Thelmar, E – 22 She is advised by the doctor to dismiss the voices – the Invisible Liars
Type of spiritual experienceHallucination
A description of the experience
The Maniac – A Realistic Study of Madness from the Maniac’s Point of View – E Thelmar
“As you have had sufficient truthfulness to acknowledge yourselves liars, perhaps you aren't such arrant liars after all, and there is some hope for you ; but I have done with the lot of you-so you can go!"
And they went.
But this did not by any means rid me of the “voices "-on the contrary, they grew worse and worse. Instead of talking to me singly, they now came in battalions.
That evening or the next, a vast army of them marched down upon me with thundering tread, and all shouting at the top pitch of their voices. When they reached me (I was again wandering in some unknown region, "out of my body ") they challenged me and demanded who I was? I said I was a living, human woman. Then they said,
"If you are a living, human woman, how do you come to be here, in these regions, and able to listen to us?"
I said I did not know-that I was continually being sent out of my human body, into these regions, against my own will.
“Well, as you are here, you must march with us and show us the way," said they.
"How can I possibly show any one the way when I haven't a notion of it myself?" I objected. "I cannot find my own way, much less direct anyone else. I cannot see at all in this place."
"Oh! well, if you cannot take the lead and show us the way, at any rate you can fall-in behind and march with us," said the voices.
I inquired, "Who are you?"
“We are 'The Legion of the lost and the Cohort of the Damned," ' they yelled, all together.
“But," I remonstrated, "I am not a 'Gentleman Ranker’-why should I be called upon to march with you?"
They said, “No-but you see we saw you shed a secret tear for us, years ago, when you read that poem about us. That has forged a link of sympathy between you and us that cannot be broken. You must march with us."
"Well, if I must, I must!" I said resignedly. (I had no fear whatever of them, as they were perfectly friendly.) "And I can tell you this much, even if I am unable to tell you your way:- If you go on shouting in this deafening manner, and march with that thundering tread, you will shatter not only the drums of my ears, but every bridge across which we have to pass on our march. Do cease shouting, and break step."
They said, "We will break step, but we cannot cease shouting," and they continued to make a more and more brain-shattering noise. I fell into the ranks behind and marched with them. But I held no further converse with them, and at the first opportunity I slipped out of the ranks and back into my body-whence I passed to oblivion in sleep, after the administration of a sleeping-draught.
The source of the experience
Concepts and Symbols used in the text or image
Observation contributed by: Francis Keeble