“When I got back to bed, my brain was in turmoil, and before sinking into sleep, I thought in a confused way—there is reality and there are dreams; and there is another reality as well.
The vague, ill-defined belief that something else exists alongside the acknowledged, above-board reality of everyday life, inhabited me for many years; and I am not sure that even today I have not still some remnants of it left. It had nothing in common with tales of fairies, ghouls or witches, nor even with Hoffman’s or Hans Andersen’s stories. No, I think it was more a kind of unskillful desire to give life more thickness—a desire that later on religion was better able to satisfy; and also a sort of propensity to imagine a clandestine side to things. After my father’s death, for instance, big boy as I was, I took it into my head, that he was not really dead, or at any rate—how can I put this kind of apprehension?—that he was only dead to our visible, diurnal life, but that at night he used to come secretly while I was asleep and visit my mother. In the daytime, my suspicions wavered, but at night just before going to sleep, I felt them grow more vivid and more certain. I did not try to unravel the mystery; I felt I should put an abrupt stop to anything I might try to discover; no doubt, I was still too young, thought I, and then my mother was too much in the habit of saying about too many things, “You will understand it when you are older”—but on certain nights, as I dropped off to sleep, I really had the feeling that I was making way—giving up my place.”