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Published Collections of Mystical Experiences

Observed Illuminates

W. Winslow Hall, MD (London: The C.W. Daniel Co., 1926)


Hall gathered descriptions of mystical experiences out of his own interest. He authored three books on the topic: Hebrew Illumination: A Study in Essential Religion, Observed Illuminates, and Recorded Illuminates.

In this book, he presents a total of 21 cases arrayed in an "ascending ladder of illuminative experience."

Five "Borderline" Cases

Case 1. Male, age not listed

Subject has a profound dream showing the meaning of all things to be "bad and diabolic."

Case 2. Male, age 23

Subject sees an image while sleeping of an amazing woman; "…I did not feel material love for her but my whole being was pulsing with sheer adoration and worship of her." Memory of this dream provides the subject a feeling that all of the world is beautiful and the cares of life light. The effects lasted two or three days.

Case 3. Female, age 30

Subject was at home trimming sewing, suddenly, there came over her a sense of glory and joy and trust and love. The memory of it has been the strength of her life ever since.

Case 4. Male, age 26

Subject walking between railroad stations, traveling up a hill gradually becomes conscious of intense elation, and of direct awareness of God. The most vivid impression is of the extraordinary brilliance of the surrounding country. This experience lasted about three hours. A sense of rapture is still possible, the subject reports. This is triggered by "the passage of an express train, or occasionally, at some lofty thought; of course, good poetry has this effect too."

Case 5. Male, age 20, 22, 24, 27, 28, and 30

Subject experiences six episodes. Episode one occurs while watching the sun set. "Everything seemed to breathe of a Divine Love and of an ineffable tenderness showered again and again on an ungrateful world."

The next episode took place as the subject was walking along a lake shore with his new wife. "…I was ecstatically in love; and every little wave, as it broke at my feet, seemed to burst into music…and there was a happy twinkle on the sea, smiling with me (and not at me, in a kind of satiric way, as the Mona Lisa does). All nature seemed in tune with my gladness.."

Episode three occurs when after reading a prayer in the woods. Suddenly, everything seemed so beautiful.

Episode four occurs when the subject and a nurse hear the cry of a new-born child. Actually, the child is born six hours later.

Episode five occurs when the subject feels the presence of his deceased wife: "I don't think it was ever an objective bodily presence near me. I don't think it was ever an objective bodily presence, but, none the less, so real, and so evident, that often, involuntarily, I would make the movements of enfolding her in my arms."

Episode six occurs when the subject is out for a walk on a cloudy and rainy day. He claims that the weather matched his mood, a cross between gloom and anger. Then he notices a bit of sunlight lighting an edge of a cloud. He reports this vision lifted his spirits.

"Five Cases That Seem To Be Illuminative and of Rising Noetic Value"

Case 1. Female, age not listed

Subject experiences "the curious sense of intense being, with a total forgetfulness of personality;" "a curious, vivid sense of being, as part of a whole;" "one is not conscious of oneself as a human being, only as a sentient part of being."

Case 2. Male, age 31

Experiences a ten day period of sudden "intense aliveness" after a breakthrough from a depressive feeling.

Case 3. Male, age 21

When walking in the woods subject finds himself in an elevated state of mind, lost count of time, and had a sense of a spiritual presence.

Case 4. Male, age 35

"...I experienced a very remarkable baptism of the Holy Spirit. This soul-satisfying experience was preceded...by a season of prolonged prayer...Next morning I was walking in to business, and, as it was raining when I left home, I put up my umbrella. Apparently it left off raining almost immediately; but when I got into town, after what was usually a twenty minutes' walk, I became aware that people were staring at me, and I found myself with my umbrella still up, although the sun was shining and the pavement dry. I had been quite oblivious to all that was going on around me. During that walk the fountains of the great deep in my soul had been broken up. It seemed as though Christ himself, filled my soul, and flooded it with love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, etc."

Case 5. Female, age 39

"...I spent a certain summer day in a forest. I was alone. The sky was pearly grey, illuminatred with unshed sunlight which pulsated in the air around. I had been reading Wordsworth's Ode on the Intimations of Immortality. Then, and there, I became aware of the Oneness of all Being. I felt, and realized, that the trees around me---the sky---I myself---all things animate and inanimate---lived, and moved, and had our being, in It. Before, this had been a concept. Now, it was realized, and known."

 

Further cases from this book will be added soon.

 

 

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