Jung-Stilling, Johann Heinrich (1740–1817)
German author and physician, born on September 12,
1740, as Johann Heinrich Jung, was best known under his assumed
name, Heinrich Stilling. He was professor of political
economy, public administration, and agriculture at several
German universities, a contemporary of Franz A. Mesmer, and
founder of a German spiritual school of cosmology. His book
Theorie der Geister-Kunde (1808; English translation by S. Jackson
as Theory of Pneumatology, 1834) contains a great number of
authentic narratives of apparitions and similar phenomena.
Jung-Stilling also expounded the doctrine of a psychic body,
based on the luminiferous ether.
According to Jung-Stilling, animal magnetism undeniably
proves that we have an inward man, a soul, constituted of the
divine spark, the immortal spirit, possessing reason and will,
and of a luminous body that is inseparable from it. Light, electricity,
magnetic forces, galvanic matter, and ether appear to be
all one and the same body under different modifications, according
to Jung-Stilling. This light substance, or ether, is the
element that connects body and soul and the spiritual and material
worlds. When the inward man—the human soul—
forsakes the outward sphere, where the senses operate and
merely continue the vital functions, the body falls into an entranced
state, or a profound sleep, during which the soul acts
more freely and powerfully. All its faculties are elevated.
The more the soul is divested of the body, the more extensive,
free, and powerful is its inward sphere of operation, JungStilling
said. It has, therefore, no need whatever of the body in
order to live and exist. The body is rather a hindrance to it. The
soul does not require the organs of sense—it can see, hear,
smell, taste, and feel in a much more perfect state.
The boundless ether that fills the space of our solar system
is the element in which spirits live and move, according to
Jung-Stilling. The atmosphere that surrounds our earth, down
to its center, and particularly the night, is the abode of fallen
angels and of human souls that die in an unconverted state.
Jung-Stilling discouraged communications with the spirit
world as sinful and dangerous. He considered trance a diseased
condition. He believed implicitly in the efficacy of prayer and
claimed psychic powers himself. More than ten weeks before
the event, he predicted the tragic fate of Swiss writer Johann
Kaspar Lavater, who was shot by a soldier in Zürich in 1801.
The first part of Jung-Stilling’s autobiography (Heinrich Stillings
Jugend, 1777) was published at the instigation of Goethe.
He died on April 2, 1817.
Sources
Jung, Johann Heinrich. Heinrich Stilling. Translated by S.
Jackson. 1835–36. 2nd ed. 1843. Abridged ed., edited by R. O.
Moon. N.p., 1886.

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