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
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