Mystical visions? Pathological visions? Or visions of extraterrestrials?
The Medieval woman, the subject of the book pictured here, Ermine de Reims [1347-1396] was chronicled by Jean le Graveur, her priest and confessor, in The Visions of Ermine de Reims.
Both books, the original Visions and the book noted here, by Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski, are really about alleged mystical experiences by the peasant-woman Ermine and better discussed, perhaps, in a religious context.
However, in the visions and experiences recounted by Jean le Graveur and re-examined by Ms. Blumenfeld-Kosinski are episodes that resemble those by UFO abductees and UFO witnesses, which I present here:
[Ermine has a heavenly vision (1396) where she] “sees a blinding light … that contains crowds of people, but she cannot discern who they are … [then she has a visitation from the hermit Paul the Simple who assures her that god had sent her this heavenly vision … Paul] “takes her by the hand, but she cannot see him …[but] “A few days later … he transforms himself ‘into a small shape about a foot across, very shiny’ … and looking out her window, Ermine sees the ‘glowing shape’ ascend to heaven, which opens for it, swallows it up, and quickly recloses.” [Page 93, Blumenfeld-Kosinski]
“Just before her death …She sees three great rays of light that move from the earth all the way to heaven …she falls asleep … Suddenly she is awakened by a bright light, loud music, and a sweet odor … Wonderful stars emit lights that resemble those of huge torches.” [ibid]
“On April 17, 1396, Ermine is reciting her Ave Maria when three black clad [MIB?], black-skinned leathery demons appear, talking among themselves in an unknown language …
they grabbed her and carried her away to the ridge of the high slate roof of our church … the Val-des-Ecoliers in Reims. And while carrying her out the window they hit her head badly on the frame …And when she was on the ridge of the roof, the demons gathered around her and spoke to her in horrible voices, but she did not know what they were saying …
While the original demons vanish, three new ones appear and taunt her … they lift her up in the air for a moment and threaten to drop her … the demons throw her with great force from the roof …While she lies unconscious in the courtyard, a man in white appears [and] supports her so that she can make it back to her bed … Jean [her chronicler] then adds proof of this horrific incident. Ermine was wearing a head scarf and carried a rosary when she was kidnapped. Jean found the scarf the next day in a garden that lies between the Augustinian’s [Jean] house and Ermine’s room, while a servant found the rosary … “in our courtyard.” [Page 123, ibid]
Blumenfeld-Kosinki’s book is replete, also, with “visionary or demonic experiences” by others in the Medieval time-frame:
“In the twelfth century Guibert of Nogent recalled a visionary experience he had as a boy: two devils [sic] kidnapped him from a church … and deposited him on the roof.” [Page 122, ibid]
Blumenfeld-Kosinski, in her Prologue, writes this:
“In his fascinating 2012 study of hallucinations Oliver Sacks observes that the supernatural and the pathological were often separated in the medieval and early modern periods, although the symptoms may have been identical … ‘until the eighteenth century, voices – like visions – were ascribed to supernatural agencies: gods or demons, angels or djinns … but for the most part voices were not regarded as pathological.” [Page viii, ibid]
But there is little doubt, in my mind, that the visions/voices of Ermine et al. were based in a kind of pathology, one that had a sexual nexus.
Freud’s studies make the most of such pathologies, and one would do well to read his works (which are having a renaissance lately); they explain much about how and why such visions and voices come about.
Or one can accept the Ermine visions and “adventures” as her chronicler called them as real, in the mystical/religious sense: a kind of holy ecstasy.
Or one can see the episodes recounted in Blumenfeld-Kosinski’s book or the original she uses for her work, Jean le Graveur’s The Visions of Ermine de Reims, as evidence of visitors from the paranormal world or some place outside this world, as UFO abductees (experiencers) believe.
(There is more to cover from the book illustrated above, but that for another time and place.)