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Thelmar, E – 16 I sat up in bed and faced the two harpies without uttering a sound



Type of Spiritual Experience

Inter composer communication

Number of hallucinations: 1


A description of the experience

The Maniac – A Realistic Study of Madness from the Maniac’s Point of View – E Thelmar

The next thing that is impressed on my memory is waking to find that same nurse and Mrs. W standing together by the window, in front of the looking-glass, talking. The nurse had on no cap or apron (having just come in from walking, I think).

To me they appeared two gaunt, frightful caricatures of their real selves, and they stood nose to nose, as if pecking at each other's faces, like two birds of prey. The spectacle terrified me.

“On no account scream out, or let those two creatures see that you are afraid of them!" exclaimed a voice to me. "Those are the 'doubles' of those women, which have no business to be outside their bodies, and are endeavouring to frighten you. Sit up and face them, and they will be obliged to go back inside the bodies to which they belong, and allow those two women to resume their natural, outward forms,"

I was terrified, but I sat up in bed and faced the two harpies without uttering a sound. I thought, "If they don't change to their proper shapes soon, or if they attempt to attack me, I shan't be able to help screaming."

"Are you afraid?" inquired the voice.

“Afraid?" I echoed- “I am terrified! But I am doing what you told me, and not letting them see it."

In a few seconds' time the spectres ceased talking and moved apart. I endured a moment's agony of suspense, wondering what their next move would be-and then suddenly they resumed their proper shapes. I lay back again quietly on the pillow, without a word.

"Always face these sort of things in this way," said the voice. "If you show one symptom of fear they will have power over you. You will find, as long as you show no fear, that you will be stronger than any of them."

The source of the experience

Thelmar, E

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Loneliness and isolation


Manic depression


Hearing voices