E-Books & Articles
Of Interest to Theosophists
Psychic Self Defense
TYPES OF PSYCHIC ATTACK
I. SIGNS OF PSYCHIC ATTACK
II. ANALYSIS OF THE NATURE OF PSYCHIC ATTACK
III. A CASE OF MODERN WITCHCRAFT
IV. PROJECTION OF THE ETHERIC BODY
1 of 103?VII. THE PATHOLOGY OF NON-HUMAN CONTACTS
VIII. THE RISKS INCIDENTAL TO CEREMONIAL MAGIC
IX. DISTINCTION BETWEEN OBJECTIVE PSYCHIC ATTACK AND SUBJECTIVE PSYCHIC
X. NON-OCCULT DANGERS OF THE BLACK LODGE
XI. THE PSYCHIC ELEMENT IN MENTAL DISTURBANCE
THE DIAGNOSIS OF A PSYCHIC ATTACK
XII. METHODS EMPLOYED IN MAKING A PSYCHIC ATTACK
XIII. THE MOTIVES OF PSYCHIC ATTACK. I
XIV. THE MOTIVES OF PSYCHIC ATTACK. II
METHODS OF DEFENCE AGAINST PSYCHIC ATTACK
XV. PHYSICAL ASPECT OF PSYCHIC ATTACK AND DEFENCE
XVI. DIAGNOSIS OF THE NATURE OF AN ATTACK
XVII. METHODS OF DEFENCE. I
XVIII. METHODS OF DEFENCE. II
XIX. METHODS OF DEFENCE. III
XX. METHODS OF DEFENCE. IV
2 of 103?CONCLUSION
IT is with a sense of the seriousness of the issues involved that I set myself to the task of writing a book on psychic
attack and the best methods of defence against it. The undertaking is beset with pitfalls. It is hardly possible to give
practical information on the methods of psychic defence without at the same time giving practical information on the
methods of psychic attack. It is not without reason that initiates have always guarded their secret science behind closed
doors. To disclose sufficient to be adequate without disclosing sufficient to be dangerous is my problem. But as so
much has already been made known concerning the esoteric teachings, and as the circle of students of the occult is
becoming rapidly wider every day, it may well be that the time has now come for plain speaking. The task is not of my
seeking, but as it has come into my hands, I will do my best to discharge it honourably, making available the
knowledge which has come to me in the course of many years' experience of the strange by-ways of the mind which the
mystic shares with the lunatic. This knowledge has not been attained without cost, nor, I suspect, will the divulging of it
be altogether free from cost, either.
I have endeavoured to avoid, as far as possible, the use of second-hand material. We all know the person who has a
friend whose friend saw the ghost with her own eyes. That is not of very much use to anybody. What we need is to
have the eye-witness under cross-examination. For this reason I have not drawn upon the vast literature of the subject
for illustrations of my thesis, but have preferred to rely upon cases that have come within the range of my own
experience and which I have been able to examine.
I think I may fairly claim to have practical, and not merely theoretical, qualifications for the task. My attention was first
turned to psychology, and subsequently to occultism as the real key to psychology, by the personal experience of a
psychic attack which left me with shattered health for a considerable period. I know for myself the peculiar horror of
such an experience, its insidiousness, its potency, and its disastrous effects on mind and body.
It is not easy to get people to come forward and bear witness to psychic attacks. Firstly, because they know there is very
little likelihood of their being believed, and that they will be more likely to earn themselves a reputation for mental
unbalance than for anything else. Secondly, because any tampering with the foundations of the personality is an
experience of such peculiar and unique horror that the mind shrinks from the contemplation of it and one cannot talk
I am of the opinion that psychic attacks are far commoner than is generally realised, even by occultists themselves.
Certainly the general public has no conception at all of the sort of things that are done by people who have a knowledge
of the powers of the human mind and set to work to exploit them. I am convinced that this factor played a large part in
the witch-cult, and was the real cause of the universal horror and detestation of the witch. These powers have always
been known to students of occultism, but nowadays they are known and used by people who would be exceedingly
surprised to find who are their fellow-practitioners. Mrs. Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, stumbled on to these
methods empirically without ever acquiring any rational knowledge as to their modus operandi. She endeavoured to
teach them in such a way that they could only be used for good and their power for evil should be concealed; but that
she herself was well aware of their possibilities if abused is witnessed by the dread of what she called "Malicious
Animal Magnetism," which shadowed her whole life.
3 of 103?The methods of Christian Science, without its strict discipline and careful organisation, were developed and exploited
by the innumerable schools and sects of the New Thought Movement. In many of the developments the religious aspect
was lost sight of, and they simply became a method of mental manipulation for purely personal ends, though not
necessarily deliberately evil. Their exponents advertised that they would teach the art of salesmanship, of making
oneself popular and dominant in society, of attracting the opposite sex, of drawing to oneself money and success. The
amazing number of these courses advertised shows their popularity; in a recent issue of an American magazine I
counted advertisements for sixty-three different courses in various forms of mind-power. They would not be so popular
if they achieved no results at all. Let us consider some of these advertisements and see what they indicate, reading
between the lines and drawing our own conclusions.
"Transfer your thoughts to others. Send for free folder, Telepathy, or Mental Radio."
"Troubled - health, love, money? Let me help you. No failures, instructions being followed. Strictly personal and
professional. Careful as family physician. Five dollars must accompany enquiry. Money back if not satisfied."
"What do you want? Whatever it is, we can help you to get it. Just give us the chance by writing for 'Clouds Dispelled.'
Absolutely free. You will be delighted."
"HYPNOTISM. Would you possess that strange mysterious power which charms and fascinates men and women,
influences their thoughts, controls their desires and makes you supreme master of every situation? Life is full of
alluring possibilities for those who master the secrets of hypnotic influence, for those who develop their magnetic
powers. You can learn at home, cure diseases and bad habits without drugs, win the friendship and love of others,
increase your income, gratify your ambitions, drive worry and trouble from your mind, improve your memory,
overcome domestic difficulties, give the most thrilling entertainment ever witnessed and develop a wonderfully
magnetic will power that will enable you to overcome all obstacles to your success.
"You can hypnotise people instantly - quick as a flash - put yourself or anyone else to sleep at any hour of the day or
night, or banish pain and suffering. Our free book tells you the secrets of this wonderful science. It explains exactly
how you can use this power to better your condition in life. It is enthusiastically endorsed by ministers of the gospel,
lawyers, doctors, business men and society women. It benefits everybody. It costs nothing. We give it away to advertise
These are a few specimens chosen from among the sixty- three similar advertisements counted in this single issue of a
popular weekly magazine. They are given in extenso, in no way edited save by the omission of addresses.
Let us now consider what such advertisements as these signify from the point of view of the persons to whom they are
not addressed, the persons over whom the reader is presumed to want to acquire power. What will be their position
should he break the tenth commandment and covet his neighbour's wife, or his ox, or his ass, or any of his other
valuables? Supposing the diligent student of these methods wants something he ought not to have? Supposing he is on
the shady side of the law? Or is nursing a sense of injury and desires to be revenged? Or merely loves power for its
own sake? What is the fate of the cannon-fodder that supplies the student of mind-power with the material for his
experiments? What does it feel like to be dominated by these methods, and what results may ultimately be obtained by
a competent experimenter?
Let me give my own experience, painful though it is, for someone has got to be the first to come forward and uncover
these abuses which are only able to flourish because of the general failure to realise their significance.
As a young girl of twenty I entered the employment of a woman who I now know must have had a considerable
of occultism obtained during a long residence in
could make nothing of at the time, but which, in the light of later knowledge, I have come to understand. It was her
custom to control her staff by means of her knowledge of mind-power, and she had a steady succession of most
peculiar breakdowns among the people working under her.
I had not been with her very long when she wanted me to give evidence in a lawsuit. She was a woman of violent
temper, and had dismissed an employee without notice and without wages, and he was sueing her for the money due to
4 of 103?him. She wanted me to say that his behaviour had been such that she was justified in thus dismissing him. Her method
of collecting my evidence was to look into my eyes with a concentrated gaze and say, "Such and such things
happened." Fortunately for all concerned I had kept a diary and had a day-to-day record of the whole transaction. If it
had not been for this I should not have known where I was. At the end of the interview I was dazed and exhausted, and
lay down on my bed in my clothes and slept the sleep of utter exhaustion till next morning. I suppose I slept for about
Soon after this she wanted my testimony again. She wished to get rid of my immediate superior, and wanted to find
sufficient grounds to justify her in doing so. She repeated her previous maneuvers, but this time I had not got a diary
record to fall back upon, and to my intense surprise I found myself agreeing with her in a series of entirely baseless
charges against the character of a man I had no reason to believe to be otherwise than perfectly straight. The same
exhaustion and the same dead sleep descended upon me immediately after this interview as aft& the preceding one, but
an additional symptom now manifested itself. As I walked out of the room at the end of the interview I had a curious
sensation as if my feet were not in the place I expected them to be. Anyone who has walked across a carpet that is
bellying up with the under-floor draught will know what I mean. Occultists will recognise it as having to do with the
extrusion of the etheric double.
The next incident to occur in this curious menage did not concern myself, but another girl, an orphan with considerable
means. My employer kept this girl constantly with her, and finally persuaded her to put the whole of her capital into her
schemes. However, trustees descended in wrath, forced my employer to disgorge, and took the girl away with them
then and there, leaving all her belongings behind, to be packed up and sent on to her afterwards.
Another incident followed quick on the heels of this one. There was an elderly woman in the establishment who was
slightly "minus" mentally. A dear old thing, but childlike and eccentric. My employer now turned her attention to her,
and we watched the same process of domination beginning. In this case there were no trustees to interfere, and the poor
old lady was being persuaded to take her affairs out of the hands of her brother, who had hitherto managed them, and
commit them to the tender mercies of my employer. My suspicions had by now been thoroughly aroused. It was more
than I could bear to see old" Auntie" rooked, so I took a hand in the game, woke "Auntie" up to the situation, pushed
her belongings into a box, and got her off to her relatives while my employer was away for a brief absence.
I hoped my complicity in the affair would not become known, but I was soon disillusioned. My employer's secretary
came to my room one night, after "lights out," and warned me that the Warden, as we called our employer, had found
out who it was that had engineered "Auntie's" escape, and I had better look out for trouble. Knowing her to be of an
exceedingly revengeful nature, I knew that my best refuge was flight, but flight was not altogether easy to achieve. The
institution in which I was employed was an educational one, and a term's notice had to be given before leaving. I did
not look forward to working out that term under the unchecked control of a spiteful woman. So I watched for an
opportunity that should justify me in walking out. With my employer's uncontrolled temper it was not long to seek. I
was up late the following night packing, in preparation for my intended flight, when there came to my room another
member of the staff, a girl who seldom spoke, had no friends, and went about her work like an automaton. I had never
had any dealings with her, and was more than surprised at her visit.
It was soon explained, however.
"You are going to leave?" she said.
I admitted that it was so.
"Then go without seeing the Warden. You will not get away if you don't. I have tried several times, and I cannot get
However, I was young and confident in my untried strength, with no means of gauging the forces arrayed against me,
and next morning, dressed for the journey and suitcase in hand, I went down and bearded my formidable employer in
her den, determined to tell her what I thought of her and her methods, quite unsuspicious that anything save ordinary
knavery and bullying was afoot.
I was not allowed to get started with my carefully prepared speech, however. As soon as she learnt that I was leaving,
5 of 103?"Very well, if you want to go, go you shall. But before you go you have got to admit that you are incompetent and have
To which I replied, being still full of fight, that if I were incompetent, why did she not dismiss me herself, and anyway,
I was the product of her own training- school. Which remark naturally did not improve matters.
Then commenced a most extraordinary litany. She resumed her old trick of fixing me with an intent gaze, and said:
"You are incompetent, and you know it. You have no self-confidence, and you have got to admit it."
To which I replied, "That is not true. I know my work, and you know I know it."
Now there was no doubt that much could be said concerning my competency in my first post at the age of twenty, with
a great deal of responsibility on my shoulders, and newly inducted into a disorganised department; but nothing
whatever could be said against my self- confidence, except that I had too much of it. I was quite prepared to rush in
where archangels would have hung back in the collar.
My employer did not argue or abuse me. She kept on with these two statements repeated like the responses of a litany. I
entered her room at , and I left it at two. She must have said these two phrases several hundreds of times. I
entered it a strong and healthy girl. I left it a mental and physical wreck and was ill for three years.
Some instinct warned me that if I admitted I were incompetent and had no self-confidence my nerve would be broken,
and I would never be good for anything afterwards, and I recognised that this peculiar maneuver on the part of my
employer was an act of revenge. Why I did not pursue the obvious remedy of taking refuge in flight, I do not know, but
by the time one realises that something abnormal is toward on these occasions, one is more or less glamoured, and just
as the bird before the snake cannot use its wings, so one cannot move or turn away.
Gradually everything began to feel unreal. All I knew was that I had to hold on at all costs to the integrity of my soul.
Once I agreed to her suggestions, I was done for. We went on with our litany.
But I was getting near the end of my resources. I had a curious sensation as if my field of vision were narrowing. This, I
believe, is a characteristic phenomenon of hysteria. Out of the corners of my eyes I could see two walls of darkness
creeping up behind me on either side, as if one stood with one's back to the angle of a screen, and it were being slowly
closed upon one. I knew that when those two walls of darkness met, I should be broken.
Then a curious thing happened. I distinctly heard an inner voice say: "Pretend you are beaten before you really are.
Then she will let up the attack and you will be able to get away." What this voice was, I have never known.
I immediately followed its advice. With my tongue in my cheek I asked my employer's pardon for everything I had ever
done or ever should do. I promised to remain on in my post and to go softly all the days of my life. I remember I went
down on my knees to her, and she purred complacently over me, well satisfied with the morning's work, as she had
every reason to be.
Then she let me go, and I went up to my room and lay down on the bed. But I could not rest until I had written her a
letter. What that letter contained, I do not know. As soon as I had written it and put it where she would get it, I fell into
a sort of stupor, and lay in this state with my mind completely in abeyance till the following evening. That is to say,
from one afternoon till about of the following day, thirty hours. It was a cold spring day with
snow on the ground. A window close to the head of the bed was wide open and the room unheated. I had no covering
over me, but I felt neither cold nor hunger, and all the processes of the body were in abeyance. I never stirred.
Heartbeat and respiration were very slow, and continued so for several days.
I was found eventually by the housekeeper, who revived me by the simple application of a good shaking and a cold
sponge. I was dazed, and disinclined to move or even to eat. I was left to lie in bed, my work taking care of itself, the
housekeeper coming to look at me from time to time, but making no comment on my condition. My employer never
6 of 103?After about three days my especial friend, who thought I had left the house, learnt of my continued presence, and came
along to see me; an act requiring some courage, for our mutual employer was a formidable antagonist. She asked me
what had happened at my interview with the Warden, but I could not tell her. My mind was a blank and all memory of
that interview had gone as if a sponge had been passed over a slate. All I knew was that out of the depths of my mind a
most terrible state of fear was rising up and obsessing me. Not fear of any thing or person. Just plain fear without an
object, but none the less terrible for that. I lay in bed with all the physical symptoms of intense fear. Dry mouth,
sweating palms, thumping heart and shallow, hasty breathing. My heart was beating so hard that at each beat a loose
brass knob on the bedstead rattled. Fortunately for me, my friend saw that something was seriously wrong and she sent
for my family, who fetched me away. They were exceedingly suspicious. The Warden was exceedingly uncomfortable,
but no one could prove anything, so nothing was said. My mind was a blank. I was thoroughly cowed and very
exhausted, and my one desire was to get away.
I did not recover, however, as had been expected. The intensity of the symptoms wore off, but I continued to be
exceedingly easily tired, as if I had been drained of all vitality. I knew that, somewhere at the back of my mind, was
hidden the memory of a terrible experience, and I dared not think of it, because if I did, the shock and strain would be
so severe that my mind would give way altogether. My chief consolation was an old school arithmetic book, and I used
to spend hour upon hour doing simple sums to keep my mind from racing itself to pieces in wondering what had been
done to me and sidling up towards the memory, and then shying away from it like a frightened horse. Finally I gained
some measure of peace by coming to the conclusion that I had simply had a breakdown from overwork, and that the
whole queer transaction was the fruit of my imagination. And yet there was a lingering feeling that it was real and this
feeling would not let me rest.
About a year after the incident, my health still being very poor, I went away to the country to recuperate, and there
came across a friend who had been on the spot at the time of my breakdown. It had apparently caused a good deal of
talk, and I found here one who was not inclined to explain away my experience, but asked pertinent questions. Another
new friend became interested in my case and haled me off to the family doctor, who bluntly gave it as his opinion that I
had been hypnotised. It was before the days of psycho therapy, and his ministrations to a mind diseased were limited to
patting me on the back and giving me a tonic and bromide. The tonic was useful, but the bromide was not, as it lowered
my powers of resistance, and I speedily discarded it, preferring to put up with my discomfort rather than to render
myself defenceless. For all the time I was obsessed by the fear that this strange force, which had been applied to me so
effectually, would be applied again. But although I feared this mysterious power, which I now realised was abroad in
the world, I cannot tell what a relief it was to me to find that the whole transaction was not an hallucination, but an
actual fact that one could rise up and cope with.
I obtained my release from the bondage of this fear by facing the whole situation and determining to find out exactly
what had been done to me and how I could protect myself against a repetition of the experience. It was an exceedingly
unpleasant process, in fact the reaction caused by recovering the lost memories was only a little less violent than the
original one; but I finally succeeded in freeing myself from my hag-ridden condition of fear, although it was a very long
time before my physical health became normal. My body was like an electric battery that has been completely
discharged. It took a long time to charge up again, and every time it was used before the charging was completed, it ran
down again rapidly. For a long time I had no reserves of energy, and after the least exertion would fall into a dead sleep
at any hour of the day. In the language of occultism, the etheric double had been damaged, and leaked prana. It did not
become normal until I took initiation into the occult order in which I subsequently trained. Within an hour of the
ceremony I felt a change, and it is only upon the rarest occasions since then, after some psychic injury, that I have had a
temporary return of those depleting attacks of exhaustion.
I have told this story in detail because it is a useful illustration of the manner in which the little-known powers of the
mind can be abused by an unscrupulous person. First-hand experience is of far more value than any amount of
illustration from the pages of history, however well authenticated.
If such a transaction had taken place during the Middle Ages, the parish priest would have organised a witch-hunt. In
the light of my own experiences I am not at all surprised that people who had acquired a reputation for the practice of
witchcraft were lynched, the methods are so terrible and so intangible. We may think the records of the witch-trials are
ridiculous, with their tales of wax images melting in front of slow fires, or the crucifying of christened toads, or the
reciting of little jingles, such as "Horse, hattock, To ride, to ride." But if we understand the use of mind-power we soon
realise that these things were simply aids to concentration. There is no essential difference between sticking pins into a
7 of 103?wax image of an enemy and burning candles in front of a wax image of the Virgin. You may think that both these
practices are gross superstition, but you can hardly think that one is real and potent and deny reality and potency to the
other. "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal may as truly be said of the practitioners of Black Magic as of the
My own case belongs more to the realm of psychology than to occultism, the method employed being an application of
hypnotic power to improper ends; I have given it, however, because I am convinced that hypnotic methods are very
largely used in Black Magic, and that telepathic suggestion is the key to a large proportion of its phenomena. I cite my
own case, painful as it is to me to do so, because an ounce of experience is worth a pound of theory. It was this
experience which led me to take up the study of analytical psychology, and subsequently of occultism.
As soon as I touched the deeper aspects of practical psychology and watched the dissection of the mind under
psycho-analysis, I realised that there was very much more in the mind than was accounted for by the accepted psycho
logical theories. I saw that we stood in the centre of a small circle of light thrown by accurate scientific knowledge, but
around us was a vast, circumambient sphere of darkness, and in that darkness dim shapes were moving. It was in order
to understand the hidden aspects of the mind that I originally took up the study of occultism.
I have had my full share of the adventures of the Path; have known men and women who could indubitably be ranked
as adepts; seen phenomena such as no seance room has ever known, and borne my share in it; taken part in psychic
feuds, and stood my watch on the roster of the occult police force which, under the Masters of the Great White Lodge,
keeps guard over the nations, each according to its race; kept the occult vigil when one dare not sleep while the sun is
below the horizon; and hung on desperately, matching my staying-power against the attack until the moon-tides
changed and the force of the onslaught blew itself out.
And through all these experiences I was learning to interpret occultism in the light of psychology and psychology in the
light of occultism, the one counterchecking and explaining the other.
Because of my specialised knowledge people came to me when an occult attack was suspected, and their experience
reinforces and supplements my own. Moreover, there is a considerable literature on the subject to be found in quarters
where one would least expect it - in accounts of folk-lore and ethnology, in the State Records of witch-trials, and even
under the guise of fiction. These independent records, by people in no way interested in psychic phenomena, confirm
the statements made by those who have experienced occult attacks.
On the other hand, we have to distinguish very carefully between psychic experience and subjective hallucination; we
have to be sure that the person who complains of a psychic assault is not hearing the reverberation of his own
dissociated complexes. The differential diagnosis between hysteria, insanity and psychic attack is an exceedingly
delicate and difficult operation, for so frequently a case is not clear-cut, more than one element being present; a severe
psychic attack causing a mental breakdown, and a mental breakdown laying its victim open to invasion from the
Unseen. All these factors have to be borne in mind when investigating an alleged occult attack, and it shall be my task
in these pages not only to indicate the methods of occult defence, but also to show the methods of differential
It is very necessary, with so much occult knowledge about, that people should know an occult attack when they see it.
These things are much more common than is generally realised. The recent tragedy in Iona gives point to this assertion.
No occultist is under any illusion as to that death being from natural causes. In my own experience I have known of
In my novel, The Secrets of Dr. Taverner, there were presented, under the guise of fiction, a number of cases
illustrative of the hypotheses of occult science. Some of these stories were built up to show the operation of the
invisible forces; others were drawn from actual cases; and some of these were written down rather than written up in
order to render them readable by the general public.
So much first-hand experience, confirmed by independent evidence, should not go unregarded, especially since rational
explanations are difficult to find save in terms of the occult hypotheses. It may be possible to explain away each
individual case mentioned in these pages by alleging hallucination, fraud, hysteria, or plain lying, but it is not possible
to explain the sum-total of them in this way. There cannot be so much smoke without some fire. It is not possible that
8 of 103?the prestige of the magician in antiquity and the dread of the witch in the Middle Ages could have arisen without some
basis in experience. The vapourings of the wise woman would be no more heeded than those of the village idiot if no
painful consequences had ever been found to follow upon them. Fear was the motive of these persecutions, and fear
founded upon bitter experience; for it was not officialdom which incited the witch-burnings, but whole country-sides
that rose up for a lynching. The universal horror of the witch must have some cause behind it.
The labyrinthine windings of the Left-hand Path are as extensive as they are devious; but while exposing them in
something, at any rate, of their horror, I still maintain that the Right-hand Path of initiation and occult knowledge is a
way to the loftiest mystical experiences and a means of lifting the burden of human suffering. Not every student of this
knowledge necessarily abuses it; there are many, nay, the great majority, who hold it selflessly in trust for mankind,
using it to heal and bless and redeem that which is lost. It may well be asked, If this knowledge can be so disastrously
abused, why should its veil ever be lifted? What answer is made to this question is a matter of temperament. Some will
maintain that knowledge of whatever kind cannot be without its value. Other may say we had better let sleeping dogs
lie. The trouble is, however, that sleeping dogs have an unfortunate knack of waking up spontaneously. So much occult
knowledge is abroad in the world, so much of the kind of things described in these pages is going on unknown and
unsuspected in our midst, that it is very desirable that men of goodwill should investigate the forces which men of evil
will have perverted to their own ends. These things are the pathologies of the mystic life, and if they were better
understood, many tragedies might be averted.
On the other hand, it is not well that everybody should indulge in the study of textbooks of pathology. A vivid
imagination and a weak head are a disastrous combination. The readers of that one-time "best seller," Three Men in a
Boat, may remember the fate of the individual who spent a wet Sunday afternoon reading a medical textbook. At the
finish he was firmly convinced he had got every single disease described therein with the single exception of house
This book is not intended merely to make the flesh creep, but is designed as a serious contribution to a little-understood
aspect of abnormal psychology, perverted, in some instances, to the purposes of crime. It is a book intended for serious
students and for those who find themselves confronted by the problems it describes, and who are trying to understand
them and find a way out. My chief aim in speaking so frankly is to open the eyes of men and women to the nature of
the forces that are at work below the surface of everyday life. It may happen to any one of us to break through the thin
crust of normality and find ourselves face to face with these forces. Reading of the cases cited in this book, we may
well say that there, but for the grace of God, goes any one of us. If I can give in these pages the knowledge which
protects, I shall have fulfilled my purpose.
TYPES OF PSYCHIC ATTACK
SIGNS OF PSYCHIC ATTACK
IF we look at the universe around us we cannot fail to realise that there must be some overruling plan co-ordinating
its infinite complexity. If we take into our hands and examine minutely any living thing, however simple, equally must
we realise that the ordered diversity of its parts is built up on a determining framework. Science has sought in vain for
this organising principle; it will never find it on the physical plane, for it is not physical. It is not the inherent nature of
9 of 103?atoms which causes them to arrange themselves in the complex patterns of living tissues. The driving forces of the
universe, the framework upon which it is built up in all its parts, belong to another phase of manifestation than our
physical plane, having other dimensions than the three to which we are habituated, and perceived by other modes of
consciousness than those to which we are accustomed.
We live in the midst of invisible forces whose effects alone we perceive. We move among invisible forms whose
actions we very often do not perceive at all, though we may be profoundly affected by them.
In this mind-side of nature, invisible to our senses, intangible to our instruments of precision, many things can happen
that are not without their echo on the physical plane. There are beings that live in this invisible world as fish live in the
sea. There are men and women with trained minds, or special aptitudes, who can enter into this invisible world as a
diver descends to the ocean-bed. There are also times when, as happens to a land when the sea-dykes break, the
invisible forces flow in upon us and swamp our lives.
Normally this does not occur. We are protected by our very incapacity to perceive these invisible forces. There are four
conditions, however, in which the veil may be rent and we may meet the Unseen. We may find ourselves in a place
where these forces are concentrated. We may meet people who are handling these forces. We may ourselves go out to
meet the Unseen, led by our interest in it, and get out of our depth before we know where we are; or we may fall victim
to certain pathological conditions which rend the veil.
The Threshold of the Unseen is a treacherous coast on which to bathe. There are potholes and currents and quicksands.
The strong swimmer, who knows ħhe coast, may venture in comparative safety. The non-swimmer, who takes counsel
of nothing but his own impulses, may pay for his temerity with his life. But we must not make the mistake of thinking
that these invisible forces are necessarily evil and inimical to humanity. They are no more inimical in themselves than
are water or fire, but they are potent. If we run counter to them, the result is disastrous for us, for we have broken a
natural law; but they are not out to attack us, any more than we are out to attack them. We must face the fact, however,
that men and women with knowledge of these things, have, both in the past and in the present, used that knowledge
unscrupulously, and that we may find our selves involved in the results of their actions. It may safely be said that the
Unseen is only evil and inimical to humanity when it has been corrupted and perverted by the activities of these
unscrupulous men and women, whom initiates call adepts of the Left-hand Path.
We must consider the outward and visible signs of psychic attack before we are in a position to analyse the nature of
such attacks and indicate their source of origin. It is a fundamental rule that diagnosis must precede treatment. There
are many different kinds of psychic attacks, and the methods that will dispose of one will be ineffectual against another.
The commonest form of psychic attack is that which proceeds from the ignorant or malignant mind of our fellow
human beings. We say ignorant as well as malignant, for all attacks are not deliberately motived; the injury may be as
accidental as that inflicted by a skidding car. This must always be borne in mind, and we should not impute malice or
wickedness as a matter of course when we feel we are being victimised. Our persecutor may himself be a victim. We
should not accuse a man of malice if we had linked hands with him and he had stepped on a live rail. Nevertheless, we
should receive at his hands a severe shock. So it may be with many an occult attack. The person from whom it
emanates may not have originated it. Therefore we should never respond to attack by attack, thus bringing ourselves
down to the moral level of our attackers, but rely upon more humane methods, which are, in reality, equally effectual
and far less dangerous to handle.
People also come into touch with the Unseen through the influence of places. Someone who is not actually psychic, but
who is sufficiently sensitive to perceive the invisible forces subconsciously, may go to a place where they are
concentrated at a high tension. Normally, although we move in the midst of these forces (for they sustain our universe),
we are oblivious of them. Where they are concentrated, however, unless we are very dense-minded, we begin to be
dimly conscious of something that is affecting us and stirring our subliminal self.
It may happen that the barrier between consciousness and subconsciousness is dense in some people, and they are never
able clearly to realise what is going on. They merely have the sense of oppression and general malaise, which lifts
when they go away to another place. Consequently, the condition may never be detected, and lead to years of ill-health
10 of 103?More commonly, however, if there is a definite psychic attack of sufficient force to make itself noticeable at all, there
will soon begin to appear characteristic dreams. These may include a sense of weight upon the chest, as if someone
were kneeling on the sleeper. If the sense of weight is present, it is certain that the attack emanates locally, for the
weight is due to the concentration of etheric substance or ectoplasm, and is sufficiently tangible to press down the scale
of a balance when it is possible to capture it for measurement. A great deal of research has been done with
materialising mediums upon the nature of this tangible subtle substance, and the reader is referred to the books on the
experiments conducted by Crawford with the Goligher Circle at Belfast, and in Paris with Eva C. by other
experimenters, for further information and evidence on this subject. It may be noted that Crawford eventually
committed suicide for no known reason.
A sense of fear and oppression is very characteristic of. occult attack, and one of the surest signs that herald it. It is
extremely rare for an attack to make itself manifest out of the blue, as it were. We are not in our normal state of mind,
body and circumstance, and then find ourselves suddenly in the midst of an invisible battle. An approaching occult
influence casts its shadow on consciousness before it makes itself apparent to the non-psychic. The reason for this is
that we perceive subconsciously before we realise consciously, and a line of creeping shade indicates the penetrating of
the subconscious censor from below upwards.
As the attack progresses, nervous exhaustion becomes increasingly marked, and there may, under certain conditions,
which we will consider later, be such wasting of the tissues that the victim is reduced to a mere bloodless shell of skin
and bones, lying on the bed, too weak to move. And yet no definite disease can be demonstrated.
Such a case is an extreme example, proceeding unchecked to its logical conclusion. Other issues are possible, however.
The resistance may be good, in which case the attack is unable to gain a foothold on the physical plane, and is limited
to that borderland between matter and mind which we perceive upon the threshold of sleep. This is a very terrible
experience, for the victim is afraid to sleep and cannot keep awake indefinitely. Worn out by fear and lack of sleep,
mental breakdown soon supervenes.
Nervous exhaustion and mental breakdown are the commoner results of astral attack among white people, for in
There are, however, records of cases where the victim has died of pure fright. Kipling's terrible story, The End of the
Passage, gives an account of such an occurrence.
But in addition to the purely subjective phenomena, there will also be objective ones if the attack has any degree of
concentration. The phenomenon of repercussion is well known, the phenomenon wherein that which befalls the subtle
body is reflected in the dense body, so that after an astral skirmish during sleep, bruises are found on the physical body,
sometimes bruises of a definite pattern. I have seen the print of a goat's hoof and the ace of clubs marked upon the skin
as well-defined bruises, passing from blue to yellow and dying away in the course of a few days, as bruises will.
Evil odours are another manifestation of an astral attack. The characteristic smell is of decomposing flesh, and it comes
and goes capriciously; but while it is manifesting, there is no doubt whatever about it, and anyone who is present can
smell it, whether they are psychic or not. I have also known a frightful stench of drains arise when a ritual belonging to
the Element of Earth was being incorrectly performed.
Another curious phenomenon is the precipitation of slime. I have not actually seen this myself, but I have first-hand
information upon good authority of one such case. The marks are sometimes as if an army of slugs had been marching
in ordered formation; sometimes there is a broad smear of slime, and at others, distinct footprints, often of gigantic size.
In the case to which I refer, of which I heard from an eye-witness, the marks were like the foot prints of an elephant,
enormous tracks on the floor of the drawing-room of a bungalow situated near the sea.
Odd footprints appearing from nowhere and leading nowhere, are sometimes observed when there is snow about. I
have seen them on two occasions on the roof of an out building. They alighted upon the edge of it, as if the walker had
stepped off an aeroplane, went straight across, and ended abruptly at the wall of the main building upon which the
lean-to abuts. They did not return. A single line of footprints came from nowhere and ended in a lofty wall.
similar happening took place on a very extensive scale in
found in that very curious book, Oddities, by Commander Gould. In this case, however, the prints were not human, but
11 of 103?were those of what was apparently the hoof of a donkey, proceeding in a single line and going straight through walls
and over roofs and covering the best part of a couple of hundred miles in a single night on both sides of an unbridged
estuary. Those who want confirmatory evidence would do well to consult Commander Gould's book, where the
incident is given in detail.
There is a curious phenomenon known to occultists as the astral bell; Sir Arthur Conan Doyle makes use of it in one of
his Sherlock Holmes stories. This sound varies from a dear, bell-like note to a faint click. I have often heard it resemble
the sound made by striking a cracked wine-glass with a knife-blade. It commonly announces the advent of an entity that
is barely able to manifest, and need not necessarily be a herald of evil at all. It may simply be a knock on the door of the
physical world to attract the attention of the inhabitants to the presence of one who stands without and would speak
with them. If, however, it occurs in the presence of other symptoms of an astral attack, it would give strong evidence in
confirmation of the diagnosis.
Inexplicable outbreaks of fire are also sometimes seen in this connection. These indicate that elemental forces, not
human, are at work. Poltergeist phenomena also occur, in which objects are flung about, bells rung and other noisy
manifestations take place. Of course there may be multiplicity of phenomena, more than one type appearing in the same
Needless to say, the possibility of some natural, material explanation must never be ignored, even in cases where the
supernatural element appears most obvious. It should always be diligently sought in every possible direction before any
supernormal hypothesis is considered worthy of attention. But on the other hand, we should not be so wedded to
materialistic theories that we refuse to take a psychic theory as a working hypothesis if it shows any possibility of being
fruitful. After all, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and if, working on an occult hypothesis, we are able to clear
up a case which has resisted all other methods of handling, we have pretty good evidence in support of our contention.
We must also bear in mind that the element of deliberate fraud may enter into the most unexpected places. I have seen a
drug addict successfully pass himself off for a considerable length of time as the victim of an occult attack. A recent
writer in the British Medical Journal declared that whenever he came across a case of bell-ringing, knocks, the
dripping of water and oil from ceilings, and other untoward happenings, he always looked for the hysterical
maidservant. Occultists would be very well advised to do likewise before they begin to worry about the Devil. But on
the other hand, the wise man, whether occultist or scientist, will not insist upon the hysterical maidservant unless he can
catch her red-handed, as he surely will do sooner or later if she is the guilty party.
Forged bank-notes would never gain currency unless there were such a thing as genuine bank-notes. It would never
occur to anyone to produce fraudulent psychic phenomena unless there had been some genuine psychic phenomena to
act as a pattern for the forgery.
The acceptance of an explanation should rest upon the weight of evidence in its favour, not upon one's dislike of its
alternatives. I plead that the possibility of a non- material explanation should be investigated in cases where the
materialistic hypothesis does not yield results. Not in diseases of the brain and nervous system, nor of the ductless
glands, nor in repression of the natural instincts, shall we find the explanation in all cases wherein the mind is afflicted.
There is more to man than mind and body. We shall never find the clue to the riddle of life until we realise that man is a
spiritual being and that mind and body are the garments of his manifestation.
12 of 103?ANALYSIS OF THE NATURE OF PSYCHIC ATTACK
THE essence of a psychic attack is to be found in the principles and operations of telepathic suggestion. If we put
together what we know of telepathy and what we know of suggestion, we shall understand its modus operandi.
Suggestion is of three kinds: Auto-suggestion, Conscious Suggestion and Hypnotic Suggestion. The distinction,
however, is not as fundamental as at first sight appears; for the goal of all suggestions in the subconscious mind is the
same, and they do not become operative until, it is reached. Suggestion is distinguished from threats and appeals to
reason by the fact that these aim at a mark in the conscious mind. If they succeed, they owe their success to the
acquiescence of the conscious personality, whether coerced or voluntary. But suggestion does not make its appeal to
consciousness, but aims at laying its hands upon the springs of action in the subconsciousness and manipulating them
We might compare these two processes to the operation of pulling at the bell-knob outside the front door and taking up
a floor-board and twitching the bell-wires themselves. The result will be the same in both cases, the bell will ring.
Threats and argument pull the bell-knob with varying degrees of emphasis, from the persistent tinkling of moral
suasion to the resounding peal of the blackmailer. Suggestion twitches the wires at various points in their course.
Auto-suggestion is given by one's own conscious mind to one's own subconscious mind. Now, you may ask, why can I
not give orders to my subconscious mind direct, without having to resort to the paraphernalia of suggestion? The
answer to this question is very simple. The subconscious mind belongs to a much earlier phase of evolution than the
conscious mind; belongs, in fact, to a phase prior to the development of speech. To address it in words, therefore, is
like speaking to a man in a language he does not understand, In order to deal with him we must have resort to sign-language.
So it is with the subconscious mind. It is no use to say to it, Do this: or, Don't do that. We must make a
mental picture of the thing we want done and hold it in consciousness till it begins to sink into the subconsciousness.
The subconscious mind will understand this picture, and act upon it.
The actor who wishes to cure himself of stage-fright will fail to do so if he says to his subconscious mind, "Don't be
frightened," for a nod is as good as a wink to a blind horse. Equally, if he makes a mental picture of stage fright and
says to his subliminal self, "Now don't do that," the result will be disastrous, for the subliminal self will see the picture
and omit the negative, because the word "not" means nothing to it. In order to handle the subconscious mind
effectually, we make a mental picture of the thing we want done and hold it in mind by repeated applications until the
subconsciousness begins to be influenced and takes up the task of its own accord.
This is the end-result of all suggestion, and the different kinds of suggestion are distinguished, not by the difference in
end-result, but by the gate through which they enter the subconscious mind. Auto-suggestion originates in our own
consciousness; waking suggestion originates in the mind of another and is conveyed to our mind by the ordinary
channels of the spoken or written word; hypnotic suggestion enters the subconscious mind direct, without impinging
upon consciousness at all.
Hypnotic suggestion (which means, literally, suggestion made during sleep, and is to some extent a misnomer) is of
three kinds: firstly, true hypnotic suggestion, made when the subject has been rendered insensible by magnetic passes
or fixation of the eyes on a bright object; secondly, suggestion given during normal sleep, as Coue advises should be
done with children, in my opinion a most undesirable proceeding; and, thirdly, telepathic suggestion. All these
modes of suggestion enter the mind behind the censor; that is to say, they are independent of consciousness, which is
neither asked to co-operate, nor has the power to inhibit them.
In most cases, suggestions made in this way are never recognised as coming from outside, but are only discovered after
they have matured in the subconsciousness and are beginning to take effect. We do not see the invisible seed, that has
been sown in our mind by the mind of another, but in due course germination takes place and the strong-growing shoot
appears above the threshold of consciousness as if it were a native growth. The skillful suggestionist always aims at
13 of 103?making his suggestions harmonise with the bias of the personality; for if they do not, the established sub-conscious
complexes will expel them before they have time to strike root. All he can really do is to reinforce and stimulate the
ideas and impulses that are already there, though perhaps latent. He cannot plant an entirely alien seed. He cannot graft
a rose-shoot on a lilac bush, for it will merely wither and die.
For growth of the thought-seeds of suggestion to take place they must find a congenial soil. It is herein lies the strength
of the defence. We may not be able to prevent the minds of others from sending us suggestions, but we may so purify
the soil of our own natures that no harmful ones can find a congenial seed-bed. It is a simple matter to pull up a
seedling nettle, but it is quite a different business to eradicate a thickset bank of tangled roots and stinging shoots, many
It has been said, and not untruly, that a person cannot be hypnotised into doing anything which is contrary to his real
nature. But what is the real nature of each one of us? Have we all overcome the ape and tiger, or are they merely
caged? Suggestion can unbar the cage of all our secret temptations and let them loose upon us. None but the saint is
naturally immune. It is possible to reduce anybody to anything provided suggestion has unchecked scope for a
sufficient length of time. The purest woman can be made a harlot, the noblest man a murderer under certain conditions.
Knowledge is necessary to protect, and it is that knowledge which I intend to give in these pages.
Let us now consider exactly how a psychic attack operates. In the realms of mind there is neither time nor space as we
understand them. I do not propose to argue this statement philosophically, but state it as a fact of experience which
anyone who is accustomed to operating on the Inner Planes will have shared. If we think of a person, we are in touch
with that person. If we picture them clearly, it is as if we were face to face with them. If we picture them vaguely, it is
as if we saw them in the distance. Being in the mental vicinity of a person, we can create a thought- atmosphere by
dwelling upon certain ideas in connection with him. This is how spiritual healing is done. The affirmations of Christian
Science are used in order to get the mind of the healer into a certain emotional state, and his condition effectually
influences the mind of the patient with whom he has put himself en rapport.
This power, however, can be used for evil as well as good; the Founder of Christian Science was wise enough to put
her teaching in such a way that her students would not readily discern the second edge of the sword. As long as the
world in general was ignorant of the powers of the mind, it was better that nothing should be said by those who knew,
because the knowledge, if spread abroad indiscriminately, might do more harm than good, giving information to those
who ought not to have it. But now that so much is generally known and even practised concerning the powers of the
human mind, it is as well that the real facts should also be known and the whole matter brought out into the open, and
as far as lies in my power I am prepared to do this.
Any message to the subconscious mind must be couched in very simple terms, because subconscious thought is a
primitive form of mentation, developed before spoken language was known to mankind. The primary aim of the
suggestion is to create a mental atmosphere about the soul of the person, whether that person is to be attacked or
healed, until a sympathetic response or reaction is elicited within the soul itself. (I use the term soul to include both the
mental and emotional processes, but to exclude the spiritual ones.) Once this reaction is achieved, the battle is half
over, for the gate of the city has been opened from within, and there is free ingress. The telepathic suggestion of
definite ideas can now proceed rapidly.
It is this point which is the critical one in any occult attack. Up to this point, the defender has the advantage. If he has
sufficient knowledge, the knowledge I hope to make available through this book, he can without any undue exertion
retain that advantage indefinitely, and wear his attackers down, even if unable to meet them on their own ground of
occult knowledge. There is nothing in this world or the next that a hypnotist can do with the person who keeps his
nerve and won't pay attention.
are two gates, and two only, by which the attacker can gain entrance to the
Self-preservation Instinct and the Sex Instinct. The hypnotic appeal must be couched in terms of one or both of these if
it is to be successful. How does the attacker proceed? He has to create an atmosphere about the soul of his victim on
the Inner Planes. He can only do this by creating that atmosphere within his own consciousness while he thinks of his
victim. If he wants to perform a psychic murder, he must fill his own soul with the rage of destruction until it
overflows. If he wants to perform a psychic rape, he must fill his soul with lust and cruelty. The cold rage of cruelty is
14 of 103?essential to effectual operations of this nature. Now what happens when he does this? He has sounded a ringing
keynote in the Abyss. It will be answered. All beings who have this keynote for the basis of their nature will respond.
"Dark Uriel and Azrael and Ammon on the wing - " and will join in the operation. But they do not operate direct upon
the victim, they work through the operator. It is like the old game of Nuts and May, in which the one who is sent "to
fetch her away" is gripped round the waist by the leader of a chain of supporters. The real pressure comes on his own
abdominal muscles, as anyone who has played the game will remember.
And when the magical operation is over, what then? Will the operator be left to enjoy his victim in peace? Is IT
This is the mystical basis of the story of Faust. The Devil might be not only willing but anxious to enable Dr. Faustus to
win Margarita, but he came for his soul at the appointed time. We may also remember that if Margarita had not
responded to the lure of the Jewel Song she would not have fallen a victim. The weak spot in the defence was after all
in her own nature.
We have considered the modus operandi of telepathic suggestion in detail because it forms the real basis of every kind
of occult attack. Whether it be a discarnate entity, a being of another order of evolution, a demon from the Pit, or
merely the panic-stricken soul of a selfish friend, clinging to the life of form regardless of consequences, in all cases the
opening gambit is the same. Until the aura is pierced, there can be no entrance to the soul, and the aura is always
pierced from within by the response of fear or desire going out towards the attacking entity. If we can inhibit that
instinctive emotional reaction, the edge of the aura will remain impenetrable, and will be as sure a defence against
psychic invasion as the healthy and unbroken skin is a defence against bacterial infection.
It happens sometimes, however, that a rapport has been formed with the attacking entity in a previous incarnation, and
therefore it holds, as it were, the key to the postern. Such a problem is a very difficult one, and external assistance is
needed for its solution. The difficulty is increased by the fact that the victim is often disinclined to allow the break to be
made, being bound to the attacking entity, whether discarnate or incarnate, by bonds of fascination, or even genuine
A case with which I was acquainted throws so much light on various aspects of psychic interference by incarnate souls
operating out of their bodies that it is of value to quote it at length.
In the summer of 1926 I saw in the papers a short paragraph describing the death of a certain man and his wife, which
took place within a few hours of each other. A couple of years previously I had been consulted by a friend of the wife,
who was deeply perturbed about the state of affairs, and suspected psychic interference. The wife, Mrs. C. we will call
her, had begun to be troubled by nightmares, waking up in a state of intense fear, hearing the echoes of menacing
words ringing in her ears. At about the same time the husband, Mr. C., developed what at first sight looked like
epileptic fits. A careful diagnosis by specialists, however, determined that although epileptiform, they were not true
epilepsy. Epilepsy is due either to a congenital tendency, whose nature is not fully understood by medical science, or to
some injury or disease of the brain. In congenital epilepsy the disease shows itself early in life; in fits due to disease,
other symptoms are present which can be detected by a physical examination, such as changes in the eye that are
revealed by the opthalmoscope. The diagnosis can therefore be definitely established. Moreover, there is one sure sign
by means of which an epileptic fit can be distinguished with certainty from a hysterical or psychic seizure. In true
epilepsy the urine is involuntarily voided in the course of the fit. This is a sure sign, and when it is absent we are safe in
saying that the fit is not epileptic, whatever else it may be. This is a useful point for those who have to deal with the
pathologies that afflict the psychic temperament, for they will see plenty of seizures, and a sure method of
distinguishing those that are of organic origin is very useful. We must not, however, conclude that all cases of such
incontinence are epileptics, for there are many other causes, both organic and functional.
In the case of Mr. C. this cardinal symptom was lacking. The attacks, moreover, always took place in sleep, and it
seemed as if they were more of the form of severe nightmare, verging on somnambulism. It was a curious factor in the
case that Mrs. CS nightmares usually heralded Mr. CS attacks.
These occurrences showed a certain cyclic regularity, occurring about once a month. In the case of a woman this would
15 of 103?naturally be referred to the twenty-eight day cycle of her nature, but in the case of a man, no such explanation was
forthcoming, and we therefore had to look for another twenty-eight day cycle to explain his periodicity. The only other
cycle of this period is that of the phases of the moon.
We were then confronted by a correlation of epileptiform attacks, which had no organic basis, the nightmares of a
second person, and the phases of the moon. Some theory had to be found which would resume these three and explain
A dream is commonly the first way in which psychic manifestations make themselves known, the subconscious
perceptions being reflected into consciousness in this form.
It is held by many occultists that congenital epilepsy, as distinguished from that due to tumours of the brain, has its
roots in the operations of black magic or witchcraft in which the sufferer participated in a past life, whether as
practitioner or victim, the fit being an astral struggle with a discarnate entity, reflected on the physical body by means
of the well-known phenomenon of repercussion.
The moon plays a very important part in all occult operations, different tides being available at different phases of her
cycle. Persephone, Diana and Hecate, all aspects of Luna, are three very different persons.
It therefore appeared probable that as the physical investigation had drawn blank, a psychic investigation might yield
fruits. One was performed. And with the following results.
Nothing at all was discerned with regard to Mrs. C. She was merely what lawyers call an accessory after the fact. But
the psychic trail of Mr. C. was soon picked up and followed, and it appeared that in his last incarnation he had been
associated with two women, mother and daughter, who had practised witchcraft for his benefit. The younger of the two
women had been for a short time his mistress. Mother and daughter had paid the penalty for their crimes, but their male
partner had escaped.
The diagnosis was as follows: It is the younger witch that is at the bottom of the trouble. It is her astral visits which
cause the seizures of Mr. C. and the nightmares of Mrs. C., and they correlate with the phases of the moon because
certain phases are favourable for the operation she performs and she therefore takes advantage of them. The question
now remains, is this woman in incarnation or not? That is to say, is the midnight visit paid in an astral body projected
from a living human being, or by an earth-bound spirit which has succeeded in evading the Second Death?
Mrs. C. had by now been taken into the confidence of the mutual friend who was concerned for her welfare, and lent a
ready ear to the suggestion that some psychic influence might be at the bottom of the trouble, for this explanation
coincided with her own intuitions in the matter, intuitions she had not dared to divulge for fear of ridicule.
When asked if she could identify anyone in the circle of her husband's acquaintances who might prove to be the
younger witch, she replied immediately that she could with out any difficulty identify both the women, and told the
following curious story.
The older witch she identified as her husband's mother, an aged lady who occupied a suite of rooms in their house. For
this inoffensive old creature Mrs. C. had always had a peculiar horror and repulsion, although admitting there were no
rational grounds for it, and honestly endeavouring to do her duty by her. So great was her horror of the old lady that she
would never remain in the house after her husband had left for his office in the morning, but went out herself to her
club if she had no other engagement.
Among the frequenters of the house was an intimate friend of the elder Mrs. C., a woman of peculiar psychic
temperament, who always called the old lady mother and was singularly attached to her, She was also very attached to
Mr. C., but her feelings never exceeded, outwardly at any rate, the bounds of propriety, and Mr. C., who was sincerely
attached to his own wife, never paid the slightest attention to her, looking upon her as his mother's friend, and as such
to be tolerated.
16 of 103?Mrs. C. unhesitatingly identified Miss X., as we will call her, as the younger witch. Enquiries were then made
regarding her history, and a very curious story unfolded.
As a young girl she had become engaged to a man who, soon after the engagement was announced, had developed
galloping consumption and died after a short illness with a violent hemorrhage.
Soon after this, Miss Xs sister also became engaged, and by a strange fatality her lover shared the same fate, dying as
died the other man, in a flood of his own blood.
Years went by, and Miss X. became engaged again. Soon the second lover fell ill, not, this time, with galloping
consumption, but with a more lingering form of the complaint, in which hemorrhage was the principle symptom. He
seemed to linger on from hemorrhage to hemorrhage, and this went on for years. Miss X., a woman of considerable
private means, took a house, installed an aunt as a chaperone, and took her fiance to live there and be nursed by her.
Soon the aunt developed symptoms of illness; she appeared to be drained of all vitality and for days at a time would lie
unconscious, but no specific cause was ever discovered for her illness. This peculiar menage continued for years, Miss
X. living in her big house with these two moribund creatures lingering on from attack to attack.
She was a constant visitor at the home of the CS, both during the lifetime of Mr. CS first wife and that of his second,
the friend of my friend. On the death of Mr. CS first wife she had great hopes, it was observed, that his attentions
would turn towards herself, but they did not; nevertheless she swallowed her chagrin, and succeeded in maintaining her
foothold as an intimate friend of the family when the new Mrs. C. came to preside over the household.
Certain methods of protection were suggested to Mrs. C. which helped her considerably, but it was not possible to
exclude Miss X. from the house owing to her intimacy with the old lady. In due course, however, old Mrs. C. was
gathered to her fathers, and then young Mrs. C. put her foot down and said she would have no more to do with Miss X.
Mr. C. concurred in this, as he had always had a repulsion for Miss X., and had only tolerated her for his mother's sake.
Soon after this Mrs. C. began to feel unwell, the indisposition slowly progressed, until finally, although she had no
definite symptoms, she was obliged to consult a doctor on account of her steadily increasing weakness and sense of
malaise. A diagnosis of rapidly growing cancer of the womb was made. An operation was performed, which gave
temporary relief, it was not expected to do any more, and she went downhill steadily.
Towards the end she lapsed into unconsciousness, and at the same time, Mr. C. also became unconscious, apparently
having one of his seizures in sleep, from which he never awakened. They died within a few hours of each other.
Mr. C.'s first wife had also died of cancer of the womb.
About this time Miss X.'s aunt and fiance died within a short time of each other, and the last that was heard of Miss X.
was that she had been removed to a nursing-home in the country with a severe mental breakdown.
Taken separately, any of the incidents in this strange eventful history can be explained away, but taken together they
make a curious story, especially when it is remembered that without any previous information a psychic investigation
had "spotted" the existence of a person with abnormal faculties who was interested in Mr. C.
Cancer is a disease upon which certain occult hypotheses throw a good deal of light. It is believed to be a disease of the
etheric double, not of the physical body, and that a "Cancer Elemental" is the infective factor.
To prove or disprove anything concerning the foregoing story is impossible, but the following occult hypothesis may
explain much. If this hypothesis be not accepted, readers may find an interesting exercise for their ingenuity in
constructing another that shall explain more satisfactorily the circumstances of the case.
Miss X. retained subconsciously the knowledge and powers that had been hers during the previous life when she was
17 of 103?implicated in the witch-cult. She also retained her passion for Mr. C., a passion which was obviously unrequited, She
employed her power of projection of the astral body to visit Mr. C. at night, during sleep. In the absence of details it is
impossible to decide definitely whether the "fit" of Mr. C. was a struggle or an embrace. It might be either, or it might
be both, an initial struggle ending in an embrace. The dreams of Mrs. C. obviously related to the same astral visitant
who caused the seizures of Mr. C. There is, unfortunately, no record to show at what phase of the moon these attacks
took place, but presumably at the Hecate phase, which is the period of evil witchcraft.
The condition of Miss Xs fiance and aunt and the death of her first lover point markedly towards vampirism. It is
difficult to believe that a consumptive would continue for so many years without his disease either being checked or
making definite progress. It is difficult to say what the connection, if any, might be between Miss X. and the death of
her sister's lover, but it is a curious thing that three men, associated with this ill-omened household as prospective
husbands, should lose their lives in the same way. This, together with the mysterious illness of the aunt, are very
suspicious. As noted before, any one of these incidents could be explained away, but taken together they call for
thought. It is also curious that Miss X. should keep her fiance in her house and yet not marry him, from every normal
point of view an arrangement with many drawbacks and no advantages. On the other hand, if her feelings were fixed
upon Mr. C. and were obtaining satisfaction by astral visits, she would naturally not want to break her rapport with the
man she loved by giving herself to the man she did not love. If she were a vampire, her motive for keeping the aunt and
lover in her house, and their condition, would be readily explained. Also her breakdown, which followed immediately
upon their deaths.
The fact that Mr. CS first wife died of cancer of the womb does not in itself call for remark, but it is a curious thing that
he should lose his second wife from the same disease. Cancer is not as common as all that, and in any case, there are
many available sites beside the womb. On the other hand, Diana, one of the aspects of Luna, of whom Hecate, the
goddess of witches, was another, presides over the female reproductive organs.
The illness of Mrs. C. began to show itself soon after Miss X. was excluded from the house.
Finally, what shall we say concerning the deaths of the three people most intimately associated with Miss X. within a
short time of each other, and her immediate break down? In the absence of details any conclusion must be guesswork,
but we have good grounds for supposing that Miss Xs magical operations were attended by some mishap.
It may be said that such a theory is the wildest improbability and does violence to all the laws of evidence. Let it,
however, be born in mind that two years before these matters eventuated, the work of a witch in connection with Mr.
CS epileptiform attacks was suspected and the nature of her relationship to him was indicated; and subsequent
enquiries revealed the curious facts in connection with Miss Xs history and menage; let it also be noted that the
happenings which subsequently occurred are such as have been recorded in many accounts of witch-trials. It is a
scientific maxim that the power to foretell the course of phenomena is a good indication of the truth of a theory.
A CASE OF MODERN WITCHCRAFT
THE part played by the ex-witch in occult attack is very marked. Again and again do the investigations of
independent psychics point to witchcraft in a previous incarnation when trouble of this sort is afoot. The motive is
nearly always vengeance, but there is also good reason to believe that the projection of the astral body takes place
involuntarily during sleep, and is not deliberately willed by the offender. Very many people who are at present psychics
18 of 103?and sensitives got their training in the covens of medieval witchcraft, and for this reason experienced occultists are very
wary of the natural psychic, as distinguished from the initiate with his technique of psychism. Where psychism and
mental unbalance are found conjoined with a malevolent disposition, there is strong presumption that the cult of
Diabolus is not far to seek.
A curious set of happenings, in which I myself was one of the actors, throws a good deal of light on this by no means
uncommon occurrence. It was in the early days of my interest in occultism, when I was still buying nay experience by
the expensive but effectual method of running my head into obstacles, I made the acquaintance of a woman who was
interested in psychic matters. She was a person of the most extreme sensitiveness to anything unclean or ugly,
fastidious to a degree in her personal habits, living almost exclusively on uncooked vegetarian foods, even refusing
eggs as too stimulating. Although not an animal lover, she was morbidly humanitarian, reading with gusto those papers
which give lurid and detailed descriptions of vivisection experiments. Had I been older and wiser I should have
recognised the significance of her ultra-cleanliness and ultra-sensitiveness as marking the ab-reaction of a sadistic
temperament - sadism being a pathology of the emotional nature in which the sex instinct takes the form of an impulse
to inflict pain. Not having learnt then many things which I now know, I looked upon her characteristics as indicative of
an exalted spirituality.
At the time I knew her she was verging on a breakdown which was alleged to be due to overwork, and she was very
anxious to get away from cities and back to nature. I was just leaving London to take up my residence at an occult
college which was hidden away in the sandy fastnesses of the Hampshire barrens. In the innocence of my heart I
suggested that she might come down there and help with the domestic duties. The suggestion was acted upon, and a
few days after my own arrival Miss L. joined us. She seemed quite normal, made herself agreeable, and was well liked.
One incident, however, in the light of subsequent events, was significant. On getting out of the ancient fly in which she
had driven from the station, she immediately went and patted the still more ancient horse that drew it. That beast,
usually sunk in an apathy from which he was with difficulty roused when action was required of him, galvanised into
life at her touch as if she had stung him. He threw up his head, backed, snorted, and nearly turned the equipage over in
the ditch, to the amazement of his jehu, who declared he had never been known to do such a thing before, and viewed
our visitor with disfavour.
Miss L., however, appeared quite normal, made herself agreeable, and was given a friendly reception by the humans at
That night I was awakened by nightmare, a thing to which I am not usually subject. I struggled with a weight on my
chest, and even after consciousness had fully returned, the room seemed full of evil. I performed such simple banishing
formula as I knew, and peace was restored.
At breakfast next morning an assembly of blear-eyed people met together, complaining of having passed disturbed
nights. We compared notes, and found we had all, some six or seven of us, had similar nightmares, and proceeded to
exchange experiences. The effect of this upon Miss L. was curious. She squirmed upon her chair as if it had suddenly
become red-hot and said with much emphasis:
"These things should not be discussed, it is most unwholesome."
Out of deference to her feelings we desisted. But presently up to the open window came another member of our
community, a woman who slept in an open-air shelter at some little distance from the house. We enquired after her
health, as usual, and she replied that she was not feeling very well, as she had slept badly, and proceeded to recount the
same nightmare as the rest of us. Later on in the morning, another lady, who had a house a little way down the road,
arrived, and she in her turn told of a similar nightmare.
These nightmares continued, on and off for the next few days, to afflict different members of the community. They
were vague and nebulous, and there was nothing we could pitch upon for diagnostic purposes, and we put it down to
indigestion caused by the village baker's version of war bread.
Then one day I had a quarrel with Miss L. She had conceived a "crush" for me; I have a constitutional repulsion for
crushes and give them scant politeness, and she complained bitterly of my lack of responsiveness. What ever may be
the rights and wrongs of the case, I had roused her resentment in good earnest. That night I was afflicted with the most
19 of 103?violent nightmare I have ever had in my life, waking from sleep with the terrible sense of oppression on my chest, as if
someone were holding me down, or lying upon me. I saw distinctly the head of Miss L., reduced to the size of an
orange, floating in the air at the foot of my bed, and snapping its teeth at me. It was the most malignant thing I have
Still not attaching any psychic significance to my experiences, and being firmly convinced that the local baker was
responsible, I told no one of my dream, thinking it one of those things that are better kept to oneself; but when the
members of the community came to talk matters over in the light of subsequent events, we found that two other people
had had similar experiences.
A night or two later, however, as it came to bed-time, I was overcome with a sense of impending evil, as if something
dangerous were lurking in the bushes around the house threatening attack. So strong was this sensation that I came
down from my room and went all round the house, testing the catches of the windows to make sure that all was secure.
Miss L. heard me, and called out to know what I was doing.
I told her of my feelings.
"You silly child," she said, "it is no use latching the windows, the danger is not outside the house but in it. Go to bed,
and be sure and lock your door."
She would give no answer to my questions except to reiterate that I should lock my door. This was the first night I had
slept in that house, previously having been in a cottage on the opposite side of the road.
I did not lock my door because the night was intolerably hot and the room and the window small. I compromised,
however, by putting an enamel slop-pail at a strategic spot in the fairway, trusting that any intruder would fall over it
and give the alarm.
Nothing happened, and I slept quietly.
Next morning, however, the storm broke. Miss L. and I were peacefully at work in the kitchen when she suddenly
caught up a carving-knife and started after me, as mad as a March hare. Fortunately for me I had in my hands a large
saucepan full of freshly boiled greens, and I used this as a weapon of defence, and we danced round the kitchen table,
slopping hot cabbage-water in all directions.
We neither of us made a sound; I fended her off with the hot and sooty saucepan, and she slashed at me with an
unpleasantly large carving-knife. At a psychological moment in walked the head of the community. He took in the
situation at a glance, and handled it by the tactful method of scolding us both impartially for making so much noise and
telling us to get on with our work. Miss L. finished whatever she was doing with the carver, I dished up the cabbage,
and the incident passed off quietly.
After lunch Miss L. experienced the reaction from her excitement and went to her room completely prostrated with
exhaustion. I was somewhat perturbed. Although used to mental cases, and therefore not as disturbed by the recent
fracas as anyone else might have been, I did not relish the prospect of being the housemate of a dangerous lunatic who
was under no sort of control. The head of the community, however, said there was no cause for alarm, he would soon
have the case in hand. He went up to the bath room, filled a soap-dish with water from the tap, made certain passes
over it, and dipping his finger in the water, proceeded to draw a five-pointed star upon the threshold of Miss L.'s room.
Miss L. made no attempt to leave her room until forty-eight hours later when he fetched her out himself.
As he had promised, he soon had her in hand. He had several long talks with her, at which I was not present, and at the
end of a few days a very chastened Miss L. began to go about her household duties again. There were relapses, and
there were struggles, but in the course of a few weeks she became comparatively normal, and when I met her again
some eighteen months later there had been no relapse.
Two curious incidents occurred during the period of her treatment at the hands of this man, an adept if ever there was
20 of 103?one. The house in which she had a room was a very old one, and the front door exceedingly massive. It was secured at
night by two enormous bolts that extended right across it, a chain that could have moored a barge, and a huge lock with
a key the size of a trowel. When the door was opened in the morning it acted as an alarm clock for the entire village. It
creaked, it groaned, and it clanged. Yet night after night we came down in the morning to find this door standing ajar.
We all slept with our doors open on to the small landing. To go down the ancient, creaking stairs was like walking on
organ-stops. The back door was a modern affair, which could have been opened easily. The windows were modern
casements of the most gimcrack description. Who opened the heavy front door, and why?
We exchanged recriminations several mornings at break fast as to who had left the door open the night before, but no
one could ever be convicted of the blame. Finally the matter came to the knowledge of the head of the group.
"I will soon put a stop to that," he said, and each night he re-sealed Miss L.'s room with the pentagram. We had no
more trouble with the front door coming open after that.
While he was dealing with Miss L. he made a practice of sealing the threshold of his own room in the same way, only
in this case he drew the pentagram point outwards, to prevent Miss D. from coming in; whereas when he sealed her
room, he put its point inwards, to prevent her coming out. She did not know this, nor was it likely to reach her ears
indirectly, for he was very uncommunicative, I only knew that he was sealing his room because I chanced to see him
Nevertheless, one day I heard a knock at my door, and there was Miss L. with her arms full of clean linen. She asked
me if I would be good enough to take it into the room of the head of the community, and put it away. I asked her why
she did not do so herself, for I knew he was out, and it was her work to put away the linen. She replied that she had
been to his room for that purpose, but there was a psychic barrier across the threshold that prevented her entering.
She also asked me, on several occasions, to put inside my frock out of sight a little silver cross that I habitually wore, as
she said she could not bear the sight of it. This cross I had purchased just before coming to this occult college, and had
taken it to a priest of my acquaintance to be blessed, for I had not been altogether easy in my mind concerning the
nature of the group I was joining, and during the early days of my association with it was poised on tiptoe, as it were,
ready for instant flight. Naturally I had kept my own council concerning the psychic precautions I had taken against my
new friends, and no one was aware that the cross had been specially magnetised against psychic attack. Nevertheless,
the woman who would have attacked if she could, felt its influence and feared it.
Auto-suggestion and imagination play so large a part in so-called psychic impressions that one is chary of accepting
confirmatory testimony from a psychic who knows what is expected of him, but a spontaneous reaction is in my
When the treatment of Miss L. had progressed some way towards her final recovery, much interesting information was
elicited. She told us that she had distinct memories of dealings with black magic in her previous lives. This, she said,
had been confirmed by several independent psychics, and I would certainly have been willing to add my testimony to
theirs had I been asked. As a child, she used to day dream that she was a witch, willing the death or misfortune of those
who annoyed her, and she also averred, though whether this was true or not I cannot say, that her wishes were so
effectual that she was frightened and tried to abandon the practice. She also volunteered that she was in the habit of
visualising herself standing before people she was angry with, scolding them, and projecting malignant force at them.
This, of course, would explain our nightmares. She also said that she had been in the habit of attacking her mother and
sister in this way, and had made her sister very ill, so that they now refused to have her in the house. This statement was
later confirmed by the mother.
She told us that she felt as if she were two distinct persons, her normal self being spiritually-minded, intensely
compassionate and idealistic. Her other, and lower self, which came to the surface when she was crossed, upset, or over
tired, being intensely malicious and subject to paroxysms of hate and cruelty.
These characteristics had been particularly marked when she was little. But as she grew older she recognised the
wrongfulness of them, and her lofty idealism represented her endeavour to rise above them. This endeavour was, I am
convinced, an honest one; unfortunately it was not always successful.
She referred to the incident in which she told me to lock my door, and said she had done so in the hope of affording me
21 of 103?some measure of protection against the astral projection in which she knew she was tempted to indulge.
At first sight her case had looked like one, of obsession, and had been so diagnosed by one or two members of the
community, but wise handling revealed otherwise.
This case reveals another interesting point in that, true to the witch-tradition, she had a horror of sacred symbols. She
would not occupy a room where there was a picture of a religious subject. Nothing would induce her to wear any piece
of jewelry in the form of a cross, and it was impossible for her to enter a church.
This case has many points of interest, especially in the fact that what was apparently a case of well-marked insanity was
cleared up by occult methods.
PROJECTION OF THE ETHERIC BODY
BEFORE we can leave the subject of attack by incarnate human beings, we must consider the subject of etheric
projection. In this case not only is the mind at work, but also something which is pretty nearly physical; sufficiently
physical, at any rate, to leave bruises on the flesh of the victim, throw the furniture about, or at least make a
considerable amount of noise.
Where such manifestations take place, it is obvious that we are dealing with something more substantial than the mind,
for although mind can influence mind, and through it the body to an extent to which in the present state of our
knowledge it is difficult to set limits, mind cannot manipulate matter directly: that is to say, you cannot smash a
window by means of a thought. There must be some physical vehicle that can be manipulated by the mind if effects are
to be wrought on the physical plane. The living body is such an instrument; it is manipulated by the mind every time a
voluntary movement takes place, and the operations of spiritual healing are simply an extension of this principle to the
involuntary muscles and physiological processes not ordinarily directed by the conscious mind. Occultists maintain that
mind affects body by means of the etheric double, as it is called, the "mortal mind" of the Christian Scientists. We may
not unreasonably conclude that when physical action is produced at a distance by occult means, it is done by employing
this etheric double.
The etheric double is primarily a body of magnetic stresses in the framework of whose meshes every cell and fibre of
the physical body is held as in a rack. But intermediate between this and the dense physical body as we know it, there is
what may be called the raw material out of which dense matter is condensed. This was called by the ancients, Hyle, or
First Matter, and by the moderns, Ectoplasm. It is this projected ectoplasm which produces the phenomena whenever
physical manifestations are in question. It may be projected as long rods, which will operate up to a distance of a dozen
feet or so; or it may be projected as a nebulous cloud, connected with the medium by a tenuous thread. This cloud can
be organised into distinct forms, having the semblance of life and acting as vehicles for conscious wills. There is a
great deal of information available on this subject in the literature of spiritualism, to which reference may be found in
the bibliography at the end of this book.
The adept who was head of the occult college to which I have previously referred, and from whom I received my first
training in occultism, was able to perform this operation, and I have many times seen him do it. He would go into deep
trance, after a few convulsive movements, somewhat like a slow tetany, and would then lose about two-thirds of his
22 of 103?weight. I have many times helped to lift him, or even lifted him single-handed, when he was in this state, and he
weighed no more than a child. A man can fake many things, but he cannot fake his weight. I have lifted him single
handed from the floor on to a sofa when in this state. It is quite true that, being rigid as a board, he was much easier to
handle than the ordinary limp, unconscious human form; but there is a certain ratio between the weight of a grown man
and the strength of a woman of average physique.
What became of the missing weight on these occasions I found out one night. He had been ill, with some delirium, and
the lion's share of the nursing, especially the night work, had fallen to my lot. There came a time, however, when we
decided that he was so far recovered that it was unnecessary for anyone to sit up with him, so to bed we all went, for
the first time for several days. I shared a room with another member of the community. It was a comparatively small
cottage we were in, and our two beds were close together, side by side, right under the uncurtained open window. It
was the time of the full moon, and I remember that I had no need to light a candle in order to see to undress.
I fell asleep at once, for I was very tired. I could not have been asleep very long, however, when I was awakened by the
sensation of a weight upon my feet. It was as if a good-sized dog, say, a collie, had jumped up and lain down on the
bed. The room was flooded with moonlight, and as bright as day, and I clearly saw, lying apparently asleep across the
foot of my bed, the man whom we had left safely tucked up for the night in the room below. It was a somewhat
embarrassing situation, and I lay still, taking thought before I did any thing. I was wide enough awake by now, as may
well be imagined. I concluded that Z., as I will call this man, had either had a return of the delirium, or was
sleep-walking. In any case I was very anxious to get him safely back to bed again without a fuss or a scene. My
companion had a bad heart, and I did not want her to get a shock; neither did I want him to get a shock in his weak
state. I was afraid that if I waked my room-mate first, she might scream, and wake Z. up with a start, with disastrous
consequences. I decided therefore to wake him gently, as being the worse case of the two, and let her take her chance.
Having cogitated these matters for several moments at least, I finally took action. I sat up in bed and leant quietly
forward with the intention of touching him gently on the shoulder and so arousing him. In order to lean forward, I had
to withdraw my feet from under him, for they were pinned by his weight, which until now had rested upon them, for I
had been careful not to stir while thinking out my plan of campaign.
Z. was plainly visible in the moonlight, clad apparently in his dressing-gown, or so I took the muffling folds of material
to be that swathed him about. Both his face and wrappings appeared grey and colourless in the moonlight, but there
was no question in my mind as to his solidarity, for not only could I see him, but I could feel his weight resting upon
my feet. But the moment I moved, he vanished, and I was left staring in amazement at the smooth fold of the blankets
over the end of the little camp-bed on which I lay. It was then, and then only, that I realised he had appeared all grey
and colourless, more like a shaded pencil sketch than a human being of flesh and blood.
I asked him about this incident in the morning, but he said he had no recollection of it; he had been dreaming the
uneasy, broken dreams of a sick man, but could not recall them.
This, of course, was in no way an occult attack, but rather the visit of a friend, who had come to lean upon me in the
course of his illness, and instinctively came to me for consolation when out of his body in trance at a time when his
weakened condition prevented him from retaining his normal control over his psychic activities. Nevertheless, it serves
to illustrate what could be done if the etheric form that visited me had been energised by a malignant will. It may
explain the nature of the sense of weight that oppresses the victims of a certain type of nightmare.
I have heard of more than one case wherein bruises resembling finger-marks were found on the throats of people who
had been victims of an astral attack. I have never actually seen such bruises myself, but I have been told of them by
people who have either had them themselves, or seen them. It is a well-known fact that if an occultist, functioning out
of the body, meets with unpleasantness on the astral plane, or if his subtle body is seen, and struck or shot at, the
physical body will show the marks. I myself have many times found curiously patterned bruises on my body after an
astral skirmish. The mechanism of the production of such marks must, I think, be of the same nature as that which
produces the stigmata of saints and the curious physical marks and swellings sometimes seen in hysterics - the mind,
powerfully stirred, affects the etheric double, and the etheric double acts upon the physical molecules held in its
meshes. I dare to prophesy the next advances in medicine will be bound up with the knowledge of the nature and
function of the etheric double.
The next type of psychic attack which we must consider is that conducted by means of artificial elementals. These are
distinguished from thought-forms by the fact that, once formulated by the creative mind of the magician, they possess a
23 of 103?distinct and independent life of their own, though strictly conditioned as to nature by the concept of their creator. The
life of these creatures is akin to that of an electric battery, it slowly leaks out by means of radiation, and unless
recharged periodically, will finally weaken and die out. The whole question of the making, charging, recharging, or
destruction of these artificial elementals is an important one in practical occultism.
The artificial elemental is constructed by forming a clear- cut image in the imagination of the creature it is intended to
create, ensouling it with something of the corresponding aspect of one's own being, and then invoking into it the
appropriate natural force. This method can be used for good as well as evil, and "guardian angels" are formed in this
way. It is said that dying women, anxious concerning the welfare of their children, frequently form them unconsciously.
I myself once had an exceedingly nasty experience in which I formulated a were-wolf accidentally. Unpleasant as the
incident was, I think it may be just as well to give it publicity, for it shows what may happen when an insufficiently
disciplined and purified nature is handling occult forces.
I had received serious injury from someone who, at considerable cost to myself, I had disinterestedly helped, and I was
sorely tempted to retaliate. Lying on my bed resting one afternoon, I was brooding over my resentment, and while so
brooding, drifted towards the borders of sleep. There came to my mind the thought of casting off all restraints and
going berserk. The ancient Nordic myths rose before me, and I thought of Fenris, the Wolf-horror of the North.
Immediately I felt a curious drawing-out sensation from my solar plexus, and there materialised beside me on the bed a
large wolf. It was a well-materialised ectoplasmic form. Like Z., it was grey and colourless, and like him, it had weight.
I could distinctly feel its back pressing against me as it lay beside me on the bed as a large dog might.
I knew nothing about the art of making elementals at that time, but had accidentally stumbled upon the right method -the
brooding highly charged with emotion, the invocation of the appropriate natural force, and the condition between
sleeping and waking in which the etheric double readily extrudes.
I was horrified at what I had done, and knew I was in a tight corner and that everything depended upon my keeping my
head. I had had enough experience of practical occultism to know that the thing I had called into visible manifestation
could be controlled by my will provided I did not panic; but that if I lost my nerve and it got the upper hand, I had a
Frankenstein monster to cope with.
I stirred slightly, and the creature evidently objected to being disturbed, for it turned its long snout towards me over its
shoulder, and snarled, showing its teeth. I had now "got the wind up" properly; but I knew that everything depended on
my getting the upper hand and keeping it, and that the best thing I could do was to fight it out now, because the longer
the Thing remained in existence, the stronger it would get, and the more difficult to disintegrate. So I drove my elbow
into its hairy ectoplasmic ribs and said to it out loud:
"If you can't behave yourself, you will have to go on the floor," and pushed it off the bed.
Down it went, meek as a lamb, and changed from wolf to dog, to my great relief. Then the northern corner of the room
appeared to fade away, and the creature went out through the gap.
I was far from happy, however, for I had a feeling that this was not the end of it, and my feeling was confirmed when
next morning another member of my household reported that her sleep had been disturbed by dreams of wolves, and
she had awakened in the night to see the eyes of a wild animal shining in the darkness in the corner of her room.
Now thoroughly alarmed, I went off to seek advice from one whom I have always looked upon as my teacher, and I
was told that I had made this Thing out of my own substance by revengeful thoughts, and that it was really a part of
myself extruded, and that I must at all costs recall it and reabsorb it into myself, at the same time forgoing my desire to
"settle accounts" with the person who had injured me. Curiously enough, just at this time there came an opportunity
most effectually to "settle" with my antagonist.
Fortunately for all concerned, I had enough sense left to see that I was at the dividing of the ways, and if I were not
careful would take the first step on to the Left-hand Path. If I availed myself of the opportunity to give practical
expression to my resentment, the wolf-form would be born into an independent existence, and there would be the devil
to pay, literally as well as metaphorically. I received the distinct impression, and impressions are important things in
24 of 103?psychic matters, for they often represent subconscious knowledge and experience, that once the wolf-impulse had
found expression in action, the wolf-form would sever the psychic navel-cord that connected it with my solar plexus,
and it would be no longer possible for me to absorb it.
The prospect was not a pleasant one. I had to forgo my dearly-loved revenge and allow harm to be done to me without
defending myself, and I also had to summon and absorb a wolf-form which, to my psychic consciousness at any rate,
looked unpleasantly tangible. Nor was it a situation in which I could either ask for assistance nor expect much
sympathy. However, it had to be faced, and I knew that with every hour of the Thing's existence it would be harder to
deal with, so I made the resolution to let the opportunity for revenge slip through my fingers, and at first dusk
summoned the Creature. It came in through the northern corner of the room again (subsequently I learnt
that the north was considered among the ancients as the evil quarter), and presented itself upon the
hearthrug in quite a mild and domesticated mood. I obtained an excellent materialisation in the
half-light, and could have sworn that a big Alsatian was standing there looking at me. It was tangible,
even to the dog-like odour.
From it to me stretched a shadowy line of ectoplasm, one end was attached to my solar plexus, and the other
disappeared in the shaggy fur of its belly, but I could not see the actual point of attachment. I began by an effort of the
will and imagination to draw the life out of it along this silver cord, as if sucking lemonade up a straw. The wolf- form
began to fade, the cord thickened and grew more substantial. A violent emotional upheaval started in myself; I felt the
most furious impulses to go berserk and rend and tear anything and anybody that came to hand, like the Malay running
amok. I conquered this impulse with an effort, and the upheaval subsided. The wolf-form had now faded into a
shapeless grey mist. This too absorbed along the silver cord. The tension relaxed and I found myself bathed in
perspiration. That, as far as I know, was the end of the incident.
I had had a sharp lesson, and a highly instructive one. It may not be convincing to other people, owing to the lack of
corroborative evidence, but it was exceedingly evidential to me, and I put it on record for what it is worth to those who,
having personal knowledge of these things, can see its significance.
It is a curious point that, during the brief twenty-four hours of the Thing's life, the opportunity for an effectual
vengeance presented itself.
T HE alleged Vampire has always been a popular character in tales of mystery and imagination. There is a
considerable literature concerning his doings, from the famous novel Dracula to serious studies of the medieval
witch-trials, for which the reader is referred to the bibliography at the end of the book. In these pages, however, I do
not want to avail myself of second-hand evidence, nor of incidents which took place in other centuries and under
primitive conditions, for it might be argued that with the passing of such conditions from our midst, the problem of
vampirism, like the problem of typhus, has gone too, and need not trouble us. From my own experience I am of the
opinion, however, that this is not so, and that the peculiar condition which the ancients called vampirism may account
for certain forms of mental disturbance and the physical ill-health associated therewith.
When psycho-analysis was first introduced into England I took up the subject, and became a student, and eventually a
lecturer at a clinic that was founded in London. We students were soon struck by the fact that some cases were
exceedingly exhausting to deal with. It was not that they were troublesome, but simply that they "took it out" of us, and
left us feeling like limp rags at the end of a treatment. Someone happened to mention this fact to one of the nurses
25 of 103?engaged in the electrical department, and she told us that the same patients equally "took it out of" the electrical
machines and that they could absorb the most surprising voltages without turning a hair.
At the same place, in the course of my psycho-analytical work, I came across a number of cases where a morbid
attachment existed between two people, most commonly mother and daughter, or two women friends; sometimes also
between mother and son, and in one case I met socially, between a man and a woman. It was always the negative one of
the pair who came for treatment, and we were able to benefit them considerably by psycho-therapeutic means. They
always showed the same symptom-complex, a sensitive temperament, pallid complexion, wasted form and general
debility, sense of weakness, and easy fatiguabilty. They were also invariably highly suggestible, and were therefore
easy to handle. Consequently we were usually able to get good results pretty quickly in such cases.
The curious point, however, was that the breaking of the morbid rapport caused a marked disturbance and even
semi-collapse of the dominant partner in the alliance. We found it necessary to insist upon a separation if a cure were to
be effected, and the separation invariably disagreed very actively with the dominant partner.
At that time I explained everything in terms of the Freudian psychology, but even so, I could not help being struck by
the curious effect a separation had upon the person who was not supposed to be ill, and that as the one went uphill, the
other went down.
I am of the opinion that what Freud calls an Oedipus complex is not altogether a one-sided affair, and that the "soul" of
the parent is drawing upon the psychic vitality of the child. It is curious how aged Oedipus cases always look, and what
little old men and women they are as children. They never have a normal childhood, but always are mentally mature for
their years. I persuaded various patients to show me photographs of themselves as children, and was much struck by the
elderly, worried expression of the childish faces, as if they had known all of life's problems and burdens.
Knowing what we do of telepathy and the magnetic aura, it appears to me not unreasonable to suppose that in some
way which we do not as yet fully understand, the negative partner of such a rapport is "shorting" on to the positive
partner. There is a leakage of vitality going on, and the dominant partner is more or less consciously lapping it up, if
not actually sucking it out.
Such cases are by no of means uncommon, and clear up rapidly when the victim is separated from the vampire.
Whenever there is a record of a close and dominating bond between two people with the devitalisation of one of them,
it is a good plan to recommend a temporary separation and observe the results.
Such cases as these, however, may more justly be described as parasitism than vampirism. Such psychic parasitism is
exceedingly common, and explains many psychological problems. We will not pursue the subject in these pages,
however, as it is outside the scope of our present enquiry, and is merely mentioned for illustrative purposes.
Vampirism, as generally understood, is a very different matter, and we shall do well to reserve the term for those cases
wherein the attack is deliberate, applying the term parasitism to the cases wherein it is unconscious and involuntary.
In my opinion, true vampirism cannot take place unless there is power to project the etheric double. All the records of
vampirism that we have give an account of something much more tangible than a haunting. In Western Europe the
occurrence seems to be comparatively rare in modern times, but in Eastern Europe and in primitive countries it appears
to be by no means uncommon, and innumerable well-authenticated cases occur in books of travel.
Commander Gould, in his exceedingly interesting book, Oddities, gives an account of vampirism among the
Berberlangs of the Philippine Islands. His account is based on a paper printed in the Journal of the Asiatic Society, Vol.
LXV, 1896. These unpleasant people, according to Mr. Skertchley, the author of the article which Commander Gould
quotes, "are ghouls, and must eat human flesh occasionally or they would die. . . . When they feel a craving for a meal
of human flesh they go away into the grass, and having carefully hidden their bodies, hold their breaths and fall into a
trance. Their astral bodies are then liberated. . . They fly away, and entering a house, make their way into the body of
one of the occupants and feed on his entrails.
"The Berberlangs may be heard coming, as they make a moaning noise, which is loud at a distance and dies away to a
feeble moan as they approach. When they are near you, the sound of their wings may be heard, and the flashing lights
of their eyes can be seen dancing like fire-flies in the dark."
26 of 103?Mr. Skertchley declares that he himself saw and heard a flight of Berberlangs pass by, and visiting next day the house
he saw them enter, found the occupant dead without any sign of external violence.
Compare Mr. Skertchley's account of the Berberlangs lying in the long grass and throwing themselves into trance with
Mr. Muldoon's account of "The Projection of the Astral Body," with which every student of occultism ought to be
familiar, for it is undoubtedly a classic of occult literature, being a practical account of occult experiences and detailed
instructions how to go and do likewise.
But to return nearer home. In the course of my experience of the byways of the human mind, which, from the nature of
my work, has been, like Sam Weller's knowledge of London, extensive and peculiar, I have only known one case of
genuine vampirism, according to the sense in which I use the term, and this was not one of my own cases, though I
knew the persons concerned, but was handled by my original teacher, whom I have already referred to in connection
with the case of the good lady who chased me with a carving-knife. I have made use of the facts of this case as a
groundwork for one of the stories in The Secrets of Dr. Taverner, but the actual facts are such that they were unsuitable
for a work supposedly designed to amuse.
At that time I was doing the tutorials in abnormal psychology at the clinic I have spoken of, and supervising the work
of the other students; one of them took counsel with me concerning a case that had come to her in private practice, the
case of a youth in the late 'teens, one of those degenerate but intellectual and socially presentable types that not
infrequently crop up in old families whose blood is too blue to be wholesome.
This lad was taken as boarder in a flat which the student shared with another woman, and they soon began to be
troubled with curious phenomena. About the same time every evening the dogs in a neighbouring mews began a
furious outcry of barking and howling, and a few moments later the French window leading on to the verandah would
open. It did not matter how often they got the locksmith to it, nor how they barricaded it, open it would come at the
appointed time, and a cold draught sweep through the flat.
This phenomenon took place one evening when the adept, Z., was present, and he declared that an unpleasant invisible
entity had entered. They lowered the lights, and were able to see a dull glow in the corner he indicated, and when they
put their hands into this glow, felt a tingling sensation such as is experienced when the hands are put into electrically-charged
Then began a mighty spook-hunt up and down the flat, and the presence was finally cornered and dispatched in the
bathroom. I have staged the incident somewhat more picturesquely in my story, but the essential facts are the same. The
result of the dispatching of this entity was a marked improvement in the condition of the boy patient, and the elicitation
of the following story.
The boy, whom we will call D., was in the habit of going to sit with a cousin who had been invalided home from
France suffering from alleged shell-shock. This young man was another scion of a worn-out stock, and it transpired that
he had been caught red-handed in that unpleasant per version called necrophilia. According to the story elicited from
the parents of D., this vice was not uncommon on certain sections of the Front, as were also attacks on wounded men.
The authorities were taking drastic steps to put it down. Owing to family influence the cousin of D. was able to escape
incarceration in a military prison, and was placed in the care of his family as a mental case, and they put him in the
charge of a male nurse. It was while the male nurse was off duty that the unfortunate young D. was misguidedly
employed to sit with him. It also came out that the relations between D. and his cousin were of a vicious nature, and on
one occasion he bit the boy on the neck, just under the ear, actually drawing blood.
D. had always been under the impression that some "ghost" attacked him during his crises, but had not dared to say so
for fear of being thought mad.
What may have been the exact percentages of neurotic taint, vice, and psychic attack, it is difficult to say, nor is it easy
to decide which was the predisposing cause that opened the door to all the trouble, but one thing stood out clearly to all
beholders, that with the dispatch of the psychic visitant, not only did D.'s condition clear up immediately, but after a
short, sharp upheaval the cousin also recovered. The method of dispatch used by the adept, Z., was to pin the entity
inside a magic circle, so that it could not get away, and then absorb it into himself through compassion. As he
completed the operation, he fell over backwards unconscious. It was, in fact, the same method that I was instructed to
use in dealing with my were-wolf, but it is a much more formidable task to absorb and transmute the projection of
27 of 103?another person than to absorb one's own, and could only have been accomplished by an initiate of a very high grade,
which Z. indubitably was.
His opinion concerning the case, though there was no means of obtaining independent confirmation of this, was that
some Eastern European troops had been brought to the Western Front, and among these were individuals with the
traditional knowledge of Black Magic for which South Eastern Europe has always enjoyed a sinister reputation among
occultists. These men, getting killed, knew how to avoid going to the Second Death, that is to say, the disintegration of
the Astral Body, and maintained themselves in the etheric double by vampirising the wounded. Now vampirism is
contagious; the person who is vampirised, being depleted of vitality, is a psychic vacuum, himself absorbing from
anyone he comes across in order to refill his depleted resources of vitality. He soon learns by experience the tricks of a
vampire without realising their significance, and before he knows where he is, he is a full-blown vampire himself,
vampirising others. The earth-bound soul of a vampire sometimes attaches itself permanently to one individual if it
succeeds in making a functioning vampire of him, systematically drawing its etheric nutriment from him, for, since he
in his turn is re-supplying himself from others, he will not die from exhaustion as victims of vampires do in the
Z. was of the opinion that D.'s cousin was not the primary vampire in the case, but was himself a victim. Being a youth
of unstable morale, he speedily acquired the vampire tricks, and the earth-bound soul of some Magyar magician
exploited him. Through his act of biting and drawing blood from the neck of his cousin, this entity became transferred
to young D., preferring pastures new to the depleted resources of its previous victim. Probably it alternated between the
two, for it was not constantly with D.
Exactly what Z. did we do not know, for he was exceedingly secretive concerning his methods, but in the light of
subsequent knowledge I should imagine that he absorbed the etheric energy of the earthbound soul, and thus deprived it
of its means of resisting the Second Death. Merely to drive the resisting soul out to the Judgment Hall of Osiris would
have involved leaving behind an astral corpse, which for some time would have continued to give trouble.
It may be interesting to note in connection with this case that during the time that Miss L. was at the occult college in
Hampshire we had some rather curious happenings. There was an outbreak among us of exceedingly bad "mosquito
bites." The bites themselves were not poisonous, but the stabs were of such a nature that they bled freely. I remember
waking up one morning to find a patch of blood the size of the palm of my hand on the pillow; it had apparently come
from a small puncture just behind the angle of the jaw. Several others had similar experiences. I have never seen
anything like it, either before or since, nor did it occur again after Miss L. left.
I did not tell the adept Z. about it at the time, and later, when I was reminded of the incident and mentioned it, the
opportunity for investigation had gone by. He expressed the opinion that it was a vampire's work, and cited similar
cases which he had met with in the course of his experience. He said he had seen cases in Africa where the victim had
become so bloodless that it was with difficulty that a specimen of blood could be obtained for examination, for it could
hardly be induced to flow from the debilitated tissues.
Nothing can be done for such cases by medical science. They are dying by inches, and yet no organic disease can be
demonstrated. Nevertheless, their appearance is that of a person sinking from repeated hemorrhages.
When vampirism is suspected the thing to do is to go over that person's body inch by inch with a powerful magnifying
glass, and the search will probably be rewarded by the discovery of numerous minute punctures, so minute that they are
not discovered by an examination with the naked eye unless they reveal themselves by becoming infected and
suppurating, when they are usually mistaken for insect bites. They are bites right enough, but not those of an insect.
The places to look for them are around the neck, especially under the ears; down the inner surface of the forearms; on
the lobes of the ears; about the tips of the toes and, in a woman, upon the breasts.
It is said that a person with vampire tendencies develops abnormally long and sharp canine teeth, and I have myself
seen one such case, and a curious sight it was. The two canine teeth, the pair that come between the incisors and the
double teeth, were half as long again as the others, and terminated in points of needle-like sharpness.
True vampirism in Western Europe appears to be rare, but Z. was of the opinion that many obscure cases of tropical
debility in which anemia played a prominent part, might be attributed to this cause.
28 of 103?CHAPTER VI
T HERE are two forms of "haunting" which have to be considered, the one which is due to a discarnate soul who
interferes with a particular person, and the one which is due to the conditions prevailing in a particular place, and which
affects any person sufficiently sensitive who happens to go there. Except in cases where the influence is exceptionally
strong, the insensitive person is immune. To perceive a "haunting" one needs, as a general rule, to be slightly psychic; it
is for this reason that children, Celts and the coloured races suffer severely from such interferences, and the stolid
Nordic type is comparatively immune, and, to a lesser extent, the lively, materialistic and sceptical Latin.
Let us consider first of all the question of interference by a discarnate soul, It will be noted that I use the term
"interference" and not "attack." The disturbance need not necessarily be an attack, any more than the drowning man
who clings to his rescuer and drags him under is motived by malice. The entity that is causing the trouble may be a soul
that is itself in distress on the Inner Planes, and is too ignorant of post-mortem conditions to know the harm it is doing
by clinging so desperately to the living. It is for this reason that the wide dissemination of Spiritualistic teachings is of
value, for it helps to relieve the tension between this world and the next.
As far as my experience goes, I am inclined to think that deliberate malevolence is rare; but this panic-stricken clinging
is not uncommon, and explains why the survivor of a pair sometimes goes through very unpleasant experiences after
the death of the partner. There are also cases, though rarer, wherein a soul who has some occult knowledge but is
bound strongly to earth by sensual desires, uses a curious form of rapport in order to gratify those desires through the
physical body of another.
There are innumerable instances of both these types of astral interference in occult and spiritualistic literature, but as I
am confining myself to cases within my own experience, I will not cite them, but limit myself to listing the literature of
the subject in the bibliography.
Someone of my acquaintance lost, after a long illness, her husband to whom she was much attached, but whom most
people would have thought she was well rid of, as for many years he had been addicted to drink, and died finally after a
long illness during which he was kept under morphia for prolonged periods, taking enormous quantities. He was a man
of intensely malignant and selfish disposition, and died unrepentant. She, however, during the course of his last illness,
when, being bedridden, he could do no more harm, elected to idolise him, and as soon as he was safely dead, canonised
him into the family saint. She was interested in occultism and in the habit of practising meditation and invoking the
Masters. In spite of all counsel to the contrary, she began to try and get into psychic touch with her husband, invoking
him as her guide. Like many other men of a sensual disposition, he had clung desperately to life, remaining in articulo
mortis for days. Fortunately for all concerned, it had been possible to persuade her to have his remains cremated, but
despite all persuasion she brought all his belongings from the nursing-home where he had died and kept them in her
bedroom, and made a little altar around his photograph and used it as the focus of her meditations.
The last illness had been a long and trying one, and she had been living at the end of a telephone wire, in a state of
constant anxiety for weeks, but had had no physical strain, so there was nothing physical to account for the serious
illness which ensued after the strain was over. It soon became noticeable that she, who had previously had a very
lovable and gentle disposition, was gradually changing, so that not only in temperament, but in facial expression, she
was growing like her late husband. Next a curious thing ensued. Her husband had died of an inflammatory spinal lesion
which caused no pain at the site of the trouble, but intense pain in the nerves that issued from the spine at that point, so
that the pain was referred to a particular distribution in the hands and arms, more upon one side than the other. This
lady developed a severe neuritis that exactly corresponded in its distribution to her late husband's symptoms.
29 of 103?Another illustrative case is that of Miss E., whose fiance was killed during the War. She says in a letter written to the
person whom she consulted with regard to her problem:
"I was able to rise above the loss and separation at the time, but six months later I suffered nervous breakdown, from
this time I have been troubled with weak nerves. For the last two months I have been having very extraordinary
experiences which are causing me much perplexity and rendering me unfit for work. It is a night experience and has not
once occurred during the day. After I have composed myself for sleep I find that gradually my body is losing all
sensation; it feels as if I was being slowly frozen stiff. (I don't know how else to describe it.) At this stage I can
sometimes rouse myself and overcome it, but I cannot always do this. My efforts to rouse myself are in vain, and
although fully conscious I feel unable to move or call. Usually after this I sink into some kind of sleep. I have all kinds
of experiences. Sometimes I visit strange places and talk with people I don't know. Sometimes my experiences are
beautiful beyond description; sometimes I am threatened with danger of drowning or falling, but in these cases I always
rise in the air and travel for miles, it seems to me. Sometimes I feel that I am just floating in the air. How long the
dream lasts I cannot tell. When I wakeup, however, I have great difficulty in moving for some time; but gradually I
regain the power to move about, and after a lot of stinging sensation in the limbs I get up, usually feeling very tired and
unrefreshed, but sometimes I feel none the worse for the strange experience. But it is under mining my health and
happiness, and it cannot be good."
In conversation she amplified the statements in her letter, and said that during the experiences described, someone, she
thought it was her fiance, was trying to prevent her from getting back into her body again after these nocturnal
The case was entirely cleared up in one week by means of telepathic treatment. The notes on the manner in which the
work was done are of considerable interest.
"The treatment was given to the entity that was causing the trouble, not merely to the patient, and it was the release of
the obsessor from his plane of work and helping him Heavenward that gave freedom to his victim."
In the other type of haunting, that in which it is the place which is the focus of manifestation, not a special person, we
must distinguish between the earth-bound entity which remains attached to a particular spot, and the thought-atmosphere
which is left behind after violent emotions have been experienced there.
Let us consider first the question of thought-atmosphere, of which I can give a very illuminating example. A friend of
mine who was a student at a school of dramatic art consulted me concerning an attack of stage fright she had had,
which left her rather nervous as to its recurrence. She was an experienced student, in fact a pupil teacher, and she was
having some extra tuition from the head of the school. Going for her lesson one afternoon, she found that her teacher
had just finished taking the junior students for their end-of-the-term examination in elocution. She went on to the stage
and stood beside the small table which had been placed there for the convenience of the examiner, and commenced to
recite the piece on which she was to have her lesson. She herself had no occasion for nervousness; as had already been
noted, she was an experienced speaker and teacher; moreover, nothing of importance hung upon this lesson, it was
merely one of a series. Nor was she usually nervous or self-conscious. But as soon as she tried to start, she experienced
a complete "dry-up," and stood paralysed, unable to utter a word. A little prompting soon started her off, however, but
she had experienced a nasty attack of stage fright, and it shook her nerve.
From the psychic point of view, the explanation was not far to seek. She was standing in the mental atmosphere created
by a series of girls who had gone on to that platform for an examination upon which a good deal depended for them,
and who had all been correspondingly nervous. She herself, being sensitive, had been affected by this atmosphere,
which induced in her a similar mental state by means of which is called "sympathetic induction," a phenomenon well
known in electricity and in acoustics, but equally valid in psychology.
No doubt the unfortunate examinees themselves were infecting each other. It may well be that the "microphone panic,"
so well known to broadcasters, is caused by the thought-atmosphere generated by a succession of nervous people who
have stood upon the same spot.
An experience of my own may be of interest in this connection. I took a bed-sitting-room in a hostel, and as soon as I
came there, I found myself afflicted with the most intense depression. I am not usually subject to the blues, being
30 of 103?normally a cheerful soul, but as soon as I entered this room, which was a sunny and pleasant one, the cloud descended
upon me, but lifted again as soon as I went out of it, whether into the dining-room of the hostel, or out of doors. I soon
recognised that here was something that needed to be dealt with, and enquired as to the history of the room. I was told
that it had previously been the bed room of the last owner of the house, who had been addicted to drink and had gone
bankrupt. It is a curious fact that drunkards and drug addicts make very evil psychic atmospheres, whereas a person
who is a common criminal, however bad, is not nearly so noxious and his atmosphere fades rapidly.
In these two cases there was no question of an entity, discarnate or incarnate, being concerned in the matter; there was
merely an unpleasant mental atmosphere generated by some powerful and painful emotion that had been experienced
over a considerable period at that spot.
Such a concentration, if very strong, will linger almost indefinitely. The structures that saw the concentration may have
been pulled down and new ones built, nevertheless the forces remain, like a previous exposure on a photographic plate,
and sensitive people are affected by them. The insensitive may escape comparatively scatheless.
It is not altogether an easy matter to determine whether the disturbance is due to atmosphere alone, or whether an
earth-bound entity complicates the situation. Where an entity is present, it will usually be seen sooner or later.
Moreover, it will usually be heard as well as felt. This latter sign, however, does not invariably indicate the presence of
an organised entity, for I know of a case wherein a room that had been used as a lodge of ritual initiation was
subsequently partitioned into an office and two bedrooms after the lodge was moved elsewhere, and the bedrooms were
practically uninhabitable owing to the din of cracks, bangs and thumpings that went on at night. In such a case there
was no reason to suspect the presence of any entity, for the rituals had not been of an evocative type, nor was the
influence evil. It was merely force in a state of tension. It was sheer physical noise that made the disturbance, as I can
testify, for I have slept, or rather, tried to sleep, there.
Where a ghost is seen, it is usually also heard because for a form to be sufficiently substantial to be visible there must
be a modicum at least of ectoplasm in its composition, and ectoplasm is capable of exercising force on the physical
plane, in some degree at least. Where a ghost is both seen and heard, we may be sure there is an actual haunting. Where
it is seen, but not heard, it may possibly be that a person with psychic tendencies is perceiving the images in the
reflecting ether, the photographic plate of Nature, and there may be no actual entity present. Where the disturbance is
heard, but not seen, it may be due to astral forces set in motion by ritual magic, and which continue for a while after the
original impulse is withdrawn. These may be perfectly harmless, save that they disturb the sleep in the same way that a
rattling window would do. On the other hand, if powerful evocative rituals have been performed, and the clearing of
the sphere has not been properly done, profound disturbances may result and the whole situation be exceedingly
Examples will again help to make the problem clear. As an instance of a non-ritual haunting, I may cite the case of a
friend of mine who went to live in a block of modern mansions. From the first she was not happy there, and as time
went by the oppression and distress strengthened. Coming into her drawing-room one evening at dusk, she saw in the
half-light a man standing with his back to the room, gazing intently out of the window. She switched on the light, and
found that there was no one there. On several occasions her maid saw someone walk down the passage leading to this
room. Moreover, the hall door had a knack of coming open of its own accord.
My friend's depression deepened until finally, when standing herself at the drawing-room window one day, she had a
sudden impulse to fling herself out. Then she realised that things were serious and that liver-pills and a week-end at the
seaside would not put them right. Being an occultist, she understood the significance of the happenings that had been
going on in her flat, and she made enquiries concerning the history of the square in which this block of modern
mansions had been built. She learnt that it was the site of an old madhouse of sinister reputation. The form that she and
her maid had seen was probably that of some unfortunate patient of suicidal tendencies who had succeeded in giving
effect to his impulses on a spot corresponding to the situation of her room. The terrific emotional forces generated by
his brooding and last desperate act were photographed on the atmosphere, as it were, and suggested to her mind
thoughts of self-destruction just as the ill-temper or depression of a companion will induce a similar mood in ourselves
without any word spoken.
Another example within the sphere of my experience, although it was not actually my case, is of much interest in that it
combines an example of a very definite poltergeist haunting with vampirism.
31 of 103?I was once consulted by a mental healer to whom a very curious case had been brought. Some charitably disposed
people had raised funds to found a home for unwanted babies, and a suitable house had been purchased on the outskirts
of a village not far from London. The house had been a conspicuous bargain and they were very pleased with it.
Soon, however, they began to be disturbed by some very curious phenomena, and also by inexplicable illness and
seizures among the babies. One child, in fact, actually died, and its death was not satisfactorily accounted for. Then one
of the nurses, an Irish girl, began to be affected also. Celts are notoriously susceptible to psychic influences, and are
always the first to be affected by them. It will be observed that the babies went down first under the attack, their
resistance being low compared to that of an adult; and then the most sensitive of the adults was affected, the Irish Celt.
On several occasions the sound was heard of a cart and horse coming up the drive, but when the maid went to the door
to open it, there was nothing to be seen. Soon the ghost became even more energetic, and took to shoveling the coal
from side to side of an outhouse. It would shift several tons of coal in this way in a night, the occupants of the house
lying shivering in their beds while lumps of coal thudded and rumbled' against the sides of the bunkers. As to why or
wherefore this particular manifestation should take place, I can offer no suggestion.
On several occasions different people saw a strange man crossing the hall, and immediately afterwards children were
Finally, in addition to all other troubles, mysterious fires began to break out all over the house. A basket of clean linen
in an empty room was found to be on fire. Curtains were found to be smouldering. Meanwhile the unfortunate Irish
nurse went from bad to worse, lying in bed too weak to stand up, and rapidly going off her head.
It will probably be suggested that some mischievous or demented person was at the bottom of the trouble, but it is
difficult to know what human agency either could or would shovel a truck-load of coal across a shed single-handed
during the night.
The superintendent of the home was interested in mental healing and knew enough of the mind side of things to realise
that something abnormal was happening in the house under her charge. She consulted a mental healer, who in her turn
I made a psychic diagnosis of the case, and reported that in my opinion the house had at some time been occupied by
someone who had a knowledge of occultism, and who, being upon the Left-hand Path, objected strongly to going to
face his portion of Purgatory after the death of the physical body, and that he was maintaining himself in an
intermediate state as an earth-bound spirit by drawing upon the vitality of the unfortunate children, and had accidentally
drawn too much from one, thus killing it outright.
Working on this hypothesis, the healer undertook to give the case "absent treatment." Needless to say, the officials of
the home were not taken into our confidence.
The result of this treatment was that the manifestations immediately ceased. No more children had seizures and the
Irish nurse rapidly recovered. The superintendent was then told the hypothesis upon which we had worked. She was
greatly interested, and made enquiries in the village as to the history of the house, and learned that it was notoriously
haunted, which was the reason they had obtained it so cheaply. It appeared that no tenant could stop there long, and that
there was a constant record of these exhausting and mysterious illnesses. It also transpired that about sixty years
previously the house had been occupied for a long period by a man who was viewed askance by his neighbours as an
eccentric and mysterious personage, and was reported to be engaged in some sort of research which necessitated the
use of a laboratory into which no one was ever allowed to go, and in which he worked by night.
It is interesting to note that neither the mental healer or myself ever visited the house or were within twenty miles of it;
for it shows in what way these unseen forces can be manipulated from a distance.
A final example, taken from The Confessions of Aleister Crowley, will serve to show the nature of a haunting produced
by ceremonial magic in which the forces invoked are not adequately dispersed.
"The demons connected with Abramelin do not wait to be invoked, they come unsought. One night Jones and I went
32 of 103?out to dinner. I noticed on leaving the White Temple that the latch of its Yale lock had not caught. Accordingly I pulled
the door to, and tested it. As we went out, we noticed semi-solid shadows on the stairs; the whole atmosphere was
vibrating with the forces we had been using. (We were trying to condense them into sensible images.) When we came
back, nothing had been disturbed in the flat; but the Temple door was wide open, the furniture disarranged, and some
of the symbols flung about the room. We restored order, and then observed that semi-materialised beings were
marching round the main room in almost unending procession.
"When I finally left the flat for Scotland, it was found that the mirrors were too big to take out save by the way of the
Black Temple. This had, of course, been completely dismantled before the workmen arrived. But the atmosphere
remained, and two of them were put out of action for several hours. It was almost a weekly experience, by the way, to
hear of casual callers fainting, or being seized with dizziness, cramp or apoplexy on the staircase. It was a long time
before these rooms were re-let. People felt instinctively the presence of something uncanny."
It is well known to all psychics that the sites of ancient temples where mystery-rituals have been worked, are always
potently charged with psychic force. This force need not necessarily be evil, but it has a powerfully stimulating effect
upon the psychic centres and stirs up the subconscious forces; and as the majority of civilized people suffer in a greater
or lesser degree from what Freud calls " repression," such a stirring of the subliminal mind produces a feeling of
profound disturbance. We should not unquestioningly attribute evil influences to a place or a person that causes us
discomfort; it may merely be that psychic force at a greater tension than we are accustomed to is disturbing our
The sites of monasteries that were disbanded with persecution at the time of the Reformation are also frequently badly
"haunted" by psychic forces. The group-mind of a religious community is a very potent thing, and when it is disturbed
by the corporate emotion of its members, the forces thus let loose are not readily dispersed. Moreover, the monks,
initiates of the Mysteries of Jesus, would not be likely to hand over their sacred places to the despoilers with any good
will. It has been reported again and again that a curse rests on those who profited by the spoliation of Church lands.
This is too well known to require discussion in these pages.
There is another fact in connection with Church property, however, which may not be so well known, and that is the
frequency with which psychic happenings are reported in connection with vicarages. In enquiring among friends and
fellow-workers for data in connection with the research that has gone to the making of this book, I have been
astonished how frequently a vicarage has been mentioned in connection with the phenomena of which I have been told.
The rituals of the Church are, of course, ceremonial magic, as is admitted by even such an orthodox authority as Evelyn
Underhill. The average clergyman is not conversant with the technique of occultism, and has therefore little or no
understanding of what he is doing. What influences he brings to the altar, and what forces he takes away therefrom,
must therefore be an open question in each individual case. A man whose consciousness has been exalted by ritual, and
who does not know how to seal his aura and return to normal, is liable to psychic invasion.
Objects associated with any form of ceremonial operations are invariably highly charged with magnetism and
intimately linked with the force whose uses they have served. I remember, many years ago, when I had but little know
ledge of occultism and no pretentions at all to psychism, that two friends and myself were amusing ourselves by turning
over each other's trinket-boxes. I picked up a handsome amethyst cross from one of them, and immediately exclaimed:
"There is something extraordinary about this cross. It feels as if it were alive."
"That was the cross that was given me at my first communion," replied my friend," and it was originally a bishop's
Her sister was greatly interested, and immediately brought her own jewel-case to me and asked me if I could pick out
her first communion cross also, for, like her sister, she was a Roman Catholic, and these crosses that were given them
as presents on the occasion of their first communion had been specially blessed by the priest. I was greatly interested to
observe that from three or four ornamental crosses I was able to pick one which felt warm and living and electric to the
hand, and pass it across to her, saying, "This is your communion cross," and it was.
I remember once, as a small child, picking up a dying rook; the creature lay motionless on my knee for a few minutes,
and then gave a flutter and died. I had never seen death before, but I needed no one to tell me that I saw it now. The
33 of 103?"feel" of the creature, before and after that flutter, was different. I can only compare the feel of the magnetised and the
unmagnetised crosses to the difference between the living and the dead bird.
But the Christian is not the only religion that can magnetise its ceremonial instruments. There are other ritualistic
religions, and some of these are debased. We ought to use much caution before we place about our rooms as ornaments
objects which may have been associated with cults whose nature we do not understand. Many of them, of course,
belong to the Brummagem cult, and are dedicated to no more desperate deity than Mammon; but the genuine curio is a
I had an example of this once in the British Museum. I was visiting the room in the basement which contains a
collection of plaster casts of the famous statues of antiquity, the originals being elsewhere. Suddenly I became aware of
a sense of magnetic power. I turned towards it, and saw a small altar. Reading the label, I found that this was not a cast
but the original. It is a very interesting test of psychism to sample the atmosphere of the different rooms of the British
Museum. The benign and brooding peace of the Buddhist Room is a thing to be remembered. The flavour of the long
Ethnological Room is a thing to be got out of the mouth as quickly as possible. To me, at any rate, the Egyptian Room
is disappointing; the mummies all seem neither malignant or benignant, but merely cynical. Perhaps I should feel
differently, however, if I spent a night with them. Magnetism, which is dispersed during the day, charges up again
during the silence and darkness of the night. I remember visiting Stonehenge amid a crowd of trippers and
chars-a-blancs, and thinking that the glory had departed; but it was a very different affair when I visited it in the
desolation of a bleak spring day after its long winter solitude. It had charged up again, and was as formidable as anyone
I should hesitate, therefore, to say that because the mummies and I have never struck sparks when we met in the British
Museum, that their reputation is groundless. At the time that Tut-ankh-amen's tomb was being opened I said to myself,
If the mummy's curse does not work in this case, I shall lose my faith in occultism. We all know how it has worked,
even unto the third and fourth generation. No novelist, deriving his ideas of ancient Egypt from an encyclopedia article
on Egyptology and some photographs, would have dared stretch the long arm of coincidence anything like as far.
The Egyptians attached great importance to the preservation of the physical body. The tombs of great men, as is well
known, were protected by means of what are popularly called spells, and the power and scope of Egyptian magic are
things that very few people realise. The modern student of occultism who reads Iamblichos on the Egyptian Mysteries,
will have a surprise.
In most cases, however, the purchaser of Egyptian curios has nothing to fear; the worst that they will yield to psychic
investigation is a vision of labour disputes in a mass- production factory. I have, however, heard of a very wonderful
psychometric reading which was obtained from a mummy which, when subsequently unrolled, was found to consist
entirely of French newspapers of recent date!
I have always been greatly amused by the indignation of Egyptologists against tomb robbers. After all, is there any
distinction between the earlier and later visitors to a tomb save that one lot work by day and the other by night? In the
view of the people who made the tomb, and spared nothing to render it inviolate and preserve the peace of their dead,
the workers by night would probably be preferred, for they merely robbed, and did not strip and expose the nude bodies
to the public gaze. There was a terrible outcry recently when some bodies were moved in a village church yard to make
room for the monument chosen to decorate the grave of a famous public man. Even the people whose religious feelings
were not outraged by this act of sacrilege regarded it as in shocking bad taste. Yet nobody proposed to strip the
graveclothes from the body of someone's wife or mother and photograph it stark naked. When it comes to the question
of a mummy's curse, I am afraid that my sympathies are entirely with the mummy.
The initiate is strictly counselled that he should never blaspheme the name by which another knoweth his God, for it is
the same force that he himself worships represented by another symbol. "The ways to God are as many as the breaths of
the sons of men," says the old Arab proverb. We should have enough sympathy with the struggles of another soul
towards the light not to desecrate the things that are sanctified by his hopes and endeavours, even if by nothing else.
The Father of us all may understand their significance better than we do, and by His acceptance consecrate them for
There are many Europeans who have a great affection for the Buddha, and have His statue in their rooms (though
sometimes they confuse it with Chenresi, the stout and beaming god of good-luck). That the influence of that great
34 of 103?Being, the Light of Asia, is noble and benignant, I would be the last to deny; but the statues of the Buddha are a
different matter, and need to be approached with caution if genuine. Some of the worst black magic in the world is a
debased form of Buddhism. To say this is not to insult that venerable faith, for it is only lack of opportunity that
prevents the Black Mass from occupying that dubious eminence. In the Thibetan monasteries of the Dugpa sect there
are temples each one of which contained literally thousands of statues of the Buddha. On various occasions one or
another of these monasteries has been raided, either by rival religionists or Chinese troops, and its curios scattered. To
be the possessor of one of these Buddhas, magnetised by Dugpa rites, is not a very pleasant thing.
I had a curious experience with a Buddha upon one occasion. It was an archaic soap-stone statuette, some nine inches
high, and its owner had dug it up herself on the site of a Burmese city that had fallen in ruin and been swallowed by the
jungle. It was placed on the floor in an angle of the stairs, and served as a doorstop upon occasion. I had a flat on the
top floor, and had to pass the melancholy little Buddha each time I came in or went out, and to me it seemed a
desecration to see the sacred symbol of another faith treated thus. I tried to point this out to her, and asked her how she
would feel if she saw a crucifix thus utilised, but without result. Meanwhile the little Buddha sat there patiently, getting
the carpet-sweeper pushed in his face and receiving libations of slops.
One day, passing upstairs bearing a bunch of flowers, I was prompted to throw before him one of the traditional
marigolds of Indian devotion. Immediately I was conscious that a link had been formed between myself and the little
statue, and that it was sinister. A night or two afterwards I was returning home rather late, and as I passed the Buddha I
had a feeling that there was something behind me, and looking over my shoulder, saw a ball of pale golden light about
the size of a football separate itself from the Buddha and come rolling up the stairs after me. Thoroughly alarmed, and
disliking this manifestation very much indeed, I immediately made a banishing gesture and the ball of light returned
down the stairs and was reabsorbed into the Buddha, who, needless to say, got no more marigolds from me, and
received a very wide berth until I left the flat shortly after. The experience was a singularly unpleasant one, and was a
sharp lesson to me not to meddle with the sacred objects of another system unless I knew exactly what I was about. I
learnt subsequently that some of these statues are consecrated with the blood of a human sacrifice.
I do not mean to imply by this that all Buddhist statues have been so treated; such consecrations are, I should imagine,
comparatively rare; but I think no one who has a knowledge of the facts will deny that they occur, even as one might
occasionally come across a Crucifix which had been used upside down at a Black Mass.
It is not every case of psychic disturbance, however, which originates externally. It is a well-known cosmic law that
everything moves in circles, and whatever forces we send out, and whatever thought-forms we extrude from our auras,
unless absorbed by the object to which they are directed, will return to us in due course. One of the most effective, and
also one of the most widely practised methods of occult defence is to refuse to react to an attack, neither accepting nor
neutralising the forces projected against one, and thus turning them back on their sender. We must never overlook the
fact that a so-called occult attack may be evil thought-forms returning home to roost.
There are certain types of insanity in which the lunatic believes himself to be the victim of an attack by invisible beings,
who threaten and abuse him and offer base or dangerous insinuations. He will describe his tormentors, or point to their
position in the room. A psychic who investigates such a case can very often see the alleged entities just where the
lunatic says they are. Nevertheless, the psychologist can come forward and prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the
so-called "hallucinations" are due to repressed instincts giving rise to dissociated complexes of ideas in the patient's
own subconscious mind. Does this mean that the psychic is mistaken in thinking he perceives an astral entity? In my
opinion both psychic and psychologist are right, and their findings are mutually explanatory. What the psychic sees is
the dissociated complex extruded from the aura as a thought-form. A great deal of relief can be given to lunatics by
breaking up the thought-forms that are surrounding them, but unfortunately the relief is short-lived; for unless the cause
of the illness can be dealt with, a fresh batch of thought-forms is built up as soon as the original ones are destroyed.
35 of 103?THE PATHOLOGY OF NON-HUMAN CONTACTS
THERE are other forms of life as well as ours whose sphere of evolution impinges upon the earth. In the realm of
folk-lore we constantly meet with the idea of intercourse between the human and the fairy kingdoms; of the marriage of
a human being with a fairy spouse, or the theft of a child by the fairies, an impish changeling being left in its place. We
shall be rash if we assume that an extensive body of folk-belief is entirely without foundation in fact. Let us therefore
examine these old and crude beliefs and see whether we can find any grounds for them, and if so, what the real nature
of the facts may be, and whether they throw any light upon modem psychic phenomena of the kind we are considering
in these pages.
There are many of us who have met people who might well be described as non-human, soulless, in that the ordinary
human motives are not operative with them, nor do the ordinary human feelings prompt or inhibit them. We cannot but
love them, for they have great charm, but we cannot but dread them as well, for they spread an infinitude of suffering
around them. Although seldom deliberately evil, they are singularly detrimental to all with whom they come in contact.
They, for their part, are unhappy and lonely in our midst. They feel themselves to be alien and uncompanioned; every
man's hand is against them, and in consequence it all too often happens that their hand is against everyone and they
develop a puckish malevolence, though there is seldom calculated evil-doing. Gratitude, compassion, good faith,
morality and common honesty are utterly foreign to their natures, as far beyond their conception as the
differential calculus. They are not immoral, however, but simply non-moral. On the other hand, they
possess the virtues of absolute sincerity and great courage. In terms of human ethics they are
"undesirables," but they have an ethic of their own to which they are loyal, and that is the beauty which
is truth, and this is all they know, and, as far as their life is concerned, all they need to know. In
appearance they are usually small and slight, possessing unusual physical strength and endurance but
very liable to nervous exhaustion and brain-storms. In social relations they take violent likes and
dislikes; they show a facile and demonstrative affection towards those they like, but quickly forget them.
Gratitude and pity are unknown to their nature. Towards those they dislike they are pettily malicious, and
in all relations of life they are utterly irresponsible. One cannot describe them better than to say that they
resemble nothing so much as a blend of Persian kitten and pet monkey. They have the beauty and
aloofness and charm of the cat, and the amusing, mischievous destructiveness of the monkey. Many
human beings hate them at sight; others are fascinated by them because they bring with them a sense of
unearthly beauty and a quickening of the life-forces. I have been able to investigate the history of two
such beings, and it is interesting to note that both of them were conceived while their mothers were
under the influence of drink. There is a very great deal of information available concerning the occult
aspect of the incarnation of souls, but not much of the knowledge concerning the actual facts of
conception has ever found its way into print. I have given a little in my book, The Esoteric Philosophy of
Love and Marriage. I cannot enter into the subject deeply in these pages, for it would be too much of a
digression. Some points, however, it is essential to touch upon for a comprehensive survey of our
At the moment of sexual union a psychic vortex is formed resembling a waterspout, a funnel-shaped swirling that
towers up into other dimension. As body after body engages, the vortex goes up the planes. In all cases the physical,
etheric and astral bodies are involved; the vortex therefore always reaches as far as the astral plane; a soul upon the
astral plane may be drawn into this vortex if it is ripe for incarnation, and thus enter the sphere of the parents. If the
vortex extends higher than the astral plane, souls of a different type may enter this sphere, but such extension is rare,
and therefore it is said that man is born of desire, for few are born of anything else.
But this vortex may not only extend vertically up the planes (speaking metaphorically), but it may also, under certain
conditions, be deflected, as it were, out of the normal human line of evolution, so that its open end extends into the
sphere of evolution of another type of life. Under such circumstances it is theoretically possible for a being of a parallel
evolution to be drawn into incarnation in a human body. Occultists hold that this occasionally occurs, and explains
certain types of non-pathological abnormality which are occasionally met with.
36 of 103?These non-humans are either adored or hated by their human associates. They have a peculiar fascination for certain
types of temperament, the types that psychologists call the unstable. In these types the subconscious comes very near to
the surface, deep calls to deep, and they are instinctively drawn towards the elemental kingdoms.
There is nothing more disastrous than marriage with a non-human, for they have nothing in their nature that can satisfy
the normal human yearnings for affection and sympathy. The one saving feature in such a union is that grounds for
divorce are invariably readily available, for the morals of the non-human are those of the barnyard.
The power of non-humans to injure their enemies is comparatively small, for they are aliens in a strange land when
incarnated in human form, and cannot avail themselves of any of the ordinary human resources of mischief. They are,
in fact, singularly defenceless and helpless, and themselves suffer acutely at the hands of society. It is otherwise,
however, in their relations with their friends. They seem to have an infinite capacity for inflicting hurt on those who
love them. Not deliberately or maliciously, but like a child pulling flies to pieces out of idleness, not realising what it is
doing. Obeying the laws of their own nature, they are destructive to beings of the human evolution. Yet what other laws
can they obey? For them to submit to our standards is to deny their deepest instincts.
The effect they have upon those who love them constitutes such a well-marked syndrome among the psychic
pathologies that we must consider it in detail. The person who forms a rapport with a non-human becomes deeply
stirred by the elemental forces that find ingress to our sphere through the channel of this wandering and alien soul. He
becomes, as it were, drawn away from normal human things and set wandering upon the confines of the fairy kingdom,
and yet he can find there no rest for his foot and no sustenance for his soul. The story of the handsome fisher-lad and
the mermaid is indicative of this condition. She loves him, draws him to her and he drowns, for he cannot live in the
element of water.
The explanation of the curious power, both of fascination and destruction, which is exercised by non-humans may lie in
the fact that they belong to one element only, whereas in man all four are combined. Any elemental contact is
stimulating to us, because elemental beings pour forth in abundance the vitality of their own particular sphere, and this
vitalises the corresponding element in ourselves. But if a four-element creature is drawn into the sphere of a single
element he is poisoned by an overdose of the one element in which he finds himself, and starved of the other three. It is
for this reason that mortals in the fairy kingdom are always said to be enchanted or asleep. They are never living
normally in full possession of their faculties.
An equally difficult problem is set to the non-human who is drawn into our midst. A single-element creature is bidden
to control and assimilate an additional three elements for which it has no equipment or experience, and the result is
But it is not enough that we should merely describe the conditions and state the problem in these pages. Our aim is
essentially practical. What then can be done when a non-human has to be faced and dealt with? It must be clearly
realised that any mating between a human and a non-human is a hopeless proposition. In the first place, it can only be
the preamble to a divorce, because non-humans are promiscuous in their sexual habits; and, secondly, there is nothing
in the nature of a non-human that can satisfy the higher aspirations of the human. We must not allow the human form to
mislead us as to the existence of a human soul. A non-human is a pet animal, not a fellow-creature. That, frankly, is the
only possible ground upon which they can be approached. If we expect no more of them than we should of a pet bird, if
we manage them as we should manage a kitten, we have got as near to the solution of the problem as we are ever likely
to get until the Dark Angel mercifully restores them to their own kingdom; a mercy seldom long delayed, for
non-humans do not make old bones.
Human beings may also come into touch with elemental beings by themselves venturing into the spheres of elemental
life. Such contacts need not necessarily be harmful to either kingdom provided those who enter into them know what
they are about. In fact, such associations are frequently entered into by occultists in the course of their work and
researches, but it is an undertaking for the advanced initiate only, not for neophytes.
There are cases, however, where such an association may lead to harm. The human partner in the association may be
ill-equipped or ill-adapted for the undertaking. He may have ventured out beyond his depth, having picked up a formula
from some more experienced occultist and used it without proper preparation. Or again, it is not uncommon to find
people who have brought through from previous incarnations a natural aptitude for getting into touch with the
37 of 103?elemental kingdoms. In such cases it may occur that an elemental who has had experience of relations with human
beings may deliberately get into touch with them. This is in every way undesirable, for the elemental has not got the
knowledge of human conditions necessary to enable it to avoid injuring its new friend. In any case, elementals have got
a one-way intelligence, and it is not well that they should be senior partners in any alliance with human beings. The
whole question of elemental contacts, an exceedingly fascinating one, is too extensive and intricate to be entered upon
in these pages. It has been necessary to refer to it, however, for certain cases of psychic difficulty may be due to
inexpert operations on both sides of the Veil.
These elementals, or nature spirits, are quite different to the controls with whom Spiritualistic circles come into touch.
The Spiritualistic movement is highly organised on the Inner Planes, and promiscuous controlling is not permitted.
Controls have, in fact, to "sit" for development in just the same way that mediums do, and there is invariably some
experienced entity within call who can come to the assistance of the circle if all is not going well. Western Occultism
was thoroughly disorganised and broken up by centuries of persecution; its Inner Plane conditions, consequently,
present many tangles and gaps even to this day. It is nothing like as well organised as the Spiritualistic sphere. The
great Orders have their definite contacts and work strictly within them, keeping a firm hand on neophytes; outside the
Orders there is a good deal of chaos and banditry, and it is unwise to venture far save in the company of an experienced
occultist who understands the technique of the methods employed.
There are many people for whom the Deva Kingdom, as the sphere which the elementals share with the Nature Spirits
is sometimes called, has a great fascination, and they try by meditation and ritual to get into touch with it. In my
opinion it is decidedly risky for a person who is not an initiate to attempt this work. It is exceedingly apt to lead to
mental unbalance, if not to actual obsession. Not that the nature contacts are evil, but they are profoundly disturbing to
the human consciousness because they stir those atavistic depths which the psycho-analyst aims at laying bare by
means of his technique. Anyone who is acquainted with the literature or practice of psycho-analysis knows that the
ab-reaction is an important factor in this system; it is a crisis, and can, for the time being at any rate, upset the patient
pretty thoroughly and exacerbate all his symptoms. When we touch the elemental contacts we get the same reaction that
is caused by psycho-analysis when the censor is being penetrated.
Persons in whom the subconscious mind is near the surface, such as the artist, the crank, the unstable, and, for the
matter of that, the genius in any walk of life, love the elemental contacts because they stimulate the elemental forces in
their own nature which are to them the springs of their power and inspiration. But the average citizen, whose mental
content is organised largely in a basis of repression and compromise in order that he may be a citizen at all and take his
place in organised society, is upset by the elemental contacts according to the proportion of repression to compromise
in his make-up. Compromise is the normal lot of humanity; repression is the pathology of compromise. The person who
has managed to effect a working compromise between the different elements of his nature can afford to allow himself a
holiday with the Devas without doing any body any harm; but the person who is repressed will find that they disagree
with him actively because they are having the same effect upon him that a drastic psycho-analysis would have. We hear
sometimes of the tragedy that results from taking the last dose in a bottle of tonic of which arsenic is one of the
ingredients. This is due to the fact that the bottle has not been thoroughly shaken up each time a dose has been taken, so
that the arsenical sediment has all collected in the last dose and reached a poisonous concentration. So it is with the
elemental contacts; they are a potent tonic, but they can reach a poisonous concentration under unsuitable
I have never come across or heard of a case of pathology due to the fascination of the Element of Earth; it is not an
element that usually attracts the amateur experimenter, though the initiate appreciates its value and importance. I have
come across cases, however, of sensitive people dwelling in a mountainous country, especially in narrow gulches
where there is a paucity of sunlight, who have become obsessed with the fear of the mountains. They do not fear so
much that the mountains will fall upon them as that they will close over them, as the cave closed upon the children who
followed the Pied Piper of Hamelin. The psychiatrist will, of course, recognise this symptom as belonging to the
well-known psycho-neurosis of claustrophobia. This, however, does not invalidate my statement; for in my opinion we
may find that in a more intimate knowledge of the elemental kingdoms we shall come upon the clue to both
claustrophobia and agarophobia.
Mountaineers also know this peculiar terror with which the great hills can obsess mankind. It is neither giddiness nor
mountain sickness, but a curious oppression of the spirits by the overwhelming grandeur of nature. The same force,
when not at a poisonous concentration, inspires the passion ate love of the hills or of the sea that Kipling has celebrated
so gloriously in one of his poems.
38 of 103?The pathologies of the Element of Water may be a fascination so great that a man will walk out into the sea until he
drowns. Swinburne had this peculiarity, and has immortalised it in several of his poems, "Strike out as the heart in us
bids and beseeches, athirst for the foam." On one occasion he was picked up in the open sea by a Breton fishing-smack,
swimming tirelessly, many miles from land, borne on the sea by currents, but oblivious of his danger. Being rescued, he
sat upon the deck with his mane of red hair drying in the wind, chanting sea-poems to his rescuers, a spectacle that one
would have given much to witness.
Another curious case of water-pathology I knew person ally. A very level-headed woman, a school teacher, was
obsessed by a horror of rough waves. She always declared that if she went on the sea-front to watch a storm, the waves
made a "dead set" at her. She lived at a seaside place, but so great was her dislike of the waves that she did not care to
walk on the promenade when the tide was in. She was cured of her fear in a curious way. She took initiation into
Co-Masonry, and found to her surprise that from that day forth she was free from her fear of the sea. I am not a
Co-Mason, and speak subject to correction, but I believe I am right in saying that Co-Masonry differs from other forms
of Masonry in that Elemental Invocations have been introduced into it.
The Element of Air, as all occultists know, is a very tricky element to deal with. More initiates turn off the Path in the
Grade of Air than in any other, and it is rare to see a Ritual of Air worked without something being dropped or knocked
over. It is a quarrelsome element; when it is being worked, the operators are apt to bicker and squabble. It is also
intimately associated with sex, as is revealed by its symbolism. If an occultist is making a magic circle, and for any
reason wishes to seal it with the Kerubim of the Elements instead of the Archangels, as is more commonly done, and
feels himself unequal to the task of drawing a presentable eagle, the symbolic form of the Kerub of Air, he will use the
Zodiacal sign for Scorpio. The evolutionary connection between the snake and the bird is well known to biologists; but
long ages before Darwin, initiates used the Serpent and the Eagle to represent the unsublimated and sublimated aspects
of the life-force. The Scorpion connects with the Serpent through the Dragon.
I had a very curious experience myself in connection with the Element of Air. I am betraying no secrets if I say that
certain grades of initiation refer to the elements, for the fact is too generally known, and too obvious, for it to be any
more mysterious than the Queen of Spain's legs.
To begin with, I have an exceptionally bad head for heights, and as the Abyss of Height belongs to the Element of Air,
I obviously have no natural affinity with it. The ceremony went exceptionally badly even for an Air Ritual. Two of the
principal officers, husband and wife, helped to maintain its reputation as a contentious element by having a family jar in
the middle of the proceedings, and the usual upsets and smashings occurred on a generous scale.
For the next fortnight I lived in the midst of a cataclysm of crockery. I smashed my way through two entire tea-sets and
all the mantelpiece ornaments. The ornaments just fell off the mantelpiece one by one of their own accord. I actually
saw two of them do it. I did not know at the time that the Element of Air had this sinister reputation. I realised that
something queer was afoot, however, and asked my teacher about it. She was much amused, but I was not, because it
was my crockery that was supplying the raw material for the phenomena. She advised me to get into sympathetic touch
with the Sylphs, as the initiation had evidently not been altogether successful. I tried to do this, but I was in London at
the time and met with no success, for the elemental contacts, with the exception of Fire, cannot be worked successfully
in a city. The smashing went on, and I was reduced to a tin mug and a tooth-glass, for I saw it was useless to get any
more china until things had settled down.
Then I went away for my summer holiday and found myself on the summit of a high and isolated hill on a day of bright
sun and high wind. I was very conscious of the nearness of the elemental kingdoms. The air seemed full of silver
sparkles, which is always a sign that the veil is thin. There was no one present save some friends who were
sympathetic. I faced into the wind and raised my arms in Invocation. Suddenly we saw below us a figure bursting
through hedges and leaping ditches and running wildly towards it. We presently recognised it as another of our friends,
and when he joined us he told us that he had felt the sudden rush of power while in the valley and on an over powering
impulse started for the hill-top. Then all of us, without any suggestion of leadership, began the Dance of the Elements,
whirling like dancing dervishes upon that hill-top. Fortunately nobody was about, but I do not know that it would have
made very much difference if they had been, for we were caught up out of ourselves and the air seemed full of rushing
golden flames, lying level in the wind. For days afterwards we seemed charged with elemental energy by that
39 of 103?It may be interesting to note that we danced with a circular movement, each revolving on our own axis at the same
time, and that we both danced and revolved deosil, that is, with the sun. All this occurred spontaneously, the tide of the
elements catching us up and away. I have never known a more glorious experience. It was indeed the divine inebriation
of the Mysteries.
After this there were no more smashings of crockery.
I have already noted my exceptionally bad head for heights. I have found that it is considerably mitigated, temporarily
at any rate, by the Invocation of Air. I am of the opinion that the curious impulse which causes people for no reason
whatsoever to commit suicide by throwing themselves from heights may be due to the same impulse that causes people
who are obsessed by the Element of Water to swim out to sea, as I have recorded of Swinburne.
These apparently causeless suicides by Water and Air are, in my opinion, a form of union with the god which is one of
the ideas underlying human sacrifice. There are two types of human sacrifice, the willing and the unwilling. The
unwilling sacrifice, the prisoner struggling or drugged into passivity, is used, not to propitiate the god, as is usually
thought, but in order that his vital forces may serve as a basis of manifestation. The willing sacrifice, in which the
victim will be either a priest or a devotee of the god, has for its motive the idea of divine union, not altogether unknown
to Christian mystics, who seek its achievement by a living death, whereas the adherents of Juggernaut escape with one
The European belief of one man, one life, has imbued us with the idea of death as the supreme evil. Therefore the
European very often does not go to his death when he unites with the elements, but his higher self withdraws from
incarnation, leaving his body ensouled by a curious kind of intelligent automaton, which deteriorates rapidly. What ever
may be the status of the soul that withdraws, that which is left behind is not nice. I feel, therefore, that it must seriously
delay and distort the evolution of the human Monad if it turns aside into the sphere of the Deva evolution. It may well
be that some of the creatures whom at first sight we might classify as non-humans are really humans who have had a
Deva phase in their Karmic record. There is a very interesting field of research awaiting the person who systematically
investigates the past lives of the weak- minded and the mentally deranged.
The pathologies of the Element of Fire are also rare, though it may be that the aimless incendiary and pyromaniac
belong to this class. I have never personally had any opportunity of investigating this type of case. Algernon
Blackwood writes of one in his very interesting story, "The Regeneration of Lord Ernie," which is published in his
volume of short stories entitled Incredible Adventures.
Indeed, this author is exceedingly fond of drawing his inspiration from the Deva kingdom, and has some most
interesting studies of the subject scattered through his books.
Any organic geographical unit develops something of an oversoul, and where the differentiation is marked, the over
soul may become a very definite entity. If there are among the inhabitants of the district any who are sensitive to the
Unseen, they may form either an affinity or a repulsion for this oversoul. A great forest has a very marked personality,
and there are few white men who can resist its influence, becoming markedly changed and de-humanised if exposed to
it for long periods without the companionship of others of their race. Natives, on the other hand, seem to enter into it
and be part of it.
It is well known how often trees are objects of worship in all parts of the world. They have very marked personalities
and strong magnetic fields. In the spring, when the sap is rising, even non-psychics can often see the aura of a tree. It
can best be seen by getting at a distance of a couple of hundred yards and looking at the sky beyond the top of the tree.
The aura will then be perceived as a whitish cloud, like a patch of lighter-coloured sky, surrounding the top of the tree,
and usually swaying gently from side to side.
There is a curious antagonism between elms and humanity, and about orchids all sensitive persons agree there is some
thing sinister. Tropical vegetation, as a whole, is over-powerful for humanity. Under the tremendous stimulation of the
solar fire the elemental forces are concentrated to a poisonous strength. I am not personally acquainted with the West
Coast of Africa, but from what I can gather I am of the opinion that the elemental forces and the atmosphere made by
Juju rites are between them more responsible than the climate for earning that part of the world its sinister reputation as
the White Man's Grave. There are other spots where the climate is equally hot and humid, Burmah, for instance, but
40 of 103?there is no other spot that produces the same loosening of moral fibre. The only place that is at all comparable to it is
the Carribbean Sea, which produces, not so much a demoralisation, as a fierceness and violence quite alien to the racial
characteristics of the people who go there.
THE RISKS INCIDENTAL TO CEREMONIAL MAGIC
If the problem of psychic self-defence is to be adequately dealt with, we must have an understanding of a subject
upon which very little has been written - the nature of the forces of intelligent and organised evil.
The great faiths of the ancient world all had their evil gods as well as their beneficent deities, and they did not call these
evil gods devils. In Hinduism we have Shiva and Kali; in the Egyptian system we have Set and Besz and Typhon; in the
Grecian pantheon there are Pluto and Hecate.
All the other faiths, also, have their angelic choirs, their Archons, or builders, and all the hierarchy of heaven.
Protestant Christianity alone has forgotten its angiology, the Creator has to be both Architect of the Universe and
Bricklayer, forming man from the dust of the ground without assistance.
If we refer to Paradise Lost, however, we shall find that Milton was familiar with both divine and infernal hierarchies,
and that these were graded and charted according to a definite system. Anyone who is acquainted with the Qabalah will
recognise that in Milton he meets a fellow Qabalist.
In the Qabalah we find the esotericism of the Old Testament. I propose to use the Qabalistic terminology to explain the
esoteric theory of evil because, firstly, it is the one I am most familiar with; secondly, it forms the basis of Western
occult thought and all medieval magic is based upon it, together with much modern magic; thirdly, it is, in my opinion,
singularly lucid, coherent and comprehensive; and being a system consecrated by antiquity, I cannot be accused of
romancing, or fabricating my own system.
In order to render my concepts clear, a brief explanation of Qabalistic doctrine must be given. As it is not possible to
enter into an exposition of this vast system, I will state certain axioms dogmatically, and explain them by illustration
instead of argument, thus obtaining the maximum clarity for the minimum expenditure of space.
The initiate recognises two kinds of evil, Negative Evil and Positive Evil. Negative Evil is the polarising opposite of
Let us try and make this clear by an illustration. Every action gives rise to a reaction. The forward drive of the bullet is
equated by the recoil of the gun. Everything which moves has to have the equivalent of a thrust-block against which to
push - something firm under its feet from which to take off. It is difficult to walk on a slippery surface because it offers
no resistance. We must have something for the foot to grip, to push against, and give us the forward impulse at each
41 of 103?Negative Evil is the thrust-block of Good; the principle of resistance, of inertia, that enables Good to "get a purchase."
But Negative Evil is more than this. We might call the principle of resistance the "negative~~ aspect of Negative Evil.
For it has also a "positives' aspect, the Principle of Destruction.
We can best explain the cosmic function of the Principle of Destruction by calling it by its esoteric name of the
Scavenger of the Gods. Its function is to clear up behind the advancing tide of evolution, removing that which has
become effete so that it may not choke and clog evolving life.
We now find the answer to the eternal riddle as to why God tolerates the Devil. The Devil is the cosmic thrust-block
and Scavenger of the Gods. It is this aspect of evil which is given a more detailed symbolism in the pantheons of other
faiths, having its Shiva and Kali, or its Pluto and Hecate aspects. We can now see why these resistive and destructive
forces are classed as gods and not as demons, for they are reactions according to cosmic law, not anarchical and chaotic
We now come to the consideration of Positive Evil. This again has a "negative's and "positive's aspect. Its "negative's
aspect is pure chaos, unformed substance and unco-ordinated force. It has been aptly called the Cosmic Abortion. To
drift into the sphere of "negative" Positive Evil is like being caught in a psychic quicksand.
We are now ready to consider the sphere of "positive" Positive Evil, the demons themselves, or the Qlippoth, as they
are called in the Qabalah. In order to understand their significance we must make a further excursion into Qabalistic
The Creator is conceived of as bringing the universe into manifestation through a series of Divine Emanations, ten in
number. These are called the Ten Holy Sephiroth, and are represented in a diagram as arranged in a particular pattern.
This is the famous Tree of Life, the key to all symbolism.
The Sephiroth were not emanated independently, each from the Divine Source; but overflowed, the one from the other.
As soon as one Sephira has emanated another, these two are said to be in equilibrium, compensating each other. But
there is a period during the emanation of a Sephira when the force is not yet in equilibrium, but is pushing out
unsupported, like an incomplete arch. It is the uncompensated force emanated during this epoch of unbalance, and
never subsequently absorbed after the establishment of the new sphere, which constitutes Positive Evil. There are,
therefore, ten kinds of Positive Evil, just as there are ten Divine Emanations.
To these spheres go, according to their kind, all the evil imaginings of the heart of man that are not neutralised by
repentance or compensated by the overplus of good in other members of the same group-soul. There is a deep occult
doctrine here which we cannot enter upon now; it must suffice to state it dogmatically in explanation of the Qabalistic
conception of the Qlippoth. When we consider all that must have been poured into these ten sinks of iniquity since the
days of Atlantean Magic, through the decadence of Babylon and Rome, down to the Great War, we can guess what
rises up from them when their seals are broken.
Not only do influences emanate from them which tempt and corrupt souls, each according to its susceptibility, but time
has served for the formulation of evil intelligences. These probably originated through the workings of Black Magic,
which took the essential evil essence and organised it for purposes of its own. The beings thus formulated assumed an
independent existence, developed, and multiplied their kind. They appear as dreams and hallucinations, and may
produce a considerable degree of objective phenomena, such as noise, deposit of slime or blood, balls of light, and,
above all, stenches of an amazing pungency.
The Ten Divine Emanations are personified as Archangels, and the Ten Infernal Emanations are personified as Arch-demons.
It is these which are the Names of Power in Magic. Each Sephira, then, has its obverse side in the
corresponding Qlippottic demon. The initiated adept always gains control over the demonic force before he attempts to
utilise the angelic force which, by the appropriated means, can be contacted in each Sephira. If he does not do so, he
contacts them both simultaneously. Moreover, the planets, the elements and the Signs of the Zodiac are all intimately
connected with the Sephiroth, being arranged upon the Tree of Life in a pattern known only to initiates.
42 of 103?The initiated adept is exceedingly careful what he does when he is working with these potencies because he knows that
he has always got the Qlippoth in the background. The uninitiated occultist goes ahead gaily, juggling with such Names
of Power as he has picked up from the innumerable books on the subject now available for the general reader, thinking
that if he does not invoke the demons he will not get them. He forgets that every planet is a Jekyll and Hyde.
Consequently, ceremonial magic has got a bad name owing to the unpleasant frequency of untoward results, just as
surgery got a bad name before the days of Lister. It is the imperfect technique that is the trouble.
I was once doing some experimental work with geomancy, which is a method of divination belonging to the Element of
Earth. Now all divinations, when performed according to their esoteric formulae, always begin with an evocation of the
genius that presides over that particular operation. The genii of geomancy are not of a very high type. I was imperfectly
familiar with the method, and was trying to set up my prick-figure on a piece of paper instead of using a tray of wet
sand as I should have done. Things began to go wrong, and the room was filled with the most terrible stench of drains.
The appropriate banishing ritual was immediately performed, and the air cleared; but there was not much doubt about
the objectivity of this phenomenon while it lasted.
A very interesting case is given in the Occult Review for December, 1929. in a letter to the editor, signed H. Campell.
"Desiring some information which I could not get in any ordinary way, I resorted to the System of Abra Melin, and to
this end prepared a copy of the necessary Talisman, perfecting it to the best of my ability with my little stock of
knowledge. The ritual performed, I proceeded to clear my 'place of working.' A little knowledge is a dangerous thing;
my ritual was imperfect and I only rendered the Talisman useless without in any way impairing the activities of the
entity invoked. This looks like nothing else than gross carelessness on my part; and to a certain extent this is true - but
the point I wish to make is this, that my knowledge of this particular system, and therefore my ritual, were imperfect;
and in any case, I had been shown no method of combating this particular entity when once aroused. Now note the
"Unfortunately I have no account of the date when these occurrences began, but the first hint of trouble must have
come on or about March 3, 1927. I can guess the date with fair accuracy because, as I was to learn, the manifestations
were always strongest about the new moon, and after I had gone to sleep. Upon this occasion I can remember waking
up suddenly with a vague feeling of terror oppressing me; yet it was no ordinary nightmare terror, but an imposed
emotion that could be thrown off by an effort of the will. This passed almost as soon as I stood up, and I thought no
more about it.
"Again on April 2, or thereabouts, I was troubled by the same feeling, but regarded it as nothing more than a severe
nightmare, though the fact that my sleep was distorted towards the time of the new moon had occurred to me; while as
full moon drew on, the nights were peaceful again.
"The new moon of May I brought a recurrence of the trouble. This time very much more powerful, and necessitating an
almost intolerable effort of will to cast if off. Also it was about this time that I first saw the entity which was rapidly
obsessing me. It was not altogether unlovely to look at. Its eyes were closed and it was bearded, with long flowing hair.
It seemed a blind force slowly waking to activity.
"Now there are three points which I must make quite clear before I proceed. In the first place, I was never attacked
twice in the same night. Secondly, when I speak of physical happenings, the smashing of glass and voices, they were
never, with one absolutely inexplicable exception, actual, but pure obsessions; and this leads to the third point. Not one
of these incidents happened while I was asleep. Always I found myself awake with the terror upon me and struggling
violently to cast off the spell. I have had nightmares before, but no nightmare that I have ever had could hold my mind
in its grip for minutes at a time as this thing did, or send me plunging through a ten-foot-high window to the ground
"The first indication I had that these visitations were absolutely out of the ordinary course of events came on May 30.
About midnight I was suddenly awakened by a voice calling loudly, 'Look out,' and at once I became aware of a red
serpent coiling and uncoiling itself under my bed, and reaching out onto the floor with its head. Just as it was about to
43 of 103?attack me I jumped through my window, and came to earth among the rose bushes below, fortunately with no more
damage done than a badly bruised arm.
"After this there was absolute peace until June 30, when the real climax came. I had seen the thing again on the night of
the new moon, and had noticed considerable changes in its appearance. Especially it seemed far more active, while its
long hair had changed into serpent heads. The night after I was awakened by a violent noise and jumped out of bed. I
then saw the noise was caused by a great red obelisk which crashed through the west wall of my room and leaned
against the wall at the east end, smashing both that and the window to pieces but missing my bed, which was in an
alcove to the left of its path. In its transit it had smashed all the mirrors, and the floor and top of my bed were strewn
with broken glass and fragments of wood. This time the obsession must have lasted some minutes, I dared not move for
fear of cutting myself, and to reach the matches - wherein, I knew, lay safety - I had to lean across the bed and again
risk the glass. Yet in my heart I knew that all this was false, but had no power to move. I could only stand there,
incapable, looking at the shattered room in a state of hopeless terror.
"And now comes the most extraordinary part of the whole business. When I had finally mastered the obsession, I went
to bed again dead tired, and I know that the only sound I made that night was jumping to the floor, also my room is at
least a hundred yards from the rest of my family, yet next morning at breakfast I was asked what was the terrible noise
in my room during the night.
"After that I realised that the game was up. I had not taken these occurrences lying down, but I knew that it was
impossible for me to try and control the force which I had set in motion. In desperation I turned to a good friend, who, I
was aware, knew much of these things. She did not hesitate, but came at once to my assistance, and from that day to the
present the trouble has absolutely gone from me.
"Such is the case; and I only hope it may warn those who are contemplating my folly to treat with the greatest of care
any printed systems of magic, and not to use them at all unless they have the fullest control over the entities invoked."
Among the general public, who do not dabble in occultism, the results of a magical mishap are never seen, and the only
doctors who ever see them are fellow-initiates who happen to be medical men, and they, naturally, keep silence. The
catastrophes are of varying degrees of severity, ranging from a bad fright to a fatality.
I cannot say much upon these subjects, for they are among the most secret paths of occult lore. Enough must be hinted,
however, to reveal what, under certain circumstances, may be experienced. I do not think it in the least likely, however,
that the Qlippotic demons will be encountered save through the use of ceremonial magic. They are as rare as anthrax in
England, but it is as well to know the manner of their manifestation so that, when encountered, they may be recognised.
The great majority of dabblers in occultism are protected by their own ineptitude. They fail to get results, and
consequently come to no harm; but if they should succeed in getting results they would find that they had their hands
full. The serious student, unless he is working under skilled guidance, may also find himself in difficulties, and for
He may be insufficiently experienced in the operation he has undertaken, for in magic theory is one thing and practice
is another. A student of occult science will often take a formula out of a book and try to use it. He ~night just as well
study the instructions in a book on surgery and try to operate. Most formula are incomplete, there is always unwritten
work. Some of the "barbarous names of evocation" which the uninitiated use as Words of Power, are really the initial
letters of a mantric sentence or formula. I came across an invocation once in which the Word of Power was Tegatoo.
On investigation this turned out to be the battered remains of The Great Architect Of The Universe.
Even an experienced occultist may get into difficulties if he attempts magical work when he is in bad health, over-tired,
or has had even a moderate amount of alcohol, for very little is too much when the Invisible Forces are being handled.
Equally does this apply to each of his assistants. A chain is no stronger than its weakest link, and if one of the team
cannot handle the forces, everybody is going to suffer. A ritual lodge is no place for the well- meaning ineffectual.
There is an immense amount of dabbling in occultism going on today. Most of it is innocuous because it is totally
44 of 103?ineffective; but there is never any knowing when one is going to strike a live wire. Take, for instance, the advertisers in
various occult papers who offer to supply "charms that work." One of two things is certain. Either they do not work at
all, in which case one is wasting one's money on them; or they work by means of some power with which they have
been charged. What is the nature of that power, and did the persons who made the charm or talisman really know what
they were about? Did they take the precaution to bind the baser aspect before magnetising with the higher aspect?
These are the elementary precautions of the practical occultist who has been properly trained. Did the maker of the
talisman know them?
Again, one buys second-hand books on magic. Who was the previous owner and for what purposes were these books
used? Or one buys a new book which has been brought out by some occult school for propaganda purposes. These
books are often magnetised before they are sent out, and so form a magnetic link between the purchaser and the Order
which caused them to be issued.
Or someone may join a group who has previously been associated with another occult group whose contacts were
debased. Unless the proper precautions are taken, that person will bring the psychic contagion in with him, and his
fellow-members may have unpleasant experiences.
I well remember it being said to me by an occultist of great experience that two things are necessary for safety in
occultism, right motives and right associates. We lull ourselves into a false security if we believe that good intentions
are sufficient protection. My advice to the would-be student is to invoke the Master to send him an initiator, and to
refuse to attempt any practical work until he is fully satisfied that the initiator has been found.
I cannot here enter into either the precautions to be taken against untoward happenings in practical occult work, nor the
remedies to apply if they take place; I will merely indicate the signs by which such an eventuality may be recognised.
This is all that can be done, and all that is necessary in a book of this type; the initiate knows what to do without need
of guidance from me; the non-initiate cannot do anything, and must seek assistance. It is enough for him if he knows
when such assistance is needed.
If things go wrong in the course of a magical ceremonial, the power "shorts," and someone, it may be the operator, or it
may be the weakest person in the team, gets " knocked out " as if he had received a punch from an invisible pugilist.
When picked up, he will be very dazed and badly shaken, and will certainly be some days, possibly weeks, before he
gets over it. He will be in a state of complete prostration and considerable mental confusion, which will gradually wear
off. Unless there is some organic defect, such as hereditary mental instability, a bad heart, or hardened arteries, there
will be a complete recovery, given time; but naturally it is a bad outlook should one of these conditions be present, and
those who have them should not take part in occult experiments. Personally, I do not believe that the invisible forces
alone will ever actually cause the loss of life or permanent disability in the absence of any physical lesion. The person
who goes out of his mind as the result of a psychic shock would have gone out of his mind if he had been in a railway
disaster or any other drastic emotional experience.
Unless the psychic atmosphere indicates otherwise, it is not necessary to do any banishings, or take precautions against
obsession, because the power has dispersed itself in the very act of inflicting the shock.
During my early days of occultism I developed my powers very rapidly because I recovered the memories of previous
incarnations en bloc, and with them the capacities acquired in previous lives, and I shook myself up severely on
numerous occasions before I learnt the technique of handling the invisible forces. I never experienced any permanent
ill-effects from my mishaps, though I admit that upon occasion I have been extricated by my friends from a
considerable amount of debris.
During the early days of my occult career a girl was brought to me by a mutual friend, who told me that the mother of
this girl, an ardent student of occultism, seemed to have a terrible effect upon her daughter. The mother was a widow,
and mother and daughter lived together under very comfortable material circumstances; but whenever the girl made a
friend, or showed any desire to leave home, the mother performed extraordinary antics, coming to the daughter's room
at night and drawing signs in the air about her bed. The effect of all this upon the girl was most peculiar. She felt
unable to free herself from the mental domination the mother had obtained over her, and she was wasting away in a
45 of 103?most curious fashion. When I saw her, although able to get about, she looked like nothing I have ever seen save a
I made a psychic investigation, and formed the opinion that the mother was working by means of an entity of which she
had obtained possession. How this had been accomplished in the present instance, I do not know, but such things are
common in occultism. I determined to take on the case, and to chase and, if possible, break up this artificial elemental. I
was away from the group I was accustomed to work with, but among people keenly interested in occultism of every
sort, size and description, and I had no difficulty in picking up a team to help me with the undertaking.
I had no qualms about the undertaking. A second-hand elemental, directed by a woman with only a rule-of-thumb
knowledge of magic, did not appear to me to be a formidable opponent. I had seen a good deal of practical occultism,
had lent a hand at similar operations, and possessed the necessary formulae. So I went round the town, asked certain
friends to lend a hand, and others to come and see the fun. To be frank, our attitude was that of a party of small boys
We met at the appointed time and place. Formed our circle, and went to work. The method I meant to use made it
necessary for me to leave my body, and the group were really there to look after it while I was out of it, and see it came
to no harm. I got out on to the astral readily enough, did my job, and returned, feeling very pleased with myself, for it
was the first time I had operated entirely on my own, without the supervision by my teacher.
As I began to recover physical consciousness, which is just like coming round from an anaesthetic, I had a sensation as
of machinery running, and felt as if I were lying on something very lumpy. I opened my eyes, and saw some thing
brown towering above me to an enormous height. As I gathered my senses together, I discovered that I was lying on the
floor, close to the skirting, across the feet of an unfortunate man, who was thus securely pinned against the wall, and it
was he, shaking in his shoes, that had felt to me like the vibration of machinery. Various other members of the circle
slowly and reluctantly reappeared from behind the piano and sofa and other heavy articles of furniture. They had seen
some practical occultism for once in their lives, but they did not appear to like it.
It appears that, after I had gone out and left them with my unconscious body, they got a good deal of phenomena in the
way of bells and voices outside the circle. If they had kept quiet, it would have been quite all right, but they lost their
heads and scattered. Then, the circle being broken, I began to perform antics, arching up on my head and my heels and,
in some way that has never been explained, arriving at the far side of the room at the feet of one of the circle, which, of
course, did not improve matters.
Then an extraordinary thing happened. We were just gathering ourselves together, thinking that everything was over,
when a force of what nature I have never known suddenly rushed round the circle, and one member seemed to take the
brunt of it. He went flying across the room and landed, fortunately for him, face downwards in an arm-chair, and was ill
in bed for three weeks.
While all this was going on, the father of one of the people taking part became uneasy about her, and walked across
from where he lived at the far side of the little town, to see what was happening. Like most little country towns, this
one usually went to bed early, but he told us that as he came along he saw that innumerable windows were lit up, and
he heard the sounds of children crying all down the street.
When I think of the risks I took and the conditions under which I worked in those early days, I wonder that I or any of
my friends are alive to tell the tale. It is said that there is a special Providence to look after fools, drunkards and little
children. I think there must be another that looks after inexperienced occultists and their friends.
It may be interesting to note that as a result of this operation which I so rashly undertook, the girl was entirely freed
from the domination of her mother, and began forth with to put on flesh and rapidly became normal. That end of it, at
least, was entirely successful.
Another very curious case is that referred to in the Occult Review of January, 1930.
46 of 103?"The mysterious death of a student of occultism, Miss N. Fornario, is receiving the attention of the authorities at the
present time. Miss Fornario was found lying nude on the bleak hill-side in the lonely island of Iona Round her neck was
a cross secured by a silver chain, and near at hand lay a large knife which had been used to cut a large cross in the turf.
On this cross her body was lying. A resident of London, Miss Fornario seems to have made her way to lona for some
purpose connected with occultism. One of the servants at her house in London stating that a letter had been received
saying she had a 'terrible case of healing on.' One newspaper report alludes to 'mysterious stories on the island about
blue lights having been seen in the vicinity of where her body was found, and there is also a story of a cloaked man.'
Occultists no less than the general public will await with interest any disclosures that may be forth coming concerning
No disclosures ever were forthcoming, however, and conjecture alone can work upon the case. One detail only can I
add to the brief but comprehensive report of the Occult Review. The body bore marks of scratches.
I knew Miss Fornario intimately, and at one time we did a good deal of work together, but some three years before her
death we went our separate ways and lost sight of each other. She was half Italian and half English, of unusual
intellectual calibre, and was especially interested in the Green Ray elemental contacts; too much interested in them for
my peace of mind, and I became nervous and refused to co-operate with her. I do not object to reasonable risks, in fact
one cannot expect to achieve anything worth while in life if one will not take risks, but it appeared to me that "Mac," as
we called her, was going into very deep waters, even when I knew her, and that there was certain to be trouble sooner
She had evidently been on an astral expedition from which she never returned. She was not a good subject for such
experiments, for she suffered from some defect of the pituitary body. Whether she was the victim of a psychic attack,
whether she merely stopped out on the astral too long and her body, of poor vitality in any case, became chilled lying
thus exposed in mid-winter, or whether she slipped into one of the elemental kingdoms that she loved, even as
Swinburne swam out to sea, who shall say? The information at our disposal is insufficient for an opinion to be formed.
The facts, however, cannot be questioned, and remain to give sceptics food for thought.
It may be as well to say in concluding this chapter, that when I speak of the experiments of ceremonial magic, I do not
mean ritual initiation. Now a ritual initiation is of course ceremonial magic, and so, for the matter of that, are the
sacraments of the Church. But the occultist, using his terms perhaps somewhat loosely, does not include the initiatory
rituals when he speaks of ceremonial magic.
There are many varieties of initiatory ceremonies, but these are all designed to work upon the soul of the candidate
only. Ceremonial magic, on the other hand, in the technical sense of the term, is designed to work upon the soul of
nature. The two operations, although there are innumerable forms of each, are entirely different in type, and aim at, and
achieve, entirely different results.
There is a strong prejudice against ritual magic among those interested in popular occultism owing to the strictures
passed upon it by Mme Blavatsky. Now Mine Blavatsky was trained in the Eastern School and had very little, if any,
practical acquaintance with the inner aspect of Western Occultism, nor was she a master of its methods. She spoke
from an Eastern standpoint and judged Western esoteric conditions by those she had seen in the East, where Tantric
magic has become depraved in the hands of Dugpas and similar sects.
In the dense and materialistic atmosphere of the West it is exceedingly difficult to get any results worth mentioning
without the use of some form of ceremonial. Even the Theosophical Society, of which she was the foundress, has
unconsciously drifted into Western methods, adopting the Catholic ceremonial and the Masonic initiations as side
chapels to its main temple, and the mixture is giving trouble. The "Back to Blavatsky" movement within its ranks may
be able to produce a much purer ethical and metaphysical teaching, but I think we may safely prophesy it will produce
no practical results, in Europe at any rate.
Ought we to eschew ceremonial methods because occasionally, in inexpert hands or under unsuitable conditions, they
lead to disastrous results? Ought we to eschew motor racing, or mountaineering, or flying, or research into the nature of
47 of 103?radio-active substances? All these take their toll of life each year. There is an unjustifiable risk which no level-headed
person will run if they can help it, and there is a justifiable risk which everybody must be prepared to take who wants to
come out of the ruck. It is not every follower of the Inner Way who is suitable for ceremonial work, just as it is not
every individual who is fitted to handle the controls of an aeroplane; but there are some people, both men and women,
to whom a spice of danger is a spur which brings out the mettle of their pasture, and these will always be found in the
van of great adventure.
DISTINCTION BETWEEN OBJECTIVE PSYCHIC ATTACK AND SUBJECTIVE PSYCHIC DISTURBANCE
PSYCHISM, however genuine, is a fruitful cause of self-delusion. A psychic is invariably highly sensitive and
suggestible. This is the basis of his gifts. Psychism not being a normal development, among Europeans at any rate, the
psychic is, in the language of nautical engineers, "over-engined for his hull." He is consequently unstable, liable to
violent emotional reactions, and in general exhibits those aberrations of conduct we are accustomed to associate with
artistic genius. Unless a psychic is trained, disciplined, protected and watched over by those who understand his
condition, his psychism is never reliable because he is blown about by every wind of influence. The psychic and the
neurotic are closely akin in their reactions to life, but the neurotic differs from the psychic in that, instead of being
over-engined for his hull, he is under-hulled for his engines. The result is the same, however - a discrepancy between
the force and form with the consequent inability to maintain a central, reasoned, directing control. The technique of the
occult discipline is largely directed towards maintaining control of the disparate forces, compensating the
sensitiveness of the psychic, and protecting him from unwanted impressions. It is never well to learn
how to open the door of the Unseen unless at the same time one learns how to close and latch it.
As was noted in the Introduction, it is comparatively seldom that the Unseen comes in search of human beings. As the
Caterpillar told Alice concerning the Puppy-dog, "You let it alone, and it will let you alone." But if we begin to study
occultism, or even to dabble in it, sooner or later we are liable to obtain results, provided, of course, that the system we
are using contains the germs of efficacy.
In the case of a person who is coming on to the Path for the first time, progress is necessarily slow and laborious; but a
soul that has taken initiation in previous incarnations may reopen the latent psychic faculties so rapidly that the problem
of maintaining the harmonised co-ordination of the personality becomes a serious one. It is exceedingly common for a
person who is making his first contact with the occult movement to experience psychic disturbance. This is sometimes
attributed to evil influences, sometimes to evil entities. Neither of these inferences may be just. There is a third
possibility, which is responsible for by far the greater percentage of victims - the mere fact that consciousness is being
disturbed by an unaccustomed force. How common a thing it is to see a child feverish and fretful during the first few
days of a seaside holiday. It is not necessarily sickening for an illness. The strong air and unaccustomed food and the
excitement of its new surroundings are disturbing its sensitive physical equilibrium. So it is when the neophyte is
disturbed at the outset of his occult career. The unaccustomed vibrations are upsetting him, and he is having an attack
of occult indigestion. In both cases the treatment is the same - temporary restriction of the diet which has caused the
48 of 103?Another cause of psychic upset may lie in the partial recovery of the memories of past incarnations if these include any
painful episodes, especially such as are connected with esoteric studies. The entry of occult concepts into the conscious
mind tends to awaken the subconscious memory of similar experiences in past lives. The emotion surrounding a
memory is invariably recovered before the actual image of the incident. (This is one of the best tests for the accuracy of
memories of past lives.) This foreshadowing emotion may hang about for a long time on the threshold of consciousness
before the images clarify sufficiently to became tangible. If the emotion that is rising over the horizon is of a painful
nature it may cause considerable disturbance, and in the absence of an experienced adviser may be attributed to an
occult attack, or to the psychic perception of evil influences in the occult group to which the neophyte is affiliated. It is
necessary to use very great caution in drawing conclusions from the psychic impressions of an inexperienced student,
who is apt to be as full of alarms as a two-year-old thorough bred.
On the other hand, the instinctive reactions of a pure and sensitive soul are not to be ignored. There are such things as
Black Lodges and evil entities. We must not allow the cry of "Wolf! Wolf!" to make us either callous or careless. In
any case, the victim is suffering remediable discomfort.
It is an exceedingly difficult thing to determine psychic ally whether the complainant has reasonable grounds for his
feelings, for his own imagination will have filled his atmosphere with menacing thought-forms. It is no simple matter to
decide whether these thought-forms are subjective or objective. The wisest way is to rely 'on such evidence as is
capable of objective examination, and enquire into the record of the particular group or occultist against whom the
charges are being brought. But it is equally necessary to enquire into the record of the person who is bringing the
charges. That that person is filled with the loftiest ideals is no proof that he has a level head, a clear and unbiassed
judgment, or appreciation of the nature of evidence. A person need not be a deliberate liar to make statements that are
very far from the truth.
Another factor which has to be reckoned with is the vagaries of the sex instinct in a person in whom that instinct is
repressed. Consider the case of a woman, perhaps no longer young, whose circumstances for the first time permit her to
follow her own inclinations; a very common case with home-keeping women, who have to wait for dead men's shoes
before they can set out on life's journey. She takes up occultism, towards which she may always have had a leaning,
and joins some circle for study and possibly ritual initiation. The leader of that circle will in all probability be a person
of strong individuality. The inexperienced, love-starved new-comer is glamoured. Ritual is a very stimulating thing, as
Anglo-Catholic clergy have found to their cost. The woman, possibly quite ignorant of the facts of life, finds herself
strangely stirred. She is frightened, she senses that something of the Kingdom of Pan is approaching. Her instincts will
usually guide her truly enough in divining the source from which the disturbing influence proceeds. She will point an
unerring finger at the magnetic male. She will seldom take into account the reactions of the female in the presence of
If she is a woman ignorant of the facts of life, the charge she brings will usually take the form of an accusation of
hypnotic influence. She does not realise that nature is the hypnotist. If she is a woman who knows something of the
world, the charge may be of improper advances. One glance at the woman is usually enough to tell us whether there is
likely to be any foundation in this charge or not. It is seldom the young and pretty girl, who might reasonably be
apprehensive, who is the teller of these stories. It is a curious fact that it never seems to occur to the complainants either
to take refuge in flight or put the matter in the hands of a solicitor. If at the end of a long tale, full of dark hints and
unspeakable innuendos, the question is asked, "What exactly did he do? "the answer usually is, "He looked at me in a
When one of these stories is being told we should be wise to give more attention to the bearing of the person who is
telling it than to the facts alleged. This will usually yield the more valuable information. It is the most difficult thing in
the world to get a genuine victim to speak. A woman who is broadcasting the tale of her own shame is usually a woman
scorned, and the reliability of her testimony in the matter is in inverse ratio to her loquacity. Do not let us forget that it
takes two to make a scandal as well as a quarrel, and the person who admits a mistake and asks for help to retrace
wandering footsteps is much more likely to be worth helping than the one who claims to be even as the angels in
heaven, where there is neither marrying nor giving in marriage.
So great is the need for caution in assessing the facts in a charge of immorality that the law courts will not accept the
evidence of the victim, even on oath and under cross-examination, unless it is supported by additional testimony.
Equally well does the doctor know the same type of mentality, and a common form of mental derangement is called
49 of 103?Old Maid's Insanity, even in the textbooks.
I could cite cases by the dozen in exemplification of the preceding statements, but they have not sufficient occult
interest to justify their inclusion in these pages.
If the leader of the group is a woman, a different set of reactions comes into play though the same causes are at work. It
is not generally realised that the fixation, or "crush" of one woman for another is really a substitute love affair, as is
proved by the fact that the girl who has plenty of admirers, or the woman who is happily married is never given to
them. In this case, just as much as in the normal, heterosexual attraction, "hell knows no fury like a woman scorned"; it
is not, for obvious reasons, possible to bring charges of improper behaviour. (Though in one accusation this was
alleged against me, and I was accused of being a man in disguise and attempting to seduce the complainant, and the
charge found believers.) The charge brought in such cases usually takes one of two forms, the mechanism being either,
"You don't love me, therefore you are cruel. I have been badly treated"; and the most far-fetched instances are raked up
in support of this charge. Or, "You don't love me, therefore I hate you. The attraction you have for me is hypnotic."
It must be borne in mind in assessing these charges that a trained occultist, especially if of high grade, has an
exceedingly magnetic personality, and this is apt to prove disturbing to those who are unaccustomed to high-tension
psychic forces. For whereas the person who is ripe for development will unfold the higher consciousness rapidly in the
atmosphere of a high-grade initiate, the person who is not ready may find these influences profoundly disturbing. An
adept who allows unsuitable persons to enter his magnetic field is blameworthy for his lack of discrimination and
discretion, but he cannot justly be charged with abuse of occult powers. He emanates force involuntarily and cannot
help himself. The greater adepts always live in seclusion, for not only do they need solitude for their work, but their
influence upon unprepared souls produces too violent a reaction, and it ends in the Cross or the hemlock cup.
We must not be unmindful of the fact that the person who comes to us with a long tale of occult attack and asks for
assistance, especially financial assistance, may simply be "pitching a yarn," and should use the same discrimination that
we would in listening to any other "hard-luck story," trying to differentiate between the deserving and the undeserving.
I knew a man who allowed an alleged adept who was undergoing an alleged occult attack to take refuge in his studio,
and returned after a short absence to find that the alleged one had been selling the furniture to buy drink; and there was
every reason to believe that the only spirits who were in any way concerned with his troubles had entered the studio in
The complaints of occult attack may have their source in nothing more or less than the delusions of the insane, and it
does not necessarily invalidate this fact that a second person can be found to give supporting evidence. There is a
curious form of insanity known to alienists called folie des deux, in which two people intimately associated together
share the same delusions. It is usually found in such cases that one is definitely insane, and that the other is of a
hysterical type and has become imbued with the delusions of her associate by means of suggestion. I use the feminine
pronoun because this form of insanity is rare with males. It usually occurs with two sisters, or with two women living
There is another pitfall for which the inexperienced do well to watch out in their dealings with the person who
complains of an occult attack. Insanity may be periodic in its manifestation, outbreaks of acute mania alternating with
periods of complete sanity. This periodic aspect should always be watched for in the case of women, in whom any
temperamental instability becomes greatly exaggerated during the times of the monthly periods, at the change of life,
during pregnancy, and, in fact, at any period when the sex life is stirred to activity, whether emotionally or physically. It
is also well to bear in mind that in pathological cases the periodicity of a woman's function may be greatly disturbed.
I had a sharp lesson in this respect upon one occasion, which exemplifies the need of caution. We had, at the
introduction of one of our members, received into one of our community houses a woman whose husband, a
well-known man in public life, refused to live with her, so I was told, and had made several attempts to do away with
her, and threatened to have her certified insane if she in any way resisted him. These facts were vouched for by a circle
of friends to whom both husband and wife were known. I kept this lady under observation for a month in order to see
whether there was anything to justify the charge of insanity, and seeing nothing, took up her case, At the seventh week,
however, trouble ensued. She got into a great state of excitement, declared that she was being starved, and ill-treated by
the person who, in my absence, was responsible for the house. Seven weeks later we had another bout, in which she
said that evil influences were proceeding from a certain cupboard in her room, wandered about the house in
exceedingly inadequate apparel, and lost all self-control. This attack also passed off in a few days. It came out in the
50 of 103?end that she suffered from chronic appendicitis which involved the right ovary, and whenever her exceedingly irregular
menstruation occurred, she went right off her head for a few days. The position was greatly complicated by the fact that
in the interregnum she was to all outward appearances perfectly sane. After she left our community house she told
exactly the same stories about us that she had previously been telling about her husband. The out-and-out lunatic is a
much less serious problem to society than these border line cases. They need dealing with extremely cautiously, for
they can cause an immense amount of trouble.
When an insanity has once become well developed anyone who has had experience of lunatics has little difficulty in
recognising it. Each type of insanity has its characteristic facial expression and even gait. But it is not so simple a
matter for even the expert to recognise an insanity in its incipient stages. Lunatics are exceedingly plausible, and if they
have picked up something of the jargon of the occultist or spiritualist, can make out an extraordinarily good case for
themselves. Even the experienced alienist often has to keep a case under observation in order to ascertain whether it is
an actual insanity or not.
In a field where experts are frequently in doubt, what is the layman to do who finds himself confronted by a case which
rouses his suspicions? He cannot be expected to recognise insanity when he sees it, but his own common sense ought
to be sufficient to enable him to recognise sanity. In other words, let him suspend judgment upon the alleged facts and
concentrate upon the question of motive. It is here he will find his best indication. If a person can offer no valid
explanation as to the reasons for the attack that is being made upon him, nor as to its cause or origin, we can probably
rest assured that it originates in his own imagination.
In one case which came into my hands for help, the victim declared that he was being persecuted by telepathic
suggestion. I enquired as to the origin of this persecution, and he said that some people who lived in the next flat used
to sit in a circle and concentrate upon him. I asked him why they did this. He did not know. I asked him how he knew
they did it, and he could not tell me. He merely reiterated that they did it, although he admitted that he had never been
inside their flat, never, in fact, even spoken to them except to exchange a good morning on the stairs. It was
immediately apparent that there was no conceivable motive that could cause these people to go to the trouble of
persecuting him. If anyone has ever tried any experiments with telepathic suggestion, they will know what intense
concentration it requires, and, in fact, what hard work it is, and one cannot possibly imagine anybody putting them
selves to the trouble of doing it over long periods of time without a very definite motive. I have, however, heard of a
well-authenticated case of a woman who had a liaison with a married man attacking his wife in this way. I have also
myself known of two cases in which a certain individual, at one time prominent in transcendental circles, in connection
with what the newspapers impolitely called his "Prayer Shop," and equally well known in the City in connection with
his efforts to obtain gold from sea-water, used telepathic suggestion in order to induce the signing of cheques and
documents. Before a visitor was expected for an interview, he would sit down and concentrate upon him. So strong was
the influence thus exerted that a man of my acquaintance threw up a post he held under him because of the undue
mental influence he felt was being exerted over himself, and another resigned off the board of one of his companies for
the same reason.
In both these cases an adequate motive for the mental attack is not far to seek. Compare these two cases with the
previous one, and the difference can readily be perceived. We should, however, be just as cautious in deciding there is
nothing wrong as in accepting at their face value any statements that may be made to us. Moreover, we should always
bear in mind when dealing with a person who is obviously mentally unbalanced and who alleges a psychic attack, that
the mental unbalance may have been induced by the psychic attack. Life is a strange thing at best, and many things that
are stranger than usual can happen to those who move in occult circles.
51 of 103?NON-OCCULT DANGERS OF THE BLACK LODGE
THE facts considered in the previous chapter, though they should make us exceedingly careful in weighing
evidence, must not blind us to the fact that there are black sheep in every fold and that a fraternity which
started out with the best of intentions may quite inadvertently, through the ignorance or imperfections of
its leaders, begin to drift on to the Left-hand Path. Perfectly innocent people enter it when it is in process
of drifting but not yet avowedly black, and may find themselves in waters that are unpleasantly dirty,
even if not actually dangerous.
The esoteric dangers will be studied in detail in the next chapter, but we may very well consider in this place the
exoteric dangers which may occur behind the Veil of the Temple, for human nature is much the same wherever we
meet it, and shows little originality in choosing its road to the Pit. It might be thought that in such a book as this there
were no need to touch upon these matters, but if this book is to serve the purpose for which it is intended, it is
necessary to do so for three reasons; firstly, because the greater proportion of the students of esotericism are women,
and even in these enlightened days they are usually ignorant of the life of the underworld, and a Black Lodge leads by a
straight and narrow way into the land of apaches and demimondaines, quite apart from its other drawbacks. Secondly, a
knowledge of these facts is essential for differential diagnosis. Thirdly, occult powers are not infrequently used to
obtain purely mundane ends, therefore when the question of ordinary criminality occurs in connection with an occult
organisation, the issue may be complicated by an admixture of methods that belong to another plane.
We must always remember that a lodge may not necessarily have been formed for the express purpose of evading the
law; it may have started with a perfectly legitimate end in view, and have been exploited by evil-doers for their own
purposes, for, owing to the secretive nature of its proceedings, the fraternity form of organisation lends itself to various
forms of law-breaking.
One occult organisation is well known to have been involved in the drug traffic, another is riddled with unnatural vice.
A third degenerated into what was little better than a house of ill-fame, and its head was an expert abortionist. Others
have been involved in subversive politics. Those who join fraternities without properly investigating them and the
credentials of those who are running them may find themselves involved in any or all of these things.
Behind the veil of secrecy, guarded by impressive oaths, many things may happen, and it is therefore essential to
inform oneself most carefully concerning the character, credentials and record of the leaders of an organisation.
If these are not readily accessible, something is wrong. The Mysterious Stranger, who has just arrived from the East or
the Continent, both rather vague addresses, is probably a fraud.
If difficulty is experienced in discovering the antecedents of an alleged adept, enquiries could be made of the well-known
periodical, Truth, of Carteret Street, S.W.I. Truth was originally founded to expose abuses in financial and
public life, and for this purpose keeps a "Black List" of individuals who are better avoided. It is fair and fearless in its
methods, neither a persecutor nor a respecter of persons. It keeps a watchful eye upon the occult field and pillories
charlatans, a task for which it should have the gratitude and support of all who have the cause of the Wisdom Religion
The commonest danger to which a person who gets into the company of undesirables is exposed, is to be induced to
part with more money than is convenient by the time- honoured expedients of either swindling or blackmailing, the
latter being by far the commonest form of unpleasantness in Black Lodges. The one and only remedy in all such cases
is to place the matter in the hands of the police. Firstly, it is your duty as a citizen in order that others may not be
victimised as you have been. Secondly, if you don't, your persecutors will not leave you until they have sucked you
absolutely dry, and not even then if they can still find a use for you as a catspaw. A blackmailer is never got rid of by
giving him money. It is merely an invitation to call again. Act quickly and firmly at the outset and you will soon be at
52 of 103?the end of your troubles.
To demand money with threats is blackmail, and to coerce to any course of action by threats is also a crime. Any
arrangements entered into, or documents signed in con sequence of threats are not binding. Threats need not
necessarily be gross and open, such as the pointing of a revolver; anything which coerces you against your inclinations
may be interpreted as a threat. For instance, supposing it were intimated to you, however tactfully, that if you did not
subscribe to the funds of an organisation, your interest in occultism would be liable to be gossiped about, and possibly
involve you in unpleasantness with your relatives, or your employers, this, in the eyes of the law, would be blackmail.
Anything, in fact, which plays upon a person's fears is a threat.
Let us now consider what is the best thing to do if you are being threatened. It is seldom wise to answer threat with
threat. The best thing is to reply that you will think it over and see what can be done, and then go straight to the nearest
police-station and tell the whole story. You can be sure of the utmost courtesy and kindness, and that every effort will
be made to help you, even if you have to admit that you have not been wholely blameless yourself. In coming to the
police and telling them frankly the position of affairs you have, in popular language, "turned King's evidence," and the
authorities will go a long way to protect anyone who does this.
Do not be deterred by the fact that you cannot bring forward any additional testimony in support of your statement. The
police may tell you that there is not sufficient evidence for them to apply for a warrant; nevertheless, they will make
enquiries, and the very fact that the police are making enquiries will be sufficient to frighten black mailers out of their
wits and probably out of the country, nor will they usually stop to make the threatened disclosures en route, but will
"go while the going is good." Moreover, your complaint will go on to the police records, and a watch will be kept; in
due course another complaint may be made, or, for all you know, may already have been made, and then the net begins
Always remember that the blackmailer has a great deal more to fear from exposure than you have; for whatever
unpleasantness may be in store for you, he has to look forward to a long term of penal servitude, and possibly the
dreaded "cat" if the case is a bad one. A timely reminder of this fact works wonders with prospective blackmailers.
Nor need the fear of exposure of your own shortcomings deter you. The nature of the charges brought against you by
the blackmailer will never be mentioned. It is not you who are being tried. Neither will your identity be disclosed. You
will be referred to as Mr. A. or Mrs. B. Far from being treated as an evil-doer or having the finger of scorn pointed at
you, you will find that you are looked upon as a person who is performing a public service and every effort will be
made by those in authority to smooth your path. A determined effort is being made at the present time to stamp out this
abominable crime, and judges are giving exemplary sentences and protecting prosecutors in every way in order to
encourage them to come forward.
But quite apart from any form of coercion, unwary persons may, while filled with enthusiasm or glamoured by the new
revelation, part with considerably more money than they can comfortably spare; they may even literally lay their all
upon the altar, and then, disillusioned by subsequent events, greatly regret having done so. In many such cases a
competent solicitor can secure a refund. The courts do not look with favour on excessive contributions to "movements."
It goes without saying, that no rightly conducted organisation would consent to augment its funds at the expense of the
ruin of one of its members. It must, of course, equally protect itself against capriciousness and spite and the
machinations of the kind of mentality that tries to buy influence by subscriptions. It has always been our custom, in the
Fraternity of the Inner Light, to insist that any woman who proposes to give a large donation should consult her
financial adviser before doing so. For one reason or another we have refused upwards of twenty-five thousand pounds
during the last seven years. Nor have we had any reason at regret having done so. The strength of an occult
organisation does not lie upon the physical plane.
It is well known that there are various drugs which can be used to exalt consciousness and induce a temporary
psychism. It may not be equally well known that most of these substances come under the regulations of the Dangerous
Drugs Act, and that to obtain them from irregular sources, or even to be found in possession of them save for a
legitimate purpose, is to render oneself liable to prosecution, and in this case too the authorities are exceedingly alert
53 of 103?and the magistrates exceedingly drastic.
All initiates of the Right-hand Path agree in declaring that to exalt consciousness by means of drugs is a dangerous and
undesirable proceeding. There may be research workers who for legitimate reasons wish to undertake experiments, but
I cannot conceive of any legitimate reason for introducing a neophyte to the drug habit. In any case, if such experiments
are undertaken, they should be conducted under the supervision of a qualified medical practitioner who will be in a
position to prevent catastrophe or deal with it should it arise. The drugs that alter consciousness also affect the heart,
and hearts are not always all they should be. More over, the composition of rare drugs is not standardised and varies
enormously; they are liable to contain various impurities, and samples may turn out to be unusually toxic. The
unpleasantness of having upon one's hands an unexpected and unaccountable corpse is only exceeded by the
unpleasantness of becoming the corpse oneself, either of which eventualities may happen when people begin to
experiment with the drugs that "unloose the girders of the mind."
The morals of mankind in general leave much to be desired from the point of view of the purist, and the occult
organisations, occupying as they do, the sea-coast of Bohemia, leave more than usual. A few of the best, maintaining
that occultism is essentially a religion, uphold a high standard; the remainder are blest with a kaleidoscopic collection
of soul-mates. This need not concern us here. If people choose to kick over Mrs. Grundy's apron-strings, that is their
affair. Nor need we at the moment consider the occult abuses of sex-force, which will require detailed consideration in
their proper place. All we need consider in this chapter is the purely normal form of loose living which is camouflaged
under a pretence of occultism. Of this I have seen numerous cases. The head of one group systematically seduced his
pupils under the pretext that it was part of their initiation, and the group accepted the situation in a spirit of the purest
self-sacrifice. Several others sailed unpleasantly near the wind, with the result that "crushes" and the subsequent
nervous breakdowns were very prevalent. It ought hardly to be necessary to say that such methods form no part of the
It is amazing to what an extent women of the highest ideals and of good family and wide culture can be induced to
accept such theories and practices. The danger of membership of such a group to young girls or unsophisticated women
can readily be imagined.
I have often been accused of being narrow-minded in my attitude towards groups in which such happenings are
allowed to go on, but the cost in human suffering is so great and the general demoralisation so sordid that tolerance
comes perilously near to cynicism.
It may not generally be realised, but there is just as much danger of corruption in a Black Lodge for boys and youths as
there is for women. There have been a number of cases so flagrant that the police have intervened, both here and
In ancient times, and among primitive peoples, human sacrifice was a common incident in connection with occult
practices. It is not unknown in Eastern Europe even at the present day. The nursery story of Bluebeard has its origin in
the practices of the infamous Gilles de Rais, Marshal of France and comrade of Joan of Arc, who slaughtered
innumerable children and youths in connection with his magical experiments. I have never heard of a case in England,
but there have been at various times some curious killings reported from the United States which look suspiciously like
ritual murders, but in the absence of adequate information it is impossible to come to a final conclusion upon them.
There recently came into my hands, however, a book upon magic published for private circulation, in which the
statement is made that the ideal blood sacrifice is a male child.
The charge of revolutionary activities is one that has been frequently made against the occult movement. There are
certain things, however, which must be borne in mind when assessing the truth of this charge. Firstly, the occult
movement is not a homogeneous whole. It is totally unorganised and unregulated, and may best be likened to the state
of England before the Norman Conquest. Conditions in the various groups and associations vary widely, and what is
true of one may not be true of another. There can be no doubt whatsoever that various organisations at various times
have been implicated in politics, as witness the Theosophical Society's association with Indian political movements; but
we must bear in mind that one generation's revolutionaries are the next generation's reactionaries. After all, politics are
a matter of opinion, and even the people we disagree with may turn out to be right in the end. I, personally, am of the
opinion that an occult fraternity is extremely ill-advised to concern itself with politics for reasons which I have stated in
54 of 103?another of my books, Sane Occultism, and which I will not enter upon now, as they are not relevant to these pages. But
as folk from time immemorial have banded themselves together for political action we cannot very well take exception
to what the law permits. People who join an organisation established for political work join it with their eyes open and
presumably for the purposes for which it was founded. Grounds for objection arise, however, when an organisation is
founded for non political pursuits and subsequently the leaders, without consulting, or even informing their supporters,
take up political activities on their own account and use their organisation for the purpose, thus involving their
followers without their consent in whatever complications may arise, and using money contributed for a specific
purpose for ends other than the donors had in view.
It may be wondered what use, at the present day, revolutionaries could make of the occult organisations. Within my
personal knowledge they have used, or attempted to use them, for the purpose of getting letters to people whose
correspondence is being watched, and I myself once received a request to allow a person who had been deported to
return to the country under an assumed name and reside in one of our community houses as a member, and was offered
some hundreds of pounds for so doing. Needless to say, the correspondence was sent straight to the authorities.
The problems which we have considered in this chapter are not peculiar to occult fraternities, but are common to any
organisation which does not discriminate as to its members. The organisations which advertise must perforce take all
comers and sort them out in the light of subsequent experience, and some of these experiences can be very queer
indeed. One cannot blame an organisation that picks up an occasional black sheep, one only takes exception if it retains
an accumulation of them.
A lodge of dubious whiteness can be readily recognised by the type of people who belong to it, who may best be
described as the seedy adventurer type with a sprinkling of smart society folk who often have a taste for crude flavours
in the way of sensation. The really Black Lodges are as carefully guarded as the high-grade White Lodges, and no
outsider can gain entrance to them. The serious student of Black Occultism is out for knowledge and magical
experiment and he is not going to waste his time on a tyro. Those who choose to graduate into a Black Lodge after
serving their apprenticeship in the Outer Court of a White Lodge do so with their eyes open, and experience must be
their teacher. One cannot feel that they deserve much sympathy if the experience is a painful one. The person I am out
to help is the person who is a victim, not the one who is hoist with his own petard. The man or woman who, rejecting
the steady grade of the Way of Initiation, chooses to go up with rocket had better come down with the stick.
Any request for a large sum of money should always be regarded as a danger signal. It is one of the strictest conditions
of initiation that occult knowledge may never be sold or used for gain. I know of an occultist who charges £300 for one
of the initiations he confers; and he will give it to anyone who has got £300. In my opinion, the person who pays out
£300 for such a purpose deserves the kind of initiation he is going to get.
It is also a bad sign when an occultist makes free with signs and wonders before the uninitiated. No genuine adept ever
does this. The person who reads your past incarnations, describes your aura, rolls up his eyes, twitches, and gives you a
message from your Master as soon as he is introduced, is a person to be avoided.
The more I see of the occult movement, the more I am amazed at the things people can say and do and "get away with."
The average person is out of his depth when he deals with psychic matters. He usually goes through three phases.
Firstly, he thinks it is all superstition and fraud. Secondly, his scepticism being breached, he will believe anything.
Thirdly, if he ever gets as far as thirdly, he learns discrimination, and distinguishes between the Black Fraternities, the
White Fraternities and Fatuous Fraternities.
55 of 103?THE PSYCHIC ELEMENT IN MENTAL DISTURBANCE
W E have seen in a previous Chapter that nervous and mental disorders can simulate a psychic attack, especially
if the subject is familiar with the terminology of occultism. We must also consider the part played by psychic attack in
nervous and mental disorders. But before we can embark upon this section of our studies, we must give a brief
explanation of the nature of nervous and mental disturbances and the distinction between them. We will not go into
academic considerations, for these pages are not written for the orthodox professional psychologist, who has an
abundance of textbooks at his disposal, but for the person whose interest is primarily in occult matters, and who comes
to the study of the subject unequipped with the technicalities of psychology and psycho-physiology, two sciences of
which at least a working knowledge is exceedingly necessary in the pursuit of practical occultism.
In the course of an incarnation the mind is built up on the foundations of the traits of the Higher Self, or Individuality,
which is the immortal soul that develops in the course of an evolution. The mind, therefore, is part of the personality -the
unit of incarnation - commencing at birth and dissolving at death, its essence being absorbed by the individuality,
which evolves thereby.
[Note for clarification from the Editor/Arranger of this html document: The Personality is the ego or external identity
and ordinary consciousness of a person, and the Individuality is the Higher-self, H.G.A., or spiritual component of a
The mind is essentially the organ of adaptation to the environment, and it is when that adaptation fails that neurotic and
hysterical troubles begin. Each living creature is the channel for a current of life-force which proceeds from the Logos,
the Creator of this universe. This current is divided into three main channels represented to us as the three great natural
instincts, Self-preservation, Reproduction, and the Social Instinct. These are the mainsprings of our lives. The pressure
of Life itself is behind them, and if they are thwarted beyond their power of compensation (considerable as that is), they
are like streams whose channels are blocked, and which in consequence overflow and make a morass of the adjacent
Emotion is the subjective aspect of an instinct. That is to say, when an instinct is at work, we feel emotion. Every
emotion we feel can be referred to one or other of the instincts. Our resentment of a slur upon our dignity has its roots
in the instinct of Self-preservation. Our love of art has its roots in the instinct of love, beauty and creative expression
which, upon its lowest arc, is called sex. Each of these instincts has its high spiritual aspect and its elemental physical
aspect, and transmution from one plane to another takes place freely, so that unless we understand the significance of
these manifestations we shall be misled. In their understanding is the key to the science of life.
If one of these great instincts is so thwarted that all attempts at compensation break down; or if the temperament is so
inelastic and unaccommodating that it will not modify its demands, the ego makes a final desperate attempt at
adjustment which goes outside the limits within which harmonious relations with the environment can be maintained.
Communications with the environment break down, and the mind has, in part at least, quitted the sphere of reality for
the sphere of imagination. The sense of fixed values is lost, and things assume a symbolic importance. This breakdown
may be partial, relating to certain aspects of the life only, or it may be total.
In hysteria, the dammed-up forces of life remain in the channel, but spurt with concentrated force through any sluice
that may be opened to them. Consequently, instead of the river below the obstruction being a smooth-flowing body of
water, it descends in rapids and whirlpools difficult and dangerous to navigate, so that the barque of life makes
shipwreck therein. The surrounding country, too, is reduced to a morass, neither land nor water. In other words, the
temperament becomes tempestuous and unduly emotional, and the non-emotional factors of the mind, such as judgment
and self-control, are demoralised. Such a temperament must of necessity be perpetually in difficulties with life, and
periodically the repressed emotions boil over in fits of screaming, crying and convulsive muscular movements, which
act as safety-valves and relieve the pressure temporarily.
56 of 103?The neurotic differs from the hysteric in certain well-marked ways which need to be carefully borne in mind, as they
are very important from the practical standpoint. The troubles of the neurotic start in the same way as those of the
hysteric, being due to repressed emotion and failure to adapt to environment; but in his case, the life-forces set to work
to cut fresh channels for themselves that shall circumvent the obstacle which blocks their path. Consequently we get
what the psychologist calls displacement of emotion. Some comparatively innocuous matter becomes the object of an
outpouring of emotion which in no way concerns it, for it has been made a substitute for something else. It is this
curious underground tracking of emotion in the mind which causes so much trouble, for the sufferer is not insane, and
yet certain sections of his values and reactions to life are perverted. He is an extremely tricky person to deal with
because he is given to unexpected and quite irrational loves and hates and fears, and acts accordingly.
Similar conditions prevail in the organic insanities; the psychological results are the same, but because the origin is
physical, not mental, they are but little amenable to psychotherapy. Certain things can be done to alleviate them,
however, even if they are not entirely curable; therefore let us consider them from both the psycho-physical and occult
The body is the vehicle of the mind. If the vehicle be faulty, the mind cannot express itself accurately; its reactions will
be distorted. Orthodox science says that the brain is the organ of the mind, but esoteric science says the brain is the
organ of perception of sense impressions and co-ordination of efferent impulses. It is the telephone exchange of the
nervous system. It is only one of the points where mind touches body, the others being the ductless glands of the
endocrine system, the pineal, pituitary, thyroid, adrenals, thymus and gonads; to which may be added the Solar Plexus
and Sacral Plexus. The student of Tantric physiology will be very dull if he has not observed that the Chakras coincide
in their physical location with the endocrine organs.
Now the endocrines have for their task the maintenance of the chemical composition of the blood. They pour into it
their secretions, called hormones, in certain balanced proportions. If the balance is in any way upset, either by an
overplus of one secretion or shortage of another, profound changes in metabolism take place. The whole of the life
processes are regulated by the endocrines, and can be speeded up or slowed down in their different aspects as the
balance of the endocrines alters. This endocrine balance is known by physiologists to be intimately associated with
emotional states, and especially with the alertness or stolidity of the temperament. Psychologists do not sufficiently
appreciate the importance of the recent work upon the endocrines, but occultists have a knowledge of this aspect of
psycho-physiology as part of their traditional teaching. The breathing exercises of the yoga system are based upon this
knowledge, and are exceedingly potent, as are all occult practices which are brought through correctly to the physical
plane. In fact, we may say that no occult process is really potent, nor can it be said to have completed its circuit, unless
it has its point of contact with dense matter; a point which many occultists leave out of their calculations. Occultism,
though primarily a mental process, is not a purely mental process. It is both spiritual and material.
In the great majority of cases of insanity, organic brain changes cannot be demonstrated, but alienists are more and
more coming to recognise that they may look for the lues of Hecate in the blood. Its chemical composition may depart
from normal, whether owing to a change in the hormone balance or to the by-products of disease. This change in the
blood chemistry is immediately followed by a change in the emotional tone. It may become over-emotional or
depressed, apathetic or irritable. The ancients described these conditions admirably as the four humours, the sanguine,
the bilious, the limphatic and the choleric.
It has been abundantly demonstrated by physiologists that emotional states affect the chemical composition of the
blood. It is gradually being realised that these changes are brought about through the mediation of the ductless glands,
which may be called the emotional brain, just as the grey matter within the skull may be called the sensory-motor brain.
It follows, therefore, that if through some interference with their functioning the glands produce a blood-composition
corresponding to that produced by them when a particular emotional state is giving its special stimulus, the individual
will experience the physical sensations associated with the corresponding emotional state. His mind will proceed to
adjust itself to these conditions by accounting for them through the imagination as best it may. So that if there is a state
of the blood characteristic of the condition of fear, fear-images will arise in the mind. It is upon this basis that the
organic insanities produce their characteristic mental states.
Whether the emotional state be due to a mental cause or a physical cause, the result is the same for the patient. Organic
insanities are distinguished from functional ones solely by their origin. An organic insanity tends to depart further from
the normal than a functional nervous disorder, because in the latter a considerable degree of compensation takes place,
for the patient can to a great extent pull himself together and keep himself from going to disastrous extremes. This is
57 of 103?not the case with an organic insanity, which proceeds to its logical conclusion. It is for this reason that a neurotic,
although he may suffer severely, seldom has a complete breakdown unless he is sure of the necessities of life. The
self-preservation instinct keeps him on his feet.
Having considered the physical and subjective bases of mental disturbances, we are now in a position to assess
accurately the part played by the Unseen. What happens when a neurotic takes up occultism? We can best answer this
question by considering what happens when a normal person takes up occultism. He learns for the first time of the
existence of the Invisible Worlds and begins to think about them. Immediately he does this he comes into touch with
them. At first he may not be able to perceive them consciously; nevertheless he is feeling them subconsciously and they
are affecting him. His life shows this to the close observer in a thousand ways.
There are great forces moving like currents in the Unseen and we are drawn into these according to our temperamental
affinity for them. The violent personality is drawn into the Current of Mars, the emotional, suggestible one into the
sphere of Luna. The influences of these spheres play upon them. Now the occultist working under a proper system,
knowing that he has got to meet these forces sooner or later, picks them up one by one voluntarily and by means of the
appropriate rituals, and synthesises them within his own nature. He knows too that each aspect has its obverse. The
Virgin Mary is reflected in Lilith. The older faiths knew this, but popular Christianity, which has no roots in tradition,
has forgotten it. Protestant Christianity threw away its occult aspect at the Reformation. All the pagan pantheons have
gross aspects of divinities as well as etherial ones. We need to search the refuse-heap of history for the lost parts of our
own tradition if our faith is to be complete, and the most profitable line of search is in the Qabalah and the Gnostic
literature. The literature of the Gnosis has been largely destroyed by systematic persecution, but in the Qabalah there is
still left us a complete system. The Jews, being strictly monotheistic, did not speak of gods, but they recognised a
hierarchy of angels and archangels which is the equivalent of the pagan pantheons. It is through these etherial
messengers that the All-Father formed the worlds.
Let us consider once more the Qabalistic doctrine of the Qlippoth, for it has an intimate bearing upon the problem of
insanity. The doctrine of the Ten Holy Sephiroth, arranged in their correct pattern to form the Tree of Life, is
invaluable in enabling us to conceive the Invisible. The First Sephira is concentrated out of the Unmanifest, the Point
within the Circle. This emanates the Second, which in its turn emanates the Third. As soon as one has emanated
another, these two are said to be equilibrated; but when emanation is in process, there is a period of unbalanced force.
This, as it were, goes off by itself in the Cosmos and establishes a sphere of its own, unconnected with the Cosmic
system. Consequently, each sphere of the Cosmos has its counterpart in Chaos, in miniature, it is true, but nevertheless
potent and functional.
Each sphere, in the course of its evolution, builds up an Oversoul which is called by different names in different
systems. In the Qabalistic system we call them the Archangels, the Spirits before the Throne. The Sphere of the Sun is
represented by Raphael, the Sphere of the Moon by Gabriel. The Obverse Sephiroth, or Qlippoth, build up in exactly
the same way. In the Habitations of Hell these two are known as the Disputers and the Obscene Ones, whose names
sufficiently indicate their characters. The Sphere of the Sun is also the point of manifestation of the Messiah or Saviour
upon earth. The Prince of Peace has His obverse in the Disputers. Who that has had the Vision Beautiful does not
know the reaction that follows it, and the need of wisdom, self-control and patience to deal with the forces that are
released not only in the soul but in the environment? It is for this reason that periods of purgation and discipline
precede all revelations. We must keep the vigil before we can sit at the feast.
Consciousness, released from the Sphere of Earth, rises straight upwards to the Sphere of the Moon. This is the
negative, feminine, receptive, psychic sphere. From thence it passes onwards to the Sphere of the Sun. This is the
positive, masculine sphere of the higher consciousness, the vision of the seer as distinguished from the psychic. Upon
either hand the path is flanked by the Spheres of Hermetic Wisdom and Elemental Beauty.
These Spheres, which have to do with the grades of initiation, need not concern us in the present pages. We shall only
have to do with the Sphere of the Moon, Luna, the Mistress of the Luna-tic. Now Luna was represented by the ancients
under diverse forms as Diana the chaste huntress, symbol of sublimation, and Hecate, patroness of witchcraft and
childbirth. We have already noted that the Qlippoth of the Sphere of Luna are called the Obscene Ones. Hence it is that
when the unstable soul advances by the Path of Saturn that bridges the Astral and enters the Sphere of Luna, he touches
her Hecate aspect and finds himself en rappart with the Gamaliel, the Obscene Ones, whose chief is Lilith, she who
giveth lustful dreams. Need we then wonder that Freud finds the dreams of the neurotic filled with sexual images in
their most perverted and debased forms? The Rabbis knew their psychology just as well as he does.
58 of 103?As has already been noted, the neurotic is very often psychic, and the psychic is very often neurotic. What may we
expect to happen to the soul that has taken initiation in a past life, retains subconsciously the psychic development thus
conferred, and finds itself incarnated in a neurotic personality in this life? He will come under the dark dominion of the
Moon, and Lilith will be his mistress. Through the ill-fitting doors of the neurotic temperament the forces of the Abyss
find ingress. The dissociated complexes of the Microcosm are reinforced by the dissociated complexes of the
Macrocosm, for that is precisely what the Qlippoth are.
Occultists and their ignorant admirers, the superstitious, have always held that insanity had to do with demonic
possession. Modern medicine disputes this, and declares the various manifestations of the diseased mind to be due
entirely to subjective psychological processes. At present these two schools of thought are like two armed camps,
drawn up for battle and shaking their weapons at each other. Each is too sure of his own ground to be willing to give
the other a hearing. It is my belief that a common ground can be found for the meeting of these two opposing
view-points. Psychology demonstrates the mechanism of the mind and can explain the mental processes whereby the
ideas of the deranged assume their ultimate form. It can show the connection between these ideas and the dreams of the
normal mentality. What it cannot explain is the fundamental difference between these subjective states and the normal
waking consciousness. It is here that the occultist can tell the psychologist something that it is worth his while to hear,
for he can show how these visions can be produced experimentally and at will by means of ceremonial magic. And still
more important, the occultist can show him how these visions can be dispersed and the psychic faculties closed down
This brings us to the practical part of our considerations: How far can the methods of ritual magic be applied to the
relief of mental disease? They are undoubtedly palliative, but they will not produce a permanent cure unless the origin
of the disturbed mental condition is found and cleared up. Unless this be done, as fast as we disperse the phantoms,
they will re-form, because the mental state of the patient is invoking them. Under such circumstances, no magic circle
can be kept intact. As fast as we break the rapport with the Abyss, the patient renews it.
But such conditions constitute a vicious circle. The Qlippotic forces with which a contact has been established will
actively develop it, and will hold on to their victim when attempts are made to dislodge them. In this rationalistic age
we are apt to forget that there is such a thing as organised and intelligent evil. If the physical causes of this disturbance
have been cleared up, the septic focus eradicated, or the tumour pressing upon the ductless gland excised, and still the
mentality does not return to normal, an exorcism will often produce immediate and marked results.
In the case of the neurotic, whose trouble is entirely in the sphere of the mind, an exorcism is of enormous value as a
preliminary to the appropriate psycho-therapeutic treatment because it clears the ground and prevents re-infection,
giving the patient a chance to make a fresh start. It is possible for the Qlippotic demons to gain so powerful a hypnotic
influence over a victim that he is powerless to break it by any effort of his own will, nor can the orthodox type of
psycho-therapy touch the root of the trouble. The exorcism may have to be repeated two or three times in the course of
the treatment, because the rapports may be renewed after they have been broken. But once the patient's complexes have
been cleared up, they will not return. In any case, an exorcism produces marked temporary benefit; during the lull the
patient gets a chance to pull himself together and the evil influences are undermined. A courageous patient, who is
co-operating intelligently, will seldom have to be exorcised more than three times provided material conditions are
favourable. I have seen cases cleared by a single exorcism, and remaining well indefinitely so long as the patient
obeyed instructions and had nothing whatever to do with the Unseen, neither reading books upon occultism nor
associating with people who were interested in such subjects; and I have also seen the Abyss re-establish its influence
when the patient disobeyed instructions and re-awakened the old vibrations.
We need to realise that the human consciousness is not a closed vessel, but like the body, has a continual intake and
output. The cosmic forces are circulating through it all the time, like sea-water through a living sponge. Whatever
emotional state may arise within us is reinforced from outside. The subjective self only has the kindling, the Cosmos
supplies the fuel. Once the fire is started, the cosmic forces of the appropriate type will stoke it. Just as the devout
Catholic is inspired by the influences of his patron saint, invoked by prayer, so the neurotic is hag-ridden by his
obsessive demon, invoked by the morbid broodings of the dissociated subconsciousness. The occultist maintains that
the generalised principle of evil has its intelligent channels, just as the organised Principle of Good has Its ministering
spirits. Any observer who considers the phenomena of mental disturbance will find much to support this hypothesis.
59 of 103?The question of obsession is an exceedingly important one. The word is used very freely in occult circles, and is held to
mean the withdrawal of a soul from its body and its replacement by another soul, but I doubt whether this is a true
representation of what happens. It has always appeared to me that in obsession we have not got the actual replacement
of one soul by another, but the complete domination of one soul by another. It is a hypnotic domination, and we can
explain it in terms of the known psychology of hypnosis, the hypnotist in the case being an astral entity.
There is an operation in magic known as "assuming the god-form," in which the operator identifies himself in
imagination with the god and so becomes a channel for its power. It is one of the special modes of Egyptian magic
wherein the priest always wore a mask to represent the animal head symbolically attributed to the god he represented.
This imaginative identification is a method well known in occultism and is often employed in order to enter into the
inner life of a plant or a crystal as a mental exercise. The effects of it are very marked and very peculiar. I am inclined
to think that it is this method, combined with hypnosis, which is used by the obsessing entity, which first identifies
itself with its victim and then superimposes its own personality upon his, thus obtaining a vehicle of manifestation. I am
also of the opinion, however, that it is only in certain abnormal states, whether induced by disease of mind or body, or
by some of the more drastic operations of black magic, that this imposition can take place.
THE DIAGNOSIS OF A PSYCHIC ATTACK
METHODS EMPLOYED IN MAKING A PSYCHIC ATTACK
ANYONE who reads the old books on witchcraft, usually compiled by the professional witch-finders from the
confessions of alleged witches extorted under torture, will find that the phenomena described fall into certain broad
categories which are so constant in (lifferent ages and in different parts of the world that we are left with the impression
that there must be some fire behind so much smoke. The State records of witch-trials in Scotland, the reports of a priest
charged with the task of extirpating witchcraft in Northern Italy, the archives of Brittany, the stories of magic in
classical literature, and finally, travellers' accounts of the practices of primitive people all over the world, all
corroborate each other, agreeing as to the phenomena described, the explanations given by the witches of their
methods, and the broad divisions into which the phenomena fall.
We must first take account of the use of drugs, of which the Black Fraternity in all ages have possessed a remarkable
knowledge. Potions, unguents and fumigations were used extensively, and among all the weird and wonderful
ingredients of which they were composed we now and again find substances which are known to be medicinally potent.
The poppy which gives sleep and dreams, hemp which gives visions, datura which produces loss of memory, blighted
grains which produce abortion, certain insects which are powerfully aphrodisiac, certain barks which are effectually
anaphrodisiac, and, in the New World, the buds of a certain cactus—all these and many others play their part in
the witchbrews. Paracelsus earned fame by turning some of the traditional magical brews to medicinal purposes. The
Borgias earned infamy by employing them as subtle poisons which destroyed the mind without necessarily destroying
the body. It is related that the Roman philos opher Lucretius was driven insane by a magical draught given him by his
wife in order to restore to her his lost affections. There exist old recipes for witch-unguents which contain opium and
cantharides. It is not difficult to imagine what manner of dreams would come in the sleep thus induced. C. S. Ollivier,
60 of 103?in his recent book, Analysis of Magic and Witchcraft, gives it as his opinion that attendance at the Sabbat was often
achieved by means of drug-induced dreams.
Subtle poisons also undoubtedly play a part in the effectiveness of curses, a favourite method being to make a talisman
of brass, copper or lead, and fasten it incon spicuously at the bottom of a drinking vessel or cooking pot. What effect
the talisman had is conjectural, but there is no doubt at all about the effect of the steady dissolving of small quantities
of lead and verdigris in the food.
But while all these things were a part, and a considerable part, of the witch-cult, they cannot, strictly speaking, be
considered a psychic method of attack, and we only refer to them in these pages in order that their effects may be
excluded from the diagnosis.
There are three factors in a psychic attack, any or all of which may be employed in a given instance. The first of these
is telepathic hypnotic suggestion. The second is the reinforcement of the suggestion by the invocation of certain
invisible agencies. The third is the employment of some physical substance as a point d'appui, point of contact, or
magnetic link. The force employed may be used as direct current, transmitted by the mental concentration of the
operator, or it may be reserved in a kind of psychic storage battery, which may be either an artificial elemental or a
In Chapter II we have considered in some detail the psychology of suggestion, and need not repeat what has already
been said, save to remind the reader that the essence of telepathy consists in the sympathetic induction of vibra tion.
Experimental psychologists are already suspecting that emotion is closely akin to electricity; they have proved
conclusively that emotional states alter the electrical con ductivity of the body. The occultist believes that emotion is a
force of an electrical type, and that in the case of the ordinary man it radiates out from him in all directions, forming a
magnetic field; but in the case of the trained occultist it can be concentrated into a beam and directed. Supposing you
are able to concentrate your whole attention upon a single feeling, inhibiting all else, you will have achieved a pure
emotional state, unadulterated and undiluted. All the life-force coming into your soul will therefore flow in this single
subdivision of a single channel instead of in the many ramifications of the usual three channels previously referred to.
The concentration will be terrific, but it will only be achieved at a terrific price. It is in order to achieve this terrible
concentration that the saints of the West and the yogis of the East practise a torturing asceticism. You must sell all that
you possess in order to purchase this pearl of great price, and an echo of the method lingers in the fairy-tale tradition
that the person who finds the lucky stone can only have one wish. Such a concentration is good for one purpose, and
one purpose only. We can concentrate on a healing, or on a destruction, but we cannot work at both simultaneously;
neither can we readily change over from one to the other. We cannot com bine incompatibles within the limits of a
single life. That is to say, if we have concentrated on a work of malediction and death in order to achieve an act of
revenge, our rage being satiated, we cannot immediately reverse the spin of the soul and reconcentrate upon works of
wisdom and redemption. We may liken the soul moving with the tide of evolution to a wheel spinning clockwise, or
deosil; and a soul moving against the tide of evolution to a wheel spinning counter clockwise, or widdershins. The
position of the axle can be altered so that the wheel revolves at any angle without the direction of its revolution being
effected, but the flywheel has to be stopped before the engine can be reversed, and a big flywheel takes a great deal of
stopping. Moreover, in order to reverse the flywheel, we have to stop the engine. The normal movement of the soul is
deosil, forward with the current of evolution. We need to think many times before we undertake to reverse that spin
even momentarily, in order to undertake a work of malediction and death. The old saying, "There is the devil to pay," is
a true one. Indeed, it is questionable whether there is such a thing as a momen tary reversal of spin. Momentum has to
be checked and worked up again before reversal of spin can take place.
Very great forces can be developed by this subjective concentration of the mind itself, but even greater forces can be
rendered available if we apply the mechanical equivalent of gearing; if, in other words, while this tre mendous
concentration is being held, we pick up the contacts of the corresponding cosmic force. We use the powers of the
human mind as a self-starter, and as soon as its lesser driving- wheel is flying round merrily, we throw in the clutch of
the main engine. There is a brief period of struggle as the little machine forces over the reluctant levers of the great
machine, then the vapour fires and the engine takes up its work. After that it is only a matter of engaging the gears and
driving - if you can! So it is with ceremonial magic.
Let us consider a concrete case of someone who wants to avail himself of a fighting force. He would have recourse to a
ceremony of the planet Mars. He would therefore gather together in his temple all that was appropriate to Mars. He
would drape his altar with a scarlet cloth; he would himself wear a scarlet robe. All his magical implements would be
61 of 103?of iron and his rod of power would be a naked sword. Upon his altar he would place five lights, five being the number
of Mars. Upon his breast would be the symbol of Mars engraved upon a steel pentagon. On his hand would be a ruby
ring. He would burn sulphur and saltpetre in his thurible. Then, according to the work in hand, he would call upon the
angelic or demonic aspect of the Fifth Sephira, Geburah, the sphere of Mars. He would invoke either the deity-name in
Geburah, calling upon the God of Battles to hear him, or the arch-devil of the Fifth Infernal Habitation. Having
performed this mighty invocation, he would then offer himself upon the altar as the channel for the manifestation of the
There are many formulae extant designed to enable a force to be brought through without the necessity of the magician
himself being the channel. In my opinion they are one and all ineffectual; the only possible substitute for the magician
himself being a trance medium. It is for this reason that ritual magic so often fails to come off. You cannot make
custards without breaking eggs, and if you mean to be a magician you have got to "go the whole hog." When it is a
question of bringing through the angelic aspect of a force, the matter is on a clear footing. To be the channel of such a
force is a great privilege and is an initiation in itself. The operator has simply to eliminate from his nature all incom
patibles and maintain his concentration without wavering. The worst that can happen is that he should fail to obtain his
results. But when it comes to bringing through the demonic aspect of a sphere, the matter is on an entirely different
footing. Very few people care to offer themselves for the manifestation of such a force as Asmodeus. I do not believe
that there is any reliable device for invoking the devils without being obsessed by them save the method of Abramelin,
which involves six months' preparation and is only operated after the knowledge and conversation of the Holy
Guardian Angel have been attained. The edge of the Abyss is well fenced. It is not possible to fire a gnn and avoid the
Having invoked and concentrated his force, our sorcerer has next to consider his target. He has to get into astral contact
with his victim. In order to do this, he must form a rapport, not quite as easy as might be imagined. First he has to find
his victim and establish a point of contact in his sphere, and then, working from this base, succeed in piercing his aura.
An unfocussed force is not very much use. A focus has to be achieved. The usual method is to obtain some object
which is impregnated with the intended victim's magnetism, a lock of hair, nail-paring, or something habitually worn or
handled. Such an object is magnetically connected with its owner, and the sorcerer can work up the trail and thus enter
the sphere of his victim and establish a rapport. He then proceeds as does any other practitioner of suggestion who has
succeeded in getting his victim into the first stages of hypnosis. By means of the magnetic link he has gamed the
psychic ear of his victim, who will hear his suggestions subconsciously. It now remains to be seen whether the
thought-seeds thus planted will strike root or be cast out from the mind. In any case the victim is rendered disturbed and
If a magnetic link cannot be obtained, the practitioner of black magic has to fall back upon other devices. One of the
most common is that of Substitution. Something is chosen and by means of ceremonial is identified with the intended
Victim. For instance, a small animal may be baptised with the victim's name, and then immolated, usually with torture,
the operator meanwhile concentrating upon the personality of the original. The old device of making a wax image and
melting it before a fire, or driving nails into a wooden statue, baptised with the name of the victim, are frequently met
with in the records of witch-trials. The actual driving of the nail has no conceivable effect upon the victim, but it helps
the concentration of the operator.
The talismanic method in various forms is also employed. A talisman is a symbol representing a certain force, or
combination of forces, depicted upon a suitable substance and magnetised by ritual. It can be made from anything
which will retain magnetism; metals, precious stones or parchment are usually employed; paper is less effective unless
it be enclosed in a metal case. Water and oil can be effectually magnetised but soon lose their potency. A talisman is
made by invoking the requisite force, as already described, and then concentrating it upon the prepared object, which is
placed ready upon the altar before the evocation begins.
A talisman thus made has next to be brought into the magnetic sphere of the victim. It is related that Lady Burton,
anxious to convert her free-thinking husband, the famous Sir Richard Burton, the great explorer, used to get her priest
to bless little statues of the saints and put them in the pockets of his clothes. A similar device is used by the workers of
black occultism. Magnetised objects are placed in the rooms habitually occupied by the victim, or buried in his path, so
that he must pass over them frequently. These talismans of evil not only work by their own power, but also serve the
sorcerer as a point of concentration for his meditations.
Harmful effects are also produced by objects which have been used in black magic and have become impregnated with
62 of 103?the forces they were employed in generating. Odds and ends of magical equipment turn up in some queer places. I was
present at an auction in a country town when the twelve signs of the Zodiac, neatly painted on a blackboard, came up
for sale. Various of my friends have picked up magical treasures, such as altar lamps and incense burners that
obviously came out of ritual lodges, but the prize of the collection was a magical rod that was put up to auction along
with a bundle of fire-irons. Large crystals for scrying are frequently seen in antique shops. All such things need
carefully de-magnetising before they are brought into one's psychic sphere.
I was taking part at one time in a series of psychic experi ments which had been going on very well, when, for no
apparent reason, things went wrong and there was a con siderable upheaval. We did not know at the time, but we learnt
later, that the owner of the flat where they were being held had obtained possession of a floor-cloth that had been used
in ritual magic by an occultist whom only the utmost leniency could call doubtful.
The artificial elemental is really the basis of the efficacy of curses. in this case no physical substance is employed, but a
portion of the Akasha is moulded into a definite form and held thus by the will of the operator until, as it were, it "sets."
Into this mould is poured the concentrated energy of the operator, something of his own self goes into it. This is its
soul, and it is like a self-steering torpedo which is set to move in a curve towards a chosen mark. Or the operator, if an
expert magician, may deliberately ensoul this thought-form with elemental essence, which is the raw, undifferentiated
substance of life drawn from one or another of the elemental kingdoms. It is in order to do this that the curse is invoked
in the name of some being. The curser declares, "I curse you by so and so." This is the form of evocation which calls
the ensouling essence into the thought- form, thus making an artificial elemental which is endowed with an
independent life of its own.
If we want to know something of the efficacy of curses, we have only to consider the record of the men who were
connected with the opening of the famous Tut-ankh-amen tomb. There are many other cases equally well authenticated.
One can become exposed to occult unpleasantness either by thwarting or in some other way falling foul of an un
scrupulous occultist, or by getting oneself involved with a dubious occult fraternity. In the case of a quarrel with an
occultist, in addition to the ordinary human motives for an abuse of power, one has to reckon with the fact that an adept
who is not of the whitest nearly always suffers from that unpleasant psychic disease of "hypertrophied ego." He will
love power for its own sake, and take any defection on the part of an erstwhile follower, or any resistance to his
imperious will as a personal insult or even injury. With a trained mind, an angry thought will do damage, and I have
known cases of occultists who, out of pure pique, went to extraordinary lengths of spite. One can only hope that they
did not really believe in the efficacy of what they did, and were merely playing to the gallery "pour encourager les
autres" and ensure loyalty among their supporters.
Another thing which is particularly disliked by this type of adept is any attempt on the part of a pupil who has broken
with him to make use of what he has been taught. There seem to be no lengths to which a jealous guru will not go in
order to smash his chela psychically.
In one case which came to my knowledge a concert singer had had "treatment" for the improvement of her voice from
an adept of sorts. She finally decided that she would spend no more money on this enterprise, and told him so at the
visit which she had decided should be the last. He concentrated his gaze upon her and told her that if she broke with
him, as soon as she went on the concert platform she would see his face in the air in front of her, and her throat would
close and she would be unable to utter asound, and that this horrible experience would occur every time she tried to
sing until she returned to him and continued to have "treatment" (at a guinea a time). This potent hypnotic suggestion
proved effective, and her career was at an end until the spell was broken.
The following letter contains a very illuminating experi ence, and is of value, not only for its account of a psychic
attack, but also for its description of the manner in which the attack was combated.
"In the winter of 1921-2 I was told (from the Inner Planes), 'We see your initiation into the Order of the Christ.'
I did not understand very clearly and I waited.
"In June, 1922, an Oriental, the head of a great religious Order, came to see me. (I was living in Switzerland.) We will
call him Z. I expected great things from him and looked on him as a sort of Master. Knowing that he had met Abdul
Baha, I thought to please him by putting A. B.'s photo on my walls, but when Z. entered my room I saw at once that he
63 of 103?did not quite like it. We conversed for a while and he asked me several questions. Suddenly he offered me initiation
into his Order. I was taken aback and did not feel the inner consent. I said I must reflect. Later on an inspiration (?)
came to me and I said, 'Is your Order the Order of the Christ?' He answered, 'It is.' I told him of my experience (related
above) and accepted initiation; but I had the inner conviction that all was not right.
"I felt no inner response to several incidents during the initiation, and I began to call mentally and earnestly upon the
Christ, and kept on doing so until the end of the ceremony. (I learned afterwards that he had told one of his disciples
that I had accepted initiation but not the Master.)
"It would take too long to relate other less important details so I go on to our second interview during which he asked
me several times to leave the town where I was and to join him in active work. This time I heard the inner voice clearly;
it said, 'No.' Suddenly he said, 'Sit in front of me; I will heal you.' (I was in very bad health at the time.) He fixed his
eyes on mine with a strong commanding gaze. Mentally I called on the Christ and I felt form all round me a sort of
shell. 'There,' he said, 'I have healed you.' The inner voice said, 'No.'
"Well, he went away and I had a 'bad time,' for I had the feeling that all was not right, though I had no suspicion of evil.
(Nor have I now.)
"I wrote an account of this interview to a friend, and a letter from her crossed mine. She told me that about the time of
my interview with Z., of which she was unaware, she was told to join our spiritual teacher in helping me. She withdrew
from the Outer Planes, and then she realised that strong hypnotic forces were playing upon me in waves. Again and
again she had to use all her spiritual power to help me withstand them, but finally 'we stood on a rock, bathed in light
and free.' My letter gave her the key to it; but she replied, 'Take care, Z. will try again. He realised that he was baffled;
he will try on the Inner Planes next time.'
"Now comes the great experience. A few weeks later, at night, I had a very vivid vision, it seemed; but it was a real
experience. I was in the middle of a group of seven or eight persons of whom I saw two clearly. On my left was a
woman entirely veiled in black, but she made a startlingly clear figure for all that. On the right was Z. He said, ' Now I
will give her the second, the higher initiation.' And he seized my right arm with force. But I disengaged myself, and
standing straight and calm I said (I can hear myself now), 'Before this ceremony proceeds I wish to make a statement. I
can allow nothing and no one to come between me and the Christ.' There was a howl, a tossing of hands and every
"Soon after I tore up my initiation card, put Z. out of my mind and have had no conscious personal experience of him
"But I had introduced him to a young French musician of high social standing, whom he found much to his taste. (We
will call him F.) There is a close friendship between F. and me, and at that time he needed some Oriental music for one
of his compositions - on the other hand, he might have been extremely useful to Z., towards whom he felt strongly
attracted. After my own experience I began to be much alarmed, but felt that I was not big enough to deal with the
situation, so I said nothing to F. but prayed that he might be protected from all evil. Shortly afterwards F. told me in his
letters of various astral experiences. In his dreams he was going through all sorts of disagreeable things and voices kept
saying to him, 'Ask Z. to help you. He will help you.' Then he became conscious of my presence and began calling on
the Christ (all this in his dream) and everything vanished. This happened more than once. Only when I met him again
did I tell him of my own experience.
"I must add that a friend with psychic power came to see me at this time and said, 'This last week, at night, I have seen
you three times. You asked me to help you save a young man who was in danger. What did it mean?'"
The above case indicates clearly the deliberate use of mental power by Z. His pretence of "spiritual healing" being an
obvious attempt at hypnosis. My correspondent says definitely that she has never suspected him of deliberate evil;
rather was he acting rightly according to his lights. I maintain, however, that any attempt to dominate others, or in any
way to manipulate their minds without their consent, is an unwarrantable intrusion upon their freewill and a crime
against the integrity of the soul. How can we judge the intimate spiritual needs of another, especially if that other has
not elected to confide in us? What right have we to invade his spiritual privacy and thrust our tampering fingers into the
wheels of his innermost being? It is so common a practice to send the names of people to healing circles with a request
64 of 103?that they should be concentrated upon, without taking the preliminary precaution of asking their permission, that I have
heard it announced from the platform of a large Spiritualist public meeting that only those cases could be taken up
which gave their written consent.
Fortunately for all concerned, the proceedings at such "healing circles" are usually so futile that nobody need mind
being concentrated upon by them even if they were attempting murder. The principle, however, remains, and I can only
record my opinion once more, as I have already recorded it many times, that such a proceeding is an outrageous breach
of good manners and good faith, and contrary to all occult tradition. I think I can honestly say that I have never wished
to direct the great currents of destruction upon my fellow-occultists, but there are some of them I would like to get face
downwards across my knee!
THE MOTIVES OF PSYCHIC ATTACK. I
WE have noted in a previous chapter that the simplest way to find out whether the victim of an alleged psychic
attack is romancing or not, is to seek for motives, and if they are not discernible, to give imagination the benefit of the
doubt. The commonplace motives of greed, lust, revenge and fear of betrayal do not need psychic discernment for their
discovery but are perceptible to the naked eye. There are other motives, however, that may be operative in occult
circles but which would be passed by unsuspected by the ordinary investigator.
The old charm-books that have come down to us, mostly via the servants' hall, are replete with recipes for securing the
love of the opposite sex. The ancient grimoires supply more elaborate ritual prescriptions, and the reports of witch-trials
contain frequent indictments of the wise woman who, for a consideration, undertook to direct people's affections
towards persons for whom they apparently had no natural predilection. Are such operations to be taken seriously, or
should we class them with the anti-fat pills that reduce without dieting?
We have already referred to the old love-philtres. The ancients were well acquainted with the aphrodisiac drugs which
excited sexual passion. Nor are the modems altogether ignorant of them, as carefully-worded advertisements in certain
occult publications reveal. There are firms in France which specialise in the manufacture of chocolates which contain
masked doses of these drugs. Publicity was given to their productions recently owing to the death of two girls and a
man through taking overdoses. There are cocktails in use in this country containing so-called "tonic" ingredients whose
effect is well known. If these are not "love-philtres," what are they?
We are not concerned in these pages with methods that belong solely to the physical plane, but these matters call for
mention because there are grounds for belief that upon more than one occasion, even in this country, aphrodisiacs have
been employed as an adjuvant to occult practices. There was a certain firm which began to advertise extensively and
was building up a nice business in what might be called "occultist's sundries." Among other preparations which they
supplied was "Incense for the operation of Venus." However, the firm came to an untimely end through the intervention
of the police, both partners going to jail.
But apart from the use of purely material means, it is not difficult to see what uses could be made of mental influence in
this direction. I have seen several cases that looked extremely suspicious, but in these matters it is very difficult to get
at the facts. The manner of attack is intangible and leaves no trace, and the victim may be unsuspicious and entirely
ignorant not only of the psychic side of sex, but also of its physical and subtler emotional aspects. Moreover, those who
have suffered most usually talk least. One may occasionally hear of the attempt which was frustrated. The attempt
65 of 103?which was successful very rarely comes to light because the victim has just as much motive for concealing it as the
When we come to purely occult practices, there are two ways in which the desired end can be achieved; psychic
pressure may be brought to bear upon the desired person so that he or she shall come under the influence of the
operator; or the psychic operation known as congressus subtilis may take place.
What exactly is congressus subtilis? We shall have to know a good deal more than we do at present about the occult
side of sex before we can answer that question. In the first place, what are the facts, or alleged facts, of the matter? The
ancients held very definite beliefs upon the subject, and these beliefs can very often afford us a clue, even if we do not
accept the very anthropomorphic explanations by which they are accompanied.
It was believed that the arch-demon Lilith had a very great deal to do with these matters. According to the Qabalists,
Lilith was the first wife of Adam, who used to visit him in his dreams while he was as yet alone in the Garden of Eden,
and the Lord God became so perturbed at these goings-on that He created Eve as a counter- attraction. Witches were
the recipients of similar attentions from the Devil. St. Theresa of Avila records that the Godhead Itself visited her. The
Virgin Mary received the Holy Ghost. St. Anthony was tempted by apparitions of beautiful female demons. There are
many cases on record of whole nunneries being attacked by the Devil, who visited their members. George Moore, in his
exceedingly interesting study of convent life, Sister Theresa, gives an account of an outbreak of "Counterparts" among
the younger nuns, in which they formed liaisons with angelic lovers, who were supposed to be the souls of those who
were drowned in the Flood. We read in Genesis and in the Book of Enoch that the Sons of God mated with the
daughters of men, and the demonic race was the result. The folk-lore of every country contains instances of the mating
of humans with elementals, usually with disastrous consequences. Classical literature is full of stories of the visits of
gods and goddesses to human kind. What shall we say of all such stories? Is there any element in them beyond
fairy-tale and wish-fulfilment? We can readily understand the motive of the nun who, wishing to conceal the identity of
her paramour, declares herself to be with child by the Devil. We can equally understand the psychology of the rest of
the convent that take up the story and see the Devil in every corner.
Let me cite certain cases which have come within my personal knowledge and see whether in the light of these we can
sift fact from phantasy. There came to visit me once a young man who was in love with a married woman. He told me
that upon several occasions he had had a very vivid dream of visiting her, and she had simultaneously dreamed of
receiving his visit. He was anxious to perfect the technique of this operation, hence the visit to me. I am afraid I was
unsympathetic, consequently I did not obtain any further information concerning this curious experiment.
An even more curious case came to my knowledge some years ago. A woman told me that in the days of her youth she
had been engaged to marry a man to whom she was very deeply attached, and who was murdered while working as a
missionary in West Africa. Having lost the only man she felt she could love, she consented to marry a second cousin
who had long been in love with her, and who was a semi-invalid. Whenever she had relations with her husband, she
always visualised the form of her first lover. She herself was short, dark and petite. Her husband, a blood relation, was
similar in type to herself, and a weed into the bargain. But her three sons were tall, upstanding blond men of the nordic
type, bearing a strong resemblance to the dead man. The truth of this story was vouched for to me by a friend of the
I have know personally two alleged "changelings." The male had the pointed ears of Pan, and if anyone was ever a son
of the Devil, he was. The female was a curious and fascinating creature, essentially non-human, and when her child
was born it came into the world with no more trouble than a kitten. Both these beings were conceived when their
mothers were under the influence of drink, and both of them were characterised by a marked callousness, which in one
case developed into deliberate cruelty. Although very peculiar to look at, neither of them was in the least defective,
both being, in fact, possessed of considerably more than the average share of brains.
Anyone who has any knowledge of the esoteric aspect of sex knows that union is as much etheric as physical. It is this
fact which constitutes the real difference between normal union and self-abuse, and explains why the former is
vitalising and harmonising, and the latter is exhausting and nerve-wrecking. May we not conceive it possible for
anyone who can project the etheric body, or a being whose densest vehicle is etheric, to play a part in unions under
certain conditions? And if we accept the theory of medium- ship, or of obsession, which is a pathological form of
mediumship, what shall we say concerning the possibility of a union while one or other of the partners is under control?
What maimer of soul might come through into incarnation under such conditions?
66 of 103?Medieval tradition recognised two classes of demons which invade sleep, and called them Incubi and Succubi. These
were held to be responsible for lascivious dreams. Modern psychology discounts their services and looks nearer home.
The psychic, however, is of the opinion that there is something in the old belief, and that the lustful imaginings of men's
hearts (and women's too, for that matter) do indeed produce artificial elementals according to the method described in a
previous chapter, and that these elementals are something more than subjective images, and have an objective etheric
existence and play their part in the genesis of certain experiences. For instance, a person may have dreams and
phantasies of a lascivious nature, and these may give rise to their characteristic thought-forms; these thought-forms,
now existing independently of the mind that originally conceived them, and being in the aura of that person, give him
suggestion just as any other thought-forms projected telepathically from the mind of another person might do. We little
realise the extent to which we give ourselves telepathic suggestion by means of extruded thought-forms. We are, in
fact, ensphered by our own atmospheres, emanated by ourselves. I remember being told as a child that if a bird-cage
were hung immediately under the canopy of an old-fashioned four-poster bed, the bird would be found dead in the
morning, poisoned by the carbonic acid gas exhaled by the sleeper lying below. We little realise the extent to which we
are psychically poisoned by our own emanations of unguarded and unpurified thoughts.
It is well known that orgasm takes place in dreams, accompanied by appropriate dream-pictures. The ancients believed
that such an experience was due to the action of demons. Moderns believe it to be due to physical tension. It is not so
generally known that there are people, both male and female, who can produce the same reaction at will solely by
means of day-dreams. May we not ask ourselves whether it cannot also be produced by means of telepathic suggestion,
and whether this may not have played a part in the operations of many covens?
There is another curious phase of this aspect of the Left- hand Path, which was brought to my knowledge through a
case which came into my hands. A young girl, simple minded and unsophisticated, living a very isolated life with a
widowed mother, went to consult a well-known psychic, whom we will call Mr. X. In the circle in which both Miss Y.
and Mr. X. moved there was another, and prominent figure, whom we will call Mr. Z., who had a reputation for a
knowledge of magic. Mr. X. told Miss Y. that he had read the records of her past lives, and that there was a karmic tie
between herself and Mr. Z., and that she could help him in his work by pouring out upon him her love and magnetism.
She was instructed to meditate upon Mr. Z. every night as she lay in bed, until she fell asleep. This poor girl, lonely and
unsuspicious, gave herself up unreservedly to this task. Presently, however, she began to grow uneasy. Her common
sense asserted itself, for she found the meditations she was required to perform were having a very disturbing effect
upon her; but Mr. X. allayed her fears and recalled her to her allegiance by assuring her that he had looked into the
future and seen that eventually Mr. Z. would marry her. By now she had upon her hands a heart-breaking love affair
which was making her very unhappy and unfitting her for work. A number of letters upon the subject were exchanged
between Miss Y. and Mr. X., which I have seen. I did my best to persuade her to drop the whole affair. Mr. X.
succeeded in persuading her to go on with it, playing upon her feelings and telling her how terrible would be the plight
of Mr. Z. if she withdrew her psychic support, and renewing his assurance of a karmic tie which would result in an
ultimate marriage if she were faithful. Miss Y., pitifully distressed and bewildered, betook herself to certain of the
leaders of the organisation to which all three of them belonged. These people seconded my advice that she should
discontinue these practices, but persuaded her to surrender the very compromising letters which were in her possession.
Having secured these, they declared that the whole transaction was imagination on her part, and instead of turning this
choice pair of scoundrels out of their ranks, let them continue to function as usual.
This would be a strange enough case if it were an isolated one, but it is not. Another woman came to me about this time
in a state bordering on insanity, and told me that she too had been consulting Mr. X., who had told her that she had
already received initiation on the Inner Planes, though she might not be conscious of it, and that her psychic faculties
were on the point of opening (a stock remark of his), but if she wanted to make real progress on the Path she must
cease to live with her husband and he (Mr. X.) would put her in touch with her astral soul-mate. The consequence of
this precious advice was to break up her home and send her out of her mind. One day, walking in the Park, she met Mr.
Z., and declared him to be her astral lover, a statement which Mr. X. confirmed, and embellished with the information
that Mr. Z. was also the Master who would initiate her.
I tried to persuade her to bring the whole transaction to a summary conclusion and return to her husband, but she
replied that she could never do this after the astral experiences she had had. Mr. X. re-established his influence over
her, she left the address at which I had known her, and I have never heard what became of her. Her condition when I
last saw her was deplorable - emaciated, wild-eyed and twitching with convulsive movements.
67 of 103?Would anyone believe the story of such a woman? Obviously no one, unless they had seen the letters that I had seen.
Nor is this the only case; a fellow-worker of mine told me of two precisely similar ones which had come to her
knowledge in connection with Mr. X. It is cases such as these which make the honest investigator of occult phenomena
thankful that there is upon our statute-book a law which enables magistrates to deal effectually with occultists who
prostitute their powers. It is so generally known that no initiate may use the occult arts for gain that it is difficult to
sympathise with people who pay some advertising occultist his half-crown or half-guinea and then find themselves let
in for unpleasantness.
What conclusions may we draw from the incidents that I have related, for the facts of which I can vouch from personal
knowledge? Four women are persuaded to embark upon a meditation process whose aim is to pour out force. The
nature of the force that is to be poured out is indicated by the fact that the married women are instructed not to live with
their husbands and the unmarried girl is encouraged to fall in love with the man who is made the focus of the operation.
This man is the head of a group of people known to be occupied with practical occultism and ceremonial. The
conclusion I draw is that an occult experiment was afoot, and that, regardless of the consequences to them, these
women were being made use of in order to carry it out, the procurer being the well-known psychic, Mr. X., and the
operator the notorious Mr. Z.
The same group have to their credit a recurring series of scandals in connection with unnatural vice. If this were merely
vice as such it would not come within the purview of these pages, but it appears to be used systematically as a means of
obtaining occult power. Those who have any knowledge of the deeper aspects of occultism know that sex force is one
of the manifestations of kundalini, the serpent- fire that according to Tantric philosophy lies coiled at the base of the
spine, or in the terms of Western occultism, the sacral plexus. The control and concentration of the kundalini force is an
important part of the technique of practical occultism. There is a right way of directing it through thought-control, the
technique of which I have explained in my little book, The Problem of Purity (Rider); but there is also another method,
which consists in stimulating this force, and then directing it into abnormal channels where it will not be absorbed, but
remain available for magical purposes. It is for this reason that in certain forms of the Black Mass the altar is the naked
body of a woman who may either be still living, or have been slain sacrificially. A. E. W. Mason gives an account of
such a transaction in his book, The Prisoner in the Opal.
Less expert operators, however, cannot control this form of force; as soon as they generate it, it has to go to its logical
conclusion. They therefore employ another type of stimulus, not the woman, but the boy or youth. The practice of
paederasty in connection with occultism is very old, and was one of the causes of the degeneration of the Greek
I have dealt with these subjects in some detail in another book of mine, Sane Occultism. Particulars of the actual cases
can be found by reference to the files of Truth, the journal already referred to.
THE MOTIVES OF PSYCHIC ATTACK. II
IT is a matter of general knowledge among occultists that it is not a pleasant thing to fall foul of an occult fraternity
of which one has been made a member by means of a ceremonial initiation and to which one is bound by oaths. As we
have already seen, the malignant mind of a trained occultist is a nasty weapon; how much more so the group-mind
formed out of a number of trained minds, especially if concentrated by means of ritual?
But in addition to the individual mental force of the members of a fraternity, and in addition to the collective force of its
group-mind, there is another factor to be reckoned with when a genuine occult organisation is concerned in operations
68 of 103?of either protection or destruction. Every occult organisation depends for Its power to initiate upon what are called its
"contacts," that is to say, upon one or more of its leaders being psychically in touch with certain forces. If, in addition to
this, the organisation has a long line of tradition behind it, a very potent collection of thought-forms will be built up in
its atmosphere. Every initiation ceremony contains in some form or other the Oath of the Mysteries, which binds the
candidate neither to reveal the secrets of the Mysteries nor to abuse the knowledge they bestow. This oath always
contains a Penalty Clause and an Invocation wherein the candidate submits himself to a penalty in the event of a breach
of faith, and calls upon some Being to exact the penalty. Some of these oaths are most formidable affairs, and they are
administered with every circumstance of solemnity that stage management can devise. The way in which the occult
fraternities have succeeded in preserving their secrets shows how seldom these oaths are broken.
In the event of a dispute with an occult fraternity, the force invoked in this oath may come into action automatically. If
the recalcitrant brother is in the spirit of the tradition and it is his chiefs who are at fault, the power invoked in the oath
will be a potent protective influence with which the chiefs themselves will collide. If, on the other hand, he breaks faith
with the Mysteries, this avenging punitive current will come into action although his defection may pass undiscovered.
I was informed by an eye-witness of an incident which took place at an initiation, in which the candidate, a man to all
appearances normal in every way, after taking the oath in the usual manner, suddenly screamed most terribly, startling
everyone, and was ill for some weeks as if from a severe nervous shock, and never had anything more to do with
occultism. No explanation of the incident was ever forthcoming. I was present myself upon one occasion when a batch
of three candidates was being "done," and it was suddenly noticed in the course of the ceremony that the number of the
candidates had become reduced to two. Enquiry elicited the fact that the third had taken fright and fled.
What happened in these two cases, I do not know; whether there had been a breach of good faith, or whether one was
intended, no one can say; but something put the fear of the Lord into these two individuals pretty effectually. That no
such shock is inherent in the ceremony is proved by the fact that these are the only two cases in my experience, and I
have seen a very large number of ceremonies. Person ally, when I took my own initiation I felt as if I had come into
harbour after a stormy voyage.
Another man who was intimately known to me as an advanced occultist was turned out of the Order to which he
belonged, why, I do not know, but from what I saw of him I should imagine there were plenty of reasons. In defiance of
his initiation oath he began to work an independent lodge. He was warned to desist, and did so, dismantling his temple.
But he immediately began to get together another temple in a carefully concealed place; and this time he was more
ambitious, for he made ready to attempt the Greater Mysteries. He was an exceedingly clever craftsman and made all
the equipment of the temple with his own hands so that no one should know what was afoot. Concealed behind
Nottingham lace curtains in a mean street in West London was a beautiful little temple of the Greater Mysteries. He
completed this work after some months of arduous toil, no one knowing of it save those in his immediate confidence.
But before commencing the actual ritual work he went away for a short holiday at the seaside, and there he was seized
with a heart attack while sitting on the beach and died in four hours. The Order secrets were not betrayed.
Another man who had had a dispute with the same famous Order, printed and published their secrets as an act of
revenge. He was a man of good social position, considerable wealth and brilliant literary abilities, already making a
name for himself as a writer. From that moment be began to go downhill, and came to poverty and disgrace. The curse
of Ahasuerus seemed to be upon him, and he was hounded from country to country, finding no abiding place. No
publisher will handle his books, no paper will review them.
Let me finally tell of my own experiences in an astral skirmish. I wrote a series of articles on the abuses prevalent in
occult fraternities, and these were published in the Occult Review. My writing is largely inspirational, a great deal
"coming through" of which I have no previous knowledge, and in this particular case I evidently shot a great deal better
than I knew, and got myself into serious trouble. My first intimation of it was a sense of uneasiness and restlessness.
Next came a feeling as if the barriers between the Seen and the Unseen were full of rifts and I kept on getting glimpses
of the Astral mingling with my waking consciousness. This, for me, is unaccustomed, for I am not naturally psychic,
and in the technique in which I was trained we are taught to keep the different levels of consciousness strictly separate
and to use a specific method for opening and closing the gates. Consequently one seldom gets spontaneous psychism.
One's vision resembles the use of a microscope in which one examines prepared material.
The general sense of vague uneasiness gradually matured into a definite sense of menace and antagonism, and
presently I began to see demon faces in flashes, resembling those picture-images which psychologists call by the
unpleasing name of hypnogogics, flashes of dream which appear upon the threshold of sleep. I was quite unsuspicious
69 of 103?of any particular individual, though I realised that my articles had probably stirred somebody up pretty thoroughly;
what was my surprise, then, to receive from a person whom I looked upon as a friend and for whom I had the greatest
respect, a letter which left me in no doubt whatever as to the source of the attack and what I might expect if any more
articles were published. I can honestly say that until I received this letter I had not the slightest suspicion that this
person was implicated in the scandals I was attacking.
I was in a somewhat difficult position; I had fired off a charge of shrapnel on general principles, and had apparently
"bagged" a number of my friends and associates and fluttered the dove-cote generally. My position was rather
complicated by the fact that I did not know nearly as much as they apparently suspected me of doing; I had, of course,
known that these abuses existed sporadically about the occult field, as everybody in the movement knows; but to know
in this vague way is one thing, and to put one's finger on specific cases is another. I had evidently blundered into
something much more considerable than I had bargained for. I felt like the small boy who, fishing for minnows, has
hooked a pike. I had to decide whether I would try and get my articles back from the Occult Review, or whether I
would let them run their natural course and take the con sequences. I had had a very strong impulse to write those
articles, and now I began to see why I had had it. I shall have something to say in another chapter concerning the
Watchers, that curious section of the Occult Hierarchy which is concerned with the welfare of nations. A certain
section of their work is apparently concerned with the policing of the Astral Plane. Very little is actually known about
them. One comes across their work sporadically and pieces the bits together. I have crossed their trail on several
occasions, as I will tell later. Whenever black magic is afoot, they set to work to put a spoke in its wheels. Be that as it
may, I came to the conclusion that, in view of what had now transpired, the impulse I had had to take in hand this piece
of work might have emanated from the Watchers. At any rate, the work obviously needed doing. Someone had to
tackle these plague spots if they were to be cleared up, so I determined to stick to my guns and see the matter through,
and so left the articles in question to run their course.
Very soon some curious things began to happen. We became most desperately afflicted with black cats. They were not
hallucinatory cats, for our neighbours shared in the affliction, and we exchanged commiserations with the care taker
next door who was engaged in pushing bunches of black cats off doorstep and window-sill with a broom, and declared
he had never in his life seen so many, or such dreadful specimens. The whole house was filled with the horrible stench
of the brutes. Two members of our community at that time went out to business every day, and at their offices, in
different parts of London, they found the same penetrating reek of the tom-cat.
At first we attributed this persecution to natural causes, and concluded that we were near neighbours to some
fascinating feline female, but incidents succeeded each other which made us feel that things were not quite in the
ordinary course of nature. We were getting near to the Vernal Equinox, which is always a difficult time for occultists;
there was a sense of strain and tension in the atmosphere, and we were all feeling decidedly uncomfortable. Coming
upstairs after breakfast one morning, I suddenly saw, coming down the stairs towards me, a gigantic tabby cat, twice
the size of a tiger. It appeared absolutely solid and tangible. I stared at it petrified for a second, and then it vanished. I
instantly realised that it was a simulacrum, or thought- form that was being projected by someone with occult powers.
Not that the realisation was any too comforting, but it was better than an actual tiger. Feeling decidedly uncomfortable,
I asked one of my household to join me, and as we sat in my room meditating we heard the cry of a cat from without. It
was answered by another, and another, We looked out of the window, and the street as far as we could see was dotted
with black cats and they were wailing and howling in broad daylight as they do on the roofs at night.
I rose up, gathered together my paraphernalia, and did an exorcism then and there. At the end we looked out of the
window again. There was not a cat in sight, and we never saw them again. The visitation was at an end. Only our
normal population of local mousers remained to us.
The Vernal Equinox was now upon us. I must explain that this is the most important season of the year for occultists.
Great power-tides are flowing on the Inner Planes, and these are very difficult to handle. If there is going to be astral
trouble, it usually blows up for storm at this season. There are also certain meetings which take place on the Astral
Plane, and many occultists attend them out of the body. In order to do this, one has to throw one self into a trance and
then the mind is free to travel. It is usual to get someone who understands these methods of work to watch beside the
body while it is vacated to see that it comes to no harm.
In the ordinary way, when an occult attack is afoot, one clings to waking consciousness at all costs, sleeping by day and
keeping awake and meditating while the sun is below the horizon. As ill-luck would have it, however, I was obliged to
make one of these astral journeys at this season. My attacker knew this as well as I did. I therefore made my
70 of 103?preparations with all the precautions I could think of; gathered together a carefully chosen group to form the watching
circle, and sealed up the place of operation with the usual ceremonial. I had not much faith in this operation under the
circumstances, for my attacker was of much higher grade than I was, and could come through any seals I might set.
However, it afforded protection against minor unpleasantness.
The method of making these astral journeys is highly technical, and I cannot enter upon it here. In the language of
psychology, it is auto-hypnosis by means of a symbol. The symbol acts as a door to the Unseen. According to the
symbol chosen will be the section of the Unseen to which access is obtained. The trained initiate, therefore, does not
wander on the astral like an uneasy ghost, but comes and goes by well-known corridors.
My enemy's task was therefore not a difficult one; for she knew about the time I must make this journey and the symbol
I must use in order to get out of the body. I was therefore prepared for opposition, though I did not know what form it
These astral journeys are really lucid dreams in which one retains all one's faculties of choice, will-power and
judgment. Mine always begin with a curtain of the symbolic colour through whose folds I pass. No sooner was I
through the curtain on this occasion than I saw my enemy waiting for me, or, if another terminology is preferred, I
began to dream about her. She appeared to me in the full robes of her grade, which were very magnificent,and barred
my entry, telling me that by virtue of her authority she forbade me to make use of these astral pathways. I replied that I
did not admit her right to close the astral paths to me because she was person ally offended, and that I appealed to the
Inner Chiefs, to whom both she and I were responsible. Then ensued a battle of wills in which I experienced the
sensation of being whirled through the air and falling from a great height and found myself back in my body. But my
body was not where I had left it, but in a heap in the far corner of the room, which looked as if it had been bombed. By
means of the well- known phenomenon of repercussion the astral struggle had apparently communicated itself to the
body, which had somersaulted round the room while an agitated group had rescued the furniture from its path.
I was somewhat shaken by this experience, which had not been a pleasant one. I recognised that I had had the worst of
it and had been effectually ejected from the astral paths; but I also realised that if I accepted this defeat my occult career
was at an end. Just as a child who has been thrown by his pony must immediately get up and remount if he is ever to
ride again, so I knew that at all costs I must make that astral journey if I were to retain my powers. So I told my group
to pull themselves together and re-form the circle because we must make another attempt; I invoked the Inner Chiefs,
and went out once more. This time there was a short sharp struggle, and I was through. I had the Vision of the Inner
Chiefs, and returned. The fight was over. I have never had any trouble since.
But when I took off my clothes in order to go to bed my back felt very sore, and taking a hand-glass I examined it in the
mirror, and I found that from neck to waist I was scored with scratches as if I had been clawed by a gigantic cat.
I told this story to some friends of mine, experienced occultists, who at one time had been closely associated with the
person which whom I had had this trouble, and they told me that she was well known for these astral attacks, and that a
friend of theirs after a quarrel with her had had an exactly similar experience, and she too had been covered with
claw-marks. In her case, however, she had been ill for six months and had never touched occultism again.
There is a curious epilogue to this story, which may or may not have any bearing upon it. I have already told the story
of the mysterious death that took place on lona. How the body of this unfortunate girl was found lying naked on a cross
cut out of the turf. No cause of death could be found, and the verdict was that she died of exposure. But if she were
lost, how did she come to lie down to die in this ritual manner, instead of wandering about? Why had she taken off all
her clothes before leaving her house, covering herself only with a black cloak? And why did she take with her the large
knife with which she cut the cross in the turf? I do not know her later history, for I had lost sight of her during the last
two or three years of her life, but at the time I knew her she was associated with the woman I have referred to. The only
marks found upon her dead body were scratches.
71 of 103?PART IV
METHODS OF DEFENCE AGAINST PSYCHIC ATTACK
PHYSICAL ASPECT OF PSYCHIC ATTACK AND DEFENCE
WE have distinguished the various types of psychic attack, we have described the methods that can
be employed in carrying them out, and we have also noted the various forms of delusion, fraud and
auto-suggestion that may complicate the issue. We are now in a position to discuss the question of
diagnosis. Let us consider the whole matter from the practical point of view. Supposing a stranger comes
with a story of a psychic attack, what should be our procedure?
We must first of all bear in mind that there is great need of caution in presuming that a psychic attack is
being made. Psychic attacks are comparatively rare things. We must not assume we are dealing with one
until we have excluded all the other things it can possibly be. Not so long ago I came across a case of
alleged obsession which turned out to be neglected constipation, and which was effectually exorcised
with castor oil. If there are any physical symptoms at all, even if they are no more than a bad colour or a
bad breath, a diagnosis ought to be made by a qualified medical practitioner, for even if the trouble have
a predominating psychic element, its origin may be physical. Septic foci are really centres of
decomposition, and as such they open the door to low forms of elemental life whose function is to assist
in the return of dust to dust. Impurities in the blood-stream may poison the brain. New growths or
abscesses may derange its functions. These things can only be recognised by the man who understands
the body; other things being equal, the trained man is the better man, and the man with the best training
is the best man, and the only place where an adequate training in diagnosis can be obtained is a general
hospital. Moreover, should things turn out badly, the only person who can pull the chestnuts out of the
fire is the person whose signature the authorities will accept on a certificate. Supposing the patient turns
out to be a lunatic, what is the unqualified practitioner going to do with him? A very large proportion of
the cases of alleged psychic attack turn out to be lunatics and hysterics. Incipient lunacy is a very hard
thing to detect; hysteria is very cunning and plausible; a doctor who is handling human nature in bulk
every day of his life will detect either of these two conditions much quicker than the layman who has
never met them before.
It may be objected that it is a very difficult thing to find a doctor who will have a sympathetic attitude
towards occultism. To argue thus is to misunderstand the position. The doctor is not being asked to
co-operate with any occult operation, but to examine for physical disease, and if he finds it, to treat it. He
is no more concerned in the occult measures that are taken for the benefit of his patient than he is in the
church his patient attends.
If the doctor finds no evidence of organic disease, or some complaint such as varicose veins which can
obviously have no bearing on the mental condition, the case may be held to have passed the first test,
and we may feel that it is worth while to proceed to the psychic investigation. If the case is a bad one, or
72 of 103?the trouble is of long standing, the doctor will probably find that the patient is debilitated, even if there is
nothing definitely amiss, and will proceed to treat the condition accordingly. This is all to the good, for
the better the physical condition of the patient the more mental control and stamina he will have.
Sleeping-draughts, however, should be avoided if possible, and if they have to be administered, then the
patient should be watched while he sleeps by someone who knows how to keep an occult guard, and the
room in which he sleeps should be purified and sealed. In the ordinary way, if a person who is out on the
astral meets with an occult attack, he bolts back to his body like a rabbit to its burrow and wakes up as if
from a nightmare; but if the sleep is made unnaturally deep by a sleeping- draught, he cannot wake up,
and is locked out on the astral, as it were, which is the last thing one wants in the case of a psychic
attack. If a sleeping-draught is considered essential, for it is impossible to go without sleep indefinitely,
the person who is watching beside the sleeper should observe carefully any signs that the sleep is being
disturbed by dreams, and if he observes muttering or twitching, should immediately perform the
necessary banishings and whisper into the ear of the sleeper soothing and reassuring suggestions such as
Coue recommends should be done in the case of young children. One of the most distressing features of
a psychic attack is that the victim fears to sleep because he feels that in sleep he is defenceless. Those
who have read Kipling's terrible story, "The End of the Passage," may remember that the victim of the
occult attack therein described always went to bed wearing spurs in order that he might rowel himself
and so wake up if he were struggling with his invisible enemy during sleep.
There is a great deal that can be done upon the physical plane to help the person who is suffering from
an occult attack, and we may as well consider these physical methods while we are upon the subject of
the part that can be played by a doctor in dealing with the case. Sunlight is exceedingly valuable because
it strengthens the aura and makes it much more resistant. People are often advised to go away into the
country on this account, but for the victim of an occult attack to go into the depths of the country may
not be the wisest thing, because elemental forces are much more potent away from towns, and if he is
threatened by an uprush of atavistic forces, he had better cling to the haunts of men. The sea, too, is an
elemental force that is best avoided, for water is an element intimately associated with psychism. Large
bodies of water and high mountains should be avoided in choosing a health resort for a person suffering
from psychic trouble. The best place is an inland spa. Games, physical training, massage, anything that
improves the bodily condition, are invaluable, but long solitary walks should be avoided because there is
often a risk of suicide. The person who is the victim of an occult attack should at all costs avoid solitude.
There is another very simple measure which gives immense relief in cases of psychic interference. It is
obvious that the attack is made through the psychic centres, therefore any thing which closes those
centres will render the victim comparatively immune. It is well known how the stolid, materialistic type
of person can live with impunity in haunted houses that drive the sensitive to madness and suicide. It is
also well known that psychic work cannot be performed if there is food in the stomach; the best results
are always obtained when fasting. The obvious corollary of these facts is that if we want to keep the
psychic centres closed, we should not allow the stomach to become empty. The person who is facing a
psychic attack should not go more than two hours without food.
Certain important psychic centres are in the head. One of the simplest ways of checking their activity is
by drawing the blood down from the head. This can be done effectually by a hot bath or putting the feet
in hot mustard and water. Another important centre is the solar plexus; during a psychic attack this is
often felt to be tense and distressing. A large hot-water bottle,well filled so that it is heavy as well as hot,
laid upon the solar plexus, which is the hand-breadth between the pit of the stomach and the ribs, will
effectually relieve tension in that spot. Indeed, pressure without heat will give relief, and I have known
cases where a firm pad held in place by a belt or corsets gave much comfort.
73 of 103?Above all things, the bowels should be kept freely open while facing a psychic attack, because there is
nothing that puts one at so great a disadvantage as the accumulation of effete matter within the body.
All these simple physical remedies are readily available. They will not afford a cure for psychic
pathologies, nor a complete defence from psychic attack, but they can give great relief from distress;
they enable the victim to put up a much more effectual resistance, and by relieving the strain, they
increase his endurance. In many cases of psychic attack, he who endures longest wins; psychic attacks by
human beings are not things which can be maintained indefinitely because they use up too much energy.
There is an old adage, "Never use a big spade if a little spade will do." Physical methods of defence
involve much less outlay of energy than psychic ones, therefore it is psychically economical to make as
much use of them as possible. Why trouble to exorcise the earth elementals with a ritual if you can do it
with a pill?
The question of diet also requires to be considered in this connection. The widespread propaganda of the
Theosophical Society has caused vegetarianism to be regarded as a sine qua non of occult training. This,
however, is not the case. The Western Esoteric Tradition does not make vegetarianism any part of its
system, but teaches that a man should partake sparingly and temperately of the food of the land in which
he finds himself. Personally I am inclined to think that occultism and vegetarianism are apt to be an
injudicious mixture for a European, the result being a hyper-sensitiveness that makes life very difficult in
our hard-driving civilisation.
Vegetarianism has to be thoroughly understood and exceedingly well done if it is to be successful, and
even so, there is a goodly proportion of people who are incapable of digesting vegetable proteins, which
are not nearly so easily dealt with as animal substances. Nothing but experience and experimentation can
show whether a vegetarian diet suits a given person. Indigestion is not the only indication that all is not
well. Loss of appetite, loss of energy, loss of weight, or a flabby stoutness are all danger signals which if
disregarded will cause chronic ill-health. Vegetarianism may agree with a person well enough at first,
but after a considerable period, possibly years, they may find that they are becoming subject to neuritis,
neuralgia, sciatica, or one or another of the nerve pains. This is a sure indication that a vegetarian diet is
affording insufficient nourishment, not because it does not contain the necessary food units, but because
the digestion is unable to assimilate them and they are passing out of the body unchanged. Wherever
there is a history of neuralgic pains complicating a case of psychic disturbance, I should be inclined to
suspect chronic malnutrition as the cause of a hypertrophied psychism. In such cases it will probably be
found that a gradual return to a nourishing mixed diet will bring about a reduction of the
hyper-sensitiveness, the undesirable contacts that have been formed will fade, and the condition return to
normal. The change of diet, however, should always be made gradually lest the digestion be upset.
Anyone who is having trouble with psychic disturbance should immediately discontinue all occult
practices and should exchange his habitual meditations for the prayers of his childhood, or New Thought
methods. It is no time to open up the psychic centres when there is astral trouble. The thing to do in such
cases is to get back on to the physical plane and stop there resolutely. There was a picture in an old
number of Punch which to my way of thinking exactly expresses the correct attitude for the person
afflicted by psychic trouble. In front of an old-fashioned four-poster bedstead stands a ferocious female
armed with a rolling-pin, and from under the valance protrudes the head of her spouse, who says, "Ye
may whack me, and ye may thwack me, but ye canna break my manly spirit, for I'll no cam' oot."
If the victim of an occult attack concentrates on mundane things he is a heart-breaking proposition for
any sorcerer. What is the sorcerer to do if, at the time when he is operating the Black Art, his victim is at
74 of 103?the local cinema roaring at the antics of Charley Chaplin? There is an old saying that one nail drives out
another. If in fear of in visible dangers, take up a sport with an element of risk in it.
DIAGNOSIS OF THE NATURE OF AN ATTACK
HAVING considered the purely physical factors in a psychic disturbance, we may now come to the
consideration of its genuinely psychic factors. We must always bear in mind, however, that because
physical disease is found, it does not necessarily eliminate the psychic factor. A physical condition, such
as an abnormal state of the blood, may cause a low form of psychism and put its victim in touch with
evil astral conditions. Science may call it delirium or hallucination, but the occultist calls it pathological
psychism and can do a great deal to relieve it, either by closing down the psychic centres, or by
excluding evil psychic influences from the environment of the patient so that the spirits he sees shall be
angelic instead of demonic, and cause him happiness instead of distress. The psychic centres forced open
by a diseased blood-stream perceive anything that comes within their range of vision. Therefore let us
ensure that nothing save what is pleasant shall come near them. We may not be able entirely to keep him
off the Astral, but at least we can ensure that his wanderings shall be in a safe and pleasant part of the
Astral. People do not realise the extent to which the wanderings of delirium can be directed and
controlled by suggestions whispered into the ear of the sick person. We can companion the sick man in
his astral wanderings and make our voice heard among his visions, by our knowledge driving away the
evil presences that threaten him and guiding his dreams into the way of peace.
At the commencement of our diagnosis we must distinguish between three broad classes of psychic
disturbance: those which are a by-product of physical disease, those which are due to malicious human
action, and those which are due to non-human interference. The first type should be readily picked out
by the doctor if, as has already been advised, recourse has been had to him as the essential preliminary.
Moreover, he will also be effective in eliminating the frauds, for people moving in psychic circles and
familiar with their terminology may simulate a psychic attack either in order to borrow money or obtain
hospitality, or out of pure love of notoriety, a far commoner motive for human aberrations than is
generally realised. Frauds usually either fade away or recover quickly when threatened with a physical
overhaul. Those who decide to chance their luck are pretty quickly caught out by the man who has
served his time in the out-patient department of a general hospital.
The diagnosis which the occultist has to make therefore lies in distinguishing between the attack of an
incarnate mind and the attack of a discarnate mind. There are two ways in which he can do this, and he
ought to use them both, so that they countercheck each other. He ought to get at least two independent
psychics to psychometrise the case, and he himself ought to make his own diagnosis entirely from the
case-history interpreted in the light of first principles. It is a great mistake to mix the psychic and the
75 of 103?scientific. They are apt to neutralise each other. Let one person do the psychism and another the
observation, and let proper precautions be taken to prevent the results of the clairvoyant investigation
being vitiated by suggestion, or by the thought-reading of previously conceived opinions held in the
mind of any of the persons concerned. It is therefore a good thing to send off the specimens for
psychometrising at the commencement of an occult investigation, before any opinions have been formed.
It is not the simplest matter in the world to take psychometric specimens properly. I have seen a man
bring a lock of hair belonging to someone else out of his pocket, where he had carried it about for a
couple of days, and hand it over for psychometry. It was of course so thoroughly impregnated with his
own emanations as to be useless. A psychometrical specimen should be some object thoroughly
impregnated with the vibrations of a person. A garment recently and habitually worn, a lock of hair, a
piece of jewellery, all these can be made to serve provided they are properly preserved. Crystalline
substances, such as precious stones, hold magnetism better than anything else; metals are also good,
whether precious or otherwise. A pocket knife, for instance, will hold magnetism well. Wood holds it
badly, and so do paper, wool, cotton and artificial silk, especially the latter. Silk and linen are good.
India-rubber is useless. Glass depends for its holding powers upon its form. If it is cut so that it will
refract light it can be very good; if it is flat and purely transparent, like a window pane, it is almost
useless. Stone is fair. Earthenware poor. An elaborate article is not as good as a simple article. For
instance, a marquise ring is not as good as a signet ring. Letters are apt to be misleading because they
often contain nearly as much of the magnetism of the recipient as of the writer. Some psychics can work
from a photograph, but this method is not, strictly speaking, psychometry, for the mental image evoked
by the photograph is used to pick up the corresponding image in the reflecting ether.
Great care should be used in taking a psychometric specimen, for it is readily contaminated by the
magnetism of anyone who handles it, who is in proximity to it, or who even thinks about it
concentratedly. For instance, if while packing up such a specimen for sending off you are brooding over
the problem it presents and working out your own theory, the psychometrist may pick up your
thought-form instead of reading the conditions of the person to whom the object belongs. The materials
which are used for packing should also be free from magnetism. I knew of a case wherein the psychic
said that a certain trinket belonged either to a nurse or to someone who had to do with hospitals. As a
matter of fact, it belonged to neither, but had been packed in surgical cotton-wool.
When packing up a psychometric specimen, do it as expeditiously and with as little handling as possible.
Take a piece of "virgin" black or white silk (not coloured), large enough to serve as a wrapper. Throw it
over the article and bundle it up rapidly, handling it through the silk. In the occult sense, "virgin" means
something that has never been used for any other purpose. For instance, you should not use part of an old
dress or a cushion-cover. An article which does not lend itself to handling by this method can be picked
up with sugar-tongs or the points of a pair of scissors and laid on the square of silk in which it is to be
wrapped. Pack the wrapped article in a wooden box, being sure that any padding which is used is also
virgin. The report of a single psychometrist should not be relied upon. Specimens should be sent to two
at least. It is also well when sending specimens, and especially when sending a birth-hour for a
horoscope, not to allow the name to be known lest gossip should be spread about. Astrologers are much
too fond of handing round charts and discussing them. I have known some very unfortunate things come
about in this way.
A horoscope from someone who understands the nature of the work in hand is of great value, for the
position of the planets in the heavenly houses not only serves as an aid to diagnosis but is a very
important guide to treatment. It is best therefore to explain to the astrologer the nature of the case, and
the kind of information that is wanted, so that he can examine the chart accordingly. A horoscope is to
76 of 103?an occult therapist what an X-ray photograph is to a doctor.
While awaiting these returns, and while his mind is still uninfluenced by them, the occultist should make
his own independent diagnosis. In order to do this he should have at least two interviews with his
patient. In the first he should hear the case-history, allowing the patient to present the facts in his own
way, without guidance or leading questions. Immediately the patient has left, the operator should write
out the case-history with as much detail as he can recall. It is exceedingly undesirable to take notes in the
presence of a patient, because it makes him nervous, for he feels that, in the words of the police-court,
"everything he is saying will be taken down and used as evidence against him."
In preparation for the second interview the occultist should study this record carefully and have its points
and sequence clear in his mind. Now is the time to question the patient concerning any discrepancies or
hiatuses. This proceeding will reveal the liar, whether deliberate or hysterical, quicker than anything else,
for the discrepancies of his second statement will be clearly revealed against the written record of his
first. If he is telling the truth, the two statements will be in agreement. If he is distorting the facts, he will
soon contradict himself.
Remember that you are dealing with a person who has something of either the psychic or the neurotic, or
very likely both, in his disposition, and that your attitude towards him, and even your unspoken thoughts,
will influence him profoundly. If he feels that you are doubting his veracity, he will lose his
self-confidence and begin to think that his experiences may, after all, be the fruits of his own
imagination. Consequently, he will suppress things which may be all-important from the diagnostic
standpoint. It is in this outpouring of relevant and irrelevant detail that you are going to find your clues.
There are certain landmarks which you want to look out for in taking this case-history, but you do not
want to let your patient realise what you are looking for, because if you have won his confidence, he will
be very apt to take on your view-point, and if he sees you have formed any opinion, he will
unconsciously twist incidents so that they fit in with that opinion. Do not allow him to guess the bearing
of your questions, and then you will obtain from him an unbiassed response. In order to prevent his
guessing what you are driving at, do not ask a series of questions elucidating information on a specific
point. There will probably be several points on which you want information. Ask questions upon first
one and then another of these. For instance, if you suspect that the trouble may be due to the house in
which your patient is living, the last thing you want to do is to rouse his suspicions in this respect lest
you should be on a false scent. And even if you should prove to be on the right track, you do not want to
disclose the facts to him until you are ready to act, for by increasing his apprehensions you will increase
his sufferings. If you suspect that sex plays a part in his trouble, and he guesses the trend of your
questionings, he will immediately cover his tracks, and you will find it very difficult to get at the facts at
all. Whereas, if his suspicions are not aroused, he will reveal himself to an astute and experienced
questioner who approaches him indirectly, without realising that he has done so. By approaching thus
indirectly you not only get at the real facts of the case, but spare his feelings.
In taking a case-history you want to look for correlations between your patient's psychic experiences and
the circumstances of his life. Dates and places therefore should be sedulously sought for. When did the
trouble start, and where? Having obtained as detailed information as possible on these two points, set out
to see whether any occult significance is to be found in it. Note the dates carefully, and turn them up in
an ephemeris of those years, and observe how the moon stood in relation to them, also the planets.
Observe whether they fell on or about the equinoxes or solstices. Note also the days of the week upon
which they occurred. If you found that all the crises of the case occurred on Thursdays, or round about
the Vernal Equinox, or at the full moon, you would have a piece of information which was of
77 of 103?considerable significance. You would be sure of one thing, at any rate, that you were dealing with a case
in which the invisible psychic tides played a part.
Information should also be sought concerning the place or places in which the different crises of the
trouble took place, and especially the circumstances attending its first onset. It is exceedingly useful if
possible to visit the place and sense its atmosphere. A very great deal can also be learnt from visiting the
place where the patient is living.
Having obtained such geographical information as you can, study it carefully in connection with a
large-scale Ordnance map. Access to this, and to all relevant information desired, can readily be obtained
at any public library. Note whether there are any prehistoric remains in the neighbourhood, and if so,
how the house bears in relation to them. Observe not only whether it is near any of them, but whether it
is in a direct line between any two of them. Look up the history of the district, and see whether it affords
any further information. Roman remains are often at the bottom of the trouble, for the legions brought
some very queer cults with them in the days of Rome's decadence. Druid remains, too, should be suspect
if they are near neighbours.
Enquire also concerning any unusual objects in the house, such as images of the deities of primitive cults
or savage weapons. It is quite possible that powerful elementals are attached to these.
Enquire whether the trouble seems to lift when the patient goes away to another place. If the reply is in
the affirmative, it may safely be presumed that local conditions are at the bottom of the trouble. But if
the reply is in the negative, it does not necessarily follow that the opposite is the case. It may also be that
the trouble does not depend upon the place, but upon some person residing at the place. Never forget that
in the great majority of cases that person's harmful influence is due to an unfortunate psychic make-up
rather than deliberate abuse of occult knowledge. Be very slow to accept the latter hypothesis, for its
occurrence is comparatively rare. And even if the person suspected is known to have occult knowledge
and can be proved to be antagonistic to the patient, it does not necessarily follow that the attack is
conscious and deliberate. It may be unconscious and reflex. It is quite true that an occultist ought to have
sufficient control over his vehicles to prevent them from acting independently of his will and
consciousness; but this is not always the case. People are at many different stages of development. There
is always a difficult period between the awakening of the higher powers and their full control.
Enquiries should also be made concerning the nature of the dreams, and whether the patient is subject to
night mares apart from any question of occult attack. Also whether he has ever had any other psychic
experiences, and if so, of what nature.
Finally, a careful enquiry should be made concerning the patient's associates, as to whether any of them
are psychic, or students of the occult. Be very careful, however, not to cast suspicion upon any person
unless you have conclusive evidence and it is essential to do so in order to save the patient. Remember it
is always possible that you may be mistaken. A case was reported in the papers not so long ago of a man
who committed suicide because a doctor told him that he had organic heart disease and ought not to
marry the girl he was engaged to. At the post-mortem it was found that there was nothing whatever the
matter with his heart. Imagine the feelings of the doctor who had given this rash diagnosis. A person
already upset by a psychic attack will be in a state to jump at shadows. He must be handled very
discreetly. Be very chary of announcing your suspicions until they are conclusively verified. When all is
said and done, the main object is a cure, not an explanation. It is of little value to your patient to fix the
blame unless the matter can be cleared up. He is considerably worse off if his suspicions are turned
towards some person in his environment from whom he cannot escape, than if he be left to attribute his
78 of 103?trouble to unidentified psychic influences. Where ignorance is bliss 'tis folly to be wise is truer in
psychic matters than anywhere else. Never open the eyes of your patient to a danger for which you
cannot give him an effectual defence. The surgeon who is about to operate covers his instruments with a
cloth so that the patient shall not see them. The wise occultist does the same. Do not forget that the
Unseen is always suspect to the uninitiated.
Having conducted an enquiry along the lines laid down in the previous pages, you should have acquired
a considerable amount of material for investigation. Examine it carefully for correlations of cause and
effect. Note if any exacerbation of the trouble is regularly associated with any incident, place, or person.
Consider also the various type-cases that I have given as examples in the previous chapters, and see if
you can find any that resemble the case you are investigating. Note the explanations given, and see if
they throw any light upon the problem, or suggest lines along which enquiry might be pursued.
Working in this way, you ought to be able to arrive at a tentative diagnosis. If this is confirmed by the
findings of the psychics to whom you have sent specimens for psychometry, then you may feel confident
you are upon the right track and go forward boldly.
Remember, however, that although the psychics ought to agree as to the main points of their
investigation, you cannot expect any complete agreement as to details. They are inspecting a composite
photograph of the patient's entire life, and there is so much to see that no one person is likely to see
everything. The things in which they confirm each other may be held to be established, but the things
which the one sees and the other does not are not necessarily illusionary.
METHODS OF DEFENCE
IN writing for the general reader an account of the methods to be used in combating a psychic attack, I
am reminded of those excellent manuals upon medicine and surgery which an enlightened Board of
Trade insists shall be provided for the captains of ships, together with a cupboard full of remedies,
harmless and otherwise. When an emergency arises, the worthy skipper reads through the chapter he
believes to bear upon the case in hand and goes to work as best he may. On these occasions the personal
factor is a large one.
So it is in dealing with psychic trouble. Wide experience is needed for diagnosis, and specially trained
faculties and specially developed powers are needed to cope with the conditions that may be found. This
book is more in the nature of a manual of first aid than a treatise on treatment.
79 of 103?We must also bear in mind that just as the potent drug is effectual in the hands of the expert but
dangerous in the hands of the amateur, so do the more potent occult formula need special equipment for
their use. Moreover, a formula that is used indiscriminately by the uninitiated is apt to lose its potency
and become useless. The popular expletive which G. B. S. introduced into polite society in his play,
Pygmalion, is the worn-out remnant of the once-powerful adjuration, "By Our Lady." Moreover, no two
cases are alike, and the clear-cut, typical case is a rarity and treasure. Common sense, natural aptitude
and experience are the exorcist's best equipment.
Having made his diagnosis and being ready to proceed to the handling of the case, the exorcist has to
achieve three things: he must repair his patient's aura, clear the atmosphere of his environment, and
break his contact with the forces that are causing the trouble. These three things are interdependent, and
not one of them is first or last. It is next to impossible to get a damaged aura to heal if you do not clear
the atmosphere; nor will the atmosphere remain clear for long if you cannot break the contacts.
Theoretically, the ideal thing to do is to break the contacts as a start. But unfortunately, in actual
practice, these often take a good deal of finding, and a good deal of handling after they have been found.
Meanwhile, something has to be done to keep the patient going. The exorcist has got to clear himself a
place in which to work. Or if the victim of the attack is defending himself single-handed, he has got to
throw up some temporary defences while he digs himself in.
The first thing to do when dealing with an occult attack is to make a temporary clearance of the
atmosphere and so gain breathing-space in which to re-form the shattered ranks. This is more readily
achieved by an organised ritual than by unaided will-power. Any act performed with intention becomes a
rite. We can take a bath with no more in mind than physical cleanliness; in which case the bath will
cleanse our bodies and no more. Or we can take a bath with a view to ritual cleanliness, in which case its
efficacy will extend beyond the physical plane. We therefore perform certain physical actions not only as
a means of clearing etheric conditions, but also as a means of definitely effecting astral ones through the
imagination, a very potent weapon in all magical operations.
Physical objects become impregnated with etheric emanations and retain them for considerable periods
as a knife will retain a smell of onions and taint everything that is cut with it. These emanations,
magnetism as they are called in the terminology of occult science, profoundly affect any sensitive person
who is in contact with them. There is something in the old superstition that it is unlucky to place boots
on a table. It is equally inadvisable to place outdoor garments on a bed. You do not know whom you
have rubbed shoulders with in bus or train, so why give their magnetism a chance to contaminate your
Fortunately for all of us, magnetism is a very fugitive force, and although it may be potent when fresh, it
soon fades unless it has been deliberately created by means of ritual. The terrible atmosphere that
surrounds the victim of an occult attack and permeates all his belongings is not difficult to get rid of,
though it will rapidly reform unless the conditions which gave rise to it are cleared up.
The most effectual way of getting rid of magnetism is to move to a fresh place, taking nothing of one's
old belongings with one. This, however, is a counsel of perfection for most people. Fortunately there are
other devices which enable us to attain our ends nearly as effectually. If it be in any way possible, let the
victim of an occult attack move temporarily to another environment, taking with him as few of his
belongings as possible, and let him make the move in new clothes, or in clothes that are just back from
the cleaner. Let him, moreover, keep his whereabouts a secret as far as it is convenient for him to do so.
80 of 103?There is an old superstition that a witch can be thrown off the trail by crossing running water. It is my
opinion that many of these old folk-beliefs have a basis in fact, however overlaid by superstition they
may have become. I once had a curious experience which gives support to this opinion. I was about to
take part in an important piece of occult work to which I knew there would be opposition. A friend who
was concerned in the matter asked me to dine with her on the night before the day fixed for the
proceeding. We were both conscious of tension in the atmosphere, and she suggested that I should
remain the night at her flat instead of returning to my own, informing no one of my whereabouts in order
to throw the attack off the trail. The maneuver was not wholly successful, and we had a rather trying
night, and I was conscious of a good deal of psychic tension next day. I decided therefore to walk to the
appointed place across Hyde Park in order to refresh myself. When part of the way across, I suddenly felt
that the tension relaxed, and I was able to go through the work in hand without interference. I told my
friend of this experience, and she questioned me as to where I was when it took place. We looked up the
spot on a map, and found that I had just crossed the underground conduit which takes the overflow from
the Serpentine. I did not know of the old superstition concerning running water, neither did I know of the
existence of the conduit. Nevertheless, the sense of relief was sufficiently marked to cause me to
mention it when I saw my friend again, and to be able to indicate the spot where it had occurred.
We have very little exact knowledge concerning these subtle forces which are the basis of both occult
attack and spiritual healing, but we have good reason to believe that in their nature they are closely
analogous to electricity. They are not inanimate forces, however, but have in their nature something that
is akin to life, though of a low type. It has been my experience that if we work on a blended analogy of
electricity and bacteriology, we get pretty near the facts; as near, at any rate, as our present state of know
ledge permits. In other words, if we act as if thought possessed the combined qualities of electricity and
bacteria we shall have a sufficiently accurate method of steering by dead reckoning in the absence of
certain knowledge and actual sight. If we consider the various methods used in folk-magic of all ages
and races, we shall observe that they are in agreement with these hypotheses.
Running water, we know, has peculiar electrical qualities, as is witnessed by its effect on the
divining-rod in the hands of a sensitive person. Whatever it may be that affects the diviner is probably
the same thing that affects the occult attack. When we recall, moreover, that running water will throw
hounds off the scent just as effectually as it will the alleged witch, we may feel that we cannot be
accused of gross superstition if we give the old folk-tradition a trial and note the results.
Water, again, is the vehicle of purification. It is used in the rite of baptism by the Church and in the
Preparation of the Place by the occultist about to perform a ceremony. Strictly speaking, there should be
a trace of salt in the water thus employed, and both salt and water are blessed with powerful invocations
when the priest is preparing holy water, whether for a baptism, or for placing in the holy water stoup for
the use of the congregation.
As far as the occultist is concerned, salt to him is the emblem of the element of earth. It is also a
crystalline substance, and crystalline substances, in their different forms, receive and hold etheric
magnetism better than anything else. Water, on the other hand, is the emblem of the psychic sphere.
These two realms, between them, contain by far the greatest part of occult evil. It is rare indeed that
spiritual wickedness in high places will reach up as far as the airy realms of mind or the fiery realms of
spirit. If we want to get into touch with, or operate upon a particular sphere, we use as base a substance
appropriate thereto. Consequently, a solution of salt and water makes a better base than either salt or
water could do separately because it enables us to cover the whole of the sphere of probable operations
in a single act. It may be interesting to note concerning the magical properties of crystalline substances,
that crystals are used in wireless apparatus to pick up the subtle vibrations of the ether. Once again we
81 of 103?are close upon the trail of our electro-bacteriological analogy.
It is an excellent plan, when trying to break an undesirable psychic contact, to immerse oneself in a bath
of water that has been especially consecrated for the purpose; re-dressing in new or at least clean
clothing afterwards, and if it be by any means possible, moving into a different room. If this cannot be
done, move the bed into a different position, taking care to turn it at a different angle; that is to say, if
you have been in the habit of sleeping lying north and south, place your bed so that you will now be
lying east and west.
The following prayers may be used for the blessing of the salt and water.
"(Pointing the first and second fingers at the salt.) I exorcise thee, creature of earth, by the living God
(+), by the holy God (+), by the omnipotent God (+), that thou mayest be purified of all evil influences in
the Name of Adonai, Who is Lord of Angels and of men.
"(Extending hand over salt.) Creature of earth, adore thy Creator. In the Name of God the Father
Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of Jesus Christ His Son, our Saviour, I consecrate thee (+) to
the service of God, in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen."
"(Pointing first and second fingers at the water.) I exorcise thee, creature of water, by the living God (+),
by the Holy God (+) by the omnipotent God (+), that thou mayest be purified from all evil influences in
the Name of Elohim Sabbaoth, Who is Lord of Angels and of men.
"(Extending hand over water.) Creature of water, adore thy Creator. In the Name of God the Father
Almighty, Who decreed a firmament in the midst of the waters, and of Jesus Christ His Son our Saviour,
I consecrate thee (+) to the service of God, in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy
"(Casting the salt into the water.) We pray Thee, O God, Lord of Heaven and earth, and of all that in
them is, both visible and invisible, that Thou mayest stretch forth the right hand of Thy power upon
these creatures of the elements and hallow them in Thy holy Name. Grant that this salt may make for
health of body and this water for health of soul, and that there may be banished from the place where