Bogachevsky

Looking round and seeing that the boys had gone back to their games, I returned to my place, full of my thoughts, and continued the work on the monogram, which was not going well but had to be finished at all costs that same day.

The Yezidis are a sect living in Transcaucasia, mainly in the regions near Mount Ararat. They are sometimes called devil­-worshippers.

Many years after the incident just described, I made a special experimental verification of this phenomenon and found that, in fact, if a circle is drawn round a Yezidi, he cannot of his own volition escape from it. Within the circle he can move freely, and the larger the circle, the larger the space in which he can move, but get out of it he cannot. Some strange force, much more powerful than his normal strength, keeps him inside. I myself, although strong, could not pull a weak woman out of the circle; it needed yet another man as strong as I.

If a Yezidi is forcibly dragged out of a circle, he immediately falls into the state called catalepsy, from which he recovers the instant he is brought back inside. But if he is not brought back into the circle, he returns to a normal state, as we ascertained, only after either thirteen or twenty-­one hours.

To bring him back to a normal state by any other means is impossible. At least my friends and I were not able to do so, in spite of the fact that we already possessed all the means known to contemporary hypnotic science for bringing people out of the cataleptic state. Only their priests could do so, by means of certain short incantations.

Having somehow finished and delivered the shield that evening, I set off to the Russian quarter, where most of my friends and acquaintances lived, in the hope that they might help me understand this strange phenomenon. The Russian quarter of Alexandropol was where all the local intelligentsia lived.

It should be mentioned that from the age of eight, owing to chance circumstances, my friends in Alexandropol as well as in Kars were much older than I and belonged to families who were considered socially higher than mine. In the Greek part of Alexandropol, where my parents formerly lived, I had no friends at all. They all lived on the opposite side of the town in the Russian quarter, and were the children of officers, officials and clergymen. I often went to see them, and getting to know their families, gradually gained the entree into almost all the houses of the quarter.

66