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effect, as related by a sea-captain of the port of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. “ His cook, he said, chanced to die on their

passage

homeward. This honest fellow, having had one of his legs a little shorter than the other, "used to walk in that way which our vulgar idiom calls, with an up and a down. A few nights after his body had been committed to the deep, our captain was alarmed by his mate with an account that the cook was walking before the ship, and that all hands were on deck to see him. The captain, after an oath or two for having been disturbed, ordered them to let him alone, and try which, the ship or he, should first get to Newcastle. But, turning out on farther importunity, he honestly confessed that he had like to have caught the contagion; for, on seeing something move in a way so similar to that which an old friend used, and withal having a cap on so like that which he was wont to wear, he verily thought there was more in the report than he was at first willing to believe. A general panic diffused itself. He ordered the ship to be steered towards the object, but not a man would move the helm ! Compelled to do this himself, he found, on a nearer approach, that the ridiculous cause of all their terror was part of a maintop, the remains of some wreck floating before them. Unless he had ventured to make this nearer approach to the supposed ghost, the tale of the walking cook had long been in the mouths, and excited the fears of many honest and very brave fellows in the Wapping of Newcastle-upon-Tyne."

It is quite unnecessary to give any more illustrations of this kind, which might, indeed, be multiplied to almost an indefinite extent.

B

CHAPTER III.

THE OPINIONS ENTERTAINED THAT A GHOST WAS A

MATERIAL PRODUCT, SUI GENERIS.

" These were their learned speculations,
And all their constant occupations
To measure wind and weigh the air,
And turn a circle to a square ;
To make a powder of the sun,
By which all doctors should b’ undone ;
To find the North-west Passage out,
Although the farthest way about ;-
If chemists from a rose's ashes
Can raise the rose itself in glasses ?"-BUTLER.

In very early times, we find philosophers inclined to doubt if apparitions might not be accounted for on natural principles, without supposing that a belief in them was either referable to hallucinations, to human imagination, or to impositions that might have been practised. At length Lucretius attacked the popular notion entertained of ghosts, by maintaining that they were not spirits returned from the mansions of the dead, but nothing more than thin films, pellicles, or membranes, cast off from the surfaces of all bodies like the exuviæ or sloughs of reptiles.

An opinion, by no means dissimilar to that of the Epicureans, was revived in Europe about the middle of the 17th century. It had its origin in Palingenesy,

or the resurrection of plants, a grand secret known to Digby, Kircher, Schot, Gafferel, Vallemont, and others. These philosophers performed the operation of Palingenesy after the following manner :- They took a plant, bruised it, burnt it, collected its ashes, and, in the process of calcination, extracted from it a salt. This salt they then put into a glass phial, and mixed with it some peculiar substance, which these chemists have not disclosed. When the compound was formed, it was pulverulent, and possessed a bluish colour. The powder was next submitted to a gentle heat, when its particles being instantly put into motion, there then gradually arose, as from the midst of the ashes, a stem, leaves, and flowers; or, in other words, an apparition of the plant which had been submitted to combustion. But as soon as the heat was taken away, the form of the plant, which had been thus sublimed, was precipitated to the bottom of the vessel. Heat was then re-applied, and the vegetable phoenix was resuscitated ;-it was withdrawn, and the form once more became latent among the ashes. This notable experiment was said to have been performed before the Royal Society of England, and it satisfactorily proved to this learned body, that the presence of heat gave a sort of life to the vegetable apparition, and that the absence of caloric caused its death,

Cowley was quite delighted with the experiment of the rose and its ashes, and in conceiving that he had detected the same phenomenon in the letters written with the juice of lemons, which were revived on the

application of heat, he celebrated the mystic power of caloric after the following manner :

Strange power of heat ! thou yet dost show,
Like winter earth, naked, or cloth'd with snow,
But as quick’ning sun approaching near,
The plants arise up by degrees,
A sudden paint adorns the trees,
And all kind nature's characters appear ;
So nothing yet in thee is seen,
But when a genial heat warms thee within,
A new-born wood of various lines there grows;
Here buds an A, and there a B,
Here sprouts a V, and there a T,
And all the flourishing letters stand in rows.

The rationale of this famous experiment made on the ashes of the rose was attempted by Kircher. He supposed that the seminal virtue of every known substance, and even its substantial form, resided in its salt. This salt was concealed in the ashes of the rose. Heat put it in motion. The particles of the salt were quickly sublimed, and being moved about in the phial like a vortex, at length arranged themselves in the same general form they had possessed from nature. It was evident, then, from the result of this experiment, that there was a tendency in the particles of the salt to observe the same order of position which they had in the living plant. Thus, for instance, each saline corpuscle, which in its prior state had held a place in the stem of the rose-slip, sympathetically fixed itself in a corresponding position when sublimed in the chemist's.vial. Other particles were

subject to a similar law, and accordingly, by a disposing affinity, resumed their proper position, either in the stalk, the leaves, or the flowers; and thus, at length, the entire apparition of a plant was generated.

The next object of these philosophers was to apply their doctrine to the explanation of the popular belief in ghosts. As it was incontestably proved, that the substantial form of each body resided in a sort of volatile salt, it was perfectly evident in what manner superstitious notions must have arisen about ghosts haunting churchyards. When a dead body had been committed to the earth, the salts of it, during the heating process of fermentation, were exhaled. The saline particles then each resumed the same relative situation they had held in the living body, and thus a complete human form was induced, calculated to excite superstitious fear in the minds of all but Palingenesists.

It is evident from the foregoing account, that Palingenesy was nothing more than a chemical explanation of the discovery which Lucretius had made, with regard to the filmy substances that he had observed to arise from all bodies.

Yet, in order to prove that apparitions might be really explained on this principle, the experimentum crucis was still wanting. But this deficiency was soon supplied. Three alchymists had obtained a quantity of earth-mould from St Innocent's church, in Paris, supposing that this matter might contain the true philosopher's stone. They subjected it to a distillatory process. On a sudden they perceived in their vials forms of men produced, which immediately caused them to desist from their labours. This fact coming

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