The Squaw Hollow Sensation: Part 7 – Sethos “Speaks” to Dr. Von Herbst

“Mountain Democrat,” July 19, 1879 (continued)


“Afterward things became clearer and remembered, not as one calls to mind former experiences, but rather with that calm curiosity (if you will allow such a contradictory term) in which at breakfast you recall, for the amusement of your family, the details and philosophy of a remarkable dream. Immediately on removing the wire (Note: Dr. Von Herbst placed a wire into the brain of the mummy during the resurrection process so that he could directly stimulate the brain electrically) I fell again into the susceptible or magnetic state, and my most fruitful and remarkable experiences began. My eyes were wide open, but my body refused to obey my will. Indeed, I could not remove my had from the wound on the Egyptian’s head. If now you cannot draw the inference which I have so clearly pointed out to you, I will have to assist you. Can’t you guess? I was now in direct psychologic communication with the brain of Sethos. My nerves being reduced to a lower ebb of vitality by waste, than he, who had been gradually and unknowingly appropriating energy through the enforced unconsciousness of several weeks of repose, his psychic nature had been gaining strength, which poured in a sudden flood of consciousness up through my had and into my brain. At first ,my mind was blurred, and impressions were indistinct, but as the first shock gradually diffused itself through my system I regained enough of my faculties to know I was becoming what is generally termed a medium.

“I shall now, remembering that I was completely ‘en rapport’ with the mummy, go on with my experiences as though he were speaking, and I take this opportunity of expressing my thorough belief that he was. The thoughts were his, certainly, and as the so long disuse of all his functions and natural faculties had made him for time incapable of using them, and as I through weakness was incapable of sending any counter currents, or making any disarranging or distracting impressions on his mind, and indeed was nothing but an instrument. I believe thoroughly that the language is all his own. Now don’t take exceptions, please, to my saying “his language,” for of course I remember that the language he would have spoken would have been altogether unintelligible to me. What is language then? I claimed but just now that Sethos could not use his own faculties of speech as and interpreter for his thoughts, and so my sensorium became the receiver of his ideas and impressions. Thinking, as I have endeavored to show you above, is a very complex process, and is the result of an idea, successfully sent, by means of the internal telegraphy, from the sensorium to various parts of the brain and last of all to the organ of the brain called Language. In other words, a man may have an amorphous or non-formed idea successfully developed until it has taken on the perfect form of a distinct thought, and yet until any certain thought, even though held by more than one mind, has gone to the organ of Language, the thought is identical in all minds, notwithstanding the fact that when these persons (of different nationalities, perhaps) come to express the thought, their use of language may convey and altogether unintelligible, or different idea. You and I and a dozen people have an object, say a bible, shown to us. The impression in the minds of all who view it is a retinal picture of an object having surface, depth, rectangular, covered with paper, or leather, or cloth and which we all suppose to be a collection of leaves of paper put together, on which are printed characters. To you, who call it “book,” there is the same thought and impression and picture that I see, who call it “buch.” And if these people, all of different nationalities, were asked what they called the object, they in succession would have exactly the same picture in their eyes, and the same impression in their minds, and the same record in their memories, but yet one would call it ‘liber,’ another ‘biblion,’ another ‘kingl,’ another ‘kitab,’ another ‘pustaka,’ and yet the thought-language would be all identical, and these various words would be only the awkward translations of the same idea by as many different people. So now you see what I am driving at, for the mummy’s thoughts were not dependent on or influenced by language at all, nor where they translated that far, but being formed definitely, though unspeakably, in his mind, the nerves of my arm conveyed the ‘thought itself’ to my sensorium, and I experienced it more clearly than if spoken.

“If I speak, in the first person, don’t imagine that I am claiming the actual experiences of Sethos, taking the form and finding expression through my mind.

“Our race was descended from that Sethos who, ages past, in Egypt, first worshiped Isis.

(Note: Isis is a goddess in Egyptian mythology. She was most prominent as the wife and sister of Osiris and mother of Horus, and was worshiped as the archetypal wife and mother. Her name literally means “female of throne” or “Queen of the throne.” She is also associated with eternal life and resurrection.)

“Down through the centuries, custodians of the sacred mysteries of the inner shrine of the temple, our race was preserved by Divine Will against Danger, Disease and Death.

“The Grim Monster came not, but for a time, and at the age of 35 each male Sethos gave himself to communion with the dead, and slept for a thousand years.

“The ‘Secret Process’ was given by Isis to Sethos, called Koma, and the tombs in Egypt received their sleeping forms and kept alive traditions of their resurrection.

“Our years of wandering came, and when at length the great ocean had been passed safely over, the mysteries would have been forgotten, but that a resurrection of the sleeping came to cheer us, and the caskets we had carried so faithfully in our long migration and wanderings in the central Asiatic desert, gladdened our senses by revelations of that ‘Dreamless Death,’ and we knew that our religion lived. And now, in the height of Health, and Strength, and Ambition, my turn came to fulfill my part of the ‘Everlasting Covenant’ made with Egypt’s mysterious Queen of Death.

“I lived happy in the love of Talaka, the daughter of King Zola.

“When prosperity lightened the toil for each poor laborer of our tribe, the people cried, ‘Lo! Talaka smiles, and all the Earth is glad and singing.’

“And when loud murmurs arose on every hand, and the crops were failing, and Starvation stalked abroad, the tears of Talaka fell upon the ground, the sympathetic breezes of the grand Pacific whispered in their councils, and discord grew between them. The thunderbolt that brought peace to the ocean and winds put them in chains, and angry clouds rolled up athwart the light, and mutterings of the thunder, roused in anger, died away, and the gentle rain came, grateful to the thirsty fields, and the people blessed her, and Talaka smiled again.

“Talaka took the ‘Vows’ and died, and fulfilled the promise of my great ancestor, and drank deep the ‘draught of forgetfulness.’

“Drifting, drifting, drifting on the gently swelling waves of the ocean, or rising on the sweet breezes that blew over Aztlan, I passed a while in sweet contemplation of the familiar senses of busy life, and alone met my fate.

“Alone! There was the test. A thousand years at sleep, without dreams, and ye on whose faces I look with love or friendship will be forever gone!

“But what matters? A lifetime or a decade, we are alike forgotten, and forever so! I came, in my first free wanderings, according to the instructions of the priest, to the Temple of the Sun, where the “holy fire” was burning always. And all the people were gathered together, and stretched upon the marble floor. I knew ‘my’ body , and hovered near the altar. And the choral dancers, and the crowds of boys and young virgins chanted the prayers I lisped in childhood. And the light grew dim, and the beautiful Emblem of the Sun, dark from one side and transparent from the other, received the last declining rays of the God, and blazed out rosy-colored fires. And all the people cried with a great shout, “Sethos will sleep! Sethos shall be a Minister of Isis! Sethos will tell the story of his people! And then, looking for a last time on the familiar faces gathered about the temple, I rode out through the stately pillars and arches, carried by the tempered and perfumed wind.

“After a moment of forgetfulness and a thousand years had passed, I knew myself again, but how changed was my world! My people cold not be found. No vestige remained of their glorious tribes. The temples were in ruins, and the ‘sacred fires,’ symbols of life, and kindled by the young Sun, no longer sent their blue smoke aspiring heavenward. The great “Lake City” was swallowed by the tide, and the name of Sethos was forgotten in the land I had tried to save. I knew I could live again, but the secret of bringing back to active being the sealed-up body of my former self was locked up in the unavailing consciousness of a speechless and wandering Spirit. And when I knew that I could live again, I took heart, and sought a mind to understand my promptings.

“Days, days, days of anxious watching. Thoughts, thoughts, thoughts, and I did marvel.

“Weary day. Distressing thoughts. Miles were counted and the man still came not. Days and miles and thoughts unspeakable were still between me and myself. And when I rested in my flight upon the summits of the great “notched” mountains and beheld the first line of travellers toiling toward me, my heart was turned by hope and my soul sand sweet melodies of promise; “Isis will not desert servant. I must be free,” and then I hastened to the train, and smoothed the way before them, and averted dangers. But they passed me by, nor would they understand me, and my body still was sleeping in the cave.

“How often did I breathe strange thoughts into unconscious brains when people slept. And then their dreams took them to old Egypt’s land, and they thought of the stored-up dead. But the dreams were not of me, and my sprit was beyond them.

“Oh! Soul-sickening days, and nights of wild endeavor! Days, weeks, months and years, by human reckoning, passed and still I came not to the thoughts of man. I touched the fancy of the poet, and he sang strange songs and people cried, “How beautiful!” but I still lay in the cave and no man thought of me. And then I hated all mankind, because I, a spirit, because I lacked their organizations and body made of earth – the common, senseless earth – could not be gross like them.”

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