Theory of Apparitions


Unquestionably, the temperament which disposes men to cultivate the higher and graver species of poetry, contributes to render them susceptible of impressions of this nature. Such a temperament, excited by the pathetic circumstances of a story, more interesting than any tale of fiction, produced the vision of Dr. Donne. When residing in Paris, he saw the figure of his wife, then in London, pass through the room, with her hair hanging loose, and carrying a dead child in her arms. After reading the exquisite poem which he wrote, previous to their separation, it is impossible to wonder at an impression of such a nature.

This is, indeed, an instance of that species of ecstasy, which is known in the North of Scotland, under the name of ‘ Second Sight.’


John Ferriar, An Essay Towards a Theory of Apparitions, 1813



It is remarkable, that the propensity to ascribe the powers of animated to inanimate beings, is the foundation of poetry; and what betrays men, in one stage of society, the lowest absurdity, becomes, in another, the source of their most elegant pleasure.


John Ferriar, Of Popular Illusions, and particularly of Medical Demonology, 1786

Note (Inflection)

The Hand That Rocks The Cradle

Lyk as the dum Solsequium, with cair ou’rcum……..

I notice this morning that its not possible to alter the inflection and give it a pejorative, emotive note at the start.

The rhythm forces you to let go from the start.

Lyk as the dum Solsequium, its a statement, observation, a thought or idea.

Where does it come from?

The opening of the poem sounds like something you have to listen and respond to, rather than to speak.

The words can tumble out of you’re mouth but are not produced internally.

An attractive quality.

Demonstrating and making itself visible on the first breath.