A Night Inside the Great Pyramid
Categories: Excerpt Metaphysics & Unexplained Phenomena New Release Spirituality & Religion
Adapted from A Secret Search in Egypt by Paul Brunton
A Night Inside the Great Pyramid
The sleeping cats of Cairo opened their green eyes, yawned prodigiously, and then gracefully stretched their soft paws to the utmost possible limit. Dusk was arriving and with dusk began the activity which constituted their real existence—friendly chats, food scavenging, mice chasing, open battle, and love making. And with dusk, too, I was beginning one of the strangest activities of my life, albeit a silent one.
I had proposed to myself to spend an entire night inside the Great Pyramid, to sit, awake and alert, for twelve hours in the King’s chamber, while the slow darkness moved across the African world. And here I was, at last, settling down within the strangest shelter yet built on our planet.
I entered the silent Pyramid and began my exploration of the titanic structure, not for the first time, it was true, but for the first time upon such a strange quest as had brought me again to Egypt. Torch in hand, with head bent down almost to my knees, I descended the long, low, steep, narrow, and slippery continuation of the corridor
At last I emerged from the torn and ragged opening which formed the mouth of the shaft, and found myself in the north-western corner of the Grand Gallery.
I went back to the long slanting tunnel which connects the interior with the outer world to resume my downward journey into the rocky plateau of Giza. Once, at a corner, an enlarged shadow was suddenly thrust across my path so that I drew back, startled, until I realized it was my own. In this weird place one expected everything; nothing was too strange to happen.
I flashed my torch into the turgid gloom of the vault and focused a beam of light upon the centre of the floor. I moved closer and peered over the edge of a deep yawning hole, mute testimony to the onetime presence of treasure-seekers, who had fruitlessly and laboriously excavated a pit within the Pit. I felt the unpleasant touch of the wings of a bat as it flew past my head and squawked around the airless room. Down in the hole I noticed the light disturb the sleep of three other bats, which hung upside down on the roughly cut sides. I moved away, awakening two more bats which hung suspended from the ceiling. Alarmed and bewildered as I thrust the light mercilessly upon them, they scurried to and fro, also squawking, and then disappeared into the gloom of the entrance passage.
I had reached the most important room in the Pyramid, the famous King’s Chamber. I flashed the lamp over the bare walls and flat ceiling, noting anew the admirably accurate fitting of the immense polished granite blocks at their joints, and then began a slow circuit of the walls, carefully examining each individual stone. The rose-tinted rocks of far Syene had been split in twain to provide these blocks. Here and there treasure-seekers had scarred both floor and wall in their vain quests. On the eastern side of the floor, part of the stone flags had disappeared and beaten earth had taken its place, while on the north-western side a deep rectangular hole remained unfilled. A long rough stone block which had once formed part of the floor and covered this hole, stood against the wall on one side, left there by early Arab hands, perchance.
Parallel with it, and but a few inches away, was the flat-sided, coffin-like sarcophagus: a lidless, lonely object, which was the only other thing to be found in this bare room. It was placed exactly north and south.
The dislodged flooring block offered a possible seat, so I sat down on it, tailor-like, with folded feet, and settled there for the remainder of the night.
On my right I had placed my hat, jacket, and shoes; on my left reposed the still-burning torch, a thermos flask with hot tea, a couple of bottles of iced water, a notebook, and my Parker pen. A last look around the chamber, a final glimpse of the marble coffer beside me, and then I extinguished the light.
I kept beside me a powerful electric torch ready to be switched on. The sudden plunge into total darkness brought with it the wondering question of what the night would bring forth. The only thing one could do in this strange position was to wait . . . and wait . . . and wait.
The minutes slowly dragged themselves along, the while I slowly “sensed” that the King’s Chamber possessed a very strong atmosphere of its own, an atmosphere which I can only call “psychic.” For I had deliberately made myself receptive in mind, passive in feeling, and negative in attitude, so that I might become a perfect register of whatever super-physical event might transpire. I wanted no personal prejudice or preconception to interfere with the reception of anything that might come to me from some source inaccessible to the five physical senses of man. I gradually diminished the flow of thoughts until the mind entered a half-blank state.
And the stillness which descended on my brain rendered me acutely cognizant of the stillness which had descended on my life. The world, with its noise and bustle, was now as utterly remote as though it did not exist. No sound, no whisper, came to me out of the darkness. Silence is the real sovereign of the kingdom of the Pyramid, a silence that began in prehistoric antiquity and which no babble of visiting tourists can really break, for every night it returns anew with awe-inspiring completeness.
I became aware of the powerful atmosphere of the room. It is a perfectly normal and common experience for sensitive persons to become aware of the atmosphere of ancient houses, and my own experience began with something of this sort. The passage of time deepened it, enhanced the sense of immeasurable antiquity which environed me, and made me feel that the twentieth century was slipping away from under my feet. Yet, following my self-imposed resolve, I did not resist the feeling, instead I let it grow stronger.
A strange feeling that I was not alone began to creep insidiously over me. Under the cover of complete blackness, I felt that something animate and living was throbbing into existence. It was a vague feeling but a real one, and it was this, coupled with the increasing sense of the returning Past, that constituted my consciousness of something “psychic.”
Yet nothing clear-cut or definite emerged from this vague and general sense of an eerie life that pulsated through the darkness. The hours slipped on and, contrary to my expectation, the advancing night brought increasing coldness with it. The effects of the three-day fast which I had undertaken in order to increase my sensitivity, now showed themselves in growing chilliness. Cold air was creeping into the King’s Chamber through the narrow ventilation shafts, and then creeping past the thin barrier of my light garment. My chilled flesh began to shiver under its thin shirt. I got up and dressed myself in the jacket which I had put off only a few hours before on account of the intense heat. Such is Eastern life at certain times of the year—tropical heat by day and a heavy fall of temperature by night.
The queer sepulchral stillness in the room, the empty stone coffin beside me, were not reassuring to one’s nerves, while the break in my vigil seemed to have broken something else too, for very quickly I found that the sensing of invisible life around me rapidly rose into complete certainty. There was something throbbing and alive in my vicinity, although I could still see absolutely nothing. With this discovery the realization of my isolated and uncanny situation suddenly overwhelmed me. Here I was sitting alone in a queer room that was perched more than two hundred feet above the ground, high up above all the million people of Cairo, surrounded by total darkness, locked up and imprisoned in a strange building on the edge of a desert that stretched away for hundreds of miles, while outside this building—itself probably the oldest in the world—lay the grim tomb-cluttered necropolis of an ancient capital.
The great space of the King’s Chamber became for me—who had investigated deeply into the psychic, into the mysteries of the occult, into the sorceries and wizardries of the Orient—peopled with unseen beings, with spirits who guarded this age-old building. One momentarily expected some ghostly voice to arise out of the all-embracing silence. I now thanked the early builders for those narrow vent-shafts which brought a steady but tiny supply of cool air into this hoary old room. That air travelled through nearly three hundred feet of the Pyramid before it arrived; no matter, it was still welcome. I am a man accustomed to solitude—indeed glad to enjoy it—but there was something uncanny and frightening in the solitude of this chamber.
The all-encompassing darkness began to press on my head like an iron weight. The shadow of uncalled-for fear flickered into me. I brushed it away immediately. To sit in the heart of this desert monument required no physical courage, but it did require some moral fortitude.
There are vibrations of force, sound, and light which are beyond our normal range of detection. Laughing song and serious speech flash across the world to waiting wireless listeners, but they could never detect them were not their receiving sets properly tuned. I had now brought myself out of the state of mere receptive waiting into a forcefully concentrated condition of mind which focalized the whole of its attention upon an effort to pierce the black silence which surrounded it. If, in the result, my faculty of awareness was temporarily heightened to an abnormal extent by the intense inward concentration, who shall say that it is impossible I began to detect the presence of invisible forces?
I know only that as I “tuned-in” by a method of interiorized attention which I had learnt long before this second visit to Egypt, I became aware that hostile forces had invaded the chamber. There was something abroad which I sensed as evil, dangerous. A nameless dread flickered into my heart and returned again and again soon after it was driven away. In still following my method of intense, single-pointed, inward-turned concentration, feeling followed its usual trend and changed into vision. Shadows began to flit to and fro in the shadowless room; gradually these took more definite shape, and malevolent countenances appeared suddenly quite close to my own face. Sinister images rose plainly before my mind’s eye. Then a dark apparition advanced, looked at me with fixed sinister regard and raised its hands in a gesture of menace, as though seeking to inspire me with awe. Age-old spirits seemed to have crept out of the neighbouring necropolis, a necropolis so old that mummies had crumbled away inside their stone sarcophagi; the shades that clung to them made their unwelcome ascent to the place of my vigil. All the legends of evil ghosts who haunt the areas around the Pyramids, came back to memory with the same unpleasant detail with which they had been related by Arabs in the village not far off. When I had told a young Arab friend there of my intention to spend a night in the old building, he had tried to dissuade me.
“Every inch of ground is haunted,” had been his warning. “There is an army of ghosts and genii in that territory.”
And now I could see that his warning was not a vain one. Spectral figures had begun to creep into and around the dark room wherein I sat, and the undefinable feeling of uneasiness which earlier had seized me was now receiving fit and full justification. Somewhere in the centre of that still thing which was my body, I knew that my heart beat like a hammer under the strain of it all. The dread of the supernatural, which lurks at the bottom of every human heart, touched me again.
Tags: Esoteric Traditions Paul Brunton