Rosicrucian Writings Online
My Personal ExperiencesSOME UNUSUAL PSYCHIC ADVENTURES OF A STARTLING
AND INTERESTING NATURE
By H. Spencer Lewis, F. R. C.
[From The Rosicrucian Digest July 1931]
(NOTE--This series of articles will present the strange and mystical experiences which may come to one who has gradually attuned himself to the higher or more subtle forces existing around us. Perhaps some of our members have had identical experiences and the explanation given by our Imperator in connection with the ones he has had will help our members to understand some of the laws that are possibly involved. These experiences will be presented in the form of one complete story in each issue for the next few months. Many points connected with each of these experiences are difficult to explain and still remain in the realm of the unknown. You may take the Imperator's partial explanation and accept it or you may reject it. He is merely offering his personal opinion while he still holds an open mind and is seeking through tests and experiments to determine the exact nature of whatever principles or laws were actually involved in these experiences. Incidentally, these experiences show what may come into the life of a person who is Cosmically or psychically attuned and who is in constant contact with conditions, persons, and places throughout the country, and while holding the position he holds in relation to the work of this organization--Editor.)
No. 1. The Numbers Over the Door
DURING the early part of the fall, a few years ago, I was invited to visit a city in one of the southern states, where the AMORC had an active branch, and give a public lecture, as well as meet with the members for two or three evenings.
I accepted the invitation and it was my first visit to this city. I arrived at the railroad station late on a Sunday afternoon and was met at the depot by a number of our members who hurried me to the home of one of them, where I was to be a guest for two or three days. When I arrived at the home my trunk was taken from the rear of the car and placed in some room which I was to occupy and I was ushered into a large living room where I found many members assembled. A dinner had been planned at one of the large hotels and before I could think of asking for a few moments' privacy I was hurried into another car by the committee of entertainment and taken to the hotel where, with one or two of the other members, I rested for a while in the lounge room. I then washed some of the dust from my hands and face, allowed the porter to brush my clothing, and otherwise made myself ready for the first official gathering.
I recall that I was very well pleased with the large number of members who were present, and with the enthusiasm and interest in the work. The meal, too, was enjoyable and in an excellent setting in a private banquet room of the hotel. After the dinner, the entertainment committee took me for a short ride around the city in the soft light of sunset and I was truly inspired by the many pretty scenes in the suburbs of the city. I was taken back to the home of my host and hostess and there in the living room came face to face with a still larger number of our members who had gathered there, awaiting my return.
I think it was about eight o'clock in the evening when we returned from our ride and although I was very tired from a long day and night traveling on the train and much excitement since my arrival in the city, I volunteered to spend another hour with these members, answering their questions and making comments regarding their experiences.
At about nine o'clock I began to feel that I would like to retire to my room and bring my official activities to a close for the day. Each time that I diplomatically hinted at the desire to retire and tried to do so without being unkind to my host and hostess, I noticed that the members assembled there revived their interest in some point of our work and opened another argument of some kind, generally relating to personal psychic experiences. I began to feel that the members were inconsiderate to some degree and were not appreciative of the time I had given them, or of my desire to retire.
When at last, however, I had to be bold enough to rise and say I thought I would now go to my room, some of them suggested that perhaps I would not object if they remained in the living room for a while and continued their discussions. This did not surprise me at all, and yet as I made ready to walk across the living room toward a hallway where I believed I would find entrance to my room, I noticed that some of them prepared to escort me; in fact, the host and hostess and a committee of four or five did escort me to the door of my room which was across the hall directly opposite the doorway into the living room.
The host quietly opened the door to my room and switched on the electric light and asked me to tell him whether I thought the room was comfortably arranged and satisfactory. I noticed that my trunk stood in one corner of the room and that the room itself was apparently large and well furnished and looked inviting in every way. I was really tired enough to have slept in almost any kind of a room, for after one has been traveling for three months and sleeping in Pullman berths and in various hotels, one can easily adjust his tired body to almost any environment.
I stated that the room was pleasant and thanked them for their interest and prepared to step into the room and say my evening farewells to all of them when I saw that practically every one of the members who had been in the living room had crowded into the hallway to look into my room and some of them began asking further questions such as, "Are you sure that the room looks comfortable to you?" I thought it rather unusual that so many persons should take an interest in this particular room and my comfort, but after assuring them that the room was perfectly satisfactory to me and saying good-night many times and in many ways, I was just about to close the door when my host and hostess assured me that they would occupy a room close to mine, and that if there was anything I wanted in the night I need only open the door of my room and call them. They also assured me that a night light would burn in the hallway and that there was a telephone conveniently situated in the living room, and they made other comments that were intended to impress me with the fact that in any peculiar emergency of any kind, I would be absolutely safe.
I recall that as I closed the door some of the members said that they would be around again to this house early in the morning and have breakfast with me and they would be glad to know how I had enjoyed the night. This did not strike me as peculiar at the time, for in practically every one of my twenty or more tours of the United States, lecturing in behalf of the organization many years ago, I found that members would seek the opportunity to talk to me personally and privately up to two and three o'clock in the morning at my hotel room, or at whatever place I had lunch or dinner, and that many of those who had not been able to see me in the evening would make it their business to be at the hotel at six or seven in the morning and call me on the phone and invite me to have breakfast with them, or invite themselves to have breakfast with me, and in this way I was often forced to eat at an early hour, when I would have preferred to sleep or read some of the books I have always carried with me.
When one is on such tours as these, his time is not his own, and from early in the morning until late at night, or into the morning hours, it is just one round of personal interviews, visits to homes of sick persons, visits to interesting sights, calls upon prominent people in the city for the purpose of making their acquaintance, public lectures, private lectures in classes or lodge rooms, and a hundred and one other little matters that just fill every hour and minute of the day and night. It is a tiresome and often irksome work and the golden moments or hours of such a tour are those when someone who is in charge of local affairs whispers to one and says, "We are going to leave you alone for a few hours to do as you please." Such occasions are few, however, and they generally occur between midnight and six in the morning.
I stepped into my room on this particular occasion and closed the door and turned the key in the lock. I wanted to be sure of no intrusion for I wanted to enjoy a good bath and an hour of meditation and contact with those whom I was treating and helping in a metaphysical way. The room in which I found myself was probably twenty feet square. The doorway through which I entered was at one corner of the room. Directly opposite this doorway was a window and in that same wall was another window at the other corner of the room. Between the two windows was a very large and old fashioned dresser. Between the doorway and the window opposite it was a couch with an Oriental throw on it and a number of pillows. There was also a small writing desk and I noticed that it had upon it not only the necessary things for writing, all in good order, but a package of souvenir post cards illustrating the city and each of them bearing penny stamps.
The bed was also an old-fashioned and exquisite one of wood and appeared to be very comfortable, indeed. There were a number of chairs and a stool and several small rugs upon the carpeted floor. The room was tinted a very attractive color. The draperies were tasty and everything was exceedingly clean and neat and there was a central chandelier with an additional standing light at the desk, near which was an old-fashioned and comfortable Morris chair.
The room was rather warm, for it had been a warm day, and in raising the shades to open the windows wider, I noticed that the windows had permanent screens attached on the outside and through these screens I could look upon the lawns around the house, for the house was of the usual one-story Spanish type and my room was in the rear of the house overlooking several lawns. I noticed that the moon was visible in its first quarter, the stars were clearly showing in the sky, and that there was a cool breeze, which indicated that I would have a comfortable night. Near the head of the bed was a small door that led into the bathroom adjoining. I turned out the lights in the bedroom and undressed in the darkness in order to keep the rooms as cool as possible. After bathing I sat in the Morris chair in my bathrobe and attended to the treatments that I was to give, and read a few passages from one of my books in order to have some special thoughts to meditate upon, and then I unpacked a few things in my trunk and placed them in the drawers of the dresser.
Then I prepared to retire for the night. I had to smile as I thought of the peculiar interest the members had taken in regard to the room and its comforts, for the moment I get ready to go into my sleep for the night I no longer reside in a room but in the whole wide world. In fact, the starry heavens are my home as soon as I am ready to sleep. I never retire without my prayers of thankfulness for the day and its opportunities and my whole-hearted offering of myself and all of my faculties to the Cosmic and the Great White Lodge and its Masters to serve in any possible way throughout the whole Cosmic domain.
My last thoughts, therefore, are always of a rising of my consciousness from the bed into the great expanses of the starry heavens and this great world becomes my home, my room throughout the night. Usually, whether on the train in a Pullman berth or compartment, or a hotel or private home, I am absolutely unconscious of my immediate environment until I awaken at sunrise. I am especially active in a Cosmic or psychic sense between the hours of two and three o'clock in the morning.
Now, all of our most advanced members have discovered that just before two o'clock in the morning, standard local time, wherever one may be, there is a peculiar change of consciousness that takes place. During this peculiar state the consciousness is partially divided between a sense of being in the world of material things and in the world of Cosmic things. It is in this state that many manifestations occur and contacts between our members are very easy, and it is also during this period that the Great Masters most often contact us or cause us to have unusual experiences. Seldom do these things come after three o'clock in the morning and from that time on till we awaken the consciousness is wholly Cosmic, and the events occurring after three o'clock are seldom remembered, while those occurring during the hours of two and three are lightly recalled, if the Cosmic intends them to be so.
In order to partially unpack my trunk and place the things in the dresser drawer I had lighted the chandelier in my room, and was about to go over to the switch near the door to extinguish the light again before getting into bed, when I happened to look at the space directly over the door. The door was framed in wood and in the usual manner, but just above the top frame of the door I noticed a number of peculiar marks written on the paint or the plastered wall, as though written with charcoal or a very heavy and soft pencil. As I approached the door and looked closer at these marks they seemed to resemble figures. Standing on the small stool, I was able to see the markings more clearly and saw that they did constitute numbers running from one to fifteen and that the numbers were evidently made by different persons, for they were of what might be called different handwriting. The number one was just a single stroke. There was a dash after it, and then appeared number two in a crude form. This was followed by a dash, and then appeared the number three in what I believed was a feminine hand. There were dashes between the four, five, six and seven, etc. I noticed that the figure twelve had its numbers made by an entirely different hand than that which had written numbers one or two, and the three in thirteen was a different three than the other three in the row. This distinctly impressed me for I decided at once that the numbers had been written by different persons and number fifteen was the last. I wondered why numbers had been written above the door like that and then decided perhaps some child had used the room and, in a game of some kind, children had placed the figures there.
Switching off the light, I removed my bathrobe and flung myself upon the bed to enjoy the cool breeze. In a little while I had completed my prayers and salutations and greetings and covered myself with one of the light blankets, turned over on my left side and prepared to go to sleep. It must have been before midnight, but what the exact time was I do not know.
In the position in which I was lying I faced the open space of the room in which I was located, the door with its peculiar numbers above it, the couch, the stool, and one window. The dresser was near the foot of my bed and back of me was the other window and a blank corner of the room and the door which led into the bathroom. I had locked the bathroom door merely as a matter of habit, and with nothing but the moonlight faintly outlining the open space of the window, I closed my eyes and went to sleep.
I soon found myself coming back to consciousness with a peculiar sense of unusual vibrations around me. This was not anything new, except that the vibrations were not as pleasing as usual. I am often awakened just before two o'clock with the sense of intense vibration and realize that various manifestations are about to occur. In this case, however, I was awakened because of the depressing or annoying effects of the vibrations. I tried to turn from one side to the other but sleep was impossible. Turning back again to my left side and facing the larger part of the room with one window and its opening clearly outlined to me, I was about to try to go to sleep again when I saw a figure of a human being rising slowly up in front of the window on the outside of the building and trying to look into the room. I am never frightened in any such experiences, for I have spent nights in "haunted" houses and in places where I have been told there were real "ghosts" and I would not be frightened if any burglar or intruder of any kind came into the room. I am always prepared and ready for emergencies and have no fear of sudden transition or injury to my body, and I am always keenly interested in any excitement of an unusual nature. So I remained perfectly still and allowed developments to proceed.
In a few moments the dark shadowy figure pulled itself into the window and into the room. I could only see a part of its tall figure outlined against the window, because I had raised the shade only to the middle of the sash for that was as much of the window that was open. Therefore, I could not see the uppermost part of it but merely from the chest to a little below the waist, and I could see from this that the figure was large and heavily built and undoubtedly that of a man. While it remained in front of the window for a few moments I was analyzing its size and motion, and suddenly wondered how the figure got into the window because of the closed or tightly fastened screens outside of the window. There had been no noise of the screen being forced and the figure had jumped through the window as though there were no screens or form of interference.
Before I could reason out how the screen might have been removed, the figure moved away from the front of the window into the corner of the room where there was the deepest darkness. As I watched to see if the figure would become visible, I noticed that there was a slight aura around the figure and that the aura was of a rose color and I knew at once that I was looking at someone whose personality was unfriendly and filled with destructive thoughts. The figure became more definite as my eyes became more accustomed to the aura around it and then a hazy light seemed to develop in the corner of the room and I noticed that there was a white bedstead standing in that corner instead of the Morris chair and desk.
Analyzing this for a moment, immediately convinced me that I was not looking at any actual occurrence in a physical or material sense but at some psychic manifestation, and that the bedstead was not an actuality but a reality of a psychic nature. I saw that the bedstead and bed was small, much like that used for children, and then I became aware of the fact that there was a child on the bed partially covered and that the light in the room around this corner was becoming brilliant enough to let me see the child's head with blond curls. I noticed that the man bent down over the figure of the sleeping child and listened for a few moments. Then the man raised something that looked like a very large sack or bag and I thought he was going to put it over the child, but instead he laid it over what appeared to be a psychic chair of an old-fashioned kind that I had not seen in the room before. Taking from his pocket some sort of a cloth, I saw him grapple with the child and quickly tied it around her face.
Instantly I jumped and arose in my bed, sitting upright, and was about to call or scream in protest and rush to the defense of the girl, when I realized that in such a psychic experience my physical self could do nothing and that I was only seeing something that was not actual and that the best thing to do in such cases is always to let the entire manifestation take place and wait for the answer or the explanation or the reason to be revealed after it is over. Interrupting as I would have done by plunging myself into the vibrations of the corner, would have stopped the manifestation and it would have occurred again some time and I would never know what was intended for me to know. So I sat upright in bed and with some reluctance and unpleasant feeling watched the procedure.
The child struggled and in turning her head about I noticed that she had long curls on one side of her head but short hair on the other side, and this struck me as being a peculiar manner of trimming or dressing a child's hair. The man struggled with her long enough to seem to make her unconscious, for she gasped and fell back upon her pillow. Then he lighted a candle or some sort of a taper that looked like a candle and placed it upon the arm of the chair where he had placed the bag. This chair was quite close to the side of the bed. He then moved across the room to the opposite corner where there had been no piece of furniture and I now saw a large old-fashioned highboy or cabinet of drawers, which he proceeded to open and from which he took many large objects of a bright and shiny nature. After placing these in the bag that he carried he went over to the window and made a hurried departure, but as he approached the window he knocked against the chair and the candle fell upon the bed.
In a few moments the clothing of the bed was aflame and I sat on my bed and watched the fire consume the bed and apparently consume the child. There was even the faint odor of burning cloth and perhaps of burning flesh that I detected. There was all of the soft, crackling sounds of burning material and of wood burning. These sounds and odors were faint, because they were as though coming through a screen wall of some kind, which is typical of a psychic manifestation. Finally the room became aflame in the corner and I could see that the entire walls would be consumed and I heard pounding upon the door of my room. The pounding sounded as though someone or several persons were striking the door with their fists, and there was the faint sound of voices as though screaming. I thought that it was time then for me to arise and investigate. I slipped the bathrobe on and moved hurriedly toward the switch on the wall and threw it on, but with the coming of the light in the room every vestige of what I had seen disappeared.
There was no child's bed in the corner and no child; no upset chair, no burned cloth or wood, no broken screen in the window nor chest of drawers in the other corner; no bag filled with peculiar things and no man in the room but myself. I no longer heard the pounding on the door and listened intently for some sound. Everything seemed to be perfectly quiet. I carefully unlocked my door and looked out into the hallway. The night light was burning peacefully, there was no sound, no disturbance; nothing to indicate that anyone was awake. Locking my door and making sure that the room was just as I had originally seen, I went back to bed and went sound to sleep.
I was awakened by hearing much excitement around the house; many voices talking and a general indication that there were many persons in the house. My watch showed that it was seven-forty. I hurriedly dressed and when I thought it was the proper time, I opened the door of my room and looked out in the hall, only to come face to face with twenty or thirty members who rushed toward me from all parts of the living room and asked the same question--"How did you enjoy the night?" Knowing that there was some mystery at hand, I thought that I would put the shoe on the other foot, and I casually remarked that I had slept very well, enjoyed the cool breeze, and really felt quite hungry. I noticed that the breakfast table was prepared for many places and my hostess then pointed out my place and asked all of us to be seated. During the course of the breakfast every kind of significant question was put to me regarding the night. They wanted to know if I had heard any strange sounds, if any animals outside had disturbed me by barking or crying, if the early rising of the host had bothered me, if the room was too warm or too cool, and if the bed was comfortable, etc., etc.
Of course, I was anxious to know what they knew, and it wasn't until one of the persons present said, "Well, he is Number Sixteen and the first one to stick it out," that I recalled the numbers above the door. Looking up in a casual way from my plate, I said to the members, "Did you expect me to do what the other fifteen did?"
This at once put them in an awkward position. They knew that I knew something that they did not know and, of course, the only thing that could be said now was to tell the whole story.
To bring this experience to a close in a hurried manner, I will say that they explained to me that on fifteen occasions friends or relatives had been invited to occupy that room and that invariably each and every one of them had been awakened shortly after midnight by the appearance of some intruder coming to the window, and that on each occasion the guest in the room had arisen and turned on the light and refused to sleep there again. Every kind of precaution had been taken on many occasions to prevent anyone from entering the room and yet no one would sleep in it, and in order to determine whether the experiences were real or imaginary, the members in that city had decided to invite me to be a guest in this home rather than be a guest at a hotel. They had all been there to see me enter the room the night before and had come early in the morning to find out whether I had abandoned it or had any experience of any kind.
They were intensely interested in hearing my account of what occurred, for not one of the other guests had remained to see the experience to a conclusion. Someone in the group of members remembered that the house which originally stood on the present site had been burned and that it had been rebuilt or partially rebuilt and that it stood idle for several years before the present owner rented it.
After breakfast we called at the office of one of the oldest real estate firms of the city, who originally had charge of the home, and learned that the structure had partially burned at one time and that a little girl about twelve years of age had burned to death in the room in some peculiar manner and that her parents had been unable to get through the doorway to her in time, and that when they had eventually gone around to a side window they had found the window broken and the room so filled with flames that they were unable to enter, and that after the fire was over they were never able to determine whether a burglar had entered the home or whether the little girl had set the house on fire and had tried to break out of the window, or just what had happened, and the mystery had never been solved.
I was put in touch with the parents two days later and heard their story, which was practically the same as the real estate man told me. I was interested, however, about the peculiar cut of the child's hair and the parents told me that on the very day the fire occurred and the girl lost her life she had had her golden locks cut, but they had been cut all the way around and not half way. My own explanation of this peculiar point is that in a psychic sense the hair had been cut so recently that the Cosmic showed it partially as it was and partially as it had been. This is the point that I cannot understand.
My explanation for this peculiar occurrence is that which every advanced member would offer. The soul personality of the little girl was aware of the fact that the parents and others have never solved the mystery of her transition and of the fire, and that they wondered whether she broke one of the rules of the home and attempted to play with matches or fire in her room and accidentally set fire to the place, or whether a burglar had entered and caused the fire. In order to clear this mystery and relieve the parents of any further worry, the little child's personality constantly attempted to project itself to the original scene of the disaster and reenact the whole affair for the benefit of any guest in the room, so that the true story might be told and the parents made to understand the mystery.
If this explanation is true, then, having had the opportunity to reenact the entire affair without any interruption, and having cleared the mystery, there would be no further purpose in the return of the personality to this room.
Seven years have passed since this experience occurred and I have been recently informed by the persons who still live in that house that there has never been another sound or annoying condition in that room since the night of my peculiar experience.
Thus, fifteen times had visitors marked a number over the door to indicate how many had seen the beginning of the manifestations, but not until the sixteenth time, when someone was patient enough to watch and listen, was the story completed and the mystery solved.
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