Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Back to crisp fall weather, crisp fall me, rustling like a sheaf of papers, shaken.

Addison, in the Spectator of July 6, 1711, wrote, of ghosts:

"I should not have been thus particular upon these ridiculous Horrours, did I not find them so very much prevail in all Parts of the Country. At the same time I think a Person who is thus terrify'd with the Imagination of Ghosts and Spectres much more reasonable than one who, contrary to the Reports of all Historians sacred and prophane, ancient and modern, and to the Traditions of all Nations, thinks the Appearance of Spirits fabulous and groundless: Could not I give myself up to this general Testimony of Mankind, I should to the Relations of particular Persons who are now living, and whom I cannot distrust in other Matters of Fact. I might here add, that not only the Historians, to whom we may join the Poets, but likewise the Philosophers of Antiquity have favoured this Opinion. Lucretius himself, though by the Course of his Philosophy he was obliged to maintain that the Soul did not exist separate from the Body, makes no Doubt of the Reality of Apparitions, and that Men have often appeared after their Death. This I think very remarkable; he was so pressed with the Matter of Fact which he could not have the Confidence to deny, that he was forced to account for it by one of the most absurd unphilosophical Notions that was ever started. He tells us, That the Surfaces of all Bodies are perpetually flying off from their respective Bodies, one after another; and that these Surfaces or thin Cases that included each other whilst they were joined in the Body like the Coats of an Onion, are sometimes seen entire when they are separated from it; by which means we often behold the Shapes and Shadows of Persons who are either dead or absent."

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