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Of the nature and character of a work like the following nothing need be said. It is enough, that at a moment when the public mind occupies itself with the class of subjects on which it treats, the researches of an earnest and indefatigable student cannot be unimportant, even though the reader may not always arrive at the same conclusions that he has done.
To those curious in literary history it may not be uninteresting to know that this translation occupied my husband and our eldest son during their voyage to Australia in 1852. And perhaps the Dream of Pre-vision mentioned at page 416 of the Appendix may be explained in part by the mind of the Translator being occupied at the time by the peculiar views of Enteracser, which predisposed it for occult inspressions. This explanation, it appears to me, is rendered stil more probable by another little circumstance, which, being, no way irrelevant to the subject, I will mention. - The printing of this Ennemoser translation had commenced, and to a certain extent my mind was imbued with the views and speculations of the author,—when, on the night of the 12th of March, 1853, I dreamed that I received a letter from my eldest son. In my dream I eagerly broke open the seal, and saw a closely written sheet of paper, but my eye caught only these words in the middle of the first page, written larger than the rest and underdrawn, "My father is very ill.” The utmost distress seized me, and I suddenly awoke, to find it only a dream; yet the painful impression of reality was so vivid, that it was long before I could compose myself. The first thing I did the following morning was to commence a letter to my husband, relating this distressing dream. Six days afterwards, on the 18th, an Australian mail came in and brought me a letter,—the only letter I received by that mail, and not from any of my family, but from a gentleman in Australia with whom we were acquainted. This letter was addressed on the outside “ Immediate," and with a trembling hand I opened it; and, true enough, the first words I saw-and these written larger than the rest in the middle of the
paper, and underdrawn, were “Mr. Howitt is very ill.” The context of these terrible words was, however, “ If you hear that Mr. Howitt is very ill, let this assure you that he is better;" but the only emphatic words were those which I saw in my dream, and these, nevertheless, slightly varying, as, from some cause or other, all such mental impressions, spirit revelations, or occult dark sayings, generally do, from the truth or type which they seem to reflect.
Thus it appears to me, that while we cannot deny the extraordinary psychological phenomena which are familiar to the experience of every human being, they are yet capable of a certain explanation wherever we are enabled to arrive at the circumstances which render the mind receptive of such impressions. The susceptibility either of individuals or* Bodies of people to these influences, seems to presuppose an abnormal condition.
In the Appendix will be found some curious matter, derived in many cases from old and almost forgotten sources, and given, for the most part, in the words of the original authors.
London, May 1854.
The Breath of the Young
THEORETICAL VIEWS ON MAGIC AMONG THE ANCIENTS