Somnambulism


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SOMNAMBULISM, med. juris. Sleep walking.
     2. This is sometimes an inferior species of insanity, the patient being unconscious of what he is doing. A case is mentioned of a monk who was remarkable for simplicity, candor and probity, while awake, but who during his sleep in the night, would steal, rob, and even plunder the dead. Another case is related of a pious clergyman, who during his sleep, would plunder even his own church. And a case occurred in Maine, where the somnambulist attempted to hang himself, but fortunately tied the rope to his feet, instead of his neck. Ray. Med. Jur. Sec. 294.
     3. It is evident, that if an act should be done by a sleep walker, while totally unconscious of his act, he would not be liable to punishment, because the intention (q.v.) and will (q.v.) would be wanting. Take, for example, the following singular case: A monk late one evening, in the presence of the prior of the convent, while in a state of somnambulism, entered the room of the prior, his eyes open but fixed, his features contracted into a frown, and with a knife in his hand. He walked straight up to the bed, as if to ascertain if the prior were there, and then gave three stabs, which penetrated the bed clothes, and a mat which served for the purpose of a mattress; he returned. with an air of satisfaction, and his features relaxed. On being questioned the next day by the prior as to what he had dreamed the preceding night, the monk confessed he had dreamed that his mother had been murdered by the prior, and that her spirit had appeared to him and cried for vengeance, that he was transported with fury at the sight, and ran directly to stab the assassin; that shortly after be awoke covered with perspiration, and rejoiced to find it was only a dream. Georget, Des Maladies Mentales, 127.
     4. A similar case occurred in England, in the last century. Two persons, who had been hunting in the day, slept together at night; one of them was renewing the chase in his dream, and, imagining himself present at the death of the stag, cried out aloud, "I'll kill him! I'll kill him!" The other, awakened by the noise, got out of bed, and, by the light of the moon, saw the sleeper give several deadly stabs, with a knife, on the part of the bed his companion had just quitted. Harvey's Meditations on the Night, note 35; Guy, Med. Jur. 265.

References in periodicals archive ?
Just before his murder, Grace claims to suffer an episode of somnambulism during which she is attacked by a man who may have been Kinnear and who allegedly asks for "good service" in exchange for her wages (295).
49) Disabilities include intoxication, insanity, duress, automatism and somnambulism.
After suddenly awakening, Teresa slipped into lighter trances for three and a half months, a sort of somnambulism that was to characterize much of her later ministry.
In another extreme case, documented in 1994 by clinical neurologist Roger Broughton and others in Homocidal Somnambulism, a twenty-three-year-old man drove almost fifteen miles to his in-laws' house, where he fatally stabbed his mother-in-law.
Mills (English, Kalamazoo College) examines the works of Poe and Fuller for their reflections of contemporary images and theories of animal magnetism, somnambulism and hypnosis.
Evidence of this nature generally arises in circumstances involving somnambulism (sleepwalking), epileptic seizures, hypnotic states, organic brain disease, or extreme trauma.
56) There were also articles on astronomy, anthropology, zoology, and many on medical science, ranging from sleep and somnambulism to basic anatomy.
SLEEPWALKING or somnambulism - is the medical disorder where people carry out an activity while asleep.
For another contextualizing of Lowry's response to "the aesthetics of somnambulism," see Ackerley (1990).
His absence, his somnambulism, his messianism, all these concepts removed from any earthly--or, if you will, narrative--context, this subject is frail as dreams and notable above all for his primordial negative traits: his story becomes a densely woven, heavy fabric, a material of entirely unknown specific weight.
Another celebrity who suffers from somnambulism (the Latin term for sleepwalking) is actor Rufus Sewell - recently seen in the BBC's period bodice ripper Charles II, The Passion And The Power - in which he starred as the king who had many mistresses.
His collaborations with Kenneth MacMillan started in 1953 with Somnambulism, MacMillan's very first work, set to jazz music by Stan Kenton.