Lhermitte, Professor Jean - Visual Hallucination of The Self – 07 1 Diseases which Can Produce the Phenomenon; Epilepsy
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
Diseases which Can Produce the Phenomenon
I could tell you of a number of cases which show the autoscopic vision of the double in many different diseases of the central nervous system.
First, in epilepsy. As Hughlings Jackson and his disciple, Kinnier Wilson, used to say, epilepsy is surely the disease which teaches most to the neurologist as well as to the psychiatrist. Lemaitre, Charles Fere, Griesinger, Meyer, Hagen, among others, have published numbers of cases of epileptics who were visited during their fits by apparitions of their double. Let us note that the vision is witnessed sometimes by the patient himself who has not completely lost consciousness, sometimes by others present during the patient's fit.
His behaviour during the paroxysms, his language, leave no doubt about the fact that it is himself he is seeing.
An odd fact is that for the same patient the vision appears always in the same manner and with the same shape. Let us add that sometimes the subject gives to his double his own sensations. Thus a patient of Fere's used to shout during the twilight period after the fit,
"Give him a cigarette. Light it; the poor man has no right hand. Rub his hand; his fingers are pricking."
He was himself at the time subject to post-paroxysmal paralysis of the right side.
In a patient of Nasse's, this is how things happened:
a light seemed to surround the patient, then out of it appeared a shape similar to himself and dressed like himself. It went across from right to left in the visual field, then disappeared.
In other cases the apparition of the double comes after a hallucination of another kind. Thus, in a case published by Monet the patient first had nausea, then the double appeared in front of him.