Lhermitte, Professor Jean - Visual Hallucination of The Self – 04 Anxiety
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL LONDON SATURDAY MARCH 3 1951 - VISUAL HALLUCINATION OF THE SELF BY JEAN LHERMITTE, M.D. Honorary Professor, Faculty of Medicine, Paris
While the state of drowsiness facilitates the onset of autoscopic hallucination, there is another condition often seen at the source of the phenomenon-it is anxiety. For instance, the following case published by Parioli shows the importance of the affective state in autoscopy.
A young woman, apparently free from all worry, was working one evening in a large room divided in two by a curtain. Suddenly she thought she could hear one of her children getting restless in his bed; she drew the curtain and went into the other room, where she saw her own image bending over her child's bed, dressed in clothes she had not worn for some time.
"The face of this phantom was turned towards me," she said, "and was excessively sad."
In trying to explain the cause of this peculiar phenomenon, certainly capable of causing anxiety, this woman remembered that three months before she had lost a child whose body had been placed on this same bed and that she was then dressed in the clothes worn now by the apparition.
I could mention many more similar cases. There is the story of that unfortunate doctor with an incurable disease. One day in the passage of a house he was entering for the first time he saw his own image. This happened several times afterwards, and the doctor noted the strange fact that on each occasion the hallucinatory image made the same gestures as himself and at the same moment.
While in most cases the phenomenon of autoscopy is an occasional occurrence, there are nevertheless cases whose characteristic is the prolonged duration of the frequent repetition of the body image. And one can easily guess that persistence of the double of oneself is enough to disturb a person's mind and also to stimulate the imagination of writers.
The problem of the double must therefore be approached both through literature and through medical pathology.
The source of the experienceLhermitte, Professor Jean
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