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James Randi Educational Foundation

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies

Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

Swedenborg, Emanuel (1688-1772) A Swedish mystic who had a great influence on the thinking of the muddle-headed. He was born into a well-to-do family of theologians and was well traveled and well educated. Though a brilliant man in most ways——as a statesman, mathematician and engineer——his search for the secrets of the universe led him to have visions, and he decided that the answers lay in studying the relationship between the soul and the body.
      Swedenborg designed a syrupy theology that sounded elegant but was based on huge presumptions of his own insight, which he never doubted for an instant. He was sure he knew all about matters far beyond his perception, such as the nature of the planets. He had them peopled with life very similar to that on Earth, in most ways, but sufficiently exotic to appeal to the mystic sense.
      Of the inhabitants of Venus, Swedenborg said:  

      They are of two kinds; some are gentle and benevolent, others wild, cruel and of gigantic stature. The latter rob and plunder, and live by this means; the former have so great a degree of gentleness and kindness that they are always beloved by the good; thus they often see the Lord appear in their own form on their earth.

      The mystic averred, of course, that the Venusians (and all others in the solar system) shared one God. Of the Moon he revealed that  

      The inhabitants of the Moon are small, like children of six or seven years old; at the same time they have the strength of men like ourselves. Their voice rolls like thunder, and the sound proceeds from the belly, because the Moon is in quite a different atmosphere from the other planets.

      Perhaps small folks living in a vacuum have to speak from the belly, especially to make those thunderous sounds.

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