Artic. 6. Of Walkers in the Night.
THere are many examples of Night-walkers. A certain young man rising out of his bed, putting on his Cloths, and his Boots and Spurs, got astride above the window, upon a Wall; and spurd the Wall as if it had been a horse. Another went down into a Well and came not up again till he had touched the water. Horstius tells of a Noble Man that went to the top of a Tower, and robb'd a birds nest, and came down again by a rope.
It is reported, that one at Paris, girt with his sword, swam over the Seyn, and killed one he was minded to kill before; when he had done this villany, he return'd home, Aleman. comm. ad. libr. Hippocrat. de Aere, &c. As for the cause, many men are of divers minds. The best opinion ascribes it to Imagination: for the sensitive soul in sleep, not onely rouzed by an external object, converts her self to be sensible, and first perceives darkly, afterwards more clearly; but be∣ing affected by the inward object represented in a dream, rouzeth the moving faculty. The Imagination is rouzed by the species of things reserved; about which whilest it acts intentively, it stirs up the mo∣ving faculty. That this is so, appears by daily experience. For who knowes not but we are troubled in our sleep? That we rise not, is be∣cause our phantasie is not altogether so busie about the Images reser∣ved, as in some other men. Yet the stronger motion doth not alwaies proceed from the same cause. For some think the same thing may be Page 350 caused from diurnal cogitation, especially in younger people, that are more bold, and more lustfull. Others suffer this from an internal af∣fection of their body, yet they are not all of the same kind. Some have more cheerful, and more phantastick animal spirits; some seem to do this out of simplicity. That they wake not, is caused by the stiffnesse of the vapours. For these not suffering them to be easily awaked; and on the other side, the animal spirits being lively, it falls out that they are half awake, half asleep: yet it is not likely, that all are of the same kind. For that boy Libavius speaks of, that went na∣ked to the door, and came home again, observed a Watchman sitting in the streets. Lastly, the cause they do those things in their sleep, they cannot do waking, is their ignorance of the danger; the action of reason is darkned, and they cannot hinder the motions raised by Phantasie, Libav. in Noctambulis.