Thelmar, E – 25 I hear the most grotesque and deafening death-dog barkings and howlings
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
The Maniac – A Realistic Study of Madness from the Maniac’s Point of View – E Thelmar
As I waited in this agony of suspense, the most grotesque and deafening "death-dog" barkings and howlings commenced. It seemed as if the entire house were surrounded by these harbingers of death, each endeavouring to outvie the other in the loudness of its summons to me, the death-doomed.
I glanced at the two nurses, who continued talking in whispers by the fireside, and I saw that they heard nothing of all this howling going on around us.
This convinced me more than ever that the summons was intended for me, as I alone heard it; but I thought to myself- “I will pretend to ignore these death-summons. If I die, I die-but at any rate I won't allow myself to be terrorised by this sort of thing-and whoever is setting these dogs on shall see that. There are thousands of people all around me here in London to-night, I shall pretend I haven't a notion that the summons is for me more than for any one of these thousands."
While I was thinking this, and the howls and barks were continuing incessantly in the most gruesome manner, suddenly another sound began. It was a very curious one, resembling more than anything else the most loud and grotesquely exaggerated chirping of a bird.
It sounded at intervals of about five seconds, with such abrupt, shrill distinctness, it seemed to me to cleave the air like a sharp, shooting tongue of flame. This inexplicable sound puzzled me greatly. I felt certain it was another form of death- summons to me ; but although I racked and racked my brain, I couldn't for the life of me recollect any superstition of any sort, of any country or people, attributing any sound in the least resembling this chirping, as a death-omen to the one who heard it……………………..
In the evening the death-dogs recommenced their awful howlings, and my lips began twitching, as a preliminary, I was certain, of their curling away from my gums, and the whole awful sequel of my demise in agonies resembling “Mr. Valdemar's," following.
But invisible friends hailed me and asked me if they should silence those dogs? I said, “Yes-at any price." They said the price probably would mean the shattering of my ear-drums -possibly the disintegration of my entire physical body-as the only way to silence the howlings was to drown them by superior volume of sound ; and probably the sound would have to be carried to such a pitch that I should be shattered by its vibrations, as any vessel is shattered when subjected to sound- vibrations beyond its resisting powers of cohesion.
I said, No matter-I would rather die that way than the other, if it had to be a choice.
So these invisible people began, and started a "Mantram." The Name of God was repeated a million, million times by countless hosts of voices, with a gathering volume of sound, increasing until it seemed to me really impossible for my body to remain in cohesion any longer, or escape being shivered into fragments like a shattered bowl of glass. It amounted to an excruciating torment.
However, my body held out through the ordeal, and the dog-howlings were effectually drowned; and again I escaped death, in oblivion. The next afternoon the doctor called, I was up, in my dressing-gown.