The Rooster and the Tortoise

It was 6:00 A.M. exactly by the clock tower in the Piazza della Liberta of Udine when the party of eight Americans left the hotel in two limousines. Everything in their trip had been planned down to the last detail in timing and ceremonial.
The date was July 23, and already they felt the high summer heat. Within 15 minutes they had made their way through the narrow streets past arcades and porticos, out of the city, and were on the undulating road down through the coastal plain. Now and again, when they crested a hill, they caught glimpses of the Adriatic Sea as a glinting blue band on the horizon. To the far north stood the Alps, white and on guard.

Their destination was the village of Aquileia (population 1,500) some ten miles south toward the sea. For Carl, the leader of the trip, this was to be a homecoming: long ago he had lived, suffered, and triumphed in Aquileia. For Carl’s seven companions, it was a pilgrimage to a venerated shrine.

The two men riding with Carl in the first limousine were his friends and associates; the woman, Maria, had been his assistant for four years. The four college students in the second limousine were psychology majors and Carl’s student assistants. Besides being a highlight in their studies, the trip was a mystical celebration for them.

In the first limousine, Carl led the conversation in jubilant tones: “We are on the brink of discovering what Christianity was like before the Greeks and Romans distorted it.” He was a thick-set man in his late forties, of medium height, with close-cropped, coal-black, curly hair and beard; high rounded cheekbones beneath a high forehead, eyes not merely black, but shining black, like polished agates. He had a Roman nose, long, straight, with a slight hump in the middle. The lips were full and sat over a strong jawline. He was tanned and healthy-looking. He wore a light suit over an open shirt.

As he spoke, he gestured quietly to emphasize his meaning. The ring on his right index finger flashed in the morning sun. It was a wide gold band adorned with a gold image of a tortoise. He toyed with the two emblems of an ancient Roman god, Neptune, a dolphin and a trident, which hung on his neck chain.

Carl was a qualified psychologist, with a prior degree in physics. His studies had led him into parapsychology and research concerning the nonordinary states of human consciousness. Under the impulse of his personal gifts as a psychic, he had been experimenting in astral travel and reincarnation.

After 11 years of intensive work, he was going to Aquileia accompanied by associates and students. For here, as he and the others had learned a few months previously during one of Carl’s trances, he had lived some 1,600 years previously during a former existence as a public notary named Petrus. In that trance, which had taken place under controlled laboratory conditions, Carl accurately described not merely ancient Aquileia-its amphitheater, forums, public baths, palaces, quays, cemeteries, triumphal arches, and shops. He had given a detailed account of how the fourth-century citizens of Aquileia had re-erected a public statue of Neptune which a religious sect had overturned in the previous century. Some weeks after that seance, news had come independently from Aquileia telling precisely of such a statue and of a Latin inscription backing up Carl’s statements.

Carl had also given details of a mosaic floor that was part of a fourth-century Christian chapel. And he added something piquant which fascinated his associates and students: a description of a very ancient ritual that used to be performed by Petrus and his companions at one particular spot on that mosaic floor.

The purpose of their present trip was to reenact that ritual on July 23, the summer festival of the god Neptune.

Now, in the first limousine, Carl was again describing that particular spot and the ritual. The spot was a mosaic medallion depicting a fight between a red rooster and a brown tortoise. Apparently Petrus and his companions-“Christians of the original kind,” Carl commented- used to come and stand in single file to the right of the medallion. Then, one by one, they used to step on the Rooster (symbol of the intellectual pride and imperial power-madness which “had corrupted genuine and original Christianity”), then kneel, and looking at the Tortoise (symbol of immortality and eternity), pronounce the Latin formulae: Ave Dominus Aquae vivae! Ave Dominus immortalis qui Christum fecisti et reduxisti! (Hail, Lord of Living Water! Hail, Eternal Lord who made Christ and took him back.)

It was this corrective religious aspect of Carl’s experiments and researches that had attracted the interest and attention of many-in particular, of the group accompanying him this morning.

Norman was reared a Lutheran, but in his late teens had rebelled against the traditionalism and conservative beliefs of his church. He became convinced that Luther was a wanton rebel and Lutheranism a mere sixteenth-century invention having very little to do with the original teaching of Christ and the first Christians.

Albert, Carl’s second associate, was a former Episcopal priest. After three years in the ministry, he took up studies in psychology, convinced that his church was no longer speaking the language of modern people and no longer delivering the original message of salvation Christ had preached.

Of the four psychology majors, the group riding in the second limousine, two were Catholic-Donna and Keith; one, Bill, was Jewish. Charlie had been baptized in the Presbyterian Church, but had converted to Judaism two years previously. All four had been educated in the prevalent idea of their time that Western Christianity was a product of Greek philosophy and Roman legalism and organization, and the churches were shams and false representatives of the genuine church of Jesus.
The group’s plan for this morning was quite simple. Without any fanfare or fuss, they intended to stand around Carl while he reenacted that ancient ritual over that particular medallion in the ancient floor of the cathedral. They had a tape recorder and movie camera. All Carl’s words and gestures were to be recorded on tape and film.

Norman, a close and longtime associate of Carl and a fellow psychologist, was to act as monitor: at each stage lie would announce into the recorder what was happening during the visit, even as it was being filmed. They half-expected Carl to be able to uncover further evidence of Petrus 1 his ancient fellow believers. As psychologists, Carl and his companions hoped to obtain some new insights into the parapsychological from the experience.

Four and a half miles south of the Venice-Trieste freeway, they entered Aquileia. Everything was drenched in blinding sunlight. All colors were fused into the brightness of the day. Circumstances were favorable for Carl that morning in Aquileia.


All trace of modern life and activity was dormant. On that summer festival of Neptune, the god of the sea, as they made their way slowly toward the cathedral, all living humans were asleep and hidden, as if Neptune had spread his net over them. Even the dogs and chickens were still asleep. A solitary cat licked and preened itself on a rooftop in the shadow of a chimney. Maria touched Carl’s hand, smiling. He responded to her expression of satisfaction with a quick smile, but he said nothing.


They were all gazing out at the village streets as they rode toward the square. Houses, taverns, shops became indistinct shapes in the haze of heat and light. For those with eyes to see, this twentieth-century time frame was now transparent. In the boiling quiet they sensed the presence of ancient gods, of lisping shades, and of all those who once walked there in their pride, their sorrow, their loves, and their defeats. The village was almost incongruously dominated by the huge cathedral and its spired campanile. Aquileia, a 2,000-year-old city, was once the fourth most important Roman city in the world, after Rome itself and Capua and Milan.

Then joined to the Adriatic by six canals, it was the only city outside Rome empowered to strike its own coins. The capital of a strategically and economically vital province, it was famous for its theater and its religious festivals, its celebration of mysteries, and its curative waters. It was the meeting place of Roman emperors, popes, synods; residence of its own patriarch; prized by German and Austrian kings; fought for by Slovenes, Huns, Avars, Greeks, Franks, English, Danes.
Now Aquileia is an obscure little farming community off the beaten track, a forgotten and inconsequential village not shown on general maps, and described by sardonic clerics in Rome as “a cathedral with some streets attached to it.”

Carl’s party drove directly to the cathedral; they had made arrangements with the guardian. As they got to the door, the student assistants began the “experiment.”

Donna started the movie camera, and Bill started the tape recorder. All was set. Every one of them was tense and expectant. A certain air of happy quest descended on them.

Their course now was to enter the cathedral, walk down its central nave, turn right at the sanctuary, and descend into the ruins of the fourth-century chapel.

Carl’s behavior changed the moment he stepped out of the limousine. He was no longer smiling and relaxed. He had that “look” his associates had come to know so well-his eyes heavy-lidded and almost closed, the head lifted, hands hanging by his sides, and on his face a special glow of absorption and reverence they had come to associate with his “trances.” There were hints of ecstasy and happiness at the corners of his mouth. The utter calm of rapture seemed to descend on him: his forehead and cheeks were utterly smooth, free of wrinkles and lines, as if the skin were suddenly made young again or drawn tight by an invisible hand.

But the general expression of his whole face was abstracted and bloodless. There was no hint of a personal expression, no indication of a word about to be pronounced or of a passion about to erupt, neither confidence nor fear, neither welcome nor hope of welcome, neither compassion nor expectation of compassion.

And around the eyes, in a way none of his associates and students could ever explain, there was what they had come to call the “twist”-some crookedness, some wry misshapenness, as if the natural contours of skull, forehead, eyes, and ears had been splayed out of kilter by some superhuman force residing in him temporarily with tremendous and awe-full power. It was ungainly and uncomely but accepted by those around him as inevitable. Carl always referred to it as “my divine suffering.” For his theory-or rather his belief-was that during psychic trances a human being with an “open soul,” as he used to phrase it, was “taken over,” was “possessed” by the superhuman. The merely physical frame of that human being was overwhelmed-suffered, in that sense-by the inrush of silent divinity. The thin wall of reality separating the divine and the human was temporarily breached, and the human was “marinated” in the divine.

Now all waited. Carl had to move and talk. There must be no outside interruption, no external stimulus. The minutes ticked by. They still had not moved from the entrance. Carl’s lips moved, but there was no audible sound. Then he shifted his stance, turning slowly in a half-circle, first toward the sea six miles away, then in the direction of Venice in a southwesterly direction. As he turned, he had a questioning expression on his face. He seemed to be waiting.

They heard scraps of words and sentences: “. . . the fourth canal . . . Via Postumia . . . must have the integral number of . . .”

But his voice sank to a whisper and died away completely by the time he was facing in the direction of Venice. On his face, there was now a look of thunder and bitterness. His lips were working furiously as if in heated argument or commentary. But they heard nothing. Again he turned around, to face the cathedral door.

“Now 0800,” recorded Norman. “Carl is moving into the cathedral. His right hand is raised in salute, palm turned outward.”
Carl’s face was calm again. His lips had ceased to move. They entered a great golden-brown sea of silence, sunlight, and color arched over by the stone ribs of a roof that curved and soared away out of sight.

Then Carl headed straight down the no-foot nave. Sixty-five feet wide, the floor was one, whole ocean of mosaics flanked by solid columns on either side; it ended in a semidomed apse where the high altar stood. The sun’s rays were pouring in through the nave windows and slanting down upon the expanse with dovetailing shafts of light and shadow. Dust shimmered in paths of light, flecking the air with colors of the mosaics and the surrounding walls, red, yellow, ochre, purple, orange, green.

For three-quarters of the nave the little group walked solemnly and steadily over that magic flooring teeming with designs of garlands, birds, animals, fish, ancient Romans, all glowing with deep tints and sophisticated forms.

Carl made only one detour: when he reached a particular medallion set in the floor, he paused. His lips were moving again: “. . . weakness . . . to prefer death to strength . . . prostituting humility of this weak . . .” Then in staccato repetition under his breath he uttered the old Roman words for Rome’s cruel strength: “Virtus, virtus, virtus, virtus ...”

Norman glanced at the medallion. “Carl is circling this mosaic of the Good Shepherd,” he recorded.

Carl’s own voice tapered off with whispered tones of disgust: “. . . braying donkey . . . Alexander’s god ... a braying donkey . . .”


After this, Carl walked on calmly until he reached a broad mosaic band beyond which they saw a composite picture of the sea. The ancient artists had depicted boats, fishermen, fish of all sizes, sea serpents, dolphins, and a recurrent theme: Jonah, the Old Testament figure, in the mouth of a whale.

Carl’s behavior became erratic at this point, and his face again mirrored anger together with confusion and contempt. He drew back with a low hiss of breath, his body almost crouching. Then he bobbed his head from side to side, as if seeking an exit between dangerous thorns.

Norman recorded, his voice stumbling as he followed Carl’s changing course. “Carl is moving to the left. Slowly . . . now to the center, now to the right-no, he is moving leftwards again, stepping on a Jonah medallion.” Then in an aside to Donna, who was still filming all of Carl’s movements, “Move over in front of him, Donna, move up front, please.” Donna did so.

Painfully, with sudden stops and cautious steps, Carl made his way up to the steps of the sanctuary. As Donna directed the camera at him, his eyes were wide open and blazing with an anger Donna had never seen in them. “Carl is turning back,” Norman continued to record. “He is going toward the tunnel door.” This tunnel led down to the fourth-century chapel over which the present cathedral was built in the eleventh century.

Donna was the first to reach the rectangular floor of the ancient chapel. She photographed the arrival of Carl, Norman, and the others. Carl now walked unerringly forward, but bowed his head several times as if acknowledging presences the others could not perceive.

The floor was another elaborate mass of Roman mosaics-pheasants, donkeys, fruits, pastoral figures and scenes, flowers. Carl did not stop until he reached a wide band of orange marble which ran the width of the chapel.

“Carl is standing at the orange band,” Norman continued his recording. “Beyond it are many geometric designs.”

After about 30 seconds, Carl’s behavior changed. His face lit up. His head was lifted high. Both hands were outstretched. He stepped across the orange band and walked straight to a medallion lying just beyond the geometric designs. This was the spot where the ancient ritual was to be enacted. The medallion showed the Tortoise glaring up at the Rooster.

Carl’s companions gathered around the medallion. Donna stood opposite Carl, the camera directed straight at him. “Carl’s hands are joined, palm on palm, at his chest,” Norman whispered into the microphone. “His eyes are closed. This is it.”

No sooner had Norman said this than Carl opened his arms to full length on either side of him; he raised his head until his eyes were directed upward behind closed lids. His companions began to hear half words and syllables of that ancient incantation he had come to recite: “. . . aquae viv . . . immortalis . . .”But he seemed to gag or stutter when he reached the word “Christum.” He never fully pronounced it. It came out as “Christ . . . Christ . . . Christ ...” (rhyming with “grist”). And as he stuttered over that first syllable, his voice got louder and louder, and his breathing became faster and more labored.

“Here, Bill, take the mike,” Norman said quickly, “but hold it so that we can still catch my comments and his words.” He had been instructed by Carl that, if there were any unforeseen block or difficulty, he was to take Carl lightly by the hand and guide him in on top of the Rooster.

Carl was still stuttering: “Christ . . . Christ . . . Christ ...” Donna at her camera noticed the white foam gathering at the corners of his mouth. Norman reached out to take Carl’s right hand in his. “God!” he exclaimed in a loud whisper, “his hand is like ice.”

Carl was now struggling. He had ceased speaking. He was like a man trying to forge ahead and walk against a strong, buffeting wind. His hand trembled in Norman’s, and his whole body vibrated in his effort to push onward, to step on to that Rooster in the mosaic medallion. His lips were drawn back over his teeth in the effort. The skin on his face tightened and whitened; and although he no longer spoke, there started in him a low moan like a man expelling his breath in a vast, heaving attempt to push past an obstacle.

Norman felt the icy cold entering his own fingers and hand, deadening all feeling there, loosening his grip on Carl.

The moaning rose in volume, changing to a growling, then increased in volume again until it resembled the shouting of a man through clenched teeth. Norman had let go of Carl’s hand by now and was standing back, confused and dazed. The others had drawn back a few steps in apprehension at this unexpected turn of events. Carl was now alone, still facing Donna across that medallion.

At the height of that peculiar muffled shout from Carl, a change seemed to come over him; and the shock was too much for Donna. Suddenly, it seemed, what had been buffeting Carl closed in around him like an invisible cocoon. Some unseen bonds and wrappings tightened around his entire body, squeezing and narrowing him, binding him in a crunched fashion and bending him. down lower and lower to the ground. He seemed to diminish in size. The expression of effort and straining rage on his face was replaced by a look of crushed, broken helplessness, almost of infantility. It was the look of one trying to draw into the smallest possible diameter of his own body.

Donna still held the camera in operation, but she whispered in panic: “Somebody help me! Please! Quick!” Nobody budged; they could not take their eyes off Carl. He was whining in an up-and-down fashion, as if pain and struggle had emptied him. It was a protest against agony. All this became too much for Donna. The camera slid from her fingers to the floor. And the last shot taken of Carl shows him bending forward, his hands locked tightly across his chest, his head twisted to one side, eyes closed, his tongue between his teeth, and an expression of resignation, defeat, and repose on his face-the same that many have seen on those who have been garroted or drowned. It was an emptied-out look.

The clattering fall of Donna’s camera broke the frozen fascination of the others. Bill and two students finally rushed to help Donna. Norman and the others lifted Carl up. As they did, his body relaxed from its rigid posture and he was carried limp and unconscious out into the open air.

All were perspiring and shaken. Carl’s body was cold. They poured some drops of whisky between his lips, and he began to recover. After a while, he breathed normally and opened his eyes.

“Carl,” Norman spoke quietly, “Carl, it will be better if we go on to Venice now.”

A little over a week later, back in New York, Carl was far from all right. Even after a few days rest in Venice and Milan, and the long flight home, Carl was still in a dazed condition that none of his associates could understand. He was no longer the commanding, self-possessed, and self-confident leader he had been. He ate and slept fitfully, talked very little, canceled all his scheduled appointments.

Carl seemed to be reliving again and again the scene in Aquileia, always in the same way: he muttered and talked, sometimes strode around the house and garden reenacting each step of that disastrous morning. And always, at the crucial moment, he went into the same queer seizure. It was Donna who remarked one day that he seemed to her to be trying to carry the Aquileia incident past that difficult moment at the medallion.

Finally Norman and Albert called Carl’s father in Philadelphia. Carl was taken home.

A long rest was prescribed by the family doctor.

There was no suspicion in anyone’s mind that Carl was possessed or in the process of possession, until one night when only Carl and his father were sleeping alone in the big house. His father was suddenly wakened from sleep. Carl stood by his bedside, crying quietly. He spoke very clearly, although not all he said seemed coherent to his father. He evidently wanted help from a priest. He named him: Father Hartney F., who lived in Newark, New Jersey. And Carl wanted his father to call the priest then and there. It was after midnight, but his father was sufficiently alarmed to call the priest. Father was out, his housekeeper said; she would give the message to him when he returned.

Carl’s father had just hung up when there occurred one of many peculiar apparent coincidences that marked the case of Carl V. The telephone rang. The man’s voice at the other end was level and pleasant. He announced himself as Father F. Yes, he would like to see Carl; that was why he was calling. No, he was not in New Jersey; he was in Philadelphia. No, he had not been contacted by his housekeeper.

“Mr. V., I must ask you to trust me as a man and as a priest. I have something to say to your son which is for his ears only.” His father looked at Carl, then handed him the telephone. Carl appeared to listen, tears flowing, his face drawn. All he said was “Yes” a few times; then a slow “Tomorrow. All right.” He hung up and, without looking at his father, turned slowly away and left the room.

Carl spent three weeks in New York with Father F., for a first round of pre-exorcism tests. He was back home by late August. During September and October he commuted frequently from Philadelphia to Newark and New York. At the beginning of November the exorcism began.

Although there are many in the field of parapsychology who deplore the disappearance of Carl V. from their midst, very few are acquainted with the circumstances in which he finally renounced all research and study of this very modern branch of knowledge. Carl was already a brilliant psychologist when he turned to parapsychology. Many who knew him and his gifts predicted that he was the right man in the right place at the right time doing exactly what needed to be done. They could see the premature termination of Carl’s career, therefore, only as unfortunate, a loss to the cause of true humanism.

Carl was not only very intelligent. He apparently possessed to an eminent degree some psychic gifts that are highly valued nowadays and the object of much research, such powers as telepathy and telekinesis. He found, in addition, a suitable academic location where he could exercise and study those gifts. Within that ambient he was surrounded by men and women of talent, students of ability and acumen. And, to cap his potential, there were two or three major events in his personal life that placed him in a category all by himself.

There was first a vision he had had as a teenager. There was, too, unexpected support of his general ideas about parapsychology from an unusually reputable quarter with the appearance of Aldous Huxley’s book The Doors of Perception in 1954. In addition, Carl himself enjoyed altered states of consciousness at various levels for almost ten years (1962-72). As early as 1965 he began to have constant perceptions of the “aura” surrounding objects-the “non-thing aura,” as he called it. Finally he achieved his first “exaltation” (his own term) in 1969.

In retrospect, Carl himself now assumes that, while his “exaltation” had a definite psychic character, at its core it was the threshold of diabolic possession.

But in the meanwhile, what gave a particular cachet to Carl’s career was the scrutiny of admiring colleagues who were applying their scientific principles precisely to such phenomena as altered states of consciousness, visions, astral travel, telepathy, telekinesis, reincarnation.

What added a new dimension in Carl’s case and in his own work was the authentically religious bent of his mind. Carl V. did, indeed, set out to find the truth about religion, Christianity, in particular. And the combination of psychic gifts, the extraordinary progress of what seemed to be his personal powers, and his religious leanings all gave him a peculiarly commanding appeal in the late 19605 and early 19708. For in the decadence of organized and institutional religion people had begun to switch their active interest to parapsychology as a possible source of religious knowledge and even of wisdom.
Indeed, as far as human judgment can go, we can only surmise that

Carl should have achieved much in his chosen field if his life had not been upset by diabolic possession and the consequent exorcism.

There was little that distinguished Carl either from his two brothers or from his school companions during his early childhood. His family had plenty of money and enjoyed considerable influence in their hometown of Philadelphia. The family was Mainline Protestant and worshiped at the Episcopal church. Carl’s growing-up was not particularly difficult. No misfortunes or tragedies hit the family. Neither the Depression nor World War II affected it very adversely. Carl did well in school and at sports. He traveled a good deal with his family, visiting Europe, South America, and Hawaii at various times.

The first manifestations of any extraordinary psychic gifts came slowly, and only gradually did his parents realize that Carl had capacities beyond the ordinary. When Carl was between seven and eight, they began to notice that when, for instance, his father or mother were looking for something-a newspaper, a pen, a glass of water-more often than not Carl would appear almost immediately carrying what they needed.

They put this down to coincidence at first. But then it became so frequent and, at times, so eerie that they set out to determine whether it was merely coincidence. After some weeks of close and discreet observation, they concluded that Carl did know in some way or other what they were thinking at times.

They might have brushed even this aside if they had not one day overheard his brothers asking Carl to bend some nails. Obligingly Carl bent and twisted two one-inch nails by “feeling” them with his index finger and thumb.

Carl’s father consulted a psychologist. A long series of discussions followed. Carl was brought by his parents to that psychologist, to another psychologist, and to a psychiatrist. The unanimous decision, after some testing, was that the child had incipient psychic gifts of telepathy and telekinesis. They maintained that he should not be made to feel out of the ordinary. His parents should endeavor to get him to recognize his gifts as nonordinary and to restrict their usage.

The difficulty with all this decision making behind Carl’s back totally escaped Carl’s parents and even the psychologists. For, without realizing fully its implications, Carl knew what they all thought and knew their decision. In a subtle recess of his child’s mind he decided to go along with the entire plan. But from that day on there began in him that “aloneness” that marked him in later life.

Carl obeyed his father’s suggestion that he bend no more nails, that he no longer tell people what they were thinking, and that he take no more initiative due to any telepathic knowledge he had of their wishes. By his eleventh year, as far as his parents could see, all manifestation of psychic powers seemed to have ceased in his external life.

But, in reality, Carl had now got a command over these powers in himself that no one realized and that he guarded almost as a jealous and lonely secret. Only occasionally did he slip. In a fit of temper he might smash a cup in another room or shout at a companion some boyish insult to match the insult the boy was about to launch.

In spite of this continued connivance on his part, Carl’s excellent relationships with his father and mother were genuine. In later years, after his parents divorced, Carl remained closest to his father.

As the eldest child, Carl was looked upon by his two brothers, Joseph and Ray, with something approaching awe. The three of them had an intimacy and openness with each other that lasted beyond childhood. It was within that framework of boyhood intimacy that he told Joseph and Ray of his vision at the age of sixteen.

From their accounts and Carl’s recollections, it appears that the vision took place in his father’s library one evening as Carl was preparing his homework. He glanced at the clock. Dinner was served punctually at six o’clock each evening. He had, he saw, one minute to go, just enough time to find a particular volume of the Encyclopaedia Britannica and open it to the article he needed for his written composition.

After he found the information he was looking for, his consciousness underwent a peculiar change. He was not frightened; instead, the change put him in what he describes as a great hush. He no longer saw the book in his hand or the shelves of books in front of him. He no longer even felt the weight of the volume in his hand. He did not feel the floor beneath his feet. But he did not miss them. They seemed no longer necessary.

He did not perceive all this directly. Only on the periphery of his consciousness was he aware of perceptual changes and of his lack of any need for physical feeling of his surroundings. His attention was riveted on something else, something totally different from, but in a mysterious way intimate to, all his experience up to that moment of his life.

It was, first of all, an atmosphere. There was much light, but, he says, a dark light.

Yet, that darkness was so brilliant that no detail escaped him. He was not looking at something or at a landscape; he was participating in it, so clear was every detail shown and conveyed to him. What he saw was dimensionless: no “over there,” no
“up” or “down” or “large” or “small.” Yet it was a place. Objects were in that place, but the place was nowhere. And the objects located in that space were not found by coordinates, or seen by the eye, or felt by the hand. He knew them, as it were, by participation in their being. He knew them completely. Therefore, he knew what they were and where they were. And even though they had a relationship to him and to each other, it was not a relationship of space and distance and comparative sizes.

Not only was normal spatial dimension in abeyance as nonextended time. It was not that time seemed to be suspended. There was no times no duration. He was not looking at the objects for a long or a short time-it could not have been seconds. Neither could it have been an infinity of hours or years. There was no sense of duration. It was timeless. Yet he did clearly, if indirectly, perceive a time. But it was, again, an internal time and seemed to be the total existence of himself and of all those objects without perceptible or receding beginning, and without an ending or an approaching ending.

As for a description of that landscape and the objects “in” it, Carl could only speak vaguely. It was a “land,” he said, a “countryside,” a “region.” It had all you would expect-mountains, sky, fields’, crops, trees, rivers. But these lacked what Carl called the “obscurity” of their counterparts in the physical world. And, although it had no apparent houses or cities, it was “inhabited”: it was full of an “inhabiting presence.” There was no sound or echo, but the soundlessness was not a silence, and the echolessness was not an absence of movement. It seemed to Carl for the first time he was freed from the oppression of silence and rid of the nostalgia produced’ in him by echoes.

As he took all this in, or as he was embraced by all this-he could never distinguish exactly which was a truer way of speaking-there was in him a sudden desire. That desire had a purity and a sacred immunity that freed it of any aching and did not imply a want in a way we normally understand. It was a summary appeal, but without request. It was desire as its own confirmation. It was substantial hope as its own trust. Yet it was desire. He would describe it at times as a “Show mel” or a “Give me!” or a “Take me!” or a “Lead me!” arising in him. But, he said, none of these expressed the bones and marrow of that desire. And over all his desire and desiring self there was an all-satisfying acceptance and acceptability.

Carl does not know if the vision would have “lasted” and carried him farther or not, for he was suddenly jerked out of it. “You’ve exactly one minute to finish.” It was little Ray. “Hurry up!”

An immense sadness welled up in Carl at that moment, an indescribable sense of loss. He saw the cold books, the long, hard shelves, and his little brother’s face. He felt the volume in his hands and the floor beneath his feet. He glanced at the clock. It was one minute to six o’clock.

As he hurried to his table, he had tears in his eyes. But, afterward, he could not make out whether they were tears of pain or thankfulness. He never knew.

Before going to bed, he confided in Joseph and Ray. “Perhaps it was Grandma telling you something,” Ray suggested helpfully. Their grandmother had died the previous year. “No,” said Joseph, “it was from God. They told us in Sunday school that God sends these things to show you what’s going to happen.”

Carl often wondered subsequently about this unique event in his life. What was he to wait for? Who or what had been talking to him? What had he been so desirous of at that moment? But, in spite of these questionings, the vision remained in his memory with a sweetness that nothing could dispel. And it made one subtle difference in him which many noticed but few understood. In his own mind it separated him from all others. He was never quite “with” others, never fully together with them.


At parties, dinners, meetings, lectures, he would see himself essentially separate from the others and on the sidelines.
He was, indeed, waiting. Only years later did he know what it was he had been told in the vision to expect.

Carl entered Princeton in 1942, got his master’s degree in psychology in 1947, his doctorate in 1951, spent six more years studying and doing research. Four of those years saw him in the United States and two in Europe. He returned only in 1957, to take up a permanent teaching post on a Midwest university campus. In those 15 years, from 1942 to 1957, some major changes took place in him.

The first and probably one of the most important was due to the influence of a fellow student, a Tibetan, Olde by name, whom Carl met in 1953. Olde gave Carl a firsthand introduction to “higher prayer,” as Olde called it.

Olde had been born in Tibet, reared there until the age of ten, then educated in Switzerland and Germany, and had come to the United States for doctoral studies. He claimed to be a member of an ancient Tibetan religious order, The Gelugpa (“The Virtuous”), and that he himself, as his father before him, was one of the sprulsku or reincarnating lamas.

Olde’s first personal conversation with Carl took place when Carl happened to hear Olde reading a precis of the thesis he was writing. The subject was the relationship between Yamantaka, the god of wisdom, and Yama, the god of Hell. Carl asked in all innocence why statues of Yamantaka always showed the god with 34 arms and 9 heads. Olde’s answer, a seeming nonsequitur, struck a strange echo in Carl. It was one answer Carl never forgot:

“The more arms and the more heads Yamantaka is seen with, the more you can see the other. And only the other is real.”

The other? The other? The other? Didn’t he know the other? What or who was the other?

Carl looked at Olde. And he understood quietly without effort: each extra arm, each extra head was meant to make nonsense, literally, of an arm and a head as a real thing. Any thing, an arm, a head, a chair, a leaf, any thing in itself was unimportant, was significant and real only because of an other, the other. Thingness was in itself a negation. It was the non-thing that mattered, because only the non-thing was real. And he seemed to see also that this was why, ever since his vision, he had had a tendency to withdraw, to remain on the sidelines, away from involvement with things, removed from being wholly occupied with their thingness.

In a gentle dawning within him Carl felt a surge of the same sadness that had gripped him when little Ray had burst in on him years before and his vision had been rudely terminated. “It [that moment with Olde] was the most maturing moment of my life up to that point,” Carl muses in retrospect today. For, during it, he felt again not only that sadness, but his ancient boyhood desire, felt all the pains of nostalgia as a most acceptable suffering, and at the same time heard again down the corridors of his memory that still, calm, reassuring “Wait” replete with its promise and guarantee of fulfillment.

Carl and Olde saw much of each other. And before long Olde was initiating Carl into “higher prayer.” From his own family life and Sunday schooling, Carl had learned the ordinary modes of prayer. It consisted of set prayers, hymns, and the occasional spontaneous self-expression used during grace at meals or when he prayed in private.

Olde overturned all Carl’s ideas and habits. Words, he said, and, even more importantly, concepts impede “higher prayer” and all true communication with what Carl as a Christian called “God” and what Olde called the “All.” Carl, he said, would have to train himself for “higher prayer.”

Day after day, Carl sat beside Olde, while Olde trained him in the basic attitudes of body and “tones” of mind. The conditions of body were simple to grasp. Quietness (early morning before sunrise or late at night when no sound disturbed the campus), elimination of any distraction-a comfortable sitting position, loose clothes on his body, as little light as possible. But all this and the steps still to come were merely preparatory and temporary. Olde explained that, if Carl progressed, he would leap definitively over all physical difficulties to “higher prayer.” And he would be able to “pray” while surrounded by 20 jackhammers pounding away in the middle of a bronze-walled room. (This was Olde’s image.)

Carl quickly attained the required physical quietude and concentration. The next steps took time-and they ushered Carl to the threshold of parapsychology. As Olde explained it, Carl had to be clear and clean of any “thingness.” It was easy for Carl to understand how to void his imagination of images, how to close off his memory so that no memory images passed in front of his mind, and how to eliminate even the most peripheral image consciousness of his body position, of the clothes on his body, of the warmth or the cold of the atmosphere around him, of his own breathing. But for quite a while he balked at the ultimate step. Olde instructed him that at this point he might go around in circles forever and never get any farther at all. Most people, in fact, did just that.

The ultimate step was to eliminate his own conscious realization of-therefore his concepts and images of and feelings about-his very condition at that moment of prayer. For a long time he had no control over his mind to keep himself from realizing he was emptying his mind; and he had no control over his will, with which he kept desiring to empty his mind. It all seemed a vicious circle. You disciplined your mind to think no thoughts, your imagination to indulge in no images, your feelings not to feel. And you did this by your will. But then, it appeared to Carl, his mind was full of the idea “I must have no thoughts.” His imagination kept seeking images of itself without images. His feelings kept feeling that they had no feelings. Around and around he used to gyrate until he emerged tired and strained and disappointed.

“Don’t give up,” Olde consoled him. He told him it could be worse and that he was sure Carl would one day find the secret-a mere, a tiny, an almost unnoticeable adjustment. “When you make it, you will know.” He repeated these same words again and again to Carl.

But for quite a while Carl made the summary mistake of trying to make the “adjustment.” He did not and could not know that, if you made that peculiar “adjustment,” you simply made it. Not with your mind, not with your will, not with your imagination or memory, but you as a thinking, willing, imagining, remembering self. All your thingness suddenly of itself became a transparency through which the non-thing, the other, clearly appeared. And once through that stage, you entered a shadowless, formless, thingless region of existence where only reality reigned, and your unreality, your thingness had no vogue, no role, except as the counterpart of allness.

The moment Carl achieved that condition of “higher prayer,” Olde abruptly terminated their association. “Now, when you want to pray, really to pray,” Olde concluded his instructions, “you know how to do so.”

It was Carl’s last year at Princeton as a doctoral student. He had more leisurely years of study and research in front of him before he took up a university career. He was avid to go on under Olde’s direction; and as Olde was staying on as lecturer and researcher at the university, Carl could see no problem.

But Olde would have no more of him. Why? This was Carl’s question to Olde as they walked over the campus in the early mornings. Why?

Olde would say very little. He had, he admitted, introduced Carl to the Vajnayana, “the thunderbolt,” the vehicle of mystic power. But no persuasion on earth would get him to channel Carl further in Mantrayana, the vehicle of mystic spells. “What I have done is enough,” Olde grunted. Then as an afterthought: “What I have done is dangerous enough.”

Carl still could not understand. He persisted, asking Olde to explain or, if he could not explain, at least to suggest a direction for him.

Finally one day Olde seemed to have no more answers. Every soul, he said, which turns to the perfection of Allness is like a closed-petaled lotus flower in the beginning of its search. Under the direction of a master or guide, it opens its eight petals slowly. The master merely assists at this opening. When the petals are open, the tiny silver urn of true knowledge is placed in the center of the lotus flower. And when the petals close in again, the whole flower has become a vehicle of that true knowledge.

Looking away from Carl, Olde said gratingly, almost inimically: “The silver urn can never be placed at the center of your flower. The center is already taken by a self-multiplying negation.” A pause. “Filth. Materiality. Slime. Death.”

Carl was stunned, literally struck dumb for an instant. Olde walked away from him, still without looking at him. He was about five paces away when Carl broke down. He could only manage a choking exclamation: “Olde! My friend! Olde!”

Olde stopped, his back to Carl. He was utterly calm, motionless, wordless. Then Carl heard him say in a low voice and not particularly to him: “Friend is holy.” Carl did not understand what he meant.

Then Olde turned slowly around. Carl hardly recognized Olde’s features. They were no longer the soft traits of his friend. Olde’s forehead was no longer a furrowless expanse as before, and his eyes were blazing with a yellowish light. Harsh lines crisscrossed his mouth and cheeks. He was not angry. He was hostile. That picture of Olde was burned into Carl’s memory. Olde said only this to Carl, words Carl could never forget: “You have Yama without Yamantaka. Black without white. Nothingness without something.” It was the last time he ever spoke directly to Carl.

As Olde turned away again, Carl had a sudden reversal. He seemed for a few instants to be absorbed in “higher prayer.” His surge of frustration and anger gave away to contempt and disgust for Olde. Then as he looked at Olde’s retreating back, he was filled with a warning fear of Olde and what Olde stood for. Somehow Olde was the enemy. Somehow he, Carl, made up a “we” and “us” with someone else, and Olde could not belong to it.

“Enemy!” he suddenly heard himself shouting after Olde.

Olde stopped, half-turned, and peered over his shoulder at Carl. His face was back to its usual repose. His forehead, cheeks, and mouth were unruffled and smooth. His eyes were calm, wide open, just gentle deeps of impenetrable light, as they usually were. The compassion in them hit Carl like a whip. He did not want anybody’s compassion. He took a step back, wanted to speak, but could not get any word out of his throat. He backed away another step, half-turning away, then another step and another half-turn, until he literally found himself moving away. He told himself he had walked away, but deep in himself he knew he had been repelled, had been turned around and propelled away.

Apparently Olde too had his own protectors.

His association with Olde had important effects on Carl. Given his psychic gifts, it was almost inevitable that Olde’s introduction to Eastern mysticism, with its emphasis on the parapsychological, would impel Carl down a road of research in the then relatively fresh field of parapsychology and the paranormal elements of human consciousness.

Over and above all else, Carl’s time with Olde had sharpened his extrasensory ability to perceive other people’s thoughts. Before his instructions from Olde, Carl did not always know each and every thought of those around. More generally, he knew very accurately their state of mind-worry, happiness, fear, love, hate, and so on; and, on occasion, he knew precisely what they were thinking. Olde’s discipline had brought that more precise part of Carl’s extrasensory perception into greater use and control. He found it working more frequently with everybody. And soon he was exercising it at will.

After his “training” with Olde, there were apparently only two people during Carl’s university career who remained peculiarly “opaque” for him. He could never read their thoughts, and he rarely knew their inner condition. The first was a onetime girlfriend, Wanola P. The second was Father Hartney F. (“Hearty”), a priest who was sent by his bishop to study parapsychology.

In 1954, one year after his break with Olde, Carl met Wanola P., a graduate student in psychology. A tall, blonde, attractive Midwestern girl, Wanola was a good sportswoman, socially quite popular. Curiously, it was none of these things that attracted Carl, but rather a mixture of her unusual intelligence, her point of view regarding his work on religion and the psyche, and, most of all perhaps, his own inability to get any clear extrasensory perception of what she thought or felt.

As they began to date, Wanola got to know something of Carl’s psychic gifts. She was fascinated by them, by his novel concepts, and his brilliant attack on various puzzles and problems of psychology. But as she got to know him, her fascination turned to compassion, and then to a fear for Carl’s own sanity and for his religious beliefs. It was like a curious echo of Olde’s reaction a year before, but it all went much more swiftly this time. And his rather brief association with Wanola left Carl puzzled.

At times, Wanola spoke to Carl at length about some seemingly offhand remarks he made about “finding” Christianity in its “true” or “original” state. She remarked on his growing opinion of Jesus as a simple Galilean fisherman who had been powerfully changed by God and by his taking over of God’s spirit. But mainly she grew to be disturbed by Carl’s ambition to subject the very spirit of religion to controlled laboratory experiment.

Finally one day, just back from a short vacation home to the Midwest, Wanola came to Carl’s room straight from the airport. She had a simple bouquet of wild flowers she had picked herself before catching her plane. Curiously, Carl remembers those flowers in every detail, although he says that at the very moment Wanola entered his room and started to talk with him, his interest and attention were elsewhere. He does remember blue gentians, dogtooth violets, little-boys’ breeches, starflowers, and Queen Anne’s lace.

But when Wanola walked in with them, Carl did not give her even a smile or a hello.

He was brandishing a small book just published: The Doors of Perception, by Aldous Huxley. She remembers him blurting out the title. Then: “Huxley knows all about it! Mescalin! And I don’t need mescalin!”

Wanola listened to his long sermon on Huxley; and when she left, she took the bouquet of flowers with her.

Carl had made a delicate choice; he had taken a step away from simple human tenderness. This he understood only after the exorcism. Wanola had understood at that moment. He called her from time to time after that day, but to his confusion she never would see him again.

Carl’s excitement over Huxley’s book was enormous. He grasped immediately the central point advanced by Huxley: that the mind and psyche are capable of a knowledge and a breadth of experience of which men in our civilization have rarely dreamed. Living in our urban society, the human psyche has learned to siphon its energies in one direction-coping with the material and tangible world. Huxley made a plea in his book for the development of a psychedelic (literally, a psyche-opening) drug, nonaddictive and harmless in its side-effects, by which men and women could free their psychic energies and enjoy the full range of their potential.

Carl, in the middle of his studies on dual personality, suddenly found in Huxley a window opened for him onto a new horizon. Perhaps, he now saw, what is often called a multiple-personality problem really was a case of psyche freed-particularly at least-from conventional bonds? Perhaps at least some so-called schizophrenics were really enlightened people for whom the shock of enlightenment has been too much? And perhaps such people exist in an altered state of consciousness with which they could transcend the material and tangible world around them, leap over the barriers of space and time, and enjoy genuine liberty of spirit?