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vol. 3, p. 234
from Adyar archives of the International Theosophical Society
vol. 3 (1875-1878)


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Apparitions Due to Physiological Causes

Apparitions Due to Physiological Causes.—A clergyman now deceased, and whose name it is not necessary to mention, but who will be identified by a large number of people when it is said that he had been an officer in the army prior to his ordination, and that he held in succession incumbencies in Bath and in Coventry, was accustomed to relate a curious experience of his own. He was walking in an unfrequented road near Bath, when he saw in front of him a party of big boys, who were ill-treating a little boy; and, although of portly figure and past middle age, he hurried forward to the rescue. Between him and the boys a narrow lane entered the road on his right hand, and just before he reached this lane a little old woman, in a black bonnet and red cloak, and carrying a crutch-handled stick, seemed to emerge from it, with her back towards him, and to hasten on in front of him, as if bent upon the same errand with himself. He overtook her, and when close to her he fancied that she was unreal, or shadowy, and he walked through her, so to speak, without experiencing any contact or resistance. He turned round, saw her stand facing him, and walked through her again, on which she vanished. Being a sensible man, he left the boys to their own devices, strolled slowly home, and sent for the doctor. A very eminent hospital surgeon in London was occasionally haunted by an apparition for nearly fifteen years; and in his case the connection between the spectre and the state of the circulation of the brain was proved by the circumstance that the figure always became visible when a position was assumed which interfered with the free flow of blood through the great vessels of the neck.—The Times, April 19th.

The Age of Existing Races of Men



What change with happiest thrill my pulse may start,
Of all the unnumbered changes that I view
In these brief-lingering moods of heaven's deep heart,
These tireless pilgrims of the buoyant blue ?

Is it when drowsily through halcyon air
They float in pillowy fleeces chaste as snow ?
Or when against the horizon they loom fair,
In towering Alpine peak and pale plateau ?

Is it when, shadowy as the vaguest dream,
Their pearly gossamers film the skies afar?
Or when like isles in quiet seas they gleam,
Purple below the tremulous evening star?

Or yet when beauteous dawn, with rosy speed,
Sunders their drapery where it darkly falls ?
Or when from earth to sunset lands they lead,
As stately stairways to imperial halls ?

Or when, like scales on fabulous dolphins' backs,
They fleck with loveliest color evening gray ?
Or when they move in grim tempestuous wracks,
And through them javelins of hot lightning play ?

Ah, no! whatever of joy such changes wake,
That change above all others my soul sets,
Of when, beneath some full-orbed moon, they make
On sapphire calms their ghostly silhouettes.

For then, as through this dubious gloom they stray,
Spirits they seem, with garments fluttering white,
Whose noiseless feet, in some miraculous way,
Walk the great awful emptiness of the night.


Editor's notes

  1. image by unknown author. Elf on flower
  2. image by unknown author. Lotus in ornament
  3. image by unknown author. ornament
  4. image by unknown author. Baby and Clock
  5. image by unknown author. Lotus in ornament
  6. Apparitions Due to Physiological Causes by unknown author, London Spiritualist, No. 195, May 19, 1876, p. 235
  7. The Age of Existing Races of Men by unknown author
  8. Clouds by Fawcett, Edgar
  9. image by unknown author. Lotus in ornament