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Chapter 130 - Observations of the clairvoyant Mathael at the execution of the murderer robbers.
130,1. (Mathael:) “When I was just a boy twelve years old and already able to think and to speak seriously like a man, several murdering robbers of the worst kind were sentenced to be crucified in Jerusalem. There were seven of them. At that time it caused a great sensation, not only in Jerusalem but also far and wide throughout the country. In those days, a certain Cornelius, a senior Roman commander, was interim governor. He was exceedingly angered by these arch villains, since they had killed their captives with tiger-like ferocity, torturing them to death in an indescribably horrible manner merely to give themselves sadistic pleasure. The longer they were able to torture them the greater their desire to continue. In a word, the appellation ‘devil’ would be far too good and honourable for them!”
130,2. Here Cornelius interrupts him and says: “My friend, do not omit a single word of your, for me, highly prized story! I must however tell you at this point in order to substantiate the story which you have accurately begun to tell, that I was that Cornelius! Now you may continue; until now your words have not included a single untrue syllable!”
130,3. Mathael continues: “I quietly suspected as much, as your face is still familiar to me after all that time. This makes my story even more credible as we even have a noble personality in our midst who will speak out and who is certainly a most trustworthy witness! Please therefore hear me out!
130,4. Because the seven robbers in question were such wicked devils, Cornelius decided to deal with them in a most gruesome fashion as a deterrent to others. This included a preparation for death lasting fourteen full days and during that time the tortures which they could expect to receive were read out to them daily in the most glowing colourful terms. Incidentally, during this nightmarish time they were quite well fed so that they would experience one of life’s pleasures and to ensure that the gruesome death awaiting them would seem to be even more repulsive.
130,5. I visited these criminals with my father five times, and in the end saw them giving off hot vapour and smoke as if they were half-charred, glowing wooden logs and these substances exuding from them gave off, at least to my nose, an intolerable stench which was assuredly unlike any other smell on this earth! The longer they were exposed and the closer the fateful day came, the more penetrating the emissions and stench became. It is understandable that these seven devils began to change colour more than chameleons.
130,6. Finally their dreadful doomsday arrived. The henchmen and their lackeys came and the seven were publicly stripped in the presence of thousands of people except for a covering on their private parts and they were then bloodily flogged. I could only witness the execution from a distance, but I could still see how during their punishment a large number of black bats left their bodies like a swarm of bees and flew away. Creatures like small flying dragons also emerged from their bodies which had begun to give off much less vapour and smoke.
130,7. When I looked more closely I quickly and easily saw that this hot vapour and smoke had combined to form all kinds of horrible shapes, which then rose up and flew away just as the previously described black bats had done as well as the small dragons which had emerged. How many of these creatures from hell must have taken their leave of the bodies of these seven during the previous fourteen days?!
130,8. After the seven have been flogged in a most barbaric manner, I noticed that their previously very devilish looking faces had begun to look somewhat more human and that the delinquents became weaker and more fearful; they appeared to me more like drunks who had almost no idea what was happening to them. The whole spectacle seemed quite strange to me - how the nature of these formerly brutish men began to change and they became like lambs.
130,9. After the flogging seven crosses were brought with the intention that each criminal was to carry one on his shoulder to Golgatha, which had already been for a long time the general place of execution for the Romans. However not one of them was able to carry this heavy instrument of death for even one step, despite being prodded, beaten and abused. A large cart was brought in drawn by two strong oxen; first the crosses were loaded on with the criminals on top and everything was then tied together with ropes and chains before it was driven out to Golgatha.
130,10. Apart from me and my father, very few people had followed because of the too dreadful cruelty inflicted. When the cart arrived everything was untied, the criminals were thrown off dripping blood and one by one they were lashed very firmly to the crossed beams using very coarse ropes entwined with thorns. The crosses were then placed in holes which had been previously carved into the stone. It was only then that the criminals began to howl and lament their fate in a most terrible way!
130,11. They must have been in unbearable pain as in the first place their flesh had been completely torn to pieces by the flogging, secondly because of the ropes entwined with thorns, and lastly by the coarseness and roughness of the wood! A cross like this, however solid in construction, is still left as rough as possible and must cause any normal healthy person tied to it the most unspeakable pain through contact with his hands, feet and body, but far less than the effect on criminals whose skin has already been comprehensively flayed. I have only included this in my description of the scene which I observed very closely, in order that you my brothers now in the presence of the Lord, can more easily understand the sequel, but also at the same time to illustrate how the noble Cornelius carried out his sentence unchanged in any detail.
130,12. The longer the seven were hung on the cross, the more hideous their screaming and the more awful their blasphemy and their curses became until, after about three hours, they were very hoarse, had completely lost their voices and only a bloody dribble escaped from their mouths as they had bitten their tongues and lips to shreds. After a full seven hours they began to quieten down and it appeared as if nervous shock had stricken them all down simultaneously.
130,13. I must openly admit that however badly they behaved as true devils when they were free and there was certainly not one person in the whole of Jerusalem and Judea who would have pitied any one of the seven, in the end the matter did not seem to me to have had a very creditable outcome! Be that as it may however be, this was what the law prescribed and in the eyes of the world they deserved their fate!
130,14. The things we have now witnessed and heard from Your mouth, My Lord, no one had of course any inkling of at that stage and it was therefore right and proper for these seven to be punished with the greatest severity known to the law as a example to deter the many who trod similar paths. But however scandalously horrible the whole story was until now, it was all as nothing compared with the events which followed which I will now immediately proceed to tell you about.
130,15. Above the area of the chest cavity of each of the seven criminals, a strange cloud of absolutely coal-black vapour and smoke began to develop and continue to grow and grow until it was twice the size of the men hanging on the cross. I also noticed a nebulous rope which appeared to connect the cloud of vapour which had been expelled to the body itself which was still feverishly and convulsively twitching. The black clouds of vapour did not, however, then take human form, but each became the most horrific, enormous, completely black tiger, striped however as if with blood. When these black monsters were sufficiently developed, they soon began to display their violent anger in a very terrifying way and tried to release themselves from their link to the body with all their might. This was however of no avail as the life cords restraining them were so resistant that they could not be torn apart by any act of violence.
130,16. The scene seemed to me to be too chaotic and too horrific, and since it was already a good hour after midday, my father and I went home, and only when we were on our way did I tell my father everything I had seen during the crucifixion. He confessed to me that he had not seen anything resembling my description, but he looked carefully into my eyes and deduced from the way they fixedly stared hither and thither that I must have seen something unusual. He accepted from the tone of my voice that I had not told him anything untruthful. He, as a doctor in an emergency and at the same time a philosopher and theologian, found much that was noteworthy in my words although, despite all his knowledge of philosophy and theology, could not make any more sense of my descriptions than I myself could. However he decided that we should return to the scene in the late afternoon, so that I could make more observations, and also to tell the Sadducees in a rather crude way, if the opportunity should arise, that they were as stupid as the biggest oxen and donkeys, if they denied the immortality of the human soul.”
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