Extracts from De Lemurum Natura

by "Orides" (Levi ben Isaac of Carthage, writing as ben 'Or, "Son of Light"), 11th-century Kerdean
with commentary by Ivan O'Shaunessey ("Professor Keje") of the Kerdeans, 1987

We may distinguish seven categories of revenants, all termed "ghosts," "spectres," or "hauntings" by the ignorant, though they are in truth most diverse phenomena.


The commonest form is merely aspected vis [chi, numen, or prana - Keje]. If a place retains a large quantity of vis imprinted by a person or persons who have dwelt there, others may experience an intuition of some one present when none is. This is the commonest form of haunting, though it bears no visible or audible features. If all the vis is imprinted with the character of a single person, the witness may intuit the presence of that particular person. If all the imprinting persons were of similar character or in a similar mood, that character or mood will be apparent to the witness.

[Orides describes the "feeling of presence" that is the commonest form of haunting. – Keje]


The second form of haunting is a vision of past events. [A retrocognitive reaction. - Keje] Some places are apt sites for such things, and some people are apt to such visions. When such people are in such places, visions of the past are the most likely. Since it is but a vision, the people seen do not respond to the visionary, nor are they palpable. The same event may be seen many times, as when a spectre forever walks the same passage in a house. These visions need not be limited to persons, though they are the readiest source of the necessary vis.

[In rare cases, a retrocognitive reaction at the later date has coincided with a precogntive act at the earlier date, and the people do see one another across time. This seems to have happened at the Petit Trianon in Versailles, in the famous Versailles Timeslip. – Keje]


When great vis is given corporeal aspect, it can move objects about. So do spirits and mages achieve many effects, but so also do some common folk cause mischief unintentionally, when perturbation of their humours, and so of their vis, causes articles near them to fly about senselessly. These phenomena are attributed to spirits, but are not truly so. Rather, they are the spiritual equivalent of the unintentional thrashing of a man in a fever.

[Orides describes a poltergeist reaction. – Keje]


An eidolon is given to every man, a second body of vital spirit. Commonly, this eidolon [ka or astral body - Keje] lies hid within the visible body, awaiting death, when it shall serve the soul as its vehicle. The soul then departs and life is done. But it sometimes happens that part of this eidolon remains behind, in the manner of a serpent's shed skin. This is indeed a true ghost, a spiritual substance left by a dying man. It is not, however, a wandering soul, as commonly thought. It is but the fragment or echo or shell of the eidolon. Such ghosts adopt but a single attitude toward all persons and cannot converse reasonably.

[Orides describes a fragmentary ka surviving the death of its caster. – Keje]


More rarely, the whole eidolon may survive the man. Such a ghost usually pursues some purpose and uses intelligence to achieve it. The purpose achieved, the ghost departs, for its soul urgently requires it.

[This is a complete ka surviving its caster. – Keje]


More rarely still, a soul does indeed remain on Earth, clothed in the eidolon, called by some an aerial body. The Earth is not the natural habitation of such souls; most remaining here are disturbed in their wits to one degree or another. Such spirits are troublesome, and most folk are urgent to guide them off Earth.

[One may wonder if a ghost expecting Hell in the afterlife is all that addle-witted when it wants to stay on Earth. – Keje]


Rarest of all are those ghosts with their wits about them. Such are even harder to exorcize, since they are remaining on Earth by deliberate judgment. Fortunately, the common cause for such haunting is to meet once more with a loved person or place; then they depart.

[Oridies describes crisis apparitions. Not all of these are rational ghosts. And there is a sliding scale of rationality among ghosts just as among the living. But Oridies had a medieval fondness for tidiness, especially when it let him bring his tally of ghost types up to seven. – Keje]

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Copyright © Earl Wajenberg, 2010