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 ?
Ignoring the need for conscious will and art on the part of the poet, this conception turns him into 'a kind of somnambulist medium'.
The work was one of 36 paintings - others included The Somnambulist by Millais and prints by Picasso - being sold by the museum to raise money towards a pounds 500,000 target to pay for a new storage warehouse to replace the one in a poor state of repair.
Under Smith and Jon Whitney, Gray is unrecognisable from the somnambulist who drifted around the left for the previous six months.
Alphonse Cahagnet, a ninteenth century somnambulist, writes of skrying in a magic mirror "All those that bear or shed a sweet, pleasant smell, are suitable for the good spirits; such as incense, musk, gum-lac, etc.
Such villages are the natural home for traveling carnivals and fairs too, and with the fair season arrives a dodgy-looking bespectacled gent named Dr Caligari (Werner Krauss), the pitchman for a somnambulist named Cesare (Conrad Veidt), whose 20-odd years of sleeping (a somnambulist is literally a sleepwalker), Caligari claims, have somehow given him the power to see into the future.
Jobe is respected as a king, but is feared as a chronic and sometimes murderous somnambulist.
Even when the "dog" of separatism is sleeping, it has a somnambulist facility for biting a federalist ankle.
His image always arises in a specific constellation that repeats itself in a nearly somnambulist manner.
The penultimate chapter of Zarathustra is, he says, called 'The Somnambulist [Nachtwandler] Song', but Kaufmann and Hollingdale render Nachtwandler (literally: night-wanderer) as 'drunken' and 'intoxicated' respectively.
Convinced that the gothic and fantastic are useful as sources of subversion, the contributors of these ten articles cover such critical issues as the boundaries of the fantastic and new readings of Freud's ideas about the "uncanny," experiments in themes such as dismemberment, the writer as somnambulist, sensation and education, and the shift from the familiar to the fantastic, and the work of women such as Ortese, Ombre and Capriolo.
Caligari," (June 5) is a fascinating semi-remake of the classic 1919 German film, in which director David Lee Fisher has scanned the original backgrounds from an old print and, using green-screen magic, put live actors, including Jones as the somnambulist Cesare, into them.