Revival of Persons who were not really Dead

 [This is taken from Augustine Calmet's Phantom World, originally published in 1850, revised and edited by D. J. McAdam, 2010.  Copyright as such.]

deathbed

The resuscitation of some persons who were believed to be dead, and who were not so, but simply asleep, or in a lethargy; and of those who were supposed to be dead, having been drowned, and who came to life again through the care taken of them, or by medical skill. Such persons must not pass for being really resuscitated; they were not dead, or were so only in appearance.

We intend to speak in this place of another order of resuscitated persons, who had been buried sometimes for several months, or even several years; who ought to have been suffocated in their graves, had they been interred alive, and in whom are still found signs of life: the blood in a liquid state, the flesh entire, the complexion fine and florid, the limbs flexible and pliable. Those persons who return either by night or by day, disturb the living, suck their blood, kill them, appear in their clothes, in their families, sit down to table, and do a thousand other things; then return to their graves without any one seeing how they re-enter them. This is a kind of momentary resurrection, or revival; for whereas the other dead persons spoken of in Scripture have lived, drank, eaten and conversed with other men after their return to life, as Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, and the son of the widow of Shunem, resuscitated by Elisha. These appeared during a certain time, in certain places, in certain circumstances; and appear no more as soon as they have been impaled, or burned, or have had their heads cut off.

If this last order of resuscitated persons were not really dead, there is nothing wonderful in their revisiting the world, except the manner in which it is done, and the circumstances by which that return is accompanied. Do these revenans simply awaken from their sleep, or do they recover themselves like those who fall down in syncope, in fainting fits, or in swoons, and who at the end of a certain time come naturally to themselves when the blood and animal spirits have resumed their natural course and motion.

But how can they come out of their graves without opening the earth, and how re-enter them again without its appearing? Have we ever seen lethargies, or swoons, or syncopes last whole years together? If people insist on these resurrections being real ones, did we ever see dead persons resuscitate themselves, and by their own power?

If they are not resuscitated by themselves, is it by the power of God that they have left their graves? What proof is there that God has anything to do with it? What is the object of these resurrections? Is it to show forth the works of God in these vampires? What glory does the Divinity derive from them? If it is not God who drags them from their graves, is it an angel? is it a demon? is it their own spirit? Can the soul when separated from the body re-enter it when it will, and give it new life, were it but for a quarter of an hour? Can an angel or a demon restore a dead man to life? Undoubtedly not, without the order, or at least the permission of God. This question of the natural power of angels and demons over human bodies has been examined in another place, and we have shown that neither revelation nor reason throws any certain light on the subject.
 

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