"The term "Night-Side of Nature" is borrowed from the Germans, who derive it from the astronomers, the latter denominating that side of a planet which is turned from the sun, its night-side. We are in this condition for a certain number of hours out of every twenty-four; and as, during this interval, external objects loom upon us but strangely and imperfectly, the Germans draw a parallel between these vague and misty perceptions, and the similar obscure and uncertain glimpses we get of that veiled department of nature, of which, while comprising as it does, the solution of questions concerning us more nearly than any other, we are yet in a state of entire and wilful ignorance. For science, at least science in this country, has put it aside as beneath her notice, because new facts that do not fit into old theories are troublesome, and not to be countenanced.
We are encompassed on all sides by wonders, and we can scarcely set our foot upon the ground, without trampling upon some marvellous production that our whole life and all our faculties would not suffice to comprehend. Familiarity, however, renders us insensible to the ordinary works of nature; we are apt to forget the miracles they comprise, and even, sometimes, mistaking words for conceptions, commit the error of thinking we understand their mystery.
The book includes subjects of the various kinds of prophetic dreams, presentiments, second-sight, and apparitions; and, in short, all that class of phenomena, which appears to throw some light on our physical nature, and on the probable state of the soul after death.
Spirits of the dead who cannot break their link with the Earth, the unfathomable mysteries of dreams that predict the future, apparitions, doppelgangers, haunted houses and poltergeists – Catherine Crowe's book examines these and other cases of supernatural happenings."