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of the Seven Heavens among Christians, an opinion combated by Origen. See Beckmann's Erfindungen, vol. 3.
CHRONOLOGY.--About this time, in Wiltshire, used to be sung the old celebrated song of the Scholding Old Women of Salisbury Plane.
Hecate. To the various accounts of Spectral Illusions which we have related in these pages, we feel disposed to add a few more which have occurred to our recollection; because the trifling subjects to which they relate, as well as their physical history, enables us to use them as means of dispelling the importance and terror which credulous persons are wont to attach to such apparitions in general as, under the specious names of visions, ghosts, fetches, visitations of Angels or of Devils, warning voices, and other high sounding words, make up, to this day, part of the supernatural creed of the superstitious; and which, within the short space of about a century and a half, were considered to be so much a part of religious belief, that to doubt of them was thought to be heretical, and approaching to atheism. In proof of which, we could cite a hundred authorities from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The subject would only deserve the just ridicule which the author of Hudibras has thrown on it, were it not for the two following considerations :- 1. That the existence of
of persons now living, recognized by the law; and thousands of harmless persons have been put to death on groundless charges sworn before magistrates, for being their agents. 2dly, A physical explanation can be given of Phantoms of the kind above alluded to, which will disarm them of their terrors, and ease the minds of hundreds of nervous persons, who, in particular states of cerebral irritation, see them; but who conceal their malady for a long time, for fear of being thought superstitious. The stories themselves may amuse, and serve for fireside romances at this season; and their further illustration may become matter for the future examination of physiologists, since every thought has its corresponding movement of some fibre or fibres in the brain. The belief in the existence of external things or Objects depends on the action of a cerebral organ, and so does the consciousness of the Subject, that is of ourselves : therefore erroneous action of the brain may cause us to impute an existence to spectra, and thus their obtrusion may be deemed real.
The insane doubt entertained by hypochondriacs about the real existence of the external world, illustrates the dis
eased state, or defective action of the Organ of Individuality or Objectivity: while, as a counterpart to this malady, we may reckon the defective or diseased action of certain fibres of the brain, whose functions certainly exist, but whose seat is not yet discovered, which fibres we may call the Organ of Subjectivity or of the consciousness of ourselves and our perpetual identity. Whether to the defective action of this said part of the brain, or to some want of correspondence between the action of the two hemispheres of the brain, we are to ascribe the following phenomenon, we will not at present pretend to tell; but some persons in a state of nervous weakness and irritation, have thought that they were two, instead of being individual, and have in some instances struggled to get to themselves, as they have termed it: others have expressed themselves, by saying that they felt divided into two parts or persons. As this hallucination is generally a forerunner of, and often immediately precedes death, it has been ascribed by religious persons to an anticipated or commencing separation of Body, Life, and Soul. : To return to Illusions - History furnishes us with numerous stories of Apparitions, which we may ascribe to Images of Spectral Illusion; and this explanation relieves us from the painful necessity of ascribing falsehood to historians, and thus weakening our own and the general interest in their works. Such was the Shade which appeared to Brutus - such the Phantoms recorded by Beaumont, and those of Tasso, Kotter, Dorbicius, Arise Evans, and Bovet-see Covenii Lux è tenebris-such the frequently fancied appearance of Guardian Angels. Sometimes other senses besides sight came into play, and persons thought they felt blows. The most remarkable story, on account of its future consequences, is that of the warning Voice heard by Quarreus, while sleeping with his servant in an old house in France. He thought he heard repeated in the dead of the night the words Oug aposondes ton endon distiguion, which a scholar next day interpreted Our atTOWVTES ενδον duotuxlUV, that is, Non repulsari qudd intus infortunium ; and he immediately quitted the house, and took another lodging: a few days after which the house he quitted fell, and killed its inhabitants.
Ghosts were frequent inhabitants of the old family mansions of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, when, after that period of corruption in morals and licentiousness in religion which overthrew the cheering and hopeful faith of the Catholic church in this country, a puritanical age of superstition succeeded, whose horrors were consummated
in the unhappy days of Charles the First, because the dege, nerate minds of men were then fittest to entertain the dismal phantasms of a sensorium disordered by a peculiar combination of sensuality and despondency. They were less frequent after the shock of the French revolution, because then the philosophy of Voltaire, D'Alembert, and Diderot, had cast a ridicule over every thing which was not the subject of sensible demonstration. In Catholic times spectra were frequent, it must be confessed; but those times had at least the advantage of consistency, every feeling, every superstition, every thought and action of the human mind being then linked in one consistent bond of Union, having one grand object. The Visions of those days were usually pleasing, because the Catholic ritual, service, and exhilarating festivals, refreshed the mind with historical recollections of great events, and inspired it with hopes of future delight.
Impressive Dreams.- Some Dreams, without possessing any thing remarkable in their characters, leave a long and lasting impression. A Lady assured me, that having in her childhood dreamt that she saw an Ass in women's clothes, a great Cloak and a Bonnet on, beating time to a roomful of dancing walking sticks in petticoats—when she was quite a girl. She could never get it out of her head, and frequently burst into a fit of involuntary laughter in a Ball Room in consequence, to the astonishment of the whole assembly.
A common subject of terror in Dreams, is the falling into Pits and Caverns, and reascending immense hills or ladders, without seeming to make any progress.
Poets have invented in dreams verses of ethereal fire, and Musicians have composed pieces of melody and harmony that would have drawn iron tears down the cheek of Pluto. We have also heard of mathematical somnambulists who have got up and solved difficult problems in sleep.
The Rev. B. F. of Boconnoc walked asleep out of his chamber, unlocked the house door, crossed a narrow foot. bridge, and rambled half a mile into a wood, where he awoke, astonished at his situation, and how he came there. Locke mentions two common disorders of imagination strange and hideous faces passing before us by night as we lie abed, and the involuntary jingling of certain verses and rhymes in our heads. The remarkable coincidences between impressive Dreams as well as Visions, and the events which have followed, are too numerous and well known to need description.
Latent Insanity. One of the most delicate and interesting subjects in medicine is latent lunacy: and it is a disorder difficult to be defined - it being as difficult almost to say who is not mad, as who is. The seeing of Spectra, and other illusive Phantoms, and the entertaining of erroneous ideas, cannot be said to constitute insanity, which, in reality, only supervenes in proportion as the patient gives credit to the real existence of some illusion, in spite of philosophy and sound reason. There are all shades and sorts of insanity from mere errors of the imagination, strange desires connected with the passions, and whimsicalities of thought, up to the more determinate forms of furious madness. But our object here, is to confine our remarks to illusive perceptions or Images of Spectral Illusion, so often seen by mad, and not unfrequently by sound people : and to define it properly we should say—that the sane man reasons on, compares, and acknowledges the illusion, while the madman obstinately maintains that the phantoms of his disordered brain are real. He converses with Angels, hears the Devil roar around him, and at length believes himself to be something that he is not. There is an admirable illustration of partial Insanity in the character which Cervantes has given to Don Quixote.
December 30. St. Sabinus Bishop &c. Martyr. St. Anysia Martyr. St. Maximus Confessor.
O rises at vill. 6'. and sets at mu. 54'. CHRONOLOGY.—In 1691 the Hon. Robert Boyle died; a man fond of science, the inventor of the air pump, and the founder of Boyle's Lecture, which has given rise to so many sets of lectures or sermons.
URANIA.-The Southern Heavens are very beautiful at this time, 1823; for, in addition to the fixed Stars of the Bull with Aldebaran and the Hyades, the Pleiades, the brilliant Sirius, Procyon, and the Stars of Gemini and Cancer, we have the Planets Saturn and Jupiter, and early in the morning Venus and the Comet.
While looking into the heavens, we could not fail of being struck with the quantity of greenish yellow which appeared in the light of Jupiter, when compared with the brilliant wbite of Sirius and Procyon, and the red of Betalgeus and Aldebaran, considering how much less green the prismatic spectrum of Jupiter presents than that of the white Stars in general, particularly the dull ones.
See our article on the colour of Starlight, p. 297.
CHRONOLOGY.TABLE OF DYNASTIES AND SOVEREIGNS OF
FROM THE EARLIEST TIME.
Celtic Dynasty. Brutus to Tudorbelin, including a period of 1094 years, and a succession
of 69 Potentates; whose origin may be dated in 1149 before Christ, or 2973 years since.
Romun Dynasty. Julius Caesar to Honorius, including from 55 B.C. to the year of our Lord 455, and a succession of 47 Potentates. This Dynasty began 1879
Saron Heptarchy. Hengist to Egbert, including the British Princes from Vortigern to Caridic,
in all 117 Potentates, holding contemporary Sovereignties, from the year of Christ 455 to 800: began 1369 years since.
1066 1087 1100 1135 1154 1189 1199 1216 1272
20 11 12 11 35 - 4 18 11 34 8
689 670 6S5 695 608 559 517