«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 ...»
And now the crowning function, the Magnum Opus of the mystery, must take place in the Sheol of Dappah; a long procession filed from the mountain temples to the charnel-house of the open plain; the night was dark, the moon had vanished in dismay, black clouds scudded across the heavens, a feverish rain fell slowly at intervals, and the ground was dimly lighted by the phosphorescence of the general putrefaction. The Adepts went stumbling over dead bodies, disturbing Rats and Vultures, and proceeded to the formation of the magic chain, which consisted in high-grade Masons, provided with silk hats, sitting down in a vast circle, every Adept embracing his particular corpse. The ceremony included the recitation of certain passages borrowed from popular grimoires, the object in view being the wholesale liberation of Spirits wandering in the immediate neighbourhood of their bodies. This closed the proceedings and the doctor confesses that the distractions of the evening occasioned him a disturbed sleep accompanied by nightmares.
§ 6. A Palladian Initiation.
Before leaving Calcutta our adventurer purchased from Phileas Walder, for the sum of two hundred francs, the serviceable dignity of a Palladian Hierarch, "fortified with which he would be enabled to penetrate everywhere." Regarding all English possessions as peculiarly productive in the Dead Sea fruit of diabolism, Singapore was the next scene of his curious researches. The English as a nation are criminal, but Singapore is the yeast-house of British wickedness, where vice ferments continually; there man masonifies naturally and most Masons palladise. The doctor states plainly that one thing only has preserved the place from the doom of the cities of the plain, and that is the presence of certain good Christians, otherwise Catholics, in what he terms the accursed city. For himself he tarried only to witness the initiation of a Mistress-Templar according to the Palladian rite, which took place in a Presbyterian Chapel, the Presbyterian persuasion, as he tells us, being one of the broad roads leading to avowed Satanism. The password was appropriately the name of the first murderer, and the doctor was greeted to his great astonishment by an old acquaintance, an English pastor, whom he had frequently seen upon his own magnificent steam-boat, who also rejoiced in the nick-name of the Reverend Alcohol, being, like the majority of Englishmen, almost invariably drunk. The ceremony of initiation, which is described at great length in the narrative, is a variation from that of Leo Taxil; the doctor, in mercy to his readers, suppressing a part of the performance. Speaking generally, it was concerned, as we have previously seen, with an anti-Christian version of Gospel history and some commonplace outrages of the Eucharistic elements, during which proceedings our witness perspired freely. So, as he tells us, did one more Protestant pass over to the worship of Lucifer.
The operations of the ritual were followed by a divine solemnity," which had something of the character of an ordinary spiritual séance, supposing it to have been held in a mad-house. I need only say that when the lights were turned up at the end, every article of furniture, including a large organ, was discovered hanging from the ceiling. As a final phenomenon, the Master of the Ceremonies detached his shadow from his substance, arranged it against the wall in the shape of a demon, and it responded to various questions by signs. There was a burst of loud applause, the proceedings terminated, and the Masonic Temple became once more a Presbyterian Chapel.
§ 7. The San-Ho-Hei.
The doctor informs us that China is the gate of Hell, and that all its inhabitants are born damned; child-like and bland in appearance, the Chinaman is invariably by disposition a Satanist, having tastes wholly diabolical. As to the religion of Buddha, it is simply Satanism â outrance. Chinese occultism is centralised in the San-Ho-Hei, an association "parallel to high grade Masonry," having its head-quarters at Pekin, and welcoming all Freemasons who are affiliated to the Palladium. It does not, however, admit women, and has only one degree. Its chief occupation is to murder Catholic missionaries. When a Palladian Mason seeks admission for the first time to one of its assemblies, he betakes himself to the nearest opium den, carrying on his person the documents which prove his initiation; he places his umbrella head downwards on his left side, and stupefies himself with the divine drug. He is then quite sure that he will be transported in a comatose condition to the occult reunion.
When the doctor reached Shanghai, he experienced some hesitation before he attempted an adventure so uncertain in its issue. He remembered, however, that he was possessed of a miraculous medal of St Benedict, which he regarded as his trump card, a species of passport or return ticket, available at any date and by any line of Devildom. He determined to get drunk accordingly; but even as he entered Masonry with a becoming reservation of conscience, so he entered the drug-shop with a reservation as to the degree of his drunkenness, in spite of which he fell, however, into a deep sleep, and awoke in the assembly of The Secret Avengers, one of whom, to facilitate proceedings, had a good knowledge of English, and a perfect familiarity with all Charleston passwords. The Baphomet, of course, presided, but it appears that the Chinese have certain conscientious scruples on the subject of Goats, and hence a Dragon's head was substituted for that of the ordinary image. The doctor was not the only European present at the proceedings of the celestial assembly; but while he was the sole representative of his own nation, it goes without saying that there was a fair sprinkling of the abominable British.
So complete is the unanimity which obtains between the initiates of China and.
Charleston that the bulk of the proceedings takes place in the English language; but for this disposition of Providence, the doctor would have been at a serious disadvantage. The first object of the company was to encompass the destruction of missionaries, and for this purpose a coffin was presently brought in, containing the skeleton of a deceased brother, who had so far diverged from duty that he had entered in league with the Jesuits, and had dared to act as a spy upon the august proceedings of the Sublime Society of Avengers. The first act may be regarded as somewhat bizarre in character; it consisted in evoking an evil spirit to animate the skeleton, and to answer certain questions. This was accomplished with absolute success. The bones of the departed brother had, however, been so consecrated by his Jesuitical proclivities that, even when animated by a devil, they discovered extreme reluctance in disclosing the number and quality of certain Franciscan zealots who had just started from Paris to convert the Empire. Ultimately, however, it was admitted that they were now on the high seas, which information given, the bony oracle could no longer contain its rage, but pursued an English Mason of the 33rd degree from end to end of the assembly, and succeeded in inflicting some furious bites and blows. The second act commenced by uncovering a species of exaggerated baptismal font, filled to the brim with water, and representing the great ocean over which the missionaries were passing. The assembly crowded round it, and by means of magic rods and other devices, succeeded in evoking a minute figure of a steamship containing the adventurers. Their magic also raised up a perfect tempest of wind in the closed apartment, but by no device could they effect the slightest disturbance upon the placid bosom of the water. The ceremony had, in fact, to be abandoned as a failure in its desired intention. Too well did the Spirit Yesu protect His missionaries.
The assembly accordingly repaired into a second apartment. There the officiating dignitaries assumed the vestments of Catholic priests. They produced a wax figure, designed to represent a missionary, amused themselves with a mock trial, inflicted imaginary tortures, and returned the dummy to a cupboard, after which they proceeded to the crucifixion of a living pig. The third act was an agonising experience for the doctor, being nothing less than the sacrifice of one of the brethren, the selection being determined by lot. The doctor, in his quality of visitor, was, it is true, spared the chance of being himself the victim, but he nearly became executioner. One of the Chinese adepts having been chosen, to his intense satisfaction, and approved by some mechanical movements on the part of the dragon-headed Baphomet, permitted his limbs to be removed, and then earnestly invoked the assistance of the "Charleston brother" for the purpose of severing his head. It was an honour invariably accorded to the visitor of the highest grade. The doctor, who could not bring himself to the point, was saved at the last moment by the miraculous levitation of Phileas Waller from an immense distance, this occult personage having become transcendently cognisant of what was going forward in China, and being anxious to interrogate the severed head as to the possible recovery of his daughter, who was then seriously ill. In virtue of his superior dignity, he claimed the privilege of the execution, and the doctor modestly retired.
Such were the adventures of our witness in the assembly of Holy Avengers. He enumerates at great length the evidence against hallucination as a result of his excess in opium, but I suggest to observing readers that there is a more obvious line of criticism.
§ 8. The Great City of Lucifer.
It was in March of the year 1881 that Doctor Bataille proceeded for the first time to Charleston, to make acquaintance at headquarters with the universal Masonry of Lucifer and its Pontiff Albert Pike. Charleston is the Venice of America, the Rome of Satan, and the great City of Lucifer. Always enormously prolix, and adoring the details which swell the flimsy issues of cheap periodical narratives, our witness describes at great length the city and its Masonic temple, with the temple which is within the temple and is consecrated to the good God. My second chapter has already provided the reader with sufficient information upon the persons alleged to be concerned in the foundation of Universal Freemasonry and in the elaboration of its cultus. Nor need I dwell at any length upon the personal communication which passed between Doctor Bataille, Albert Pike, Gallatin Mackey, Sophia Walder, Chambers, Webber, and the rest of the Charleston luminaries. Miss Walder explained to him the great hope of the Order concerning the speedy advent of antiChrist, the abolition of the papacy, and the destruction of the Christian religion. She also related many of her private experiences with the infernal monarchy, being acquainted with the exact number of demons in the descending hierarchy, and with all their classes and legions. She confidently expected to be the great grandmother of anti-Christ, and in the meantime possessed the transcendental faculty of becoming fluidic at will. Mr Gallatin Mackey exhibited his Arcula Mystica, one of seven similar instruments existing at Charleston, Rome,.Berlin, Washington, Monte Video, Naples, and Calcutta. To all appearance it resembled a liqueur-stand, but it was really a diabolical telephone worked like the Urimm and Thummimm, and enabling those who possessed it to communicate with each other, whatever the intervening distance. The Doctor, in his quality of initiate, was, of course, taken over the entire premises; he examined the head of the great templar Molay, deciding by his anthropological knowledge that the relic was not genuine, and that it was not the skull of a European. As to the templar Baphomet, situated in the Sanctum Regnum, and before which Lucifer is supposed to appear, it is sufficient to say that Doctor Bataille, who invariably treads cautiously where it is easy for other steps to follow him, has no personal testimony to furnish upon the subject of the apparition, and the relations of other persons do not concern us at the moment.
§ 9. Transcendental Toxicology.
The memorials of Charleston are not entirely favourable to the true strength of our witness; it was requisite to "lie low" in America, but the Doctor bristles in Gibraltar;
he is once more upon British soil. Does not the Englishman, consciously or otherwise, put a curse on everything he touches? Doctor Bataille affirms it; indeed this quality of malediction has been specially dispensed to the nation of heretics by God himself; so says Doctor Bataille. Since the British braggart began to embattle Gibraltar, having thieved it from Catholic Spain, a wind of desolation breathes over the whole country. An inscrutable providence, of which our witness is the mouthpiece, has elected to set apart this rock in order that the devil and the English, who, he says, are a pair, may continue their work of protestantising and filling the world with malefice. To sum the whole matter, the Britisher is an odious ursurper "who has always got one eye open." Now, having regard to the fact that out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation a proportion to be numbered by millions is given over to devil-worship and Masonry, and that consequently there is an enormous demand for Baphomets and other idols, for innumerable instruments of black Magic, and for poisons to exterminate enemies, it is obviously needful that there should be a secret central department for the working of woods and metals and for Transcendental Toxicology. To Charleston the dogmatic directory, to Gibraltar the universal factory. But so colossal an output focussed at a single point could scarcely proceed unknown to Government at a given place, and any nation save England might object to this class of exports. The cause of Masonry and the devil being, however, dear to the English heart, it would, of course, pass unchallenged at Gibraltar, and at this point an anglo-phobe with a remnant of reason would have remained satisfied. Not so our French physician, who affirms that the exports in question do not merely escape inquisition at the hands of civil authority but are in fact a government industry.
"Bluish ’mid the burning water, full in face Trafalgar lay;