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Somnambulism may be separated into two formal, different but coexistent, and combined conditions. It is not a simple affection ; it is not an independent disease, to which an immediate curative treatment can be applied; but it is a complicated abnormal phenomenon ; its deepest foundation is sensitiveness, without which there can be no sleepwaking. It is, therefore, born with the possessor, and is awakened and exalted by various accidental psychical and moral disturbances of health. In its proper nature, it is od-negative combined more or less with od-positive soretic external or internal influences; it is a mixed od-negative and od-positive condition of the nervous system.
Baron Karl von Reichenbach
The Somnambulist by John Everett (1829-1896)
Karl von Reichenbach (1788-1896), was a successful Prussian scientist who got interested in the experiences of sensitive people. I advise you to read my article of The Odic Energy of Life first, detailing the many aspects of the Odic light energy that these sensitive people could feel and see. Most of the sensitive people he worked with were also somnambulists, or sleepwalkers. The ability to feel or see the Odic energy were just two characteristic these people displayed. Reichenbach approached these two sensory abilities in a scientific manner. He also paid attention to other features that somnambulists were sensitive to, and which bordered on psychological and psychic phenomena. These phenomena were usually not accepted by his peer scientists, and thus he wrote a separate book, Somnambulism and Cramps, in which he goes into detail about not only the many features related to this particular condition but also their underlying biological origin or foundation. Somnambulism and Cramps is a very rich book that explains a lot about what sensitive people experience, and this article is a summary of that book (available at Internet Archive).
Nowadays sleepwalking is regarded mainly as an odd phenomenon, and often laughed at. Many present-day sensitives are not taken seriously. I hope this article will help a lot of these people to understand their condition, and make some positive changes to their lives. Again, read The Odic Energy of Life first to thoroughly understand what Odic energy is, because it is the basis for the condition of somnambulism.
[all images are my attempt at illustrating the article and are not from the book Somnambulism and Cramps]
Reichenbach saw that somnambulism is clearly of two kinds: natural and artificial.
Natural somnambulism occurs spontaneously. It happens unexpectedly, and after waking. The person doesn't remember that he sleep-walked, nor what he did in that state of consciousness. It often happens on a regular basis, even at a specific hour of the day. It usually starts at a young age, or when a person is sick, and it disappears when he gets healthy. However, somnambulism can also happen in perfectly healthy people. It also seems to be hereditary as it often runs in the family. Natural somnambulism can happen at any time, during sleep, but also when one is awake. When one is awake, one can go into somnambulism while at work, while talking, standing, sitting, walking. This transition is often instantaneous.
Artificial somnambulism is also called mesmeric somnambulism. In the time of Reichenbach, mesmerism was popular, and mesmeric healers had often a lot of success with patients who displayed the same symptoms that somnambulists had. Mesmerism is a treatment of using 'magnetic passes', or up or down movements with the hands to energetically heal the patients. Mesmeric somnambulism is the intentional induction of the somnambulistic state of a sensitive by another person.
It is important to understand that no two somnambulists are alike. The characteristics they display is different from one person to another. Not every somnambulist has all the features that will be mentioned here.
If you have read The Odic Energy of Life, you will understand the basic principle and duality of the Odic energy. In that article I had limited myself to the warm and cold sensations and the duality of the Odic colors. In this article I will use Reichenbach's designation of positive and negative to the two poles of the Odic energy:
right side body
magnetic north pole
tip of crystal
downward magnetic passes
left side body
magnetic south pole
bottom of crystal
upward magnetic passes
Positive and negative are just two designations, and have nothing to do the moral meaning of these terms.
Somnambulists are people in which the Odic balance is unsteady and easily disturbed, with negative Od predominant. Somnambulism is induced by Od-negative energy such as downward magnetic passes, the tip of a crystal or the north pole of a magnet. One can bring the person out of his somnambulistic state by upward magnetic passes, the base of a crystal or the south pole of a magnet.
As strange as it may sound, when positive Od is predominant, cramps arise.
As positive and negative Odic energy do not cancel each out, but exist together, somnambulism and cramps can happen independently or go together in a sensitive person.
In the following, there are two terms you have to familiarize with:
soretic means positive Odic influences, usually done by upward magnetic passes, or the pointing of the base of a crystal or south pole of a magnet to a person
nemetic means negative Odic influences, usually done by downward magnetic passes, or the pointing of the tip of a crystal or north pole of a magnet to a person
In somnambulism sleep is deeper than ordinary sleep, and the senses of the body are often completely dormant. The eyes are closed. When the eye lid is forced open, the iris of the eye does not react to light. The nose does not sense strong odors, the skin does not feel pain, even when a needle is driven through.
Few sensitives don't hear anything while in the somnambulistic state, and they are not even startled by sudden, or loud noises. But most sensitives hear very well, and can readily converse with another person.
There is a curious phenomenon with those who do not hear anything at all through their ears. They can hear very well when a person speaks close to their stomach or to the finger points, even when spoken in a whisper.
The same phenomenon also applies to taste. The somnambulist can taste, in his mouth, that which he touches.
Although the somnambulist can open his eyes, in most cases the eyes are closed. Reichenbach makes the remarkable statement that "Nevertheless, these persons saw all the objects about them, more or less clearly, as well by day as by night, and sometimes with an astonishing exactness." He had no clear explanation for this. He thought that the entire nervous system can function as a sensory organ for perceiving the Odic energy.
How is the somnambulist able to see? He can even see and hear events at distant places, what we might call clairvoyance. He is able to see what is written in a sealed envelope. He can see into his own body and the body of other people. He can read the thoughts of other people. He can foresee the future, but mainly of his own health. [my own opinion: Based upon esoteric teachings we can say that such somnambulists are separating their astral body from the physical body, and then perceive through the astral body. While their consciousness is in the separated astral body, they still can maintain an active link with the physical body and communicate with other people in the room while in the somnambulistic state. The esoteric teachings say that the astral body is linked to the nervous system, and herein might lie an answer to the many somnambulistic characteristics.]
The somnambulistic sight is as clear in the dark than in the light, and sometimes even better. Although he is of clear mind in that state, he doesn't know how he is able to see in the dark. Reichenbach had a sensitive who could read a book with her eyes closed while in the somnambulistic state.
Sometimes he can see through objects as if they are translucent, and the outlines are less defined than with ordinary sight.
He can see into his own body, or other people's body, and distinguishes the internal organs of the human body, all slightly luminous.
Being in the somnambulistic state, the person has an excellent memory. He remembers what happens while in that state, but also anything that ever has happened in his life even when, in a normal conscious state, he has long forgotten it. If in a somnambulistic state, the person is occupied with a certain work, for example knitting, in his next episode, he will start exactly where he left off.
What the somnambulism state shares with ordinary sleep is that when the person wakes up from the somnambulistic state, he will not remember anything of what has happened during it. Only in rare cases can he remember what transpired.
The condition of the mind varies. In the somnambulistic state, the person is not unconscious, as in normal sleep, but he is more or less conscious of his own existence and of what is going on around him.
Some talk in an incoherent manner, but most talk in an intelligent way. They can behave in the same way as while they are in a conscious state. They talk, walk, laugh, etc. They talk to themselves, or to other people. As we will see later, some of them long for moonshine, and yes in these cases they do climb upon rooftops. They exhibit supernatural strength if someone tries to prevent them from doing so. Although they venture out on high and dangerous ledges, they themselves say that they are perfectly safe.
Sleepwalker, by Maximilian Pirner, 1878
It is very typical for the somnambulistic state that the person is in a happy mood. He doesn't bother with many of the social norms, but always has decent and proper behavior.
During somnambulistic sleep, the person can have dreams too. One sensitive described the nature of her dreams to Reichenbach as follows: "Miss Krueger described the condition of ordinary dreaming as very different from that of somnambulic dream; the former she said was filled with worldly griefs and cares and was often more painful for poor people than real life; somnambulism was a care-free, happy state, where everything appeared in rose-colored light.
Somnambulistic sleep is always refreshing, but many sensitives have difficulty falling asleep. Some of Reichenbach's sensitives had to use magnetic passes, with or without a magnet, to fall asleep.
In general behavior in the somnambulistic state is barely distinguishable from a normal waking state, except that most sensitives have their eyes closed while doing whatever they are doing.
A sensitive can stay in the somnambulistic state for an hour, several hours, and surprisingly for days, weeks and months. When they come out of that state, they are generally astonished of the circumstances they suddenly find themselves in.
One might think that the somnambulist is sleepy, but that is not so. In the somnambulistic state he is always of very clear mind. Although it seems contrary, a person in somnambulism may have a high spiritual clearness and as complete a consciousness of their condition as when normally awake.
Somnambulism can have many different states of consciousness that have not yet fully explored.
A Somnambulist, by John Everett Millais (1829-1896)
Almost all, if not all, somnambulists talk in their sleep or while dreaming, to themselves, to imaginary people, but also will converse with other people in the room. He will then sit up, and might make gestures, and when he is dreaming, believing that his dream is real. The eyelids are usually closed.
from Hypnotism, Its Facts, Theories, and Related Phenomena (1893)
He can walk around, and do all kinds of work, such as house work or writing letters. If the person is in deep somnambulism, he can give predictions of his own health in the nearby future.
Somnambulists walk around in their night clothes, and even stroll into their town. Reichenbach knew a woman who walked outside in the snow, barefoot. The senses are dormant so she couldn't feel the cold. After their activities they go back to their bed, and wake up in the morning, not remembering anything. They usually discover that they are sleep-walkers because they find something unusual or out of place in or around the house, or other household members witnessed the sleep-walking.
Macbeth, V, 1, Sleepwalking Scene, from William Shakespeare's Lady Macbeth, by Johann Heinrich Ramberg, 1829
Natural somnambulism can happen during normal sleep, but also in the day-time. A sensitive can fall into the somnambulistic state at any time at any place. This usually happens very quickly, even in the middle of a conversation.
Reichenbach found that although somnambulism could happen unexpectedly by external irritations, it does show a regular periodicity. It can be, for example, at a certain hour every day. Then there is, of course, the full moon.
Somnambulists don't always sleep-walk. They do so only when there are particular irritations. These can be of many kinds, having a soretic influence both on the negative Od and Positive Od system of the person's body.
Such a soretic influence can happen when a sensitive lies on his right side, with his back towards a near stone or brick wall; or when his head is pointing to the west or south; or when there is another person sleeping on the other side of the wall, in a reversed position, a dog or cat lying near their feet, and many other little things that have an Od-positive influence or like Odic polarities (see The Odic Energy of Life). This makes the sensitive uncomfortable, restless, and he sits up and walks around.
Moonlight is Od-positive, and will cause unrest too, but its influence is not strong enough to be irritable. It keeps him in a pleasant somnambulistic state (which is Od-negative, and opposite polarities are always agreeable). Some of the sensitives will go sit on a window ledge or go on rooftops just to be in the moonlight.
The Somnambulist, by Alfons Muchha, 1885
Somnambulism can be induced by mesmeric treatment. Then the somnambulist is in direct contact with the mesmerizer, so much so that he only sees and hears the mesmerizer and not any other people in the room. The mesmerizer has a strong influence on that person, and there is a direct mental contact between the two. The mesmerizer can mentally think or will a certain action, and the somnambulist will carry it out. Other people in the room are unable to exert this mental control over the somnambulist. However, with time, when the sensitive person gets familiar and gains trust in another person, then the sensitive, while in the somnambulistic state will respond to the mental command of the new friend. It seems that this has to do with familiarity and trust.
The transition of the waking state to the somnambulistic state is often accompanied by a general chilliness or icy coldness, and it happens rather rapidly. The chilliness is followed by a remarkable, irresistible disposition to yawn, after which the eyes become burning and watery. Then the person falls into the somnambulistic state instantaneously, even when they are in the middle of a conversation.
Somnambulists favor coolness, and fall into the somnambulistic state by cool temperatures, such a cool wind or a cold rain. North and east winds will induce it, but south and west winds will hinder it.
In general, every increase of sensitiveness, whether temporary or permanent, and all mild agreeable mental impressions have a tendency to induce and strengthen somnambulistic sleep.
Somnambulism is induced by the introduction of negative Odic energy from any substance. Pointing the point of a crystal will do it, while pointing the base of a crystal will bring them out of that state. The same with north and south pole of a magnet. The transition is even quicker when the north pole of a magnet (negative Od) is pointed at the left side (positive Od) of the sensitive person. As we have seen in The Odic Energy of Life, opposite polarities are always agreeable to the sensitive.
Some sensitives are sensitive to unsuspected radiance of negative Od, such the falling leaves in the fall season, which cause a heightened organic activity of decay producing the negative Od.
Some plants are by themselves have a somniferous influence. The strongest is the rose bush, and the apple and pear trees, by their presence, or as food.
The mere presence of another person can also induce somnambulism. Usually it is certain individuals who have this effect on the sensitive. The sensitive can fall asleep immediately or after a couple of minutes of the person's presence. He will feel a coolness come over and go into the somnambulistic state. Because of this feeling of coolness, the particular person who causes the transition, must be charged with negative Od.
What also works is to place the hands diagonally under the feet of the sensitive. If you have read The Odic Energy of Life you know that this is an unlike pairing. Right hand (-) under left foot (+), and left hand (+) under right foot (+).
Another method is blowing on the head. Blowing is an exhalation of negative Od, due to the chemical reactions from the lungs.
Some sensitives fall into somnambulism by looking into the eyes of certain people. A strong glance is enough. Reichenbach wasn't sure why this is so, because his investigations showed that the eyes are the least Od-luminous portion of the body.
Water that is strongly charged with negative Od, and drunk, will also bring on the somnambulistic state.
Magnetic passes are the most powerful method to induce the somnambulistic state. Bear in mind that the term 'magnetic' has nothing to do with our scientific notion of magnetism.
Somnambulists can also be very sensitive to the Odic emanations from another person. For example, when a person is carrying anger with him, the sensitive will feel the positive Od streaming out of that person's body and filling the room. If the mesmerizer is in such a state, his magnetic passes over the sensitive will be harmful to the sensitive.
When a sensitive is afflicted by negative emotions, of all kinds, he will induce cramps in himself. Positive emotions, such as laughter and joy, can also incite cramps. Mental excitement too.
Magnetic passes are movements of the hands by the mesmerizer, upon down the body of the patient. It is usually done for healing, but one can also bring a sensitive person into the somnambulistic state by this method. The hands do nor need to touch the patient. The mesmerizer can even be several feet away, and the effect is the same. Reichenbach was successful in inducing the somnambulistic state in one person from three rooms away.
The underlying principle is the transference of Odic fluid from the mesmerizer to the patient. The way the passes are made is important as to the effect they have.
Reichenbach found that only sensitive people could be brought into somnambulism by magnetic passes. He never succeeded with non-sensitive people.
When a sensitive is about to go into the somnambulistic state, upwards passes from the stomach towards the eyes, will prevent this. One or a few passes is usually enough.
The Operator Inducing a Hypnotic Trance, engraving after Dodd, 1794. Plate from Ebenezer Sibly’s book, A Key to Physic, 1794
Cramps might be seen as the nervous system causing the muscles to cramp, but Reichenbach shows us that the initial impulse comes from Odic energy.
These cramps can be extremely strong, and the muscles are terribly strained. However many of these cramps are entirely painless and nor even felt, because the somnambulist's senses are not functioning. But cramps can be extremely painful when not in the somnambulistic state.
Cramps can lead to involuntary contortions and convulsions, not under the control of the will.
Some somnambulists have cramps in their brain, which is puzzling because there are no muscles. The brain cramps described by sensitives are accompanied by sensations as of screw-like turnings in the head brain.
As all negative Od influences causes the somnambulistic state, Reichenbach was of the opinion that somnambulism is an Od-negative state of the nervous system. When the nervous system gets into an Od-positive state, by which there is an overflow, or accumulation, of positive Odic energy, all kinds of cramps arise. Sensitive people are always prone to cramps.
Magnets and crystals can be used too to induce cramps. We have spoken about the polarity of these items, but it also depends how they are used in relation to the polarity of the body. When unlike poles of the object and the body are brought together, somnambulism results. When like poles are brought together, cramps result.
When the negative north pole of a magnet is turned to the positive right side of the body, the familiar cool sensation occur. After a while equalization occurs, and after that a soretic accumulation of negative Od occurs and cramps start. The same with the positive south pole towards the left side of the body, with a soretic accumulation of positive Od.
When like poles are held together, cramps start soon afterwards, as soretic accumulation starts right away.
The effect, both for somnambulism and cramps is dependent of the strength of the magnet. With very sensitive people, the effect can be accomplished from a distance of many feet away. The effect can also be caused, to a lesser degree, by crystals.
As we have seen in The Odic Energy of Life, somnambulists are sensitive to the cardinal directions. Sitting with their back to the west is extremely uncomfortable for them, and this sometimes causes cramps.
Amorphous bodies of unipolar character (they emit solely + Od, or solely - Od), when they have a strong Odic capacity, have much effect on persons disposed to cramps. In this class all the heavier metals are included. Some sensitives cannot even touch a metal door handle without getting cramps somewhere in their body. The same for kitchen utensils and the like, and metal coins. The most hurtful is quicksilver (mercury), as applied to the back of a mirror.
Cramps can also happen when one side of a person is facing the same polarity side of the sensitive, such as lying besides a sensitive, but with your head to their feet. Then like polarities of both sides are facing each other.
A crowd of people can also induce cramps. Also the presence of a particular person who is Od-positively charged.
We have seen that in terms of rainbow colors, there is a polarity of red/orange/yellow and blue/violet. Green light, such as projected by a prism, is generally disliked by all sensitives, and will cause cramps. It doesn't matter if the light comes from the sun or moon. Green light can cause a sensitive to fall into somnambulism and cramps together. The reason for that is that green is a mixture of blue and yellow, or positive and negative Od.
Upward passes with hands are a certain means of inducing cramps in high sensitives.
In short, the polarity always has to be observed with magnets, crystals or other objects. Unlike-poles between object and person cause somnambulism; like poles causes cramps. With mesmeric treatments, downwards passes with unlike poles causes somnambulism, or removes cramps, upwards passes with unlike poles causes cramps, or wakes the sensitive up from somnambulistic sleep.
Mental and emotional excitement can cause cramps.
Obstructions are the most powerful causes of cramp. Among the most singular of these phenomena is the fact that little pieces of wood, crystal, metal, or even of paper laid on the finger-points of highly sensitive persons, cause cramps. Reichenbach found that no moderate sensitive can wear a thimble. Leather shoes and leather gloves are also a problem. Reichenbach explained this as the obstruction of the Odic energy from the fingers. [my own opinion: It is clear that we are dealing here with the flowing of prana from the end of the meridians in the finger tips. But this was not known to Reichenbach.]
Downwards passes will take away cramps, but it requires a certain amounts of passes. Any more passes will create a surcharge and the cramps will start again. This also happens when the mesmerizer keeps his hand on the person body after having made the passes.
Breathing and blowing upon the sensitive's body also takes away cramps, but again, too much of it and the cramps will return. The sensitive will first feel coolness, but when the overcharge begins he feels warmness.
Downwards passes will cause cramps if they are made with same poles facing. Right hand over right side of the sensitive, or left hand over left side of the sensitive. Facing like or unlike poles makes a difference in all the mesmeric treatments.
Downward passes always have to be made beyond the outermost points of the fingers. If not done so, a surcharge happens at the hands or fingers, causing cramps. The same with the feet and toes.
The passes also have to be made not too fast and not too slow, or they might cause cramps.
A mesmerizer has to keep all these details in mind.
Other means for reducing or eliminating cramps are cold water and ice, and the inhalation of cold air. Coldness has a nemetic or Od-negative influence.
Negative and positive Odic energy are seen as opposite poles when looking at the effects they have on sensitive people. But they do not cancel each other out, or neutralize each other. They exist together. By that, sensitive people frequently are affected by both at once, and that can be confusing.
Sensitive people can first have cramps that then lead to falling into the somnambulistic state. Cramps can also happen after falling into that state, and even last as long as that state lasts. Or the cramps can come and go. In most cases, the cramp begin in the bowels, and pass as rigid spasms into the limbs, and then changes to somnambulism, or the two states begin at the same time.
Reichenbach thought that catalepsy is a special condition of the somnambulistic state. In modern terms, catalepsy is a condition of diminished responsiveness usually characterized by a trance-like state and constantly maintained immobility, often with cerea flexibilitas (the capacity to maintain the limbs or other bodily parts in whatever position they have been placed). Affected individuals may remain in one position for minutes, days, or even longer.
From his observation, Reichenbach stated that the Odic energy and its influences on the physical body is linked to the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the cerebrospinal system (CSS).
The SNS is primarily responsible for the fight or flight response. It is located in the main body, with an extensive network of neurons that regulate the body's involuntary processes, and supporting the organs in the chest and belly to keep them healthy.
The CSS comprises the brain, cranial nerves, spinal cord, and the spinal nerves concerned with transmission of impulses from sense organs to the voluntary muscles.
Reichenbach observed that the nerves of sensation are attacked and deprived of their function in the nemetic condition (somnambulism), while the nerves of motion are attacked and thrown into involuntary and excessive contractions in the soretic condition (cramps).
In regards to the manipulation of odic energy and magnetic passes Reichenbach says:
"I found that the odic intensity was stronger in the forward part of the brain in the waking condition, and stronger in the back part of the brain in sleep: so that the activity which develops od is in the cerebrum during the day and in the cerebellum at night.
We may infer that upward passes, by bringing od to the brain, render its upper and forward lobes active; and that downward passes deprive them of their functional powers."
The beginning and the end of somnambulism and cramp are marked by certain sensations; somnambulism by a sense of coolness, and cramps by a sense of warmness.
When a somnambulist is about to wake up from his state, he can feel peculiar thrills going through his body. It is a peculiar sensation, a rippling current, commencing in the feet, pacing slowly upwards, running through organ after organ of the body, and finally ending in the brain with waking. These sensations can also occur with upward passes, which, as we have seen, can bring a somnambulist of of his sleep state.
When the current goes from head to feet, the awake person will fall into the somnambulistic sleep.
With cramps it is the opposite. When the same current goes from the feet to the head takes place, then cramps arise. When it reverses and goes to the feet again, the cramps disappear.
Sensitive people are governed by a peculiar aversion for everything which continues or is repeated with a certain uniformity.
A large plain, or an open square in a city is an unpleasant site for these sensitives. Equally so for large fields, meadows, wide road, even ponds, and especially snow fields.
Anything that repeats is unpleasant, such as waving grain field, revolving wagon wheels, waterfalls, a hopping cage bird, the swing of a pendulum, the motion of the leaves of a book slipping through the fingers, twirling of the thumbs, drumming with the fingers and feet, and swinging the feet, ticking of a watch, motions of machinery. It is the monotonous and repeating phenomena that annoys them.
A sensitive is caught between two opposites of monotony. At one side, a plain surface has nothing to fix the attention on; at the other side, repetition is a strain for attention. A sensitive needs variation, so his attention can go from one thing to another.
A lot of sensitives have trouble keeping a job. They can only do something for a short amount of time. Then they need a change of attention; a break, a walk, something else to work on before going back to the job, even if it is just for a few minutes. This is also the reason why these people have difficulty finishing a job they started.
Even standing or kneeling for a long time can be unbearable.
In these conditions, the resulting strain brings on sickness, stomachaches, headaches, numbness of the nerves, and swoons; and in some sensitives it causes such a warmness as is produced by upward passes, and indeed all these results belong to the same class with those caused by weak soretic influences acting on the brain.
As I have mentioned before the somnambulist can make predictions about his own health in the nearby future, usually when the next attack would occur, how long it would last and so on. These can be very detailed, and Reichenbach found that they always came true. There is an exception, in that somnambulists sometimes err in predicting when they will finally recover from liability to somnambulism.
Sometimes, he makes predictions about the future of other people, or world prophecies. It is clear that in these case, the mind of the somnambulist is making it all up. Reichenbach had a case, in which a cook asked predictions about a child he did not really have, and about a trip to Prague he was not going to make, and the somnambulist gave him predictions for both.
The prophecies never come true, what is to be expected, as many other prophets' prophecies have been not fulfilled. Maybe for a few rare exception, the mind of ordinary people, including prophets, cannot see into the future. Reichenbach himself says: "in the thirty-one more or less somnambulic persons with whom I have busied myself, I have not heard a single true prediction about matters lying outside of themselves, from any one of them."
I have mentioned before that a somnambulist has a mental link to the mesmerizer to the extent that the mesmerizer merely has to think or will a command, without speaking, and the somnambulist will carry it out.
Reichenbach had a case where the somnambulist was not able to read the contents of a letter of one of the visitors who was there. But after the visitor had gone into another room and read the letter, and came back, the somnambulist was then able to talk about the contents of the letter. The somnambulist, therefore, had access to the consciousness of the visitor, could now seize the ideas in his mind.
Another person's mind is not always readily available to the somnambulist. He has to make himself familiar with the other person first.
Reichenbach thought that there were different states of consciousness in somnambulism. Depending on the state he is in, the somnambulist will be able to read minds, or have clairvoyance. When he is in a low state he will not be able to any of this. The higher states correspond with the depth of quietude of the mind and the depth of the somnambulistic state.