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Observations placeholder

Goethe - The vision of his friend Frederick



Type of Spiritual Experience

Inter composer communication

Number of hallucinations: 1


A description of the experience

Death and its Mystery, At the Moment of Death; Manifestations and Apparitions of the Dying – Camille Flammarion

Let us call to memory the remarkable case of Goethe.

The poet, one rainy summer night, was walking with his friend K-; who was going back with him from the Belvedere to Weimar.  Suddenly he halted as if confronted by an apparition, and stopped speaking. His friend thought nothing of it. Suddenly Goethe cried:

"Good heavens! If I weren’t sure my friend Frederick is this minute in Frankfurt, I'd swear it is he!" Then he burst into a great laugh.

"But it is he,-my friend Frederick! You here, in Weimar? But Heavens, my dear fellow, how you've got yourself up! In my dressing-gown, in my nightcap, with my slippers on your feet here, on the highway!"

His companion seeing absolutely nothing was terrified, thinking the poet had suddenly gone mad. But Goethe, absorbed by his vision stretched out his arms and shouted,:

"Frederick! Where did you go?  Good God! My dear K-, didn't you see where the person we just met went!"

K-, astounded did not answer.  Then the poet, turning his head this way and that, exclaimed with a dreamy air:

"Yes I understand. It was a vision. But what can the meaning of all that be? Could my friend have died suddenly?  Could that have been his spirit?

Then Goethe went home and found Frederick at his house.  His hair stood on end.

"Away, phantom" he cried, drawing back, pale as death.

"But, my dear fellow," said the visitor non-plussed “is that the welcome you give your truest friend?”

“Ah, this time" the poet cried, laughing and weeping at once, “it is not a spirit, it is a being of flesh and blood" And the two friends embraced with effusion.

Frederick had arrived at Goethe’s house soaked with rain, and had put on the poet’s dry clothes; he had then gone to sleep in an am-chair, and had dreamed that he went to meet Goethe and that Goethe had questioned him in these words (the same that the post had uttered):

"You here in Weimar?  In my dressing-gown, my nightcap, with my slippers on your feet, here on the highway!"

The source of the experience


Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Premature birth