7.32 THE VISIONS OF SANE PERSONS.
and ridiculous. When I think of the word Beast, it has a face something like a gurgoyle. The word Green has also a gurgoylo face, with the addition of big teeth. The word blue blinks and looks silly, and turns to the right. The word Attention has the eyes greatly turned to the left. It is difficult to draw them properly because like ' Alice's' ' Cheshire cat,' which at times became a grin without a cat, these frees have expression without features, The expression of course " [note the v..iue phrase '° of course,"--1'. G.] "depends
greatly on those of the letters, which have Likewise their faces and figures.
All the little a's turn their eyes to the left, this determines the eves of Attention.
Ant, however, looks a little down. Of course those tiers inn ndless it" (words
are, and it inches my head ache to retain them long enough to draw."
Sonic of the figures are very quaint. Thus the interrogation
what ? " always excites the idea of a fat man cracking a long whip.
They arc not the capricious creations of the fancy of' the moment,
but are the regular concomitants of the words, and have been so as
far back as the memory is able to recall.
When in perfect darkness, if the field of view be carefully watched,
many persons will find a perpetual series of changes to be going on
automatically and wastefully in it. I have much evidence of this.
I will give my own experience the first, which is striking to me,
because I am very unimpressionable in these matters. I visualize
with effort; I am peculiarly inapt to see "after-images," "phes
phcnes," "light-dust," and other phenomena due to weak sight or
sensitiveness ; and, again, before I thought of carefully trying, I should have emphatically declared that my field of view in the dark was essentially of a uniform black, subject to an occasional light-purple cloudiness and other small variations. Now, however, after habituating myself to examine it with the same sort of strain that one tries to decipher a sign-post in the dark, I have found out that this is by no means the case, but that a kaleidoscopic change of patterns and forms is continually going on, but they are too fugitive and elaborate for me to draw with any approach to truth. My deficiencies, however, are well supplied by other drawings in my possession. They are by the Rev. George Ilenslow, whose visions are far more vivid than mine. His experiences are not unlike those of Goethe, who said, in an often-quoted passage, that whenever he bent his head and closed his eyes and thought of a rose, a sort of rosette made its appearance, which would not keep its shape steady for a moment, but unfolded from within, throwing out a succession of petals, mostly red but sometimes green, and that it continued to do so without change in brightness and without causing him any fatigue so long as he cared to watch it. Mr.
Henslow, when he shuts his eyes and waits, is sure in a short
'time to see before him the clear image of some object or other, but
usually not quite natural in its shape. It then begins to change from
one -ohject to another, in his case also for as long a time as he cares
to watch: it. Mr. Renslow has zealously made repeated experiments
oil himself, and has drawn what he sees. He has also tried how far
THE VISIONS OF SANE PERSONS. 733
lie is able to mould the visions according to his will. In one case, after much effort, he contrived to bring the imagery back to its
starting point, and thereby to form what ire terms a " visual cycle." The following account is extracted and condensed from his very interesting letter.
The first iuuige thud. spontaneously preseutcil itself was a cross-bow; this war immediately provided with an arose, remarkable for its pronounced barb and suporabrurdanuco of feathuriug. Sonic person, but too indistinct to recognise much more of him their the hands, appeared to shoot the arrow from the bow. 'fhe single arrow was then accompanied by a flight of arrows from right to loft, which eomplutoly occupied the field of vision. Those changed into falling stars, then into Ilahes of a heavy screw-storm ; the ground gradually appeared as a sheet of Snow where previously there had bear vacant space. Then a well- know ii rectory, lib-ponds, walls, &e., all covered with snow, came into view most vividly and clearly donned. This somehow suggested another view, inrprussod en his mind in childhood, of a spring morning, brilliant situ, and a bed of red tulips: the tulips gradually vanished except one, which appeared now to be isolated and to stand iu the usual point of .sight. It was a single tulip, but became double. The petals then full oil' rapidly in a continuous series until there was nothing left but the pistil, but (as is almost invariably the case with his objects) that part was greatly exaggerated. The stigmas then changed into tliroe branching brown horu>; thin into a knob, while the stalk changed into a stick. A slight bond in it seems to have suggested a centre-bit; this passed into a sort of pin passing through a metal plate ; this again into a lock, and afterwards into a nondescript shape, distantly suggestive of the original cross-bow. Here Mr. Ilenslow endeavoured to force his will upon the visions, and to reproduce the cross-hew, but the first attempt was an utter failure. The figure changed into a leather strap with loops, but while he still endeavoured to change it into a bow the strap broke, the two ends were separated, but it happened that au imaginary string connected there. This was the first concession of his automatic chain of thoughts to his will. By a continued effort the bow came, and then no difficulty was felt ill converting it into the cross-bow and thus returning to the starting point.
I have a sufficient variety of cases to prove the continuity between
all the forms of visualisation, beginning with an almost total absence . of it, and ending with a complete hallucination. The continuity.is,
however, not simply that of varying degrees of intensity, but of
variations in the character of the process itself, so that it is by no means uncommon to find two very different forms of it concurrent in
the same person. There are some who visualise well and who also are seers of visions, who declare that the vision is not ,a vivid visual
isation, but altogether a different phenomenon. In short, if we please to call all sensations due to external impressions "direct,"
and all others "induced," then there are many channels through which the induction .may take place, and the channel of ordinary visualisation in the persons just mentioned is very different from that
through which their visions arise.
,The following is a good instance of this' condition. A friend
These visions often appear with startling vividness, and so far from depending on any voluntary effort of the mind, they remain when I often wish them.