Skip to main content
Select Source:

Catalepsy

Catalepsy

A condition involving the sudden suspension of sensation and volition and the partial suspension of vital functions. The body assumes a rigid appearance, sometimes mistaken for death, and the victim remains unconscious throughout the attack. On occasion, the cataleptic state may be marked by symptoms of intense mental excitement and by apparently volitional speech and action. Sometimes the symptoms are hardly distinguishable from those of hysteria.

The period covered by the attack may vary from a few minutes to several days, although the latter occurs only in exceptional cases. An attack may recur, however, on only trifling provocation in the absence of strong resistance by the victim.

Catalepsy is said to be caused by a pathological condition of the nervous system, generally produced by severe or prolonged mental emotion, and should not be confused with hypnotic trance. The belief that the condition may occur in a perfectly healthy person is probably fallacious. There is speculation that catalepsy, like ecstasy and mediumistic faculties, may at times prove contagious.

Catalepsy is associated with schizophrenia and hysteria, and there is reason to believe that it can be self-induced in certain cases. Eastern fakirs have been known to cast themselves into a cataleptic sleep lasting for months, and cases have even been reported where they permitted themselves to be buried, being exhumed when the grass had grown over their graves.

Some forms of trance induced by hypnotism appear similar to the cataleptic state.

Sources:

Dendy, W. C. Philosophy of Mystery. London, 1841.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Catalepsy." Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Catalepsy." Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/catalepsy

"Catalepsy." Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/catalepsy

catalepsy

catalepsy (kăt´əlĕp´sē), pathological condition characterized by a loss of consciousness accompanied by rigidity of muscles that keeps limbs in any position in which they are placed. Attacks vary from several minutes to days and occur in a variety of clinical syndromes, most frequently in schizophrenia, epilepsy, and hysteria.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"catalepsy." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"catalepsy." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/catalepsy

"catalepsy." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/catalepsy

catalepsy

cat·a·lep·sy / ˈkatlˌepsē/ • n. a medical condition characterized by a trance or seizure with a loss of sensation and consciousness accompanied by rigidity of the body. DERIVATIVES: cat·a·lep·tic / ˌkatlˈeptik/ adj. & n.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"catalepsy." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"catalepsy." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/catalepsy-0

"catalepsy." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/catalepsy-0

catalepsy

catalepsy disease characterized by a seizure or trance. XVI. — F. catalepsie or late L. catalēpsia, f. Gr. katálēpsis, f. katalambánein seize upon, f. CATA- 5 + lambánein take. See -Y 3.
So cataleptic XVII.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"catalepsy." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"catalepsy." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/catalepsy-1

"catalepsy." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/catalepsy-1

catalepsy

catalepsy (kat-ă-lep-si) n. the abnormal maintenance of postures occurring in catatonia.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"catalepsy." A Dictionary of Nursing. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"catalepsy." A Dictionary of Nursing. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/caregiving/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/catalepsy

"catalepsy." A Dictionary of Nursing. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/caregiving/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/catalepsy

catalepsy

catalepsybassi, Brassey, brassie, chassis, gassy, Haile Selassie, lassie, Malagasy, Manasseh, massé, massy, sassy, TallahasseeCotopaxi, maxi, taxi, waxy •Anglesey •antsy, Clancy, fancy, Nancy •paparazzi, patsy •Yangtze • necromancy • cartomancy •geomancy • bibliomancy •chiromancy • ataraxy •Adivasi, brassy, classy, dalasi, Darcy, farcy, Farsi, glassy, grassy •chancy • ardency • Nazi •Bessie, Crécy, dressy, Jessie, messy, Nessie, tressy •prexy, sexy •Chelsea, Elsie •Dempsey • Montmorency •discrepancy • incessancy •Betsy, tsetse •epilepsy • narcolepsy • nympholepsy •apoplexy • catalepsy •Basie, Casey, Gracie, lacy, O'Casey, pace, pacy, precis, racy, spacey, Stacey, Sulawesi, Tracy •cadency • complacency •blatancy, patency •Assisi, fleecy, greasy, Tbilisi •decency

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"catalepsy." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"catalepsy." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/catalepsy

"catalepsy." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/catalepsy