E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Rising in the Air.
In the Middle Ages, persons believed that saints were sometimes elevated from the ground by religious ecstasy. St. Philip of Neri was sometimes raised to the height of several yards, occasionally to the ceiling of the room. Ignatius Loyola was sometimes raised up two or three feet, and his body became luminous. St. Robert de Palentin was elevated in his ecstasies eighteen or twenty inches. St. Dunstan, a little before his death, was observed to rise from the ground. And Girolamo Savonarola, just prior to execution, knelt in prayer, and was lifted from the floor of hiscell into mid-air, where he remained suspended for a considerable time. (Acta Sanctorum.