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7.0 The Rabies Virus

Swedenborg has described the rabies virus in total opposition to his former pre-critical ideas about the disease it causes and its origin. He mentions the transmitters and the germ's anatomical channels of penetration and progress through the body, stating its lethal nature and giving a correct morphological account of the very germ with a degree of resolution of about 25 Ångström[65].

7.1 An analysis of Swedenborg's SD 4705m-4709m series of notes

The first item worthy of consideration consists in the contrast between Swedenborg's pre-critical ideas about the penetration of the rabies agent into the organism, and his post-critical account on this very subject. The year Swedenborg experienced the crisis (1744), he wrote in Regnum animale in the section where he discusses the absorbtion of 'alimentary particles,' its alleged dependence on the states of the mind, and its influx on 'the quality of the blood:'

... in anger the blood suddenly attracts bile, and assumes a certain roughness, whereby it is excited to unseasonable motions. In envy, it attracts particles which give it a livid hue. In grief it contracts a sluggish viscidity, which produces torpor. In mania and canine rabies it contracts a poisonous spume, so that the very saliva is infected[66].

The symptoms of rabies being nervous, he assimilated straight away this viral disease to mania and presumed it is contracted through a digestive absorption of some poison. Indeed, the only thing he wrote that is correct is that the saliva of the rabic patient contains massive amounts of contagious stuff when the final stage of the disease is reached. He even thought the symptoms are intermittent and spontaneously remitting[67] when, actually, once the rabies symptoms set in, the disease is unstoppable, non-reversible and mortal.

No positive knowledge about rabies was obtained until Pasteur started his famous microbiological investigations in late 19th century. Since then, we have learnt that the causative virus shows a strong affinity for nerve-cells, wherefore —as explained by two modern researchers: M.M. Kaplan and H. Koprowski— its intrusion and progress takes place as follows:

The viral particles penetrate the nerve-endings and progress towards the spinal cord... The infection spreads progressively up the spinal cord through the synapses of neurons with one another, also affecting the chain of other ganglia alongside the cord. The course of the virus through the spinal cord leads rapidly to the brain, where the virus multiplies...

After the crisis, wrote Swedenborg —the very man who thought rabies is contracted by digestive absorbtion:

[An infernal crowd] ...ascended at the back, along the spinal marrow, upwards, under the head, and on high...

Thus, all of a sudden and ex nihilo, this man gave a true account of the real channel of penetration (spinal cord) and final target (head, brain). And in this latter respect, Kaplan and Koprowski add the following information:

... The infection then follows the nerve trunks outward to all parts of the body... The cycle may take weeks or months. It is not known how or where the virus remains in a latent and undetectable form during prolonged incubation periods[68].

However incredible it may seem, Swedenborg's text also mentions this period of undetectability:

... and was not perceived until the thing was done...

And to dissipate any doubts, to this information he still appends a verbal statement[69] indicating one of the actual transmitters of rabies:

... it was stated that they were those who answered to cats. (SD 4705 m)

Yet, it is somewhat surprising that Swedenborg should mention cats, dogs being since times immemorial the very animal linked to rabies —even in Mesopotamia! That is, the information recorded is correct but not historically traditional. In other words, this is not what one would expect from Swedenborg. It might even be interpreted as an information selected with a view to make it more manifest that it cannot be attributed to him, nor to any of his contemporaries!

Further startling facts form part of the account of rabies virus transmitters. Swedenborg enumerates the three commonest to man: rats, dogs and cats. Indeed, the passages we are investigating appear under the headline, DE INFERNIS ALIQUA: MURES, CANES MUTI, FELES: "Some particulars concerning the hells: rats, dumb dogs and cats"[70]. Once more a surprising expression turns up: canes muti —dumb dogs! This is by no means an eccentricity. The dumbness relates to a very impressive scientific fact.

The Spanish naturalists which took part in the colonization of the West Indies in the 16th century, found a presently extinguished variety of dog in those islands, which does not bark, and made it known to the world as 'dumb dog'. Maybe so cultivated a man as Swedenborg knew about this particular animal but —why did'nt he make a general reference to dogs instead of singling out so unique an Antillian dog amongst the more than a hundred ordinary breeds known in his time? Faced with this type of oddity, experience tells me that the choice is never fanciful but quite the contrary. It always turns out to be very significant. States Kaplan and Koprowski:

Between the third and fifth day after the appearance of these early signs the paralytic syndrome emerges in either the 'furious' of the 'dumb' form. In the furious form the dog is restless and snaps at moving objects... In the mute form the owner may think the dog has something lodged in its throat. The dog is not irritable and rarely bites. It is lethargic and likely to hide[71].

This is the answer to the 'dumbness-riddle'. Obviously, in the mute form the dog doesn't transmit the disease. Consequently, neither has this form been historically linked to rabies. Even in humans, classical knowledge only registers the furious form of which Girolamo Fracastorius gave this early and particularly crude account in the 16th century:

The patient can neither stand nor lie down; like a madman he flings himself hither and thither, tears his flesh with his hands, and feels intolerable thirst. This is the most distressing symptom, for he so shrinks from water and all liquids that he would rather die than drink or be brought near to water; it is then that they bite other persons, foam at the mouth, their eyes look twisted, and finally they are exhausted and painfully breathe their last[72].

The lack of clinical background for the phrase canes muti, and the oddity of that expression in an 18th-century text, make all this hardly referable to anything but the sphere of action of his mysterious communicators. Once more, it would seem that these have chosen such elements of knowledge as would be recognized by us as unattributable to Swedenborg.

I interrupted Swedenborg's text at the point where the 'infernal crew of spirits' ascended through the spinal cord upwards, towards the head. According to Kaplan and Koprowski, it is only once the virus reaches the brain that its starts its explosive proliferation. And it was precisely here that Swedenborg started experiencing visions neatly answering to the replication of the rabies virus! This is the most staggering part of his account. First step of replication consists in the synthesis of RNA and protein combined to form a strand of great length:

When this hell [of rats, dumb dogs and cats] was opened, then a streaked snowy thing appeared to be elevated on high in a long unbroken line...

Fig. 7.1.1 THE RABIES VIRUS (Dimensions and structure according to L. Pinteric y P. Fenje's 1966-model]. [ A ] Primary strand. [ B ] Composition. [ C ] Coiling. [ D ] Morphological variants. Swedenborg's descriptions coincide with each one of these four points.

This is the strand-like molecule (fig. 7.1.1 [ A ] ) whose elements of protein and RNA, of an extremely small dimension, are linked like beads in a string wherefore the filament thus formed probably shows that streaked appearance indicated by Swedenborg (our present instruments are not powerful enough to observe such details!). Thus, two substances —RNA and protein— make up that strand (fig. 7.1.1 [ B ] ). This duality of composition was also registered by Swedenborg:

... That streaked snowy thing was what exhaled from those pernicious deceits mixed up with apparent good...

Actually, the 'apparent good' has already been identified as a protein in a another case[73]. Thus, the dollis illis perniciosis, the 'pernicious deceit', must correspond to the RNA —and indeed!: the particle that has true infective power, that is, the one that is really 'pernicious,' is the RNA.

The proliferation of the virus marks the beginning of the non-reversible, mortal stage of the disease. This was likewise indicated to Swedenborg:

... Then some complained that they would perish. (SD 4708 m)
The virion (nascent virus) forms subsequently by the rolling-up of the strand (fig. 7.1.1 [ C ] ), coils thus formed adopting specific morphological variants described by Dr. A.F. Howatson as follows:
... the shape of the virion sometimes departed from that of the standard "bullet", being in some instances bell-shaped and occasionally in the form of a long rod[74].
In the case of the bell-shaped variant the molecule probably coils obliquely, like the bandaging of an Egyptian mummy (fig. 7.1.1 [ D ] ). Swedenborg witnessed at least the shaping of virions into the bell-like and rod-like (axial) forms:
They showed how they are accustomed to withdraw that snowy thing... One of them rolled himself round like an axle-tree... Others who are of such character but more cunning act similarly; but they roll themselves around, not as an axis, but obliquely lengthwise. (SD 4709 m)
From their very beginning, these structural descriptions are dazzling, starting with the vision of the long, striated strand of a binary chemical composition indicated by means of the expressions, 'pernicious deceits' and 'apparent good', and ending with the rolling up according to two perfectly recognizable morphological variants, as established by virologists like L. Pinteric, P. Fenje, P. Lépine and K. Hummeler in the 1960's.

As may be seen in figure 7.1.1 [ A ], the filament corresponds to a dimensional range of a few Ångström. Forty-thousand filaments of that size would just match the thickness of a human hair! Consequently, the structures Swedenborg registered are most striking when calibrated according to the power of the optics actually required.

7.2. Review and comments

Quite definitely, Swedenborg has described the Rabies Virus.

  1. His descriptions appear under the unequivocal headline where the three common transmitters of street rabies[75] are mentioned: rats, dogs and cats.
  2. He used the curious expression muti, dumb, when referring to dogs, devoid of historical background as far as rabies is concerned (true enough) but highly significant within the context of modern epidemiological knowledge regarding the signs and ways os spreading of rabies.
  3. He has correctly described the channel of penetration of the virus in total opposition to his pre-critical ideas about 'a poisonous spume' of digestive and 'psychosomatic' origin: the spinal cord.
  4. The affinity of the virus for the central nervous system has been indicated by the description of the ascent of the 'infernal crowd' of rabies agents towards the head.
  5. As previously pointed out, the disease sets in in a silent, undetectable manner. Swedenborg put it this way: '[it] was not perceived until the thing was done.'
  6. Once the proliferation commences 'on high' (in the brain), the development of the disease becomes non-reversible: the patient is doomed to perish in just as cruel a manner as described by Fracastorius. And precisely at this point Swedenborg —the man who thought rabies is a spontaneously remitting, intermittent disease— intercalates the remark: 'Then some complained that they would perish.'
  7. At this stage massive proliferation of the virus starts, and it was exactly coinciding with this very moment that Swedenborg started recording the dream-like visionary or 'crepuscular' scenes so faithfully and spectacularly matching the real proliferative synthesis of the viral genomes, as established by virologists in the 1960's.
  8. He has indicated the binary composition of the primordial genomic strand,
  9. given a description of its striated appearance,
  10. and contemplated its usual forms of coiling.

This is only one tiny little example out of a total of twenty-two testimonies of physical revelation selected for presentation in my book now in preparation.

The anticipation of advanced theories about functional aspects of the brain discussed in the preceding section is impressive enough, but the description of unobservables is far more striking: it truly dazzles. When scrutinizing Swedenborg's texts —how are such objects made recognizable? All we have to do is to look at them as Kekule did with the vision of the serpent that was turned into a ring. He immediately grasped this meant the benzene molecule is ring-shaped[76]. In other words: we must keep in mind that we are dealing with 'representatives.' This was only too clearly specified to Swedenborg. I requote:

[Angels] said that what I related [from my prophetic dream (cf. AC 1976)] wholly coincided, and was identical with the subjects they had been conversing about, and that there was absolutely no difference; but still that they were not the very things they had discoursed about, but were representatives [my italics] of the same things. (AC 1980)

Readers may think that's well enough in Kekule's because he knew 'the very thing.' He knew his dreamlike vision was about the benzene molecule. But —what do we know? Well... we actually know a lot of things! The only problem is that we had not looked at Swedenborg's texts correctly. We never investigated whether 'angels' wisdom' about the human body could be put to the test. Our idea was not 'held on the objects of the microscope.' We paid no heed to the remark:

All the infernals induce diseases... I was shown where they were, and what they were, and was told also whence they came. (AC 5713)

Indeed he was! And this is what we ought to have grasped. In the present case we knew where they were; we knew we were dealing with "an infernal crew" that rushes along the spinal cord and makes its way towards the head; we also knew whence it came from: dogs, cats, rats; moreover, we knew what they were: wicked, mortal, and composed by 'individuals' made up of elements shaped into peculiar and quite recognizable structures. The reader now knows all the rest. Thus it is now for me only to add: this is how the new method works, that unveils Swedenborg's physical revelation and opens the door to new perspectives for mankind about reality.

[65] 1Ångström = one ten millionth of a millimetre.

[66] AK I, 157, n. L.

[67] Cf. Fib. 540.

[68] M.M. Kaplan and H. Koprowski, Rabies, Scientific American, New York, January 1980, p. 123.

[69] Cf. 2.4 and 4.4-4.5.

[70] The English version of the Diarium spirituale translates the ambiguous term mures as mice. In the present perspective it should be obvious that rats are signified, these being transmitters of rabies.


[72] Quoted by M.M. Kaplan and H. Koprowski, op. cit., p. 120.

[73] Related to SD 4573. This is being expounded in authors book, now in preparation.

[74] A.F. Howatson, Vesicular stomatitis and related virus, in Advances in virus research, Vol. 16, Acad. Press., Inc., New York, N.Y, US, p. 221.

[75] Rabies is epidemiologically differentiated into 'street' rabies (transmitted by the animals here mentioned) and 'wild' rabies (transmitted by foxes, bats, skunks, etc.).

[76] Cf. 2.1.



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Rabies Virus

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