Gibier, Dr Paul - Psychism Analysis of Things Existing - He went on his travels and penetrated, as he believed, as far as Italy
Type of Spiritual Experience
PSYCHISM Analysis of Things Existing ESSAYS BY PAUL GIBIER, M. D. Director of the New York Pasteur Institute.
At the time that Mr. H. came to tell of his experience of this "accident/' we already knew that things like these might occur, and we knew partially, the reason for them; notwithstanding we looked at the speaker scrutinizingly, in order to see whether he was not endeavoring to dupe and mystify us; he was, however, very serious, and appeared to be quite distressed over what had happened to him. Then we explained that, in all likelihood, he was gifted with truly extraordinary faculties, and if he so wished they could easily be developed. We also explained to him the regimen necessary to be followed, which he promised would be adhered to most vigorously, and that he would come and see us again, a fortnight hence. He came, but only, unfortunately, to tell us that he was about to get married, and that he could not give himself up to any other experiment than that of conjugal life, which, as is too well known, is not favorable to the acquirement of the autonomous faculties of abmaterialisation.
A description of the experience
Psychism: Analysis of Things Existing; Essays - Dr Paul Gibier
Mr. H. is a tall, blond young man, about thirty years of age, and very talented as an engraver. His father was a Scotchman and his mother a Russian. Both father and mother were gifted as "Mediums." The father in particular possessed very strong mediumistic faculties. Although this young man was born in a spiritualistic family, he had never concerned himself with Spiritualism, and had never experienced any abnormal feelings until the moment when he underwent what he called the "accident," about which he consulted us in the beginning of 1887. His story is as follows :
"A few days ago I came home in the evening at about ten o'clock, when I suddenly felt a strange sensation of lassitude which I could not explain. Nevertheless, I decided not to retire at once, and so lighted my lamp and left it upon the night table, near the bed. I took a cigar, lit it over the flame of the lamp, and after taking a few puffs at it stretched myself upon a lounge.
"No sooner had I leaned back lazily, in order to rest my head upon the cushion of the sofa, than I experienced a sensation of dizziness and vacuity, and it appeared as if the surrounding objects were all revolving around me. Suddenly I found myself transported to the middle of my room.
Being surprised at this displacement, of which I had not been conscious, I looked about me and my astonishment grew on me.
"I saw myself, lying on the sofa, resting easily and comfortably, my left hand was raised, the elbow being supported, and held my cigar, whose light I saw in the shadow cast by the lamp-shade.
The first thought entertained was, that I had probably fallen asleep, and was perhaps experiencing the consequences of a dream. Nevertheless, I acknowledged to myself that I had never before had such a dream and one that seemed so realistic. I will say more: I was impressed that nothing in life had ever been so intensely real.
Then, convincing myself that I had not been dreaming, suddenly the idea possessed me that I was dead. At the same time I remembered what I had heard about spirits and I imagined that I had become one. All that I had learnt on this matter unfolded itself at great length to my mind's eye, and in much less time than it takes to recall it. At the time, I remember well, I was then consumed with a feeling akin to anxiety and regret about the things left unfinished and undone; my life appeared to me as a sort of formula.
"I drew toward myself, or rather toward the body, which I already thought had become my corpse. Then, something claimed my attention which at first I did not comprehend. I saw myself breathing, but, more than that, I saw myself internally, and noted that my heart was beating slowly and feebly, though with regularity. I saw my blood, red, and surging through large vessels. At this moment I realized that there must have been some peculiar faintness or syncope. Yet, I reasoned, persons thus affected have no recollection of what occurred to them during their attack. And then I feared that I would remember nothing when I should awake.
"Feeling rather more assured, I cast my eyes about me, wondering how long this condition would last ; I troubled no more about my body, the other self, still resting on the couch. I looked at my lamp which was burning on silently and thinking that it was dangerously near the bed and might set on fire the curtains, I stretched my hand to trim the ratchet-wheel, in order to put out the light; but at this point another surprise awaited me. I could feel the wheel with its milled edge, perfectly well. I perceived each one of its markings, but, manipulate it as I would, there seemed to be a cessation of power, and my fingers remained absolutely unable to turn the wheel. An examination of self was next made, and I saw that, although I could pass my hand through myself, I could still feel my body, which appeared to me (if memory serves me well) to be robed in white. I then placed myself before my mirror in front of the chimney. Instead of seeing my reflected image, I was conscious that my sight extended at will and could penetrate the wall. The posterior aspect of the pictures and articles of furniture in my neighbour's room became visible to me; I saw the interior of his apartment. I realized that there was no light in his room, yet, I saw everything distinctly through the medium of a ray of light issuing from my epigastrium.
"It occurred to me to visit this room, although I was unacquainted with my neighbour, who was not in Paris at that time. The moment I desired to go, I felt myself being transported there. In what manner? I do not know, but presumably through the wall, and with the same facility as my sight could do it. In short, I was for the first time in life, in my neighbour's apartment. I scanned the room, committed its aspect to memory and then went toward a bookcase, where I noticed particularly the titles of several works that were placed upon a shelf within range of my sight.
"To change my location, I needed only to wish it, and without the slightest effort I would find myself wherever I desired to go.
"From then, until I regained consciousness, my recollection is confused. I know that I traveled extensively, I believe, in Italy, but do not remember how I employed my time. It seemed, having lost control of myself, and being no longer master of my mind, I was carried here and there wherever thought directed me. I had not yet learned how to rule it, and before I could direct it, it would disperse me, so to speak ; "la foue du logis" now, was carrying the house about with her.
"I may add, in fine, that I awoke at five o'clock in the morning, stiff and cold, on my sofa, and still held the unfinished cigar within my fingers. My light had gone out and had smoked the chimney. I arose and got into bed, but without being able to go to sleep, and directly after was shaken by a chill. At last sleep came. When I awoke, the day was well advanced.
"On the same day, by means of an innocent trick, I managed to obtain a view of my neighbour's apartment. I induced the janitor to accompany me to see if everything was in order.
Through this subterfuge I gained admittance to the room visited the night before, and found the articles of furniture, the pictures, as well as the titles of the books which I had observed attentively, just as I had seen them on my nocturnal visit.
**I have been careful not to speak of this to any one, fearing that I would be looked on as insane or the prey of an hallucination."
On finishing his story Mr. H. asked: "What do you think of it. Doctor?"