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Observations placeholder

Ritter, Christiane - The black figure rises out of the water and, stooping, slowly and inexorably approaches its victim



Type of Spiritual Experience


Number of hallucinations: 1


A description of the experience

A Woman in the Polar night – Christiane Ritter

At last, after stumbling uncertainly around for three-quarters of an hour, constantly encountering new features that turn out not to be new after all, I reach the spring. I could not take a step further than the point at which my strength of will had set its goal-beyond is an infinite blackness in which everything is swallowed up.

The spring is still bubbling up strongly from beneath the snow, the water collects in hollowed-out stone troughs and then falls in tiny cascades down to the sea. The water is icy, and my hands become so stiff that I cannot wring out the last pieces of washing.

On the way back home the wind rises. The sea, now growing restless, beats against the frozen rocky shore.

From the north a wind blows over the land, sweeping the dry snow up into columns, and then dies away, leaving everything again enveloped in quiet.

In the distance the dark outlines of the little hut emerge.

Here, always on the same spot, I have for some time been startled by a remarkable fantasy. I imagine that something has risen out of the unquiet water in the last inlet before the hut, a dark form that is making its way toward me, bent, noiseless, and ineluctable. Again and again I try to banish this phantom, clear and sharp though its outlines may be in my imagination.

How astonished I am then in the winter night, to find in an old case of books left behind by the hunter Nois an old number of Allers Familienjournal, containing an article on spectres, which reproduces a faithful likeness of my own phantom. There is the hob-goblin and the legendary sea serpent, and there also is the black figure as it rises out of the water and, stooping, slowly and inexorably approaches its victim. The caption reads:

'A spectre of the shore which appears to fishermen." I did not want to go on reading then. I did not want to burden my imagination further with a more detailed description of the horrible fellow. When the light returns, once the long night is over, I will read it through to the end. For the time being it is enough to know that apparently this image rises wherever people live on lonely coasts.

The source of the experience

Ritter, Christiane

Concepts, symbols and science items


Spirit being


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps