A Compilation of Stories
By H P Blavatsky
H P Blavatsky
Can the Double Murder ?
H P Blavatsky
To the Editor of the Sun
-- One morning in 1867
horrifying description. Michael Obrenovitch, reigning Prince of Serbia, his
aunt, the Princess Catherine or Katinka, and her daughter had been murdered in
broad daylight, near
remaining unknown. The Prince had received several bullet-shots, and stabs, and
his body was actually butchered; the Princess was killed on the spot, her head
smashed, and her young daughter, though still alive, was not expected to
survive. The circumstances are too recent to have been forgotten, but in that
part of the world, at the time, the case created a delirium of excitement.
In the Austrian dominions and in those under the doubtful protectorate of
half Oriental countries every Montecchi has its Capuletti, and it was rumoured
that the bloody deed was perpetrated by the Prince Kara-Gueorguevitch, or
"Tzerno-Gueorgey," as he is usually called in those parts. Several persons
innocent of the act were, as is usual in such cases imprisoned, and the real
murderers escaped justice. A young relative of the victim, greatly beloved by
his people, a mere child, taken for the purpose
from a school in
brought over in ceremony to
After the proclamation of the young Obrenovitch, nephew of the murdered man, she had sold out her property and disappeared; but not before taking a solemn vow on the tombs of the victims to avenge their deaths.
writer of this truthful narrative had passed a few days at
three months before the horrid deed was perpetrated, and knew the Princess
Katinka. She was a kind, gentle, and lazy creature at home; abroad she seemed a
Parisienne in manners and education. As nearly all the personages who will
figure in this true story are still living, it is but decent that I should
withhold their names, and give only initials.
The old Serbian lady seldom left her house, going but to see the Princess
occasionally. Crouched on a pile of pillows and carpeting, clad in the
picturesque national dress, she looked like the Cumaean sibyl in her days of
calm repose. Strange stories were whispered about her Occult knowledge, and
thrilling accounts circulated sometimes among the guests assembled round the
fireside of the modest inn. Our fat landlord's maiden aunt's cousin had been
troubled for some time past by a wandering vampire, and had been bled nearly to death by the nocturnal visitor, and while the efforts and exorcisms of the
parish pope had been of no avail, the victim was luckily delivered by Gospoja
P---, who had put to flight the disturbing ghost by merely shaking her fist at
and shaming him in his own language. It was in
the first time this highly interesting fact in philology, namely, that spooks
have a language of their own. The old lady, whom I will call Gospoja P--- , was
generally attended by another personage destined to be the principal actress in
our tale of horror. It was a young gipsy girl from some part of Roumania, about
fourteen years of age. Where she was born, and who she was, she seemed to know as little as anyone else. I was told she had been brought one day by a party of strolling gipsies, and left in the yard of the old lady, from which moment she became an inmate of the house.
She was nicknamed "the sleeping girl," as she was said to be gifted with the faculty of apparently dropping asleep wherever she stood, and speaking her dreams aloud. The girl's heathen name was Frosya.
eighteen months after the news of the murder had reached
was at the time, I travelled over the
a horse whenever I needed one. I met on my way an old Frenchman, a scientist,
travelling alone after my own fashion, but with the difference that while he was
a pedestrian, I dominated the road from the eminence of a throne of dry hay in a
jolting waggon. I discovered him one fine morning slumbering in a wilderness of
shrubs and flowers, and had nearly passed over him, absorbed as I was in the
contemplation of the surrounding glorious scenery. The acquaintance was soon
made, no great ceremony of mutual introduction being needed. I had heard his
name mentioned in circles interested in mesmerism,
and knew him to be a powerful adept of the
"I have found," he remarked, in the course of the conversation after I had made
him share my seat of hay, "one of the most wonderful subjects in this lovely
Thebaide. I have an appointment to-night with the family. They are seeking to
unravel the mystery of a murder by means of the clairvoyance of the girl . . .
she is wonderful!"
"Who is she?" I asked.
"A Roumanian gipsy. She was brought up, it appears, in the family of the Serbian reigning Prince, who reigns no more, for he was very mysteriously mur--- Halloo, take care! Diable, you will upset us over the precipice!" he hurriedly
exclaimed, unceremoniously snatching from me the reins, and giving the horse a
"You do not mean Prince Obrenovitch? " I asked aghast.
"Yes, I do; and him precisely. To-night I have to be there, hoping to close a
series of seances by finally developing a most marvellous manifestation of the
hidden power of the human spirit; and you may come with me. I will introduce
you; and besides, you can help me as an interpreter, for they do not speak
As I was pretty sure that if the somnambule was Frosya, the rest of the family
must be Gospoja P---, I readily accepted. At sunset we were at the foot of the
mountain, leading to the old castle, as the Frenchman called the place. It fully
deserved the poetical name given it. There was a rought bench in the depths of
one of the shadowy retreats, and as we stopped at the entrance of this poetical
place, and the Frenchman was gallantly busying himself with my horse on the
suspicious-looking bridge which led across the water to the entrance gate, I saw
a tall figure slowly rise from the bench and come towards us.
It was my old friend Gospoja P---, looking more pale and more mysterious than
ever. She exhibited no surprise at seeing me, but simply greeting me after the
Serbian fashion, with a triple kiss on both cheeks, she took hold of my hand and
led me straight to the nest of ivy. Half reclining on a small carpet spread on
the tall grass, with her back leaning against the wall, I recognized our Frosya.
She was dressed in the national costume of the Wallachian women, a sort of gauze turban intermingled with various gilt medals and bands on her head, white shirt with opened sleeves, and petticoats of variegated colours. Her face looked
deadly pale, her eyes were closed, and her countenance presented that stony,
sphinx-like look which characterizes in such a peculiar way the entranced
clairvoyant somnambule. If it were not for the heaving motion of her chest and
bosom, ornamented by rows of medals and bead necklaces which feebly tinkled at every breath, one might have thought her dead, so, lifeless and corpse-like was her face.
The Frenchman informed me that he had sent her to sleep just as we were approaching the house, and that she now was as he had left her the previous
night; he then began busying himself with the sujet, as he called Frosya. Paying
no further attention to us, he shook her by the hand, and then making a few
rapid passes stretched out her arm and stiffened it. The arm as rigid as iron,
remained in that position. He then closed all her fingers but one -- the middle
finger -- which he caused to point at the evening star, which twinkled in the
deep blue sky. Then he turned round and went over from right to left, throwing
on some of his fluids here, again discharging them at another place; busying
himself with his invisible but potent fluids, like a painter with his brush when
giving the last touches to a picture.
The old lady, who had silently watched him, with her chin in her hand the while,
put her thin, skeleton-looking hands on his arm and arrested it, as he was
preparing himself to begin the regular mesmeric passes.
"Wait," she whispered, "till the star is set and the ninth hour completed. The
Vourdalaki are hovering round; they may spoil the influence."
"What does she say?" enquired the mesmerizer, annoyed at her interference.
I explained to him that the old lady feared the pernicious influences of the
"Vourdalaki! What's that -- the Vourdalaki?" exclaimed the Frenchman. "Let us be satisfied with Christian spirits, if they honour us to-night with a visit, and
lose no time for the Vourdalaki!"
I glanced at the Gospoja. She had become deathly pale and her brow was sternly knitted over her flashing black eyes.
"Tell him not to jest at this hour of the night!" she cried. "He does not know
the country. Even this holy church may fail to protect us once the Vourdalaki
are roused. What's this?" pushing with her foot a bundle of herbs the botanizing
mesmerizer had laid near on the grass. She bent over the collection and
anxiously examined the contents of the bundle, after which she flung the whole
into the water.
must not be left here," she firmly added; "these are the
and they might attract the wandering ones."
Meanwhile the night had come, and the moon illuminated the landscape with a
ghostly light. The nights in the
East, and the Frenchman had to go on with his experiments in the open air, as
the priest of the church had prohibited such in the tower, which was used as the
parsonage, for fear of filling the holy precincts with the heretical devils of
the mesmerizer, which, the priest remarked, he would be unable to exorcise on
account of their being foreigners.
The old gentleman had thrown off his travelling blouse, rolled up his shirt
sleeves, and now, striking a theatrical attitude, began a regular process of
Under his quivering fingers the odile fluid actually seemed to flash in the
twilight. Frosya was placed with her figure facing the moon, and every motion of
the entranced girl was discernible as in daylight. In a few minutes large drops
of perspiration appeared on her brow, and slowly rolled down her pale face,
glittering in the moonbeams. Then she moved uneasily about and began chanting a low melody, to the words of which the Gospoja, anxiously bent over the
unconscious girl, was listening with avidity and trying to catch every syllable.
With her thin finger on her lips, her eyes nearly starting from their sockets,
her frame motionless, the old lady seemed herself transfixed into a statue of
attention. The group was a remarkable one, and I regretted that I was not a
painter. What followed was a scene worthy to figure in Macbeth. At one side she, the slender girl, pale and corpse-like, writhing under the invisible fluid of
him who for the hour was her omnipotent master; at the other the old matron,
who, burning with her unquenched fire of revenge, stood waiting for the
long-expected name of the Prince's murderer to be at last pronounced. The
Frenchman himself seemed transfigured, his grey hair standing on end; his bulky
clumsy form seemed to have grown in a few minutes. All theatrical pretence was
now gone; there remained but the mesmerizer, aware of his responsibility,
unconscious himself of the possible results, studying and anxiously expecting.
Suddenly Frosya, as if lifted by some supernatural force, rose from her
reclining posture and stood erect before us, again motionless and still, waiting
for the magnetic fluid to direct her. The Frenchman, silently taking the old
lady's hand, placed it in that of the somnambulist, and ordered her to put
herself en rapport with the Gospoja.
"What seest thou, my daughter?" softly murmured the Serbian Lady. "Can your
spirit seek out the murderers?"
"Search and behold!" sternly commanded the mesmerizer, fixing his gaze upon the face of the subject.
"I am on my way -- I go," faintly whispered Frosya, her voice seeming not to
come from herself, but from the surrounding atmosphere.
At this moment something so strange took place that I doubt my ability to
describe it. A luminous vapour appeared, closely surrounding the girl's body. At
first about an inch in thickness, it gradually expanded, and, gathering itself,
suddenly seemed to break off from the body altogether and condense itself into a kind of semisolid vapour, which very soon assumed the likeness of the somnambule herself.
Flickering about the surface of the earth the form vacillated for two or three seconds, then glided noiselessly toward the river. It disappeared like a mist, dissolved in the moonbeams, which seemed to absorb it altogether.
I had followed the scene with an intense attention. The mysterious operation,
know in the East as the evocation of the scin-lecca, was taking place before my
own eyes. To doubt was impossible, and Dupotet was right in saying that
mesmerism is the conscious Magic of the ancients, and Spiritualism the
unconscious effect of the same Magic upon certain organisms.
As soon as the vaporous double had smoked itself through the pores of the girl,
Gospoja had, by a rapid motion of the hand which was left free, drawn from under her pelisse something which looked to us suspiciously like a small stiletto, and
placed it as rapidly in the girl's bosom. The action was so quick that the
mesmerizer, absorbed in his work, had not remarked it, as he afterwards told me.
A few minutes elapsed in a dead silence. We seemed a group of petrified persons. Suddenly a thrilling and transpiercing cry burst from the entranced girl's lips, she bent forward, and snatching the stiletto from her bosom, plunged it
furiously round her, in the air, as if pursuing imaginary foes. Her mouth
foamed, and incoherent, wild exclamations broke from her lips, among which
discordant sounds I discerned, several times two familiar Christian names of
men. The mesmerizer was so terrified that he lost all control over himself, and
instead of withdrawing the fluid he loaded the girl with it still more.
But the Frenchman had unwittingly raised subtle potencies of Nature over which
he had no control. Furiously turning round, the girl struck at him a blow which
would have killed him had he not avoided it by jumping aside, receiving but a
severe scratch on the right arm. The poor man was panic-stricken; climbing with
an extraordinary agility, for a man of his bulky form, on the wall over her, he
fixed himself on it astride, and gathering the remnants of his will power, sent
in her direction a series of passes. At the second, the girl dropped the weapon
and remained motionless.
"What are you about?" hoarsely shouted the mesmerizer in French, seated like
some monstrous night-globin on the wall. `Answer me, I command you!"
"I did . . . but what she . . . whom you ordered me to obey . . . commanded me
to do," answered the girl in French, to my amazement.
"What did the old witch command you?" irreverently asked he.
"To find them . . . who murdered . . . kill them . . . I did so . . . and they
are no more . . . Avenged! . . . Avenged! They are . . ."
An exclamation of triumph, a loud shout of infernal joy, rang loud in the air,
and awakening the dogs of the neighbouring villages a responsive howl of barking began from that moment, like a ceaseless echo of the Gospoja's cry:
"I am avenged! I feel it; I know it. My warning heart tells me that the fiends
are no more." She fell panting on the ground, dragging down, in her fall, the
girl, who allowed herself to be pulled down as if she were a bag of wool.
"I hope my subject did no further mischief to-night. She is a dangerous as well
as a very wonderful subject," said the Frenchman.
We parted. Three days after that I was at T---, and as I was sitting in the
dining-room of a restaurant, waiting for my lunch, I happened to pick up a
newspaper, and the first lines I read ran thus:
Last evening, at , as P--- was about to retire, two of the
gentlemen-in-waiting suddenly exhibited great terror, as though they had seen a dreadful apparition. They screamed, staggered, and ran about the room, holding up their hands as if to ward off the blows of an unseen weapon.
They paid no attention to the eager questions of the prince and suite, but
presently fell writhing upon the floor, and expired in great agony. Their
bodies exhibited no appearance of apoplexy, nor any external marks
of wounds, but, wonderful to relate, there were numerous dark spots and longmarks upon the skin, as though they were stabs and slashes made without puncturing the cuticle. The autopsy revealed the fact that beneath each of these mysterious discolourations there was a deposit of coagulated blood. The greatest excitement prevails, and the faculty are unable to solve the mystery.
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