When ghosts appear to speak, the voice is almost always anastigmatic, that is, the ghost seer produces the words himself, in a state of ecstatic unconsciousness, and probably by a kind of instinctive ventriloquism.
To these phenomena of sight and hearing we add, thirdly, the occasional violent moving about of heavy substances. Furniture seems to change its place, ponderous objects disappear entirely, or the whole surrounding scene assumes a new order and arrangement. These phenomena, as far as they really exist, must be ascribed to higher, as yet unexplained powers, and suggest the view entertained by many writers on the subject, that disembodied spirits, as they are freed from the mechanical laws of nature, possess also the power to suspend them in everything with which they come in contact.
The last feature in ghost-seeing, which is essential, is the cold shudder, the ineffable dread, which falls upon poor mortal man, at the moment when he is brought into contact with an unknown world. Already Job said: “Fear came upon me and trembling, which caused my bones to shake. Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up” (iv. 14, 15).
This sense of vague, and yet almost intolerable dread, resembles the agony of the dying man; it is perfectly natural, since the seeing of ghosts, that is, of disembodied spirits, can only become possible by the more or less complete suspension of the ordinary life in the flesh. For a moment, all bodily functions are suspended, the activity of the brain ceases, and consciousness itself is lost as in a fit of fainting. This rarely happens without a brief instinctive struggle, and the final victory of an unseen and unknown power, which deprives the mind of its habitual mastery over the body, is necessarily accompanied by intense pain and overwhelming anguish.
Well-authenticated cases of the appearance of spirits of departed persons are mentioned in the earliest writings. The truth, which lies at the bottom of all such appearances, is probably, that ghostly disturbances are uniformly the acts of men, but of men who have ceased for a time to be free agents, and who have, for reasons to be explained presently, acquired exceptional powers.
In our own day superstition and wanton, or cunningly devised, imposture have been so largely mixed up with the subject, that a strong and very natural prejudice has gradually grown up against the belief in ghosts. Every strange appearance, every mysterious coincidence, that escaped the most superficial investigation, was forthwith called a ghost. Historical ghosts play, nevertheless, a prominent part in all countries. The fancy that murdered persons reappear in some shape after death for the purpose of wreaking their vengeance upon their enemies, is very common among all nations, and has often been vividly embodied in legends and ballads.
There have been numerous accounts of will-o’-the-wisps and ghostly lights seen in graveyards; the frightened beholder is nearly always laughed at or heartily abused, and more than one poor child has fallen a victim to the absurd theory of “curing it of foolish fears.” Light does appear occasionally above grave yards, and that there is something more than mere idle superstition in the “corpse-candles” of the Welsh and in the “elf-candles” of the Scotch, which are seen, with foreboding weight, in the house of sickness, betokening near dissolution. At the same time, it is well known that living persons also have, under certain circumstances, given out light, and especially from their head.
The same luminosity is, finally, perceived at times in graveyards, and would, no doubt, have led to careful investigation more frequently, if observers had not so often been suspected of superstitious apprehensions.
Cases in which deceased persons have made themselves known to survivors, or have produced, by some as yet unexplained agency, an impression upon them through other senses than the sight, are very rare. Occasionally, however, the hearing is thus affected, and sweet music is heard, in token, as it were, of the continued intercourse between the dead and the living. There are finally certain phenomena belonging to this part of magic, which have been very generally attributed to an agency in which natural forces and supernatural beings held a nearly equal share. They suggest the interesting but difficult question, whether visions and ecstasy can extend to large numbers of men at once? And yet without some such supposition the armies in the clouds, the wild huntsman of the Ardennes, and like appearances cannot well be explained. Here also no little weight must be attached to ancient superstitions which have become, as it were, a part of a nation’s faith.
If you ask me the question “do I believe in ghosts” I would say yes indeed I do based on my many years of studying the subject.
There is more to this life than just flesh and bone in my opinion and to close our mind to this fact is somewhat foolish. It is also my opinion that there are more workings of heaven and earth than we yet or ever will be aware of and should never be afraid of the unknown. Better I feel to be of the frame of mind that we are never alone on this earth and to expect the unexpected in all shapes and forms that may develop.
Thought for the day
Thought is the creative power in the universe. Thought-germs grow in the mind as the seeds of plants grow in the soil of the earth.
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