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.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
(3.) For the term somnambulant tables, see Justinus Kerner, Die Somnambulen Tische (Stuttgart: Ebner and Seubert, 1853).
Presumably, the government is always engaging in intentional (as opposed to somnambulant or coerced) acts, even if it hopes an act will not lead to liability as a taking.
Using the shaky-cam, mock-doc to depressing, somnambulant effect is this bargain basement dinosaur flick that's less Jurassic Park and more Jurassic pants.
All the talk about calculations in my somnambulant state, reminds me of a riddle which was popular during my school days.
"In the dusty penumbral light, there's an eerie sensuality about them with their angular provocative poses, their hard glossy surfaces, their somnambulant masklike faces, features frozen in glacial eyeless gazes.
Burne-Jones was an antiquarian somnambulant astray amongst dreams which he preferred to remain dreams.
(24) In this sense it meant moving away from the fragmentary and individualistic yet stultifyingly somnambulant materialist society of the coloniser, in favour of the 'purity' that Gandhi thought belonged to 'ancient civilisation.' (25)
Moreover, if the behavior of the narrator of the Book of the Duchess strikes us as overly contrived, the Parliament instead depicts a journey that can seem chaotic, formless, somnambulant, almost random, with the narrator drifting from one scene, one text, one sphere, to another.
The BSP's somnambulant campaign and the expected trouncing by Borissov led to vociferous public calls by senior BSP leaders for Stanishev to go, although he managed to hang on to the leadership - in a move that many at the time saw as a moment of survival quietly engineered by Purvanov so that the President, aware of the constitutional two-term limit for heads of state, could have his seat kept warm by Stanishev.
The logic of capitalism inscribes minds and bodies into "an environment, an atmosphere" that forgets everything beyond the surface of things (97); humans are nomads, somnambulant amnesiacs, oblivious to modes of production and, ultimately, unconscious of the transcendent origin of all material.