Seeress of Prevorst, the - Seeing ghosts, and other lowly spirits
Type of Spiritual Experience
I don’t know whether the contradiction is caused by the translation or whether she did actually contradict herself but this is a strange paragraph “I have never seen any with hair. All the female ghosts have the same head covering-even when over it, as is sometimes the case, they have that they wore when alive. This consists of a sort of veil, which comes over the forehead, and covers the hair”
Despite the nature of the descriptions, these spirits could be alive or dead.
A description of the experience
The Seeress of Prevorst [translated by Catherine Crowe]
I see them at various times by day and night, whether I am alone or in company. I am perfectly awake at the time, and am not sensible of any circumstance or sensation that calls them up. . . . Not that they are always with me, but they come at their own pleasure, like mortal visitors, and equally, whether I am in a spiritual or corporeal state at the time. . . . I observe frequently that when a ghost visits me by night, those who sleep in the same room with me are, by their dreams, made aware of its presence ; they speak afterwards of the apparition they saw in their dream, although I have not breathed a syllable on the subject to them. . . .
I feel in a sort of magnetic rapport with them. They appear to me like a thin cloud that one could see through-which, however, I cannot do. I never observed that they threw any shadow. I see them more clearly by the sun or moonlight than in the dark; but whether I could see them in absolute darkness, I do not know. If any object comes between me and them, they are hidden from me. I cannot see them with closed eyes, nor when I turn my face from them; but I am so sensible of their presence, that I could designate the exact spot which they are standing; and I can hear them speak, though I stop my ears. I cannot endure that they should approach me very near; they give me a feeling of debility.
Other persons who do not see them are frequently sensible of the effects of their proximity when they are with me; they have a disposition to faintness, and feel a constriction of the nerves; even animals are not exempt from this effect. The appearance of the ghosts is the same as when they were alive, but colourless-rather greyish; so is their attire-like a cloud. The brighter and happier spirits are differently clothed; they have a long, loose, shining robe, with a girdle round the waist.
The features of the specters (ghosts] are as when alive; but mostly sad and gloomy. Their eyes are bright-often like flame. I have never seen any with hair. All the female ghosts have the same head covering-even when over it, as is sometimes the case, they have that they wore when alive. This consists of a sort of veil, which comes over the forehead, and covers the hair. The forms of the good spirits appear bright, those of the evil, dusky.
Whether it is only under this form that my senses can perceive them, and whether to a more spiritualized being, they would not appear as spirits, I cannot say; but I suspect it. Their gait is like the gait of the living, only that the better spirits seem to float, and the evil ones tread more heavily; so that their footsteps may sometimes be heard, not by me alone, but by those who are with me.
They have various ways of attracting attention by other sounds besides speech. . . . These sounds consist of sighing, knocking, noises as of the throwing of sand or gravel, rustling of paper, rolling of a ball, shuffling as in slippers, etc. They are also able to move heavy articles, and to open and shut doors; although they can pass through these unopened, or through the walls. I observe that the darker a spectre is, the stronger is his voice, and the more ghostly power of making noises, and so forth, he seems to have. . . . They move their mouths in speaking, and their voices are as various, as those of the living. They cannot answer me all that I desire; wicked spirits are more willing or able to do this, but I avoid conversing with them.
These I can dismiss by a written word, used as an amulet. . . .
When I talk to them piously, I have seen the spirits, especially the darker ones, draw in my words, as it were, whereby they become brighter; but I feel much weaker. The spirits of the happy invigorate me, and give me a very different feeling. . . . I observe that the happy spirits have the same difficulty in answering questions regarding earthly matters, as the evil ones have it, with respect to heavenly ones. The first belong not to earth, nor the last to heaven.
With the high and blessed spirits I am not in a condition to converse : I can only venture on a short interrogation. . . . When soul and spirit are united, I cannot converse with the blessed. The spirits who come to me are mostly on the inferior steps of the mid-region, which is in our atmosphere. They are chiefly spirits of those who from the attraction of, and attachment to, the external world, have remained below; or of those who, in the moment of dying, have been troubled with an earthly thought which has clung to them, and impeded their upward flight. Many, who are neither condemned nor placed amongst the blessed immediately after death, are on different stages of this mid-region; some, whose spirits have been purified, are very high. On the lowest degree, these spirits are still exposed to the temptation of the wicked; but not in the higher, where they already enjoy heavenly happiness and the purity of the blessed. . . .
'Those on the lower degree, who are the heaviest, are in a continual twilight, with nothing to delight their eyes. . . . It is only by their inward improvement that they obtain light and the power of seeing. As soon as they have light in their souls, they can quit our atmosphere, and they can see light again. These are they who mostly come to me. . . . They come to me that I may aid them through prayer, and give them a word of consolation. Others come under the erroneous persuasion, that the avowal of some crime which weighs upon their spirit will bring them rest. Under the influence of this error, they are often more anxious about some single misdeed than about all the rest of their ill-spent lives; and others come to me to whom some earthly feeling or thought has clung in death which they cannot shake off. It were better they addressed themselves to the Spirits of the Blessed; but their weight draws them more to men than to spirits. They come to me, and I see them independently of my own will.