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The Book of Dreams and Ghosts by Andrew Lang online

The Book of Dreams and Ghosts by Andrew Lang


{0a} Principles of Psychology, vol. ii., p. 115. By Professor William James, Harvard College, Macmillan's, London, 1890. The physical processes believed to be involved, are described on pp. 123, 124 of the same work.

{0b} Op. cit., ii., 130.

{4} Story received from Miss ---; confirmed on inquiry by Drumquaigh.

{5a} Phantasms of the Living, ii., 382.

{5b} To "send" a dream the old Egyptians wrote it out and made a cat swallow it!

{8} See "Queen Mary's Jewels" in chapter ii.

{10} Narrated by Mrs. Herbert.

{11a} Story confirmed by Mr. A.

{11b} This child had a more curious experience. Her nurse was very ill, and of course did not sleep in the nursery. One morning the little girl said, "Macpherson is better, I saw her come in last night with a candle in her hand. She just stooped over me and then went to Tom" (a younger brother) "and kissed him in his sleep." Macpherson had died in the night, and her attendants, of course, protested ignorance of her having left her deathbed.

{11c} Story received from Lady X. See another good case in Proceedings of the Psychical Society, vol. xi., 1895, p. 397. In this case, however, the finder was not nearer than forty rods to the person who lost a watch in long grass. He assisted in the search, however, and may have seen the watch unconsciously, in a moment of absence of mind. Many other cases in Proceedings of S.P.R.

{13} Story received in a letter from the dreamer.

{16} Augustine. In Library of the Fathers, XVII. Short Treatises, pp. 530-531.

{18} St. Augustine, De Cura pro Mortuis.

{20} The professor is not sure whether he spoke English or German.

{24} From Some Account of the Conversion of the late William Hone, supplied by some friend of W. H. to compiler. Name not given.

{28} What is now called "mental telegraphy" or "telepathy" is quite an old idea. Bacon calls it "sympathy" between two distant minds, sympathy so strong that one communicates with the other without using the recognised channels of the senses. Izaak Walton explains in the same way Dr. Donne's vision, in Paris, of his wife and dead child. "If two lutes are strung to an exact harmony, and one is struck, the other sounds," argues Walton. Two minds may be as harmoniously attuned and communicate each with each. Of course, in the case of the lutes there are actual vibrations, physical facts. But we know nothing of vibrations in the brain which can traverse space to another brain.

Many experiments have been made in consciously transferring thoughts or emotions from one mind to another. These are very liable to be vitiated by bad observation, collusion and other causes. Meanwhile, intercommunication between mind and mind without the aid of the recognised senses--a supposed process of "telepathy"--is a current explanation of the dreams in which knowledge is obtained that exists in the mind of another person, and of the delusion by virtue of which one person sees another who is perhaps dying, or in some other crisis, at a distance. The idea is popular. A poor Highland woman wrote to her son in Glasgow: "Don't be thinking too much of us, or I shall be seeing you some evening in the byre". This is a simple expression of the hypothesis of "telepathy" or "mental telegraphy".

{31} Perhaps among such papers as the Casket Letters, exhibited to the Commission at Westminster, and "tabled" before the Scotch Privy Council.