De La Cause Du Sommeil Lucide


English Summary


Luis S.R. Vas, an accomplished Indian author, compiled the following summary in English of  Abbe Faria's treatise, De la Cause du Sommeil Lucide. According to Mr. Vas, his summary was "based on Portuguese translations by the Abbe's various biographers."





by Abbé Faria

Doctor of Theology and Philosophy,

Member of the Medical Society of Marseille,

Former professor of philosophy at the Université de France, etc.

Paris, 1819





First of all, I reject all theories of animal magnetism, baquets, external will, magnetic fluid as being unnatural and extravagant. Lucid sleep is a matter as natural as memory and imagination, faculties common to everyone but not to the same extent.  So also everyone is not equally susceptible to lucid sleep. Lucid sleep can be developed through intellectual practice and favourable physical conditions. But it has nothing to do with the external will of the concentrator since subjects can be made to fall into lucid sleep with will, without will or even with unexpressed opposite will.


I think I have proved that the idea of a magnetic fluid is entirely absurd,  from the point of view of  its nature, its application or its results.


Everyone cannot become a good lucid sleep subject, only the naturally endowed ones. I defy all magnetizers in the universe to produce lucid sleep in anyone who lacks the requisite aptitude. Anyone who falls asleep easily, sweats a lot and is moody is usually susceptible to somnambulism. Another factor all somnambulists appear to have in common is a continuous and rapid eyelid movement when their eyes are partly shut. I have observed that the extraction of a certain quantity of blood, within twenty-four hours, will turn someone with no previous aptitude into a good subject since the fluidity of blood adds not only to the depth of sleep, but also to the speed of its induction. I even had children induce sleep in adults merely by showing them their hand. So also nothing arises in lucid sleep outside nature's ambit or beyond the realm of human reason, but is accessible to anyone ready to devote himself earnestly to the quest for truth.


My observation indicates that the trust permitting the ease of this practice is generally established only through repeated onset of  lucid sleep. As trust becomes stronger through repetition, such aptitude is awakened and augmented and its results are achieved more often.


Concentration of the senses is needed to fall asleep, since you cannot fall asleep when your mind is distracted by concerns, worries, or restless blood.


Suggestion, which is an order from a concentrator, is the immediate cause that triggers the real and precise cause that produces a particular and natural effect, but cannot produce it on its own. Induced lucid sleep, is a concentration of the senses produced at will and limited only by internal freedom, but caused by the external influence of the concentrator's suggestion.


I use many methods to cause lucid sleep. Sometimes after selecting subjects with the right aptitude, I ask them to relax in a chair, shut their eyes, concentrate their attention and think about sleep. As they quietly await further instructions I gently or commandingly say: "Sleep!" and they fall into lucid sleep. If the first attempt does not succeed, I try again, and sometimes even a third time; if he still fails to sleep I give up since the person is unable to experience lucid sleep.


It has been known for ages that children at school, soldiers in their barracks, sailors on their ships and some of their friends can be made to fall into lucid sleep either by touching some part of their body or by simply engaging them verbally. 


To interrupt lucid sleep I also use verbal command or suggestion like "Wake up!" and the somnambulist wakes up. Sometimes I use gestures like waving my hand in front of the subject's eyes to wake him up depending on how deep he is in it.


When subjects are resistant to the method described, I usually hold my hand in front of them but at a distance and ask them to look at it unblinkingly. I then move the hand towards them to within a few inches of their eyes, and the subjects shut their eyes and fall into lucid sleep.  I do not know exactly which techniques the ancients employed to induce lucid sleep. But if we read the fable of Chiron the centaur and take it as a description of a sleep induction, it looks as if they employed the technique of  presenting one's hand to the subject.


If the two earlier methods do not work I softly touch the subjects on the head, the temples, the slope of the front nasal bone, the diaphragm, the heart, the knees, and the feet. Experience has taught me that a little pressure applied to these parts of the body causes enough concentration to permit withdrawal of the senses. Thus successively massaging their the body parts causes the subjects  to shiver, shudder and fall asleep.


What, then, is the use of methods of laying on of hands, presenting one's hand and massaging, with which concentrators induce sleep in subjects? Sleep occasioned in subjects upon a show of their concentrator's hand is thus also an effect of their occasional concentration. As they see the hand, subjects know what is expected of them and immediately comply, sometimes even in spite of themselves, due to the force of their inner  conviction.


I have brought subjects under trees, which, they were told, on which hands had been laid or had been magnetized, when they actually had not. And the subjects had fallen asleep. I brought others under different trees which had been magnetized, but without saying anything to the subjects, and they had  not experienced the slightest symptom of  lucid sleep.


There is no way of producing the effects of lucid sleep and the relief, or even  the cure, of  symptoms arising from a source of external action. We have to attribute everything to the beliefs of the individual concentrating, such concentration being the only immediate cause capable of producing  the desired effects, in proportion to his aptitudes.


The following are the main symptoms of lucid sleep: sweat, palpitations, explosions of laughter or weeping and tears usually in women, eye closure difficult to control by will, suffocation and a tendency to vomit, faint, headaches and drowsiness. The sensitivity of subjects during sleep is so pronounced that no one can touch them without causing tremors, sometimes convulsions, unless previously warned of a imminent contact. Only the concentrator can touch them without harmful effects, but even he sometimes produces a shudder of surprise since he may have escaped their attention.


They can get into their mind that they are being ill treated when they are merely being touched, or that they are only being lightly touched when they are really being harmed. They will feel sensations according to their expectations rather than to the actual situation.


All evidence shows that lucid sleep and naturally deep sleep are alike --  lucid sleep being the deepest level of sleep and inherent to the human condition. But degrees of lucid sleep are so numerous they will never be confined to general and consistent rules, the intensity of lucidity is  proportionate to the depth of sleep. Men of genius live in wakeful sleep.


On receiving instructions orders from their concentrators, subjects can control all their internal and external organs at will, to the extent that the concentrators can compel them to receive certain impressions, independently of  any physical action of objects, and trigger corresponding ideas in their mind. In the deep state of distraction that follows occasional concentration, only the concentrator remains in the mind of subjects. The somnambulists withdraw from all their surroundings, sometimes even from themselves, becoming deaf to the voice of strangers unless such stranger's reputation and actions in the field of lucid sleep have filled these subjects with an admiration at least equal to that which they feel for their own concentrators.


I have found that when spoken to in a foreign tongue, somnambulists are able to answer in their native tongue, and sometimes even in that foreign tongue, and my experience shows that no trained subject, irrespective of his level of lucidity, has ever done what natural somnambulists have sometimes done, such as speaking in foreign tongues with native ability.


Without the presence of actual objects, somnambulists see, smell, hear, touch, taste what has merely been suggested to them verbally. The sense of hearing allows them to hear what has been said;  to find in things edible and potable presented to them a taste that does not exist; to touch a body that is not in their presence; to see and smell absent objects. One must not imagine that all these effects are illusory; they are so real that they manifest themselves within the subject's body as if he were experiencing the effects of natural causes. A glass of water will inebriate totally, if they are  told it is brandy. I have told somnambulists I am offering them refreshments or medications in their sleep and handing them a glass of water, which they drank believing they were tasting the promised substance. I would tell them I was offering them tobacco, and then had them sniff an inodorous substance, to which they responded as if they were smelling snuff. A female somnambulist,  believing she was inhaling the strong smell of ammonia, could not stand even for a few seconds after an empty bottle was placed under her nostrils. Others experienced sensations of cold, heat, indeed of all kinds.


A military officer employed in Paris, was quite a good somnambulist. While awake he was shown a handkerchief which he examined and gave back without any response. But soon after, in deep sleep he shook with violent convulsions. Asked what was happening, he said the handkerchief he had been asked to touch belonged to a child suffering from consumption, which was true. I could with much difficulty calm him down, but only after telling him the handkerchief had been taken away.


When subjects are directed by external instructions they can trust, their intellectual operations and physical actions match precisely these commands.



Lucid sleep usually occurs when the subject's eyes are shut, although some sleep with open eyes. Their open eyes are always immobile. Some, however, move their eyes and see whatever takes place in their presence, but forget it all upon awakening. But they are so few that they can be considered a wonder.  Some people in this category, without being cataleptic, sleep for entire years while performing the functions appropriate to their age, status, and gender so well it is difficult to believe they are not in a perfect state of sensations. When awakened by a command, they are in a state of imbecility, know nothing of their surroundings, and relate everything to the time that preceded sleep. During intermediary awakenings, they recall only what they had seen in their normal waking state.


Every subject has the ability to control his body's involuntary movements on  the concentrator's instructions, though some, because of natural talent, can exercise this control on their own of a few involuntary movements.


Whenever somnambulists are made to recollect what happens in their sleep, they usually report it upon awaking, as if it was a scene in a dream. They will remember any activity they are asked to engage in during sleep and to recall it upon awaking. This phenomenon does not usually occur in new subjects. Some, however, will focus their attention on whatever they are directed to, and are capable of spontaneous focus when prompted by an internal impulse.


This is how such effect is achieved. The subject is asked to observe, from a distance, someone he is acquainted with, or whom he can know through an object. He is then asked to see the same person in a mirror or in a member of the audience set in front of him. He is then requested, with or without slight pressure on his head, to shift his attention to the object or person in question so that it will be just as present when he is awake as during his sleep. He is also ordered to do so in the wakeful state.


So long as the subject's attention is not averted, and he does not turn his attention away when he opens his eyes, he will see a scene similar to that of his sleep for as long as he is willing to look at it. Some subjects, however, due to their intense sensitivity and clear conviction resulting from it, see upon awaking what they saw in their somnambulistic state, projected on any object made of any material, but also in the absence of any actual object, merely by listening to words. Thus if they saw a woman in their sleep, when a man is placed in front of them after they awaken, or even in the absence of any object or person, they will still believe to be in the presence of the woman from their sleep. When asked while in this sensory state to describe the object in detail, they will describe the gender, features, hair and dress of the model, and realize their mistake only when their natural vision is restored with a pass of the hand over their eyes. Subjects, upon command from the concentrator, experience effects similar to those experienced by all external organs, without exception.


Whenever a subject sleeps following a command, he sleeps only because he wants to, but he believes that he sleeps only because of the power and force of the concentrator's intention. This is why, far away from his concentrator, at the indicated time and upon receiving a given signal (such as when one of his fingers is touched, or when he is shown a ring), he is compelled to sleep and think about his concentrator.


Some individuals fall asleep without external help, awaken at will and are careful to announce during one sleep episode the precise time of the next episode, during which they will provide information on their own conditions.


All effects of suggestions occur in subjects not only during lucid sleep, but also in the wakeful state so long as they have experienced concentration at least once. Some, however, exhibit these aptitudes without ever having experienced, or even being able to experience, this type of sleep. Nonetheless, this occurrence outside of sleep is only partly like what occurred during sleep, whether it concerns intuition or the influence on body movements.


But is it not contradictory to say that we influence our own actions and yet are unaware of such influence? No; it is the exact truth but has been little noticed by physiologists and philosophers.


Thus with mere words, healthy subjects can be made ill, and ill subjects can be made healthy.


Thus, also, a glass of water will help evacuate as much as required by nature if believed to be a purgative, and it will induce effortless and painless vomiting, if believed to be an emetic. Similarly, water placed under a subject's nose will relieve head congestion when presented as a decongestant. The same can be said of all other senses. As a result, an innocuous powder being administered as a curative for internal wounds  reaches its goal promptly and efficiently. And these are the facts about the influence of  subjects over their internal organs, as they respond to their operators’ voice. Consequently, upon their concentrators' orders, subjects are paralyzed to the extent specified, feel the announced pains or are immediately relieved of chronic conditions. This recovery can only be complete and radical when the action is repeated several times.


When asked during a sleep episode to reveal what they do not see in the waking state, subjects will promptly perform the requested task accurately during their next sleep episode. This is done without the least suspicion that they are complying with orders after awaking. They will even experience in the wakeful state, at a specific time, the effects commanded during sleep, such as menstrual discharge, vomiting, bowel movement and other similar results.


Subjects with a faculty for lucid sleep must be told ahead of time what they must experience to improve their condition and restore their health. The promptness with which patients with such an aptitude experience such beneficial effects, always depends on concentration, even in the waking state. These results occur in subjects not only during lucid sleep, but also in the waking state, so long as they have experienced concentration at least once.


Some subjects cannot feel the least sensation during the deepest lesions or amputations. But these effects become widespread and common to all subjects whenever the limb or body part that must be subjected to a difficult and painful operation is paralyzed by an operator. This measure renders them absolutely numb, and sometimes even prevents them from thinking about the operation upon awakening.


This method of treating patients is often advantageous, sometimes nil, and sometimes extremely dangerous and calamitous. Based on experience, we can see in all fairness that concentration has often done both good and ill to people with the proper aptitudes, and sometimes nothing to those who did not have the required faculties. Only those who perceive the nature of their concentration can affect certain patients. Daily experience demonstrates that subjects do not always respond to the same curative methods at all times.


Well-being caused by concentration in patients with aptitude for lucid sleep is extremely prompt and decisive. It is sometimes noticeable within twenty four hours, or even after one or two hours. These effects have to be announced to them ahead of time to avoid the risk of their occurring  slowly and in stages.


Often even useless medicinal herbs taken in full confidence produce more beneficial effects than those known to be the most potent. It is because intimate conviction, which inspires the highest confidence, produces internal juices more effectively than all pharmaceutical aids. Such is the influence of individual nature when the body has the required faculty of obeying without resistance.


No subject, irrespective of how serious his illness, needs the medications he prescribes himself, and sleep alone,  even just his aptitude to sleep, is all he needs for a full recovery.


Effects of lucid sleep are as ancient as the cradle of humanity, but have been noticed only recently in Europe by philosophical observers. Subjects with aptitude for lucid sleep are a challenge to human reason because they have deep knowledge on a variety of subjects, which they have acquired without study or meditation. They control all their involuntary movements; they reach objects at any distance in time or place and, consequently, through all obstacles; they read without help from the eyes any book, even closed; they unveil thoughts, even constant ones; they cause thousands of other sensory and real effects. But hoping to find in these oracles' predictions an unclouded truth, is a delusion and vain  expectation that will never be fulfilled.

Illustrations by Dom Martin

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