The Book of Dreams and Ghosts eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 292 pages of information about The Book of Dreams and Ghosts.

The Dumfries and Galloway Courier I cannot find!  It is not in the British Museum.


Transition from Dreams to Waking Hallucinations.  Popular Scepticism about the Existence of Hallucinations in the Sane.  Evidence of Mr. Francis Galton, F.R.S.  Scientific Disbelief in ordinary Mental Imagery.  Scientific Men who do not see in “the Mind’s Eye”.  Ordinary People who do.  Frequency of Waking Hallucinations among Mr. Gallon’s friends.  Kept Private till asked for by Science.  Causes of such Hallucinations unknown.  Story of the Diplomatist.  Voluntary or Induced Hallucinations.  Crystal Gazing.  Its Universality.  Experience of George Sand.  Nature of such Visions.  Examples.  Novelists.  Crystal Visions only “Ghostly” when Veracious.  Modern Examples.  Under the Lamp.  The Cow with the Bell Historical Example.  Prophetic Crystal Vision.  St. Simon The Regent d’Orleans.  The Deathbed of Louis XIV.  References for other Cases of Crystal Visions.

From dreams, in sleep or swoon, of a character difficult to believe in we pass by way of “hallucinations” to ghosts.  Everybody is ready to admit that dreams do really occur, because almost everybody has dreamed.  But everybody is not so ready to admit that sane and sensible men and women can have hallucinations, just because everybody has not been hallucinated.

On this point Mr. Francis Galton, in his Inquiries into Human Faculty (1833), is very instructive.  Mr. Galton drew up a short catechism, asking people how clearly or how dimly they saw things “in their mind’s eye”.

“Think of your breakfast-table,” he said; “is your mental picture of it as clearly illuminated and as complete as your actual view of the scene?” Mr. Galton began by questioning friends in the scientific world, F.R.S.’s and other savants.  “The earliest results of my inquiry amazed me. . . .  The great majority of the men of science to whom I first applied, protested that mental imagery was unknown to them, and they looked on me as fanciful and fantastic in supposing that the words ‘mental imagery’ really expressed what I believed everybody supposed them to mean.”  One gentleman wrote:  “It is only by a figure of speech that I can describe my recollection of a scene as a ‘mental image’ which I can ‘see’ with ‘my mind’s eye’.  I do not see it,” so he seems to have supposed that nobody else did.

When he made inquiries in general society, Mr. Galton found plenty of people who “saw” mental imagery with every degree of brilliance or dimness, from “quite comparable to the real object” to “I recollect the table, but do not see it”—­my own position.

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The Book of Dreams and Ghosts from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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