28 Jan

Dennis Hung decided to seek out and consult the one member of the psychology faculty at the City University with an evident interest in telepathy and the extrasensory realm.

He went to the department office and arranged to have an appointment to see Professor Philip Clark, the only scholar who potentially possessed the knowledge that could provide him the answers he was desperately after.

Dennis left to have lunch after being told when to return.

Impatient and anxious, he then roamed about the wide campus of the university, coming back a few minutes before the scheduled meeting with the psychologist.

A departmental secretary directed him to proceed to the end of a narrow corridor and enter the office at the end. That was where he found the short, rotund figure with a circular face he had come to talk with.

“Professor Clark?”

“Come right in. You must be Mr. Hung, I surmise.”

The tall, spare visitor entered, a smile on his narrow face. Clark motioned for the stranger to take a chair across a tiny desk from him.

“How can I be of help to you, sir?” began the academician.

“Let me tell you about myself. My profession is that of a translator from German to English. Most of my work deals with technical subjects, but on my own I have completed many literary translations as well.

“In recent time, something inexplicable has occurred that puzzles and confuses me. It is because of your special background and research on the psychic phenomena that I have come here to you today. My experiences have been altogether strange and unusual. I might even call them uncanny. A suspicion that I have gone through telepathic events has taken hold of the thoughts that dominate my mind every day.

“What should I do about this? I need your help to establish for myself what is authentic and what may be nothing but an illusion.”

Dr. Philip Clark, his green eyes bright with interest, leaned forward a bit.
“Please tell me what has occurred,” he requested with evident excitement.

“I am used to working hard for many hours on difficult scientific translations from German sources. That will often make me exhausted and sleepy. It has happened, I know, that I have unexpectedly fallen into sudden slumber. But my fingers have continued typing away on my computerized machine. I had no text, in either German or English, to guide me in what my hands were doing. The words that I put down seemed to be coming from nowhere. They were strange and antiquated. But there was a weird and unfamiliar logic to them.”

Clark asked him a blunt question that went directly to the heart of the tale that he was listening to.

“Tell me this: do you believe that telesthetic communication is possible? Do you think that you have the ability to receive any sort of psychic communication, regardless of its source or method of transportation?”

Dennis, confused and uncertain, hesitated for a short time.

“In truth, I do not know what to think. Perhaps I am only deceiving myself and imagining impossible things, taking them for real. That is the reason I am seeking your advice and aid, sir. I do not know what to believe.”

The psychologist, deep in thought, waited awhile before speaking again.

“Could you bring me copies of what you have recorded during these incidents? It is necessary for me to study and analyze the translations that you made.”

“Yes,” replied Hung, his voice suddenly full of hope. “When can we meet again, sir?”

Clark told him to return the next day at the same hour with his records of what transpired.

The following afternoon, Dennis watched the round face of the professor as he read though pages of the English translation of the enigmatic German that had somehow entered the mind of the linguist.

All of a sudden, the psychologist started to make comments as his eyes proceeded onward through the material he had been given.

“These sentences that I am reading are astounding ones. They claim that the key to understanding the universe lies in the ancient knowledge of alchemy. That God himself is a divine alchemist and that He created the world using the chemical processes of distillation, sublimation, congealment, and calcination.

“As a result of this interpretation of reality, this translation reaches the conclusion that there is nothing in heaven or on earth which is not also found in human beings.”

Clark stopped reading and looked at the man who had brought this to him.

“Such ideas have a distinctive resonance to them, don’t they?”

Dennis made no response, so that the professor went on.

“Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the writings of the 16th century Swiss physician and philosopher named Paracelsus, but his influence in the history of medicine was quite significant. The passage that you provided me mentions the same three elements that he proposed as the basic elements of the material world, including the body of man: salt, sulfur, and mercury. He believed that specific diseases result from imbalances between those components, and also with the spirits dwelling within minerals or metals.

“Paracelsus actually taught that with the perfection of alchemic knowledge, we could come to enjoy infinite life. He claimed that through knowledge of the combination of the elements, we would some day be able to create human embryos in the laboratory.”

Dennis appeared surprised by what he was hearing. “There are statements in the translation that I made about poisonous emanations that come from the stars that resemble those from earthly salts and minerals. I took it as pure fiction and fantasy when I first read the statements. It sounded like astrology when it spoke of ultimate astral and sidereal essences that can control the thought and the destiny of an individual. To me it was pure superstitious nonsense. Is it anything more than that, Dr. Clark?”

The latter gave him a searching, penetrating look. “I would characterize this material as pure Paracelsus. There are people even today, in our modern world, who see some value in it and reinterpret its principles in terms of what science has discovered about humans and the universe.”

“But how did it ever come to me?” asked Dennis. “I know almost nothing about this man Paracelsus and his strange teachings. It reminds me of New Age fantasy and exotic Eastern philosophies of various kinds.”

Clark suddenly appeared to be reluctant to make any judgments or express any critical opinion. “I think that I shall have to carry out a lot of study on your translation,” he declared. “I will see you again a week from today at this same time. By then, I hope to have something definite to relate to you.”

Dennis Hung spent many hours studying Paracelsus at the University Library, forgetting all about his translation tasks and duties. In seven says, he succeeded in acquiring a detailed knowledge of the man Theophrastus von Hohenheim (1493-1541). His mind was well prepared for what Dr. Clark might tell him about what he had psychically received and then translated from German into English.

The psychologist began with a surprising statement to his visitor.

“The answer to the question of how the words and thoughts of Paracelsus came to you without any physical, tangible point of contact is to be found buried in the teachings of that great pioneer of medicine. Let me explain. I made a diligent hunt through English translations of the written works of Paracelsus and now believe that I know where the secret of how you obtained your knowledge lies.”

“What do you mean, sir?” anxiously inquired Dennis. His blue eyes seemed to swell in size.

“Let me read to you a little of what I uncovered from the writings of the man,” said Clark, picking up a photocopy off the top of his desk and reading it aloud.

“By the magic power of the will a person on this side of the ocean may make a person on the other side hear what is said on this side, and a person in the East may thus converse with another person on the West. The physical man may hear and understand the voice of another man at a distance of a hundred steps, and the ethereal body of a man may hear what another man thinks at a distance of a hundred miles and more.”

The professor put down what he had been reading and sent the other a concentrated, focused stare. “What do you think, my friend? Did Paracelsus know what he was writing and thinking about centuries ago? The answer to that question is very important to everyone in the field of the mind, and especially to individuals such as you who lay claim to having received communications or messages from distant times or places.

“According to Paracelsus, there are etheric intelligences that are invisible to us. But these spiritual beings can be linked to a person at birth, and provide him a conduit to faraway minds all through life. Do you happen to be such an individual, Dennis?”

The latter was too confused and overwhelmed to give any reply, so that Clark decided to go on with what he had prepared himself to say.

“The iliaster reached forth, my friend, and granted you the gift of telegnosis.”

The translator looked puzzled by this statement, so that the psychologist decided to define the terms he had just used.

“Telegnosis covers any acquiring of knowledge outside of or beyond normal sensory perception. It means knowing things or events that are distant in time or place. Telegnosis includes clairvoyance and clairsentience. It allows a person to communicate with dead people. One knows about objects that he did not actually see or hear. There are many different names for its many aspects, including insight, foreknowledge, thought transference, and precognition, among others. A telegnostic individual possesses perception into the very soul of the ultimate realities.

“Let me quote to you a sentence from the writings of Paracelsus in the distant past.”

The professor picked up the page on his desk and read from it.

“Each person possesses within himself the powers and latent faculties necessary to become aware of a many-dimensional universe.”

He looked up and studied the face of Dennis Hung in silence, until the latter began to feel an uneasiness.

Finally, the translator excused himself and rose to leave, promising Clark that he would be back at the same hour in a week.

Dennis sat himself down in his apartment workroom. The German typewriter that he used when working on first copies lay before him on its table.

He decided to start with familiar mental exercises that he knew would place his mind in a receptive state. Total concentration and focusing was his purpose, the only means he knew of linking his mind to a far distant source.

He waited a long time in a passive condition, knowing that there was no active initiative possible for him to take. At this point, it could only be a matter of patiently waiting for communication to occur.

As hour followed hour, Dennis began to feel a growing frustration inside his mind. I should have come up with something by now, he said to himself. What is going wrong? Why am I coming up with nothing, so far?

What if there can no longer be any telegnosis for me? he worried.

Have I done something to halt my further progress in this area? What in the world could it have been?

Dennis suddenly realized that his telepathic achievements of the past were no guarantee of anything that might come in the future. There was a profound mystery involved in what he was attempting to do with his thoughts.

At a certain moment unknown to him, the translator become unconscious and fell out of his chair, down to the floor.

It was not until the following morning that the old woman who cleaned his flat found him lying there in a coma. She immediately telephoned for an ambulance and medical aid.

Not until the day that Dennis Hung failed to show up for their weekly appointment did Philip Clark realize that something had gone wrong.

He found the translator’s telephone number and called it several times, but could receive no answer. So, late in the afternoon, with his classes and work finished, he went to the apartment address to find out what had happened. It was the building superintendent who informed him of the serious medical emergency that had occurred there. He directed the psychologist to the University Hospital, where the fallen tenant had been swiftly taken.

Clark found the intensive care room where his new friend was in bed surrounded by life support machines and monitors. A nurse described her patient’s strange, deep comatose state and the failure of all attempts to arouse or waken him.

“The physicians who have examined him are stymied and baffled by what caused this unconscious condition to resist all treatment and to remain unvarying. Many brain-scans have been taken, but they do not reveal anything that may be inhibiting or damaging his neural situation. This does not conform to any common pattern of injury known the specialists who have looked at his case.”

She walked out of the room, leaving the professor sitting next to the bed, gazing at the slowly-breathing, inert form of Dennis Hung.

Why can’t he wake up? Clark asked himself again and again.

The hunch that he could not erase from his thought was that this state was somehow connected to the experience of telegnosis that this person had gone through, the capacity that had brought him to seek clarification from a supposed expert like himself.

Had they proceeded too far into an area full of unseen dangers and pitfalls?

The visitor was considering possible problems that may have arisen for Dennis, when all at once a sound issued out of the opened mouth of the unconscious young man.

“Iliaster…iliaster…iliaster…” he seemed to be saying deep in his throat.

This went on for a time, over and over, the same enigmatic word.


All of a sudden, the uncanny recitation came to a halt.

That was all. Dennis Hung said no more. There was no further continuation of the unusual litany. What could it mean? wondered the one who had witnessed it.

The word somehow felt as if he had come across it, read it somewhere.

Of course, it appeared in the writings of Paracelsus. Philip Clark now recalled it. What did it mean in the comatose mind of Dennis, though? Was it the key to what had happened to his friend and caused his incapacitation?

I have to find out, the psychologist told himself. He resolved to explore the works of Paracelsus until he had a clear answer to this puzzle.

Over the next five days, Clark spent hours at night reading and searching for definitions of what the iliaster was. He went through the published translations of the works of Paracelsus and as many secondary studies as he could get his hands on. He hunted for any references to that subject on the worldwide electronic networks in many different languages, parsing out the various meanings through the diligent, industrious application of dictionaries.

He began to form a many-sided concept that combined many facets of the identity of the iliaster.

Was it the primeval substance which was the source of all other substances?

Was it the first, primary chaos now within the matter of all things?

Was it the primordial and limitless Light of God, the essence of all souls?

Was it a substance from heaven that animated all of life on earth, the true spirit within man, the essence of all existence, the breath and energy of all life force?

The hunter for true definition grew stiff and tired, until he stumbled upon an alchemic formula that named a material substance that had the power to restore and revitalize the iliaster within a human individual. If the iliaster was the medium of telegnostic thought, then this element could also give rebirth to that capacity in a person.

It was one of the three fundamental substances of Paracelsus, it was mercury.

No one must ever find out what I am attempting to accomplish, the psychologist said to himself.

Perhaps even Dennis Hung must not be told, should mercury become the instrument of his mental resurrection.

Clark brought it into the hospital in tiny vials hidden in his inner coat pockets. He was able to use syringes that he carried in his pants wallet, small ones utilized by diabetics.

The first two nights that he made lone visits to the patient there was no visible effects. Only on the third administering of a dose of mercury, this time increased in size, did the wished for change occur in Denis.

All at once, his eyes opened and began to blink.

Breathing grew heavier and more frequent. His face began to redden, as if he felt excited with the renaissance of his conscious mind.

His sight darted from side to side, finally focusing upon the man now standing beside the bed.

“Denis, you are coming back to life, back to yourself! Your mind has been asleep in a deep coma for weeks now. The physicians had given up hope of restoring your consciousness. But I believe that I did it by following the teachings of the immortal Paracelsus. Let me explain to you the nature of the iliaster that is now animating your thought…”

The reborn mind of Dennis Hung then listened to the story of its rescue and curing.


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