The Museum's vaults contain many objects which are still under examination. It is critically important that we be able to trace and authenticate haunted antiques before reactivating them - which is why this part of the site is constantly changing. We have been examining the khanne for several years now; the recent exhumation of a box of documents concerning the Surnateum's Sino-Mongolian campaign in 1920-21 has allowed us to make significant progress in our analysis. This progress justified a second - and may yet justify a third - expedition to that part of the world.
The khanne
Sino-Mongolian campaign (1920-21)

 
  • The khanne

Mongolia (13th century), on the fringes of the old Mongolian Empire. The exact location is a secret known only to the Surnateum.

An old 15th century Persian painting shows Genghis Khan at the summit of the holy mountain of Bogdo Ul, an allusion to Tengri, the Eternal Blue Sky. At his feet lies a magic wand - an interface between the Khan and divinity. Some experts have interpret this object as a sabre, an understandable mistake since they do not have access to the full range of resources at the disposal of the Surnateum.
If he had the blessing of the supreme divinity, then all other forces in the universe would be at his beck and call; Tengri would make Temudjin the master of the world and his earthly incarnation.
Without Tengri's support, invoking a warrior divinity like the god of war Mahagala, the dharmapala with six arms, would soon lead to insanity and death for the person who invoked it.
When Genghis Khan died (ca 1227), his body was - according to some accounts - encased in five coffins and buried in an unknown location at the foot of the holy mountain. All of the witnesses to the burial were executed so that they could never reveal the identity of the secret location.
A mythical object became the uniting symbol for the Mongolian tribes that revolved around Genghis Khan: a rod made of Chinese ebony (olokum) encircled by silver rings representing the tribes faithful to the Khan (the Mongolian name is derived from the Chinese word for 'silver', while the Chinese name is derived from the Chinese word for 'gold'). The rod is surmounted by a cube with rounded-off corners, a Taoist symbol on which are engraved the words San-Yeun (Genghis Khan) and Sien-Fong (the highest).
He who possessed this cane could command the Mongol tribes, invoke Tengri and perhaps even change history.
The khanne was carefully preserved until the end of Kublai Khan's reign, whereupon it disappeared mysteriously, not resurfacing until 1920.

The oracles were repeating the same prophecy tirelessly: a deeply hostile power was awakening in eastern Europe. A forgotten demon from antiquity was greedy to recover the worship it had once enjoyed, but which had now been abandoned for many, many years. Mahagala - an ancient and perverted deity with a thirst for sacrifices and links to the Orders of the Blood, the mystery of the King of the World and the ancient Thule - would reunify infernal forces under the banner of an ancient sign. Entire civilisations would be annihilated in a bloodbath of inconceivable magnitude.
The Collector remembered coming across the symbol before, a kind of cross with bent arms called a swastika. He had not paid enough attention back in 1888 during the Jack the Ripper killings in London. A few coins had been placed in the shape of  the symbol next to the mutilated corpse of a prostitute. Later, a fibula found in a Pannonian tomb (allegedly the tomb of Pontius Pilate) revealed the same design and should have got the Collector thinking. Later still, there was that drawing on the walls of the dead Tsarina in Ekaterinburg. Moreover, the Tsarevich suffered from a blood disease which the monk Rasputin endeavoured to alleviate.
And now, it was showing up again in Mongolia, on the banner of a Russian warlord by the name of Roman von Ungern-Sternberg, and on the banner of one of his 'friends', Ataman Semenov. People assumed that it was a good-luck symbol from Asia and it was faddishly applied to many items, boosting the evil power of the entity to which it referred. The reckless fools!
He who held the key to Mongolia could toy with the very future of mankind.
The Collector walked down to the basement library to consult the Surnateum's archives on another Mongolian prophecy brought back by the Hutuktu, the Incarnate Buddha of Narabanchi from one of the museum's honourable correspondents. The prophecies of Lehnin and of the great Devastation seemed to corroborate what the Mongolian soothsayer had said.
"Around 1890, the King of the World introduced himself to the lamas at the Temple of the Blessing and presented them with an apocalyptic prophecy announcing the end of Empires, a bloody, widespread war, the destruction of the 'crescent' and the rise of three empires. A reign of total corruption would infect the world until the emergence of the peoples of Agharta."
The Agharta again! That myth of a hollow earth led by the King of the World in Shamballah. If only the people knew the truth hidden behind the legendů
The bichigdu tsagan shulun, the prophecy of the White Stone, heralding the arrival of a white messiah during the year of the White Chicken (1921) was another indicator pointing in the same direction.
And now a certain Von Ungern-Sternberg - a former White Russian officer, nicknamed Beg-Tse by his men, and later the 'Bloody Baron' or 'Mad Baron', and surrounded by shamans and magicians - felt duty-bound to reincarnate the soul of Genghis Khan, the most famous Mongolian warlord of all time. But his path would be strewn with obstacles. He would first have to liberate the Bogdo Geghen, a blind Buddha who was still alive, but being held prisoner by the Chinese. The Bogdo Geghen - the man who would lead Mongolia - would show him which path to take.
Invoking the war deity Mahagala would give him the strength and magical powers he needed to be successful in this impossible mission, but the price would be very high indeed. (To encourage the invocation, he would have to consume a drug concocted from the terrifying venom of a quasi-mythical creature from the Mongolian steppes, the alloghoi khorkhoi, the Mongolian death worm. A poison more potent than that of a thousand scorpions.)
Possession of the khanne, the rod used to invoke Genghis Khan, would give him the option of not paying the tribute demanded by the six-armed dharmapala. But he didn't know that yet!
To overcome the first obstacle, he had to seize Urga, leaving him a little time. Only the living Buddha could give him access to the relic, but the oracles did not foresee his release before early 1921. However, the Collector still had some solid contacts in China he had forged during a previous trip.
An expedition was organised to seize the relic before the Russian general did. Two groups of explorers from the museum were dispatched to Sin-Kiang, to Inner and Outer Mongolia and to the borders of China in search of the khanne. Two different groups would help throw off any surveillance, masking the secret passageways to Shamballah. The teams included mining engineers who would try to detect the secret entrances leading to the Agharta. Moreover, digging work would be easy to justify under the pretext of engaging in 'mining' expeditions. A terton by the name of Kao accompanied the group. Contact was made with a correspondent of the Surnateum in Peking (Beijing), who established relationships with Chinese Hung (red) and Chin (green) secret societies, as well as with certain mining companies in the country.
Fortunately, the Mad Baron was quickly found and seized since a small, well-trained team moves faster than an army.
A recent expedition yielded ancient Mongolian grimoires (containing rituals) and the kit used by a Buryat shaman containing the poisons and drugs required for the reincarnation trance - just in case.
 

Notes:

  • Under Genghis Khan, the capital of the Mongolian empire was Karakorum. Later, under the reign of Kublai Khan, Peking was chosen. It made sense for the Surnateum's team to begin its research in that city.
  • Two groups of explorers from the museum, codenamed Khanne and Vitriol (reminiscent of the alchemical precept of 'VITRIOL' (Visit Interior Terrae Rectificando Invenies Occultum Lapidem, i.e. 'visit the interior of the earth, by making a correction you will find the hidden stone'), a supply team and a highly flexible mobile unit accompanied by a terton travelled around China for nearly two years. In the China of the 1920s, one did not simply stroll around unless one had solid relations with the Hung and Chin secret societies, and with local companies. In this connection, an engineer from the Kailan Mining Administration in Tongshou was one of the team's connections in China. Contacts with the Red Spears secret society were rather fruitful. As the Collector held shares in Chinese companies, certain doors were opened more easily to him.
  • The monster-killing gun was taken along on the trip, but there is no indication that it was used. An individual incarnating an entity like the Mahagala is notoriously invulnerable to 'ordinary' bullets, as was the case with the baron. Roman von Ungern Sternberg was tried by a Bolshevik court on 15 September 1921 and executed that same day. The teams returned to Peking before going back to Europe. (Source of information on the execution: Baron Ungern, by Leonid Youzefovitch, Edition des Syrtes, Paris)
  • In the museum's reserves, we found the fossilised bones of woolly mammoth and rhinoceros brought back from our teams' travels in China and the Gobi desert. The year after the expedition, Roy Chapman Andrews, an American, organised his first expedition to the Gobi desert in search of dinosaur fossils.
  • A Shang ('dragon tooth') oracle in the Chinese pharmacopoeia was purchased in Peking at the same time. A legend about the mythical remains of a dragon hidden in the Forbidden City also attracted our explorers' attention - but yielded nothing concrete. They may have actually been the remains of a dinosaur, but that has not been confirmed either.
  • The explorers in the Vitriol group also brought back a fragment of the Chintamani Stone, cut into the shape of an axe.
  • Agharta or Agharti: an underground civilisation that is home to the King of the World. Its capital is Shamballah. This prediction was reported later (in part) by Ferdinand Ossendowski in his book Beasts, Men and Gods. Much has been said and written about this world in the centre of a purportedly hollow earth.
  • Bogdo Geghen, Bogd Khaan, Hutuktu: Various names given to the eighth Living Reincarnated Buddha, the supreme authority of Mongolia imprisoned by the Chinese in 1920-21. He died in 1924, having gone blind from alcoholism and probably syphilis. The Chinese banned reincarnation.