The claimed existence of guiding spirits or guardian angels escapes experimental verification. According to séance-room communications, everyone has guiding spirits and they are often relatives who have risen to a high spiritual level in the beyond. The daimon of Socrates who forewarned him of dangers is the best historical example of the claimed existence of guiding spirits. In Theages Plato has Socrates say, "By the favor of the Gods I have, since my childhood, been attended by a semi-divine being whose voice, from time to time, dissuades me from some undertaking, but never directs me what I am to do."
In the Apology Socrates further notes, "This prophetic voice has been heard by me throughout my life; it is certainly more trustworthy than omens from the flight or the entrails of birds; I call it a God or a daimon. I have told my friends the warnings I have received, and up to now the voice has never been wrong."
As an instance of the daimon's clairvoyance, F. W. H. Myers declares as follows in Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily Death (1903): "As the philosopher was in conversation with Eutyphron, he suddenly stopped and warned his friends to turn into another street. They would not listen; but misfortune overtook them—they met a drove of swine that jostled them and threw them down."
"Few facts in history possess such documentary evidence as the Daimon," concludes Dr. Lelut of the Institut de France in Du Démon de Socrate (1836).
"It is interesting to know, what I did not know till after his death, that this gallant leader of men believed that he was directed in important crises, by his own 'Daimon,' quite as Socrates believed. In the choice of his wife, which proved indeed to have been made in heaven, he knew he was so led. And in after life, he ascribed some measures of importance and success to his prompt obedience to the wise Daimon's directions."
The novelist Julian Hawthorne writes of his mother, the wife of Nathaniel Hawthorne, in Nathaniel Hawthorne and His Wife (1884): "My mother always affirmed that she was conscious of her mother's presence with her on momentous occasions during the remainder of her life, that is, following her mother's death."
According to Hoole's Life of Tasso, Torquato Tasso ended his career believing that he had a familiar spirit with whom he conversed and from whom he learned things that he had never read or heard of, and that were unknown to other persons.
(See also: angels ; control ; genius ; guide )