but in the Service it is “ bad form “ to talk about one’s own doings, so that he had considerable difﬁculty in getting anyone, to begin. At last the General opened the ball by giving (at our special request) an account of the Balaklava ride, in which he had taken part. He told it as a brave soldier would, simply, but earnestly, and manfully. Our host watched him narrowly, and listened like one entranced, not missing a single word. He then took from the inner pocket of his jacket a small baguette, and waved it towards the inlaid panelling of the room. THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE. In an instant a thick mist gathered there, of a deep violet hue, which rolled away to each side, and there was plainly visible to our eyes the ﬁeld of Balaklava with the Light Brigade drawn up. We saw Nolan ride up, we heard the trumpets blare out the advance, and, ﬁnally, the “charge.” We watched the death of that unfortunate ofﬁcer, and then saw the Light Brigade in their headlong charge on the guns. Every incident repeated itself before us. We saw them spike the guns and return, but the most distinct ﬁgure to our eyes was that of our friend the General. We saw their return impeded by a dense mass of Russian lancers, two of whom
[ 80 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
speared the General (he was not a general then) while he was cutting Clown a third on his right front. Down he went, and the shock of battle rolled on, leaving him on the ground in our full view. Presently he staggered to his legs and caught a riderless troop-horse, which came up to him without any shyness when be whistled a call. We saw him mount with extreme difﬁculty and ride off to the British lines, where he arrived in safety, though shot and shell hurtled round him at times like a hailstorm. HOW THE VISIONS WERE PRODUCED. Another wave of the baguette, and all disappeared ; and there was nothing but the pattern of the inlaid wood to leek at. We looked at one another and drew a long breath, the General saying only, “ Well ! I’m blanked !” In those days cavalrymen used more forcible expletives than is the custom now. We took fresh cheroots, and once more composed ourselves to hear the experiences of the others. To these we naturally listened with a heightened interest, knowing that at the conclusion of each story we should see the actual incidents reproduced before our eyes. We did, and we saw more than we heard ; because one ofﬁcer, in relating the share he took in the assault on the Alumbagh, entirely omitted to mention a feat of brilliant daring which he performed on that occasion, in engaging single-handed in a furious hand-to-hand conﬂict with two gigantic sepoys—he was only a little fellow. Anyhow, we saw him kill them both with his own blade (his revolver was empty, and no time to reload). When we “ chaffed “ him after about omitting this detail, he only said, “ Well, of course I didn’t want to gas.” When all our stories and their ensuing visions were concluded, we discussed what we had seen, and one or two of the guests were sufﬁciently ill-advised to ask Mr. Jacob how such a thing as the actual reproduction of an event which had occurred some years before was possible. He told them that every event that had ever taken place in the history of the world was actually still existing in the astral light, and could be reproduced at any time and place by those who possessed the know-ledge and the power. In fact, that so to speak, as words spoken into a phonograph by people since dead, still existed, and could be reproduced at will: so that all actions and events were for ever in existence. I told him that this agreed in toto with the teachings of the Hermetics
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 81 ]
; and also pointed out that the New Testament stated that one day all the deeds that had been done should be made manifest, whether they were good or evil. All he said was, “ No difﬁculty about doing that! “ WALKING ON THE WATER. Presently he asked us if we would like to look at his gardens (a most unusual proposition there). We consented out of politeness, and went outside. We found there an artiﬁcial lake or large pond, of which we took no particular notice, and lounged about in the shade chatting and smoking. Presently, the ofﬁcer to whom Jacob was talking at some little distance from the rest, called out: “Mr. Jacob is going to walk on the water.” Jacob said, “ Why not ? ‘ and immediately stepped not into but on the water, and deliberately walked right across the pond. The water being very translucent, we could see the astonished ﬁsh darting away in all directions from under his feet. When he got to the other side he turned round and came back again. As he stepped on the ground I requested to look at his shoes, to see if they were wetted at all. The soles appeared just as if he had walked over a wet pavement, and that was all. He said : “ That is nothing; anyone who can ﬂoat in air” (Angelice levitate) “can walk on water ; but I will show you something that really requires power.” It was a baking hot day in the hot season, and although considerably cooler up there in the hills than in the plains, it was still as ardent as a hot summer’s day in England. A BUTTERFLY STORM. Bringing out the baguette again, he waved it slowly round his head. Presently the air was full of butterﬂies. They came by thousands, by millions, till they were as thick in the air as a heavy snowstorm. They settled on everything, on us, on our hats, our shoulders, anywhere, like bees swarming, till we presented a ridiculous spectacle. The scene was so ludicrous that we burst into roars of laughter. This seemed to offend Jacob, who was rather touchy on some points, so he said, “ Ali ! you laugh ; we will have no more of it.” The butterﬂies rose from where they had lit, rapidly went up into the air, higher and higher, till they formed a dark cloud passing the sun, and then drifted off out of sight altogether. We went into the bungalow again, but there was a decided coolness
[ 82 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
perceptible in our host’s manner, and I, for one, was not sorry to prepare to leave. INSTANT TRANSPORTATION THROUGH SPACE. Before we broke up, however, Mr. Jacob requested a few words privately with me. I followed him out to the verandah, and we spoke on occult subjects for a few minutes, and then he said to me. “I will give you a special experience, which will give you something to think about.” Just what I wanted ! He said, “Shut your eyes and imagine that you are in your bedroom in your bungalow.” I did so. He said, “Now open your eyes.” I opened them to ﬁnd that I was in my bedroom—throe-quarters of a mile in two seconds! He said, Now shut them again, and we will rejoin our friends.” But I wouldn’t have that at any price ; because the idea of hypnotic delusion was still present to my mind ; and, if it were so, I wanted to see how he would get over the dilemma. He did not try to persuade me, but only laughed, saying, “ Well if you will not, then good-bye,” and he was gone. I instantly looked at my watch, as I had done in his verandah at the commencement of the experiment, and two minutes had barely elapsed. THE HORSE AND CART ALSO LEVITATED. I walked straight out of my bedroom to the dining-room where both my friends were sitting. They stared and wanted to know “ How the deuce I got there “ So I sat down and told them all that occurred. The doctor said, “ Let us see the grapes.” I felt in my pocket and they were there all right, and passed them to him. He turned them over very suspiciously, smelt of them, and ﬁnally tasted one. “ They’re the real thing, my boy; genuine English black Hamburgs,” he said, and proceeded to devour the lot. Then the captain said, “ But where’s the tat ? “ I replied that I had forgotten all about it ; I supposed that he had better send for it. Calling a servant, he told him to go to the stables and send a syce up to Sahib Jacob’s bungalow for the tat. In a few minutes the bearer returned with the syce, who said that the tat was at that moment safe in his own stable. We stared at one another, and then went to see for ourselves. Sure enough he was there. To those who are specially interested in occultism, I may say that Mr.
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 83 ]
Jacob is not actually a Yogi ; though he has studied Yoga, and by its means performed the feats here recorded. The baguette he employed was almost identical with that of the Hermetists. VI.—IN AFRICA. RAIN-MAKERS. My next experience relates to those much-maligned individuals—the “ rain-makers” in Africa. It is the custom for missionaries, and people who have never seen them at work, to ridicule the idea of their possessing the powers which they claim. But their power is a very real one ; and the argument that they only commence operations when they can tell that rain is coming is absurd on the face of it. The kings and savage chiefs of \Vest and South Africa are skilled observers of the weather, and know quite as much about it as the rainmakers. And it must be remembered that they never send for these men until every chance is hopeless ; and, further, that the lives of the rainmakers are always staked on their success. Failure means death—death on the spot—accompanied by torture of the most horrible kinds. A RAIN-MAKING SCENE. I was on a visit to one of the petty “ kings “ in what is today called the Hinterland of the Cameroons (now a German settlement), and it was of great importance to me to keep the king in good humour, as his temper, never very good, was getting absolutely ﬁendish by reason of the long drought which had prevailed. There had been no rain for weeks, all the greener vegetables had perished, and even the mealies were beginning to droop for want of water, and the cattle in the king’s kraal died by scores. Celebrated rain-makers had been sent for, but so far none had turned up. One day, the hottest 1 ever saw in Africa or anywhere else, I was taking my noonday siesta when the thunderous tones of the big wardrum ﬁlled the air. Like everyone else, I sprang to my feet and rushed to the king’s kraal, wondering what new calamity was going to befall me. All the warriors assembled, fully armed, in the space of a few minutes, speculating, what the summons boded--war, human sacriﬁces, or what ? But their anxious looks were turned to joy, and a deafening roar of jubilation went up when the king came out followed by two rain-makers;
[ 84 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
who had arrived a few minutes before. The longest day that I live I shall never forget that spectacle. A ring of nearly three thousand naked and savage warriors, bedizened with all their ﬁnery of neck-laces, bracelets, bangles, and plumes of feathers; and armed with broad-bladed, cruel-looking spears, and a variety of other weapons ; the king seated, with his body-guard and executioners behind him ; in the middle two men, calm, cool, and conﬁdent ; and above all the awful sun, hanging like a globe of blazing copper in the cloudless sky, merciless and pitiless. THE TWO RAIN-MAKERS. I can see those two men now, as if it were but yesterday —one an old man, a stunted but sturdy fellow with bow-legs ; the other, about thirty, a magniﬁcent specimen of humanity (if I remember rightly he was a Soosoo), six feet in height, straight as a dart, and with the torso of a Greek wrestler, but a most villainous face. They began their incantations by walking round in a small circle singing some wild barbaric chant, and ever and anon throwing up into the air a ﬁne light-coloured powder, which they kept taking from pouches slung at their sides. This went on for about twenty minutes or more, and was just beginning to grow insufferably tedious (the crowd all this time standing motionless and silent, like so many images carved in ebony) ; when, suddenly, the old man fell down in convulsions. I was within ten yards of him, and watched him most care-fully, and (speaking as a medical man), if ever I saw a genuine epileptic ﬁt, I saw one then. As he rolled on the ground in horrible contortions, foaming at the mouth like a mad dog, his comrade took not the slightest notice of him, but stood like a stone statue pointing with his outstretched arm to a point in the zenith slightly to the westward, his glaring eyeballs being turned in the same direction. All eyes were turned to follow his gaze, but nothing was visible. THE RAIN MADE. But stay! Is that a darker shade coming over the intense blue of the sky at that point ? It is—it deepens to purple—then heavy clouds appear, apparently from nowhere ; and, before a whole minute has expired, the sun has gone, and vast clouds of inky blackness cover all the face of the
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 85 ]
heavens. Still motionless stands the statue. Blacker and more black grows the pitchy darkness, until it becomes almost impossible to see. But still that ebony ﬁgure stands silently pointing. Then the lowering vault of heaven is riven by a lightning shaft, that seems to blind one by its awful glare: a peal of thunder accompanies it that sounds like the “ crack of doom “ ; and then down comes the rain in torrents—in waterspouts, tons and tons of it. Verily, they earned their reward ! Of the feast that followed, when the rain had abated into a steady, business-like downpour that never ceased for two whole days and fairly transformed the parched and thirsty land, I will not speak. It was like all other royal feasts in West Africa. MY INTERVIEW WITH THE RAIN-MAKERS. After it was over I visited the rain-makers, who were fortunately allotted the next hut to mine. I found that they both spoke Soosoo and a little Arabic (which last they had picked up from the Arab slave-dealers of the interior), so we got on ﬁnely. By certain means, known to all occultists, I at once acquired their conﬁdence, and they agreed to show me what they could do. There was a ﬁre on the ground in the centre of the hut, and we seated ourselves around it, at the three angles of an imaginary triangle. Throwing some dried herbs and mineral powders (all of which I carefully examined and identiﬁed) into the ﬁre, they commenced singing and rocking themselves backward and forward. A MYSTIC SNAKE DANCE. This continued for a few minutes, when, all rising to our feet but keeping the same relative positions, the old man began making a series of motions, like mesmeric passes, over the ﬁre. Almost instantly the ﬁre seemed alive with snakes, which crawled out of the ﬁre in scores, and in which I recognised the most deadly serpent on the face of the earth—the African tic-polonga. These brutes raced madly round and round the ﬁre, some endeavouring to stand on their tails, hissing loudly all the time, until it absolutely produced the effect on the spectator of a weird dance of serpents. On the utterance of one Arabic monosyllabic word, the polongas
[ 86 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
hurled themselves into the ﬁre and disappeared. The younger man, who had hitherto taken no active part, then opened his mouth wide, and a snake’s headpopped out. He seized hold of it by the neck, and pulled out of his throat a tic-polonga between two and three feet long, and threw it also in the ﬁre. I said, “Do it again,” and he repeated the feat several times. It must be remembered that both men were entirely naked at this time, excepting for their feather Lead-dresses, so no clever jugglery or sleight of hand was possible. LEVITATION EXTRAORDINARY. The next thing was that the old man lay down on the ﬂoor, and told us to take him by the head and the heels and raise him up. This we did to the height of about three feet from the ﬂoor, he having made himself perfectly rigid. We held him there for a moment, and then he softly “ ﬂoated “ out of our hands and sailed right round the hut, I following him closely. He then approached the wall, feet ﬁrst, and fairly ﬂoated through it into the outside darkness. I immediately felt of the spot where he had gone through, expecting to ﬁnd a hole ; but no, all was as solid as stout beams of timber and a foot of sun-baked clay could make it. I rushed outside to look for him, and even ran round the hut ; but, what with the dark night and the heavy rain, I could see nothing of him. So I returned, wet to the skin. The other man sat by the ﬁre alone, singing. In a few moments the old man came ﬂoating in again, and sat down at his point of the triangle. But I noticed that the feathers in his head-dress were dripping wet, and that his black skin fairly glistened with rain. EVOCATION OF THE DEAD. The last incident was to be an evocation. Other substances and odoriferous gums being thrown into the ﬁre, we stood in solemn silence, although I could see by the continuous rapid movements of the old man’s lips, that he was silently repeating the necessary formula. After a long time, that seemed an hour, the ﬁgure of a venerable old man slowly arose in the centre of the ﬁre, in puribus nataralibus. He was evidently an Englishman (having. I noticed, along purple cicatrix on his back), but I could not get a single word out of him, although I tried several times. The
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 87 ]
old rain-maker shook like a leaf, and was evidently almost frightened out of his wits. He could only gasp and stare at the Englishman. At last he managed to mumble out the two words necessary to dismiss him, and, as I looked, he was gone. Neither of the rain-makers seemed to know who, he was, and kept up such a rapid gabble to each other for a long time after he had gone that I could not properly follow them ; but a few words gathered here and there showed me that they were thoroughly terriﬁed. The Englishman was not at all what they had expected to see. What they looked for was a black. FIRST GIANTIFIED, THEN DWARFED. I could get neither sense nor reason out of them any more that night, so left them and went to my own hut for a good sleep. When I visited them the next evening, just after sunset, they were quite willing to resume the séance. This time we formed an isosceles triangle, instead of an equilateral, I occupying the apex. They were very particular on both occasions in getting the exact distances they required. I sat, therefore, at the apex and they stood at the two other angles. Then the old man began reciting in a loud voice, the other occasionally joining in at regular rhythmic intervals. Presently, as I looked, I saw the old man gradually growing taller and taller until he was level with the 6-feet Soosoo. Then they both begun to slowly shoot upwards till their heads touched the roof of the hut, about 9 ft. Still keeping on the recitation, they decreased in height minute by minute, till a couple of mannikins, not more than two feet in height, stood before me. They looked very repulsive, but horribly grotesque. Then they gradually resumed their natural height ; and, for the ﬁrst and last time of my acquaintance with them, they both burst out into a genuine, hearty, unsophisticated peal of laughter. A BLOODY KNIFE DANCE. But this was only for a moment; for the next was to be a more serious performance--a reproduction of one of the far-famed mysteries of Baal, when his priests danced before his altar and gashed themselves with knives. For this performance I had to remove from my position at the apex of
[ 88 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
the triangle and stand out of the way against the wall of the hut. The two performers began by slowly walking round the ﬁre in as wide a circle as the space would permit ; and every now and then, revolving on their own axes, singing a dirge-like chant. Presently they quickened the time, both of their singing and movement—discontinuing the walking altogether, and progressing round the circle solely by spinning like tops—the two men going in opposite directions. Round and round they went, ﬁercely gyrating and shouting their song louder and louder, until it ended in a series of car-splitting shrieks. Then suddenly, in each man’s hand appeared a glittering knife with which, every time they passed each other—twice in each circle—they gashed their naked ﬂesh in the breast, arm face, and sides. The scene now became one of sickening horror—the whirling black ﬁgures, streaming with blood; the ear-splitting yells in that conﬁned space ; the glaring eye-balls and demoniac expression of their faces; and, above all, the horrible smell of the ﬂowing negro blood seemed like a terriﬁc nightmare or a scene in Pandemonium. I have pretty strong nerves, but I found the strain on them intense ; and I was truly glad when the old man suddenly stopped his gyrations and calmly sat down by the side of the hut, as this evidently foretold a speedy close to the horrible scene. THE WOUNDS HEALED. The old man took no notice of his gaping wounds, but kept his eyes ﬁxed on every movement of the younger one, who had now ceased yelling and slashing himself, hut kept on spinning round and round, slowly and more slowly, till at last he fell prone and utterly exhausted. The elder then picked up both knives (which had short, trowel-like blades, ground to a razor edge on both sides), wiped them, and carefully smeared both sides of the blades with some horrible unguent. While he was doing this, I was carefully examining the wounds of the other man, and found them perfectly satisfactory, going through skin and muscle, and bleeding profusely ; though I could not detect in any case that an artery had been cut; it was distinctly venous blood that issued from the wounds. The old man then took the “ doctored “ knife of the younger one and carefully stroked every cut with the blade, beginning front the head, and stroking in a down-ward direction. I could scarcely believe my eyes when,
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 89 ]
under this treatment, the gaping edges of the wounds Immediately closed, and the blood ceased to ﬂow. He then took some more of the grease on the palms of his hands, and vigorously rubbed the young man all over the trunk for a few minutes. Here I may remark that all the wounds were “above the belt.” When his operations were completed, he was standing in a large pool of blood which had run down from his own wounds, but he still took no notice of them. The young man then performed precisely the same operations on the elder; and then both came and stood in front of me for examination. I made a good blaze in the ﬁre, and then overhauled them minutely; but there was no trace of a single scratch to be found—not even a scar! I had seen enough for the time being, and was glad to get out into the pure air, with the promise to visit them again the next day. I went the next evening, but the hut was empty : they had gone away at daybreak—no man knew whither. When I asked the king where they had gone: for all answer he pointed to the setting sun. It was dangerous to persevere, and I said no more. I never saw them again. THE REAL ORIGINAL OF “SHE.” The psychological and psychical portions of Rider Haggard’s “She “ strike me as being not so much the creation of a vivid imagination as the simple recital—or, perhaps, one should say, the skilful adaptation—of facts well known to those who penetrated the recesses of the west coast of Africa a generation ago. Astounding, terrifying, and incredible as the powers of Ayesha appear to the casual reader, yet to the men who laboriously threaded the jungle and haunts of the riverain portion of West Africa, long before Stanley was thought of, they only seem like a well-known and familiar tale. The awful mysteries of Obeeyah (Vulgo Obi) and the powers possessed by the Obeeyah women of those days, were sufﬁciently known to all the slave traders of the West Coast to make the wonders worked by “ She “ seem tame by comparison. And always excepting the idea of the revivifying and rejuvenating ﬂame in the bowels of the earth in which “She” bathed, there is nothing but what any Obeeyah woman was in the habit of doing every day. And, the fact forces itself upon me that “ She “ is neither more nor less than a weak watercoloured sketch of an Obeeyah woman, made white, beautiful and young, instead of being, as she invariably is, or was, black, old, and hideous as a
[ 90 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
mummy of a monkey. This is not only my own opinion, but that of all the old comrades of “the coast” of thirty years ago, to whom the subject has been mentioned. Although, the Obeeyah men were, without exception, clumsy and ignorant charlatans, and simply worshipped Mumbo Jumbo, the Obeeyah women were of a different creed: offered human sacriﬁces, under the most awful conditions, to Satan himself, whom they believed to inhabit the body of a hideous man-eating spider; practised evocation of evil spirits; and, beyond all dispute possessed powers far exceeding anything ever yet imagined in the wildest pages of ﬁction. To even hint at some of these wonders would be to subject one to one of three alternatives—to be considered either Menteur, Farceur, or Fou. There is nothing on record in the ancient myths of any religion that is not done by the Obeeyah of to-day. The human imagination—whatever philosophers may think—has not the power to create ; and, whatever you have read of magical powers—especially those of necromancy--are absolutely possible ; absolutely true ; absolutely accomplished ! From Moses to Bulwer Lytton ; from Jannes and Jambres of Egyptians, to all the wonders of India, there is nothing—never has been anything—that cannot be done by the African Obeeyah. SUBÉ THE OBEEYAH WOMAN. I remember more than thirty years ago meeting an Obeeyah woman some hundreds of miles up the Cameroons river, and who had her residence in the caverns at the feet of the Cameroons mountains. In parenthesis, I may remark that I could not have existed there for one moment had I not been connected in some form or other with the slave trade. That, by the way. Judge for yourselves, whether “She“ was not “ evolved” from Subé, the well-known Obeeyah woman of the Cameroons, or from one of a similar type. Subé stood close on six foot, and was supposed by the natives to be many hundred years of age ; erect as a dart, and with a stately walk, she yet looked two thousand years old. Her wrinkled, mummyﬁed, gorilla-like face, full of all iniquity, hate, and uncleanness, moral and physical--might have existed since the Creation, while her superb form and full limbs might have been those of a woman of twenty-four. “ Pride in her port, and demon in her eye “ were her chief characteristics ; while her dress was very simple, consisting of a head dress made of sharks’ teeth, brass bosses, and tails of some species of lynx.
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 91 ]
Across her bare bosom was a wide scarf or baldrick made of scarlet cloth, on which were fastened four rows of what appeared like large Roman pearls, of the size of a large walnut. These apparent pearls, how-ever, were actually human intestines, bleached to a pearly whiteness, inﬂated, and constricted at short intervals so as to make a series of little bladders. On the top of her head appeared the head of a large spotted serpent—presumably some kind of a boa constrictor—the cured skin of which hung down her back nearly to the ground. Round her neck she wore a solid brass quoit of some four pounds weight, too small to pass over her head, but which had no perceptible joint or place of union. Heavy bangles on wrists and ankles reminded one somewhat of the Hindu woman’s, but hers were heavier, and were evidently formed from the thick brass rods used in “the coast trade,” and hammered together in situ. Her skirt was simply a fringe of pendent tails of some animal—presumably the mountain lynx—intermingled with goats’ tails. In her hand she carried what seemed to be the chief instrument of her power, and what we in Europe should call “ a magic wand.” But this was no wand, it was simply a hollow tube about four inches long, closed at one end and appearing to be made of a highly glittering kind of half ivory. Closer inspection, however, showed that it was some kind of reed about an inch in diameter, and incrusted with human molar teeth, in a splendid state of preservation, and set with the crown outwards. When not borne in the right hand this instrument was carried in a side pouch or case leaving the open end out. SOME OF HER WONDERS. Strange to say—this mystery I never could fathom —there was always a faint blue smoke proceeding from the mouth of this tube, like the smoke of a cigarette, though it was perfectly cold and apparently empty. I shall never forget the ﬁrst day on which I asked her to give me a specimen of her powers. I quietly settled down to enjoy the performance without expecting to be astonished, but only amused. I was astonished, though, to ﬁnd this six feet of humanity weighing at least eleven stone, standing on my outstretched hand when I opened my eyes (previously closed by her command), and when I could feel not the slightest weight thereon. I was still more so when, still standing on my outstretched palm, she told me to shut my eyes again and reopen them instantaneously. I did so, and she was gone. But that was not all ; while I looked round for her
[ 92 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
a stone fell near me, and looking upwards I saw her calmly standing on the top of a cliff nearly ﬁve hundred feet in height. I naturally thought it was a “double “—that is, another woman dressed likelier, and said so to the bystanding natives, who shouted something in the Ephic language to her. Without much ado, she walked—not jumped—over the side of the cliff, and with a gentle motion, as though suspended by Mr. Baldwin’s parachute, gradually dropped downwards until she alighted at my feet. My idea always was that this tube of hers was charged with some—to us—unknown ﬂuid or gas, which controlled the forces of nature ; she seemed powerless without it. HER LIMITATIONS.. Further, none of her “miracles “ was, strictly speaking, non-natural. That is, she seemed able to control natural forces in most astounding ways, even to suspend and overcome them, as in the previous instance of the suspension of the laws of gravitation : but in no case could she violate them. For instance, although she could take an arm, lopped off by a blow of her cutlass, and, holding it to the stump, pretend to mutter some gibberish while she carefully passed her reed round the place of union (in a second of time complete union was effected without a trace of previous injury), yet, when I challenged her to make an arm sprout from the stump of our quartermaster, who had lost his left fore-arm in action some years before, she was unable to do so, and candidly declared her inability. She said, “ It is dead ; I have no power “—and over nothing dead had she any power: After seeing her changing toads into tic-polongas (the most deadly serpent on the Coast) I told her to change a stone into a trade dollar. But no, the answer was the same—” It was dead.” A KILLER-WILLER. Her power over life was striking, instantaneous, terrible ; the incident in “ She “ of the three blanched ﬁnger-marks on the hair of the girl who loved Callikrates and the manner of her death, would have been child’s play to Subé. When she pointed her little reed at a powerful warrior in my presence—a man of vast thews and sinews—with a bitter hissing curse, he simply faded away. The muscles began to shrink visibly, within three minutes space he
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 93 ]
was actually an almost ﬂeshless skeleton. Again, in her towering rage against a woman, the same action was followed by instantaneous results, but instead of withering, the woman absolutely petriﬁed there and then. Standing erect, motionless, her whole body actually froze as ﬁnd as stone, as we see the car-cases of beasts in Canada. A blow from my revolver on the hand, and afterwards all over the body, rang as if 1 were striking marble. Until I saw this actually done, I must confess that I never really believed in Lot’s wife being turned into a pillar of rock salt. After it I was disposed to believe a good deal. A NOVEL FORM OF CRYSTAL GAZING. One of the things which most impressed me was that she poured water from a calabash into a little parafﬁn, scooped by her hands in the soft earth, but this was nothing but water, I satisﬁed myself by the taste. Telling me to kneel down and gaze steadfastly on the surface of the water, she told me to call any person whom I might wish to see, and here a rather curious point arose. She insisted upon having the name ﬁrst. I gave her the name of a relative Lewis, which she repeated after me three times to get it ﬁxed correctly on her memory. In repeating her incantation, a few minutes afterwards, she pronounced the word “ Louise,” though I did not pay much attention to it at the time. When, however, her wand waved over the water, evolving clouds of luminous smoke, I saw distinctly reﬂected in it, after those clouds had passed away, the face and form of a relative of mine standing in front of the audience, evidently reciting some composition. I told her that she had made a mistake. I did not acknowledge to hate seen anything for some time. At last I told her that it was the wrong person; then, naturally, argument followed. She insisted that I said Louise. However, at last I taught her the correct pronunciation of Lewis, and I saw the man I wanted sitting with his feet elevated above his head, more Americana, and calmly pufﬁng his pipe while reading the letter. I need scarcely say that I veriﬁed the time at which these things occurred, and in both instances I found then, allowing for the difference in longitude, absolutely and exactly correct. Space will not allow, or I could go on for hours relating the wonders that I have seen Subé perform. The most wonderful of all I have left untold, because they seem even to myself utterly incredible, yet they are there, buried into my brain, ever since that awful night, when I was
[ 94 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
a concealed and unsuspecting witness of the awful rites and mysteries of the Obeeyah in the caverns of the Cameroons. WHAT IS OBEEVAH ? The very root and essence of Obeeyahism is devil worship, i.e., the use of rights, ceremonies, adjurations, and hymns to some powerful and personal spirit of evil, whose favour is obtained by means of orgies, which for horror and blasphemy and obscenity cannot have been exceeded—if, indeed, they have ever been equalled—in the history of the world. These things are too utterly horrible even to be hinted at. The term obeeyah (vulg. obi; pronounced obee), conveys a truer idea of the sound of the word than obi, because always after the pronunciation of the last syllable there is the African pant or grunt, which I have roughly endeavoured to reproduce by the syllable yah, O-bee-yah. One curious fact in connection with the Obeeyahism, and which seems almost to link it with bygone ages as a remnant of the old serpent worship, is what we read in Mosaic Scriptures about the Witch of Endor. The Hebrew phrase, thus freely rendered by the translators, literally means one who asks or consults O-B, not Oh, but O-B, or two letters signifying “ a serpent.” Now the Obeeyah women always wore a serpent on the head, and some of them would even have a live one twisted round their necks. The Obeeyah seem to worship the arch-demon under different forms ; Subé, of the Cameroons, and her tribe, believing that he occupied the body of an man-eating spider, to whom they offered living human beings. CHANGING A SNAKE INTO A SPIDER. Subé professed to exercise all power at ﬁrst, and my chief amusement in the weeks in which I was kept a prisoner by her (and undergoing the process of being fattened up to form an appetising bonne bouche for the spider-god) was in proving to her that she could not do this, that, and the other—in fact, what schoolboys call “settling her capers.” Vide the instance of stone and trade dollar. But on what I call “natural lines,” she was perfect. Thus, when she took up a toad, she changed it into a ticpolonga ; it was not done by any word of command, or word of power (as a Hindoo and Talmadic magic), but she rolled it between her hands for a few moments, and pulled and mutilated it until it was more like a lizard
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 95 ]
than anything, having distinctly the legs intact. The next process was to pull away the legs, the body all the time gradually lengthening, and last of all, to manipulate the head and putting her ﬁngers into its mouth, pull out and develop the long, ﬂexible, split tongue of the serpent. A HARVEST IN FIVE MINUTES. When she wanted food, it was only a variety of the Indian “ mangotrick.” If mealies were wanted, she would plant a grain of maize in the earth, and gaze steadfastly upon the place, her lips moving, but no audible sound issuing from them. In a few moments (no covering up) a bright green shoot would come up, which grew and grew, and in ﬁve minutes time was a considerable crop of mealies (Indian corn), every head ripe and ﬁt for use. She would gather these, and boil them for our dinners, but I always noticed that within half-an-hour, the stalks, leaves, etc., of the plant, had turned black, wet, and rotten, although the food was satisfactory. A curious point here. Unknown to her. I one day extracted one of the mealies so produced, and after we had had a good feed, I went out to examine it. It was only two hours after its production, but it had begun already to decay, and in a little more time, absolutely perished. A MAGICAL TALISMAN. As I said just now, I delighted in showing her her incapacity. Thus I used to challenge her to produce an orange seed from the mango seed, or plantains from mealies, but this was entirely beyond her powers. Give her a seed, a leaf, or a portion of the plant required, and she could do it, but she never could, in any single in-stance, gather grapes from thorns or ﬁgs from thistles. Likewise, from an egg, she would develop a full-grown bird in a few minutes, but she could not turn a bird into a monkey, nor a ﬁsh into a lynx. The towering rage she used to get into on these occasions generally used to end in a series of violent epileptic ﬁts. She tried all the resources of her magical arts upon me, but I was proof against any charm in the world but one, and that was one with which she was unacquainted. I possessed a talisman, given me by Bulwer Lytton (who also taught me the use of it), which not only enabled me to defy all her spells, incantations,
[ 96 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
and curses, but which was evidently the means, not only of her death, but of her absolute annihilation. Still, this talisman, ancient and powerful as it was, could only preserve from inimical magical processes and demoniac agencies ; it could not protect from death or ordinary physical dangers. Such a talisman has as yet to be discovered. CHANGING A MAN INTO A WOMAN. When she wanted to kill an animal, serpent, or any-thing else, either for food or other purposes, she simply pointed her tube at it, with a steady gaze, as though making aim with a revolver. Nothing ever appeared to issue from the tube, but in a few moments the animal appeared surrounded by a kind of reddish cloud or thin vapour, through which its vain struggle could be seen. On examination, no perforation, or injury of any kind could be found. I believe that Sub& could do this at any distance. She could certainly do it at eight bun-deed yards, but the most terrible examples to my mind of her power was the transformation of the sexes. One day, being offended with the chief, who sought in vain to pacify her, she said to him, “I will degrade you, and you shall become a woman.” Placing her hands upon him, while he stood powerless as though turned to stone ‘his eyeballs starting in horror), she commenced her manipulations. Beginning with his face, she rubbed away every vestige of beard and moustache. The prominent cheek-bones fell in, and the smooth, round face of a woman became apparent. Next, the powerful biceps and triceps were rubbed down, and the lank, lean arm of an African woman appeared. Next, seizing hold of his vast pectoral muscles, she began a different process, pinching up and pulling them out until they were shortly visible, well-developed mammilae. And so she proceeded from head to foot, until, in less than ten minutes, every vestige of manhood had disappeared, and there stood before her a hulking, clumsy, knock-kneed woman. AND MEN INTO BEASTS. Transformations of another kind, of the most hideous character, were the feature of the orgies which constitute the worship of the demon. During the frantic dances which took place, and over which Subé presided, there was a certain amount of transformation of the faces to the resemblance of certain animals, while the bodies remained human. Not
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 97 ]
all kinds of animals, only apes, goats, and serpents were represented. Yet, while human lineaments were still traceable, the re-semblance of these loathsome objects was utterly horrible, and more like an awful nightmare than anything else. When I was a boy at school I used to read Greek, Roman, and other mythologies, and when .[ came across the transformation of Circe, and descriptions of satyrs, &c., I used to admire the vivid imaginations of the ancients, but ever since I witnessed, long years ago, the awful powers of Obeeyah, I genuinely believed that those old writers only related what was actually matter of common knowledge at the time. As to centaurs, I don’t know, but as to the former existence of satyrs, the transformation of Circe, and the petrifying action of the Medusa’s head, I am as certain as I am of my own existence. VII.—IN FRANCE. I now recall some experiences of hypnotism, as it is now the fashion to call it, for want of a name which will really express it. I had, of course, done a good deal in it myself : but when Dr. Charcot, of the Salpetriere, ﬁrst made public his experiments, I was much interested, and determined to run over to Paris and witness some of them myself. I need. perhaps, scarcely say here that Dr. Charcot was no quack, no faddist, no obscure practitioner; but, in all questions of mental diseases, the foremost expert in France. Dr. Liebeault, who collaborated with him, is well known to the medical world as a distinguished physiologist and psychologist. I went to Paris, and called on Dr. Charcot, whom I found indisposed ; and I was turning away somewhat gloomily (as I could only spare time for two days in Paris), when I met almost on the threshold an analytical chemist, a Frenchman of Italian origin, with whom I had at one time been associated in a series of toxicological experiments. I told him of my disappointment, and he said, “ You have lost nothing, come and dine with me at the Richelieu, and f will introduce you to one of his pupils who has, in fact, attained better results than Charcot him-self.” The latter statement I took leave to doubt ; but, there being nothing else to be done, I consented. A HYPNOTIC SUBJECT. To cut the matter short, we went after dinner with Mons. Y. to the
[ 98 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
hospital with which he was connected. He said, “ I have here three splendid subjects, with whom I can do anything,” and he showed us the three women. One was a rather stout, fair woman of about 40 years of age, and of decidedly lymphatic temperament ; with a contented Jaihseejazi-it expression almost amounting to fatuousness. I shall call her The next was a little, dark, wiry woman of the active, bilious temperament, with a rather cunning look, B. The third was a big raw-boned woman, an agriculturist, simple and straightforward, C. I found that these were carefully selected from the number of patients as “types,” so as to show the differing effects of hypnotism on the various temperaments, A. and C. Both being cataleptic under certain conditions. READING BLINDFOLD.
B. being selected for the ﬁrst experiment was rapidly placed in the hypnotic state, and was ﬁrst tested by having needles unexpectedly thrust into different sensitive portions of her anatomy. Perfect insensibility : so far, good I Next, I wrote a word on a card ; and you may be sure that I did not choose an every-day word, or one that there was any possibility of its being conveyed by means of concerted signal between the operator and the patient. I showed the word to Mr. Y. and my friend; and then I placed it in a thick envelope, sealed it, and handed it to the hypnotist. He held it for a moment to the woman’s chest, saying, “Tell me what that is? “ ‘’ An envelope sealed containing a card.” “ What is written on the card:” The answer came directly, and was correct. She was not blindfolded, as Mons. Y. offered. because I preferred to watch her closed eyelids intently;. My friend next wrote a whole sentence in Italian, ﬁnding that Mons. Y. understood that language, and it was sealed up by him (after being read by the operator, and was this time held to the back of her head. The result was precisely the same. A SIDE-LIGHT ON TELEPATHY. The next experiment was more interesting from its throwing—by reason of its partial failure—a side-light upon the true hypnotic theory. Mons. Y. said, “ I will now make her tell the time by my watch, taking It out and unconsciously looking at it.” A thought occurred to me, and I said,
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 99 ]
“ No. try mine.” He took mine and laid it on the top of her head. He then asked her the time, to which she replied, “ Huit heures, moins vingtneuf minutes.’’ He told her that was wrong. at my request. She persisted in repeating the same time: he saying to me, “but. she is right, monsieur: “ and, taking out his watch again, showed me it. And I said, Yes, she is right by your watch ; but I want her to tell me the time by the watch that is on her head. ‘ Of course, she was unable to do so ; because the hypnotiser had not locked at it, and so was not able to convey the suggestion. I was inﬁnitely more pleased at his failure than if he had succeeded : because I had all along maintained against the Frenchmen) that the results they obtained were due not to clairvoyance, as they maintained, but to “ suggestion.” I wanted to see how far suggestion could go in giving temporary knowledge of subjects far beyond the ken of the hypnotised person. So I suggested that, as we all knew Greek, a sentence should be written in it, and submitted to her. I wrote a verse from St. John, and she read it with the greatest ease. We made many more experiments, which all tended to prove my contention as to the clairvoyance. Mind I do not for a moment dispute that a real clairvoyant faculty is possessed by some persons ; but I do maintain that hypnotism can not communicate that power. Where it is manifested, it is rot in any degree attributable to hypnotism. READING THE SUBLIMINAL MIND. A. was the next to be subjected to the inﬂuence. I hypnotised her myself, and the reading tests were as satisfactory as in the previous case ; but in one of them a curious, and up to that time unheard of, incident occurred. I had written, in Urdu characters, the Hindu saying, “Aur noor tariki men chumakhtai hai (“ The Ligh shineth in the darkness “). When writing, I could not for the life of me remember the word “chumakhtai,” and so, left a blank space. Bear in mind (this being important to recollect) that I knew the word well enough : it lay hidden somewhere in my latent consciousness ; but, as Paddy says, I “ disremembered “ it. The woman read the whole sentence. out as it ought to have been written, mentioning the missing word ; and it was only when I heard it from her lips that I remembered it. Now, it seems to me that the woman must not only have been en rapport with my waking mind, but also with
[ 100 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
my “ subliminal” consciousness. FENCING AND MUSIC SUGGESTED: I next tried her with the foils, there being two or three pairs in Mons. Y.’s snuggery. A foil was given to the chemist, whom I knew to be a pretty fencer of both the French and- Italian schools. She “crossed swords” with him, and the bout began. The button of his foil touched her once, where a sword would not have done much damage—at all events, it would not have rendered anyone hors de combat. But, a few moments afterwards, she “ pinked “ him fairly and squarely over the heart. In a duel with swords, he would have been as dead as a door-nail. The last woman, C., was now taken in hand by Mons. Y. with reference to ‘’ Suggestion,” out of the hypnotic state. But he ﬁrst gave us an exhibition of another form of control, when in the trance. He took down his violin, on which he was no mean performer, and placing it in the hands of the woman, commanded her to play the “Marseillaise”: at the same time giving us his word of honour that she did not know even a note of music, much more the bowing and ﬁngering of the violin. She took the instrument, held it in the strictly orthodox position, and began playing with a facility and expression that delighted us. That ﬁnished, he called for the Carneval de Venise.” Here her bowing was simply masterly: and we could not help giving her a round of applause. SENSIBILITY TRANSFERRED TO WATER. Then he said that he would transfer her nervous sensibility to a glass of water ; but that we were not to touch it. He made several magnetic passes of a peculiar kind with one hand, while in the other he held the glass of water. Towards the end of his manipulations, he seemed as though he were scooping up something from her body, which he was throwing into the water. He then pronounced the process complete, and placed the glass on a little table behind her chair, where she could riot see it. He showed us several experiments with the water, such as putting the point of a needle into it, &c. On every occasion on which the needle entered the water, she said, “ Oh ! it pricks !
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 101 ]
MEDICINE VICARIOUSLY ADMINISTERED. He then took a bottle of Cognac from a cupboard, and poured only a few drops into the water. Immediately she exhibited every sign of intoxication, and began to laugh and sing uproariously. Finally, she got up and began to dance, when he thought it time to stop that, and added a single drop of liq. amnion he to the water. She was sober in an instant, and gasped for a moment or two, as though she had swallowed a dose of ammonia. The inﬂuence of several other drugs was shown, among others being an inﬁnitesimal dose of tartarised antimony, which in a few moments produced genuine and excessive vomiting. He then put into the glass onetenth grain of acetate of morphia, which instantly induced a deep and profound sleep. I lifted up her eyelids at this point, and examined the pupils. They showed unmistakably the action of morphia; and her pulse, which a short time previously had gone up to me, under the inﬂuence of the brandy, was now very slow and thready. The only possible way to wake her, was to remove the sensitiveness from the water and drugs, and restore it to her. This he did, and her state became once more normal. He wished her to rest a few minutes, before proceeding to the next experiment. This interval we improved, by having a cigarette and a little of the Cognac, largely diluted with water. EXPERIMENTS WITH A PHOTOGRAPH. The allotted time being expired, he selected a photo-graph of the woman, from a pile of several portraits of patients which was on the mantelpiece, and told us that he would transfer her sensibility to the photo—which, by the way, had been taken when in the hypnotic state a few days before. He thought, at that time, that a photograph of the woman taken in her usual waking condition by an ordinary photographer, would be of no use; but here he was mistaken, as a little accident which occurred showed me. Mons. Y. and myself then went into another room, taking the photo with us, and leaving my friend with the “ subject.” It was explained to him that Mons. Y. would stick a needle into various parts of the photo-graph
[ 102 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
; and the woman in the other room, feeling the prick, would instinctively place her hand on the place where she felt the pain, and he was to call out “ right cheek,” “left arm,” or wherever she put her hard. All being in readiness, we commenced by sticking the needle into the end of her nose. Instantly came the word from the other room, “Nose ! “ Again, this time in her back. Once more came the answer correctly. As it was just possible that there might be an arranged sequence between the operator and the patient, I dictated to Mons. Y. where the needle should be put. So that, if it had been arranged in order, thus : 1st, nose; end, back; &c., the order would have been disarranged, and the whole scheme a failure. But in every case the woman felt the prick in the exact locality where it was given on the photo. A SUGGESTIVE BLUNDER. And, now, a curious thing happened. Mons. Y. went for a moment or two to see how the woman felt, to test her pulse, and so on. I was looking at her photo while he was away, and it occurred to me that I had one in my pocket, which bore a general resemblance to the one operated on. I took it out for comparison ; and when Mons. Y. returned put it back in my pocket, as I thought, and placed the other on the table. He picked it up, and we went on with the experiments. Directly I looked at it, to choose a fresh place for the needle, I saw that it was my photograph. I said nothing ; and Mons. Y. was too busy with his speculations to notice it. We continued the experiments. which were as successful as before. Now, this was very curious. It was not the woman’s photo at all : not even a portrait taken by (Mons. Y., which might presumably have received some magnetic inﬂuence from him in the process of taking. This puzzled me a good deal at the time, in face of the undoubted genuineness of the manifestations. Of course, the explanation is very simple. CRIMINAL SUGGESTIONS-THEFT AND MURDER. The last, and most interesting exhibition, was a demonstration of “ suggestion.” At Mons. Y.’s request, I hypnotised A. ; and then, while in the trance, I suggested to her that at ten minutes to ten she should pick Mons. V.’s pocket of a case of instruments, placed there for the purpose. ‘ It was then a few minutes to the hour. I then awoke “ her, and she appeared
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 103 ]
perfectly compos mentis. Mons. Y. sent her into the other room to wait, and himself hypnotised B., suggesting to her that she should go to the cupboard, take out a dagger which she would ﬁnd there, should creep behind me, and stab me to the heart. This was to be done at 10 o’clock. The woman went to join her companion, and we discussed the subject. He said that, at that moment, neither of the women had the faintest idea of committing any crime ; but that, when the prescribed time arrived, a great longing, an uncontrollable impulse would come over them, utterly and entirely overmastering any scruples or repugnance they might feel ; and, in short, they would be compelled to obey and carry out —to the least detail—the commands of the hypnotiser. I said, “ But what am I going to do; when the woman attempts to stab m am I to dodge the blow, or to parry it, or to catch hold of her wrist—or what.’ It strikes me that that little woman is as active as a cat, and will strike like lightning.” Mons. Y. laughed, saying, “Oh, that will be all right: I will show you the dagger.” It was an ordinary straight-bladed, two-edged dagger, not sharp enough to prick the ﬁnger : but quite sharp enough to reach a min’s heart if used with an ordinary amount of vigour. It had a metal handle and a cross-hilt. I examined it very carefully after Mons. Y. had said, “Can you see anything peculiar about it?” I couldn’t ﬁnd any difference from a score of daggers which you might buy any day in Paris. He did something for a moment to the hilt, and then made a rapid stab at my chest. The hilt went home and struck me on the breastbone, but I felt no stab. I thought, “ Ha ! here’s a second Jacob of Simla.” But it was not so ; the thing was simply a “trick dagger,” made fur the use of conjurors; and the blade could, by a turn of the hilt, be made so as to retire harmlessly into the hollow handle on the slightest pressure, and, then, instantly reappear by means of a spiral spring forcing it out again. Mons. Y. said, “ I will put it in the cupboard with the hilt set for ‘ safety,’ and there will not be the slightest danger.” I thought “ accidents do some-times happen : springs sometimes fail to act at the right moment : I will take a little precaution, anyway.” So, I placed a book which I had bought on my way to dinner (a 30-sous paper-covered novel, a good inch thick) in my breast-pocket; and I knew that my quickness of eye and foot, as an old swordsman, would enable me to catch the point of the dagger, to a dead certainty, on the book. Ten minutes to ten arrived and the woman A. came in and began talking to Mons. Y., laughing and smirking, and trying to engage his
[ 104 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
attention, while she picked his pocket. He instantly seized her and pretended to be highly indignant. The poor woman did not know the secret, and shed tears copiously, asserting that she did not know what made her do it. So he forgave her and told her to go back to her ward,” and go to bed. She went off in a hurry, glad to escape so lightly. A NARROW ESCAPE. At to o’clock the other woman came in, and hung about in an aimless and uneasy sort of manner. Mons. Y. winked at me and I got up, and turning my back on the cupboard, went to look out of the window, professedly to see what sort of weather it was outside. Like lightning she tore open the cup-board door, seized the dagger from the shelf whereon it lay, and made the bound of a panther at me. I just turned in time to see her face, almost black with murderous hate, and to catch the stab where I wanted it to fall—fair on the hook. And, it was well for me that my instinct (or, shall I say, my guardian spirit ?) had given me the premonition of danger, and that I had acted upon it, and covered my heart with the book. Because the blade of the, dagger did not go into the hilt that time, and its point went fully two-thirds through the book. Of course, Mons. Y. was “ desole “ at the contretemps ; and I have no doubt that, if the blow had been fatal, he would have mounted a mourning hat-band in honour of his victim. However, for some years now I have left hypnotic investigations to others, and have engaged in researches into a much more interesting, though purely physiological subject--that of restoring wasted muscular and nerve tissue and force—in other words, “physical rejuvenation.” To restore lost Youth and Beauty was a dream of the old alchemists ; modern scientiﬁc research is completing and verifying that dream.
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 105 ]
Borderland July 1896
A CORRESPONDENT, signing himself “R. D’O.,” to whom I submitted the foregoing paper, writes me as follows: “ The doctor, in his otherwise very able paper on this subject, makes one great and fundamental error, which to a great extent destroys the value of his communication. He treats of two essentially different classes of beings as being identical, and assumes that the undoubted visitations of elementaries to human beings are made by ‘ Vampires.’ Now ‘vampires’ and elementaries have scarcely anything in common, either in their origin, their nature, or their temperament. They are two absolutely distinct species of spirits. “ But before I proceed to their differentiation, a few words as to these visitations. In the ﬁrst place there is no doubt that they actually do take place: everyone who has investigated the subject knows instances where women of great intellectual powers, and having no tendency whatever to hysteria or illusions of any kind (being at the same time persons of undoubted veracity), claim that they have been—and are—visited in this manner. “ The immense mass of evidence, collected from many countries, by different scientiﬁc observers — medical men and others—cannot be set aside. Doubtless, if only one or two cases existed, we should explain them by the one word—’ hysteria’ ; but the accumulated mass of facts from so many different temperaments cannot be dealt with in this manner. We must accept the facts, though we may differ as to their cause. And as to this there are only three solutions possible :—1. That they are purely the product of a too vivid imagination, probably assisted by hysteria ; 2. That the visitants are, what they usually represent themselves to be, spirits of predeceased lovers ; 3. That they are other spirits, ‘elementaries’ or ‘vampires,’ masquerading as spirits of the dead.
[ 106 ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
“ The answer to the ﬁrst hypothesis is, that, as a rule, the recipients of these visits are, more frequently than not, people not distinguished for imaginative powers. And the slightest reﬂection will show that an enormous fund of creative imagination must exist to make a woman absolutely certain that her lover is present with her as tangible as in life. “ And not only do these manifestations take place, but, in many cases, long conversations are held, sometimes for hours together; questions are asked and answered, and replies (sometimes true, but usually false) obtained which could not have emanated from the brain of the querist, being sometimes accurate in-formation of circumstances which could by no possibility have been known to her. Further, these visitations are frequently made to men, when, of course, the visitor is of female form. Another fact, difﬁcult to account for on the ﬁrst hypothesis, is that these visits have been, paid to people who had never heard of such things, and who were Philistines of the Philistines regarding all, kinds of ‘ spirit’ or psychic phenomena. “ Consequently, we will dismiss theory No. 1 as untenable, and consider No. 2. That is, that the visitants, warm, living, breathing, palpitating, are the spirits of the dead. And here I will quote one who, amidst an enormous farrago of nonsense, self-deception, and false fact, has somehow stumbled on a few truths—Anna Kingsford : ‘There are no such things as “spirits of the dead,” there are only “ shades “ of the dead.’ And these shades are certainly unable to make themselves even audible, much more tangible, palpable, and warm-blooded. We know quite sufﬁcient about them to know that. “ Then there only remains the third proposition, that they are other spirits, who, for their own purposes, assume the shape and verisimilitude of dead persons. “ Is Dr. Hartmann right then in considering them to be ‘ vampires’ ? and, if not ‘ vampires,’ what are they ? “ The learned doctor has evidently thoroughly studied the subject of vampires, enjoying as he does facilities for research in the very country which (if we except the West Indies) has from time immemorial to the present been the scene of their most awful manifestations—Hungary. “And it is quite true what Dr. H. says, that ‘persons obsessed by a vampire are always sensually inclined people ; and usually given to secret vices.’ inﬂuences ; nothing more is needed. “ Dr. H. recounts ﬁve cases within his personal know-ledge, which he
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ 107 ]
attributes to the action of vampires. But, of these ﬁve, only the third and ﬁfth in order were undoubtedly due to vampire action, and the ﬁrst one is almost more than doubtful. The others were certainly not vampires. There is no reason for thinking that the old lady who undermined the health of her servants was under the power of a vampire : it being a well-known fact that many (in fact most) very old people who sleep with young and impressionable ones, gradually absorb the greater part of their vitality ; and all physicians in this country are very precise in forbidding it. “ The second case shows no trace of a vampire’s presence, of its ‘ devouring’ propensities, or of its horrible hate for the victim from whom it nightly drains the very life-blood. It is simply a case of an ‘ “ elemental “ (as the doctor says) making use of and being aided by the elementary of the suicide.’ But, as before said, an ‘ elemental ‘ is not a vampire. “ The third case, of the millers boy, is a good in-stance of one mode of action of an undoubted vampire. “ In the fourth case the ‘dual,’ there is nothing to indicate a vampire. The idea that the ‘ dual ‘ drew all the woman’s strength from her was most probably not the fact. The ﬁfth case is doubtless a genuine one of vampirism by the living, as Dr. Hartmann asserts. “ Now then, having so far cleared the ground, what are vampires “ They are not ‘ elementals ‘ but ‘ demons ‘ : there are no ‘demon elementals.’ Demons are differentiated from spirits in possessing souls, and this, while it intensiﬁes their power of malignant hate towards man, renders them, in one sense, superior to sex passion. They have an inﬁnite capacity of hatred and malignity, which they can only gratify at the expense of those who are sensuously inclined. But they have no power— as the elementals have in certain cases—to assume human form : they can give no pleasure, either mental or physical. All that they can do is to absorb, to waste, to madden, and destroy. “ Dr. Hartmann gives very correctly all the recognised symptoms of vampirism. “ The elementals, on the contrary, are in this connection perfectly harmless. So far from bearing any hatred or malice towards the recipients of their favours, they are actuated towards them by (at least so far as they are capable of feeling it) love. This is self-evident by their conduct.”
!! SPECIAL !! BONUS !! !! MATERIAL !!
the great beast speaks
‘Jack the Ripper’ by Aleister Crowley
To acquire a friendly feeling for a system, to render it rapidly familiar, it is prudent to introduce the Star to which the persons of the drama are attached. It is hardly one’s ﬁrst, or even one’s hundredth guess, that the Victorian worthy in the case of Jack the Ripper was no less a person than Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. She has, however, never been unveiled to the unthinking multitude; very few, even of those who have followed her and studied her intently for years, have the key to that “Closed Palace of the King.” If the reader happens to have passed his life in the study of what is nauseatingly known as “occult science,” he would, if he were sufﬁciently intelligent, grasp one fact ﬁrmly; that is, that the persons sufﬁciently eminent in this matter who have become known as teachers, are bound to have possessed in overﬂowing measure the sense of irony and bitter humour. This greatest treasure in their characters is their only guarantee against going mad, and the way they exercise it is notably by writing with their tongues in their cheeks, or making fools of their followers. H. P. B. is known by the profane and vulgar as an old lady who played tricks and was exposed; but her motives were not what such persons supposed. These tricks were a touchstone for her followers; if they were so little understanding of the true nature of her Work that any incidents of this kind affected in the smallest degree their judgement, then the sooner she was rid of them the better. The truth of H. P. B., as in the case of any artist, is to be known by a study of her best work; in this case a small volume called The Voice of the Silence. One of the closest followers of H. P. B., and in the sphere of literature unquestionably the most distinguished, with the possible exception
[ II ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
of J. W. Brodie-Innes, was a woman named Mable Collins. Her novel, The Blossom and the Fruit, is probably the best existing account of the theosophic theories presented in dramatic form. One of the great virtues acclaimed and defended by this lady was that of chastity. She did not go quite as far as the girl made famous by Mr Harry Price upon the Brocken a few years ago, whose terror of losing the jewel of her maidenhood was such that she thought it unsafe to go to bed without the protection of a man; but Mable Collins had considerable experience of this form of chastity a deux; at the same time, reﬂecting that one of the points of H. P. B.’s mission was to proclaim the Age of the Woman, she occasionally chose a female for her bed-fellow. Some few years before Whitechapel achieved its peculiar notoriety, the white ﬂame of passion which had consumed the fair Mabel and her lover, who passed by the name of Captain Donston, had died down; in fact he had become rather more than less of a nuisance; and she was doing everything in her power to get rid of him. Naturally eager to assist in this manoeuvre was her new mistress, a lady passing under the name of Baroness Cremers, whose appearance and character are very fully and accurately described in a novel called Moonchild: An American woman of the name of Cremers. Her squat stubborn ﬁgure was clad in rusty-black clothes, a man’s except for the skirt; it was surmounted by a head of unusual size, and still more unusual shape, for the back of the skull was entirely ﬂat, and the left frontal lobe much more developed than the right; one could have thought that it had been deliberately knocked out of shape, since nature, fond, as it may be, of freaks, rarely pushes asymmetry to such a point. There would have been more than idle speculation in such a theory; for she was the child of hate, and her mother had in vain attempted every violence against her before her birth. The face was wrinkled parchment, yellow and hard; it was framed in short, thick hair, dirty white in colour; and her expression denoted that the utmost cunning and capacity were at the command of her rapacious instincts. But her poverty was no indication that they had served her and those primitive qualities had in fact been swallowed up in the results of their disappointment. For in her eye raved bitter a hate of all things, born of the selﬁsh envy which regarded the happiness of any other person as an
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ III ]
outrage and affront upon her. Every thought in her mind was a curse against God, against man, against love, or beauty, against life itself. She was a combination of the witch-burner with the witch; an incarnation of the spirit of Puritanism, from its sourness to its sexual degeneracy and perversion. A prolonged contemplation of the above portrait may possibly fertilize the seed of doubt in some minds as to whether this woman was in every respect an ideal companion on one’s passage through this vale of crocodile tears; but tastes differ, and she certainly mastered exquisite Mable Collins, turned her against her teacher, persuaded her to embark on the most contemptible campaign of treacheries. For, recognizing in H. P. B. one of the messengers sent from time to time by the Masters to take a hand at the carpenter’s bench where humanity is slowly shapened, she thought that to destroy her would be as acceptable to the powers of darkness as could be imagined. Of Donston less is known; it is believed that he was a cavalry ofﬁcer, of the Household Cavalry at that, but under another name. Cremers tried to persuade people that he had been caught cheating at cards, but there is no reason to suppose that any disgrace attached to his leaving the Service. He was by all accounts a sincere sympathiser with the sufferings of our maudite race; his profession was obviously of no particular use to him, holding these sentiments, and apparently he drifted ﬁrst into studies medical, and (later) theological. He was a man of extremely aristocratic appearance and demeanour; his manners were polished and his whole behaviour quiet, gentle, and composed; he gave the impression of understanding any possible situation and of ability to master it, but he possessed that indifference to meddling in human affairs which often tempers the activity of people who are conscious of their superiority. These three people were still living together in Mabel Collins’ house in London; but as previously hinted, they were trying to get rid of him. This, however, was not an altogether easy task. The reputation of the novelist was a very delicate ﬂower, and in the early days of her beguine for Donston she had written him many scores of letters whose contents would hardly have appeared altogether congruous with the instructive and elevating phrases of The Blossom and the Fruit. Now, although Donston was so charming and pleasant a personality, although his graciousness was so notable, yet behind the superﬁcial gentleness it was easy to recognize an iron will. His principal motif was
[ IV ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
righteousness; if he thought anything his duty, he allowed nothing else to stand in the way of performing it, and for one reason or another he thought it right to maintain his inﬂuence over Mable Collins. One theory suggests that he was loyal to H. P. B., and thought it essential to ﬁght against the inﬂuence of Cremers. This, at any rate, is what she thought, and it made her all the more anxious to get rid of him; judging everybody by herself, she was quite sure he would not hesitate to use the love-letters in case of deﬁnite breach; so, to carry out her scheme, the ﬁrst procedure must obviously be to obtain possession of the compromising packet and destroy it. The question immediately arose -- where is it? Donston, with most men of his class, was contemptuously careless of interference with his private affairs; he left everything unlocked; but there was, however, a single exception to this rule. One of the relics of his career in the cavalry was a tin uniform case, and this he kept under his bed very ﬁrmly secured to the brass frame-work. This, of all his receptacles, was the only one which was always kept locked. From this, Cremers deduced that as likely as not the documents of which she was in search were in the trunk, and she determined to investigate at leisure. In those days, transport in London was almost slower than today; from Bayswater or Bloosbury -- memory is not quite sure as to where they lived -- to the Borough was certainly more than a Sabbath day’s journey; the only evidence of speed in the whole city was the telegraph. Accordingly Cremers arranged one day for a telegram to be dispatched to Donston, informing him that some friend or near relative had met with a street accident, had been taken to Guy’s Hospital, and wanted to see him. Donston immediately started off on this ﬁctitious errand. As he left the house, Mabel laughingly warned him not to get lost and run into Jack the Ripper. While he is changing busses, it may be proper to explain that these events coincided with the Whitechapel murders. On the day of his journey, two or three of them had already been committed -- in any case sufﬁcient to start talk and present the murderer with his nick-name. All London was discussing the numerous problems connected with the murders; in particular it seemed to everybody extraordinary that a man for whom the police were looking everywhere could altogether escape notice in view of the nature of the crime. It is hardly necessary to go into the cannibalistic details, but it is quite obvious that a person who is devouring considerable
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ V ]
chunks of raw ﬂesh, cut from a living body, can hardly do so without copious evidence on his chest. One evening, Donstan had just come in from the theatre -- in those days everyone dressed, whether they liked it or not -- and he found the women discussing this point. He gave a slight laugh, went into the passage, and returned in the opera cloak which he had been wearing to the theatre. He turned up the collar and pulled the cape across his shirtfront, made a slight gesture as if to say: “You see how simple it is;” and when a social difﬁculty presented itself, he remarked lightly: “Of course you cannot have imagined that the man could be a gentleman,” and added: “There are plenty going about the East End in evening dress, what with opium smoking and one thing and another.” After the last of the murders, an article appeared in the newspaper of W. T. Stead, the Pall Mall Gazette, by Tau Tria Delta, who offered a solution for the motive of the murders. It stated that in one of the grimoires of the Middle Ages, an account was given of a process by which a sorcerer could attain “the supreme black magical power” by following out a course of action identical with that of Jack the Ripper; certain lesser powers were granted to him spontaneously during the course of the proceedings. After the third murder, if memory serves, the assassin obtained on the spot the gift of invisibility, because in the third or fourth murder, a constable on duty saw a man and a woman go into a cul-de-sac. At the end there were the great gates of a factory, but at the sides no doorways or even windows. The constable, becoming suspicious, watched the entry to the gateway, and hearing screams, rushed in. He found the woman, mutilated, but still living; as he ran up, he ﬂashed his bullseye in every direction; and he was absolutely certain that no other person was present. And there was no cover under the archway for so much as a rat. The number of murders involved in the ceremonies was ﬁve, whereas the Whitechapel murders so-called, were seven in number; but two of these were spurious, like the alien corpse in Arsenic and Old Lace. These murders are completely to be distinguished from the ﬁve genuine ones, by obvious divergence on technical points. The place of each murder is important, for it is essential to describe what is called the averse pentagram, that is to say, a star of ﬁve points with a single point in the direction of the South Pole. So much for the theory of Tau Tria Delta. It is not quite clear as to whether this pseudonym concealed the identity
[ VI ] Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’Onston
of Donston himself. The investigation has been taken up by Bernard O’Donnell, the crime expert of the Empire News; and he has discovered many interesting details. In the course of conversation with Aleister Crowley this matter came up, and the magician was very impressed with O’Donnell’s argument. He suggested an astrological investigation. Was there anything signiﬁcant about the times of the murders? O’Donnell’s investigations had led him to the conclusion that the murderer had attached the greatest importance to accuracy in the time. O’Donnell, accordingly, furnished Crowley with the necessary data, and ﬁgures of the heavens were set up. A brief digression about astrological theory: the classical tradition is that the maleﬁc planets are Saturn and Mars, and although any of the planets may in certain circumstances bring about misfortune, it is to these two that the astrologer looks ﬁrst of all for indications of things going wrong. Some years before this conversation, however, Crowley had made extensive statistical enquiries into astrology. There is a small book called A Thousand and One Horoscopes which includes a considerable number of nativities, not only of murderers, but of persons murdered. Crowley thought this an excellent opportunity to trace the evil inﬂuence of the planets, looking naturally ﬁrst of all to Saturn, the great misfortune, then to Mars, the lesser misfortune; but also to Uranus, a planet not known to the ancients, but generally considered of a highly explosive tendency. The result of Crowley’s investigations was staggering; there was one constant element in all cases of murder, both of the assassin and the murdered. Saturn, Mars, and Herschel were indeed rightly suspected of doing dirty work at the crossroads, but the one constant factor was a planet which had until that moment been considered, if not actively beneﬁcent, at least perfectly indifferent and harmless -- the planet Mercury. Crowley went into this matter very thoroughly and presently it dawned on his rather slow intelligence that after all this was only to be expected; the quality of murder is not primarily malice, greed, or wrath; the one essential condition without which deliberate murder can hardly ever take place, is just this cold-bloodedness, this failure to attribute the supreme value of human life. Armed with these discoveries the horoscopes of the Whitechapel murders shone crystal clear to him. In every case, either Saturn of Mercury were precisely on the Eastern horizon at the moment of the murder (by precisely, one means within a matter of minutes).
Crowley’s Ripper: The Collected Work of Roslyn D’onston [ VII ]
Mercury is, of course, the God of Magic, and his averse distorted image the Ape of Thoth, responsible for such evil trickery as is the heart of black magic, while Saturn is not only the cold heartlessness of age, but the magical equivalent of Saturn. He is the old god who was worshiped in the Witches’ Sabbath. Naturally, to his devotees, Saturn is not to be associated with misfortune redeunt saturnia regna;1 Saturn has all the fond wisdom of the grandfather. To return from this long explanatory digression, it was necessary in order to give the fair Cremers time to extricate the uniform case from its complex ropes, the knots being carefully memorised, and to pick the locks. During this process her mind had been far from at ease; ﬁrst of all, there seemed to be no weight. Surely a trunk so carefully treasured could not be empty; but if there were a packet of letters more or less loose, there should have been some response to the process of shaking. Her curiosity rose to fever pitch; at last the lock yielded to her persuasive touch; she lifted the lid. The trunk was not empty, but its contents, although few, were striking. Five white dress ties soaked in blood.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.