«THE QUESTION OF LUCIFER A RECORD OF THINGS SEEN AND HEARD IN THE SECRET SOCIETIES ACCORDING TO THE EVIDENCE OF INITIATES BY A R T H U R E D WA R D WA ...»
Who would possess a lingam which was an Open Sesame to devildom and not make use thereof? By effecting an exchange with another ship's doctor, the exploiter of Lucifer found himself presently at Pondicherry, with three months of comparative freedom before him to explore the mysteries of the oriental peninsula. Need I say that he had scarcely landed at the French seaboard town when he at once made acquaintance with the very person who of all others was most suitable to his scheme?
This was Ramassamiponnotamly-palé-dobachi—quite a short name, he assures us, for the natives of this part. All Pondicherry more or less abounded in lingams and Lucifer, but as he carried his right hand clenched, the doctor at once suspected the half-naked Ramassam to be more than commonly devoted to the persuasion of perdition; nor was he mistaken, for the latter promptly inquired: "What is your age?" "Eleven years," said the doctor. "Whence do you come?" "From the eternal flame."
"Whither do you go?" "To the flame eternal." And to their mutual satisfaction they agreed the sacred name of Baal-Zeboub, the doctor producing his winged lingam, at which the other fell down in the open streets and adored him. The exhibition of the patent of a Sovereign Grand Master ad Vitam of the Rite of Memphis inspired further respect; it was evidently a document with which Ramassam had long been familiar;
and he began to talk glibly of tyling. Like the horrors of Udolpho, the explanation was of course very simple: Mr John Campbell, an American, had instituted a lodge of the York Rite at Pondicherry which, in the most natural manner, admitted the Luciferian Fakirs as visitors, the Luciferian Fakirs admitted the members of the York Rite to their conventions, and they all bedevilled one another.
It would be idle to suppose that F. Campbell was not at Pondicherry on business when the doctor chanced to arrive, and in the course of the afternoon the latter was taken by Ramassam to a house of ordinary appearance, into which they were admitted by another Indian, who, of course, like the guide, spoke good French.
Through the greenery of a garden, the gloom of a well, and the entanglement of certain stairways, they entered a great dismantled temple devoted to the service of Brahma, under the unimpressive diminutive of Lucif. The infernal sanctuary had a statue of Baphomet, identical with that in. Ceylon, and the ill-ventilated place reeked with horrible putrescence. Its noisome condition was mainly owing to the presence of various fakers, who, though still alive, were in advanced stages of putrefaction. Most people are supposed to go easily and pleasantly to the devil, but these elected to do so by way of a charnel-house asceticism, and an elaborate system of self-torture. Some were suspended from the ceiling by a rope tied to their arms, some embedded in plaster, some stiffened in a circle, some permanently distorted into the shape of the letter S; some were head downwards, some in a cruciform position. It was really quite monstrous, says the doctor, but a native grand master explained, that they had postured for years in this manner, and one of them for a quarter of a century.
Fr.·. John Campbell proceeded to harangue the assembly in ourdou-zaban, but the doctor comprehended completely, and reports the substance of his speech, which was violently anti-Catholic in its nature, and especially directed against missionaries.
This finished, they proceeded to the evocation of Baal-Zeboub, at first by the Conjuration of the Four, but no fiend appeared. The operation was repeated ineffectually a second time, and John Campbell determined upon the Grand Rite, which began by each person spinning on his own axis, and in this manner circumambulating the temple in procession. Whenever they passed an embedded fakir, they obtained an incantation from his lips, but still Baal-Zeboub failed.
Thereupon the native Grand Master suggested that the evocation should be performed by the holiest of all the fakirs, who was produced from a cupboard more fetid than the temple itself, and proved to be in the following condition:—(a) Face eaten by rats; (b) one bleeding eye hanging down by his mouth; (e) legs covered with gangrene, ulcers, and rottenness; (d) expression peaceful and happy.
Entreated to call on Baal-Zeboub, each time he opened his mouth his eye fell into it;
however, he continued the invocation, but no Baal-Zeboub manifested. A tripod of burning coals was next obtained, and a woman, summoned for this purpose, plunged her arm into the flames, inhaling with great delight the odour of her roasting flesh.
Result, nil. Then a white goat was produced, placed upon the altar of Baphomet, set alight, hideously tortured, cut open, and its entrails torn out by the native Grand Master, who spread them on the steps, uttering abominable blasphemies against Adonaï. This having also failed, great stones were raised from the floor, a nameless stench ascended, and a large consignment of living fakirs, eaten to the bone by worms and falling to pieces in every direction, were dragged out from among a number of skeletons, while serpents, giant spiders, and toads swarmed from all parts. The Grand Master seized one of the fakirs and cut his throat upon the altar, chanting the satanic liturgy amidst imprecations, curses, a chaos of voices, and the last agonies of the goat. The blood spirted forth upon the assistants, and the Grand Master sprinkled the Baphomet. A final howl of invocation resulted in complete failure, whereupon it was decided that Baal-Zeboub had business elsewhere. The doctor departed from the ceremony, fraternising with Campbell, and kept his bed for eight-and-forty hours.
§ 5. The seven Temples and a Sabbath in Sheol.
It was in the month of October 1880 that, in the course of his enterprise, Doctor Bataille reached Calcutta. Freemasonry, he informs us, invariably affects the horrible, and as he invests Calcutta with the sombre hues of living death and universal putrefaction, it naturally follows that the Indian city is one of the four great directing centres of Universal Freemasonry. Everywhere the pious Doctor discovered the hand of Lucifer; everywhere he beheld the consequences of superstition and Satanism; cataclysms, floods, tornados, typhoons, plagues, cholera, representing the normal state of health and habit, and the consequences of universal persuasion in favour of the fiend, A corpse, he testifies, is met with at every step, the smoke of burning widows ascends to heaven, and the plain of Dappah, in immediate contiguity to the city, is a vast charnel-house where innumerable multitudes of dead bodies are flung naked to the vultures. The English Mason will at once recognise that of all places in the world Calcutta is most suited to be a Mecca of the Fraternity and the capital of English India. The Kadosch of the Scotch Rite, the Sublime Chosen Master of the Royal Arch, the Commander of the White and Black Eagle of the rite of Herodom, the perfectly initiated Grand Inspector of the Scotch Philosophical Rite, the Elect Brother of the Johannite Rite of Zinnendorf, and the Brother of the Red Cross of Swedenborg, a thousand other dignitaries of a thousand illuminations, gather in the Grand Masonic Temple, and, as the Doctor gravely tells us, are employed in cursing Catholicity. By a special conjunction of the planets, the Doctor, on reaching headquarters, had immediate intelligence that the great Phileas Walder had himself recently arrived on a secret mission from Charleston. There also he made acquaintance with another luminary of devildom, by name Hobbs, who presided at the important proceedings which resulted in the damnation of Carbuccia. Brother Hobbs, possessed of much experience in Lucifer, gave many assurances concerning the incessant apparitions of The Master of Evil to all worthy persons. Now the Doctor, by virtue of his Misraïm patent, was as much a priest for ever according to the Meichisedeck of Masonry, as if he had been born without father or mother, but at the moment he had not received the perfect initiation of the Palladium; technically, therefore, he had no right to participate in the Supreme Mysteries. However, it is needless to say that he had arrived in the nick of time to be present at a ceremony which takes place only once in ten years, provided that he was willing to undergo the trifle of a preliminary ordeal.
On the same evening a select company of initiates proceeded in hired carriages through the desolation of Dappah, under the convoy of initiated coachmen, for the operation of a great satanic solemnity. At an easy distance from the city is the Sheol of the native Indians, and hard by the latter place there is a mountain 500 feet high and 2000 long, on the summit of which seven temples are erected, communicating one with another by subterranean passages in the rock. The total absence of pagodas make it evident that these temples are devoted to the worship of Satan; they form a gigantic triangle superposed on the vast plateau, at the base of which the party descended from their conveyances, and were met by a native with an accommodating knowledge of French. Upon exchanging the Sign of Lucifer he conducted them to a hole in the rock, which gave upon a narrow passage guarded by a line of Sikhs with drawn swords, prepared to massacre anybody, and leading to the vestibule of the first temple, which was filled with a miscellaneous concourse of Adepts, from officers and tea-merchants even to, tanners and dentists. In. the first temple, which was provided with the inevitable statue of Baphomet, but was withal bare and meagrely illuminated, the doctor was destined to pass through his promised ordeal, for which he was stripped to the skin, placed in the centre of the assembly, and at a given signal one thousand odd venomous cobra de capellos were produced from holes in the wall and encouraged to fold him in their embraces, while the music of flute-playing fakirs alone intervened to prevent his instant death. He passed through this trying encounter with a valour which amazed himself, persisted in prolonging the ceremony, and otherwise proved himself a man of such extraordinary mettle that he earned universal respect and received the most flattering testimonials even from Phileas Walder. That the serpents were undoubtedly venomous was afterwards proved upon the person of one of the natives present, who, delivered to their fury, fell, covered with apparently mortal bites, but was subsequently treated by native remedies and carried before the altar of Baphomet to be cured by the special intervention of the good God Lucifer. This ceremony was accomplished by the intervention of a lovely Indian Vestal, by the prayers of the Grand Master, a silkmercer by commercial persuasion, and by the mock baptism of a serpent, after which the sufferer rose to his feet and the inconvenient venom spurted of itself out of his wounds. From the Sanctuary of the Serpents the company then proceeded, with becoming recollection, into the second temple or Sanctuary of the Phœnix.
The second temple was brilliantly illuminated and ablaze with millions of precious stones wrested by the wicked English from innumerable conquered Rajahs; it had garlands of diamonds, festoons of rubies, vast images of solid silver, and a gigantic Phœnix in red gold more solid than the silver. There was an altar beneath the Phœnix, and a male and female ape were composed at the altar steps, while the Grand Master proceeded to the celebration of a black mass, which was followed by an amazing marriage of the two engaging animals, and the sacrifice of a lamb brought alive into the temple, bleating piteously, with nails driven through its feet. This was intended to symbolize an illuminated reprobation of celibacy and an approval of the married state, or its less expensive substitutes.
The third temple was consecrated to the Mother of fallen women, who, in memory of the adventure of the apple, has a place in the calendar of Lucifer; the proceedings consisted of a dialogue between the Grand Master and the Vestal which the becoming modesty of the doctor prevents him from describing even in the Latin tongue.
The fourth temple was a Rosicrucian Sanctuary, having an open sepulchre, from which blue flames continually emanated; there was a platform in the midst of the temple designed for the accommodation of more Indian Vestals, one of whom it was proposed should evaporate into thin air, after which a Fakir would be transformed before the whole company into a living mummy and be interred for a space of three years. These were among the events of the evening, and were accomplished with great success without much disturbing the mental equilibrium of the doctor, though he confessed to a certain impression when the Fakir introduced his performance by suspension in midair.
The fifth temple was consecrated to the Pelican and was used by an English officer to deliver a short discourse on masonic charity, which the doctor regarded as vulnerable from a moral point of view and suggestive of easy virtue.
The sixth temple was that of the Future and was devoted to divinations, the oracles being given by a Vestal in a hypnotic condition, seated over a burning brazier. The doctor was accommodated with a test, but another inquirer who had the temerity to be curious as to what was being done in the Vatican received a severe rebuff; in vain did the spirit of the Clairvoyante strive to penetrate the "draughty and malarious" palace of the Roman Pontiff, and Phileas Walder, mortified and maddened, began to curse and to swear like the first Pope. The experiment disillusionized the assembly and they thoughtfully repaired to the seventh temple, which, being sacred to, Fire, was equipped with a vast central furnace surmounted by a chimney and containing a gigantic figure of Baphomet; in spite of the intolerable heat pervading the entire chamber this idol contrived to preserve its outlines and to glow without pulverising.
A ceremony of an impressive nature occurred in this apartment; a wild cat, which strayed in through an open window, was regarded as the appearance of a soul in transmigration, and, in spite of its piteous protests, was passed through the fire to Baal.