The Basilisk-de Notre Dame
It would give the impression that there is no more to be written about this great cathedral, called: Notre Dame de Paris—but put aside such talk, I have brought to the table a strange, and tale of tales, and more truth to it than fable, even perhaps a bit overwhelming, hard to digest, but I was up on top of Notre Dame, in its Bell Tower, and here is my story, perhaps a tragedy you may want to call it, nonetheless I will tell it as I lived it, and let you be the deciding factor of if it could have been, might have been, or let it lay as simple a tale of tales.
It would look as if, to me, if not an imamate revelation I speak of, surely the first time one has taken notice to it in a courtly manner, although it has been there, right in front of our eyes all the time, for a thousand years if not more. This creature [or being] I am about to tell you about—mythical to many (in its unearthly shadows of the night)—is but a linking element in the demonic world: this ox-eyed demon who gazes at one with vindictive glares, one might say, and yet some have claimed, by and by, he is from the lower part of the lower world. It has also been said, and I shall say it here: he is working on behalf of heaven's door; in a manner of speaking that is, proclaiming to be a soldier in the upper world; the one you and I live in.
It is characteristic of this jaunty creature, that he pursues no man beyond his will, lest he brings God Himself down upon him for immediate judgment. And so, in this peculiar story of stories I will relate to the pursuit and escape as we await the rising tide. And so we stand on dangerous ground, do we not?
Where we are standing now, a bit more frightened I would say, or we should be, as the shades of this long lost mystery come to light! You see, it is said if he were to leave his post [place of duty] his fatal breath and glance could kill at will.
Furthermore, this creature I am referring to seems to have knowledge of men and their motives, strictly by instinct; far beyond the common, endowed human capabilities, they also have a rashness to danger, and a desire for longevity (like mankind), and of course the pleasures of life, I am not completely sure of but they seem to be present within their beings.
This creature, resides high up, guards as a spirit within a solid structure, stone, with life and a bitterness rising from its bosom-and yet it also has a gentle sadness upon its moored face. Moreover, he is from a long line of friends, being of a serpent form of sorts. He is said to have been given birth by a cock's egg.
I have seen him many times, high up in the corner of the church; the great Notre Dame is what I am speaking of, of course. But one time I saw him eye to eye, yes oh yes, eye to eye-should to shoulder, as if he was part of the gallery of the gods. I stood but a few feet away from him, almost enchanted with disbelief. He is the: Basilisk-de Notre Dame; some call him the Cockatrice. Without a shadow of a doubt, we connected-I began to fear even with my Irish blood, mythology seemed to come alive for that very moment.
The Basilisk stands tall on a corner of the great cathedral, Notre Dame in Paris. He is made of stone: --as big as a small woman, but his body is only shown to his belly. He has no horns, nor tail. And I would guess he cannot fly, for lack of not having wings, which would be my best guess. But his head has the makings of a dog. His forehead is indented; eyes set back far to paralyze his prey-yet I call them ox-eyes, for they are deep rooted. His mouth curves in with a beak like form at its end. And its tongue is all of four or five inches long perturbing from its long mouth, which is as wide and long as its head: as if it were a dying bull, a purple tongue of rage. Its neck is that of a serpent, with muscles linking to its arms and chest; and a spine that protrudes outward like the ocean waves all the way up to its ears which almost start from the corner of its eyes and exceeds its spine in length. This was my demon, and Notre Dame's gargoyle's guard.
One cannot help but learn as he looks at him in the twilight; it, casting a gentle sadness with its deadly stone composition, he learns not to be impetuous, rather to look calmly and yield its rational and resolute heart. But no more than that, for fear that he is rebutted and tragedy be brought to cover his pride.
If I were to talk flippantly about him, people would hold me to account. Even though I have the highest respect for him, [him being: the stone creature: Basilisk], not quite a reverence, but respect,--better put: regard for; matter-of-fact, whosoever mocks such a creature it is well to know, you may very well seal your own fate, as I have already tired to imply; for in the past many have.
But what is he guarding? You may be asking. As I have asked, and asked I have over twenty-five times, --yes O yes, over twenty-five times I have walked to and fro, and through the doors of Notre Dame de Paris, over twenty-five times I should say-looking, simply looking up at the heights of the cathedral, the doors below my eyes, the statues that ascend upwards to the creature: Basilisk: '...what are you guarding?'. He has been there for a long, very long time, centuries. Some say he guards the courtyard. But then I think, "Does Satan cast out Satan?” What for? Have I not heard one does not work against himself this way? Has this creature been created in the name of God? to protect man against the demons that may enter this glorious church? No more than a creature of stone, he is, is he? Or what spirit lies within its carved stone. Oh yes, yes, yes, leave him alone cries the gibbous spirits, and the hunch-backed shadows of the night. And so on and on and on he remains; as I do, looking up, as he looks down.
I have heard it said, 'Do not destroy the foundation of a great church by name or deed, for lack of knowledge,' and so I have left well enough alone. Let Satan and his hordes see this great church, it will do them well, if not please God-Himself. Yet it does not appease me, for I still want to know why he guards this holy ground, for I doubt it provokes him.
Yet it tells me a great story, on how hard man worked to build it, in praise of the Lord (our Savoir Jesus Christ). There is power in this monument, this shrine to the Christ I know. Is it not a great reminder to all worlds, to include heaven, hell and earth, the ones we know of, of God's glory? But I do not tell myself he is not there for that reason, nor will I fool myself into believing so. There is more to this mystery of mysteries than meets the eye. Yes indeed, and perhaps, just maybe he found a prosperous tide in the form of an investment. He is there watching, counting: reporting, and in my mind's eye, as in humanities mentality, there is always self-interest involved: this should be no different.
Oh yes, maybe this creature is reporting, reporting what, to whom is the question, to whom? Yes, yes, yes, what could this creature, demon form, what could its coverage be? -many, just many things, I suppose such as: what could have been, should have been, the likelihood of something-or someone, and other such things; all this is conjecture of course-just thinking out loud. Like a spy in the middle of the White House, the Kremlin, the Roman Forum. Like a crook about to still the Monte Lisa at the Louver. That is who he may be, a spy. He is part of a worldwide conspiracy maybe, possible, without a doubt!
Oh yes, the great conspiracy, to many, so many conspiracies that when a real one comes, we all say: 'wolf, its phoney'; but the conspiracy you and I are in, we just don't know about it, otherwise it would not be a conspiracy, now would it. I can mention a few conspiracies you do not know about: The one the Mantic-ore, demon commander of a legend from the underworld has taken to the upper world; the one the Tiamat knew was coming, Mother, of Demon 10,000-years ago, yet, this one is being drawn out; the one God foretold, forewarned us about in his book called, Revelation, through the eyes and hands of Saint John. You see, we are in several of them and we do not even know it. And this one, possibly one, has to do with reporting I think.
You may be asking the question by now my curious friend: why have I brought you to this corner of Notre Dame, to this part of Europe. And where am I going with all this, where am I taking you: to a plain slab of stone, inscription, spirit filled. Hang on I have more, you are about to find out. You see, this creature can not fly, I know I kind of told you this, that was implied before, but he can control the air around him; meaning, he glides through the air with only a touch on sold things at speeds beyond any mans run; like a snake in high gear you might say. No, don't get this mixed up with the comics, the Superman thing, or the Hawk man, no, no it is not a supernatural made up creature by me, it is made up by time, legend and folklore, and supernatural, yes it is by all means. I just happened to be around at a time when it manifested itself. No more than that, no less.
And so I was told, his look can paralyze a person, and I believe this now, for he has insured me he could (as others have whispered to me), he did not put me in harms way though, at first anyway. His will is stronger than the Mantic ore’s [the demonic creature, with a beastly body and a man's head, as mythology would have it]. And his breath is from the depths of the abyss, that is: the pit [with odours and smells likened to a decomposed body, old and musty, and suffocating, at best]; in such a place I doubt mankind could not live, nor would a demon want to, and if he had to it would be a grave punishment indeed.
Again, I was not put to the test on this subject, but I feared in him not keeping his distance, in the black mist that surrounded him, that canopied the twilight of the night overhead of him, all-in-all, somewhat, somehow protected me from his harm. But other than the Cathedral, where did I meet him [if this is your question]? And it possibly could be mine, if I was you, in consequence, it would be circling in my mind until I received an answer, or created one, or imagined one I suppose. And so I must have one for you to read.
After he had seen me in March of 2002, he followed me, only one night though. It was 3:00 AM. He knew where I was. Many a demon has tried to embrace him I do believe, for his powers, to do their dirty deeds, but have failed; he likes his position, that is why I do not know if he is demon, evil spirit, a lesser spirit, imp, angelic in nature, or what. But, as I was about to say, he followed me. And that is where I want to take you, or where I am leading you, to our connecting. Oh his short little journey where he escapes from and to is but around this area of the Great Notre Dame, and its island along the Seine [otherwise known as, Old Paris] its beautiful river waterway, which is more of a cannel than a river I'd say, or so it seems to me. And so having said that, let's look at this chase a little closer.
The Glance and the Chase
I never stared into his eyes; I seemed to have avoided them automatically; nor got that close to him when he was chasing me to catch his breath, and with good sense. But it was late at night when he showed up, appeared for the first time. My wife was sleeping with the window open, the breeze flowing through her covers. She was like a little angel asleep. I was outside pacing, for some odd reason; it was a sleepless night undeniably. Sometimes, possibly most times, it is hard for me sleep when spirits of any kind are nearby. Instinctive I seem to know when they area. It is that my body signals me. That is to say, I am quite ripe, or sensitive to the invisible world's brilliant but unstable transparency; in consequence, walking to and fro, like a confused farmer, waiting for the black-crow to show up and take the farmers corn, this is how I felt outside pacing. In this case, what would be his fancy?
As it is now, 5:12 AM, as I write this-making my notes as they come to me-four days later, I want to say I love Paris, almost as much as I love my hometown of, St. Paul, Minnesota, where I live, and almost as much as my wife's hometown, Lima, Peru, where I have a home also. In Paris I have only a small studio apartment, along the riverbank, only but three blocks from Notre Dame, in point of fact, so this tells you I love Paris also. I reside here once or twice a year, for a few weeks of down time, as they call it now-a-days.
As I was saying, or about to say, I was pacing the outside grounds of my dwelling, whereupon this creature of sorts showed up. He tried to make a deal with me, oh yes, oh yes-a agreement, or transaction. I thought for a moment, my wife's life was at stake, knowing she was alone, but she was not his fancy, for the window was open, and this creature in a black-stone like configuration standing but a short distance away, in a shadowy mist not far from her did no harm, and I presume he could have. But again, thank goodness, it was not his prize or price. But I'm sure he didn't mind me believing it. Somehow fear, be it man or beast, seems to arouse a hidden pride in us, a pride in that we have the power to instil this fear, in spite of, if we want to or not. But I noticed in his voice, his posture, his distance, I think he feared he could lose his position, had he threatened my wife; that is, had he threatened my wife and I cast him into the pit in the name of Christ. If anything he did yield a key to his mind set. But it was me he wanted none-the-less, me and me alone, not her. Motives yet were not known to me.
I took off to avoid him using his fear, of endangering my wife, thus having me under his whim, so I ran off, through alleys and side-streets, in a few old buildings, and hallways: not sure why I ran through them, I could have ran around them, he was casting from a distance odd looks at me as if to say: '...what are you running for,' as if I wanted to, I could have you, but as I said before, I wanted to create a distance from my apartment, for our meeting, so he could not completely overpower me. And surely he could have overpowered me.
The hotels would not open their doors as I pulled at them, and so I jumped over and around a few car-bumpers in my way. I ran to the river, and the grass along the park outside the church of Notre Dame I stopped. Then I thought, '...every time I had stopped he was but five or six feet in front of me, or in back of me.' What did he want I asked myself each time, as I tried to catch my breath? Standing still, like a stone in front of the Cathedral, I started to laugh, profusely, as if I was a bit off balance.
I tried one more time to escape his shadow of sorts-a shadow that really was not a shadow, it was him, the shadow, for he had no replacement other than him; hence, he again cornered me, seeing but a black mist again, a heavy configuration within the mist, I lowered my head in coughing, being quite short winded at the time, to catch my breath. I made no solid glance through the mist, as my breath came back to me. He was not yet talking (but I knew what-if not who-he was: The Basilisk-de Notre Dame).
I asked, "Where now?" kind of huffing and puffing from the run. A joke, but it was all I had in me to say [I figured if he wanted to do me harm he could, or put another way, if he could do me harm, he possibly would have by now]. He stepped back a ways, almost covering his shadow like figure, possibly to protect me from them legendary eyes, and breathe. Sometimes I find spirits are as curious about us, as we are about them; especially those who were never human beings at any given time.
"Take this," he said, with a whisper, slow calm voice-almost soft; he wanted me to destroy something, somebody, I thought, possibly him. I stood there; palm-hand on a car, catching my breath, up and across the street was Notre Dame, and the walls that guarded the river, you could see the river-walk. On my side of the street not all that far away was "Shakespeare And Company," an English bookstore, a place I stop at every time I'm in Paris.
It was a weapon of sorts, so it looked, as I looked down at the gift, or whatever it was, something to harm someone with I would guess, is what he was trying to hand me. Did he expect me to pull the trigger on him, if so would I destroy him, and commit a cardinal sin or would it be a more promising sin. Was he bored [came to my mind]? Was I the only one that looked into his eyes when I was on top of Notre Dame that gave him attention in a thousand years or so? Was I his salvation, his way out, and if I killed him with this funny looking gun, of black volcanic stone, or so it looked, would I be stone. Was he the tempter, or the tumult? I had learned a long time ago, sometimes you can simply go with the flow, or die trying to explain a dimension of something that is beyond you. A world you cannot look into, yet they can look out of.
I took the weapon, and, and then all of a sudden there was a whisper telling me to use it on him, or myself, it said either way. Then there was a long pause, a very long pause-he, then, simply wanted it back. Not sure why. His fingers I remember where long, pointed, almost disjointing, strong and fearsome: as he extended his hands to me, and through the mist, to get to the weapon I was now holding. I asked myself again: was temptation his high?
Then he spoke: he said he had fought in a great battle, and upon his death, he refused to go to Hell, or the pit, or even leave the earth, that being in solid stone was better as a spirit than to face the everlasting realities of either of the two places I mentioned, or so he thought. That this time he was speaking of, was a time before the time of Adam and Eve, he was a mason in a far off distant land, of another era-a time when jaguars were almost ruling the world, whereupon God stepped in and again, saved mankind from extinction. And when he rejected God, the true God, for idols of Jaguars of that time-as gods, in the haze of battle with these beasts, and upon his dying breath, he asked for mercy, to be left in stone that he'd guard over God's throne on earth. And so he has, but not without a price, that being boredom. But should he seek death, he'd go to Hell. Should he remain on earth, at a holy site, guarding it, and harm no one, he would go to paradise, between the great gulfs-which separates Hades and Paradise. But like all of us, he was lost in his own self pity, and at the last minute, stopped a suicide attempt (or I should say I stopped it).
I tossed the weapon back to him, and ran to my wife (for he could not kill himself for some reason), to see how she was. He was there again, outside, looking in our apartment window-looking in from at distance, as if he were in a tent in an open field-with black mist around him. I comforted her. And lay close to her. I suppose he was missing someone to talk to, the comfort of a loved one you could say-is it not true, happiness is shared, and he shared a moment with me, in how many centuries I do not know.
And so I left him be, and he me. I personally had no control of the other world I knew of, or him. I knew one way or another he wanted death by desire, but again as before some 10,000-years ago, he chose life, as we all would most likely d-I think. But I couldn't give it to him, nor take it from him. If anything he and I were simply a distraction for one another.
My wife awoke, asking what was wrong. I told her nothing of any importance, but I lied I suppose, it was of importance, for him, and such a memory as I write now, she will see, see that it was quite a night, more so than what I had her believe it was; in any case, during this time, I looked out the window, he was nowhere to be seen, he had vanished out of my life as fast as he had come in. My wife turned about a few times, asked in a drowsy way, if all was well again. I said I was feeling a little affectionate, not able to find any other words, or for the lack of a better term, along with a little insomnia.
Now if your asking: 'Why me,' another blank, but it is not the first nor I am sure, nor will it be the last blank to come my way in my little life time; yes, I know, another question to a dead answer. I guess he wanted a piece of both worlds? He wanted to test me under fire in my world (and God allowed it) also I do believe, to see if I was as strong as him, possibly to bring the case up to God, get His attention, but I think he got the message, that he was already under God's grace, not to play with it. If I meet him again, maybe I'll ask him a few more questions, but I'm in no hurry to do so.
Notes: written while in the Cathedral and on top of the Cathedral of Notre Dame, and in the bell tower and the story written out thereafter in length, March, 2002; It was my forth trip to Paris, and my last trip, it was a rainy few days; reedited in 2007 and 2008.