Custance, John - Wisdom, Madness and Folly - Intelligence work in 1944
Type of Spiritual Experience
John Custance used a pseudonym when writing the book to protect both himself and his family, as such we know little about his private life other than the fact he visited Berlin. But he was in Intelligence.
Visions are always symbolic. The figures in them are chosen by the composer to be instantly recognised but they too are symbolic. Nothing in visions should ever be taken literally, but John did not know this and took the following vision literally, a sort of prophecy of Stalin's capture and execution. Needless to say it didn't happen and it is useful to have this vision before us now, knowing this fact.
I wondered on looking at this whether John had communist sympathies but was being warned not to go the route of a spy as the inevitable consequences would be capture. I have not put in the full vision, which is very long, but it ends with the Stalin figure being shot by Grenadier Guards - Englishmen in other words
A description of the experience
John Custance – Wisdom, Madness and Folly
…. while engaged on Intelligence work in 1944, I had a severe breakdown. I was transported from the atmosphere of my office, where we were engaged in an all-out effort to defeat the Germans, to the solitude of a side-room in a Mental Hospital, where I soon found myself in acute mania, coping with the fantastic creatures of the Unconscious.
As far as I remember it was about three weeks before those creatures began to take shape. …. Then one night I had two clear visions, … I lay on my bed watching the play of light-reflections on the shiny walls of my sick-room. There were two patches of light, one in front of me, and the other on my left. Gradually the one in front of me began to take shape as a definite pattern. I knew that this meant the advent of a vision, and relaxed my eyes and body accordingly.
I saw the mouth of a cave, which appeared to be on a mountain-side, since I could see the snow-caps of other mountains in the distance. The cave-mouth was brilliantly lit by a sort of all-pervading glow, which seemed to come from within. As I looked, a boy or youth - I judged him to be about seventeen or eighteen years of age - approached the mouth of the cave. He was dressed in ordinary Russian style, with a belted shirt outside his trousers, and wore an Astrakhan cap rather like a Cossack. I took him for a lad of the better-off peasantry or lower middle-class.
As he approached the mouth of the cave, an attractive shape in female form, which however had an indefinable air of unreality about it, seemed to materialise in the mouth.
The shape beckoned; the lad followed; and both disappeared into the cave, from which sounds of revelry seemed to emerge.
At that moment I had no idea what was happening, or whom the vision might represent, though I knew the lad must be Russian from his dress. Naturally I was most curious about it. I did feel, however, a strange and rather appalling sense of evil about the cave and the proceedings, which was peculiar in view of my general attitude towards wine, women and song, especially when in manic states dominated by the Negative Power. An inner voice told me to look at the other patch of light, on my left, where my curiosity would be fully satisfied.
There I saw a man, apparently bound to a post by cords about the legs and hips, since the upper part of his body was free to writhe and make various gestures. He appeared to be facing some sort of court, being held in the open air. In front of him was a row of judges seated at a table on a raised dais, who were wearing military uniforms which I could not identify. I could, however, plainly see the prisoner’s guards, who were all in the blue helmeted uniform worn by the Berlin city police in the years between World Wars I and II. Equally plain were the face and figure of the prisoner. He was Joseph Vissarionovitch Djugashvili, self-styled Stalin.