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The City of the Dead

Constructed of Magic by Louis Alan Swartz
Constructed of Magic by Louis Alan Swartz

The following is a guest post by Louis Alan Swartz, author of Constructed of Magic. If you would like to write a guest post on my blog, please send me an e-mail at

When I was 20 years old, I decided that I had to go see the world. I went on a trip that lasted 10 months to Europe, the Mideast and Africa.  This is a story from those travels.

One day, while I was in Egypt, I was literally wandering through the streets of Cairo to see what I could see and experience what I could experience when I came across an area of several blocks that were very dimly lit. There was no guard or gate to this area so I walked in. There were blocks and blocks of darkened houses. It was very quiet. Occasionally, I would see flickering lights and half hidden presences inside the houses. In one house, I saw a tomb in the middle of the “living room”. I saw a bright light at the end of the dark road I was on. It turned out to be a cafe. I ordered some tea and sat down at a table.

I found out  that this  was The City of the Dead. Each of these houses was the home in death of someone. The more opulent homes were for someone  who had been wealthy. The plainer homes were for the more common folk. Those flickering lights and furtive forms belonged to squatters who lived in  these homes.(I supposed that the more well-to-do squatters lived in the  fancy homes. But I never got this confirmed.)

I took some time in that cafe trying to get my twenty-one-year-old, American, middle-class wits around this. You live, make a lot of money, buy a nice “death  home” and are entombed there. And the squatters…what about them? But is this so different from the middle-class world from which I had come?

This was the first point in my life when death, mortality, immortality, and purpose for living all hit me in the face at once. I was never the same  after this. This was the point when I began in earnest to learn all that I could about immortality and the human spirit.

The book I just wrote, Constructed of Magic, is about things I learned, saw, experienced, and perceived along the way since my visit to The City of the Dead.

 Immortal Honesty

He sees the world
With different eyes
He who knows what occurs
When a man dies.
This fact should come
As no surprise.

The senior human mystery
Concerns his own
Personal destiny
And the honesty
Of his immortality.

When this is solved
He can be free
This means so very much
To me, dear friend, and thee.

(From Constructed of Magic by Louis Alan Swartz)