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HISTORIC GHOSTS AND GHOST HUNTERS

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Author Topic: HISTORIC GHOSTS AND GHOST HUNTERS  (Read 2309 times)
Porscha Campbell
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« Reply #75 on: November 15, 2009, 05:08:49 am »

His increasing absorption—absent-mindedness, his friends would call it—his[Pg 68] habit of falling into trances, and his claim to interworld communication, could not fail to excite the surprise of all who had known him as scientist and philosopher. But these vagaries, as people deemed them, met the greater toleration because of the evident fact that they did not dim his intellectual powers and did not interfere with his activities in behalf of the public good. True, in 1747 he resigned his office of assessor of mines in order to have more leisure to prosecute his adventures into the unknown; but as a member of the Swedish Diet he continued to play a prominent part in the affairs of the Kingdom, giving long and profound study to the critical problems of administration, economics, and finance with which the nation's leaders were confronted during the third quarter of the century. So that—bearing in mind the further fact that he was no blatant advocate of his opinions—it seems altogether likely his spiritistic ideas would have gained no great measure of attention, had it not been for a series of singular occurrences that took place between 1759 and 1762.

Toward the end of July in the first of these years, Swedenborg (whose fondness for travel[Pg 69] ceased only with his death) arrived in Gottenburg homeward bound from England, and on the invitation of a friend decided to break his journey by spending a few days in that city. Two hours after his arrival, while attending a small reception given in his honor, he electrified the company by abruptly declaring that at that moment a dangerous fire had broken out at Stockholm, three hundred miles away, and was spreading rapidly. Becoming excited, he rushed from the room, to reënter with the news that the house of one of his friends was in ashes, and that his own house was threatened. Anxious moments passed, while he restlessly paced up and down, in and out. Then, with a cry of joy, he exclaimed, "Thank God the fire is out, the third door from my house!"

Like wild the tidings spread through Gottenburg, and the greatest commotion prevailed. Some were inclined to give credence to Swedenborg's statements; more, who did not know the man, derided him as a sensation monger. But all had to wait with what patience they could, for those were the days before steam engine and telegraph. Forty-eight anxious hours passed. Then letters[Pg 70] were received confirming the philosopher's announcement, and, we are assured, showing that the fire had taken precisely the path described by him, and had stopped where he had indicated.
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