Mr. X or Captain Pogossian

Knowing beforehand which villages and little towns the railway was to go past, I would send someone to the power­-possessors of these villages and towns, offering to ‘arrange’ for the railway to be laid through these places. In most cases my offer was accepted and I would receive for my trouble a private remuneration, at times in the form of a rather large amount of money. 

When I returned to Tiflis I had collected, including what remained from my previous earnings, quite a substantial sum, so I did not look for work again but devoted myself entirely to the study of the phenomena which interested me.

Pogossian had meanwhile become a locksmith and also found time to read a great many books. He had recently become especially interested in ancient Armenian literature, of which he procured a large quantity from the same booksellers as I.

By this time Pogossian and I had come to the definite conclusion that there really was ‘a certain something’ which people formerly knew, but that now this knowledge was quite forgotten. We had lost all hope of finding any guiding clue to this knowledge in contemporary exact science, in contemporary books or from people in general, and so we directed all our attention to ancient literature. Having chanced to come across a whole collections of ancient Armenian books, Pogossian and I became intensely interested in them and decided to go to Alexandropol to look for a quiet place where we could give ourselves up entirely to study.

Arriving in Alexandropol, we chose as such a place the isolated ruins of the ancient Armenian capital, Ani, which is thirty miles from Alexandropol, and having built a hut among the ruins we settled there, getting our food from the neighbouring villages and from shepherds.

Ani became the capital of the Bagratid kings of Armenia in the year 962. It was taken by the Byzantine Emperor in 1046, and at that time was already called the ‘City of a Thousand Churches’. Later it was conquered by the Seljuk Turks; between 1125 and 1209 it was taken five times by the Georgians; in 1239 it was taken by the Mongols, and in 1313 it was completely destroyed by earthquake.