Allan Kardec

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The visions of Mr. O…

The following article was extracted from the Spiritual Review, London April 1861 issue:

“Mr. O… was a kind man from Gloucestershire who had never had any visions up until the day he moved to P…, on October 3rd, 1859. About fifteen days after his arrival he began to have the visions at night. It started just as rays of light that illuminated his bedroom, passing through the window. He did not bother with them, thinking that they were produced by the guard’s lantern or from lightning. One evening, he was staring at a wall when he saw the formation of a flower followed by several stars. On another evening, he saw two magnificent angels playing a trumpet in the mysterious light. On that night he had gone to bed earlier than usual since he was not feeling very well. As Mr. O lay in bed, he experienced a gentle sensation in the presence of the two angels, a feeling that persisted even after they had gone. The same light appeared the following week, but in the shape of a boy embracing a small cat. He also saw several other figures but they appeared too fuzzy to be distinguished. In March, he saw the profile of a lady surrounded by a radiant circle. He then recognized it was his mother and cried with joy: ‘Mom, my mother!’ but the vision soon vanished. In the same evening he saw a beautiful and welldressed lady wearing a hat. A couple of days later he saw a small dog and a boy. He then saw a light form that resembled a window and whose border was not well defined, and that repeated four times, the first 3 visions lasted about 30 seconds each. Mr. O… took this seriously and tried to decipher the meaning of the three visions pondering if it meant that he had only three years or three months to live. The light came back once more. He stood up and it then disappeared in about a minute or so. On April 3rd he saw a bright sign producing the effect of a luminous slit and inside the bedroom he saw the face of a man, from whom he could only distinguish the forehead, the eyes and the nose. The eyes were very big and salient, staring at him and then disappearing. He also had the following visions

April 4th – Face and torso of a lady, smiling at two children that were hugging each other. Later Mr. O… saw the head that he recognized by the hair and forehead as being one of his recently deceased friends.

July 27th – A hand, pointing downwards. It first appeared on the wall like a florescent light, only gradually taking the form of a hand. He then saw the head of an elderly man with the hand and a little bird of light grey feathers. The man stared at him solemnly and then disappeared; he felt slightly afraid but at the same time, a pleasant warmth. On that occasion he also saw a roll of paper with some hieroglyphs.

December 12th – A bird feeding its chicks in its nest.

December 13th – Two leopard heads.

December 15th – A strong knock was heard by Ms. S… in her bedroom, waking Mr. O… up.

December 16th – Rings of a bell, also heard by Ms. S… and an angel with a radiant child that transforms into flowers. Also a stag deer head with large antlers.

December 18th – A few faces and a couple of pigeons.

December 20th – Several faces of men, women and children.

January 1st – A large ship followed by a child’s head that moves from behind the ship.

January 3rd – A cherub and a child.

“One evening he saw a picture, like a painting showing a magnificent portrayal. It was as a clearing in the darkness; he saw fields, trees… a wandering man and a cow. The scenery was illuminated by the most beautiful sunshine. Something common to all the sightings is that they generally illuminate the room, showing the furniture as in broad daylight. When the visions stop, it all goes back to darkness. Mr. O… had many more visions that were not annotated.”

This seems to be enough for our assessment and we don’t believe that any well-informed person regarding the causes and nature of the spiritist phenomena may consider them true apparitions. We refer the reader to the first article of this issue when we try to establish the characteristic signs of hallucination, thus understanding the analogy between that and the images described here, considering the large number of animals in the current visions. It is well-known that there are no wandering spirits of animals in the invisible world and hence there could not be any apparition of animals, except in cases in which the spirit forces that type of appearance with a given objective; even in that case it would only be the appearance and not the spirit of this or that animal. There is no discussion that apparitions do exist but one must be careful and not to think that they are seen all over the place and perhaps mistakenly be taken for some sort of tricks played by an easily impressed imagination or the retrospective vision of some images impressed in the brain. The same thoroughness with which Mr. O… reveals certain irrelevant particularities of his visions is an indication of major concerns on his mind. In short, we find nothing in Mr. O’s… visions that identify true apparitions and we even believe that it is very proper to mention such cases that are not followed by adequate comments and prudent reservations since these are the ones that provide ammunition to criticism.

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