From the book People From The Other World Henry Steele OlcottAn African juggler materializes Michalko visited us again the next evening, and spoke to Mme. de Blavatsky in the Georgian tongue; and, after two or three more forms had shown themselves, I saw one of the most singular creatures that ever excited the wonder of a circle. He was a tall, spare negro, black as ink, and dressed in a curious costume, two features of which were very conspicuous. Upon his woolly head he had a coiffure, that would make a sensation on Broadway. I could see an ornamented fillet, or band, and on top of his head four horns with bent tips, something like those of the chamois or some varieties of African antelope, such as the oryx. The points of the two in front were turned backward, and those of the two in rear, forward, while a brass or gilt ball hung suspended from each tip.
Mme. de Blavatsky did not recognize him at first, but he stepped forward a pace or two, and she then saw before her the chief of a party of African jugglers whom she encountered once in Upper Egypt, at a celebration of the feast of The Ramazan. The magical performances of his party upon that occasion, make one of the most incredible stories in the history of either Magic or Spiritualism, and one feat deserves place in such a book of weird experiences as this.
Madame says that, in full sight of a multitude, comprising several hundred Europeans and many thousand Egyptians and Africans, the juggler came out on a bare space of ground, leading a small boy, stark-naked, by the hand, and carrying a huge roll of tape that might be twelve or eighteen inches wide. After certain ceremonies, he whirled the roll about his head several times, and then flung it straight up into the air. Instead of falling back to earth after it had ascended a short distance, it kept on upward, unwinding and unwinding interminably from the stick, until it grew to be a mere speck, and finally passed out of sight. The juggler drove the pointed end of the stick into the ground, and then beckoned the boy to approach. Pointing upward, and talking in a strange jargon, he seemed to be ordering the little fellow to ascend the self-suspended tape, which by this time stood straight and stiff, as if it were a board whose end rested against some solid support up in mid-air. The boy bowed compliance, and began climbing, using his hands and feet as little AllRight does when climbing Satsuma's balance-pole. The boy went higher and higher until he, too, seemed to pass into the clouds and disappear.
The juggler waited five or ten minutes, and then, pretending to be impatient, shouted up to his assistant as if to order him down. No answer was heard, and no boy appeared ; so, finally, as if carried away with rage, the juggler thrust a naked sword into his breech-clout (the only garment upon his person), and climbed after the boy. Up and up and up, hand over hand, and step by step, he ascended, until the straining eyes of the multitude saw him no more. There was a moment's pause, and then a wild shriek came down from the sky, and a bleeding arm, as if freshly cut from the boy's body, fell with a horrid thud upon the ground. Then came another, then the two legs, one after the other, then the dismembered trunk, and, last of all, the ghastly head, every part streaming with gore and covering the ground.
A second lad now stepped forward, and, gathering the mutilated fragments of his comrade into a heap, threw a dirty cloth over them and retired. Presently the juggler was seen descending as slowly and cautiously as he had ascended. He reached the ground at last, with his naked sword all dripping with blood. Paying no attention to the remains of his supposed victim, he went to rewinding his tape upon his stick, his audience meanwhile breaking out into cries of impatience and execration. When the tape was all rewound, he wiped his sword, and then, deliberately stepping to the bloody heap, lifted off the ragged quilt, and up rose the little tape-climber as hearty as ever, and bowed and smiled upon the amazed throng as though dismemberment were an after-breakfast pastime to which he had been accustomed from infancy.
I have seen it stated in the papers that the late William H. Seward, ex-Secretary of State, witnessed a similar feat in India, while on his tour around the world. He saw a man climb a bare pole sixty feet high, standing in open air, and when he reached the top he mysteriously disappeared. After a while his feet reappeared, then his legs and body, and then he came down. It is a great pity that some of our enterprising publishers could not induce Mme. de Blavatsky to write out her memoirs, for they abound in such marvels as these. And, be it remembered, the great negro whom I saw at Chittenden was the chief of the very party who performed the marvel of diablerie in Egypt. But, whoever he was, or wherever he hails from, is it possible that William Eddy could get himself up, in his two-by-seven feet, pitch-dark cabinet, to look like this strange creature, without lamp, paint, looking-glass, soap, or water, and only a small black fringed shawl and piece of plaid horse-blanket, taken from serving their purpose as curtains, to be used as costume ?