Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
From The Psychic Riddle – Isaac Kaufman Funk
The description of a New York physician who preferred to remain anonymous
Thursday afternoon, somewhere about two o’ clock, I left Jacksonville for Palatka on one of the Saint Johns River steamers, my friends going with me. Within fifteen minutes after the time I went on board the steamer, my feet began to grow numb and to lose sensation. I would walk for a little while with my friends, then walk up and down the deck, trying through mental effort and exercise to throw off the numbness, but this I was unable to do, and by the time we reached Palatka, nearly seven o’ clock at night, the numbness had gotten into my ankles. We sat down to dinner, and after dinner,- perhaps about eight o’ clock, I excused myself to my friends and went to my room. Undressing, I made an examination of feet and ankles, and found that they were cold, without any circulation or sensation.
After a little while I put out the light and retired, but no sooner had I done this than the action became more rapid, and I could feel it almost as though it was a creeping sensation moving up my legs. I got up and lit the gas and went back to bed; but instead of lying down as I had done before, I sat up partially in bed, with pillows arranged in such a way as to make me comfortable. In a comparatively short time, all circulation ceased in my legs, and they were as cold as those of the dead. The creeping sensation began in the lower part of my body, and that also became cold. There was no sensation of pain or even of physical discomfort. I would pinch my legs with my thumb and finger, but there was no feeling, or no indication of circulation of blood whatever. I might as well have pinched a piece of rubber so far as the sensation produced was concerned.
As the movement continued upward, all at once there came a flashing of lights in my eyes and a ringing in my ears, and it seemed for an instant as though I had become unconscious. When I came out of this state, I seemed to be walking in the air. No words can describe the exhilaration and freedom that I experienced. No words can describe the clearness of mental vision. At no time in my life had my mind been so clear or so light.
Just then I thought of a friend who was more than a thousand miles distant. Then I seemed to be travelling with great rapidity through the atmosphere about me. Everything was light, and yet it was not the light of the day or the sun, but I might say, a peculiar light of its own, such as I had never known. It could not have been a minute after I thought of my friend before I was conscious of standing in a room where the gas-jets were turned up, and my friend was standing with his back toward me, but suddenly turning and seeing me, said, What in the world are you doing here? I thought you were in Florida, and he started to come toward me. While I heard the words distinctly, I was unable to answer. An instant later I was gone.
The consciousness of the things that transpired that memorable night will never be forgotten. I seemed to leave the earth, and everything pertaining to it, and enter a condition of life of which it is absolutely impossible to give here any thought I had concerning it, because there was no correspondence to anything I had ever seen or heard or known of in any way. The wonder and the joy of it was unspeakable, …In this latter experience there was neither consciousness of time nor of space; in fact, it can be described more as a consciousness of ecstatic feeling than anything else. It came to me after a time that I could stay there if I so desired, but with that thought came also the consciousness of the friends on earth and the duties there required of me. The desire to stay was intense, but in my mind I clearly reasoned over it, whether I should gratify my desire or return to my work on earth. Four times my thought and reason told me that my duties required me to return, but I was so dissatisfied with each conclusion that I finally said, Now I will think and reason this matter out once more, and whatever conclusion I reach I will abide by. I reached the same conclusion, and I had not much more than reached it when I became conscious of being in a room and looking down on a body propt up in bed, which I recognized as my own.
I can not tell what strange feelings came over me. This body, to all intents and purposes, looked to be dead. There was no indication of life about it, and yet here I was apart from the body, with my mind thoroughly clear and alert, and the consciousness of another body to which matter of any kind offered no resistance. "After what might have been a minute or two, looking at the body, I began to try to control it, and in a very short time all sense of separation from the physical body ceased, and I was only conscious of a directed effort toward its use. Alter what seemed to be quite a long time, I was able to move, got up from the bed and drest myself, and went down to breakfast.