Cardiff Blavatsky Archive

Theosophical Society, Cardiff Lodge, 206 Newport Road, Cardiff CF24 – 1DL



A Compilation of Stories

By H P Blavatsky

H P Blavatsky


Return to Homepage

Return to Nightmare Tales index


Can the Double Murder ?


H P Blavatsky



To the Editor of the Sun


Sir, -- One morning in 1867 Eastern Europe was startled by news of the most

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 Belgrade, in their own garden, assassin or assassins

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

Turkey, from Bucharest down to Trieste, no high family felt secure. In those

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 Paris, was

brought over in ceremony to Belgrade and proclaimed Hospodar of Serbia. In the turmoil of political excitement the tragedy of Belgrade was forgotten by all but an old Serbian matron who had been attached to the Obrenovitch family, and who, like Rachel, would not be comforted for the death of her children.


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.


The writer of this truthful narrative had passed a few days at Belgrade, about

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

him, and shaming him in his own language. It was in Belgrade that I learned for

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.


About eighteen months after the news of the murder had reached Italy, where I

was at the time, I travelled over the Banat in a small waggon of my own, hiring

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 school of Dupotet.


"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

violent pull.


"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.


"It must not be left here," she firmly added; "these are the St. John's plants,

and they might attract the wandering ones."


Meanwhile the night had come, and the moon illuminated the landscape with a

pale, ghostly light. The nights in the Banat are nearly as beautiful as 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.

"Take care," exclaimed I. "Stop! You will kill her, or she will kill you!"

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:


 VIENNA, 186--. Two Mysterious Deaths.


Last evening, at 9:45, 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.








Return to Homepage

Return to Nightmare Tales index


Cardiff Blavatsky Archive

Theosophical Society, Cardiff Lodge, 206 Newport Road, Cardiff CF24 – 1DL


Find out more about

Theosophy with these links


Wales! Wales! Theosophy Wales

The All Wales Guide to

Getting Started in Theosophy


Theosophy in Cardiff


Theosophy in Wales


Cardiff Lodge’s Instant Guide

to Theosophy


Cardiff Theosophical Archive


Blavatsky Blogger

Independent Theosophical Blog


Quick Blasts of Theosophy

One liners and quick explanations

About aspects of Theosophy


Great Theosophists

H P Blavatsky is usually the only

Theosophist that most people have ever

heard of. Let’s put that right


The Blavatsky Blogger’s

Instant Guide To

Death & The Afterlife


Blavatsky Calling

The Voice of the Silence Website


The Key to Theosophy


The Blavatsky Free State

An Independent Theosophical Republic

Links to Free Online Theosophy 

Study Resources; Courses, Writings, 

Commentaries, Forums, Blogs


Feelgood Theosophy

Visit the Feelgood Lodge



The New Rock ‘n Roll


The South of Heaven Guide to

Theosophy and Devachan



Try these if you don’t live in Wales

and are looking for a local group



UK Listing of Theosophical Groups


Worldwide Directory of 

Theosophical Links


International Directory of 

Theosophical Societies