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


* * * * *

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."

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