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The Rozabal Line - Ashwin Sanghi. Jannu Sasidhar. 1 Chapter One Srinagar, Kashmir, India, The onset of winter in idyllic Kashmir meant that the days. The Rozabal Line by Ashwin Sanghi Preview - Free download as PDF File .pdf) or read online for free. On a lazy day in London, a cardboard box is found on a. Original Title: The Rozabal Line ISBN: ISBN Autor: Ashwin Sanghi (Goodreads Author)/Shawn Haigins (Nom.

This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out, circulated, and no reproduction in any form, in whole or in part except for brief quotations in critical articles or reviews may be made without written permission of the publishers. O1E2 On a lazy day in London, a cardboard box is found on a shelf of the SOAS library where a copy of Mahabharata should have been. When the mystified librarian opens it, she screams before she falls unconscious to the floor. An elite group calling itself the Lashkar-e-Talatashar, the army of thirteen, has scattered around the globe. The fate of its members curiously resembles that of Christ and his Apostles in the first century AD. Their leader is not even a blip on the radar of intelligence agencies, yet their agenda is Armageddon.

Athens, Greece, On 16 June, David Roberts, a British military attache in Athens, was shot dead by gunmen on motorcycles who belonged to N17, the Marxist revolutionary organisation. A honeymooning couple from Japan had been on a cruise of the Greek islands at that time.

Manila, Philippines, On 26 February, Filemon Montinola, an upcoming left-leaning politician in the Philippines, was assassinated. A young Japanese woman visited the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, more commonly known as the Manila Cathedral, in order to light a candle the next day.

Belgrade, Serbia, On 9 May, Draginja Djindjic, the foreign minister of Serbia, was shot twice in the chest at His assassin, Vojislav Jovanoviae, had fired the bullets from another building in the area. The same building had been visited by a Japanese woman that morning. Yes, business was good for Swakilki and Takuya. They could now work entirely for themselves, given the fact that Asahara and Aum Shinrikyo were history.

It also seemed that no one was really looking for them.

Actually, someone was. Swakilki's Santa Claus. His name was Alberto Valerio. The good doctor had built up a cogent case to prove that Jesus Christ had not died on the cross at all. Alberto Cardinal Valerio took a sip of his Valpolicella, and continued reading: If the vested interests of the temple Jews had wanted to kill Jesus, they had the power to do so by stoning him to death without taking any permission from Rome. Why did this not happen? Instead, Jesus was punished by the Romans under Roman law and then crucified--a punishment meted out to enemies of the Roman Empire.

Why punish a man under Roman law if he had no political agenda, only a religious one? Under Roman law, he would have first been flogged, causing a significant loss of blood. In this weakened state, his arms would have been fastened by thongs or nails to a solid wooden beam placed across his shoulders and neck. He would then have been made to walk to the final place of crucifixion while continuing to bear the weight of this beam.

Thus suspended, the victim would have been able to survive for a couple of days provided that his feet remained fixed to the cross. His feet remaining fixed would have enabled him to keep breathing by reducing the pressure on his chest.

Eventually, the victim would have died from exhaustion, thirst or blood poisoning caused by the nails. The victim's protracted agony could have been brought to an end by breaking his knees, causing the entire pressure to shift to the victim's chest, resulting in immediate asphyxiation.

Thus, contrary to popular opinion, the breaking of the knees was not malicious--in fact, it was an act of mercy. Jesus's knees were never broken, yet he died within a few hours on the cross. During his suspension from the cross, Jesus said that he was thirsty. Popular opinion tells us that he was sadistically offered a sponge soaked in vinegar instead of one soaked in water. It is worthwhile to note that vinegar was used to revive exhausted slaves on ships.

In fact, the vinegar should have revived him temporarily. Instead, he spoke his final words and died immediately upon inhaling the vinegar fumes. Why did it have this opposite effect on him? There is one possible explanation. The sponge might not have contained vinegar.

Instead, it may have contained a compound of belladonna and opium. This would have made Jesus pass out completely, only making it appear that he was dead. This would have prevented the guards from carrying out the final act of breaking his knees, leading to death from actual asphyxiation. Roman law specifically prohibited bodies of crucified victims being given back to the family.

Bodies were meant to remain on the cross to decay or to be consumed by birds of prey. Why did Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea, decide to ignore Roman law and allow Jesus's body to be handed over for burial to Joseph of Arimathea? It was time to send another heretic to burn in hell!

Alberto Cardinal Valerio was a jovial, rotund and gregarious individual. His smiling eyes, his pink face and his Buddha-belly gave him the demeanour and appearance of a jolly Santa Claus. The position that he occupied, however, was sombre and serious. The Vatican Secret Archives were the central repository for all documents that had been accumulated by the Roman Catholic Church over many ages.

The Archives, containing thirty miles of bookshelves, had been closed to outsiders by Pope Paul V in the seventeenth century and they had remained closed till the nineteenth.

Alberto Valerio had been born in in Turin. Ordained in , he had soon been offered his first appointment in the Roman Curia and had rapidly risen through various positions in the Sacred Congregation for Seminaries and Universities till he had eventually become its undersecretary in He had held several positions within the Curia till he was given charge of the Archivio Segreto Vaticano, a position he relished immensely.

What was common knowledge was his membership in the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross, an association of the clergy who were completely supportive of Opus Dei and its activities. What was not common knowledge was Valerio's membership of the Crux Decussata Permuta. It had a rather curious design.

After a few rings a female voice answered at the other end. His Eminence began 'Ohaya gozaimasu.

Can you meet me in London sometime in the next two days? We'll meet in my suite. She absentmindedly ran her fingers over the strange tattoo on her left forearm. The tattoo had been placed there by her mother, Aki, when Swakilki had turned five. It was identical to the one that Aki had also possessed on her own arm.

Swakilki remembered the Sisters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul who had taken such good care of her during her six years at the Holy Family orphanage in Osaka. She also remembered the jovial Santa Claus who had brought candy for all the kids in the orphanage in those years.

She had always thought of him as Santa Clausever since; his real name of course had been Alberto Valerio. He had taken special interest in her due to his personal friendship with Swakilki's late mother, Aki. After her adoption she had continued to receive postcards from him for the next two years, but she had lost contact with him after she ran away from her abusive adoptive father.

He had somehow managed to track her down several years later. She had confessed her plight to him, revealing the most intimate details of her life. He had then said to her, 'I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Henceforth she would no longer kill for Aum Shinrikyo. Only for Christ. London, UK, Virgin Atlantic's flight from Tokyo's Narita airport took off on the dot at 11am and landed at London Heathrow a few minutes before the scheduled arrival of 3: On board in Virgin's Upper Class cabin was a Japanese couple who had spent the entire twelve-and-a-half-hour flight sleeping soundly.

When the elaborate dinner consisting of shrimp with fish roe, zucchini in miso paste, egg yolk crabmeat rolls, buckwheat noodles and green tea, had been served, they had continued to sleep.

They were certainly the freshest passengers to emerge from the Airbus aircraft in London. Just another camera-slung Japanese tourist couple, the immigration officer thought of Mr and Mrs Yamamoto while cursorily checking their passports. The landing cards they had filled in on the flight indicated that they were staying for a week at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane.

He stamped their passports matter-of-factly and waved them through. They had no checked-in luggage, only onboard strollers, so they did not need to wait at the conveyor belts that were being crowded by hundreds of bleary-eyed passengers.

Instead, they passed through the green channel at Heathrow's Terminal Three and walked straight through the arrival area to the taxi departure point without raising any suspicion. There were four London cabs waiting and they got into the first one in line. Not the Grosvenor House. At the reception desk of the London Hilton, the uninterested receptionist required their passports and a credit card. Takuya was happy to give her two false passports, one belonging to him and one to his wife, along with a Visa card.

Upon reaching their room on the Executive Floor, Swakilki took off her curly wig and Takuya removed his clear-glass spectacles and his neat little moustache. They got out of their casual travelling clothes and showered vigorously before putting on fresh formals.

Swakilki then put the curly wig back on her head while Takuya once again put on his clear-glass spectacles and moustache. They then took the elevator to the lobby and walked out of the hotel onto Park Lane, turned right, and walked from the Hilton at 22 Park Lane, to 54 Park Lane, which housed The Dorchester Hotel, just a few blocks away. Matthew Sinclair sat riveted on a well-worn sofa and watched Neil Armstrong become the first man to walk on the moon.

Also watching the incredible spectacle was his wife Julia, along with their three-week-old baby boy, Vincent Matthew Sinclair. Another important event had taken place a year before Neil Armstrong's arrival on the moon and little Vincent's arrival on earth.

Terence Cardinal Cooke had become the archbishop of New York. On the day of Cooke's installation, Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated, leading to bloody riots in many American cities. Between and the number of diocesan priests in New York would decline by around 30 per cent, infant baptisms would fall by around 40 per cent, and church weddings would decline by around 50 per cent.

It seemed that Catholicism was quickly going out of fashion in New York. In the midst of this turmoil within the archdiocese of New York, the Sinclairs, who were extremely religious, hoped that their son would eventually make them proud by entering Saint Joseph's Seminary. Vincent's demeanour, even as a child, was one of piety, and the priesthood seemed preordained. Thus it was preordained by God and ordained by his parents that Vincent would become one of the rapidly shrinking minority groups--that of diocesan priests.

He was playing with Kate, the neighbour's daughter, in the backyard. They were on a swing that his father, Matthew, had rigged to a sturdy branch of a strong tree in the yard. Vincent had already had a go at sitting on the swing and being pushed by Kate; it was now her turn to sit and be pushed. Boys will be boys. A mischievous glow was on Vincent's face as he began pushing the swing for Kate. As the momentum increased, he found that he could send her higher and higher into the air with less and less effort.

The resultant effect was a look of panic on Kate's innocent face. Pushing was certainly more fun than being pushed. Then the inevitable happened. The final push was too strong and Kate lost her balance.

Poor little Kate fell to the ground and grazed her knee. Vincent's mother, Julia, and his aunt, Martha, ran out to apply an anti-bacterial ointment on the little girl, who was lying on the ground with tears streaming down her rosy cheeks.

Vincent was standing next to her, feeling apologetic and offering his hand to help her up. While holding out his hand, he was repeating the words, 'Talitha koum. Talitha koum.

When he had entered in, he said to them, 'Why do you make an uproar and weep?

The child is not dead, but is asleep. But he, having put them all out, took the father of the child, her mother, and those who were with him, and went in where the child was lying. Taking the child by the hand, he said to her, 'Talitha koum! Construction of St Patrick's Cathedral, located on 50th Street and 5th Avenue in the heart of Manhattan, had been completed in However, it was only in that the cathedral received a new amplification system as well as modernised lighting.

Due to this technology upgrade, Father Vincent Sinclair's ordination to the Roman Catholic priesthood was seen and heard clearly by all who were present. Present among the crowd were two very proud parents, Julia and Matthew Sinclair, as well as a bored but dutifully present aunt, Martha Sinclair. His duties included celebrating Mass on Sundays and other days, hearing confessions, anointing the sick, baptising newborns, marrying the marriageable and burying the dead.

Besides his church duties, Vincent also began teaching history to a class of Catholic boys at the nearby Archbishop Stepinac High School.

On Vincent's first day at school, Ted had cornered him in the schoolyard. Without waiting for an answer, Ted plodded on, 'You see, the Bible's Leviticus Problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offence! Ted, blowing an ugly puff of acrid smoke from a cheap cigar, continued with his 'serious' issues. What do you think would be a fair price? Pretty much oblivious to Vincent's reactions, Ted went on, 'Leviticus Do you think this applies to both Mexicans and Canadians?

Ted paused for effect and then continued, 'I have a neighbour who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus Am I morally obliged to kill him? Vincent couldn't help doubling up with laughter. From that day onwards, Ted and Vincent were firm friends. However, things were about to change. We tend to forget that he was unsuccessful in many of his pursuits. He lost several law cases, failed in his effort to become the Republican Party's vice-presidential nominee, and lost again when he ran against Stephen Douglas for the US Senate.

The important thing to remember is that he didn't let these defeats stop him. He ran for President in and won,' concluded Vincent. The bell announcing lunch break had sounded a full thirty seconds earlier, but Vincent's concluding remarks had overrun.

He hastily picked up his books and headed to the staff lounge, where stale coffee awaited him. The lousy coffee was a small price to pay for a job that he now loved. There was nothing more refreshing than opening up young minds. Moreover, he was passionate about his subject. This passion allowed him to transport his young audience into times bygone with flair. It was no wonder that Vincent had become one of the most admired teachers at Stepinac High.

Vincent had been able to settle down in Westchester quite easily. His parishioners at the church were decent people and his flock continued to grow along with his own stature within the diocese. His casual and comfortable style had immediately put people at ease within the first months of his arrival. After one of his Sunday sermons, one of the middle-aged male attendees had come up to him and had congratulated him for a 'short and sweet sermon, so unlike the long and boring ones' delivered by his predecessor.

Vincent had quickly retorted that a sermon was meant to be like a woman's skirt, long enough to cover the essentials and short enough to keep one interested! The word had soon got around that the new boy was actually quite a lot of fun, in spite of being celibate!

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The coffee that greeted him was stale but hot. He had just settled down in one of the armchairs in the lounge and opened his newspaper, when janitor-of-the-year Ted Callaghan walked in. Vincent looked up and asked, 'Who's calling? Probably some chick that you blessed with holy water,' chuckled Ted. He picked up the receiver and spoke, 'Hello? Who's calling? I'm afraid I have some bad news for you.

He knew that something was seriously wrong. He pressed on, 'Please do go on. Your father died on the spot, I'm afraid. Your mother suffered head wounds but by the time she arrived here, it was too late. She was dead, too. Manhattanites could be born in Manhattan, could study or work in Manhattan, could get married in Manhattan, could die in Manhattan, but could not be buried in Manhattan. Both Matthew and Julia Sinclair were to be buried in St John Cemetery in Queens County, where they would join Vincent's paternal grandparents, who had also been buried there.

The presence of Vincent's aunt, Martha, was of great comfort to him. Martha was the significantly younger sister of Vincent's father, Matthew, and had been more of a friend than an aunt to Vincent. Martha Sinclair had remained a spinster. At the age of thirty-two, she had given up a career in interior design so she could pursue her study of Iyengar Yoga in India. Her travels in India and Nepal had lasted for three whole years and she had grown fond of the subcontinent.

This had been followed by a few years in England, where she had become a practitioner of past-life healing, working in the Spiritualist Association of Great Britain. After spending another year back in India, she had returned rather reluctantly to New York to set up her own yoga academy. Her tryst with India had opened up her mind to philosophy, religion, meditation and spirituality; this fact made her seem eccentric to most men.

She now stood next to Vincent, trying to be the best comfort possible in his grief. Vincent stood silently in prayer with folded hands, ignoring the rain pouring down his face as his friend and colleague, Father Thomas Manning, read from Psalm Everyone was holding umbrellas and trying as best as possible to stay dry.

The light showers were becoming ugly and there were occasional flashes of lightning in the skies above the cemetery. The coffins were being lowered into the ground.

Vincent's eyes were tightly shut.

He was merely following the words being recited by Father Thomas. On the contrary, weep for yourselves and for your children! These words were totally out of place for a funeral. The words were not from Father Thomas. His Bible was closed and his lips were not moving. The prayer was already over. Who had said that? He felt a camera flash bulb go off inside his head. Was he hearing things?

Was he going mad? Why was he holding a wooden cross? Wailing women. Impale him! Vincent stood pale and frozen. He then bent over while standing and drew both his arms close to his right shoulder. He resembled a man carrying a heavy wooden object on his right shoulder.

What were these names? Vincent fell awkwardly to the ground. Sympathetic friends assumed that grief had overtaken the young man and attempted to help him up and comfort him. Vincent had passed out. The Biblical passage of Mark And at the ninth hour, Jesus shouted in a loud voice, 'Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani? He first saw the anxious face of Father Thomas Manning. He then saw a nurse standing with his Aunt Martha.

Next he saw the white light fixture on the ceiling. An intravenous line was attached to his arm. Patches were attached to his torso to monitor his heart rate, blood pressure and lung function. Vincent was mumbling incoherently. Father Thomas put his ear close to Vincent's face to understand what he was trying to say. He was uttering a few words sporadically. Since Jesus had become physically too weak after the trauma that he had endured, the Romans had ordered a man called Simon to help him bear the burden of the cross.

The passage that Vincent seemed to be muttering was: You have been subjected to trauma, shock and exhaustion. You need rest.

You collapsed at the cemetery and we had to bring you here to recuperate,' began Father Thomas. Vincent couldn't care less.

His shoulder was hurting. His arms were aching. He could hear screams and jeers. He was sweating. He was walking on blood! He was carrying a cross! The doctor had prescribed Dalmane shots to ensure that he slept calmly. It was around eleven in the morning. Even though she had been up all night, Martha still looked fresh.

The years of yoga and meditation had obviously helped her; she certainly did not look to be in her mid-forties. Her youthful skin, auburn hair, pert nose and her well-toned figure ensured that she did not look a day over thirty-five.

Vincent responded. What's happened to me? Am I sick? It obviously meant that Vincent was recovering. Martha got up from the sofa and walked to the side of the bed. You passed out. Poor baby, you've been in and out of consciousness for the past two days. We couldn't feed you through your mouth so we had to nourish you intravenously. I need to speak to him. He left rather late.

I think he'll come back to see you around lunchtime. What did you need to ask him? At the funeral, before I fainted, I thought I saw visions. They were so real it was scary. I was even more scared because I thought I saw myself in some of the pictures that flashed before my eyes,' said Vincent. Martha held Vincent's hand as she said, 'Vincent, sometimes when we confront shocks in our lives, they tend to electrify portions of our brain that we normally don't use.

This can sometimes bring older memories to the forefront, memories that have been long suppressed. I have never been to Jerusalem, yet I could see it in vivid detail. This wasn't a memory.

It was something else. I just can't explain it. The scary bit is that I saw myself carrying the cross of Jesus! As a priest you have read virtually everything there is to learn about Jesus.

Some of those stored facts could trigger visualisations. Possible, isn't it? It's the shock that's causing hallucinations. It's nothing for us to really worry about,' said Vincent, just about convincing himself. Martha rang the bell at Vincent's side so the nurse could sponge him and arrange for some breakfast.

Though she didn't comment any further, she couldn't but help remember Vincent as a small boy standing next to the sweet little Kate, mumbling something in another language that only she had been able to understand. He looked forward to these visits because she was a lot of fun. Moreover, she was the only real family he had left. Aunt and nephew were sitting with legs crossed facing one another. The classic yogic position called Padmasan was not as easy as Nana had made it out to be.

The right foot had to be under the left knee, and the left foot was to be kept under the right knee. Easier said than done! But how much do we notice it? For example, do you observe or notice that you use only one nostril at a time to breathe?

Vincent was sceptical. Martha quickly continued, 'At any given moment, only the right or left nostril will be breathing for you. Did you know that the active nostril changes approximately every ninety minutes during the twenty-four-hour day?

It's only for a short period that both nostrils breathe together. The ancient Indian yogis knew all this and much more. They discovered and explored the intimate relationship between one's breath and one's mind. They knew that when the mind is agitated, breathing almost certainly gets disturbed. They also knew that if one's breath were held too long, the mind would have a tendency to get disturbed. Since the yogis were fundamentally attempting to control the mind, they figured that controlling the breath could possibly regulate the mind,' she concluded.

She had succeeded in holding his interest. Slowly but surely, Vincent Sinclair began to learn how to breathe and relax. Not for long. Central Park covers acres or around 6 per cent of Manhattan. The park stretches from 59th Street in the south, to th Street at the northern end, and from 5th Avenue on the east side, to 8th Avenue on the west.

As a child, Vincent had loved visiting the Central Park Zoo. In later adult years, he had enjoyed attending performances at the park's Delacorte Theatre and indulging in the occasional culinary treat at the park's most famous restaurant, Tavern on the Green. Martha's regimen of yoga and meditation was working wonders for him and he was feeling energetic as he headed for a quiet spot in the park's Reservoir. The Reservoir, located in the heart of Central Park, was quite a distance away from any of the bordering streets and was one of the most tranquil areas within the park.

It was here that Vincent found a bench to try out the Vipassana techniques that Martha had been teaching him for the past few months. It was also more commonly used to describe one of India's most ancient meditation techniques, which had been rediscovered by the Buddha. Vincent sat down on the bench and then drew up his legs so that he could assume the Padmasan position that Nana had taught him. He then closed his eyes and began to focus on his breathing. The same damn flash from the funeral six years ago!

Vincent thought. I thought that the craziness was over and done with! Wounded soldiers. A blood-red cross with equal arms. A Bassano portrait. A stately house. Number London streets. Iron fencing. Indian antiques. Parties, food, musicians, soldiers.

An old LaSalle ambulance. Buckingham Palace. What was that? Vincent opened his eyes in mortal fear. Why was this happening to him? What in heaven's name did that mean? Was he to die? Was this a premonition? And why was he seeing images of London streets and stately homes? Vincent Sinclair was convinced more than ever that he was going mad.

He got up and started running wildly. Luckily he was on the periphery of the reservoir of Central Park, which was mainly used by joggers.

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No one found it odd to see him running. They thought he was running to exercise himself. How could they possibly know that he was running from himself? I'm going stark, raving mad. Either that, or I'm possessed. Do you think I should call Father Thomas Manning for an exorcism? What is wrong with me? Why am I seeing strange things and hearing strange words? Nana realised she needed to calm him down. It isn't uncommon to have recollections of events, things, people or places that are hidden in our brains.

In fact, it isn't strange to remember past lives either. Unfortunately, you're a Catholic priest. But surely that's nonsense, Nana. The Bible says it is appointed unto men to die once, and after death comes judgement. Isn't it possible that there are things that you are yet to learn? My faith is all that I have. Let me try to help you see things my way. We all know the bit from the Bible about the blind man. Martha continued, 'You probably remember the passage where Jesus says: It does not mean that Jesus believed in it.

Also, when Jesus talked about being born again he was referring to spiritual awakening, not birth in the literal sense. She countered defiantly, 'So what else do you think can explain your strange visions and flashes? He really didn't have a logical answer. Sometimes, a past-life memory can be triggered by a place or an object.

Is there something that you can recall from your recent flashes? I've never been there. Let me think. The rest of the stuff that I saw can't really be pinned down to a definite place. What do you say, Vincent? Are you out of your mind, Nana?

The Rozabal Line by Ashwin Sanghi

I don't believe in this past life nonsense. In any case, I can't afford it; I'm a priest, remember? We don't really earn all that much! Your Nana has made some serious money from her Eastern mumbo-jumbo. I'm paying. So you damn well get your holy ass on that blessed flight, Father Vincent Sinclair!

He had married the daughter of his British supervisor a year after moving and had decided to make Rhodesia his home.

Terry had been born two years later. Unfortunately, Rhodesia was in turmoil. The government of Prime Minister Ian Smith was a white minority running an apartheid regime. The country was in civil war with the rebels being led by Robert Mugabe, who eventually seized power in Mugabe's regime was one of corruption, sleaze, torture, and dictatorship.

London, UK, Terry's parents ended up losing their lifesavings when they fled Zimbabwe. Circumstances made them poor East-Enders, living in the working-class borough of Hackney.

The economy was in recession and Terry's father was lucky to get a blue-collar factory job at Lesney's. Lesney's was the main employer in the area; in fact, it was pretty much the only employer in the area.

He became an obnoxious, red-nosed drunk who excelled at beating his wife often and his kids occasionally, depending upon the level of alcohol in his bloodstream. Little Terry was a frail and frightened little boy who suffered from asthma, a chronic respiratory condition that weakened him further.

Terry's mother was an angel from heaven who somehow managed to lock away her emotional and physical scars to produce the finest Yorkshire pudding, rhubarb crumble and shepherd's pie in England for her son. Terry loved returning home from school to his mother, but he hated his father coming home. He was relieved when his father shot himself when the Lesney's factory, one of the last few remaining businesses in Hackney, shut shop and made him redundant.

Knocks in his early years would make Terry even more determined to succeed at school and eventually in life. The Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford two years later was his ticket to the future.

He silently thanked Cecil John Rhodes. Cecil John Rhodes, the founder of the state of Rhodesia, which eventually became Zimbabwe, had made his millions by shrewdly investing in the diamond mines of southern Africa. In , he had created the De Beers Mining Company, which would eventually bring him great power, fortune and recognition. In his last will and testament, he would leave his fabulous wealth to create a secret society: It was projected by Rhodes that by there would be around 2, to 3, men in their prime scattered all over the globe, each having been mathematically selected to achieve the goals set out by Rhodes.

Rhodes had confided to a close friend that it was necessary to create 'a society copied. His administration alone would have more than twenty other Rhodes Scholars. In , one of the new recruits into Rhodes' secret society was Terry Acton. He was one of the youngest and brightest members of this elite group, accepted into Oxford to pursue an undergraduate degree in psychology.

Another recruit was an incredibly intelligent American woman. Her name was Alissa Kaetzel. Two years into his Oxford degree, Terry was offered the opportunity of a lifetime--a chance to obtain an advanced degree in clinical psychology at Yale. Alissa stayed on at Oxford to complete her M. Phil in political theory, comparative government and international relations.

Terry's moment had arrived on 'tap night' when fifteen seniors led by Stephen Elliot arrived outside his room and pounded on the door. When he opened his door, Stephen slammed Terry's shoulder and shouted, 'Skull and Bones: Do you accept?

The message mentioned a time and a place for Terry to appear on initiation night. On initiation night, he had been taken by Stephen Elliot to a special room which had a question written in German on its walls: Ob arm, ob reich, im tode gleich. Whether poor or rich, all's the same in death. They could be traced back to The Latin word Illuminati meant 'the enlightened ones'.

The secret society would have elaborate initiation rituals. The initiate would be shown a skeleton, at the feet of which would be a crown and sword. The initiate would then be asked whether the skeleton was that of a king, nobleman or beggar. Unable to answer, the initiate would be told that it was unimportant.

At the end of the day, all humans were merely skull and bones. Terry Acton had realised he had a 'spiritual gift' after the death of his wife, Susan. Terry and Susan had been university sweethearts at Yale. She had been working as a waitress in Romano's, the pizza hangout for Yallies and he had tried the most ridiculous pick-up lines on her each day till she agreed to go out with him. They got married during his final year at Yale. Alissa returned home after completing her M.

Phil from Oxford and had dropped in to meet Terry in New Haven. The two couples were on a vacation in the Pocono Mountains when Terry's car swerved off a wet road. Stephen and Alissa survived along with Terry, but Susan did not.

Stephen and Alissa had been arguing about whether a woman or African-American could ever become President of the United States. Terry had been totally absorbed in the rather heated discussion and had not noticed the sharp bend in the road a few yards ahead. Terry's life came to a standstill. He mourned the loss of Susan.

He mourned the loss of the children they had planned together but did not have. America was no longer attractive. It reminded him too much of Susan.

Terry took the first available flight back to London. He did not bother to inform anyone of his decision, except for his close friend and confidant Stephen Elliot. London, UK, Lonely and miserable in London, Terry was left with no alternative but to fill the vacuum. He began to fill it with a bottle of Bell's whisky each day. He realised he needed discipline in life. So, he disciplined himself into walking into the Star Tavern pub at Terry was sitting at his usual table in the Star Tavern when a young lady walked into the pub and started going up to each table and hurriedly asking the men, 'Excuse me.

Is your name Terry? Terry continued to stare at the glass in his hand and nodded his assent without looking up. Terry's hand dropped the glass and the whisky and ice spilled on the table. I'm not a crank. I know that Susan's dead.

I work next door at the Spiritualist Association. I'm a psychic medium,' she pleaded. You sick, perverted bitch! Bugger off. The mere mention of Susan had reopened raw, unhealed wounds. The woman was equally determined and stood her ground. I do, however, suggest that you let Sabrina and Jonathan go to summer camp.

Terry's jaw dropped and his throat went dry. Since the day that Susan and Terry had started planning for children they had zeroed in on two names, Sabrina and Jonathan, for their yet-to-be-born children. Susan used to joke that she would pack the children off to camp each summer so as to get some respite from motherhood, much to the consternation of Terry, who could not bear the thought of his kids ever being away from him.

No one else had ever shared this private conversation between husband and wife. The ninety-two-year lease had been purchased by the association in for the unbelievably low price of PS24, One of these chairs would be used by the visitor, and the other would be occupied by any of the several psychic mediums who worked there. Each room had a glass skylight to allow energy to flow in and out of the room.

The SAGB offered one-on-one sittings with psychics for spiritual healing, psychic workshops as well as regression sessions.

He was unable to recall her name. Actually, he was quite sure he had not even given her a chance to introduce herself. Luckily, the SAGB lobby had a bulletin board with the names and photos of all the psychic mediums working there and he recognised her picture on it.

The photo was obviously one of her at a younger age, but it was unmistakably her. Martha Sinclair. He had gone up to the reception and hesitated. The elderly receptionist looked up and said, 'Yes?

May I help you, sir? She is presently in a session that should be over in around fifteen minutes. Shall I book you for a sitting?

The cost of a thirty-minute private appointment is PS30,' the receptionist had added helpfully. Terry had thought about it only for a moment and then quickly shelled out the thirty pounds for the sitting with Martha. She'll be with you shortly. This was so unlike him. In a short while, Martha walked in. He had not known that this one sitting would change his life forever. He had expected her to be mad at him for the way he had behaved at the pub. Instead, she was gentle, warm, friendly and genuinely concerned for him.

By being so nice, she ended up making him feel even guiltier about his obnoxious attitude at the pub. Life puts us in situations so that we can learn from them. Once we have learned, it's time to throw away the guilt and move on,' she said.

She continued. These gifts could be empathy, prophecy, cognition or vision. Each of us has some of these in lesser or greater quantities. They are the various ways in which psychic perception is possible.

As you open yourself to these offerings, spiritual energy becomes your teacher and you become more acutely aware of your sixth sense. Martha paused to look into Terry's eyes for disbelief--she found none. She is in a place where she is in the midst of happiness and love. She wants you to understand that our lives on earth are merely illusions. Each life is nothing but a change of clothes. Bodies die and decay, what remains unchanged is the soul; that is eternal,' she concluded.

Terry's eyes had turned moist. He started feeling the healing touch of a soothing balm on his tired and aching spirit. Her gentle voice was comforting him, like a mother's lullaby. Martha continued, 'She knew you would not believe me and that's why she gave me the children's names. She said you have a clean and pure heart and that you can easily help others by looking inside yourself and discovering your spiritual self. Being a student of psychology, Terry had some basic understanding of the past-life therapy pioneered by Dr Brian Weiss.

However, he was quite unprepared for the regression Martha put him through a few days later. Catherine was a twenty-seven-year-old woman, completely overwhelmed by moods of depression, anxieties and phobias. Weiss had used hypnosis to help bring to the surface forgotten or repressed incidents, traumas and memories from her infancy and childhood.

Catherine had not only remembered incidents from her childhood, but also successfully provided detailed descriptions from several of her eighty-six previous lives. Catherine's phobias had eventually been eliminated because the process of recollecting her past lives had made her realise the reason for these phobias in her present life. Past-life therapy had now become a medical term.

Martha said, 'Past-life therapy is a great way to heal old wounds or to understand the cause of certain ailments or developments in our present lives. For you to be able to heal anyone else, Terry, it is first necessary to heal yourself.

I am going to try to make you understand how the entire process works by making you the subject. Settle back in your chair and begin to relax. Terry actually began to let go and concentrate on Martha's voice.

You can see a little green dot on the skylight. A green dot is simply what it is. Its shape is round and its colour is green. The shape and colour are really quite irrelevant. All that I want you to do is to completely focus your concentration on that spot for a while as you continue to listen to my voice.

Allow yourself to drift. As you focus on the dot, something will begin to happen. The dot may move. It may change shape. It may change colour. As you notice these transformations, you will also begin to feel changes within yourself. Your eyes are tired.

They're fed up of focusing on the dot. Your eyes and your eyelids want to close. That's fine. Feel your body getting heavier and sinking further. You're comfortable and relaxed, but you're heavy and sinking.

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