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neighbourhood. The ghost was real and significant enough.
But here is a still better instance from a trustworthy German work, P. Kieffer's Archives. The narrative was communicated by Herr Ehrman of Strasburg, sonin-law of the well-known writer Pfeffel, from whom he received it.
The ghost-seer was a young candidate for orders, eighteen years of age, of the name of Billing. He was known to have very excitable nerves, had already experienced sensorial illusions, and was particularly sensitive to the presence of human remains, which made him tremble and shudder in all his limbs. Pfeffel, being blind, was accustomed to take the arm of this young man, and they walked thus together in Pfeffel's garden, near Colmar. At one spot in the garden, Pfeffel remarked that his companion's arm gave a sudden start, as if he had received an electric shock. Being asked what was the matter, Billing replied, “Nothing." But on their going over the same spot again, the same effect recurred. The young man being pressed to explain the cause of his disturbance, avowed that it arose from a peculiar sensation which he always experienced when in the vicinity of human remains; that it was his impression a human body must be interred there; but that, if Pfeffel would return with him at night, he should be able to speak with greater confidence. Accordingly they went together to the garden when it was dark, and as they approached the spot, Billing observed a faint light over it. At ten paces from it he stopped, and would go no farther, for he saw hovering over it, or self-supported in the air—its feet only a few inches from the ground—a luminous female figure, nearly five feet high, with the right arm folded on her breast, the left hanging by her side. When Pfeffel himself stepped forward and placed himself about where the
figure appeared to be, Billing said it was now on his right hand, now on his left, now behind, now before him. When Pfeffel cut the air with his stick, it seemed as if it went through and divided a light flame, which then united again. The visit, repeated the next night, in company with some of Pfeffel's relatives, gave the same result. They did not see anything. Pfeffel then, unknown to the ghost-seer, had the ground dug up, when there was found at some depth, beneath a layer of quicklime, a human body in progress of decomposition. The remains were removed, and the earth carefully replaced. Three days afterwards, Billing, from whom this whole proceeding had been kept concealed, was again led to the spot by Pfeffel. He walked over it now without experiencing any unusual impression whatever.
The explanation of this mysterious phenomenon has been but recently arrived at. The discoveries of Von Reichenbach, of which I gave a sketch in the first letter, announce the principle on which it depends. Among these discoveries is the fact that the Od force makes itself visible as a dim light or waving flame to highly sensitive subjects. Such persons, in the dark, see flames issuing from the poles of magnets and crystals. Von Reichenbach eventually discovered that the Od force is distributed universally, although in varying quantities. But among the causes which excite its evolution, one of the most active is chemical decomposition. Then, happening to remember Pfeffel's ghost story, it occurred to Von Reichenbach that what Billing had seen was possibly Od light. To test the soundness of this conjecture, Miss Reichel, a very sensitive subject, was taken at night to an extensive burying-ground near Vienna, where interments take place daily, and there are many thousand graves. The result did not disappoint Von Reichenbach's expectations. Whithersoever Miss Reichel turned her eyes, she saw masses of flame. This appearance manifested itself most about recent graves. About very old ones it was not visible. She described the appearance as resembling less bright flame than fiery vapour, something between fog and flame. In several instances the light extended four feet in height above the ground. When Miss Reichel placed her hand on it, it seemed to her involved in a cloud of fire. When she stood in it, it came up to her throat. She expressed no alarm, being accustomed to the appearance.
The mystery has thus been entirely solved; for it is evident that the spectral character of the luminous apparition, in the two instances which I have narrated, had been supplied by the seers themselves. So the superstition has vanished; but, as usual, it veiled a truth.
TRUE GHOSTS.— The apparitions themselves always sensorial illusions
-The truth of their communications accounted for-Zschokke's seer-gift described, to show the possibility of direct mental communication-Second-sight—The true relation of the mind to the living body.
The worst of a true ghost is, that, to be sure of his genuineness—that is, of his veracity—one must wait the event. He is distinguished by no sensible and positive characteristics from the commoner herd. There is nothing in his outward appearance to raise him in your opinion above a fetch. But even this fact is not barren. His dress, it is in the ordinary mode of the time, in nothing overdone. To be dressed thus does credit to his taste, as to be dressed at all evinces his sense of propriety ; but alas! the same elements convict him of objective unreality. Whence come that aërial coat and waistcoat, whence those visionary trousers ?-alas! they can only have issued from the wardrobe in the seer's fancy. And, like his dress, the wearer is imaginary, a mere sensorial illusion, without a shadow of externality; he is not more substantial than a dream.
But dreams have differences of quality no less than ghosts. All do not come through the ivory gate. Some are true and significant enough. See, there glides one skulking assassin-like into the shade,-he not long since
killed his man; “Hilloa, ill-favoured Dream! come hither and give an account of yourself.” (Enter Dream.)
A Scottish gentleman and his wife were travelling four or five years ago in Switzerland. There travelled with them a third party, an intimate friend, a lady, who some time before had been the object of a deep attachment on the part of a foreigner, a Frenchman. Well, she would have nothing to say to him on the topic uppermost in his mind, but she gave him a good deal of serious advice, which she probably thought he wanted; and she ultimately promoted, or was a cognisant party to, his union with a lady, whom she likewise knew. The so-married couple were now in America ; and the lady occasionally heard from them, and had every reason to believe they were both in perfect health. One morning, on their meeting at breakfast, she told her companions that she had had a very impressive dream the night before, which had recurred twice. The scene was a room in which lay a coffin ; near to it stood her ex-lover in a luminous transfigured resplendent state; his wife was by, looking much as usual. The dream had caused the lady some misgivings, but her companions exhorted her to view it as a trick of her fancy, and she was half persuaded so to do. The dream, however, was right notwithstanding. In process of time, letters arrived announcing the death, after a short illness, of the French gentleman, within the twenty-four hours in which the vision appeared. (Sensation—applause, followed by cries of Shame; the Dream, hurrying away, is hurt by the horn of the gate.)
It would be difficult to persuade the lady who dreamed this dream that there was no connection between it and the event it foreshadowed in her mind beyond the accidental coincidence of time. Nevertheless, to this conclusion an indifferent auditor would probably come; and