Ah, 'tis a great frustration, but in all research, there ninety failures
for every ten successes. And in the Search for the Lost Tepaphone (Indiana
Jones theme in the background please) it seemed that there would be
a thousand failures until success was achieved.
Now, for thems of you out there who are so benighted as to have absolutely
no idea what the hell I'm talking about, I will attempt a bit of enlightenment,
not the big Enlightenment that stops you from being reincarnated and
all that fun shit, but a little portion of it.
The tepaphone was a semi-legendary magickal instrument used by the evil
and notorious FOGC-Lodge (Darth Vader theme, maestro) in Germany between
the two world wars. In fact, it was so legendary that no one had even
heard of it except for some members of the Fraternity of Saturn and
they weren't talking. At least until Franz Bardon's novel Frabato the
Magician was published extremely posthumously in 1979 in German with
the English Language version (in the usual dreadful translation of Bardon)
coming out in 1982.
Now, while Bardon is mostly ignored in Germany and his native Bohemia
(Czechland) he is well read by American magicians who are more than
willing to put up with his tedious and often incomprehensible prose
style (unlike the breezy and joyous experience one gets from reading
my stuff) in the hope of learning how to mix the elements of fire and
water and make things explode, along with all kinds of other cool stuff.
Being a great fan of Bardon himself and actually having his other books
(because when I got them you did not have to take a loan out on the
neighbor's children to buy them) I grabbed a copy of Frabato as soon
as I could get my information-greedy little mits on it.
There is only one little problem with Frabato the Magician. The book
sucks. Bardon himself is supposed to have wanted the book to never see
Bardon is not a good writer and as a novella Frabato the Magician makes
one actually long for Dion Fortune's material, which is at least entertaining.
But Frabato is certainly informative and part of the information contained
therein is the story of the tepaphone, the magickal death ray projector.
It seems that the FOGC-Lodge had this machine that could project magickal
influence and function as a very effective weapon. And at that point
the Great, Wise and Evil Uncle Chuckie started drooling. In fact I went
through a couple of hankies trying to keep the book from getting messy.
I put the book down and shouted at the top of my lungs, "I WANT
ONE OF THOSE!"
At this point my mother came into the back room wondering what new type
of land mine they were showing on the news to see her son running out
the other door into his room to start tinkering.
And start barking up the wrong tree.
While, in accord with ancient family custom, my mother reacted to my
inventive mood by hiding under something heavy that would not be moved
in the event of an explosion, I set about to translate Bardon's description
into a radionic device while Cleo the Cat (peace be upon her) sat watching
me and giving me various looks of encouragement.
Ok, let me backtrack here. I'm sure most of you can remember a teacher
before an exam reminding the class to read the question before answering
it. I didn't follow that advice at this point and went madly to work
on something that had no relationship whatsoever with the tepaphone
as described by Bardon. I was off and running on a rather conventional
radionic device that would be tuned to the lethal rays used by the tepaphone,
totally convinced that it was the operator, rather than the instrument,
From 1910 until the 1940s it was assumed that the radionic instrument
worked independently of the operator. The operator put in the witness
samples, set the dials and the machine worked just like an electric
light. You throw the switch and the light casts out the darkness. As
time wore this idea down, the theory changed to the radionic instrument
being an extension of the operator and that the operator was the one
doing all the work and the machine merely a medium of sorts and as radionics
was almost forgotten in the United States it became a rather rare medium.
This was the theoretical base that I was working from and still do for
that matter. But it led to a serious error in the Hunt for the Tepaphone
(more Indiana Jones music). You see there are a lot of things we don't
understand about this stuff still and one of them is the fact that certain
types of energy influence the workings of the gadgets no matter what
the operator is thinking or doing.
There are operations where the imposition of an electric current has
a real effect. There are operations where the imposition of a beam of
colored light affects the outcome of the working. In addition, radio,
microwave and visible light frequencies can act as carriers of the energy
used in radionics. For this reason T. Galen Hieronymus termed that energy
Eloptic, a combination of electro-magnetic and optical.
In the famous Machine that bears his name, Hieronymus used reflected
light focused by a lens as the pickup system for the energy that his
device was analyzing. In doing so he removed the usual sample wells
and plates with all other radionic instruments utilize. All that is
necessary for the operator to do to analyze anything by means of the
Hieronymus Machine is to point it at it.
Now let us look more closely at the tepaphone as Bardon describes it
in Frabato the Magician.
It would seem to be a relatively small instrument, certainly portable
enough to be carried from one room to another. The witness, as we would
call it, is placed "in the focus of the rays" coming out of
the machine, which means there is an output which is not connected to
Finally, and most telling, a lamp of some sort, probably an ancient
alcohol lamp, is part of the instrument, most likely as the light source.
In other words, what is being described and what I was missing completely,
was an ancient magic lantern, an early version of the slide projector.
This system used the light source as the concentration point for the
energy being broadcast to the target.
So where does that leave us?
There are at least three possible ways to create a working tepaphone
with existing technology.
First, a slide projector can be used with no trouble. All that is needed
is a new light bulb that is charged with the desired energy and used
in conjunction with the focused (no pun intended) will of the operator.
This can be easily combined with a slide of a sigil to be projected
onto the witness of the target.
Second, an ancient magick lantern can be recreated with little trouble
by digging in the local library and finding a good book on optics. In
the system described in Frabato, the oil in the lamp was charged, but
a specially consecrated candle would probably work as well.
Third, the Hieronymus Machine can be constructed in reverse, so that
the light acts as a carrier out of the instrument rather than into it.
In this case, the will of the operator is focused by the electronics
of the machine.
There are any number of ways the above systems can be constructed and
there is not sufficient room to go into detail about that here.
In any event, the tepaphone may soon be a working reality in the temple
of many a magician and time alone will tell what impact it will have
not only on the world of Magick, but on society at large.