Annekatrin Puhle, Dr.phil. / PhD

Philosophie, Gesundheitsberatung, Bücher / Philosophy, Health Consulting, Books

Annekatrin Puhle, Dr.phil.  /  PhD header image 3

Paper: Spirits of Goethe’s time

JournalOsloJournalOsloAnnekatrin Puhle: Ghostly Apparitions During the Time of Goethe

Lecture for the Norwegian Society for Psychical Research, Oslo. Published in Parapsykologiske Notiser, vol 52, 2001.

Ghostly Apparitions During the Time of Goethe

“If there are ghosts weaving through the air

in their reign between earth and heaven,

then climb out of your golden fragrance

and lead me away to a new colourful life.”

(Goethe, Faust I, Vor dem Tor, 1118f)

Part 1.Ghosts are Citizens of the World.

What Bill Roll, the world’s leading poltergeist researcher, said about the nature of his object of study, can also be said about ghosts in general: “Ghosts are citizens of the world”. Ghosts occur not only throughout the world, they are as old as mankind itself, and with the question of ghosts actually are, is as old as they are. Even the enormous impact of technology on our life has not succeeded in eliminating ghosts from our world. It is clear though that they never have found a natural place in our world.

I have five questions:

  • Do ghosts belong in this world or in the other world?
  • Are they real or unreal?
  • Are they visible or invisible (in the sense of being physically recordable on camera or video)?
  • Are they composed of any kind of ethereal material or not?
  • Are they objective or purely subjective?

The fact of the matter is that about 60% of the population amongst the industrial countries, say they have at some time in their life experienced what they interpreted to be an apparition. Could then be merely subjective hallucinations of some kind without corresponding to anything in the world?It is true that several surveys have found about 10% of the general population have had “ a vivid realistic experience of an hallucination of a person while awake and not under the influence of drugs”.A small percentage (just less than 0.5%) of these experiences do however coincide with the actual death of the person seen, and are therefore called crisis apparitions (Sidgwick, Gurney & Myers 189?, West 1949, West 1986).After excluding cases where the death of the person might be expected, as for example because of illness, this figure, although small,is many times the figure expected by chance coincidence calculated on the basis of death statistics. An Italian survey by Rinaldi found that one in six deaths were accompanied by some form of paranormal experiences amongst the relatives of the person who died.From the point of view of objectivity it is interesting to note that a modern study of apparitions looked at what other observers at the scene reported: did they see the apparition? In about a quarter of these cases there was in fact an agreement as to the presence and form of the apparition (Haraldsson 19XX). It seems clear then that not while not everyone is able to see apparitions, they cannot be dismissed simply as hallucinations.

Even so, it seems to be personal experience rather than scientific findings which determines our attitudes to the whole paranormal area. There is a polarity of beliefs. The classical division is between the so-called “sheep” – the believers, and the “goats” – the critics. Because of this, it is rather seldom to meet openness rather than preconceived ideas as to what ghosts and apparitions might be.

This black and white thinking is not the appropriate one for the topic. It is a complex area as shown by the number of different types of published apparitional experiences. This same diversity is found not only Goethe’s time, and not only in Germany, but amongst the countless number sof unpublished experiences.

I have discovered during the four years of my project more than two thousand books containing reports about ghosts. My own research focused on the older reports, thosebelonging to the period of the 1700s and 1800s. This work is now available in the form of an anthology with texts from as many as 14 different centuries including some of my own first hand modern cases and my comments on these.

My research has taken me to twenty-one cities in four countries: Germany, England, Sweden, and Austria.

The Germans always have written a lot”commented Conrad Georg Horst(1821), the author of the classical six volume “Library of Magic” (1821-1826;vol. 1 p.264)

Horst lived from 1769-1832. He was an evangelic pastor, a doctor of theology. It was said that if anyone person had an overview of ghosts, then it was Horst. In spite of his knowledge of the literature, he was unable to arrive at a clear definition of what a ghost is.

Part 2. What is a Ghost?

“Where ghosts have found their seat, the philosophers is also welcome.”

(Faust II, 2. Akt, Walpurgisnacht, Am Oberen Peneios wie zuvor, 2843-)

What are ghosts? The ten classical answers are:

1. Ghosts are dismissed as fraudulent.

2. Ghosts are a deception of senses – in the form of illusions and hallucinations.

3. Ghosts are deities

4. Ghosts are nature-beings

5. Ghosts are beings created by God.

6. Ghosts are beings created by the Devil.

7. Ghosts are the souls of deceased humans and animals.

8. Ghosts are the subtle bodies of living humans and animals.

9. Ghosts are projections of humans.

10. Ghosts are creations of humans.

What do the historical authors say to that?

The book of Adam Koepke from the year 1749, “Written Explanation of the True Appearance of Samuel After His Death”, says:

A certain enlightened author has the following idea concerning ghostly appearances. The soul does not leave the body through the mouth like a bodily being since the soul per definition lacks a body.After its departure it goes through the gates guarding the depths.It – the soul – keeps what it is dressed with. This is richness, lust, power, honour, anger, rage, grimness, lying and falsehood, and so on. Ghosts become tortured by this: that is why it is so often happens that the ghost of the deceased person is often seen moving around sometimes in the shape of a fire of emotion depending how the soul was dressed at the time it lived. This is the form it takes on departure.If it – the soul- has been good here it will be good there as well… They are unhappy now since they cannot find eternity and they, the souls are finite beings…so they are longing again for this world and appear in it in pain and confusion…during several centuries.

(Koepke 1749, p. 67-)

From the year 1784, we have “The Natural Dictionary of Magic” written by the pharmacist Johan Christian Wiegleb. It said that when you open this book you get a cool breeze of critical “natural” thinking. You find under the term ghosts the following note:

“One can’t decide if ghosts and spirits exist, since one has not studied the souls and angels enough in order to make adequate judgements about their being and circumstance. I like to compare this to the belief in so-called mountain spirits. In the time of Lavater and the educated Agricola, it was fashionable to be believe in these and to define them exactly …but in our time no mountain spirit or goblin appearsany more since no miners claim anymore to have seen them… Yet it seems that these poor little devils have been eliminated since in our time we now have a better insight into how the stones grow and build crystals in the mines, which were in former times attributed to the work of these creatures.”

(Wiegleb 1784, 747)

Horst offersin his “Library of Magic” several definitions of ghosts:

For instance Alberti and Gehres see ghosts as belonging to the realm of demons. Romanus and Stryck see them as terrifying appearances of the Devil similar to what Thomasius thinks.

Schwarze interprets ghosts as “finite mental entities differing from angels andthe souls of the humans (ghosts are intermediary between both these). They are created by God for various wise purposes. Even then when they cause damage they follow the Will of God.” (Horst 1821, vol.1, p.238).

Reichard defines a ghost “as an unusual appearance perceived through the senses but which frightens humans because it is so unusual and because they are caused not by God, not by angels, nor by living persons”.(Reichard 1781 vol. 1. P. 240.)

Paracelsus and Nollius (Physica hermetica Lib. III) say that ghosts naturespirits relating to the classical four elements – fire, air, water, and earth. Others see ghosts as a form of astral being. For instance, the famous mystic Jacob Böhme, regarded ghosts as the astral bodies of deceased persons (Horst 1821, vo.1, p.239). As for negative or terrifying ghosts, they were said to be created by the “excretion from the rotting dead body” (Cardan, Vanini, Gafarelli). Such natural explanations are however a bit before their time and for the writer Horst, they fit better into later centuries when it became more fashionable to seeknatural causes for ghosts. Finally, Horst considers belief common to both the folklore and the Christianity of the time, that ghosts are the appearances of deceased persons bound to the earth by their unfulfilled longing. However even this is too simple for Horst (Horst 1821, vo.1, p.240).

To achieve some clarity in this chaos, we have:

  • ·Angels and Light Beings
  • ·Protecting Ghosts
  • ·White Ghosts
  • ·The White Lady
  • ·Ghosts as Shadows and Nebulous Cloud-like Beings
  • ·Ghosts appearing to the Dying
  • ·Ghosts of the Dying
  • ·Ghosts of the Dead
  • ·Ghosts of the Living
  • ·Doppelgangers seen by Others
  • ·Doppelgangers seen by One’s Self
  • ·Spiritus vitales or Life Spirit
  • ·Spiritus nervoses or the Nerve Spirit
  • ·Ghosts of Unknown People
  • ·Fragments of Ghosts
  • ·Groups of Ghosts
  • ·Domestic Spirits
    • ·Dragons
    • ·Goblins
    • ·Poltergeists
    • ·Spiritis familaris – family spirit
    • ·Nature Spirits
    • ·Ghosts of Plants
    • ·Ghosts of Animals & Ghostly Animals
    • ·Werewolves and Vampires
    • ·Demons and Fabulous Beings
      • ·Alraune

Lets go now into detail and look at the area to which poltergeists belong: that of so-called “domestic spirits”. The name “poltergeist” was actually first introduced by Martin Luther.

There are some general features describing the way in which poltergeist cases progress. They come literally in through the window! But first they knock on the outside in a teasing way, then they throw small stones with increasing intensity so that in the end the glass breaks, and finally all hell breaks loose.

We have many reports about these little beings describing them as being merely funny, a little overdone and clownish in their behaviour. During the centuries we can however see their gradual transformation into nasty beings with their typical pattern of destructive phenomena. The joyful mocker has become a little devil, taking upon itself the most horrible of characteristics. This is not to say the so-called “little knocker” of former times does not exist anymore, but rather that it is the unpleasant aspects of the contact which now come to dominate. This negative public image that the poltergeist has got in modern times, is recognisable in various worldwide studies (Bill Roll, Andrew Nichols and Gary Gayner in the USA, Tony Cornel and Alan Gauld in England, Walter von Lucadou and Eberhard Bauer in Germany, Nils-Olof Jacobson in Sweden among others.

It is difficult to judge today how many positiveencounters with domestic spirits occur since there is nothing in such cases to motivate the poltergeist victim to seek publicity or outside help. At the other extreme we have to reckon also with a number of unreported cases that may defy reason so much that no one dares or wishes to report them.

There is one example of a poltergeist or haunting case given by Horst which vividly illustrates both the good and bad sides of the poltergeist character. The case appears to have some substance in that it was sent independently by two priests to Horst with the purpose of publication. The case occurred in the house of the parson Hahn in the years 1757-1765 but still had not completely ceased when the Hahn’s son wrote the report in the year 1772. Like in many poltergeist cases an exorcism was made but without success. The case achieved such notoriety that it was taken up for investigation by a higher governmental instance but with the outcome that they could not to find a natural cause for it.

There can be no doubt as to the certainty of this case.The only remaining alternative would be to declare all the people who stayed in the house of my father and all the 3-400 witnesses to be fantasisers. …If there was anyone who was eager to get to the truth of the matter and to be an reliable witness, then it was myself.First I had doubts…..and tried to find all types of natural causes for the noises since in the was no ghost to be seen. …

After one year, the poltergeist became visible and it was discovered that there were three different figures, one black one and two white ones. One of them had the average size of a three years old child but he was seldom seen.I could myself only see the bright outline of the black figure, similar in appearance to the shinning light reflected by a mirror.However my brother who was constantly plagued by these ghosts, described a tall black ugly figure and said that the fire which other people saw, came from out of the breast of this figure. Although I stood next to the figure, it proved impossible to recognise a human face. It was the same for the white figures: I could not perceive more than a middle sized figure without a head and without feet. My father asserted he had once seen it as having such a beautiful form and face that it was a pleasure to look at. Its body was so transparent you see the trees and plants in the garden through it. This subtlety of the body might be explanation as to how it could enter the house through locked doors and change from being visible to invisible.

Both of the figures had speech, the black one as well as the larger whiter one. The black one spoke…with a terrible thundering…voice…that had an accent.. You might ask what did it have to say? Only one thing. … I will give my treasure at 11 o clock!… On the last occasion that it appeared my brother, it came to his bed and said I want to tell you my time is over now, I cannot give it (the treasure) to you now but the time will come when I can.From this time onwards it was gone from our house and rarely appeared again and then only in the garden.

The white ghosts have been friendly and sociable. The larger one even warned my brother about the black one.…Neither of them liked prayers and singing …

The white one has a special ability to affect people from a distance. …Several times it wanted to speak to my brother in the garden and to do so caused such a pressure on his breast that he was forced to go into the garden. In spite of the white figure’s sociable and friendly attitude towards humans, there was a natural antipathy in it towards the black figure.

(Horst 1822, vol.3, p.241-245).

In modern poltergeist cases, one distinguishes between place and person bound cases.Person bound cases are called in the English speaking area, poltergeists, while the place bound cases are called hauntings. As this particular case, although there had been an earlier tradition of a haunting associated with a former house built on the same grounds, the main features of the case did cease shortly before the departure of possible focus person, the 12 year-old brother.

Another interesting feature relating to what is often said about poltergeist cases, concerns a possible connection with epilepsy.Even at that distant historical time, it was noted the night watchman who also saw the black ghost, suffered from what was diagnosed as epilepsy.

Was it a form of haunting? In the dream of the author’s brother, the three ghosts appeared as a family consisting of parents and a child. Another typical experience with ghosts is said to be coldness which was also a feature of this case. Like most modern poltergeist cases, many objects were thrown, as is often the case, with such a degree of precision, so as to just miss hitting the victim.

Concerning the treasure, the author claims they did in fact find at the very place indicated by the ghost, a little box with two handles. However, at the very moment the box was found, the ghosts appeared and began to fight and the box sunk so far back down into the earth that further attempts failed to recover it.

Part 3. How are Ghosts Perceived?

In Goethe’s Faust the following famous words are to be found:

Now I realise what the wiseman is saying: the world of the ghosts is not closed to us, it is rather your senses that are closed and your heart is dead!

(Goethe, Faust I, Nacht, 442-)

Ghosts can be heard, seen, smelt, felt, and intuitively sensed.While seeing ghosts seems to be most likely and the most believable of the possibilities it should be said that the visual perception is perhaps the most complex of our sensory systems and demands some special comment. For this reason, I wish to concentrate on a special area of this: the so-called second sight. Horst does not only write about this topic in his Library of Magic but also in his two volume work with the title “Deuteroskopie” which actually means second-sight.

That this was written for “philosophers of religion, psychologists and thinking physicians.,” can be read in the subtitle of this work published in 1830.

The other sight, second sight or the double sight is the ability to preceive occurrences and events which take place in the immediate presence or the future. These other sights functions through the organs of the natural sight in a symbolic way.This means that the other sights have a deviatory character…therefore the people who possess this gift are called seers.

(Horst 1830, vol. 1 p. 9)

Horst points out the second sight of the highlands of Scotland and of theWestern Isles is seldom found in women, but occurs much more often in men! (Horst 1830, vol.1 p. 21)

It occurs in a waking conscious state.” (Horst 1830, vol.1 p. 10) The German shoemaker, philosopher and mystic, Jacob Böhme (1525-1624) entered an altered state of consciousness merely by looking into a pewter (tin) pots. It is in this state that he gained a glimpse of the inner secrets of nature– which he described “as if he looked into the heart of all creatures. Such things I do not see with my bodily eyes but with the eyes from which the source of the life inside myselfarises. (Kerner 1892, p. 90)

I have taken this description given by Böhme out of one of the most historical sources in the German literature on Ghosts. It is called “The Seeress of Prevorst”,first published 1829.

The author is the German physician and poet Justinus Kerner (1786-1862).

Kerner points out that the second sight was at least at that time to be found in special areas such as the Scottish Islands, Denmark, and in one part of Germany called Westfalen.“This is a very special look where all mental activity is concentrated to a small point in the gaze of the eyes…I have often seen this look in Frau H. When she saw her own doppelganger or a ghost.”(Kerner 1892 p. 103)

Kerner describes in detail the case of the Seeress of Prevorst, Friederike Hauffe, who came as young patient to stay with him in his home. Many examples of Mrs Hs second sight are documented in his book.For instance on one occasion she predicted that her brother would be shot at a specific place and time and also gave a detailed description of the attacker. The brother was warned but the attack still took place alhtough some hours after it was predicted time.The attacker was tracked down to the actual house that Frederike had described.

If we accept that Fredericke had a second sight at a rather high level, then what it becomes interesting to take note of how it appeared to operate: It seemed to work like normal sight does with some censorship or natural protection for what one does not want to see. For instance, Frederike described in detail a coffin and a body and she couldn’t see the face of the person in the coffin, she had nevertheless a vague feeling that it must be her father who lived some distance away. She had this dream for three recurrent days and on the third night he died (Kerner 1892 p. 107) although she received news of this some days later.

The second sight is still common (prevalent) in Westfalen and I have with me a photo of a shepherd in a village called Nettelstedt.

He lived from 1870 to 1940. Mrs Wilde, an editor of a folklore journal from this area had given me the photo but requests anonymity for him because even today it is still somewhat taboo to be described as belonging to a seer-family. It is still within living memory that such people were expelled from the church.

The well known German poet Theodor Storm (1817-1888) also knew about the second sight and generally had a fable for ghost stories especially true ones.We have post-humorous manuscripts in the form of collected reports which were to have formed the basis for a future book to be called “Neues Geisterbuch”– “new ghost book”.Here is an example of one of those reportsthis one by Doris Stamptitled “Another Second Sight”:

An uncle of mine used to visit my parents always after he had finished his work to talk a little before going home to bed, at which time it was becoming dark – the so-called blue hour. As he himself had no family, he used to look forward during the whole day for these talks. One evening after such a talk, he put on his woollen hat and asked if the door to the yard was open and then left. A few minutes later, he was back again, putting his hat back on the table and sitting down again. My father looked a bit astonished and asked for the reason for this behaviour. “Ooh! It is nothing”, he answered sounding confused, “ but – you will soon have a dead body in your house.” With that he departed. – When he returned again the next evening at the usual time, we children gathered around him and curiously asked about what had happened the previous evening. “Yes”, he said, “This evening I am allowed to tell you; if I had told you yesterday, I would not been able to close my eyes for the whole night. When I went through the kitchen yesterday and opened the door to the yard, the man who rents the room in the house in your house, suddenly came towards me wrapped in a the clothes of a dead body. He strode quietly past me into his chamber.”

Three days later this man was found dead and his body was lying in the very same room my uncle had seen the apparition walking into.”

(Storm 1991, nr. 24)

Part 4. Ghosts Only for Fun?

By way of introduction, I am giving another Goethe quotation, this time from the comedy “Der Groß-Cophta” (III, 9):

Immortality is not everybody’s thing.”

Ghost stories and the feeling of joyful showers going down your back have something in common -the thrill that everyone recognises from his childhood. A spooky atmosphere has an enormous attraction even if the stories are not required to be true. Naturally, if they are genuine this adds a little spice to the meal.

How is it then to live with a ghost?The daughter of Kerner – the physician I mentioned earlier – had a good chance of getting used to presence of ghosts that often came with Kerner´s patients. She wrote “the ghosts have become friends and they are not able to frighten us any more.” (Niethammer 1877, p.188)

Most of the ghosts were brought to the house of Kerner by the Seeress of Prevorst. He writes about her

“She belonged to the world of ghosts.She was more than half a ghost in this world; at least half of her state belonged to the after-life!”(Kerner, 1892 p.43).

The number of ghosts seen by Friederike Hauffe were countless despite the fact she died before she reached 30. Her ghosts show much more than the usual frightening feelings: She saw ghosts of the dead but they gave her information; she saw the guardian ghosts behind every person from which she derived some knowledge of the character of the person. She also saw angels who were barers of information. For example, she received information from a ghost who when repeatedly appearing to her, gave her the specific information which was needed to find some important papers. These papers would bring a positive resolution to court case that previously had reached a wrong verdict.

Ghosts only for Fun?

The next point concerns that of: “Protecting ghosts”. Ghosts have throughout time been seen as a concrete helping agent for solving life problems. Kerner writes:

 Socrates, Plotinus, Paracelsus … and others asserted they were under the guidance of a demon. This genius or “demon” as Socrates would call him, warned not only Socrates but also others via him, of the coming dangers and foretold the future, giving advice as how to act.

The recently deceased wife of a citizen of Heilbronn named Arnold has constantly seen a ghost around herself who not only warned her of many dangers but even foretold of the visits of friends, the deaths in the family, and finally her own death. Only on one occasion the ghost took the shape of an elderly man, but his presence was not often felt not by her but by others. When the ghost talked to her, others felt it to be like a gust of air. There are still believable witnesses living today who can tell remarkable stories about this.” (Kerner 1892, p. 96-)

Related to the experiences of protecting ghosts are those of angels and light beings. Horst mentions in his book the case of a young girl who was unable to walk because of her deformed legs. In course of a single night she became dramatically healed and was able to walk again. This was the night when she awoke and asked her mother and brother if they had heard the angel talking to her. It seemed for her as if the angel had stroked her leg whereupon the leg straightened. (Kerner 1892, p. 98-)

Encounters with angels play an important role even today as for example in the context of near-death experiences. Karlis Osis and Erlendur Haraldsson have published reports of apparitions seen by dying people. In the opinion of the authors, these experiences argue against using pure medical criteria to assess the end of mental life.Osis and Haraldsson point out: “ We try instead to direct the attention to the remarkable number of apparitions which speak for a life after death”. (Osis & Haraldsson, Der Tod – ein neuer Anfang p. 59).About one half of their data relate to patients who at the point of death saw persons not seen by the medical staff.Osis and Haraldsson call these experiences “apparitions” and wish to distinguish them clearly from fantasies and daydreams. Amongst their examples of dying people, they give the following case reported by a Christian nurse in India.The patient was a family friend of hers, a man between 40 and 50, who was suffering from tuberculosis but without receiving medication and without showing clear signs of fever. He was a religious person and was expected to die. He suddenly called out “Look there are angels coming down the stairs, the glass has fallen down and broken”. Although the medical staff did not see any angels they did see the drinking glass standing on the stairs. However while they were still looking at it, the glass broke into a thousand pieces, shattering rather than falling.At that point in time, the face of patient took on a peaceful expression and in the next moment he died. Osis and Haraldsson, 1987, p. 68)

Ghosts only for fun? Let me summarise.

  • ·There are ghosts who are simply the products of the entertainment world
  • ·there are the ghosts who are a barer of information,
  • ·there are ghosts who are warners and protectors,
  • ·and we have ghosts as signs of another reality.

Another aspect of ghosts, perhaps the most important one, concernsethical dimensions.

The haunting ghost par excellence is the ghost who is earthly fixated by a unresolved problem. We have an example from the classical antiquities. The Roman author Plinius the younger, wrote around the year 100 AD about ahaunted house in Athens. It was here that a ghost shaking its chains, repeatedly appeared.

The philosopher Athenodoros rented the house and after making contact with the ghost followed it to a certain area, where it indicated, they were to dig. On doing so they found a skeleton with chains. After a formal funeral and reburial the ghost ceased to appear.

The occurrence of so-called “earth-bound ghosts and hauntings” have not only implications for an after-life but they serve as a reminder of how our actions on the earth can influence the form in which this possible after-life might take. This takes us back to the beginning of the talk when I mentioned the enlightened author Adam Koepke. You may remember, it was he who said that all our actions and emotional states follow with us into an after-life.

Ghosts do not only appear for fun. Ghosts are neither for children nor for adults. This is illustrated by my last example. It is taken from a classical work to be found in German historical ghost literature.

The author here was a well-known physician and eye-specialist, Heinrich Jung-Stilling (1740-1818), who was in his younger years a friend of Goethe.

Jung-Stilling reports in his book on a theory of ghosts from 1808

Forty years ago, I knew a very religious and enlightened hand worker whose deep insights and holy character I have admired. I learned much from him including things which later became true. I visited him just before he died and witnessed his beautiful death.

My friend had a rather shy apprentice who was a decent and knowledge person with whom he had developed a close contact.Both of them talked often about the state of the soul following death, especially about a reunion with God. As the apprentice became gradually ill, my friend kept up the close contact so that in this bad state he stayed with him even to his point of death. The above mentioned talks continued. My friend dared to ask his apprentice to try to appear to him after his death and describe his state and reunion with God. The apprentice promised this assuming of course that he would be allowed.

The young man died soon afterwards and the master awaited his visit. About three weeks after the apprentice’s death, the master was going to bed in his chamber, and while sitting wake in the bed, he noticed a bluish glow of light on the wall in front of him which took on a human form. He asked: Is it you Johannes – the ghost answered clearly, Yes! The master asked How is it with you? – The ghost replied I am finding myself quietly in a dark deserted area but my destiny is not decided yet. Now followed the question concerning the reunion with God. The ghost did not say more about this than the following lines from an old song:

Let us ask God here

And let go down on our knees

And us bow in front of our creator

The little word “here” is the main thing. It is here, in this world, that we should come to terms with our life with God….

My friend was audacious enough to ask the apprentice to come back again later. After a while this visit did occur again but on this occasion it was a terrible experience; I never found out the details but the result was that the good man warned everyone about making such disrespectful demands on the dead. As for my friend, he was now convinced that we should not have any contact with the realm of ghosts and that we should avoid it as much as possible.” (Jung-Stilling, 1808, p.267-)

What should we do with the knowledge about ghosts and apparitions? I think the answer is quite simple. If we speak with Goethe, we hear from him how it is only important to give expression to forces of the good for which we have an inner sense.

Goethe says in his poem “Symbolum” from the year 1815:

They are calling from over there,

The voices of the ghosts,

The voices of their hosts,

Don’t forget to be fair

to the forces of the good!

1 Comment

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Ron // Jan 29, 2019 at 17:15

    “Wer sie nicht kennte,
    Die Elemente,
    Ihre Kraft
    Und Eigenschaft,
    Wäre kein Meister
    Über die Geister…”

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