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The Book of Dreams and Ghosts

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Author Topic: The Book of Dreams and Ghosts  (Read 551 times)
Apparition from Beyond the Veil
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« Reply #15 on: November 24, 2009, 01:12:38 pm »

This theory, that apparitions come in an infinitesimal moment of sleep, while a man is conscious of his surroundings and believes himself to be awake was the current explanation of ghosts in the eighteenth century.  Any educated man who “saw a ghost” or “had a hallucination” called it a “dream,” as Lord Brougham and Lord Lyttelton did.  But, if the death of the person seen coincided with his appearance to them, they illogically argued that, out of the innumerable multitude of dreams, some must coincide, accidentally, with facts.  They strove to forget that though dreams in sleep are universal and countless, “dreams” in waking hours are extremely rare—unique, for instance, in Lord Brougham’s own experience.  Therefore, the odds against chance coincidence are very great.

Dreams only form subjects of good dream-stories when the vision coincides with and adequately represents an unknown event in the past, the present, or the future.  We dream, however vividly, of the murder of Rizzio.  Nobody is surprised at that, the incident being familiar to most people, in history and art.  But, if we dreamed of being present at an unchronicled scene in Queen Mary’s life, and if, after the dream was recorded, a document proving its accuracy should be for the first time recovered, then there is matter for a good dream-story. {8}  Again, we dream of an event not to be naturally guessed or known by us, and our dream (which should be recorded before tidings of the fact arrive) tallies with the news of the event when it comes.  Or, finally, we dream of an event (recording the dream), and that event occurs in the future.  In all these cases the actual occurrence of the unknown event is the only addition to the dream’s usual power of crumpling up time and space.

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