7.0 The Rabies Virus
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:'
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 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:
After the crisis, wrote Swedenborg —the very man who thought rabies is contracted by digestive absorbtion:
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:
However incredible it may seem, Swedenborg's text also mentions this period of undetectability:
And to dissipate any doubts, to this information he still appends a verbal statement indicating one of the actual transmitters of rabies:
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". 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:
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 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:
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:
Actually, the 'apparent good' has already been identified as a protein in a another case. 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.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
Quite definitely, Swedenborg has described the Rabies Virus.
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. In other words: we must keep in mind that we are dealing with 'representatives.' This was only too clearly specified to Swedenborg. I requote:
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:
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.
 1Ångström = one ten millionth of a millimetre.
 AK I, 157, n. L.
 Cf. Fib. 540.
 M.M. Kaplan and H. Koprowski, Rabies, Scientific American, New York, January 1980, p. 123.
 Cf. 2.4 and 4.4-4.5.
 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.
 Quoted by M.M. Kaplan and H. Koprowski, op. cit., p. 120.
 Related to SD 4573. This is being expounded in authors book, now in preparation.
 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.
 Rabies is epidemiologically differentiated into 'street' rabies (transmitted by the animals here mentioned) and 'wild' rabies (transmitted by foxes, bats, skunks, etc.).