PHANTASMS OF THE DEAD. 297
The result often is that the agreement is carried out with startling fidelity. The object accomplished, the phantasm disappears forever.
Another salient characteristic, which seems to be universal and which possesses the utmost interest and importance in determining the true source of the phantasm, is that it possesses no general intelligence. That is to say, a ghost was never known to have more than one idea or purpose. That one idea or purpose it will follow with the greatest pertinacity, but utterly ignores everything else. In the rare instances where the phantasm has been conversed with, it manifests perfect intelligence on the one subject, but pays not the slightest attention to any question pertaining to any other, not even to cognate subjects. This characteristic pertains to every form and phase of visions which are tangible to the objective senses. Subjective hallucinations are governed by different laws, and are not taken into account in this connection.
M. Adolphe d'Assier, in his intensely interesting work entitled " Posthumous Humanity," mentions this peculiarity in a number of instances. Thus, on page 272 he says :
" The shade only talks about its personal predilections, and remains deaf to every question outside the limits it has prescribed for itself. All the colloquies that have been gathered upon this subject resemble that of Bezuel and Desfontaine (1697), reported by Dr. Briere de Boismont. They were two college comrades, two intimate friends, who had sworn to each other that the first who died should appear to the other to give him some news about himself."
Accordingly, the year following, the shade of Desfontaine appeared to Bezuel, and addressed him as follows :
"' I agreed with you that if I died first I should come and tell you. I was drowned in the Caen River the day before yesterday, at this same hour, in company of Such and Such;' and he related the circumstances which caused his death. It was his very voice,' says Bezuel. ' He requested me, when his brother should return, to tell him certain things to be communicated to his father and mother. He gave me other commissions, then