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The Phantom World - or, The philosophy of spirits, apparitions, &c, &c.
by Augustin Calmet
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So says Monsieur de Tournefort.

Footnotes:

[517] This took place nearly a hundred and fifty years ago.



CHAPTER XXXIII.

HAS THE DEMON POWER TO CAUSE ANY ONE TO DIE AND THEN TO RESTORE THE DEAD TO LIFE?

Supposing the principle which we established as indubitable at the commencement of this dissertation—that God alone is the sovereign arbitrator of life and death; that he alone can give life to men, and restore it to them after he has taken it from them—the question that we here propose appears unseasonable and absolutely frivolous, since it concerns a supposition notoriously impossible.

Nevertheless, as some learned men have believed that the demon has power to restore life, and to preserve from corruption, for a time, certain bodies which he makes use of to delude mankind and frighten them, as it happens with the ghosts of Hungary, we shall treat of it in this place, and relate a remarkable instance furnished by Monsieur Nicholas Remy, procureur-general of Lorraine, and which occurred in his own time;[518] that is to say, in 1581, at Dalhem, a village situated between the Moselle and the Sare. A goatherd of this village, named Pierron, a married man and father of a boy, conceived a violent passion for a girl of the village. One day, when his thoughts were occupied with this young girl, she appeared to him in the fields, or the demon in her likeness. Pierron declared his love to her; she promised to reply to it on condition that he would give himself up to her, and obey her in all things. Pierron consented to this, and consummated his abominable passion with this spectre. Some time afterwards, Abrahel, which was the name assumed by the demon, asked of him as a pledge of his love, that he would sacrifice to her his only son, and gave him an apple for this boy to eat, who, on tasting it, fell down dead. The father and mother, in despair at this fatal and to both unexpected accident, uttered lamentations, and were inconsolable.

Abrahel appeared again to the goatherd, and promised to restore the child to life if the father would ask this favor of him by paying him the kind of adoration due only to God. The peasant knelt down, worshiped Abrahel, and immediately the boy began to revive. He opened his eyes; they warmed him, chafed his limbs, and at last he began to walk and to speak. He was the same as before, only thinner, paler, and more languid; his eyes heavy and sunken, his movements slower and less free, his mind duller and more stupid. At the end of a year, the demon that had animated him quitted him with a great noise; the youth fell backwards, and his body, which was foetid and stunk insupportably, was dragged with a hook out of his father's house, and buried in a field without any ceremony.

This event was reported at Nancy, and examined into by the magistrates, who informed themselves exactly of the circumstance, heard the witnesses, and found that the thing was such as has been related. For the rest, the story does not say how the peasant was punished, nor whether he was so at all. Perhaps his crime with the demon could not be proved; to that there was probably no witness. In regard to the death of his son, it was difficult to prove that he was the cause of it.

Procopius, in his secret history of the Emperor Justinian, seriously asserts that he is persuaded, as well as several other persons, that that emperor was a demon incarnate. He says the same thing of the Empress Theodora his wife. Josephus, the Jewish historian, says that the souls of the wicked enter the bodies of the possessed, whom they torment, and cause to act and speak.

We see by St. Chrysostom that in his time many Christians believed that the spirits of persons who died a violent death were changed into demons, and that the magicians made use of the spirit of a child they had killed for their magical operations, and to discover the future. St. Philastrius places among heretics those persons who believed that the souls of worthless men were changed into demons.

According to the system of these authors, the demon might have entered into the body of the child of the shepherd Pierron, moved it and maintained it in a kind of life whilst his body was uncorrupted and the organs underanged; it was not the soul of the boy which animated it, but the demon which replaced his spirit.

Philo believed that as there are good and bad angels, there are also good and bad souls or spirits, and that the souls which descend into the bodies bring to them their own good or bad qualities.

We see by the Gospel that the Jews of the time of our Saviour believed that one man could be animated by several souls. Herod imagined that the spirit of John the Baptist, whom he had beheaded, had entered into Jesus Christ,[519] and worked miracles in him. Others fancied that Jesus Christ was animated by the spirit of Elias,[520] or of Jeremiah, or some other of the ancient prophets.

Footnotes:

[518] Art. ii. p. 14.

[519] Mark vi. 16, 17.

[520] Matt. xvi. 14.



CHAPTER XXXIV.

EXAMINATION OF THE OPINION WHICH CONCLUDES THAT THE DEMON CAN RESTORE MOTION TO A DEAD BODY.

We cannot approve these opinions of Jews which we have just shown. They are contrary to our holy religion, and to the dogmas of our schools. But we believe that the spirit which once inspired Elijah, for instance, rested on Elisha, his disciple; and that the Holy Spirit which inspired the first animated the second also, and even St. John the Baptist, who, according to the words of Jesus Christ, came in the power of Elijah to prepare a highway for the Messiah. Thus, in the prayers of the Church, we pray to God to fill his faithful servants with the spirit of the saints, and to inspire them with a love for that which they loved, and a detestation of that which they hated.

That the demon, and even a good angel by the permission or commission of God, can take away the life of a man appears indubitable. The angel which appeared to Zipporah,[521] as Moses was returning from Midian to Egypt, and threatened to slay his two sons because they were not circumcised; as well as the one who slew the first-born of the Egyptians,[522] and the one who is termed in Scripture the Destroying Angel, and who slew the Hebrew murmurers in the wilderness;[523] and the angel who was near slaying Balaam and his ass;[524] the angel who killed the soldiers of Sennacherib, he who smote the first seven husbands of Sara, the daughter of Raguel;[525] and, finally, the one with whom the Psalmist menaces his enemies, all are instances in proof of this.[526]

Does not St. Paul, speaking to the Corinthians of those who took the Communion unworthily,[527] say that the demon occasioned them dangerous maladies, of which many died? Will it be believed that those whom the same Apostle delivered over to Satan[528] suffered nothing bodily; and that Judas, having received from the Son of God a bit of bread dipped in the dish,[529] and Satan having entered into him, that bad spirit did not disturb his reason, his imagination, and his heart, until at last he led him to destroy himself, and to hang himself in despair?

We may believe that all these angels were evil angels, although it cannot be denied that God employs sometimes the good angels also to exercise his vengeance against the wicked, as well as to chastise, correct, and punish those to whom God desires to be merciful; as he sends his Prophets to announce good and bad tidings, to threaten punishment, and excite to repentance.

But nowhere do we read that either the good or the evil angels have of their own authority alone either given life to any person or restored it. This power is reserved to God alone.[530] The demon, according to the Gospel,[531] in the last days, and before the last Judgment, will perform, either by his own power or that of Antichrist and his subordinates, such wonders as would, were it possible, lead the elect themselves into error. From the time of Jesus Christ and his Apostles, Satan raised up false Christs and false Apostles, who performed many seeming miracles, and even resuscitated the dead. At least, it was maintained that they had resuscitated some: St. Clement of Alexandria and Hegesippus make mention of a few resurrections operated by Simon the magician;[532] it is also said that Apollonius of Thyana brought to life a girl they were carrying to be buried. If we may believe Apuleius,[533] Asclepiades, meeting a funeral convoy, resuscitated the body they were carrying to the pile. It is asserted that AEsculapius restored to life Hippolytus, the son of Theseus; also Glaucus, the son of Minos, and Campanes, killed at the assault of Thebes, and Admetus, King of Phera in Thessaly. Elian[534] attests that the same AEsculapius joined on again the head of a woman to her corpse, and restored her to life.

But if we possessed the certainty of all these events which we have just cited—I mean to say, were they attested by ocular witnesses, well-informed and disinterested, which is not the case—we ought to know the circumstances attending these events, and then we should be better able to dispute or assent to them. For there is every appearance that the dead people resuscitated by AEsculapius were only persons who were dangerously ill, and restored to health by that skillful physician. The girl revived by Apollonius of Thyana was not really dead; even those who were carrying her to the funeral pile had their doubts if she were deceased. What is said of Simon the magician is anything but certain; and even if that impostor by his magical secrets could have performed some wonders on dead persons, it should be imputed to his delusions and to some artifice, which may have substituted living bodies or phantoms for the dead bodies which he boasted of having recalled to life. In a word, we hold it as indubitable that it is God only who can impart life to a person really dead, either by power proceeding immediately from himself, or by means of angels or of demons, who perform his behests.

I own that the instance of that boy of Dalhem is perplexing. Whether it was the spirit of the child that returned into his body to animate it anew, or the demon who replaced his soul, the puzzle appears to me the same; in all this circumstance we behold only the work of the evil spirit. God does not seem to have had any share in it. Now, if the demon can take the place of a spirit in a body newly dead, or if he can make the soul by which it was animated before death return into it, we can no longer dispute his power to restore a kind of life to a dead person; which would be a terrible temptation for us, who might be led to believe that the demon has a power which religion does not permit us to think that God shares with any created being.

I would then say, supposing the truth of the fact, of which I see no room to doubt, that God, to punish the abominable crime of the father, and to give an example of his just vengeance to mankind, permitted the demon to do on this occasion what he perhaps had never done, nor ever will again—to possess a body, and serve it in some sort as a soul, and give it action and motion whilst he could retain the body without its being too much corrupted.

And this example applies admirably to the ghosts of Hungary and Moravia, whom the demon will move and animate—will cause to appear and disturb the living, so far as to occasion their death. I say all this under the supposition that what is said of the vampires is true; for if it all be false and fabulous, it is losing time to seek the means of explaining it.

For the rest, several of the ancients, as Tertullian[535] and Lactantius, believed that the demons were the only authors of all the magicians do when they evoke the souls of the dead. They cause borrowed bodies or phantoms to appear, say they, and fascinate the eyes of those present, to make them believe that to be real which is only seeming.

Footnotes:

[521] Exod. iv. 24, 25.

[522] Exod. xii. 12.

[523] 1 Cor. x. 10; Judith viii. 25.

[524] Numb. xxii.

[525] Tob. iii. 7.

[526] Psa. xxxiv. 7.

[527] 1 Cor. xi. 30.

[528] 1 Tim. i. 20.

[529] John xiii.

[530] 1 Sam. ii. 6.

[531] Matt. xxiv. 24.

[532] Clem. Alex. Itinerario; Hegesippus de Excidio Jerusalem, c. 2.

[533] Apulei Flondo. lib. ii.

[534] AElian, de Animalib. lib. ix. c. 77.

[535] Tertull. de Anim. c. 22.



CHAPTER XXXV.

INSTANCES OF PHANTOMS WHICH HAVE APPEARED TO BE ALIVE, AND HAVE GIVE MANY SIGNS OF LIFE.

Le Loyer, in his book upon spectres, maintains[536] that the demon can cause the possessed to make extraordinary and involuntary movements. He can then, if allowed by God, give motion to a dead and insensible man.

He relates the instance of Polycrites, a magistrate of AEtolia, who appeared to the people of Locria nine or ten months after his death, and told them to show him his child, which being born monstrous, they wished to burn with its mother. The Locrians, in spite of the remonstrance of the spectre of Polycrites, persisting in their determination, Polycrites took his child, tore it to pieces and devoured it, leaving only the head, while the people could neither send him away nor prevent him; after that, he disappeared. The AEtolians were desirous of sending to consult the Delphian oracle, but the head of the child began to speak, and foretold the misfortunes which were to happen to their country and to his own mother.

After the battle between King Antiochus and the Romans, an officer named Buptages, left dead on the field of battle, with twelve mortal wounds, rose up suddenly, and began to threaten the Romans with the evils which were to happen to them through the foreign nations who were to destroy the Roman empire. He pointed out in particular, that armies would come from Asia, and desolate Europe, which may designate the irruption of the Turks upon the domains of the Roman empire.

After that, Buptages climbed up an oak tree, and foretold that he was about to be devoured by a wolf, which happened. After the wolf had devoured the body, the head again spoke to the Romans, and forbade them to bury him. All that appears very incredible, and was not accomplished in fact. It was not the people of Asia, but those of the north, who overthrew the Roman empire.

In the war of Augustus against Sextus Pompey, son of the great Pompey,[537] a soldier of Augustus, named Gabinius, had his head cut off by order of young Pompey, so that it only held on to the neck by a narrow strip of flesh. Towards evening they heard Gabinius lamenting; they ran to him, and he said that he had returned from hell to reveal very important things to Pompey. Pompey did not think proper to go to him, but he sent one of his men, to whom Gabinius declared that the gods on high had decreed the happy destiny of Pompey, and that he would succeed in all his designs. Directly Gabinius had thus spoken, he fell down dead and stiff. This pretended prediction was falsified by the facts. Pompey was vanquished, and Caesar gained all the advantage in this war.

A certain female juggler had died, but a magician of the band put a charm under her armpits, which gave her power to move; but another wizard having looked at her, cried out that it was only vile carrion, and immediately she fell down dead, and appeared what she was in fact.

Nicole Aubri, a native of Vervius, being possessed by several devils, one of these devils, named Baltazo, took from the gibbet the body of a man who had been hanged near the plain of Arlon, and in this body went to the husband of Nicole Aubri, promising to deliver his wife from her possession if he would let him pass the night with her. The husband consulted the schoolmaster, who practiced exorcising, and who told him on no account to grant what was asked of him. The husband and Baltazo having entered the church, the woman who was possessed called him by his name, and immediately this Baltazo disappeared. The schoolmaster conjuring the possessed, Beelzebub, one of the demons, revealed what Baltazo had done, and that if the husband had granted what he asked, he would have flown away with Nicole Aubri, both body and soul.

Le Loyer again relates[538] four other instances of persons whom the demon had seemed to restore to life, to satisfy the brutal passion of two lovers.

Footnotes:

[536] Le Loyer, des Spectres, lib. ii. pp. 376, 392, 393.

[537] Pliny, lib. vii. c. 52.

[538] Le Loyer, pp. 412-414.



CHAPTER XXXVI.

DEVOTING TO DEATH, A PRACTICE AMONG THE PAGANS.

The ancient heathens, both Greeks and Romans, attributed to magic and to the demon the power of occasioning the destruction of any person by a manner of devoting them to death, which consisted in forming a waxen image as much as possible like the person whose life they wished to take. They devoted him or her to death by their magical secrets: then they burned the waxen statue, and as that by degrees was consumed, so the doomed person became languid and at last died. Theocritus[539] makes a woman transported with love speak thus: she invokes the image of the shepherd, and prays that the heart of Daphnis, her beloved, may melt like the image of wax which represents him.

Horace[540] brings forward two enchantresses, who evoke the shades to make them announce the future. First of all, the witches tear a sheep with their teeth, shedding the blood into a grave, in order to bring those spirits from whom they expect an answer; then they place next to themselves two statues, one of wax, the other of wool; the latter is the largest, and mistress of the other. The waxen image is at its feet, as a suppliant, and awaiting only death. After divers magical ceremonies, the waxen image was inflamed and consumed.

He speaks of this again elsewhere; and after having with a mocking laugh made his complaints to the enchantress Canidia, saying that he is ready to make her honorable reparation, he owns that he feels all the effects of her too-powerful art, as he himself has experienced it to give motion to waxen figures, and bring down the moon from the sky.[541]

Virgil also speaks[542] of these diabolical operations, and these waxen images, devoted by magic art.

There is reason to believe that these poets only repeat these things to show the absurdity of the pretended secrets of magic, and the vain and impotent ceremonies of sorcerers.

But it cannot be denied that, idle as all these practices may be, they have been used in ancient times; that many have put faith in them, and foolishly dreaded those attempts.

Lucian relates the effects[543] of the magic of a certain Hyperborean, who, having formed a Cupid with clay, infused life into it, and sent it to fetch a girl named Chryseis, with whom a young man had fallen in love. The little Cupid brought her, and on the morrow, at dawn of day, the moon, which the magician had brought down from the sky, returned thither. Hecate, whom he had evoked from the bottom of hell, fled away, and all the rest of the scene disappeared. Lucian, with great reason, ridicules all this, and observes that these magicians, who boast of having so much power, ordinarily exercise it only upon contemptible people, and are such themselves.

The oldest instances of this dooming are those which are set down in Scripture, in the Old Testament. God commands Moses to devote to anathema the Canaanites of the kingdom of Arad.[544] He devotes also to anathema all the nations of the land of Canaan.[545] Balac, King of Moab,[546] sends to the diviner Balaam to engage him to curse and devote the people of Israel. "Come," says he to him, by his messenger, "and curse me Israel; for I know that those whom you have cursed and doomed to destruction shall be cursed, and he whom you have blessed shall be crowned with blessings."

We have in history instances of these devotings and maledictions, and evocations of the tutelary gods of cities by magic art. The ancients kept very secret the proper names of towns,[547] for fear that if they came to the knowledge of the enemy, they might make use of them in their invocations, which to their mind had no might unless the proper name of the town was expressed. The usual names of Rome, Tyre, and Carthage, were not their true and secret names. Rome, for instance, was called Valentia, a name known to very few persons, and Valerius Soranus was severely punished for having revealed it.

Macrobius[548] has preserved for us the formula of a solemn devoting or dooming of a city, and of imprecations against her, by devoting her to some hurtful and dangerous demon. We find in the heathen poets a great number of these invocations and magical doomings, to inspire a dangerous passion, or to occasion maladies. It is surprising that these superstitious and abominable practices should have gained entrance among Christians, and have been dreaded by persons who ought to have known their vanity and impotency.

Tacitus relates[549] that at the death of Germanicus, who was said to have been poisoned by Piso and Plautina, there were found in the ground and in the walls bones of human bodies, doomings, and charms, or magic verses, with the name of Germanicus engraved upon thin plates of lead steeped in corrupted blood, half-burnt ashes, and other charms, by virtue of which it was believed that spirits could be evoked.

Footnotes:

[539] Theocrit Idyl. ii.

[540] "Lanea et effigies erat, altera cerea major Lanea, que poenis compesceret inferiorem. Cerea suppliciter stabat, servilibus ut quae Jam peritura modis.... Et imagine cerea Largior arserit ignis."

[541] "An quae movere cereas imagines, Ut ipse curiosus, et polo Deripere lunam."

[542] "Limus ut hic durescit, et haec ut cera liquescit. Uno eodemque igni; sic nostro Daphnis amore."—Virgil, Eclog.

[543] Lucian in Philops.

[544] Numb. xxi. 3.

[545] Deut. vii. 2, 3; xii. 1-3, &c.

[546] Numb. xxii. 5, &c.

[547] Peir. lib. iii. c. 5; xxviii. c. 2.

[548] Macrobius, lib. iii. c. 9.

[549] Tacit. Ann. lib. ii. art. 69.



CHAPTER XXXVII.

INSTANCES OF DEVOTING OR DOOMING AMONGST CHRISTIANS.

Hector Boethius,[550] in his History of Scotland, relates that Duffus, king of that country, falling ill of a disorder unknown to the physicians, was consumed by a slow fever, passed his nights without sleep, and insensibly wasted away; his body melted in perspiration every night; he became weak, languid, and in a dying state, without, however, his pulse undergoing any alteration. Everything was done to relieve him, but uselessly. His life was despaired of, and those about him began to suspect some evil spell. In the mean time, the people of Moray, a county of Scotland, mutinied, supposing that the king must soon sink under his malady.

It was whispered abroad that the king had been bewitched by some witches who lived at Forres, a little town in the north of Scotland. People were sent there to arrest them, and they were surprised in their dwellings, where one of them was basting an image of King Duffus, made of wax, turning on a wooden spit before a large fire, before which she was reciting certain magical prayers; and she affirmed that as the figure melted the king would lose his strength, and at last he would die when the figure should be entirely melted. These women declared that they had been hired to perform these evil spells by the principal men of the county of Moray, who only awaited the king's decease to burst into open revolt.

These witches were immediately arrested and burnt at the stake. The king was much better, and in a few days he perfectly recovered his health. This account is found also in the History of Scotland by Buchanan, who says he heard it from his elders.

He makes the King Duffus live in 960, and he who has added notes to the text of these historians, says that this custom of melting waxen images by magic art, to occasion the death of certain persons, was not unknown to the Romans, as appears from Virgil and Ovid; and of this we have related a sufficient number of instances. But it must be owned that all which is related concerning it is very doubtful; not that wizards and witches have not been found who have attempted to cause the death of persons of high rank by these means, and who attributed the effect to the demon, but there is little appearance that they ever succeeded in it. If magicians possessed the secret of thus occasioning the death of any one they pleased, where is the prince, prelate, or lord who would be safe? If they could thus roast them slowly to death, why not kill them at once, by throwing the waxen image in the fire? Who can have given such power to the devil? Is it the Almighty, to satisfy the revenge of an insignificant woman, or the jealousy of lovers of either sex?

M. de St. Andre, physician to the king, in his Letters on Witchcraft, would explain the effects of these devotings, supposing them to be true, by the evaporation of animal spirits, which, proceeding from the bodies of the wizards or witches, and uniting with the atoms which fall from the wax, and the atoms of the fire, which render them still more pungent, should fly towards the person they desire to bewitch, and cause in him or her sensations of heat or pain, more or less violent according to the action of the fire. But I do not think that this clever man finds many to approve of his idea. The shortest way, in my opinion, would be, to deny the effects of these charms; for if these effects are real, they are inexplicable by physics, and can only be attributed to the devil.

We read in the History of the Archbishops of Treves that Eberard, archbishop of that church, who died in 1067, having threatened to send away the Jews from his city, if they did not embrace Christianity, these unhappy people, being reduced to despair, suborned an ecclesiastic, who for money baptized for them, by the name of the bishop, a waxen image, to which they tied wicks or wax tapers, and lighted them on Holy Saturday (Easter Eve), as the prelate was going solemnly to administer the baptismal rite.

Whilst he was occupied in this holy function, the statue being half consumed, Eberard felt himself extremely ill; he was led into the vestry, where he soon after expired.

The Pope John XXII., in 1317, complained, in public letters, that some scoundrels had attempted his life by similar operations; and he appeared persuaded of their power, and that he had been preserved from death only by the particular protection of God. "We inform you," says he, "that some traitors have conspired against us, and against some of our brothers the cardinals, and have prepared beverages and images to take away our life, which they have sought to do on every occasion; but God has always preserved us." The letter is dated the 27th of July.

From the 27th of February, the pope had issued a commission to inform against these poisoners; his letter is addressed to Bartholomew, Bishop of Frejus, who had succeeded the pope in that see, and to Peter Tessier, doctor en decret, afterwards cardinal. The pope says therein, in substance—We have heard that John de Limoges, Jacques de Crabancon, Jean d'Arrant, physician, and some others, have applied themselves, through a damnable curiosity, to necromancy and other magical arts, on which they have books; that they have often made use of mirrors, and images consecrated in their manner; that, placing themselves within circles, they have often invoked the evil spirits to occasion the death of men by the might of their enchantments, or by sending maladies which abridge their days. Sometimes they have enclosed demons in mirrors, or circles, or rings, to interrogate them, not only on the past, but on the future, and made predictions. They pretend to have made many experiments in these matters, and fearlessly assert, that they can not only by means of certain beverages, or certain meats, but by simple words, abridge or prolong life, and cure all sorts of diseases.

The pope gave a similar commission, April 22d, 1317, to the Bishop of Ries, to the same Pierre Tessier, to Pierre Despres, and two others, to inquire into the conspiracy formed against him and against the cardinals; and in this commission he says:—"They have prepared beverages to poison us, and not having been able conveniently to make us take them, they have had waxen images, made with our names, to attack our lives, by pricking these images with magical enchantments, and innovations of demons; but God has preserved us, and caused three of these images to fall into our hands."

We see a description of similar charms in a letter, written three years after, to the Inquisitor of Carcassone, by William de Godin, Cardinal-Bishop of Sabina, in which he says:—"The pope commands you to inquire and proceed against those who sacrifice to demons, worship them, or pay them homage, by giving them for a token a written paper, or something else, to bind the demon, or to work some charm by invoking him; who, abusing the sacrament of baptism, baptize images of wax, or of other matters with invocation of demons; who abuse the eucharist, or consecrated wafer, or other sacraments, by exercising their evil spells. You will proceed against them with the prelates, as you do in matters of heresy; for the pope gives you the power to do so." The letter is dated from Avignon, the 22d of August, 1320.

At the trial of Enguerrand de Marigni, they brought forward a wizard whom they had surprised making waxen images, representing King Louis le Hutin and Charles de Valois, and meaning to kill them by pricking or melting these images.

It is related also that Cosmo Rugieri, a Florentine, a great atheist and pretended magician, had a secret chamber, where he shut himself up alone, and pricked with a needle a wax image representing the king, after having loaded it with maledictions and devoted it to destruction by horrible enchantments, hoping thus to cause the prince to languish away and die.

Whether these conjurations, these waxen images, these magical words, may have produced their effects or not, it proves at any rate the opinion that was entertained on the subject—the ill will of the wizards, and the fear in which they were held. Although their enchantments and imprecations might not be followed by any effect, it is apparently thought that experience on that point made them dreaded, whether with reason or not.

The general ignorance of physics made people at that time take many things to be supernatural which were simply the effects of natural causes; and as it is certain, as our faith teaches us, that God has often permitted demons to deceive mankind by prodigies, and do them injury by extraordinary means, it was supposed without examining into the matter that there was an art of magic and sure rules for discovering certain secrets, or causing certain evils by means of demons; as if God had not always been the Supreme Master, to permit or to hinder them; or as if He would have ratified the compacts made with evil spirits.

But on examining closely this pretended magic, we have found nothing but poisonings, attended by superstition and imposture. All that we have just related of the effects of magic, enchantments, and witchcraft, which were pretended to cause such terrible effects on the bodies and the possessions of mankind, and all that is recounted of doomings, evocations, and magic figures, which, being consumed by fire, occasioned the death of those who were destined or enchanted, relate but very imperfectly to the affair of vampires, which we are treating of in this volume; unless it may be said that those ghosts are raised and evoked by magic art, and that the persons who fancy themselves strangled and finally stricken with death by vampires, only suffer these miseries through the malice of the demon, who makes their deceased parents or relations appear to them, and produces all these effects upon them; or simply strikes the imagination of the persons to whom it happens, and makes them believe that it is their deceased relations, who come to torment and kill them; although in all this it is only an imagination strongly affected which acts upon them.

We may also connect with the history of ghosts what is related of certain persons who have promised each other to return after their death, and to reveal what passes in the other world, and the state in which they find themselves.

Footnotes:

[550] Hector Boethius, Hist. Scot. lib. xi. c. 216, 219.



CHAPTER XXXVIII.

INSTANCES OF PERSONS WHO HAVE PROMISED TO GIVE EACH OTHER NEWS OF THE OTHER WORLD AFTER THEIR DEATH.

The story of the Marquis de Rambouillet, who appeared after his death to the Marquis de Precy, is very celebrated. These two lords, conversing on the subject of the other world, like people who were not very strongly persuaded of the truth of all that is said upon it, promised each other that the first of the two who died should bring the news of it to the other. The Marquis de Rambouillet set off for Flanders, where the war was then carried on; and the Marquis de Precy remained at Paris, detained by a low fever. Six weeks after, in broad day, he heard some one undraw his bed-curtains, and turning to see who it was, he perceived the Marquis de Rambouillet, in buff-leather jacket and boots. He sprang from his bed to embrace his friend; but Rambouillet, stepping back a few paces, told him that he was come to keep his word as he had promised—that all that was said of the next life was very certain—that he must change his conduct, and in the first action wherein he was engaged he would lose his life.

Precy again attempted to embrace his friend, but he embraced only empty air. Then Rambouillet, seeing that his friend was incredulous as to what he said, showed him where he had received the wound in his side, whence the blood still seemed to flow. Precy soon after received, by the post, confirmation of the death of the Marquis de Rambouillet; and being himself some time after, during the civil wars, at the battle of the Faubourg of St. Antoine, he was there killed.

Peter the Venerable, Abbot of Clugni,[551] relates a very similar story. A gentleman named Humbert, son of a lord named Guichard de Belioc, in the diocese of Macon, having declared war against the other principal men in his neighborhood, a gentleman named Geoffrey d'Iden received in the melee a wound of which he died immediately.

About two months afterwards, this same Geoffrey appeared to a gentleman named Milo d'Ansa, and begged him to tell Humbert de Belioc, in whose service he had lost his life, that he was tormented for having assisted him in an unjust war, and for not having expiated his sins by penance before he died; that he begged him to have compassion on him, and on his own father, Guichard, who had left him great wealth, of which he made a bad use, and of which a part had been badly acquired. That in truth Guichard, the father of Humbert, had embraced a religious life at Clugni; but that he had not time to satisfy the justice of God for the sins of his past life; that he conjured him to have mass performed for him and for his father, to give alms, and to employ the prayers of good people, to procure them both a prompt deliverance from the pains they endured. He added, "Tell him, that if he will not mind what you say, I shall be obliged to go to him myself, and announce to him what I have just told you."

Milo d'Ansa acquitted himself faithfully of his commission; Humbert was frightened at it, but it did not make him better. Still, fearing that Guichard, his father, or Geoffrey d'Iden might come and disturb him, above all during the night, he dare not remain alone, and would always have one of his people by him.

One morning, then, as he was lying awake in his bed, he beheld in his presence Geoffrey, armed as in a day of battle, who showed him the mortal wound he had received, and which appeared yet quite fresh. He reproached him keenly for his want of pity towards his own father, who was groaning in torment. "Take care," added he, "that God does not treat you rigorously, and refuse to you that mercy which you refuse to us; and, above all, take care not to execute your intention of going to the wars with Count Amedeus. If you go, you will there lose both life and property."

He said, and Humbert was about to reply, when the Squire Vichard de Maracy, Humbert's counselor, arrived from mass, and immediately the dead man disappeared. From that moment, Humbert endeavored seriously to relieve his father Geoffrey, and resolved to take a journey to Jerusalem to expiate his sins. Peter the Venerable had been well informed of all the details of this story, which occurred in the year he went into Spain, and made a great noise in the country. The Cardinal Baronius,[552] a very grave and respectable man, says that he had heard from several very sensible people, and who have often heard it preached to the people, and in particular from Michael Mercati, Prothonotary of the Holy See, a man of acknowledged probity and well informed, above all in the platonic philosophy, to which he applied himself unweariedly with Marsilius Ficin, his friend, as zealous as himself for the doctrine of Plato.

One day, these two great philosophers were conversing on the immortality of the soul, and if it remained and existed after the death of the body. After having had much discourse on this matter, they promised each other, and shook hands upon it, that the first of them who quitted this world should come and tell the other somewhat of the state of the other life.

Having thus separated, it happened some time afterwards that the same Michael Mercati, being wide awake and studying, one morning very early, the same philosophical matters, heard on a sudden a noise like a horseman who was coming hastily to his door, and at the same he heard the voice of his friend Marsilius Ficin, who cried out to him, "Michael, Michael, nothing is more true than what is said of the other life." At the same, Michael opened his window, and saw Marsilius mounted on a white horse, who was galloping away. Michael cried out to him to stop, but he continued his course till Michael could no longer see him.

Marsilius Ficin was at that time dwelling at Florence, and died there at the same hour that he had appeared and spoken to his friend. The latter wrote directly to Florence, to inquire into the truth of the circumstance; and they replied to him that Marsilius had died at the same moment that Michael had heard his voice and the noise of his horse at his door. Ever after that adventure, Michael Mercati, although very regular in his conduct before then, became quite an altered man, and lived in so exemplary a manner that he became a perfect model of Christian life. We find a great many such instances in Henri Morus, and in Joshua Grandville, in his work entitled "Sadduceeism Combated."

Here is one taken from the life of B. Joseph de Lionisse, a missionary capuchin.[553] One day, when he was conversing with his companion on the duties of religion, and the fidelity which God requires of those who have consecrated themselves to them, of the reward reserved for those who are perfectly religious, and the severe justice which he exercises against unfaithful servants, Brother Joseph said to him, "Let us promise each other mutually that the one who dies the first will appear to the other, if God allows him so to do, to inform him of what passes in the other world, and the condition in which he finds himself." "I am willing," replied the holy companion; "I give you my word upon it." "And I pledge you mine," replied Brother Joseph.

Some days after this, the pious companion was attacked by a malady which brought him to the tomb. Brother Joseph felt this the more sensibly, because he knew better than the others all the virtues of this holy monk. He had no doubt of the fulfilment of their agreement, or that the deceased would appear to him, when he least thought of it, to acquit himself of his promise.

In effect, one day when Brother Joseph had retired to his room, in the afternoon, he saw a young capuchin enter horribly haggard, with a pale thin face, who saluted him with a feeble, trembling voice. As, at the sight of this spectre, Joseph appeared a little disturbed, "Don't be alarmed," it said to him; "I am come here as permitted by God, to fulfill my promise, and to tell you that I have the happiness to be amongst the elect through the mercy of the Lord. But learn that it is even more difficult to be saved than is thought in this world; that God, whose wisdom can penetrate the most secret folds of the heart, weighs exactly the actions which we have done during life, the thoughts, wishes, and motives, which we propose to ourselves in acting; and as much as he is inexorable in regard to sinners, so much is he good, indulgent, and rich in mercy, towards those just souls who have served him in this life." At these words, the phantom dissappeared.

Here follows an instance of a spirit which comes after death to visit his friend without having made an agreement with him to do so.[554] Peter Garmate, Bishop of Cracow, was translated to the archbishopric of Gnesnes, in 1548, and obtained a dispensation from Paul III. to retain still his bishopric of Cracow. This prelate, after having led a very irregular life during his youth, began towards the end of his life, to perform many charitable actions, feeding every day a hundred poor, to whom he sent food from his own table. And when he traveled, he was followed by two wagons, loaded with coats and shirts, which he distributed amongst the poor according as they needed them.

One day, when he was preparing to go to church, towards evening, (it being the eve of a festival,) and he was alone in his closet, he suddenly beheld before him a gentleman named Curosius, who had been dead some time, with whom he had formerly been too intimately associated in evil doing.

The Archbishop Gamrate was at first affrighted, but the defunct reassured him and told him that he was of the number of the blessed. "What!" said the prelate to him; "after such a life as you led! For you know the excesses which both you and myself committed in our youth." "I know it," replied the defunct; "but this is what saved me. One day, when in Germany, I found myself with a man who uttered blasphemous discourse, most injurious to the Holy Virgin. I was irritated at it, and gave him a blow; we drew our swords; I killed him; and for fear of being arrested and punished as a homicide, I took flight without reflecting much on the action I had committed. But at the hour of death, I found myself most terribly disturbed by remorse on my past life, and I only expected certain destruction; when the Holy Virgin came to my aid, and made such powerful intercession for me with her Son, that she obtained for me the pardon of my sins; and I have the happiness to enjoy beatitude. For yourself, who have only six months to live, I am sent to warn you, that in consideration of your alms, and your charity to the poor, God will show you mercy, and expects you to do penance. Profit while it is time, and expiate your past sins." After having said this, he disappeared; and the archbishop, bursting into tears, began to live in so Christianly a manner that he was the edification of all who knew him. He related the circumstance to his most intimate friends, and died in 1545, after having directed the Church of Gnesnes for about five years.

The daughter of Dumoulin, a celebrated lawyer, having been inhumanly massacred in her dwelling,[555] appeared by night to her husband, who was wide awake, and declared to him the names of those who had killed herself and her children, conjuring him to revenge her death.

Footnotes:

[551] Biblioth. Cluniae. de Miraculis, lib. i. c. 7, p. 1290.

[552] Baronius ad an. Christi 401. Annal. tom. v.

[553] Tom. i. p. 64, et seq.

[554] Stephani Damalevini Historia, p. 291. apud Ranald continuat Baronii, ad. an. 1545. tom. xxi art. 62.

[555] Le Loyer, lib. iii. pp. 46, 47.



CHAPTER XXXIX.

EXTRACT FROM THE POLITICAL WORKS OF M. L'ABBE DE ST. PIERRE.[556]

I was told lately at Valogne, that a good priest of the town who teaches the children to read, had had an apparition in broad day ten or twelve years ago. As that had made a great deal of noise at first on account of his reputation for probity and sincerity, I had the curiosity to hear him relate his adventure himself. A lady, one of my relations, who was acquainted with him, sent to invite him to dine with her yesterday, the 7th of January, 1708, and as on the one hand I showed a desire to learn the thing from himself, and on the other it was a kind of honorable distinction to have had by daylight an apparition of one of his comrades, he related it before dinner without requiring to be pressed, and in a very naive manner.

CIRCUMSTANCE.

"In 1695," said M. Bezuel to us, "being a schoolboy of about fifteen years of age, I became acquainted with the two children of M. Abaquene, attorney, schoolboys like myself. The eldest was of my own age, the second was eighteen months younger; he was named Desfontaines; we took all our walks and all our parties of pleasure together, and whether it was that Desfontaines had more affection for me, or that he was more gay, obliging, and clever than his brother, I loved him the best.

"In 1696, we were walking both of us in the cloister of the Capuchins. He told me that he had lately read a story of two friends who had promised each other that the first of them who died should come and bring news of his condition to the one still living; that the one who died came back to earth, and told his friend surprising things. Upon that, Desfontaines told me that he had a favor to ask of me; that he begged me to grant it instantly: it was to make him a similar promise, and on his part he would do the same. I told him that I would not. For several months he talked to me of it, often and seriously; I always resisted his wish. At last, towards the month of August, 1696, as he was to leave to go and study at Caen, he pressed me so much with tears in his eyes, that I consented to it. He drew out at that moment two little papers which he had ready written: one was signed with his blood, in which he promised me that in case of his death he would come and bring me news of his condition; in the other I promised him the same thing. I pricked my finger; a drop of blood came, with which I signed my name. He was delighted to have my billet, and embracing me, he thanked me a thousand times.

"Some time after, he set off with his brother. Our separation caused us much grief, but we wrote to each other now and then, and it was but six weeks since I had had a letter from him, when what I am going to relate to you happened to me.

"The 31st of July, 1697, one Thursday—I shall remember it all my life—the late M. Sortoville, with whom I lodged, and who had been very kind to me, begged of me to go to a meadow near the Cordeliers, and help his people, who were making hay, to make haste. I had not been there a quarter of an hour, when about half-past-two, I all of a sudden felt giddy and weak. In vain I leant upon my hay-fork; I was obliged to place myself on a little hay, where I was nearly half an hour recovering my senses. That passed off; but as nothing of the kind had ever occurred to me before, I was surprised at it and feared it might be the commencement of an illness. Nevertheless it did not make much impression upon me during the remainder of the day. It is true I did not sleep that night so well as usual.

"The next day, at the same hour, as I was conducting to the meadow M. de St. Simon, the grandson of M. de Sortoville, who was then ten years old, I felt myself seized on the way with a similar faintness, and I sat down on a stone in the shade. That passed off, and we continued our way; nothing more happened to me that day, and at night I had hardly any sleep.

"At last, on the morrow, the second day of August, being in the loft where they laid up the hay they brought from the meadow, I was taken with a similar giddiness and a similar faintness, but still more violent than the other. I fainted away completely; one of the men perceived it. I have been told that I was asked what was the matter with me, and that I replied, 'I have seen what I should never have believed;' but I have no recollection of either the question or the answer. That, however, accords with what I do remember to have seen just then; as it were some one naked to the middle, but whom, however, I did not recognize. They helped me down from the ladder. The faintness seized me again, my head swam as I was between two rounds of the ladder, and again I fainted. They took me down and placed me on a large beam which served for a seat in the large square of the capuchins. I sat down on it and then I no longer saw M. de Sortoville nor his domestics, although present; but perceiving Desfontaines near the foot of the ladder, who made me a sign to come to him, I moved on my seat as if to make room for him; and those who saw me and whom I did not see, although my eyes were open, remarked this movement.

"As he did not come, I rose to go to him. He advanced towards me, took my left arm with his right arm, and led me about thirty paces from thence into a retired street, holding me still under the arm. The domestics, supposing that my giddiness had passed off, and that I had purposely retired, went every one to their work, except a little servant, who went and told M. de Sortoville that I was talking all alone. M. de Sortoville thought I was tipsy; he drew near, and heard me ask some questions, and make some answers, which he has told me since.

"I was there nearly three-quarters of an hour, conversing with Desfontaines. 'I promised you,' said he to me, 'that if I died before you I would come and tell you of it. I was drowned the day before yesterday in the river of Caen, at nearly this same hour. I was out walking with such and such a one. It was very warm, and we had a wish to bathe; a faintness seized me in the water, and I fell to the bottom. The Abbe de Menil-Jean, my comrade, dived to bring me up. I seized hold of his foot; but whether he was afraid it might be a salmon, because I held him so fast, or that he wished to remount promptly to the surface of the water, he shook his leg so roughly, that he gave me a violent kick on the breast, which sent me to the bottom of the river, which is there very deep.

"Desmoulins related to me afterwards all that had occurred to them in their walk, and the subjects they had conversed upon. It was in vain for me to ask him questions—whether he was saved, whether he was damned, if he was in purgatory, if I was in a state of grace, and if I should soon follow him; he continued to discourse as if he had not heard me, and as if he would not hear me.

"I approached him several times to embrace him, but it seemed to me that I embraced nothing, and yet I felt very sensibly that he held me tightly by the arm, and that when I tried to turn away my head that I might not see him, because I could not look at him without feeling afflicted, he shook my arm as if to oblige me to look at and listen to him.

"He always appeared to me taller than I had seen him, and taller even than he was at the time of his death, although he had grown during the eighteen months in which we had not met. I beheld him always naked to the middle of his body, his head uncovered, with his fine fair hair, and a white scroll twisted in his hair over his forehead, on which there was some writing, but I could only make out the word in, &c.

"It was his same tone of voice. He appeared to me neither gay nor sad, but in a calm and tranquil state. He begged of me when his brother returned, to tell him certain things to say to his father and mother. He begged me to say the Seven Psalms which had been given him as a penance the preceding Sunday, which he had not yet recited; again he recommended me to speak to his brother, and then he bade me adieu, saying, as he left me, Jusques, jusques, (till, till,) which was the usual term he made use of when at the end of our walk we bade each other good-bye, to go home.

"He told me that at the time he was drowned, his brother, who was writing a translation, regretted having let him go without accompanying him, fearing some accident. He described to me so well where he was drowned, and the tree in the avenue of Louvigni on which he had written a few words, that two years afterwards, being there with the late Chevalier de Gotol, one of those who were with him at the time he was drowned, I pointed out to him the very spot; and by counting the trees in a particular direction which Desfontaines had specified to me, I went straight up to the tree, and I found his writing. He (the Chevalier) told me also that the article of the Seven Psalms was true, and that on coming from confession they had told each other their penance; and since then his brother has told me that it was quite true that at that hour he was writing his exercise, and he reproached himself for not having accompanied his brother. As nearly a month passed by without my being able to do what Desfontaines had told me in regard to his brother, he appeared to me again twice before dinner at a country house whither I had gone to dine a league from hence. I was very faint. I told them not to mind me, that it was nothing, and that I should soon recover myself; and I went to a corner of the garden. Desfontaines having appeared to me, reproached me for not having yet spoken to his brother, and again conversed with me for a quarter of an hour without answering any of my questions.

"As I was going in the morning to Notre-Dame de la Victoire, he appeared to me again, but for a shorter time, and pressed me always to speak to his brother, and left me, saying still, Jusques, Jusques, and without choosing to reply to my questions.

"It is a remarkable thing that I always felt a pain in that part of my arm which he had held me by the first time, until I had spoken to his brother. I was three days without being able to sleep, from the astonishment and agitation I felt. At the end of the first conversation, I told M. de Varonville, my neighbor and schoolfellow, that Desfontaines had been drowned; that he himself had just appeared to me and told me so. He went away and ran to the parents' house to know if it was true; they had just received the news, but by a mistake he understood that it was the eldest. He assured me that he had read the letter of Desfontaines, and he believed it; but I maintained always that it could not be, and that Desfontaines himself had appeared to me. He returned, came back, and told me in tears that it was but too true.

"Nothing has occurred to me since, and there is my adventure just as it happened. It has been related in various ways; but I have recounted it only as I have just told it to you. The Chevalier de Gotol told me that Desfontaines had appeared also to M. de Menil-Jean; but I am not acquainted with him; he lives twenty leagues from hence near Argentan, and I can say no more about it."

This is a very singular and circumstantial narrative, related by M. l'Abbe de St. Pierre, who is by no means credulous, and sets his whole mind and all his philosophy to explain the most extraordinary events by physical reasonings, by the concurrence of atoms, corpuscles, insensible evaporation of spirit, and perspiration. But all that is so far-fetched, and does such palpable violence to the subjects and the attending circumstances, that the most credulous would not yield to such arguments. It is surprising that these gentlemen, who pique themselves on strength of mind, and so haughtily reject everything that appears supernatural, can so easily admit philosophical systems much more incredible than even the facts they oppose. They raise doubts which are often very ill-founded, and attack them upon principles still more uncertain. That may be called refuting one difficulty by another, and resolving a doubt by principles still more doubtful.

But, it will be said, whence comes it that so many other persons who had engaged themselves to come and bring news of the immortality of the soul, after their death, have not come back. Seneca speaks of a Stoic philosopher named Julius Canus, who, having been condemned to death by Julius Caesar, said aloud that he was about to learn the truth of that question on which they were divided; to wit, whether the soul was immortal or not. And we do not read that he revisited this world. La Motte de Vayer had agreed with his friend Baranzan Barnabite that the first of the two who died should warn the other of the state in which he found himself. Baranzan died, and returned not.

Because the dead sometimes return to earth, it would be imprudent to conclude that they always do so. And it would be equally wrong reasoning to say that they never do return, because having promised to revisit this world they have not done so. For that, we should imagine that it is in the power of spirits to return and make their appearance when they will, and if they will; but it seems indubitable, that on the contrary, it is not in their power, and that it is only by the express permission of God that disembodied spirits sometimes appear to the living.

We see, in the history of the bad rich man, that God would not grant him the favor which he asked, to send to earth some of those who were with him in hell. Similar reasons, derived from the hardness of heart or the incredulity of mortals, may have prevented, in the same manner, the return of Julius Canus or of Baranzan. The return of spirits and their apparition is neither a natural thing nor dependent on the choice of those who are dead. It is a supernatural effect, and allied to the miraculous.

St. Augustine says on this subject[557] that if the dead interest themselves in what concerns the living, St. Monica, his mother, who loved him so tenderly, and went with him by sea and land everywhere during her life, would not have failed to visit him every night, and come to console him in his troubles; for we must not suppose that she was become less compassionate since she became one of the blest: absit ut facta sit vita feliciore crudelis.

The return of spirits, their apparition, the execution of the promises which certain persons have made each other, to come and tell their friends what passes in the other world, is not in their own power. All that is in the hands of God.

Footnotes:

[556] Vol. iv. p. 57.

[557] Aug. de Cura gerend. pro Mortuis, c. xiii. p. 526.



CHAPTER XL.

DIVERS SYSTEMS FOR EXPLAINING THE RETURN OF SPIRITS.

The affair of ghosts having made so much noise in the world as it has done, it is not surprising that a diversity of systems should have been formed upon it, and that so many manners should have been proposed to explain their return to earth and their operations.

Some have thought that it was a momentary resurrection caused by the soul of the defunct, which re-entered his body, or by the demon, who reanimated him, and caused him to act for a while, whilst his blood retained its consistency and fluidity, and his organic functions were not entirely corrupted and deranged.

Others, struck with the consequence of such principles, and the arguments which might be deduced from them, have liked better to suppose that these vampires were not really dead; that they still retained certain seeds of life, and that their spirits could from time to time reanimate and bring them out of their tombs, to make their appearance amongst men, take refreshment, and renew the nourishing juices and animal spirits by sucking the blood of their near kindred.

There has lately been printed a dissertation on the uncertainty of the signs of death, and the abuse of hasty interments, by M. Jacques Benigne Vinslow, Doctor, Regent of the Faculty at Paris, translated, with a commentary, by Jacques Jean Bruhier, physician, at Paris, 1742, in 8vo. This work may serve to explain how persons who have been believed to be dead, and have been buried as such, have nevertheless been found alive a pretty long time after their funeral obsequies had been performed. That will perhaps render vampirism less incredible.

M. Vinslow, Doctor, and Regent of the Medical Faculty at Paris, maintained, in the month of April, 1740, a thesis, in which he asks if the experiments of surgery are fitter than all others to discover some less uncertain signs of doubtful death. He therein maintained that there are several occurrences in which the signs of death are very doubtful; and he adduces several instances of persons believed to be dead, and interred as such, who nevertheless were afterwards found to be alive.

M. Bruhier, M.D., has translated this thesis into French, and has made some learned additions to it, which serve to strengthen the opinion of M. Vinslow. The work is very interesting, from the matter it treats upon, and very agreeable to read, from the manner in which it is written. I am about to make some extracts from it, which may be useful to my subject. I shall adhere principally to the most certain and singular facts; for to relate them all, we must transcribe the whole work.

It is known that John Duns, surnamed Scot,[558] or the Subtile Doctor, had the misfortune to be interred alive at Cologne, and that when his tomb was opened some time afterwards, it was found that he had gnawn his arm.[559] The same thing is related of the Emperor Zeno, who made himself heard from the depth of his tomb by repeated cries to those who were watching over him. Lancisi, a celebrated physician of the Pope Clement XI., relates that at Rome he was witness to a person of distinction being still alive when he wrote, who resumed sense and motion whilst they were chanting his funeral service at church.

Pierre Zacchias, another celebrated physician of Rome, says, that in the hospital of the Saint Esprit, a young man, who was attacked with the plague, fell into so complete a state of syncope, that he was believed to be really dead. Whilst they were carrying his corpse, along with a great many others, on the other side of the Tiber, the young man gave signs of life. He was brought back to the hospital and cured. Two days after, he fell into a similar syncope, and that time he was reputed to be dead beyond recovery. He was placed amongst others intended for burial, came to himself a second time, and was yet living when Zacchias wrote.

It is related, that a man named William Foxley, when forty years of age,[560] falling asleep on the 27th of April, 1546, remained plunged in sleep for fourteen days and fourteen nights, without any preceding malady. He could not persuade himself that he had slept more than one night, and was convinced of his long sleep only by being shown a building begun some days before this drowsy attack, and which he beheld completed on his awaking. It is said that in the time of Pope Gregory II. a scholar of Lubec slept for seven years consecutively. Lilius Giraldus[561] relates that a peasant slept through the whole autumn and winter.

Footnotes:

[558] Duns Scotus.

[559] This fact is more than doubtful. Bzovius, for having advanced it upon the authority of some others, was called Bovius, that is, "Great Ox." It is, therefore, better to stand by what Moreri thought of it. "The enemies of Scotus have proclaimed," says he, "that, having died of apoplexy, he was at first interred, and, some time after this accident having elapsed, he died in despair, gnawing his hands. But this calumny, which was authorized by Paulus Jovius, Latomias, and Bzovius, has been so well refuted that no one now will give credit to it."

[560] Larrey, in Henri VIII. Roi d'Angleterre.

[561] Lilius Giraldus, Hist. Poet. Dialog.



CHAPTER XLI.

VARIOUS INSTANCES OF PERSONS BEING BURIED ALIVE.

Plutarch relates that a man who fell from a great height, having pitched upon his neck, was believed to be dead, without there being the appearance of any hurt. As they were carrying him to be buried, the day after, he all at once recovered his strength and his senses. Asclepiades[562] meeting a great funeral train of a person they were taking to be interred, obtained permission to look at and to touch the dead man; he found some signs of life in him, and by means of proper remedies, he immediately recalled him to life, and restored him in sound health to his parents and relations.

There are several instances of persons who after being interred came to themselves, and lived a long time in perfect health. They relate in particular,[563] that a woman of Orleans was buried in a cemetery, with a ring on her finger, which they had not been able to draw off her finger when she was placed in her coffin. The following night, a domestic, attracted by the hope of gain, broke open the coffin, and as he could not tear the ring off her finger, was about to cut her finger off, when she uttered a loud shriek. The servant fled. The woman disengaged herself as she could from her winding sheet, returned home, and survived her husband.

M. Bernard, a principal surgeon at Paris, attests that, being with his father at the parish of Real, they took from the tombs, living and breathing, a monk of the order of St. Francis, who had been shut up in it three or four days, and who had gnawed his hands around the bands which confined them. But he died almost the moment that he was in the air.

Several persons have made mention of that wife of a counselor of Cologne,[564] who having been interred with a valuable ring on her finger, in 1571, the grave-digger opened the grave the succeeding night to steal the ring. But the good lady caught hold of him, and forced him to take her out of the coffin. He, however, disengaged himself from her hands, and fled. The resuscitated lady went and rapped at the door of her house. At first they thought it was a phantom, and left her a long time at the door, waiting anxiously to be let in; but at last they opened it for her. They warmed her, and she recovered her health perfectly, and had after that three sons, who all belonged to the church. This event is represented on her sepulchre in a picture, or painting, in which the story is represented, and moreover, written, in German verses.

It is added that the lady, in order to convince those of the house that it was herself, told the footman who came to the door that the horses had gone up to the hay-loft, which was true; and there are still to be seen at the windows of the grenier of that house, horses' heads, carved in wood, as a sign of the truth of the matter.

Francois de Civile, a Norman gentleman,[565] was the captain of a hundred men in the city of Rouen, when it was besieged by Charles IX., and he was then six-and-twenty. He was wounded to death at the end of an assault; and having fallen into the moat, some pioneers placed him in a grave with some other bodies, and covered them over with a little earth. He remained there from eleven in the morning till half-past six in the evening, when his servant went to disinter him. This domestic, having remarked some signs of life, put him in a bed, where he remained for five days and nights, without speaking, or giving any other sign of feeling, but as burning hot with fever as he had been cold in the grave. The city having been taken by storm, the servants of an officer of the victorious army, who was to lodge in the house wherein was Civile, threw the latter upon a paillasse in a back room, whence his brother's enemies tossed him out of the window upon a dunghill, where he remained for more than seventy-two hours in his shirt. At the end of that time, one of his relations, surprised to find him still alive, sent him to a league's distance from Rouen,[566] where he was attended to, and at last was perfectly cured.

During a great plague, which attacked the city of Dijon in 1558, a lady, named Nicole Lentillet, being reputed dead of the epidemic, was thrown into a great pit, wherein they buried the dead. The day after her interment, in the morning, she came to herself again, and made vain efforts to get out, but her weakness, and the weight of the other bodies with which she was covered, prevented her doing so. She remained in this horrible situation for four days, when the burial men drew her out, and carried her back to her house, where she perfectly recovered her health.

A young lady of Augsburg,[567] having fallen into a swoon, or trance, her body was placed under a deep vault, without being covered with earth; but the entrance to this subterranean vault was closely walled up. Some years after that time, some one of the same family died. The vault was opened, and the body of the young lady was found at the very entrance, without any fingers to her right hand, which she had devoured in despair.

On the 25th of July, 1688, there died at Metz a hair-dresser's boy, of an apoplectic fit, in the evening, after supper.

On the 28th of the same month, he was heard to moan again several times. They took him out of his grave, and he was attended by doctors and surgeons. The physician maintained, after he had been opened, that the young man had not been dead two hours. This is extracted from the manuscript of a bourgeois of Metz, who was cotemporary with him.

Footnotes:

[562] Cels. lib. ii. c. 6.

[563] Le P. Le Clerc, ci devant attorney of the boarders of the college of Louis le Grand.

[564] Misson, Voyage d'Italie, tom. i. Lettre 5. Goulart, des Histoires admirables; et memorables printed at Geneva, in 1678.

[565] Misson, Voyage, tom. iii.

[566] Goulart, loca cetata.

[567] M. Graffe, Epit. a Guil. Frabi, Centurie 2, observ chirurg. 516.



CHAPTER XLII.

INSTANCES OF DROWNED PERSONS RECOVERING THEIR HEALTH.

Here follow some instances of drowned persons[568] who came to themselves several days after they were believed to be dead. Peclin relates the story of a gardener of Troninghalm, in Sweden, who was still alive, and sixty-five years of age, when the author wrote. This man being on the ice to assist another man who had fallen into the water, the ice broke under him, and he sunk under water to the depth of eight ells, his feet sticking in the mud: he remained sixteen hours before they drew him out of the water. In this condition, he lost all sense, except that he thought he heard the bells ringing at Stockholm. He felt the water, which entered his body, not by his mouth, but his ears. After having sought for him during sixteen hours, they caught hold of his head with a hook, and drew him out of the water; they placed him between sheets, put him near the fire, rubbed him, shook him, and at last brought him to himself. The king and court would see him and hear his story, and gave him a pension.

A woman of the same country, after having been three days in the water, was also revived by the same means as the gardener. Another person named Janas, having drowned himself at seventeen years of age, was taken out of the water seven weeks after; they warmed him, and brought him back to life.

M. D'Egly, of the Royal Academy of Inscriptions and Belles Lettres, at Paris, relates, that a Swiss, an expert diver, having plunged down into one of the hollows in the bed of the river, where he hoped to find fine fish, remained there about nine hours; they drew him out of the water after having hurt him in several places with their hooks. M. D'Egly, seeing that the water bubbled strongly from his mouth, maintained that he was not dead. They made him throw up as much water as he could for three quarters of an hour, wrapped him up in hot linen, put him to bed, bled him, and saved him.

Some have been recovered after being seven weeks in the water, others after a less time; for instance, Gocellin, a nephew of the Archbishop of Cologne, having fallen into the Rhine, remained under water for fifteen hours before they could find him again; at the end of that time, they carried him to the tomb of St. Suitbert, and he recovered his health.[569]

The same St. Suitbert resuscitated also another young man who had been drowned several hours. But the author who relates these miracles is of no great authority.

Several instances are related of drowned persons who have remained under water for several days, and at last recovered and enjoyed good health. In the second part of the dissertation on the uncertainty of the signs of death, by M. Bruhier, physician, printed at Paris in 1744, pp. 102, 103, &c., it is shown that they have seen some who have been under water forty-eight hours, others during three days, and during eight days. He adds to this the example of the insect chrysalis, which passes all the winter without giving any signs of life, and the aquatic insects which remain all the winter motionless in the mud; which also happens to the frogs and toads; ants even, against the common opinion, are during the winter in a death-like state, which ceases only on the return of spring. Swallows, in the northern countries, bury themselves in heaps, in the lakes and ponds, in rivers even, in the sea, in the sand, in the holes of walls, and the hollows of trees, or at the bottom of caverns; whilst other kinds of swallows cross the sea to find warmer and more temperate climes.

What has just been said of swallows being found at the bottom of lakes, ponds, and rivers, is commonly remarked in Silesia, Poland, Bohemia, and Moravia. Sometimes even storks are fished up as if dead, having their beaks fixed in the anus of one another; many of these have been seen in the environs of Geneva, and even in the environs of Metz, in the year 1467.

To these may be added quails and herons. Sparrows and cuckoos have been found during the winter in hollow trees, torpid and without the least appearance of life, which being warmed recovered themselves and took flight. We know that hedgehogs, marmots, sloths, and serpents, live underground without breathing, and the circulation of the blood is very feeble in them during all the winter. It is even said that bears sleep during almost all that period.

Footnotes:

[568] Guill. Derham, Extrait. Peclin, c. x. de aere et alim. def.

[569] Vita S. Suitberti, apud Surium, I. Martii.



CHAPTER XLIII.

INSTANCES OF WOMEN WHO HAVE BEEN BELIEVED TO BE DEAD, AND WHO HAVE COME TO LIFE AGAIN.

Very clever physicians assert[570] that in cases of the suffocation of the womb, a woman may live thirty days without breathing. I know that a very excellent woman was six-and-thirty hours without giving any sign of life. Everybody thought she was dead, and they wanted to enshroud her, but her husband always opposed it. At the end of thirty-six hours she came to herself, and has lived a long time since then. She told them that she heard very well all that was said about her, and knew that they wanted to lay her out; but her torpor was such that she could not surmount it, and she should have let them do whatever they pleased without the least resistance.

This applies to what St. Augustine says of the priest Pretextas, who in his trances and swoons heard, as if from afar off, what was said, and nevertheless would have let himself be burned, and his flesh cut, without opposing it or feeling it.

Corneille le Bruyn,[571] in his Voyages, relates that he saw at Damietta, in Egypt, a Turk whom they called the Dead Child, because when his mother was with child with him, she fell ill, and as they believed she was dead, they buried her pretty quickly, according to the custom of the country, where they let the dead remain but a very short time unburied, above all during the plague. She was put into a vault which this Turk had for the sepulture of his family.

Towards evening, some hours after the interment of this woman, it entered the mind of the Turk her husband, that the child she bore might still be alive; he then had the vault opened, and found that his wife had delivered herself, and that his child was alive, but the mother was dead. Some people said that the child had been heard to cry, and that it was on receiving intimation of this that the father had the tomb opened. This man, surnamed the Dead Child, was still living in 1677. Le Bruyn thinks that the woman was dead when her child was born; but being dead, it would not have been possible for her to bring him into the world. It must be remembered, that in Egypt, where this happened, the women have an extraordinary facility of delivery, as both ancients and moderns bear witness, and that this woman was simply shut up in a vault, without being covered with earth.

A woman at Strasburg, who was with child, being reputed to be dead, was buried in a subterranean vault;[572] at the end of some time, this vault having been opened for another body to be placed in it, the woman was found out of the coffin lying on the ground, and having between her hands a child, of which she had delivered herself, and whose arm she held in her mouth, as if she would fain eat it.

Another woman, a Spaniard,[573] the wife of Francisco Aravallos, of Suasso, being dead, or believed to be so, in the last months of her pregnancy, was put in the ground; her husband, whom they had sent for from the country, whither he had gone on business, would see his wife at the church, and had her exhumed: hardly had they opened the coffin, when they heard the cry of a child, who was making efforts to leave the bosom of its mother.

He was taken away alive and lived a long time, being known by the name of the Child of the Earth; and since then he was lieutenant-general of the town of Herez, on the frontier of Spain. These instances might be multiplied to infinity, of persons buried alive, and of others who have recovered as they were being carried to the grave, and others who have been taken out of it by fortuitous circumstances. Upon this subject you may consult the new work of Messrs. Vinslow and Bruyer, and those authors who have expressly treated on this subject.[574] These gentlemen, the doctors, derive from thence a very wise and very judicious conclusion, which is, that people should never be buried without the absolute certainty of their being dead, above all in times of pestilence, and in certain maladies in which those who are suffering under them lose on a sudden both sense and motion.

Footnotes:

[570] Le Clerc, Hist. de la Medecine.

[571] Corneille le Bruyn, tom. i. p. 579.

[572] Cronstand, Philos. veter. restit.

[573] Gaspard Reies, Campus Elysias jucund.

[574] Page 167, des additions de M. Bruhier.



CHAPTER XLIV.

CAN THESE INSTANCES BE APPLIED TO THE HUNGARIAN GHOSTS?

Some advantage of these instances and these arguments may be derived in favor of vampirism, by saying that the ghosts of Hungary, Moravia, and Poland are not really dead, that they continue to live in their graves, although without motion and without respiration; the blood which is found in them being fine and red, the flexibility of their limbs, the cries which they utter when their heart is pierced or their head being cut off, all prove that they still exist.

That is not the principal difficulty which arrests my judgment; it is to know how they come out of their graves without any appearance of the earth having been removed, and how they have replaced it as it was; how they appear dressed in their clothes, go and come, and eat. If it is so, why do they return to their graves? why do they not remain amongst the living? why do they suck the blood of their relations? Why do they haunt and fatigue persons who ought to be dear to them, and who have done nothing to offend them? If all that is only imagination on the part of those who are molested, whence comes it that these vampires are found in their graves in an uncorrupted state, full of blood, supple, and pliable; that their feet are found to be in a muddy condition the day after they have run about and frightened the neighbors, and that nothing similar is remarked in the other corpses interred at the same time and in the same cemetery. Whence does it happen that they neither come back nor infest the place any more when they are burned or impaled? Would it be again the imagination of the living and their prejudices which reassure them after these executions? Whence comes it that these scenes recur so frequently in those countries, that the people are not cured of their prejudices, and daily experience, instead of destroying, only augments and strengthens them?



CHAPTER XLV.

DEAD PERSONS WHO CHEW IN THEIR GRAVES LIKE HOGS, AND DEVOUR THEIR OWN FLESH.

It is an opinion widely spread in Germany, that certain dead persons chew in their graves, and devour whatever may be close to them; that they are even heard to eat like pigs, with a certain low cry, and as if growling and grunting.

A German author,[575] named Michael Rauff, has composed a work, entitled De Masticatione Mortuorum in Tumulis—"Of the Dead who Masticate in their Graves." He sets it down as a proved and sure thing, that there are certain dead persons who have devoured the linen and everything that was within reach of their mouth, and even their own flesh, in their graves. He remarks,[576] that in some parts of Germany, to prevent the dead from masticating, they place a motte of earth under their chin in the coffin; elsewhere they place a little piece of money and a stone in their mouth; elsewhere they tie a handkerchief tightly round their throat. The author cites some German writers who make mention of this ridiculous custom; he quotes several others who speak of dead people that have devoured their own flesh in their sepulchre. This work was printed at Leipsic in 1728. It speaks of an author named Philip Rehrius, who printed in 1679 a treatise with the same title—De Masticatione Mortuorum.

He might have added to it the circumstance of Henry Count of Salm,[577] who, being supposed to be dead, was interred alive; they heard during the night, in the church of the Abbey of Haute-Seille, where he was buried, loud cries; and the next day, on his tomb being opened, they found him turned upon his face, whilst in fact he had been buried lying upon his back.

Some years ago, at Bar-le-Duc, a man was buried in the cemetery, and a noise was heard in his grave; the next day they disinterred him, and found that he had gnawed the flesh of his arms; and this we learned from ocular witnesses. This man had drunk brandy, and had been buried as dead. Rauff speaks of a woman of Bohemia,[578] who, in 1355, had eaten in her grave half her shroud. In the time of Luther, a man who was dead and buried, and a woman the same, gnawed their own entrails. Another dead man in Moravia ate the linen clothes of a woman who was buried next to him.

All that is very possible, but that those who are really dead move their jaws, and amuse themselves with masticating whatever may be near them, is a childish fancy—like what the ancient Romans said of their Manducus, which was a grotesque figure of a man with an enormous mouth, and teeth proportioned thereto, which they caused to move by springs, and grind his teeth together, as if this figure had wanted to eat. They frightened children with them, and threatened them with the Manducus.[579]

Some remains of this old custom may be seen in certain processions, where they carry a sort of serpent, which at intervals opens and shuts a vast jaw, armed with teeth, into which they throw cakes, as if to gorge it, or satisfy its appetite.

Footnotes:

[575] Mich. Rauff, altera Dissert. Art. lvii. pp. 98, 99, et Art. lix. p. 100.

[576] De Nummis in Ore Defunctorum repertis, Art. ix. a Beyermuller, &c.

[577] Richer, Senon, tom. iii. Spicileg. Ducherii, p. 392.

[578] Rauff, Art. xlii. p. 43.

[579] "Tandemque venit ad pulpita nostrum Exodium, cum personae pallentis hiatum In gremio matris fastidit rusticus infans." Juvenal, Sat. iii. 174.



CHAPTER XLVI.

SINGULAR INSTANCE OF A HUNGARIAN GHOST.

The most remarkable instance cited by Rauff[580] is that of one Peter Plogojovitz, who had been buried ten weeks in a village of Hungary, called Kisolova. This man appeared by night to some of the inhabitants of the village while they were asleep, and grasped their throat so tightly that in four-and-twenty hours it caused their death. Nine persons, young and old, perished thus in the course of eight days.

The widow of the same Plogojovitz declared that her husband since his death had come and asked her for his shoes, which frightened her so much that she left Kisolova to retire to some other spot.

From these circumstances the inhabitants of the village determined upon disinterring the body of Plogojovitz and burning it, to deliver themselves from these visitations. They applied to the emperor's officer, who commanded in the territory of Gradiska, in Hungary, and even to the cure of the same place, for permission to exhume the body of Peter Plogojovitz. The officer and the cure made much demur in granting this permission, but the peasants declared that if they were refused permission to disinter the body of this man, whom they had no doubt was a true vampire (for so they called these revived corpses), they should be obliged to forsake the village, and go where they could.

The emperor's officer, who wrote this account, seeing he could hinder them neither by threats nor promises, went with the cure of Gradiska to the village of Kisolova, and having caused Peter Plogojovitz to be exhumed, they found that his body exhaled no bad smell; that he looked as when alive, except the tip of the nose; that his hair and beard had grown, and instead of his nails, which had fallen off, new ones had come; that under his upper skin, which appeared whitish, there appeared a new one, which looked healthy, and of a natural color; his feet and hands were as whole as could be desired in a living man. They remarked also in his mouth some fresh blood, which these people believed that this vampire had sucked from the men whose death he had occasioned.

The emperor's officer and the cure having diligently examined all these things, and the people who were present feeling their indignation awakened anew, and being more fully persuaded that he was the true cause of the death of their compatriots, ran directly for a sharp-pointed stake, which they thrust into his breast, whence there issued a quantity of fresh and crimson blood, and also from the nose and mouth; something also proceeded from that part of his body which decency does not allow us to mention. After this the peasants placed the body on a pile of wood and saw it reduced to ashes.

M. Rauff,[581] from whom we have these particulars, cites several authors who have written on the same subject, and have related instances of dead people who have eaten in their tombs. He cites particularly Gabril Rzaczincki in his history of the Natural Curiosities of the Kingdom of Poland, printed at Sandomic in 1721.

Footnotes:

[580] Rauff, Art. xii. p. 15.

[581] Rauff, Art. xxi. p. 14.



CHAPTER XLVII.

REASONINGS ON THIS MATTER.

Those authors have reasoned a great deal on these events. 1. Some have believed them to be miraculous. 2. Others have looked upon them simply as the effect of a heated imagination, or a sort of prepossession. 3. Others again have believed that there was nothing in all that but what was very simple and very natural, these persons not being dead, and acting naturally upon other bodies. 4. Others have asserted[582] that it was the work of the devil himself; amongst these, some have advanced the opinion that there were certain benign demons, differing from those who are malevolent and hostile to mankind, to which (benign demons) they have attributed playful and harmless operations, in contradistinction to those bad demons who inspire the minds of men with crime and sin, ill use them, kill them, and occasion them an infinity of evils. But what greater evils can one have to fear from veritable demons and the most malignant spirits, than those which the ghouls of Hungary cause the persons whose blood they suck, and thus cause to die? 5. Others will have it that it is not the dead who eat their own flesh or clothes, but serpents, rats, moles, ferrets, or other voracious animals, or even what the peasants call striges,[583] which are birds that devour animals and men, and suck their blood. Some have said that these instances are principally remarked in women, and, above all, in a time of pestilence; but there are instances of ghouls of both sexes, and principally of men; although those who die of plague, poison, hydrophobia, drunkenness, and any epidemical malady, are more apt to return, apparently because their blood coagulates with more difficulty; and sometimes some are buried who are not quite dead, on account of the danger there is in leaving them long without sepulture, from fear of the infection they would cause.

It is added that these vampires are known only to certain countries, as Hungary, Moravia, and Silesia, where those maladies are more common, and where the people, being badly fed, are subject to certain disorders caused or occasioned by the climate and the food, and augmented by prejudice, fancy, and fright, capable of producing or of increasing the most dangerous maladies, as daily experience proves too well. As to what some have asserted that the dead have been heard to eat and chew like pigs in their graves, it is manifestly fabulous, and such an idea can have its foundation only in ridiculous prepossessions of the mind.

Footnotes:

[582] Rudiga, Physio. Dur. lib. i. c. 4. Theophrast. Paracels. Georg. Agricola, de Anim. Subterran. p. 76.

[583] Ovid, lib. vi. Vide Debrio, Disquisit. Magic. lib. i. p. 6, and lib. iii. p. 355.



CHAPTER XLVIII.

ARE THE VAMPIRES OR REVENANS REALLY DEAD?

The opinion of those who hold that all that is related of vampires is the effect of imagination, fascination, or of that disorder which the Greeks term phrenesis or coribantism, and who pretend by that means to explain all the phenomena of vampirism, will never persuade us that these maladies of the brain can produce such real effects as those we have just recounted. It is impossible that on a sudden, several persons should believe they see a thing which is not there, and that they should die in so short a time of a disorder purely imaginary. And who has revealed to them that such a vampire is undecayed in his grave, that he is full of blood, that he in some measure lives there after his death? Is there not to be found in the nation one sensible man who is exempt from this fancy, or who has soared above the effects of this fascination, these sympathies and antipathies—this natural magic? And besides, who can explain to us clearly and distinctly what these grand terms signify, and the manner of these operations so occult and so mysterious? It is trying to explain a thing which is obscure and doubtful, by another still more uncertain and incomprehensible.

If these persons believe nothing of all that is related of the apparition, the return, and the actions of vampires, they lose their time very uselessly in proposing systems and forming arguments to explain what exists only in the imagination of certain prejudiced persons struck with an idea; but, if all that is related, or at least a part, is true, these systems and these arguments will not easily satisfy those minds which desire proofs far more weighty than those.

Let us see, then, if the system which asserts that these vampires are not really dead is well founded. It is certain that death consists in the separation of the soul from the body, and that neither the one nor the other perishes, nor is annihilated by death; that the soul is immortal, and that the body destitute of its soul, still remains entire, and becomes only in part corrupt, sometimes in a few days, and sometimes in a longer space of time; sometimes even it remains uncorrupted during many years or even ages, either by reason of a good constitution, as in Hector[584] and Alexander the Great, whose bodies remained several days undecayed;[585] or by means of the art of embalming; or lastly, owing to the nature of the earth in which they are interred, which has the power of drying up the radical humidity and the principles of corruption. I do not stop to prove all these things, which besides are very well known.

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