Animal Ghosts or Animal Hauntings and the Hereafter by Elliott O'Donnell
V WILD ANIMALS AND THE UNKNOWN
"It then began to jabber ferociously, and, crouching down, prepared to spring.
"'For Heaven's sake,' I shrieked, 'for Heaven's sake.'
"But I might as well have appealed to the wind. It had no sense of mercy.
"'He, he!' it screamed. 'What a joke--what a splendid joke. Your wit never seems to degenerate, Hugesson! I'm wondering if you will be as funny when you're a ghost. Get ready. I'm coming, coming,' and as the sky deepened to an awe-inspiring black, and the stars grew larger, brighter, fiercer; and the great lone deserts appealed to me with a force unequalled before, it sprang through the air.
"A singing in my ears and a great bloody mist rose before my eyes. The wailing and screeching of a million souls was borne in loud protracted echoings through the drum of my ears. Men and women with evil faces rose up from crag and boulder to spit and tear at me. I saw creatures of such damning ugliness that my soul screamed aloud with terror. And then from the mountain tops the bolt of heaven was let loose. Every spirit was swept away like chaff before the burst of wind that, hurling and shrieking, bore down upon me. I gave myself up for lost. I felt all the agonies of suffocation, my lungs were torn from my palpitating body; my legs wrenched round in their sockets; my feet whirled upwards in that gust of devilish air. All--excruciating, damning pain--and _pro tempore_--I knew no more."
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N.B.--It was subsequently ascertained, by my friend the late Mr. Supton, that a man named Hugesson, who had been for a short time head keeper at the Zoological Gardens, had been found dead, in bed, by his landlady, with a look on his face so awful that she had fled shrieking from the room. The death was, of course, attributed to syncope, but my friend--who, by the way, had never heard of Hugesson before he received the foregoing account through the medium of planchette--told me, and I agreed with him, that from similar cases that had come within his experience, it was most probable that Hugesson had in reality projected himself, and had perished in the manner described.
No more improbable than the above story is that sent me by my old school friend Martin Tristram, who died last year.
I style it "The Case of Martin Tristram." It is reproduced from a magazine published some three years ago.
After Martin Tristram once took up spiritualism his visits to me became most erratic, and I not only never knew when to expect him, but I was not always sure, when he did come, that it was he.
This sounds extraordinary--to see a man is assuredly to recognize him! Not always--by no means always!
There are circumstances in which a man loses his identity, when his "ego" is supplanted by another ego, when he ceases to be himself, and assumes an individuality which is entirely different from himself.
This is undoubtedly the case in madness, imbecility, epilepsy, so-called total loss of memory through cerebral injury, hypnotism, sometimes in projection when the astral body gets detained, and also not infrequently in investigating peculiar instances of psychic phenomena.
But if the astral body has been evicted from its carnal home, whither has it gone? and what is the nature of the thing that has taken its place?
Ah! These are indeed puzzles--puzzles I am devoting a lifetime to solve.
There have been moments when unseen hands have gradually begun to pull aside the obscuring veil, when the identity of the usurping spirit has seemed on the verge of being disclosed to me, and I have been about to be initiated into the greatest and most zealously guarded of all secrets.
There have been times, I say, when my occult researches have actually brought me to this climax; but up to the present I have invariably been disappointed--the curtain has suddenly fallen, the esoteric ego has shrunk into its shell, and the mystery surrounding it has remained impenetrable.
This is but one, albeit perhaps the most striking, of the many methods through which the superphysical endeavours to get in immediate contact with the physical.
I was unpleasantly reminded of it when Martin Tristram's carnal body came to visit me one night several years ago. I was aware that it was not Tristram. His mannerisms were the same, his voice had not altered; but there was an expression in his eyes that told of a very different spirit from Martin's dwelling within that body.