sábado, 12 de novembro de 2016

Ghosts, appearances of the dead and cultural transformation (Fantasmas, aparições dos mortos e transformação cultural [Portuguese])

By Ronald C. Finucane:
LX Portugal. (2016). Colecção Enigmas de Todos os Tempos (Bertrand Editora). [online] Available at: https://www.olx.pt/anuncio/coleco-enigmas-de-todos-os-tempos-bertrand-editora-IDzcYdx.html [Accessed 12 Nov. 2016].


It is a book of world history. It tells us many stories told in various parts of the world. The author seems impartial, but he tends not to believe in them. Hovewer, there are many inexplicable and terrifying facts. Nevertheless, the book is important for the historical wealth.
Some interesting passages:
  • «(...) a moment of earthly life represents a very, very long time in purgatorio.» (in F.C. Tubach, Speculum Laicorum, Folklore fellow communications, 1969).
  • «(...) Glanvill hoped that these apparitions of ghosts would confuse the materialistic atheists and the heretical sectarians of his time./Nonconformists were also interested in collecting and publishing examples of evidence of immortality.» (in Chapter 5 - Baroque hauntings of the seventeenth century).
  • «(...) about half of the narratives deal with precautions about heirs, warnings to the living, and murders.» (in Chapter 5 - Baroque hauntings of the seventeenth century).
  • «(...) poltergeists. (...) the name of two German words, which mean "creating a disturbance" (or, more specifically, producing deaf noises, rolling or blowing furiously), and "spirits." Although examples can be found in the early centuries, this form of spiritual persecution only becomes vulgar in the post-Reformation era.» (in Chapter 5 - Baroque hauntings of the seventeenth century).
  • «(...) Flowers on the graves - originally a pagan custom (...).»
  • «Nothing is more common, in rural areas, than an entire family on a winter night, sitting around the fire and telling stories of apparitions and ghosts. (...) this helps the fears of men and makes them often imagine that they see things, which in reality are no more than their imagination [said by Henry Bourne].» (in Chapter 6 - The Enlightenment and "Atheism").
  • «As for the nature of legitimate appearances, Defoe believes that they are demonic agents or benevolent celestial beings, like the ethereal and astral spirits of previous generations, that occasionally provide men with warnings and advice [in Moreton/Defoe, Secrets, pp. 78 ff.].» (in Chapter 6 - The Enlightenment and "Atheism").
  • «It is wonderful how it has been five thousand years since the creation of the world and it has not yet been decided whether or not the spirit of some person has ever appeared after death. All arguments are against; but faith is in favor.», said Dr. Johnson.
  • «(...) funeral in life (...). (...) tafophobia (...). (...) premature funeral (...). (...) Edgar Allan Poe reproduced accurately the contemporary apprehensions in his "premature funeral" of the 40s.»
  • «(...) Victorian interest in funerary things was also reflected in the way it was depicted and encouraged in the "Gothic" horror or ghost stories, that attracted the best authors in the second half of the nineteenth century. (...) products of the Romantic movement. (...), this movement was in itself a reaction to the scientific and agnostic tendencies of the time, (...).»
  • «(...) mesmerism (...). The work of Anton Mesmer (...). Supposedly, the spirits of the dead used "animal magnetism" over certain living beings - "sensitives", or mediums - to carry out these interviews, (...). (...), the original idea of Mesmer, of channeling the animal magnetism for the accomplishment of cures, (...).»
  • «(...) the famous case of the "Rochester Beats" of 1848. (...) it is said that the modern spiritualist movement dates from 1848, (...). (...) Rochester has captivated the imaginations of those seeking evidence of what they wanted to believe.»
  • «(...) dead spoke (...) assuring that there is no pain on the Other Side and that the spirits ascended to various levels - current gnosticism - until all were finally saved (...).»
  • «(...) these people wanted in such a way to communicate with spirits, that any approach to their expectations was accepted as reality. (...) the best results were achieved only with "believing" participants [nineteenth century].»