Those who do not accept the incorporeal and invisible world believe to
be able to explain everything by the word hallucination. The definition
of the word is well known: error, illusion of a person that wrongly believes
to have perceptions that are not there (Academic – from the Latin,
hallucinari is the verb err, derivative of lucem). The scholars, as far as we
know, have not given their definition yet. Optics and Physiology don’t
seem to keep any secret from them. How is it that they have not yet explained
the source of images that people see under certain conditions?
Real or not, the hallucinated person sees something. Will they say that the
hallucinated believes to be seeing something but in fact the person sees
nothing? That is unlikely. You can say, if you wish, that it is a fantastic
image. Be it as it may, but what is the source of that image? How does it
form? How does it impress the brain? Nothing is said about that.
For sure when the person believes to be seeing the devil with its horns
and claws, and the flames of hell and fantastic animals that do not exist,
a struggle between the Moon and the Sun, it is obvious that there is no
reality there. However, if the imagination is playing games how can that
person describe those things as if they were present? That person sees an
image, some sort of fantasy. Where would that image reflect, on which mirror? What is the cause of that image, its color and movement? That
is what we have been unsuccessfully trying to find out in our sciences.
Since scholars want to explain everything through matter and its laws,
they must then provide a theory of hallucination using those laws. Good
or bad it will always be an explanation.
Facts demonstrate that there are true apparitions and that only the Spiritist
Doctrine explains perfectly well and that can only be denied by those
who admit nothing beyond the visible world. However, are there hallucinations
besides the real visions, using the true meaning of that word?
There is no doubt about it. The essence here is to be able to separate the
characters that may distinguish them from the real apparitions. What is
their source? The spirits give us a hint through an explanation that seems
complete to us in an answer given to the following question:
Q – Can we consider as apparitions, the figures and images that frequently
occur during our initial sleep or simply with our eyes closed? – A.
Since the senses are benumbed the spirit separates and may see what it could
not see with the eyes of the body, near or far away. Those images are sometimes
visions but they can also be impressions left in the brain by the sight of certain
objects whose traces are kept, in the same way that the brain keeps the memory
of sounds. The freed spirit sees in its own physical brain those impressions
that remained there, like in a photographic film. Their variety and mixture
form bizarre and fleeting shapes that disappear almost immediately, despite
the effort that one may employ to retain them. It is a similar cause that must
be attributed to some fantastic apparitions that are fictitious, and are often
produced during illnesses.
It is known that memory is the result of all impressions kept by the brain.
Through which singular type of phenomenon can such a variety and numerous
amounts of impressions exist that they don’t get mixed up? That
is an impenetrable mystery but not any less strange than the sound waves
which cross in the air and remain no less distinct because of that. In a
healthy and well-organized brain those impressions are clear and accurate.
Under less favorable conditions they disappear or merge, like the imprint
of a stamped symbol onto a solid substance versus that to a fluid substance;
hence, the loss of memory or the confusion of ideas. This seems
less extraordinary if one admits there being a special destination to each
part of the brain, even to each of the brain’s fibers like in Phrenology. The
images that come to the brain through the eyes leave an impression that
resembles a picture, as if we had it before our eyes. The same happens with
the impressions of sounds, smells, tastes, words, numbers etc. According
to the fibers that establish the mechanism of transmission of those impressions
that are able to be retained, the person then has the memory of
shapes, colors, music, numbers, languages, etc. When we imagine a situation
that we have already seen it is only a question of memory because
in reality we are not seeing that. In a certain state of liberation, however,
the soul sees and finds those images in the brain, particularly those that
have left a stronger impression, according to the preoccupations and the
disposition of the mind; it will then find the imprint of religious scenes,
diabolic, dramatic or other impressions that were seen on different occasions,
like from paintings, an event, readings from a book, which also
leave impressions. Thus, the soul really sees something: it is the photographic
image in the brain.
In the normal state those images are fleeting and ephemeral, because all
sections of the brain work freely. But in the state of illness the brain is
weakened; the organs are not in a state of equilibrium; some may keep
their activities while others may be somewhat paralyzed. That is the reason
why some images cannot be erased as in the normal state when facing
life’s concerns. That is the true hallucination, the first source of fixated
ideas, like the exclusive memory of an impression. Hallucination is a retrospective
vision of an impression left in the brain.
As you can see, we find the cause of this apparent anomaly in an entirely
physiological and well-known law, as in the cerebral impressions, but it was necessary to consider the intervention of the soul with its distinct
faculties from the body. Now, if the materialists cannot give a rational
solution to this phenomenon yet it is for their denial of the soul, inexplicable
in pure materialism. They will then say that our explanation is
not good because we utilized the intervention of an unacceptable agent.
Unaccepted by whom? By them, but accepted by the vast majority since
there have been people on Earth, and the denial of a few does not make
Is our explanation any good? We provide it for what it is worth considering
in the absence of others and it may be considered hypothetical
while we wait for a better one. At least it has the advantage of providing
hallucination with a basis, a foundation, a body and a reason to be,
whereas when the Physiologists pronounced their sacramental words of
over-excitation, and heightened effects of imagination, they said nothing
or did not say everything considering that they did not observe every stage
of the phenomenon.
Imagination also plays a role that needs to be distinguished from hallucination
as such, although sometimes these two may be combined.
Imagination lends inexistent forms to objects like a given shape on the
Moon or animals in the clouds. It is well-known that objects may take
on strange appearances in the dark when we are unable to distinguish all
the parts, and the contours are not clearly shown. How many times has
the most composed person not been surprised by clothing hanging in the
closet or a vague reflection of light that gave off the impression of a human
form? If there is fear or even an exaggeration of doubt, imagination
will do the rest. We understand from this, that imagination can alter the
reality of the images seen in the hallucination, yielding fantastic shapes
True apparitions have certain characteristics that an experienced observer
would not confuse with the effects that have just been mentioned. Since
they can occur in broad daylight, one needs to be suspicious about images
that are seen at night for fear of being a victim of optical illusions.
In fact apparitions, like all spiritist phenomena, present intelligent
characteristics and that is the best proof of their reality. Every apparition
that does not provide an intelligent sign may definitely be put aside as an
illusion. Materialistic persons may see here that we provide them with a
huge head start.
Will our explanation provided so far cover every single case of vision? No,
naturally it will not. From our side we defy any Physiologist to provide
a single explanation, based on their exclusive point of view and one that
can resolve them all. Then, if all theories of hallucination are insufficient
to explain every event it means that there is something different from
hallucination per se and that something has its explanation only with the
Spiritist Doctrine that encompasses them all.
In fact, if we carefully analyze some frequent cases of common visions
we will see that it is impossible to assign them with the same origin as in
hallucination. Looking for a plausible explanation to the latter we wanted
to clearly show how they differ from that of an apparition. In both cases
it is always the soul that sees and not the eyes. In the first case the soul
sees an image that is interior, in the second it is something external, if we
can say so.
When a person that we were not at all thinking about and that we consider
to be healthy, spontaneously shows up in our wake state and comes
to us to reveal details of their death that is taking place as we speak, a fact
that had not been reported yet, this cannot be attributed to any effect of
memory or concern from our part.
Even if we were worried about that person one still needs to explain the
coincidence of the apparition with the time of death, and particularly
the circumstances of death, something that was not known and cannot be predicted. Therefore, it is okay to classify fantastic visions as hallucinations
that have nothing to do with reality; but that is not the case
with those that positively reveal current affairs, confirmed by the facts.
It would be absurd to explain both with the same causes and even more
absurd to attribute them to chance, the last resort used by those who have
nothing to say. It is only Spiritism that can provide the reason for their
occurrence by the double theory of the perispirit and the emancipation of
the soul. However, how can one believe in the emancipation of the soul if
one does not accept that they have a soul?
By not taking the spiritual element into account, science is powerless to
solve a large number of phenomena, falling into the absurdity of trying
to explain everything with the material element only. It is especially in
Medicine that the spiritual element represents an important role. When
doctors take this into account they will make less mistakes as they do
now. They will then be guided by a ray of light that will guide them
more safely in the diagnostic and treatment of diseases. That is what can
be observed now in the practice of the spiritist doctors whose numbers
grow daily. Since hallucination has a physiological cause we are certain
that they will find means of treating it. We know a doctor that is close
to discover things of the highest importance because he has learned from
Spiritism the true causes of certain diseases and those that are resistant to
the materialistic Medicine.
The phenomenon of apparition may occur in two different ways: it is
either the spirit that comes to see the person that has the vision or it is the
spirit of that person that travels to find the other. The two examples given
below seem to characterize both cases well.
A colleague of ours told us not long ago that an officer friend of his was
in Africa and suddenly had the vision of a funeral before his eyes. The
funeral was of one of his uncles who resided in France and that he had
not seen for a long time. He saw the whole procession from the moment it
left the mortuary chapel and arrived at the Church and from there to the
cemetery. He even noticed several details that he could not have any idea
about. At that time he was awake but in a certain state of absorption that
lasted until the moment when everything disappeared. Still shocked by
those visions, he sent a letter to France requesting news about his uncle,
only to learn that he had died suddenly and was buried on the exact day
and time when he had the vision and with all the details that he had seen.
In this case, it is evident that it was not the funeral procession that came
to meet him but that he had gone to meet the procession, whereas the
perception occurred through his second sight.
We know a doctor, Mr. Felix Mallo, who once treated a young lady. He
thought that the Parisian air was not doing her any good and advised her
to spend some time in the countryside with her family, which is what
she did. Six months had passed since he had heard from her and he was
no longer giving any thought to the case when one evening, at around
10pm he heard from his bedroom, someone knocking on his office door.
Thinking that it could be someone in need of urgent care, he invited the
person in. He was caught by great surprise when he saw before him the
young lady mentioned above, with a pale face, dressed in the same manner
as when he first met her, she then calmly said: ‘Mr. Mallo, I come to
tell you that I died;’ and then she disappears. He was positive that he was
awake and that there was no one else in the office. Immediately he sought
news about her and learned that the young lady had passed on the very
evening that she appeared to him. In this case it was the spirit of the lady
that came to meet him. Now, the disbelievers may say that the doctor
could be concerned with the health of his patient and that there is nothing
special in the fact that he could have predicted her death. Agreed, but,
they must also explain the coincidence between the time of her apparition
and her actual death considering that the doctor had no news about her.
Even assuming that he had believed the impossibility of a cure, how could
he predict that she would die on a given day at a given time? We must add
that this is not a man prone to a vivid imagination.
Here is another fact that is none the less characteristic and that could not
be attributed to any kind of prediction. One of our associates, a Navy officer,
was working offshore when he saw his father and his brother to be
thrown under a carriage. The father died and the brother was unharmed.
Fifteen days had passed when he came ashore in France, where friends
who tried to prepare him for some bad news greeted him. ‘You don’t need
to worry’, he said, ‘I know what you are about to say. My father died. I’ve
already known this for fifteen days.’
In fact his father and his brother were driving a carriage down Les Champs
Élysées in Paris when one of the horses was scared by something and broke
the carriage; his father died and his brother had slight injuries only. These
are positive and current facts and one cannot say that these are medieval
legends. If each one of us gathers up their memories, recollections, you
will see that these facts are more common than thought. Our question
is this: do these facts have any characteristics of hallucination? We also
fairly ask the materialists to give an explanation regarding the facts in the
article that follows.