J, J. Hoppe. Erkl
man always was seeing a skeleton. 3. Pascal, after a heavy blow, saw a fiery abyss into which he was afraid he would fall. 4. A man who had seen an enormous fire, for a long time afterward saw flames continually. 5. Numerous cases in which criminals, especially murderers, always had their victims before their eyes. 6. Justus M
A part of these stories seems considerably fictitious, a part applies to indubitable pathological cases, and certain of them are confirmed elsewhere. That murderers, particularly women-murderers of children, often see their victims is well known to us criminalists. And for this reason the habit of confining prisoners in a dark cell for twenty-four hours on the anniversary of a crime must be pointed to as refined and thoroughly medi
Hoppe tells of a great group of hallucinations in conditions of waking and half-waking, and asserts that everybody has them and can note them if he gives his attention thereto. This may be an exaggeration, but it is true that a healthy person in any way excited or afraid may hear all kinds of things in the crackling of a fire, etc., and may see all kinds of things, in smoke, in clouds, etc. The movement of portraits and statues is particularly characteristic, especially in dim light, and under unstable emotional conditions. I own a relief by Ghiberti called the ``Rise of the Flesh,'' in which seven femurs dance around a corpse and sing. If, at night, I put out the lamp in my study and the moon falls on the work, the seven femurs
dance as lively as may be during the time it takes my eyes to adapt themselves from the lamplight to the moonlight. Something similar
I see on an old carved dresser. The carving is so delicate that in dim light it shows tiny heads and flames after the fashion of the Catholic church pictures of ``poor souls,'' in purgatory. Under certain conditions of illumination the flames flicker, the heads move, and out of the fire the arms raise themselves to the clouds floating above. Now this requires no unusual excitement, simply the weary sensing of evening, when the eyes turn from prolonged uniform reading or writing to something else. It has happened to me from my earliest childhood. High bodily temperature may easily cause hallucinations. Thus, marching soldiers are led to shoot at non- existing animals and apparently-approaching enemies. Uniform and fatiguing mental activity is also a source of hallucination. Fechner says that one day having performed a long experiment with the help of a stop-watch, he heard its beats through the whole evening after. So again when he was studying long series of figures he used to see them at night in the dark so distinctly that he could read them off.
Then there are illusions of touch which may be criminalistically important. A movement of air may be taken for an approaching man. A tight collar or cravat may excite the image of being stifled! Old people frequently have a sandy taste while eating,--when this is told the thought occurs that it may be due to coarsely powdered arsenic, yet it may be merely illusion.
The slightest abnormality makes hallucinations and illusions very easy. Persons who are in great danger have all kinds of hallucinations, particularly of people. In the court of law, when witnesses who have been assaulted testify to having seen people, hallucination may often be the basis of their evidence. Hunger again, or loss of blood, gives rise to the most various hallucinations. Menstruation and h
It might seem that in this matter, also, the results are destructive and that the statements of witnesses are untrue and unreliable. I do not assert that our valuation of these statements shall be checked from all possible directions, but I do say that much of what we have considered as true depends only on illusions in the broad sense of the word and that it is our duty before all things rigorously to test everything that underlies our researches.