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 ?
to an automatic, unconscious, hypnotic, somnambulistic kind of writing.
Edgar sees that, while in a somnambulistic state, he was in a sense "mad.
The condition of stupidity as an 'ethical destination'--an uncanny form of awareness that 'undoes knowledge', recognizes an inviolable alterity and shuns metaphysical or idealistic abstractions in order to focus on the miraculous power of sentience and on the 'question of other lives' besides our own--is what Sam Durrant perceptively speaks about in one of his recent essays (3), underlining the paradoxically somnambulistic quality of this awakening, which overwhelms any dissenter who chooses to reject the imperialistic "ethos" and listen to the inward voice of conscience.
Bobbing is easy to start but difficult to stop both for me and the Mister who hates bobbing almost as much as he hates me pretending to be somnambulistic and/or blind.
These twenty-five minutes of somnambulistic life under the threat of death do not disturb me as a blackout but as an hallucination.
Bill expressed a strong desire to be hypnotized by Howard, and when Howard tried it, he found that Bill could be placed almost instantly into an apparently deep, somnambulistic trance.
The rhapsode of "Rhapsody on a Windy Night" hears during his somnambulistic nightwalk (somnambulism was, for Janet, the type of the hysterical symptom [23]) a precisely proportioned suite of audible hallucinations, a pair of pairs, as the "street-lamp" speaks twice in direct speech for ten lines and the "lamp" speaks twice for twenty lines.
There is no differentiation of common-sense, and one is as easily a cultural anomaly as the other and, therefore, the differentiation is made by those who are anointed, self--or otherwise, to make such moral judgments, such as the Church's 1326 Inquisition investigation of witchcraft and development of a theory of its diabolic origin or the more devious good walkers of the 16th century benandanti, somnambulistic travelers who claimed to unconsciously fight off witches, and who were eventually declared heretics.
On a midsummer night Trevor Lomas walked with a somnambulistic sway into Findlater's Ballroom and looked round for Beauty.
Their eldest son, a promising Olympic athlete, descends into a life of petty crime; another son, a banker, wanders the house in a somnambulistic trance of "sleeping sickness.
The sword-swallower recently learned how to put himself into a somnambulistic trance needed to help him swallow multiple swords in the Circus of Horrors, visiting the Empire next month.
The sword swallower and hypnotist, aka Helmut Kichmeier, had just learned the art of hypnotism to help put himself into somnambulistic trance and auto suggestion to allow him to swallow multiple swords in the infamous Circus Of Horrors.