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since it is only its outer vesture, the passive, senseless shell,
that was once an appanage of humanity; such life,
intelligence, desire, and will as it may possess are those of
the artificial- elemental animating it, and that, though in
terrible truth a creation of man's evil thought is not itself
human. It will therefore perhaps be better to deal with it more
fully under its appropriate class among the artificial entities,
as its nature and genesis will be more readily comprehensible
by the time that part of our subject is reached.
Let it suffice here to mention that it is always a malevolent
being a true tempting demon, whose evil influence is
limited only by the extent of its power. Like the shade, it is
frequently used to further the horrible purposes of the
Voodoo and Obeah forms of magic. Some writers have
spoken of it under the name "elementary," but as that title has
at one time or another been used for almost
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every variety of post-mortem entity, it has become so vague
and meaningless that it is perhaps better to avoid it.
7. The Suicide and the victim of sudden death. It will be
readily understood that a man who is torn from physical life
hurriedly while in full health and strength, whether by
accident or suicide, finds himself upon the astral plane tinder
conditions differing considerably from those which surround
one who dies either from old age or from disease. In the
latter case the hold of earthly desires upon the entity is sure
to be more or less weakened, and probably the very grossest
particles are already got rid of, so that the man will most
likely find himself on the sixth or fifth subdivision of the
astral world, or perhaps even higher; the principles have been
gradually prepared for separation, and the shock is therefore
not so great.
In the case of the accidental death or suicide none of these
preparations have taken place, and the withdrawal of the
principles front their physical encasement has been very
aptly compared to the tearing of the stone out of an unripe
fruit; a great deal of the grossest kind of astral matter still
clings around the personality, which is consequently held in
the seventh or lowest subdivision of the plane. This has
already been described as anything but a pleasant abiding
place, yet it is by no means the same for all those who are
compelled for a time to inhabit it. Those victims of sudden
death whose earth-lives have been pure and noble have no
affinity for this plane, and so the time of their sojourn upon it
is passed, to quote front an early letter on this subject, either
in "happy ignorance and full oblivion, or in a state of quiet
slumber, a sleep full of rosy dreams."
On the other hand, if men's earth-lives have been low and
brutal, selfish and sensual, they will, like the suicides,
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be conscious to the fullest extent in this undesirable region
and they are liable to develope into terribly evil entities.
Inflamed with all kinds of horrible appetites which they call
no longer satisfy directly now they are without a physical
body, they gratify their loathsome passions vicariously
through a medium or any sensitive person whom they can
obsess; and they take a devilish delight in using all the arts of
delusion which the astral plane puts in their power in order to
lead others into the same excesses which have proved so fatal
to themselves.
Quoting again from the same letter: "These are the
Pisachas, the incubi and succubae of mediaeval writers
demons of thirst and gluttony, of lust and avarice, of
intensified craft, wickedness, and cruelty, provoking their
victims to horrible crimes, and revelling in their
commission." From this class and the last are drawn the
tempters the devils of ecclesiastical literature; but their power
falls utterly before purity of mind and purpose; they can do
nothing with a man unless he has first encouraged in himself
the vices into which they seek to draw him.
One whose psychic sight has been opened will often see
crowds of these unfortunate creatures hanging round
butchers' shops, public-houses, or other even more
disreputable places wherever the gross influences in which
they delight are to be found, and where they encounter men
and women still in the flesh who are like-minded with
themselves. For such an entity as one of these to meet with a
medium with whom he is in affinity is indeed a terrible
misfortune not only does it enable him to prolong
enormously his dreadful astral life, but it renews for perhaps
all indefinite period his power to generate evil karma, and so
prepare for himself a future incarnation of the most
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degraded character, besides running the risk of losing a large
portion of such mind-power as he may happen to possess. If
he is fortunate enough not to meet with a sensitive through
whom his passions can be vicariously gratified, the
unfulfilled desires will gradually burn themselves out, and
the suffering caused in the process will probably go far
towards working off the evil karma of the past life.
The position of the suicide is further complicated by the
fact that his rash act has enormously diminished the power
of the higher ego to withdraw its lower portion into itself, and
therefore has exposed him to manifold and great additional
dangers; but it must be remembered that the guilt of suicide
differs considerably according to its circumstances, from the
morally blameless act of Seneca or Socrates through all
degrees down to the heinous crime of the wretch who takes
his own life in order to escape from the entanglements into
which his villainy has brought him and of course the position
after death varies accordingly.
It should be noted that this class, as well as the shades
and the vitalized shells, are all what may be called minor
vampires; that is to say, whenever they have the opportunity
they prolong their existence by draining away the vitality
from human beings whom they find themselves able to
influence. This is why both medium and sitters are often so
weak and exhausted after a physical seance. A student of
occultism is taught how to guard himself from their attempts,
but without that knowledge it is difficult for one who puts
himself in their way to avoid being more or less laid under
contribution by them.
8. The Vampire and Werewolf. There remain two even
more awful but happily very rare possibilities to be
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mentioned before this part of our subject is completed, and
though they differ very widely in many ways we may yet
perhaps group them together, since they have in common the
qualities of unearthly horror and of extreme rarity the latter
arising from the fact that they are really legacies from earlier
races hideous anachronisms, appalling relics of a time
when man and his surroundings were in many ways not what
they are now.
We of the fifth root race ought to have evolved beyond
the possibility of meeting such a ghastly fate as is indicated
by either of the two headings of this sub-section, and we
have so nearly done it that these creatures are commonly
regarded as mere mediaeval fables; yet there are examples to
be found occasionally even now, though chiefly in countries
where there is a considerable strain of fourth-race blood,
such as Russia or Hungary. The popular legends about them
are probably often considerably exaggerated, but there is
nevertheless a terribly serious substratum of truth beneath
the eerie stories which pass from mouth to mouth among the
peasantry of Central Europe. The general characteristics of
such tales are too well known to need more than a passing
reference; a fairly typical specimen of the vampire story,
though it does not profess to be more than the merest fiction,
is Sheridan le Fanu's Carmilla, while a very remarkable
account of an unusual form of this creature is to be found in
Isis Unveiled vol. i., p. 454.
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