Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Apparitions, a general term embracing all visible spiritual appearances - of supernatural beings (angels, demons, fairies), of doubles of the living (fetches, wraiths), or of the ghosts of the dead. This definition marks off apparitions - which are said to be objective - from hallucinations, which are admittedly subjective, and in many cases the result of physical disease. The belief in apparitions is widely spread, and references to it occur in the earliest literature of the human race. The literature of apparitions is a noteworthy instance of the survival of the belief of the lower races far into civilised times. For a ghost always appears dressed, sometimes - as in the case of Hamlet's father - armed. Every one who has read or heard a ghost story knows how the garments of ghosts rustle; they used to drag clanking chains, but these went out with Mrs. Radcliffe and "Monk" Lewis. In Blochwood's Magazine for July, 1890, is a short story in which the ghost is a "tall lady dressed in black." Those who claim that apparitions are objective may be fairly asked on what other theory than that of survival can such an idea of a revenant be accounted for. The modern theory of apparitions is that they are purely subjective.