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'The Nine Unknown' is a 1923 novel by Talbot Mundy. Originally serialised in 'Adventure'
magazine,Taves, pp. 94-5 it concerns the "'Nine Unknown Men'", a fictional secret society founded by the Mauryan Emperor Asoka around 270 BC to preserve and develop knowledge that would be dangerous to humanity if it fell into the wrong hands. The nine unknown men were entrusted with guarding nine books of secret knowledge.
In the novel the nine men are embodiment of good and face up against nine Kali worshippers, who sow confusion and masquerade as the true sages. The story surrounds a priest called Father Cyprian who is in possession of the books but who wants to destroy them out of Christian piety, and a number of other characters who are interested in learning their contents.
The Nine Unknown Men also appear in Mundy's 'Caves of terror' (1924), but are portrayed as evil in that book.
The nine books entrusted to the Nine Unknown contain information on
# Propaganda and Psychological warfare,
# Physiology, including secrets concerning the "touch of death",
# Communication, including communication with extraterrestrials,
# Gravity, and anti-gravity devices (Vimanas, the "ancient UFOs of India"),
# Cosmology, including hyperspace and time-travel,
# Light, and a technology capable of modifying the speed of light and
# Sociology, including rules predicting the rise and fall of empires.
In 1960, Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier wrote about the Nine Unknown Men in their 'Morning of the Magicians'. Pauwels and Bergier (1960:36) attribute mention of the Nine Unknown to Louis Jacolliot (1837-1890), a French judge working in India and Tahiti in the 1860s.
In their works, Pauwels and Bergier claimed that the society occasionally revealed itself to wise outsiders such as Pope Sylvester II who was said to have received, among other things, training in supernatural powers and a robotic talking head from the group.
*Talbot Mundy, 'The Nine Unknown', New York (1923, 1924).[http://tejaswy.com/books/The%20Nine%20Unknown/]
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