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The Secret Doctrine, Volume I Cosmogenesis

H. P. Blavatsky

Leaves of Grass

Walt Whitman

Through the Looking Glass

Lewis Carroll

The Characters of Theophrastus


Exercising in bed

by Sanford Bennett


In all ages mankind has endeavored to restore to the aged human body the freshness and elasticity of youth. In olden times these efforts were largely made in the direction of incantations, charms, spells, and even sacrifices of human beings.

Millions of victims have undoubtedly been murdered in the vain hope of obtaining from those victims the life principle, believing that it could be transferred to rejuvenate some aged body.

In the course of my investigations and readings upon this subject, during the past sixteen years, I stumbled across an old work giving an account of the various methods practiced in this direction. Some of these remedies were very laughable;— as pills made from the stomach of a toad killed at some particular phase of the moon were esteemed of great value, as an aid to longevity. But human sacrifices seem to have been always a favorite method. They were very credulous people in those olden days. Now we are wiser and of course less credulous. We pin our faith to patent medicines, believing in their virtues, and in the miraculous cures and wonderful properties loudly heralded by their advertisements, just as the people of former days believed in the abracadabra incantations of their magicians, pills from a toad's stomach, etc.

It is all very illogical: as, if it were possible to purchase health, strength, elasticity, longevity, and the freshness of youth, then the financially richest man would be most generously endowed with these, the real, the greatest natural riches in the world (by reason, of course, of his purchasing power); and the position of drug clerks who had these remedies for sale, would go to a premium, as they would have at their elbow cures for all the evils that flesh is heir to, and, presumably, at cost prices.

If any one of the thousands of hair restorers advertised would perform what is claimed for it in the advertisements, the baldest and richest millionaire in the United States would have a

Exercising in Bed

head of hair that would make the spirit of Absalom turn green with envy.

We are a credulous people; credulous as they were in the days of the magicians who practiced the black art, sacrificing human beings in the vain hope of rejuvenating the aged human body, and believing implicitly in the virtues of pills made from a toad's stomach.

We laugh at Ponce de Leon's expedition to Florida, where he hoped to find the fountain of youth in that land of perennial vegetation. We laugh at his foolish expedition, and then go to the nearest drug store and buy Professor Whangdoodle's or some other humbug's elixir, goat lymph, or some decoction of equal value to the delectable pills aforementioned. It is nonsense. You can't rejuvenate the old human body by any medicine, elixir, food, or liquid that you may buy.

The question at once arises; Is it, then, possible to rejuvenate, to any considerable extent, the human body after it has passed, say, the half century limit? Unhesitatingly, and from my own experience, I answer "Yes"; and I do not ask acceptance of my statements as to that possibility without proof.

I therefore submit the series of photographs which illustrate this book, showing my present physical condition at the age of 67. I commenced my studies and experiments in this process of rejuvenation when I was entering my 50th year; at that age, I was physically an old man and looked my age, as will be shown by the old photograph, facing page 26.

I am now a younger man physically, and in appearance, than I was when that picture was taken. I find, in speaking of this matter to various interested parties, that they usually refuse to believe that I am as old as I claim to be. There is little difficulty in establishing the fact that I was born in Philadelphia, January 4th, 1841, and therefore have entered my 67th year. The next objection is, that I am abnormally endowed with the vital principle. This is a mistake. My father died of consumption at the age of forty-two, and I inherited that tendency. My family, upon both my father's and mother's side, were not long lived, and my physical start in life was as a nervous, anaemic, frail shred of a child, whom no one exexpected ever to reach maturity. That frail child grew into a slender, nervous, dyspeptic man, and chose the very worst profession in the world for such a physical condition. I became an office

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