Arbuthnot on Political Lying. Begin with "Great SwingeingFalsehoods". The Opposite Method to be used in telling Ghost Stones.Begin with the more Familiar and Credible. Sleep. Dreams. Ghostsare identical with Waking Dreams. Possibility of being Asleep when wethink we are Awake. Dreams shared by several People. Story of theDog Fanti. The Swithinbank Dream. Common Features of Ghosts andDreams. Mark Twain's Story. Theory of Common-sense. Not Logical.Fulfilled Dreams. The Pig in the Palace. The Mignonette. Dreams ofReawakened Memory. The Lost Cheque. The Ducks' Eggs. The Lost Key.Drama in Dreams. The Lost Securities. The Portuguese Gold-piece.St. Augustine's Story. The Two Curmas. Knowledge acquired in Dreams.The Assyrian Priest. The Deja Vu. "I have been here before." SirWalter's Experience. Explanations. The Knot in the Shutter.Transition to Stranger Dreams.Arbuthnot, in his humorous work on Political Lying, commends the Whigsfor occasionally trying the people with "great swingeing falsehoods".When these are once got down by the populace, anything may followwithout difficulty. Excellently as this practice has worked inpolitics (compare the warming-pan lie of 1688), in the telling ofghost stories a different plan has its merits. Beginning with thecommon-place and familiar, and therefore credible, with the thin endof the wedge, in fact, a wise narrator will advance to the ratherunusual, the extremely rare, the undeniably startling, and so arriveat statements which, without this discreet and gradual initiation, ahasty reader might, justly or unjustly, dismiss as "great swingeingfalsehoods".The nature of things and of men has fortunately made this method atonce easy, obvious, and scientific. Even in the rather fantasticrealm of ghosts, the stories fall into regular groups, advancing indifficulty, like exercises in music or in a foreign language. Wetherefore start from the easiest Exercises in Belief, or even fromthose which present no difficulty at all. The defect of the method isthat easy stories are dull reading. But the student can "skip". Webegin with common every-night dreams.Sleeping is as natural as waking; dreams are nearly as frequent asevery-day sensations, thoughts, and emotions. But dreams, beingfamiliar, are credible; it is admitted that people do dream; we reachthe less credible as we advance to the less familiar. For, if wethink for a moment, the alleged events of ghostdom--apparitions of allsorts--are precisely identical with the every-night phenomena ofdreaming, except for the avowed element of sleep in dreams.In dreams, time and space are annihilated, and two severed lovers maybe made happy. In dreams, amidst a grotesque confusion of thingsremembered and things forgot, we _see_ the events of the past (I havebeen at Culloden fight and at the siege of Troy); we are present inplaces remote; we behold the absent; we converse with the dead, and wemay even (let us say by chance coincidence) forecast the future. Allthese things, except the last, are familiar to everybody who dreams.It is also certain that similar, but yet more vivid, false experiencesmay be produced, at the word of the hypnotiser, in persons under thehypnotic sleep. A hypnotised man will take water for wine, and getdrunk on it.Now, the ghostly is nothing but the experience, when men are awake, or_apparently_ awake, of the every-night phenomena of dreaming. Thevision of the absent seen by a waking, or apparently waking, man iscalled "a wraith"; the waking, or apparently waking, vision of thedead is called "a ghost". Yet, as St. Augustine says, the absent man,or the dead man, may know no more of the vision, and may have no moreto do with causing it, than have the absent or the dead whom we areperfectly accustomed to see in our dreams. Moreover, thecomparatively rare cases in which two or more waking people arealleged to have seen the same "ghost," simultaneously or insuccession, have _their_ parallel in sleep, where two or more personssimultaneously dream the same dream. Of this curious fact let us giveone example: the names only are altered.