To Olga von Koenig-Fachsenfeld
Dear Dr. von Koenig-Fachsenfeld, 30 November 1960
Best thanks for your letter with its ghostly tidings.
One is naturally inclined to explain such visionary experiences in a rational way.
But long experience has forced me to realize that these attempts are usually unsatisfying.
Certain factors are involved which fly in the face of reason and make a mockery of our explanatory theories.
This applies above all to the wish-fulfillment theory, but also to the possibility of an historical explanation; the idea, for instance, that a residue of past lives still attaches to things is equally unsatisfying.
Take the hordes of children in these visions.
In spite of their antique costume, they don’t fit into the historical picture; and the fact that they all wear little brown caps shows that they are of the same nature and points in quite another direction.
They are elfin beings, and I don’t dare to think about what they might mean.
The fact, too, that the subject of these visions is very old and in confinio mortis suggests that a glance has been cast beyond the border, or that something from the other side has seeped through into our three-dimensional world.
This might have a functional significance in that what appears to be nothingness and emptiness is compensated by fullness (comparable to the “wild hunt” or the “blessed people”2 led by Wotan).
It is one of the self-delusions of our time to think that the spirits do not ride again or that the “wild hunt” gallops no more.
We are removed only from the place of such happenings, carried away by our madness.
Those of us who are still there, or have found their way back again, will be smitten by the same experience, now as before.
I would like to recommend to you the book by M.-L. von Franz, Die Visionen des Niklaus von Fliie (Zurich, 195) and A. Jaffe’s Geistererscheinungen und Vorzeichen3 (Rascher, 1958).
There you can see very clearly the nature of these experiences.
With best greetings,
C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 611-612