Squaw Hollow Sensation

The Squaw Hollow Sensation, Part 5 – A Visit and Translation Problems

“Mountain Democrat,” June 28, 1879

“Last Saturday eight persons – three ladies and five gentlemen – went from this city out to Ringgold, for the purpose of an interview with Dr. Von Herbst and the person whom he recently resuscitated after burial for centuries, as recounted in a former number of the “Democrat.” The Doctor had issued invitations to some 40 or 50 persons whose names had been suggested as those inclined to scientific investigation and inquiry. It appears that a majority of those thus invited shared the prevailing impression that the account we published was a hoax. The eight who went were more than repaid for their trip, but their names shall be withheld from publication until the Doctor shall have fulfilled his intention of delivering a series of public lecturers, in which he will exhibit his restored subject, together with cerements in which he as swathed, and the inscriptions on papyrus which were inclosed with the body with those cerements; together also with one or more specimens of the unrestored subjects. Sethos – with the inscriptions abundantly prove to be the name of the restored subject – is fast recovering the faculties and powers which for so long a period had lain dormant. His first attempts at locomotion were comically like those of an infant. His vocal articulation is as yet a cooing sound of an infantile plaint. And yet, to those with whom he has been brought into personal contact, he has manifested a strange intelligence and power that have inspired a mixture of wonder and of terror, both during such intercourse and afterwards. Dr. Von Herbst is fully convinced that Sethos, although he cannot respond to or understand the language of those with whom he has been brought into contact, has nevertheless perfectly comprehended their thoughts. This has opened up a new field for the zealous little scientist, to which he has addressed himself with accustomed ardor, and he has promised to communicate to us and our readers the results of his observations and researches. In the meantime, however, he has not suspended his resuscitating experiments, though he failed to restore the three subjects – including the female – first operated upon after the restoration of Sethos. After becoming convinced of the impossibility of restoring these, however, he called in a couple of local physicians, and in their presence performed a critical dissection that convinced him those three subjects died a natural death from disease, and he has never claimed or supposed that he could restore animation except where it had been artificially suspended. We shall – and we are confident that all of our intelligent readers will – wait with lively interest his promised demonstration that Sethos is endowed with the wondrous power of psychical telegraphy, in which it is dimly hinted the Egyptian and Eleusinian mystics were, the enthusiastic Professor undertakes to establish beyond all possibility of successful controversy.”

(Note: The name Sethos is not specific to one person or entity, since it is a Greek word applied to a number of Egyptians and others. Why it is used as a name for this mummy is, therefore, a bit confusing.

Seth, the son of Adam and Eve, is only one person in the Bible sometimes called Sethos in Greek. Sethos of the Three Brothers was the father of Ramses I, who was the father of Seti I, who is also called Sethos in Greek. Seti I’s mummy is said to be the finest of the surviving mummies, but it was not found until 1881, two years after this story was published. Finally, the Egyptian god Set, often Sethos in Greek, was the God of Chaos and also protected the Sun God Ra on his nightly trip through the Underworld. Set drowned and dismembered his brother, the god Osiris, who he then tossed into the Nile River. Isis, his sister and the wife of Osiris, reassembled him).

Two weeks after this article, the following appeared in the newspaper.

“Mountain Democrat,” July 12, 1897

“IN THE ORIGINAL – The linguist of our staff having been quite ill, and undergoing a copius administration of Dr. Jacob Zeisz’s (Note: Jacob Zeisz owned a Placerville brewery) medicines since the 4th, we are compelled to publish the following communication from Dr. Von Herbst without translation, relying on our German patrons to communicate its content to their non-Teutonic neighbors:

(Note: we will not attempt to insert it here in German, but will provide it to anyone who wishes to translate it).

“We did have it translated and here it is in ‘idiomatic and modern English’:

“To the publisher of the Mountain Democrat.

“A few weeks ago, I gave my promise to your newspaper to submit a short report regarding the latest experiments I conducted on my reawakened (brought back to life) mummy, Sethos. I have completed those. But since I couldn’t find a German here who could translate it into proper English, I have to send it to you in German in the hope that you will give it to someone else to translate. My English knowledge is quite limited so that I don’t dare to translate it myself.
Loerder von Herbst, R.S.B.

(Note: The person translating it noted that it was in archaic German, but, because of the inconsistencies, probably not written by someone with German as a first language. The meaning of R. S. B. was not understood and the name Loerder was unfamiliar to the translator).

“Mountain Democrat,” July 19, 1879


“Following is the translation, as accurate as we could obtain on short notice, of the communication from Dr. Loerder Von Herbst, relative to his further experiments at Ringgold on the revived mummy of Squaw Hollow:

“My experiments in communicating with the revived mummy have been interesting, but before the general reader is asked to assume my belief in their truth it will be proper for me to show something of the means by which the revelations were made. The medium of information was “Psychic Telegraphy,” by which force it is possible for one being to communicate with another, though that other be a perfect stranger, provided there be intelligence to operated on, though there be not the usual capacity for communicating thought by language or mutually understood physical signs. To convince you of this I must lay down a few principles of reasoning to guide you while you follow my narration. In argument you must grant premises and debate conclusion. If the premises are proved and the deduction of a conclusion is logical, I must claim the conclusion as just, no matter how outrageous and illogical it would seem if presented alone. Let me quote briefly from the learned Dr. Ely Van De Warker: “We must grapple with this psychological problem from a few fixed points, like points of a triangulation to measure distance which otherwise may remain unknown. We must reason from the known to the unknown. These fixed points are to be found in anatomy and physiology,” and, I will add, philosophy (Note: Dr. (Edward) Ely Van De Warker was a well known and prominent New York physician of that time specializing in women’s health issues).  “Now,” you ask, “what is psychology?” Psychology is the science of the mind and its attributes, and is a science derived by the mind from the mind in studying itself. The attributes of the mind are various, and we shall consider some special organs, their functions, and how and by what means they act. The force you of course understand to be nerve force, or psychic electricity. Psychic electricity gives rise to psychic telegraphy. As the brain is the great organ of sensibility and thought, I shall include with it the spinal marrow and the nerves springing from both. The cerebrum is the brain of consciousness and and voluntary action, where certain parts are devoted to certain specific uses, and within is an unexplored country called the sensorium. The nerves that spring from the brain are all connected with the sensorium, the functional parts and the bodily organs. They are of the same matter as the brain, and in their ramifications may be compared to the many wires of a telegraph line; and such in fact they are, a most perfect line. The peculiarity of the folds or convolutions of the cerebrum is, that the more carefully you examine them the more clearly you see that they are made up of mere collections of nerves bound together. The cerebellum, on the other hand, where nervous or psychic force is generated, has a most marvelous resemblance to a voltage pile, for it is made up of thin plates of laminae of a grayish substance, between which the nerves run in and out, and coiled about them are the insulating bands, making in fact, a complete battery. The eye is a cleverly arranged micro-telescope, the ear, on the other hand, being a telephone. The impression of light or noise is made on the eye or ear, and there the delicate little spread of nerves takes up the beating of each wave and conveys it to the sensorium. Speaking of impressions, it might be not out of place to consider what they are and how they are made.
1st – Impingement on any elastic substance produces an impression!
2nd – All matters are elastic!
3rd – All motion is impingement.

“Ergo – Every motion or tremor of matter striking or impinging against any other materialized force, produces an impression or record; something is left to show what has taken place. The impression, true, may vary in magnitude or apparent importance, from the disintegration of two stars on striking together, to the almost inappreciable impression made on the eye or other receptive substance by the delicate vibration caused by tiny and multitudinous waves of light or sound. Expose a sheet of yellow paper, on which a key or other small object is laid, to the bring sunlight for a few moments, and, on looking at it carefully in a perfectly dark room, you will find the picture of the key or other object impressed. Shut the paper in a book, and on taking it out at the end of a century the apparition will again be manifest. This is a physical impression, and similar ones are always taking place, objects being perfect records of impressions of all their surroundings. There have been picture-readers, or developers of invisible impressions, in different ages of the world. The most celebrated of these, of whom we have authentic knowledge, was the wife of Professor Denton, a record of the experiments with whom make up his book, “The Soul of Things.” She, by holding to her head an object, could see distinctly the various active events that had take place near enough to make an impression. In this manner, when given a piece of rock taken by a gentleman from the Yellow Jacket Mine after the great fire, she, being blindfolded and know knowing what part of the world the rock had come, accurately described the terrific underground scene with most startling vividness.”

(Note: In April of 1869 a fire broke out in the Yellow Jacket Mine in the Gold Hill area of Nevada. It spread to two adjacent mines, the Kentuck and Crown Point, and killed 34 miners).

(Note: William and Elizabeth M.F. Denton wrote “The Soul of Things; or Psychometric Researches and Discoveries” in 1863. “The theory of this book, is that every material substance retains impressions of all persons, beings, and objects that have ever been in juxtaposition with it or sustained by any relation to it; that this record of its entire history, including human character and experiences, remains forever legible; and that the power of reading such records – if not latent in all – exists in some human organisms. This power is termed psychometry.”
[The North American Review / Volume 97, Issue 201, October 1863, Page 587])

The Squaw Hollow Sensation: Part 6 – Dr. Von Herbst’s Thoughts

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


“Now, memory is s storehouse of the mind, where mental impressions are preserved. In the brain communication is carried on between its different organs or parts by means of certain nerves ore wires, actuated by a subtle fluid, being the psychic telegraphy, and the result is ‘thought’, but the curious thing remains, and is a real curiosity in mentality, that it is not the ‘sensorium’, or consciousness, that does the thinking. There are certain parts of the brain, as I have above hinted, dedicated to special functions, and their inner office is to color thoughts or objects with their peculiar shades. Here is a mutual process which may look slow and tedious when you consider how mechanical most of your thoughts seem to you. An impression is made on the retina of the eye (which you will remember is nothing but the division of the optic nerve into numerous delicate filaments, and their expansion into a delicately sensitive surface) by the impinging waves of light reflected and the extra vibrated from any object. The vibration is then taken up by the delicate little nerves, and they all vibrating in unison is communicated by psychic force or mental electricity to the inner consciousness. From there it may be sent to the organ of Veneration, or Firmness, or Amativeness, or any other organ, to be colored by such organ according to its own strict qualities. In the cerebrum thought originates, and yet we are unconscious of having thought, but by nerve telegraphy this thought or idea is made known to the sensorium, where it may be sent to the organ of Comparison, and thence back again in like manner. After a number of such processes the sensorium is conscious of a digested thought, and then it becomes manifest by the will acting, and the ‘impression’ thus produced is stored up as a picture in the organ called Memory. The thought, or consequences of the though, may be then sent to the organs of the same body, or, if there were a nerve reaching between two brains, could be transmitted from one brain to another, and at times, although such a connecting nerve may be wanting, yet, if other conditions are favorable, the mental fluid may leap through vacant space from one brain to another, just as the electric fluid will leap a river when the opposite poles of a battery are each dipped into the water. And remember that the thought you communicate to another goes by vibration as far as the nerves will reach, and, like the elastic fluid through vacant space, to the sensorium of the receiving brain, which considers, not the various processes through which yours has gone, but in fact and reality the results of some of your conclusions, and really sees your thought itself, and this he proceeds to store up in Memory, where it becomes in turn a factor in his mined forever, coloring and influencing all later thoughts and mental processes of his won, Thus, you see, mental impressions are mere pictures of events, stored up in a certain recording spot called Memory, and the process by which the sensorium gets possession of, or becomes conscious of, said impressions, is identical with that process by which Mrs. Professor Denton reproduced the stored-up impression from the rock (Note: It was previously indicated that Mrs. Denton could tell about the terrible fire in the Yellow Jacket mine by simply holding a rock from there in her hand). Why should not a person at times become conscious of vibrating light, or similar vibrating thought, through other channels than the organs of sense? You can hear a watch ticking quite a distance away, when your ears are stopped up, by placing a stick between or against the teeth and extending it to the watch. Now, with one or two familiar instances, taken from our own daily experience, I will carry my point with you, and you will be forced to admit that there is a force in the body that can and does convey impressions from one brain to another without the intervention of any of the usual means of communication. Have you not impressions sometimes that you could not have received through sight, or hearing, or smell, or taste, or touch? Think well before you answer. What are the premonitions we sometimes experience? Think of the warnings you have had in dreams, special and specific warnings. Think of the many times a certain impression takes possession of your mind in regard to the happening of an event still ‘in future’. Have you never been walking along the street, in an abstract mood, and suddenly ‘felt’ or ‘known’, without seeing or hearing it, that someone was walking behind you? There are many well authenticated instances of the safe passage of sleep-walkers through difficult or perilous situations, which all must admit as beyond ordinary mind action. In the case of the sleep-walker the mind seems to outside of the body, leading it about and watching its steps for its own amusement.

“It has been said that a thing once learned is never forgotten. I will go further, and say that an impression once made is never eradicable. Bear it in mind not to confuse ‘Memory’ with ‘recollection.’ They are entirely different. We all have equal Memories, or places in the brain for storing up impressions, but Recollection is the energy, or power, or mental force that can search out among the stored-up impressions, and choose the one that is needed or called for. What a queer thing it is! Your sensorium of Consciousness, the great head and center of the brain as it were, sits in his office quietly awaiting business. A telephone at his side gives notice that customer wants the particulars of a past event. Ego turns lazily in his great easy-chair, and telegraphs to Memory for the wanted article. Recollection, Memory’s clerk, hunts among the musty records on the dusty shelves, but cannot find it. Ego fumes, the customer frets, Recollection is horrified and worried, but all to no purpose. Finally, the turmoil over and forgotten, when the tired clerk is putting things to rights again, suddenly, unsearched for and unexpectedly, the missing impression reveals itself! Such experiences explain the general phenomena of Impressions. What I have by implications striven to show is, that impressions are not ideas, but can be and are communicated outside of the regular and ordinary means of organs and senses.

“Now I come to a statement of facts. From the moment of the wonderful revival of Sethos in the Aztec cave at Squaw Hollow, I shall skip to the point where the Editor and his party were good enough to call on me in my quarters at the Continental Hotel, Ringgold, when, as you will remember, the only inspection allowed by the attendant consisted in examining the bandages and inscriptions, and a single glance through an open door at the outstretched form of the Aztec.

(Note: Ringgold was once a prosperous mining town on a tributary of Weber Creek called Ringgold Creek, to the north and east of Diamond Springs. It is believed to have been named for Cadwalader Ringgold of the Wilkes Expedition, who explored the region in 1841. The name is often misspelled Ringold).

“I partially recovered my health and sprits, and about three weeks ago took exclusive charge of Sethos myself. Entering the room the first time since leaving my bed, I was astonished at the fearful change that had come over him. From that well developed, finely formed man of the cave, he had now shrunk to mere skin and bones; but I need not have been so surprised had I but remembered that in restoring him I had filled his veins successively with nutrient matter and pure living blood which, however, had necessarily been appropriated by the animal economy, in the great effort at life.

(Note: It was sheep’s blood that was used)

“His eyes now burned and sparkled with an unearthly gleam, like the eyes of the fabled ‘basilisk.’

(Note: According to European legends, a basilisk is a reptile reputed to be king of the serpents and said to have the power of causing death by a single glance).

“I asked Dr. Spencer (who, but the way, came all the way from San Francisco when he heard of my illness) how his patient behaved, but he answered that there was no “behavior” at all. I learned in addition, from one of the attendants, that he had shown no signs of sleep since his resurrection. “I guess,” he added, with something like an attempt at a joke, “after a thousand-years’ sleep a man don’t get tired in a month or so.” I looked severely at the man, but believing that there was no intended sarcasm hidden beneath his light words, I instantly forgave him, whereat he expressed himself as being very happy.

“But I was troubled and the more I thought about it the more perplexed and vexed and disordered did I become. Of what avail were my labors in reviving this being from his long sleep of death, since on awakening him I find him without mind? Here was a body, and nothing but a body. True, he was alive to a degree, but what did that signify? He might lie there like a log for years and years, and I, who had striven, and thought, and worried my brains out almost, in hopes of gaining information about ancient life, language and customs of an interesting people, would have gained nothing but the ridicule which my first over-sanguine letters to the Society would certainly reflect on me, unless I could verify my statements and in some degree justify my predictions.

“The continual worry, and fret, and excitement gradually weakened me and broke down my more fleshy habit, but seemed to leave my nerves in a most tense and sensitive condition. I seemed no longer to need sleep, and a mere suggestion of a thought would send me off for hours into the most abstruse and torturous reasonings. I determined, therefore, as the case seemed to depend on but one point, which point, as you divine, was to restore conscious mind-action or cerebration to the subject, to take full charge of the invalid myself, and try a last and most forlorn hope. I had thus attended him for nearly twenty-four hours at a stretch, occasionally getting up to administer a few spoonfuls of iced milk, and to look for the lost expression of the eye, when, with my hand on the mummy’s head, I fell asleep.

“In my sleep my disordered fancy shaped my thoughts naturally toward the subject uppermost in my mind. I seemed to be making my whole investigation over again. I had greatly feared the bad results of the mummy discovering his awful situation, midway twixt life and death, and had consequently made a small hole in his skull, by which I had put a pressure on the seat of consciousness. I was now in my dream at this point of the investigation, when I passed, without being conscious of any awakening, into a fully conscious state. The singular and always-to-be-wondered-at instance was, that I did not seem to have been fully asleep at all, but, continuing my sleep, was awake at the same time. Indeed, I had gone into that peculiar state of magnetism or mesmerism when my body seemed to have no further connection with my will. I could see, yet I did not seem to use my eyes. It was a most peculiar sensation. At any rate, I knew this much, that in the state immediately preceding my magnetization my had had gradually wandered back over the head of Sethos until I had felt the wound which I had made at the time of my last experiments, and that, in my horror at finding the wire still in position where I had placed it, I tore it away suddenly and lost consciousness for a while.”

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.”

The Squaw Hollow Sensation: Part 8 – Sethos Continues to “Speak”

“Mountain Democrat,” July 26, 1879 (continued)


“I took a wild and devilish joy in seeing them mangled, and I took hold of men’s minds and put murder in their hearts. Blood Flowed, It was an intoxicating pleasure to see that fluid, which I would have given the hoarded wealth of ages for, flowing freely in the sand. But then I saw the goodness of men, and I repented. And I sorrowed for the evil I had done in senseless rage. And my soul warmed to those who were what I vainly strove to be. ‘And then I found a mind that listened to me!’ He was a little boy, and as he read or talked, fancies strange, and wild, and incomprehensible to his simple parents shaped themselves in his mind. And as he grew, I held his mind in dreams at night, whispering into his heart lessons of the other world.

“Days, weeks, months and years again, and the boy was a man. To Egypt he came, I leading and guiding until the tomb of the patriarch, Sethos Koma, my grand ancestor, the Prophet of Isis, was reached. The man was Von Herbst, and his youthful and keen mind took up the hints I made.

“Thank Heaven and overruling Destiny, the “Book of the Dead” was still legible, and I, confiding, little by little unfolded in his mind the true philosophy of the compact with Isis.

“Oh, thou being to whom I owe my life, think of the anxiety and care with which I tried to rule your mind towards me! Think of the dreams you had by night! Think how the praise of the scholars came to stimulate further exertion! Think of the chance that gave you the great parchment rolls of Nichtken!

(Note: as previously mentioned, the German Archaeological Institute’s offices in Berlin and Cairo have no record of a Professor Nichtken. They pointed out that Nichtken could be translated to “no-know” )

“Forever and forever will the memory live, oh King of Minds, for by thee my soul has been freed from the dreary expanse of space, and brought to a home to my beloved body. And the thought by day and the dreams by night brought about your search for my body, for from a thousand experiments which you had dreamed of making I guided your uncertain steps across the trackless ocean and up and down across the continent, till finally one night when your nerves were highly strung, and wine had freed your soul from care, I spoke to you through your friend at a social gathering, in the great City of the Sea.(Note: a friend of Von Herbst, a Mr. Brooks, met with him in San Francisco’s Union Club and directed him to the cave and mummies in Squaw Hollow).  From thence your footsteps never faltered. I kept above you, leading you step by step, making difficulties easy and invigorating your mind daily with hopes. Oh, how despair seized me, when your plans were imperilled by an accident, but finally what joy and turbulence of ecstasy I experienced when you found the cave and looked upon my body! During those dark nights of toil and trouble I was with you, intimate in every thought expression of your mind. My pulses seemed to throb before I had a heart to beat them, and finally, when the question arose in your experiments, as to how you should proceed, how I beset and besieged your brain with ideas and suggestions! I lay at times as one oppressed by a hideous nightmare, knowing my infirmities, yet without power to move. As I floated in the air above you, anxiously suggesting, and waiting to watch the result, I could look down upon my body, lying there so stiff and stark, and yet the eyes that were so fixed in death could see the airy shadow floating overhead. I seemed to be two persons, and yet ‘one’ of them seemed stranger far, and more awful than yourself. I knew that if my body and my soul should join, and the fearful situation should be discovered, the shock would kill me, and yet it was myself that reasoned thus about myself. Strange processes of the human mind! It was like someone insane, with regular intervals of reasoning between bursts of madness, preparing the body in peace to stand the lashings of an uncontrollable frenzy, knowing, as I seemed to know, that soon I would be myself no longer, and that now, while in possession of my senses, I must prepare for the conflict of soul and body. And all this time, while my body lay there, seeming to be thinking of this, my sprit was adjusting instruments convenient to your hand and putting into your head suggestions of the next experiments. When you paused in the dead of night so often, and looked about you, you know that there was some presence about you that you did not comprehend. It was I. And I became happy and could not tire. As my dried up features swelled out into their former hue, and my limbs became supple, I longed to take possession and walk. And then your battery came to work, and I knew that you had discovered the secret, and then —- a blank again!

“Oh, to be thus always! Every limb at perfect rest, no wants but to indulge the joy of ‘thinking.’ Can this be life or death? I may know by attempting to open my eyes, but shall I prove it? It would be better to never know. I can feel, true, therefore I must be alive, but all that made life so painful has passed away. No unhappiness? My love for Talaka! Ah!, but I know that Talaka is not. She has long since crumbled to dust. Her race had not the secret of the Sethi. The Sethi! I am a Sethos, but never more shall I find my people.

(Note: Talaka is an undetermined person or goddess that has been referenced several times in this story. In Swahili “Talaka” means “divorce”)

“In such lazy half-thoughts did I waken into being, but I did not open my eyes. I had not the will. Open my eyes? Yes, smile if you will, for you are reminded that my eyes were open all the while, but through them no light did come; the eyes have not ‘seen.’ When you held me by the intensity of your thoughts I was under a spell. I gave up my will entirely to you, and so I slept. I knew that I should not be forgotten. The anxiety that had made me so restless for so many days while my fate was uncertain, had been succeeded by a holy quiet, and I was waiting. Waiting for what? I did not know or care. I felt but little. I was only waiting. And while I lay thus so quiet, you, Doctor, were wrestling with the fever, and when your love of life came out victorious, I felt a new impulse and I waited  on.

“When you came to my bedside I knew you had been sick, and I knew that you were pale, and I knew that you looked at me wondering at the change in my features.

(Note: Dr. Von Herbst had been ill and had left the revived mummy, Sethos, in the care of others. Sethos had physically deteriorated during that time).

“Then my spirit took possession of you again, and you removed the pressure on my will. This is the simple story of my death and resurrection. At times my heart would have led me off into rambling byways and loitering nooks of fancy, but straight ahead I have steadily kept till I could tell the experience I have had while my body slept. This shall be a subject of never-ending interest to you. You may know all you ever fancied, and the true life of all the world, from the time of my birth, nearly eleven centuries since, shall all be clearly read to you. The old “Worship of the Sun” I now see was never understood. We did not call on Isis and Osiris because we thought ‘they’ heard us – for how could they? – but what he meant was that all life, all death, and all change lies in Nature. All knowledge is from Nature. When I called as though I thought they heard me, it was a call rather to that consciousness within me which answered again. I am weak now, and faint, but before I release you I must tell you how to rouse me when you wish to talk. This is a secret of the old Aztec priest, but mankind, throughout the world, at various times have partly stumbled on it, and I shall, as a Sethos and inheritor of the mysteries, make known the truth. Not only will I teach you to read all inscriptions without knowing languages, but you shall do better and go further. When you read by this peculiar power (which only needs to be educated and cultivated), you will read not half-understood words, whose meanings may change, but you shall read ‘thoughts,’ ‘intentions,’ and ‘ideas’ themselves. ‘Spoken words’ are but a make-shift for want of better means of communication. Language in its very essence is imperfect. It is not “divine,” as you think, yet your language is far ahead of what it had been, for now you express not only relations between tangibilities but between fancies. Your thoughts are growing more refined, but I shall show you how to send ‘thoughts themselves’ from brain to brain, and let ‘words’ get out of fashion. How often, in moments of deep feeling, when Death has snatched away some loved one, or when joy has filled the heart to overflowing, words tried are flung aside as worthless, and oppressed by a common woe, or joyfully sympathizing in gladness, your ‘eyes’ speak to one another. And then hands by one impulse seek other hands, and tender pressure, and gentle tinglings of delicate sense-words convey your thoughts better than you could shape them in worlds. There is a soul-language that I am talking by, and this, so subtle, so refined and ethereal, pervades all nature, and is Nature’s Language. This you understand, for your hand on my head already has conveyed to your receptive sensorium my argument.

“Poetry is not all fiction. The ‘language of flowers’ is their sweet perfume, and you with light nerves appropriate it and are pleased. Why will you not understand it? Ages ago man could no more than the beasts and trees speak in clear formed language. The cry of pain became repeated for all things horrible. The language of pleasure became the universal sign of joy. And so there is a natural language which, reduced to system and used without the feeling which first called it forth, becomes speech.

“You understand me. Explain to all mankind the truth I so freely give to you. There is a great prompting in man and other animals to communicate. The dog looks meaningly into our face. If you understand him, as you often do, you have done so by this ‘soul sense.’ The horse, the ox, the cat, and fowls, come to you and you can interpret their expressions. You know when they love you, but you know only by psychic telegraphy. So I can talk now to you without a language, and you know what I would tell you. But you have been subjected to my influence since your childhood. You in reading sometimes have felt bound to turn back and particularly attend to some special paragraph. That was through me, and thus you were led to study up my system. Cultivate this power! Do not let it slip you, I implore! Watch faces! Watch thoughts!”