Dr Crichton - The Lady who was nearly buried alive
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
As described in Illustrations Of The Influence Of The Mind Upon The Body In Health And Disease, Designed To Elucidate The Action Of The Imagination - Daniel Hack Tuke, M.D., M.R.C.P.,
PART III. THE WILL.
CHAPTER XIV. INFLUENCE OF THE WILL UPON SENSATION, THE VOLUNTARY AND INVOLUNTARY MUSCLES, AND THE ORGANIC FUNCTIONS.
SECTION III.— Influence of the Will upon the Involuntary-Muscles and the Organic Functions.
The desperate effort to awake from partial sleep which we are at times conscious of making, might seem to be, when successful, an instance of the influence of the Will over the vessels of the brain ; but what happens ? The Will acts in two ways — first, the very effort to arouse oneself from sleep, excites the inhibitory action of the brain upon the sympathetic ganglia, which, uncontrolled, cause the contraction of the cerebral vessels as referred to at p. 94 of this work; secondly, the voluntary muscles are gradually excited to action. But if the brain be in the peculiar condition present in trance, there may be consciousness and the strong desire to awake, without the power. In other cases, the fearful struggle may at last end in cerebro-spinal victory, and an escape from the grip of the sympathetic. Crichton gives such a case, that of a young lady who, in this state, was laid in a coffin.
"On the day of her funeral several hymns were sung before the door. She was conscious of all that happened around her, and heard her friends lamenting her death. She felt them put on the dead-clothes, and lay her in the coffin, which produced an indescribable mental anxiety. She tried to cry, but her mind was without power, and could not act on the body.
It was equally impossible to her to stretch out her arms, or to open her eyes, as to cry, although she continually endeavored to do so. The internal anguish of her mind was, however, at its utmost height when the funeral hymns began to be sung, and when the lid of the coffin was about to be nailed on. The thought that she was to be buried alive was the first one which gave activity to her mind, and cause it to operate on her corporeal frame. Just as the people were about to nail on the lid, a kind of perspiration was observed to appear on the surface of the body. It grew greater every moment, and at last a kind of convulsive motion was observed in the hands and feet of the corpse. A few minutes after, during which fresh signs of returning life appeared, she at once opened her eyes, and uttered a most pitiable shriek"
(An Inquiry into the Nature and Origin of Mental Derangement, comprehending a Concise System of the Physiology and Pathology of the Human Mind. By Alexander Crichton, M.D. 1798, II, p. 87).