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vol. 3, p. 235
from Adyar archives of the International Theosophical Society
vol. 3 (1875-1878)


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The “haunted Chamber” in the old Knickerbocker Homestead–Schaghticoke


We extend the right-hand of fellowship to the young author, who, under the nom de-plume of “Hiraf,” makes his first appearance before our readers to day.

He is a young lawyer who has been studying his profession in the office of one of the most fatuous of American counsellors, and is one of the best educated young men in this country. He is at once an expert chemist, an excellent linguist, a student of natural philosophy, and an enlightened theoretical Occultist. His intelligence has been quickened by a very extensive course of travel, which embraced a residence of several years in Oriental countries, where he had the opportunity for gratifying his natural tastes for the theoretical study of Hermetic philosophy, by visits to noted Brahmins, and their holy places.

The essay of our new contributor, while embodying some material errors, is valuable, and will probably afford to many of his readers their first conception of the importance of the claims of the Occultists. We trust that it may induce such to study the history and achievements of the great men whose names have from time to time been identified with the secret brotherhoods. It is undeniable that the best of evidence has been furnished by their bitterest enemies, to warrant the suspicion that the alchemists at one time possessed the secret of the phi losophers’ stone, and if they did not actually have the Grand Magisterium, or Elixir of Life, they certainly did employ a medicine of such wonderful properties that it was a panacea for almost every disease.

We heed not go back as far as the time of the School of Alexandria to satisfy ourselves upon these points, for the history of modern times supplies the proofs. But, if the myriad parchments of the Egyptian and Chaldean philosophers had not been destroyed by Diocletian, and, by Caesar’s order, sacrilegiously used to heat the baths of Alexandria, in all probability we should now know a thousand times more than we do of the secrets of Nature, and man’s psychological powers. In the department of the arts, alone, the ancients knew of processes in the handling of metals, glass, dyes, the mechanical powers, and the making of textile fabrics, now supposed to be lost, which were Infinitely superior to what we are familiar with.

More, important than these material branches of Science, was their familiarity with, and dominion over the denizens of the spiritual world. To disbelieve this fact is to expose one’s stolid ignorance of not only secular but sacred records. The practical exploits of Hermes, Appollonius, Raymond Lulli, Paracelsus, Cagliostro, St. Germain and others, do not more perfectly establish it than the testimony of the Bible, and of the religious books of other creeds. The Jewish “Kabbala” (signifying a Reception), was simply a compilation by Esdras of the Secret Laws of Nature, which, up to that time, had been communicated orally from each generation of priests to its successor, until they finally came into possession of the Sanhedrim, and were caned by Esdras upon tablets of box-wood, at the dispersion of the twelve tribes, to prevent their irrevocable loss. The Kabbala comprised two portions, the external and the secret. The former related to the things of Matter, the tatter to those of Spirit. The secret and mysterious portions, those which should not be profaned by exposure to the common, vulgar herd, were written in seventy secret books, according to the number of the Elders. The existence of these books is confirmed by Picus (of Mirandola), who says he bought them “at a great price,” and Eugenius, Bishop of Rome, ordered their translation, but died before the work was undertaken.

Since that time all trace of these precious writings is lost, and unless they are in the hands of some secret fraternity of the East, we may never hear of them again. The Kabbala of more modern times is a mere sham of alphabetical quips and quirks, which is little better than a treatise upon punctuation, and should not be confounded with the real Kabbala.

As knowledge was originally confined to the priestly order, so after the lapse of time it passed into the hands of secret hermanidades, or fraternities, of philosophical students, and the various sects known as Rosicrucians, Gnostics, Paracelsists, etc., were more or less in possession of the knowledge which is synonymous with power.

It is a most interesting study to compare the latest discoveries in physical science with the writings of Philalethes, Lulli, Arnoldus de Villanova, Robertus de Fluctibus, and other Hermetic philosophers. Tyndall’s nourish of trumpets over the discovery that “in matter is contained the promise and potency of every form of life,” is but the echo of the announcements of the alchemists as to the nature of the “Heavenly Chaos,” or primordial matter.

Of the philosophy of spiritual phenomena, we neither have nor can have the remotest idea until we retrace the steps of the Occultists, and find the paths which led them through the Elementary Sphere to the Ethereum and Empyreum, where the angels and archangels dwell around the throne of God.

“Hiraf’s” essay being too long for insertion in One number, will be continued and completed next week, and it will be immediately followed by a reply, from a most competent hand, which will point out the errors into which Hiraf has fallen, by reason of his unfamiliarity with the practice of the Occultists.


Actieuse Nacht-Wind-Zanger met zyn Tover Slons

Editor's notes

  1. image by unknown author
  2. The Haunted Chamber in the Old Knickerbocker Homestead–Schaghticoke by unknown author
  3. “Rosicrucianism” by unknown author, Spiritual Scientist, v. 2, No. 17, July 1, 1875, p. 199
  4. Actieuse Nacht-Wind-Zanger met zyn Tover Slons by unknown author