From a Misty Cloud to a Human Form

In Robert Crookall's book Out of the Body Experiences, we have on page 35 this very interesting passage:

"Thus, Dr. R. B. Hout saw 'a fog' leave a dying body (and gradually become its 'double'). E. W. Oaten saw 'a smokelike vapor' (which gradually became 'an exact duplicate' of the person who had just died). Florence Marryat saw 'a cloud of smoke' (which 'gradually acquired the shape of the girl’s body'). J. C. Street observed 'a column of vapor' (which assumed the form of the man under observation). Major W. T. Pole reported 'a shadowy form” (which became 'an exact counterpart of the body on the bed'). Mr. 'G' described 'clouds' (which assumed the form of the body they had left). Maurice and Irene Elliott spoke of 'a white hazy mist' (which also took the shape of the body it had left)."

On page 105 we have a fuller discussion in the same vein:

"We have already referred to the 'mist' observed to rise from dying bodies...Mrs. Annie Brittain saw that 'the mist' which left the body of a woman passed through a second stage and became its counterpart. Lily J. Price, J. P., of Australia, wrote and told me how, when present at the 'passing' of a child, she saw 'a mist' leave the head (first stage). She continued, 'The mist gradually took the shape of the child’s form [second stage].' Mrs. G. Vivian, B.A.,  saw 'a mist' leave the body of her dying mother. 'It gradually took shape and resembled my mother.' Mrs. 'Alexander' gave an identical description, as did Mrs. E. Herrick, T. E. Morgan, and an American literary woman.  The Reverend J. Lewis  saw a gambler die. A 'mist' left his body and later assumed the gambler’s form." 

On page 106 we read this: "Professor E. Bozzano quoted a missionary from Tahiti who was told by the natives: 'Shortly after a human body ceases to breathe, a vapor rises from the head . . . this vapor gradually . . . assumes the form of the inert body.”

Below is a description by an R. B. Hout on page 153:

"I could distinguish nothing more than a vague outline of a hazy, foglike substance. There seemed to be only a mist held suspended, motionless. But, as I looked, very gradually there grew into my sight a denser, more solid, condensation of this inexplicable vapor. Then I was astonished to see definite outlines presenting themselves, and soon I saw this foglike substance was assuming a human form. 
Soon I knew that the body I was seeing resembled that of the physical body of my aunt  . . . The astral body hung suspended horizontally a few feet above the physical counterpart. ... I continued to watch and . . . the Spirit Body now seemed complete to my sight. I saw the features plainly. They were very similar to the physical face, except that a glow of peace and vigor was expressed instead of age and pain. The eyes were closed as though in tranquil sleep, and 
a luminosity seemed to radiate from the Spirit Body."

On page 121 of his very interesting book The Supreme Adventure the author Robert Crookall cites the following account told by an E. W. Oaten who witnessed the death of his friend Daisy: 

"I saw a faint, smoke-like vapour rise from the body. It rose some few feet above the bed and stayed there. It was full of motion and rolled over and over until it became a ball of greyish smoke, in a state of motion, with slight traces of opalescence in it here and there. It condensed and grew larger, supplied with a steady stream from the body, a stream of vapour some three inches in diameter. Slowly the ball assumed the size of about 5 ft. 6 in. in length by 18 in. in diameter. Condensation continued until it became to me, a semi-solid body, light-grey in colour, but still like a volume of smoke all in motion. Then, gradually, definition began to come. It assumed the form of a roughly-moulded dummy of the human form. An umbilical cord united it with the physical body. I could see the flow of energy in the umbilical cord. The etheric form began to assume the perfect shape. . . . Presently there was the exact duplicate of Daisy floating face downwards in the air.  It was connected to the body by the silver cord through which her life slowly escaped. Then the form began to heave and rock, like a balloon tearing at its moorings. The silver cord began to stretch. It grew thinner and thinner at the middle until at last it snapped and the floating form assumed an upright attitude.  It was the living duplicate of the sleeping form on the bed. She turned to me and smiled. She was thanking me for the hours I had spent in trying to help her. Then, from the corner of the room, near the ceiling, there came a rush. Two white-robed figures, a man and a woman...came to her, and wrapping their robes around her, they floated away . . . .” 

On page 157 of Crookall's book Out of the Body Experiences we read of a Dr. R. J. Staver who witnessed the death of his father: 

"There was a little mistlike wraith which rose rather slowly. ... It had no human appearance at the time of withdrawal; that 
came a bit later. The whole proceeding took the best 
part of an hour, and for some time following the com¬ 
plete withdrawal, there was a wisp of connection between 
the physical body and that portion which had left it— 
it reminded me of the oft-mentioned ‘silver cord.’ "

On page 159 we read this:

"Mrs. Josephine Taylor ... told how she saw a child die: 'I saw a mist above the little body. It took the shape of the body which lay on the bed. This was attached by a very fine silver cord. . . . The replica was about three feet above the body, then gradually tilted itself into an upright position. It then floated away.'  Charles Moore observed, 'There slowly escapes from the outworn body a luminous cloud of fine substance. This rapidly becomes compact and takes the form of a solid ethereal body exactly like the old physical body from which it has arisen.' "

On page 162 we are told a Dr. Kayner  observed "a vapor or mist"  which left the chest and head and "gradually rose" until 
the "newly born man" stood up.

The world-class scientist Sir William Crookes was the inventor of the Crookes tube that was the forerunner of all television sets (and also the co-discoverer of the element thallium).  Crookes wrote the following:

"Under the strictest test conditions, I have more than once had a solid, self-luminous, crystalline body placed in my hand by a hand which did not belong to any person in the room. In the light, I have seen a luminous cloud hover over a heliotrope on a side table, break a sprig off, and carry the sprig to a lady; and on some occasions I have seen a similar luminous cloud visibly condense to the form of a hand and carry small objects about."

Lt.-Col. L. Moore Cosgrave reported the following incident occurring near the time of the death of Horace Traubel, the main biographer of the American poet Walt Whitman:

"During this long watch, Horace Traubel, who was suffering from paralysis and debility, was without visible pain, and semi-conscious, unable to articulate owing to paralysis of the tongue....On the last night, about 3 a. m., he grew perceptibly weaker, breathing almost without visible movement, eyes closed and seemingly comatose, he stirred restlessly after a long period, and his eyes opened, staring towards the further side of the bed, his lips moved, endeavoring to speak, I moved his head back, thinking he needed more air, but again it moved away, and his eyes remained rivetted on a point some three feet above the bed, my eyes were at last drawn irresistibly to the same point in the darkness, as there was but 
a small shaded night lamp behind a curtain on the further side of the room. Slowly the point at which we were both looking grew gradually brighter, a light haze appeared, spread until it assumed bodily form, and took the likeness of Walt Whitman, standing upright beside the bed, a rough tweed jacket on, an old felt hat upon his head and his right hand in his pocket, similar to a number of his portraits, he was gazing down at Traubel, a kindly, reassuring smile upon his face, he nodded twice as though reassuringly, the features quite distinct for at least a full minute, then gradually faded from sight."

Besides such accounts of a full or nearly full human form arising from a misty cloud, there are numerous accounts of mysterious hands appearing from such a cloud or mist. We read the following in the book "Occult Science in India" by Louis Jacolliot:

"A slightly phosphorescent cloud seemed to have formed in the mid- dle of my chamber, from which semblances of hands appeared to go and come with great rapidity. In a few minutes, several hands seemed to have lost their vaporous appearance and to resemble human hands ; so much so, indeed, that they might have been readily mistaken for the latter. Singular to relate, while some became, as it were, more material, others became more luminous. Some became opaque, and cast a shadow in the light, while others became so transparent that an object behind them could be distinctly seen. I counted as many as sixteen....One of them, breaking away from the rest, flew toward me and pressed my outstretched hand. It was small, supple and moist, like the hand of a young woman....For nearly two hours a scene ensued which was calculated to set my head in a whirl. At one time, a hand brushed against my face or fanned it with a fan. At another, it would scatter a shower of flowers all over the room, or would trace in the air, in characters of fire, words which vanished as soon as the last letter was written."

On page 269 of the same account, we read the following account of a full human form arising from such a cloud:

'A cloud similar to the first, but more opaque and of a brighter color, hovered near the little furnace, which, at the Hindu's request, I had kept constantly fed with burning coals. By degrees it seemed to assume a human form, and I distinguished the spectre — for I cannot call it otherwise — of an old Brahminical priest kneeling by the side of the little furnace."

Although it involves only a paranormal cloud (but not such a cloud turning into a human form), the following notable passage from the book Cosmic Consciousness by Richard Maurice Bucke may be relevant in this post. In the passage the author is describing his own experience:

"All at once, without warning of any kind, he found himself wrapped around as it were by a flame-colored cloud. For an instant he thought of fire, some sudden conflagration in the great city; the next he knew that the light was within himself. Directly afterwards came upon him a sense of exultation, of immense joyousness accompanied or immediately followed by an intellectual illumination quite impossible to describe. Into his brain streamed one momentary lightning-flash of the Brahmic Splendor which has ever since lightened his life ; upon his heart fell one drop of Brahmic Bliss, leaving thenceforward for always an after taste of heaven. Among other things he did not come to believe, he saw and knew that the Cosmos is not dead matter but a living Presence, that the soul of man is immortal, that the universe is so built and ordered that without any peradventure all things work together for the good of each and all, that the foundation principle of the world is what we call love and that the happiness of every one is in the long run absolutely certain. He claims that he learned more within the few seconds during which the illumination lasted than in previous months or even years of study, and that he learned much that no study could ever have taught. The illumination itself continued not more than a few moments, but its effects proved ineffaceable ; it was impossible for him ever to forget what he at that time saw and knew; neither did he, or could he, ever doubt the truth of what was then presented to his mind."

Below is the famous photo described as the "Ghost of Raynham Hall," as it appeared in the December 26, 1936 edition of the British magazine "Country Life." 

Raynham Hall ghost

  The description of seances of Franck Kluski by  anatomy professor F. W. Pawlowski is one of the most astonishing testimonies of paranormal phenomena ever recorded. Beginning here you can read an account of more than five pages, filled with the most extraordinary claims. The quote below is another example of the phenomenon referenced by this post's title:

"As the phantoms made their appearance I saw something resembling luminous smoke or fog floating above the head of the medium like a small cloud. This cloud moved to one side and in a few seconds became a human head, or else it would spread out vertically and become a complete human figure, which immediately began to walk about. The most astonishing and interesting part of these phenomena, so to speak their most important feature as far as I was concerned, was the absolutely human behavior of the apparitions. They acted precisely like guests at a party. As they passed around the table they greeted the more familiar participants with a smile of recognition, whereas they studied any newcomers attentively. The inquisitive look in their eyes is hard to describe. I could see from their efforts to understand our expressions, our smiles, our questions and answers, as well as from their actions, that they were particularly anxious to convince us of the fact that they were real beings and not illusions or hallucinations."