Guiding Spirits
The claimed existence of guiding spirits or guardian angels
escapes experimental verification. According to séance-room
communications, everyone has guiding spirits and they are
often relatives who have risen to a high spiritual level in the beyond.
The daimon of Socrates who forewarned him of dangers
is the best historical example of the claimed existence of guiding
spirits. In Theages Plato has Socrates say, ‘‘By the favor of
the Gods I have, since my childhood, been attended by a semidivine
being whose voice, from time to time, dissuades me from
some undertaking, but never directs me what I am to do.’’
In the Apology Socrates further notes, ‘‘This prophetic voice
has been heard by me throughout my life; it is certainly more
trustworthy than omens from the flight or the entrails of birds;
I call it a God or a daimon. I have told my friends the warnings
I have received, and up to now the voice has never been
As an instance of the daimon’s clairvoyance, F. W. H. Myers
declares as follows in Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily
Death (1903) ‘‘As the philosopher was in conversation with Eutyphron,
he suddenly stopped and warned his friends to turn
into another street. They would not listen; but misfortune overtook
them—they met a drove of swine that jostled them and
threw them down.’’
‘‘Few facts in history possess such documentary evidence as
the Daimon,’’ concludes Dr. Lelut of the Institut de France in
Du Démon de Socrate (1836).
Edward Everett Hale, in his book James Russell Lowell and His
Friends (1899), writes of Josiah Quincy II (1772–1884), an
American statesman
‘‘It is interesting to know, what I did not know till after his
death, that this gallant leader of men believed that he was directed
in important crises, by his own ‘Daimon,’ quite as Socrates
believed. In the choice of his wife, which proved indeed to
have been made in heaven, he knew he was so led. And in after
life, he ascribed some measures of importance and success to
his prompt obedience to the wise Daimon’s directions.’’
The novelist Julian Hawthorne writes of his mother, the wife
of Nathaniel Hawthorne, in Nathaniel Hawthorne and His Wife
(1884) ‘‘My mother always affirmed that she was conscious of
her mother’s presence with her on momentous occasions during
the remainder of her life, that is, following her mother’s
According to Hoole’s Life of Tasso, Torquato Tasso ended his
career believing that he had a familiar spirit with whom he conversed
and from whom he learned things that he had never
read or heard of, and that were unknown to other persons. (See
also angels; control; genius; guide)