Tuesday, 30 January 2007

Flying Lesson 101!

There have been several reported instances of religious mystics levitating themselves slowly off the ground during prayer; the most famous are St. James of Compostella and St. Joseph of Copertino. The nineteenth-century psychic, Daniel Dunglass Home, was reported by responsible investigators and scientists to have floated about the room and, on 13 December 1868, out of a window and back again. Other reported cases of levitation are those of Sister Maria Vilani, Veronica Giulani St. Bernadino Realino, St. Theresa of Avila, St. Francis of Assisi, Stainton Moses, Florence Cook, Eusapia Palladino, Maria Vollhardt, Willi Schneider, Schrenck-Notzing's 1927 anonymous subject and the Eddy children of Chittenden, Vermont. I have seen an interesting short moving pictures made by a German journalist named Ohlsen portraying the levitation of a West African priest Nana Dwaku above burning coals.

Human levitation is one of the 'siddhis' or powers supposed to be available to Hindu mystics, and attempts have been made to teach their development in Europe. Photographs of airborne meditators have been widely publicized, but of course still photographs provide much less information than moving pictures. It is believed that in the first stage the subject experiences a violent but slow vibration of the entire body - these are almost muscular twitches; a more advanced subject becomes able to make small leaps from a bodily position in which leaping would normally be impossible - the lotus position, seated cross-legged on the ground. In the final stage, the subject becomes able to levitate his body steadily at will.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Any links to videos of levitation?

101 said...

Only the fake trick kind I'm afraid.