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Remarkable Instances Of The Power Of Vision






A shepherd upon one of the mountains in Cumberland, was suddenly
enveloped with a thick fog or mist, through which every object appeared
so greatly increased in magnitude, that he no longer knew where he was.
In this state of confusion he wandered in search of some unknown object,
from which he might direct his future steps. Chance, at last, brought
this lost shepherd within sight of what he supposed to be a very large
mansion, which he did not remember ever to have seen before; but, on his
entering this visionary castle, to inquire his way home, he found it
inhabited by his own family. It was nothing more than his own cottage.
But his organs of sight had so far misled his mental faculties, that
some little time elapsed before he could be convinced that he saw real
objects. Instances of the same kind of illusion, though not to the same
degree, are not unfrequent in those mountainous regions.

From these effects of vision, it is evident that the pupil and the
picture of an object within the eye, increase at the same time.

* * * * *

The writer of the above account was passing the Frith of Forth, at
Queensferry, near Edinburgh, one morning when it was extremely foggy.
Though the water is only two miles broad, the boat did not get within
sight of the southern shore till it approached very near it. He then
saw, to his great surprise, a large perpendicular rock, where he knew
the shore was low and almost flat. As the boat advanced a little nearer,
the rock seemed to split perpendicularly into portions, which separated
at a little distance from one another. He next saw these perpendicular
divisions move; and, upon approaching a little nearer, found it was a
number of people, standing on the beach, waiting the arrival of the
ferry-boat.

* * * * *

The following extract of a letter, from a gentleman of undoubted
veracity, is another curious instance of the property of vision:--

"When I was a young man, I was, like others, fond of sporting, and
seldom liked to miss a day, if I could any way go out. From my own house
I set out on foot, and pursued my diversion on a foggy day; and, after I
had been out some time, the fog or mist increased to so great a degree,
that, however familiar the hedges, trees, &c. were to me, I lost myself,
insomuch that I did not know whether I was going to or from home. In a
field where I then was, I suddenly discovered what I imagined was a well
known hedge-row, interspersed with pollard trees, &c. under which I
purposed to proceed homewards; but, to my great surprise, upon
approaching this appearance, I discovered a row of the plants known by
the name of rag, and by the vulgar, canker weed, growing on a mere
balk, dividing ploughed fields: the whole height of both could not
exceed three feet, or three feet and a half. It struck me so forcibly
that I shall never forget it; this too in a field which I knew as well
as any man, could know a field."





Next: The Philosopher Gassendi And The Haunted Bed-room

Previous: Extraordinary Double Dream Without Any Corresponding Event



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