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ally the insane think them to be true percep- such as to give to his playing a force which tions, and endeavor to conform their conduct produced the most striking effects. The case to them. Yet in some instances, and very of an intelligent lady who would see a robber often in the beginning of insanity, they admit enter her chamber and conceal himself under that they are morbid and contend against them. her bed is in point. Though the spectacle
A question of deeper interest, and of closer produced violent palpitation of the heart and relation to the subjects treated in these arti- universal trembling, she was aware of its falsity, cles, is whether subjective visions are possible and after some moments her judgment and to the sane; and, if so, whether they are at all reason would triumph so that she could apcommon, and liable to occur as isolated cir- proach the bed and examine it without fear. cumstances. On a full survey of the subject, Another case was communicated by a phyboth these questions will be answered in the sician of acknowledged reputation to Sir Walter affirmative. To say nothing of the visions pro- Scott. The first hallucination was that of the duced by alcohol, opium, hasheesh, fever, presence of a great cat. After a few months the blows upon the head, prolonged abstinence, cat disappeared, and a phantom of a higher deep anxiety, or those which precede attacks grade took its place -- that of a gentleman usher of epilepsy or of apoplexy, it is certain that hal- dressed as though he was in the service of a lucinations often arise without assignable cause lord lieutenant, or of some great functionary or subsequent effect; and the subjects of them of the Church. But after some months he demonstrate their sanity by recognizing the disappeared, and a phantom horrible and unreal character of their perceptions. distressing, a skeleton, appeared. The fact of
Griesinger, one of the most eminent and dis- these visions was concealed by the subject of criminating writers on mental diseases, says: them, who was an important officer in a de“Nothing would be more erroneous than to partment of justice, for several years. Though consider a man to be mentally diseased because he knew that they were of subjective origin, he had hallucinations. The most extended ex- they wore him out, and he died a victim to perience shows rather that such phenomena the agony in which his years were passed. occur in the lives of very distinguished and Dr. Abercrombie gives a case of a man who highly intellectual men, of the most different had been all his life beset by hallucinations: dispositions and various casts of mind, but when he met a friend in the street, he was especially in those of warm and powerful imagi- uncertain whether he was a real person or a nation." In illustration he speaks of Tasso, who, phantom, but by paying close attention he in the presence of Manco, carried on a long could distinguish between them. Dr. Aberconversation with his protecting spirit; and of crombie declares that he was at the time of Goethe's well-known blue-gray vision, and his writing in good health, of a clear intellect, and ideal flowers with their curious buds. He speaks occupied in business. briefly also of the hallucinations of Sir Walter Many striking instances, the most valuable Scott, Jean Paul, Benvenuto Cellini, Spinoza, of which are those personally attested by BoisPascal; of Van Helmont, who saw his own mont, or by the authorities whom he quotes, soul in the form of a light with a human coun- are given where the mind was sane, though tenance; of Andral, the great physician, who the hallucinations were not corrected by it. It experienced an hallucination of sight; and of must not be supposed that these hallucinations Leuret, who, in his “ Fragments of Psychology," of the sane are confined to persons of distincgives an account of a phantasm of hearing tion, of sedentary habits, or of poetic temperawhich he experienced.
ments. Many have had once or twice in their A. Brierre de Boismont divided hallucina- lives spectral illusions, or instances of hallucitions that are compatible with sanity into two nation; and among plain men, mechanics, kinds — those which are corrected by the un- laborers, and the peasantry of all nations, they derstanding, and those which, on account of are very common. Griesinger, after giving a superstition, sluggishness of thought, love of list of distinguished men who, though sane, the marvelous, inability to interpret them cor- had hallucinations, says: "Judging from what rectly, or because the emotions which they ex- we have heard and observed on this subject, cite make calm consideration impossible, are hallucinations doubtless occur also in men of not corrected. The cases which he adduces very average minds, not as rare but as freare numerous and striking. One is that of quently overlooked phenomena." Talma, who, when he trod the stage, could by Spectral illusions are very common in chilthe force of his will make all the brilliant dren, and are most frequently, though not dresses of his numerous audience disappear always, perceived in the night between wakand substitute skeletons for the living charac- ing and sleeping. ters. When he had thus filled the theater with The persistence of dreams after one is fully these singular spectators, his emotions were awake is also a suggestive occasional experience. After the appearance of the article on Going nearer, he looked over the shoulder of
Dreams, Nightmare, and Somnambulism,” the person and saw that this figure of himself the editor of THE CENTURY received a letter pointed with one finger of the right hand to written by a gentleman of the city of New a passage in the Bible. He looked at the York describing a dream which he had had a passage indicated and saw that it was, “ Set few weeks before, in which he dreamed that thine house in order, for thou shalt die." he was lying on his back in his own room and Full of astonishment and fear, he went back saw a frightful black hobgoblin, well defined to the company and related the occurrence; in shape, which stood by the side of his bed and in spite of all they could say he was firm in and acted as if about to attack him. In the the opinion that this apparition betokened his midst of the horror produced by the specter death, and accordingly took leave of his friends. he awoke, found himself lying on his back just “ The day after, at six o'clock in the evening, as he had dreamed, looked around the room he expired, being advanceit in years.” Many and recognized the furniture and other things persons can be found who are not advanced in the room, but continued to see the hobgob- in years who would be killed by such an exlin as plainly as he saw anything else, heard perience as this. him growl, and distinctly saw him going on The origin of such visions is readily traced. with his hostile demonstrations. Reasoning To imagine one's self in a familiar place with upon what he should do, he struggled to move, almost the vividness of life is not uncommon. was unable to stir hand or foot for some time, Whether the vision shall be that of one's self but finally did move, and that instant the un- or of another, when the mind is in such a state canny specter vanished. He says: “I had my as to develop visions, depends much on the eyes on the hobgoblin at the moment when I general belief at the time. The same principle made the movement, and at once tried to see is illustrated where it seems impossible not to whether there was any object in the room see, in his accustomed seat at the table, a perwhich I could have mistaken for it, but could son who has died; and when worn with anxiety find none.”
and long watching, even strong-minded men The books of marvels contain narratives have been for a moment almost certain that which sometimes afford the evidence of their they saw the familiar figure pass through the explanation, but frequently omit details which room. They have felt “ the touch of a vana person not disposed to the marvelous would ished hand” and heard “the sound of a voice be sure to examine if he had the opportunity. that is still.” Add a belief in the marvelous to In Stilling's “ Pneumatology,” translated from such impressions and the vision is complete. the German and edited by Dr. George Bush, Sudden flashes of the imagination may dethere are many of these. Stilling endeavors velop the phenomenon instantaneously. Thus to show that people who see themselves are a sea captain engaged in his duty saw in the generally likely to die soon afterwards. He mist the figure of a boyhood companion becksays: “When a person sees himself out of oning to him. He was certain that it porhimself, while others who are present observe tended his death or that of the friend whose nothing, the apparition may be real, or it may figure he saw, but nothing came of it. A genbe merely imaginary; but when it is also per- tleman passing along the street suddenly saw ceived by others it is no fantasy, but some- his brother whom he had not seen for twentything real.” He then gravely adds, “ I myself five years. The figure was plain, and he was know of persons having seen themselves and about to speak to him when he disappeared. dying shortly afterwards."
Sometime afterwards the news came of his death He tells of one of the Government secreta- at about the time of the vision. Taken alone ries who went, as he was wont to do, to the it might seem as if there was some connection archives to look for a paper which was very between the two circumstances; but so many important. On arriving there he saw himself have such occasional experiences which seem sitting on a chair. Much terrified, he went remarkably real, and yet are not followed by home and sent a woman servant to fetch the any noteworthy event, that the natural expladocuments. It is asserted that the woman nation is adequate to cover the cases. found him there also. Dr. Stilling does not The visions and hallucinations of hypnotism say that the man died “shortly afterwards”; and animal magnetism require special examibut that he did die some time after is probable, nation. as the book is nearly a hundred years old.
HABITUAL VISIONS. Another case is that of a professor who was having a theological dispute with a number HALLUCINATIONS may become frequent, of his friends. Having occasion to go to the and to a certain extent systematic, especially if library for a book, he saw himself sitting a belief in their supernatural origin exists; in on a chair at the table where he usually sat. which case a person may be for a long period of sound and discriminating understanding, Luther suffered from hallucinations of a except when in a trance, or beholding a vision. religious character for a considerable period
The visions of St. Theresa have, for three of his life. The opposition he encountered, his hundred years, formed an important chapter in sedentary life, taken in connection with the exreligious literature, and another in pathology. traordinary powers attributed to Satan in the At twelve she was devoutly pious, becoming Middle Ages, fully explain his visions. Luther so after the death of her mother. About the thought that the devil removed a bag of age of fifteen she fell off into a very worldly nuts, transformed himself into a fly, hung on state, and against her will was placed by her his neck, and lay with him in bed. His visfather in a convent. She was frequently ill, and ions would sometimes come on after nightfinally, after a year and a half, owing to dan- mare. Here is his own account: “I awoke gerous sickness, returned home. Sometime in the middle of the night. Satan appeared to afterwards she was seized with a violent fever, me. I was seized with horror. I sweated and and upon recovery determined to devote her- trembled. My heart beat in a frightful manner. self to a religious life, and in opposition to her The devil conversed with me. His logic was father's wishes entered a Carmelite convent accompanied by a voice so alarming that the and took the veil. This was in her twentieth blood froze in
veins.” year. Her biographer, as translated by Dr. Zuinglius had a similar experience when he Madden, says that she was attacked " with was half asleep. A phantom, black or white, frequent fits of fainting and swooning, and a he could not say which, appeared before him, violent pain at her heart, which sometimes de- called him a coward, and stirred him up to prived her of her senses.” Her first trance was fight. This is explained by Forbes Winslow in 1537, in her twenty-third year; it lasted for as a case of overheated sensorium,“ during four days, and during it through excess of pain the transient continuance of which the retina she bit her tongue in many places — a phe- became so disturbed as to conjure up a phantom nomenon common to fits of various kinds. At which the patient not only mistook for a reality, last she was reduced almost to a skeleton, had but, what is still worse, acted upon his mistaken a paralytic affection of her limbs, and remained or diseased imagination." a cripple for three years. Her first vision was Swedenborg's visions were of the same three years later, when she had allowed herself class. He was educated, devoted himself for some dissipation of mind. “The apparition of many years to science, and up to his fifty-fourth our Lord was suddenly presented to the eyes year had the reputation of a scientific and of her soul, with a rigorous aspect testifying to philosophic student; was a professor in the the displeasure occasioned by her conduct.” mineralogical school, and believed to be a
There were great differences of opinion as simple-minded man of the world. About 1743 to the source of her visions. Several very he had a violent fever, in which for a little time learned priests and confessors judged her to he was mad, and rushed from the house stark be deluded by the devil. One of them in- naked, proclaiming himself the Messiah. After structed her to make the sign of the cross, and that period a change took place in him, and he to insult the vision as that of a fiend. In one lived twenty-nine years in the firm conviction of her visions, according to her statement, the that he held continual intercourse with angels Lord appeared angry at her instructions, and and also with deceased human beings. He bade her tell them it was tyranny. She acknowl- says that he conversed with St. Paul during edged that she frequently saw devils in hide- the whole year, particularly in reference to the ous figures, but she drove them away by the text Romans iii. 28. He asserted that he had cross or by holy water. She also claimed to see conversed three times with St. John, once with St. Joseph, the blessed Virgin, and other saints; Moses, a hundred times with Luther, and with had visions of purgatory, and saw a great num- angels daily " for twenty years.” ber of souls in heaven who had been there. Swedenborg had an elevated style of thought,
There is no difficulty in explaining her vis- and when reasoning upon the fundamental ions on natural principles. She was a religious principle which underlies his theological views woman, in such a state of health as to be sub- he is acute and profound. Attention has freject to trances, and they took their character quently been called to his shrewdness in exfrom her conventual and other religious instruc- plaining why when he claimed to hear the tion. Visions of this kind have been common voices of angels those who stood by could not, in the excitable of all sects. The early Method- by his declaring that he was accustomed to ists had many of them, which Mr. Wesley could see and hear angels when perfectly wide awake, not understand; and he expelled some persons and adding: “The speech of an angel or of from the society because they persisted against a spirit sounds like and as loud as that of a his commands in narrating visions which even man, but it is not heard by the bystanders. he could not accept as of divine origin. The reason is that the speech of an angel,
VISIONS OF THE DYING.
or of a spirit, finds entrance first into a man's truth of the recital, which shows how a person thoughts, and reaches his organs of hearing not subject to hallucinations may, under cirfrom within.” It is necessary only to read his cumstances of deep meditation, or under the literal statements to perceive the subjective influence of strong desire and expectation,character of the visions. He gives detailed if I may so speak,-generate an hallucination, accounts of the habits, form, and dress of the which may be the only one that he will exangels. He sends his opp ents mostly to perience in the course of a lifetime, and leave Gehenna and sees them there. The chief no evil effects except the false inferences which representatives of the reformed churches go to he will draw from it when he supposes it to be heaven, but Catholics and some of his Prot- of supernatural origin. It shows that the abestant opponents he sees in vision elsewhere. sence or the presence of any form of faith may
The visions and hallucinations of men of not be an essential, and it is clear that Lord this class are quoted against each other in the Herbert might easily have passed into a state ecclesiastical conflicts of the Middle Ages, and of habitual visions in all respects analogous to more lately, as proofs of the doctrines held by those of Swedenborg and St. Theresa. them. But as proofs they are mutually destructive, exist in all religions, true or false, and are liable to occur apart from religion. In the revivals which occurred in the early
The visions which the dying are supposed part of this century in the United States, and to see are regarded by many with reverence which sometimes take place now, visions are bordering upon awe. The explanation given not infrequently connected with religious ex- by Dr. Edward H. Clarke, a devout physician perience. When men pray without attending of Boston, in his “Visions: a Study of False to the necessary cares of the body days and Sight," is strictly physiological. After a long weeks together, the result is faintings and and very suggestive philosophical exposition,
he trances accompanied by visions. Where they say's : are believed to be of divine origin they pro- Should a bright ray of light falling from some duce profound impressions, but there is no object in the chamber on the retina of a dying perreason to think their cause different from son excite the visual apparatus and cells, the hierthose already discussed, nor have unbelievers oglyphic of a departed child, husband, lover, or in Christianity escaped them.
friend be brought into the field of subjective sight, The autobiography of Lord Herbert of the beloved one would be reproduced, and at once Cherbury relates one of the most remarkable by such a sight, would for an instant break through
projected into space. Intense emotion, engendered visions, and an equally remarkable illustration the stupefying power of nature's anæsthetic, as the of inconsistency. Lord Herbert did not believe surgeon's knife sometimes momentarily breaks the in Christianity, and wrote a book against the spell of ether, and the dying individual springing, miracles recorded in the Bible. When it was with eyes intent, features transfigured, and arms completed he exhibited it to Grotius and Ti- outstretched, towards the vision, would naturally lenus, whom he met in France. They praised pronounce the long-remembered name, and then it much and exhorted him to publish it; but he fall back and die. Such scenes have occurred. Few foresaw that it would encounter great opposi- of awe, oppressed with thoughts beyond the
could witness them without an overwhelming sense tion, and hesitated for some time, not knowing reaches of our souls,” at beholding for a moment whether to print it or not. The history of what the apparent lifting of the veil and the glory within. followed is given in his own words:
To the dying such a vision would not be false. It One fine day, about noon, my windows being him. The well-known features would be there, and
would not be imagination. It would be real to open, I took my book, knelt down, and pronounced aloud these words: “O eternal God, creator of the yet they would be a creation or reproduction of a light which illuminates me, thou who enlighten- dissolving brain, and not a messenger from the est souls when thou wouldst, tell me by a celestial opened heavens. The vision would be a physiologisign if I should publish or suppress my work." I cal effect, not a supernatural intervention. had hardly uttered these words than a loud but
Dr. Clarke is not willing to say that it is agreeable sound proceeded from heaven, which impressed me with such great joy that'l felt con- impossible that there shall be to the dying a vinced that my request was granted. Howsoever revelation of the future into which they are strange this may appear, I protest, before God, not about to enter. He says: “ Probably all such only that I heard the sound, but saw, in the clearest visions as these are automatic. But yet, who, sky on which I ever gazed, the spot whence it came. believing in God and personal immortality, as In consequence of this sign ! published my book, the writer rejoices in doing, will dare to say and spread it throughout all Christian lands, amongst absolutely all? — will dare to assert there is no all the learned capable of reading and appreciating it possible exception?”
. This circumstance is of great importance. During the past thirty years I have seen No doubt has ever been thrown upon the many persons die, and many who supposed themselves to be dying who afterwards re- Catholics are to supplicate the sympathy and covered, but I have no ground to suppose any prayers of the mother of our Lord, when they of the visions supernatural, nor have seen any have visions of any kind I am informed by deindication of the development of a faculty of vout priests and by physicians that she gencognizing another world. The single case given erally appears in the foreground. Among the by Dr. Clarke appears insufficient to raise a pre- visions which dying Protestants have been supsumption, much less to support a conclusion.l posed to see I have heard of only two in which
The following facts cannot be disputed nor the Virgin figured, and these were of persons disregarded in the elucidation of the subject : trained in their youth as Catholics.
First. Such dying visions occur in all parts of the world, under every form of civilization
APPARITIONS. and religion, and if the dying appear to see anything, it is in harmony with the traditions The passage most frequently quoted on the which they have received.
subject of apparitions is that which Dr. JohnSecond. Such visions are often experienced son in “ Rasselas” puts into the mouth of the by those whose lives have not been marked by sage Imlac: religious consistency, while many of the most devout are permitted to die without such aid, take to maintain against the concurrent testimony
That the dead are seen no more I will not underand sometimes experience the severest mental of all ages and all nations. There is no people, rude conflicts as they approach the crisis.
or unlearned, among whom apparitions of the dead Third. Where persons appear to see angels are not related and believed. This opinion, which and disembodied spirits, the visions accord prevails as far as human nature is diffused, could with the traditional views of their shape and become universal only by its truth; those that expression; and where wicked persons see
never heard of one another would not have agreed fiends and evil spirits, they harmonize with the in a tale which nothing but experience could make
credible. That it is doubted by single cavilers can descriptions which have been made the ma
very little weaken the general evidence; and some terials of sermons, poems, and supernatural who deny it with their tongues confess it with fears. narratives.
Fourth. Many of the most remarkable visions All authorities agree that Dr. Johnson was have been seen by persons who supposed them- very superstitious, and this passage when critselves to be dying, but were not; and who when ically examined does not seem to be entitled they recovered had not the slightest recollection to the weight which his great name and its of what had occurred. When a student I was clearness of statement have given to it. The called in with the others to witness the death- concurrent testimony of all ages and nations bed scene of the most popular young man in the can hardly create a presumption, unless it be institution. He had professed on the bed of assumed that there have been no universal death a religious experience, and was supposed errors. The assertion that the opinion could to be dying of typhoid fever. Never have I become universal only by its truth compels heard more vivid descriptions or more eloquent the assumption that all universal opinions are words. It seemed as though he must see an- true. To prove that the dead are seen no other state of being. After the scene he sunk more, or cannot appear to living beings, is of into a lethargic state, so remained for some course impossible. But that a thing cannot be days, and gradually recovered. Both his relig- proven impossible is not a reason for believious conversion and visions were entirely for- ing it actual. No one can demonstrate that the gotten, and not until many years afterwards spirit of Mahomet is not now embodied in the did he enter upon a religious life.
present Sultan of Turkey, but no one believes Fifth. A consideration of great weight is it to be so. this: the Catholic Church confers great honor The belief in apparitions, common in all upon the Holy Virgin; Protestants seldom make ages, was generally dying out in the middle any reference to her. Trained as the Roman of the last century, but was revived in the
1 Some years ago I was visiting at the house of a citizen uttered another syllable or showed any sign of conof Brooklyn, now one of the editors of a leading scientific sciousness, and died in a few hours. On asking mempublication. A gentleman, the father of his wise, was bers of the family if he had ever been connected in any very ill. His disease was consumption complicated with way with Virginia, they said he had not, but was a native extreme age. It was thought that he could not survive of Kentucky. Three months afterwards his son-in-law the day. For several days he had been in a state of informed me that inquiry suggested by the circumstance stupor bordering upon coma, nor had he spoken for revealed the fact that he was born in Virginia and lived some hours. During the absence of his daughter from there until he was ten years old. The sole explanation the room I sat by his bedside watching his painful was that the vital force was so nearly exhausted as to breathing and anticipating the end, which could not be be incapable of stimulating any of the brain cells, exlong delayed. Suddenly the dying man opened his eyes cept those early impressed; and a vision of the lovely and said, “ Old Virginia, old Virginia, Old Virginia.' scenes of his childhood rose in his mind, and his intel. I immediately summoned his daughter, but he never ligence was sufficient only to recognize it as in a dream.