In his book Meetings with Remarkable Men, George Gurdjieff describes a strange event he witnessed as a young man. He recounts being deeply involved in his studies when he suddenly heard a boy’s scream. As he ran over to investigate, he saw a Yezidi boy trapped inside of a circle drawn on the ground by a group of mischievous youths.
Gurdjieff asked the boys who had drawn the circle what was going on. They told him that when you put a Yezidi inside of a circle, they cannot get out. Gurdjieff went over to the circle and rubbed out part of it with his foot. The Yezidi boy saw the opening through this “magic” circle and fled through it. This dumbfounded Gurdjieff.
Gurdjieff learned that Yezidis are a sect living in Transcaucasia, mostly in the area around Mt. Ararat. Gurdjieff was so blown away by the incident he witnessed of the magic circle that several years later he conducted his own experiments. He had drawn a circle around a petite Yezidi woman and it took two strong men to pull her out of the circle. But taking her out of this circle by force caused her to go into an immediate swoon or state of catalepsy. Gurdjieff also learned that the women’s mental state returned to normal as soon as she was brought back into the circle! Otherwise, it took many hours outside the circle before she could return to normal. Apparently there was a very strange force more powerful than one’s normal strength that kept such a person imprisoned in such a magic circle
Gurdjieff ultimately discovered the mechanism behind this strange phenomena of the human psyche and offers clues to its understanding in his various books. But one has to make real effort not only towards intellectually grasping the mechanism and power of a magic circle, but also to becoming personally alert to recognizing similar forms of its manifestation in daily life. (Otherwise there is no practical lesson to be learned.)