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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/601

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585
A SURVIVAL OF MEDIEVAL CREDULITY.

with his whip. He then descended from the carriage, and soon found the wafers covered with blood. They were carried back with solemn ceremony to the church, which became a place of pilgrimage with a wonder-working pyx. What a hardened and hopeless skeptic a man must be, who is not convinced by conclusive evidence of this kind, when even horses bear witness to the truth by their genuflections!

Still more sensational was the part played in this spicy comedy by Miss Diana Vaughan, whom Taxil introduced to the public as a descendant of the Rosicrucian alchemist and Oxford professor Thomas Vaughan, and who was said to have in her possession a copy of the written pact with Satan, signed by her ancestor on March 25, 1645. The young lady claimed to have been born in Paris on February 29, 1874. The fact that there was no February 29th in the year 1874 would make this date an impossible natal day for ordinary mortals, but a person with Luciferian blood in her veins would naturally take no note of the divisions of time as recorded in human calendars; for, according to Taxil, her forbear was the goddess Astarte, who appeared to Thomas Vaughan on a summer night in 1646, while he was sojourning among the American Indians, in all her marvelous beauty, bringing with her a bed surrounded with flames and attended by little demons bearing flowers. She approached Vaughan and put a wedding ring on his finger, and eleven days later gave birth to a daughter named Diana, from whom the Miss Diana Vaughan in question traced her descent. Several instances of similar commerce with incarnate demons are said to have occurred in the history of her family, so that she inherited a strong Satanic taint; even her own mother was guilty of the same criminal conduct. Her inherited qualities were carefully fostered by education, inasmuch as she was brought up by her father and uncle on strictly Luciferian principles. One day, when her instructors were praising Cain and Judas as ideals of excellence, she expressed some doubt of the superior worthiness of the fratricide and venal traitor. This dangerous unbelief was attributed to angelical possession, and it was soon ascertained that the archangel Raphael was the cause of the lapse from Luciferianism. Recourse was had to exorcism, the whole process of which, as described by Taxil, is a clever travesty of the ceremonial prescribed by the Romish Church for the expulsion of evil spirits. The dance performed by the father and uncle on this occasion consisted of the same saltatory movements that are executed by the "procession of jumpers" every year at the grave of St. Willibord, in Echternach, Luxemburg.[1] Devil's ointment took the place of holy oil, and the


  1. Cf. Popular Science Monthly, November, 1895, p. 83.