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Observations placeholder

Tahra Bey - An account by Raymond Bayless of his stage act



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Experiences of a Psychical researcher – Raymond Bayless

Carrington considered that the most spectacular feat of the fakirs is their ability to induce a form of catalepsy during which the breath is apparently stopped, the pulse becomes near indetectable, and the body becomes rigid. This is done usually when the fakir is "buried alive," or encased within an airtight container, proving his ability to overcome conditions which would normally result in death.

In the case of the fakir Tarah Bey, his head and shoulders were buried under a large amount of construction sand. Beyond stopping his nostrils with cotton, the burial was quite authentic and involved no trickery.

Mr. Attila von Szalay managed to be included in the small group of volunteers who plied the shovels and, since he is conversant with mediumistic trickery, made sure that everything about the burial was free from suspicion. The burial was performed on the stage of the Los Angeles Ebell Club, which was not fitted for the performance of magical acts. By that I mean equipped with trap doors and the like.

Tarah Bey remained under the sand for about twenty- five minutes, which in normal circumstances would insure the death of any ordinary individual who might attempt such a feat without the use of air hoses, oxygen cylinders, or other aids. I should add that before burial he placed his thumbs to his throat, threw back his head, and fell back completely rigid into the arms of assistants, who lowered him to the floor for the subsequent interment. He looked thoroughly dead when the assistants uncovered him, and was a most unpleasant colour. His hands had to be forced down from his throat. But in a few minutes he had regained his normal composure and animation.

Tarah Bey performed several other very interesting exploits-one of which was the traditional "pin sticking." Again a volunteer group from the audience was requested to come to the stage, and when they did he passed a number of long skewers about for inspection. They were perfectly normal and, after they had been inspected, he passed them through the upper layers of flesh on his arms. Soon he resembled a pincushion, but a rather strange interruption occurred which diminished his glory considerably.

A young man, perhaps seventeen or eighteen years of age, who was holding one of the skewers, suddenly and smilingly ran it through the upper flesh of his arm exactly as did Tarah Bey. He withdrew it and performed the feat several times. Tarah Bey became aware that his thunder was being stolen and angrily shooed the impromptu fakir from the stage.

I must admit that I was highly amused at this turn of events, and with other members of the audience laughed heartily. The show continued, and the fakir had the traditional bed of spikes brought out on the stage and in this case the spikes were much closer together than is usual and quite a bit sharper. He lowered himself with bared back on the spike bed and after a time rose to display a number of red holes where the spikes had penetrated his skin.

The source of the experience

Tahra Bey

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items


Activities and commonsteps