A Spiritualist term loosely applied to an impalpable body
which clothes the soul on the great dissolution of death or to
the soul itself. Edward William Cox in his book Mechanism of
Man (2 vols., 1876) declared that the soul (quite distinct from
mind, or intelligence, which is only a function of the brain) is
composed of attenuated matter and has the same form as the
physical body that it permeates in every part. From the soul radiates
the psychic force, by means of which all the wonders of
Spiritualism are performed. Through its agency, human beings
become endowed with telekinetic and clairvoyant powers,
and with its aid they can affect such natural forces as gravitation.
When free of the body, the soul can travel at a lightning
speed, nor is it hindered by such material objects as stone walls
or closed doors.
The psychic body is also regarded as an intermediary between
the physical body and the soul, a sort of shell or envelope,
more material than the soul itself, which encloses it at
death. It is this envelope, the psychic body or nervengeist, that,
some believed, became visible during materialization by attracting
to itself other and still more material particles.
According to traditional Spiritualist teachings, in time the
psychic body decays just as did the physical and leaves the soul
free. During trance, the soul leaves the body, but the vital funcPsychical
Research Foundation Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology 5th Ed.
tions are continued by the psychic body. (See also astral body;