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From Ghost Land to The Light of Egypt — and back again (new ending)

The prologue to the Sarah Stanley Grimke Collected Works was originally published in 2019, and became the basis of a conference presentation video in 2021 that added a new ending. I have now revised the book itself with this new information, and updated the excerpt now available on Academia.org.

Here is the new final page, which identifies yet another prototype for the Chevalier. The original prologue named seven: Prince Salm-Salm, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, the Baron de Palm, Ernest de Bunsen, the Duc de Pomar, Richard F. Burton, and Emil Wittgenstein as possible prototypes, proposed (in chronological order) by E. Gerry Brown, G.R.S. Mead, Eric Dingwall, Robert Mathiesen, Marc Demarest, and myself. In addition to Burton and Wittgenstein which were my own research, I later added Odon and Adelma Von Vay, making nine in all. However in the tenth case, I included Thomas H. Burgoyne in this video talk but only now have revised the book and Academia excerpt to include him.

The Light of Egypt praised Chevalier Louis and echoed Emma Hardinge Britten:

“The talented author of ‘Art Magic’ and ‘Ghost-land,’ who had for years investigated the various unseen realms of life for himself, gives the world the brief results of his life-long research in the latter work… The author concludes the chapter of his experiences in the following eloquent words: ‘I have stood on the threshold of glorious lands, where my eyes could perceive the radiance of celestial spheres, the memory of whose brightness will warn and beckon me upwards forever.’”[i]

Below this passage is the following note: “At the time ‘Art Magic’ and ‘Ghost-land’ were written and published, modern Theosophists knew nothing of the Buddhistical theories they have since adopted. Our author refers more especially to the re-incarnation theory of the ‘Spiritualists’ of France. Not until the Theosophical Society moved its headquarters to India did it go crazy after India’s subtle delusions.”[ii]

The second volume of Ghost Land appeared in serial form in 1892 and 1893 when Burgoyne had left California.  He collaborated with Grimke in Monterey County before her departure for New Zealand in 1888 and remained in California until marrying Genevieve Stebbins as Norman Astley in Boston in 1892.  In 1917 he returned to the same region of California with Genevieve. This passage from Britten’s second volume implicates him as an element in her final descriptions of the Chevalier.

“It was amidst the wild and glorious mountain scenery of Santa Cruz, California, in  a lonely house once occupied by a party of miners, whose mortal forms had been suddenly engulfed during a violent storm in the Pacific Ocean, the heaving waters of which laved the foot of the mountain on which I had  taken up a temporary residence, that I determined to devote a few weeks to a season of restful study and retrospect of my late wanderings….During the hours of sunlight I wandered through valley gorges, shaded almost to midnight gloom by arcades of giant “redwoods,” and ascended to craggy mountain summits, communing with the soul-worlds of being- now from the depths below, in the murmurings of the “Nature spirits,”- now from the supremest heights, in inspiration from the angels of the solar realms.”[iii]


i Burgoyne, The Light of Egypt., p. 57.

ii Ibid.

iii Unpublished manuscript of Volume II created by Marc Demarest.