“In cases of the most profound cataleptic clairvoyance, such as obtained by Du Potet, and described very graphically by the late Prof. William Gregory, in his letters on Animal Magnetism, the spirit is so far disengaged from the body that it would be impossible for it to reenter it without an effort of the mesmerizer’s will. The subject is practically dead, and, if left to itself, the spirit would escape forever. Although independent of the torpid physical casing, the half-freed spirit is still tied to it by a magnetic cord, which is described by clairvoyants as appearing dark and smoky by contrast with the ineffable brightness of the astral atmosphere through which they look.
Plutarch, relating the story of Thespesius, who fell from a great height, and lay three days apparently dead, gives us the experience of the latter during his state of partial decease. “Thespesius”, says he, “then observed that he was different from the dead by whom he was surrounded. They were transparent and environed by a radiance, but he seemed to trail after him a dark radiation or line of shadow.” His whole description, minute and circumstantial in its details, appears to be corroborated by the clairvoyants of every period, and, so far as this class of testimony can be taken, is important.
The kabalists, as we find them interpreted by Eliphas Levi, in his Science des Esprits, say that, “When a man falls into the last sleep, he is plunged at first into a sort of dream, before gaining consciousness in the other side of life. He sees, then, either in a beautiful vision, or in a terrible nightmare, the paradise or hell, in which he believed during his mortal existence. This is why it often happens, that the affrighted soul breaks violently back into the terrestrial life it has just left, and why some who were really dead, i.e., who, if left alone and quiet, would have peaceably passed away forever in a state of unconscious lethargy, when entombed too soon, reawake to life in the grave.”
In this connection, the reader may perhaps recall the well-known case of the old man who had left some generous gifts in his will to his orphaned nieces; which document, just before his death, he had confided to his rich son, with injunctions to carry out his wishes. But, he had not been dead more than a few hours before the son, finding himself alone with the corpse, tore the will and burned it. The sight of this impious deed apparently recalled the hovering spirit, and the old man, rising from his couch of death, uttered a fierce malediction upon the horror-stricken wretch, and then fell back, and yielded up his spirit, this time forever.”
H. P. Blavatsky