Taylor, Bayard - The formidable whispering turned into a choral song, a grand hymn sung by thousands of voices, which spread very quickly from one hill to another
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Extracted from the Journal of the American S.P.R. (1920, page 373).
The North American writer and poet Bayard Taylor (1825-1878)
Let the sceptics, the vulgar, the so-called practical men, have their opinion; it is nonetheless true that there is in human nature the latent intuition of the possibility of sometimes coming into contact with the supersensitive world. And we know from experience that there are not many people who agree to talk about incidents that cannot be explained by natural laws. They are astonishing coincidences, realized premonitions; sometimes ghost apparitions; all cases that we hardly manage to reduce to the convenient hypothesis of chance, and which, therefore, amaze those who examine them.
One night, at about one o'clock in the morning, in the mountainous region of Nevada, I was still contemplating the eternal beauty of the night, when I suddenly became aware of a distinctive sound, which seemed that of the wind in the forest. I looked at the trees, they were still. However this sound increased rapidly, to such an extent that the air in this solitary valley seemed to vibrate powerfully.
A strange feeling of waiting, almost fearful, had invaded me. Not a leaf was shaking in the wood, when suddenly this formidable whispering turned into a choral song, a grand hymn sung by thousands of voices, which spread very quickly from one hill to another, getting lost in the distance in the plain, like the echo of thunder. As it happens in some melodic preludes played by the organ, the notes were superimposed on the notes with a slowness and majestic art, then grouped into themes.
Then the wonderful choir, sung by countless voices, ends with these words: Vivat terrestriae! The whole atmosphere was invaded by the formidable song which seemed to slip quickly on the surface of the ground, in powerful waves, without any echo, without any repercussion.
After that, a powerful, penetrating, insinuating voice sounded from the depths of heaven, filled with a heavenly sweetness. Much more powerful than the sound of an organ or any other earthly instrument, this superhuman voice seemed to dart in a straight line through the heavens, with the instantaneity of an arrow.
And while the loud voice resounded above, increasing in strength, the earthly choir gradually died out, letting it dominate in the sky. Then, in turn, this voice broke down into fragments of celestial melodies, infinitely different from those on the earth.
It sounded like vibrant accents of victory and jubilation, while the words: Vivat Coelum! sounded several times, each time weaker, as if the voice quickly withdrew into the depths of the sky, among the starry abysses. And silence soon reigned around me again.
I was certainly awake. My thoughts were not diverted into reflections or fantasies that would make me to think in this direction... How can this happen? How can our brain faculties gratify us with visions or auditions so unexpected, so superior to our knowledge? Why these Latin words? Who was the author of this music of paradise, which would have been as impossible for me to compose as to compose a poem in Sanskrit?