go to a lawyer the next day, and make her will in his favor. She protested, but finally gave way. All memory of this promise seemed to be lost as soon as she returned to her normal condition. But next day she went to a lawyer, and although he begged her to remember her mother and sister, the will was made just as suggested by the physician. She was an affectionate daughter and told the lawyer she was impelled to leave her property to a stranger by an influence which she could not resist.
“A second experiment with another sensitive was then tried. This time the poor girl promised to poison a friend next day, she carried away with her a dose prepared by the doctor. Not knowing why, and like the other sensitive, under an influence she could not resist, she gave her friend the harmless drug in a glass of milk, and thus enacted the part of a murderer.
“These experiments have the novelty of having been made by the regular faculty; but thousands of Spiritualists have proved the truth of an hypnotic influence lasting long after the apparent release of the sensitive. We know, or ought to know, that the hypnotic condition can be induced without visible passes; and many of us have seen a sensitive under influence sitting quietly, showing no sign of her slavery to the will of another. We may go yet a step further and assert that men and women, visible and invisible, are constantly psychologizing each other, although we only use the term “sensitive” when the effect is visible to our dull senses.
“But Spiritualists as a whole have been converted by the phenomena appealing to their outward senses, and know little and care little for effects that can only be traced by shrewd, careful and scientific experiment. Yet such facts as come to the surface in those experiments with sensitives in France, are keys with which to unlock some of life’s darkest mysteries, and expose the harsh treatment of many mediums.
“Many of us have been greatly troubled by the conduct of our mediums, and often puzzled by their careful prepared attempts at fraud. Mediums we have met and loved, because they have given us proof after proof of the ‘gates ajar’ for angel visitors, have been presently detected in frauds that required days of careful preparation. We have cried, ‘Down with the frauds!’ and insisted that they should return to wash-tub and spade for an honest living.
“We have omitted to keep in view that one who is a medium Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays must also be a medium Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and we have neglected to learn the lessons of our own experience. I was talking recently to a gentleman of prominence, twice sheriff of his county, who was narrating with glee how he had mesmerised a young man, and then told him, ‘At noon to-morrow you will be lame, and it will last two hours.’ Of course it happened much to the poor fellows perplexity, but my friend would have been surprised to discover that therein was the entire case of the French sensitives and of our poor mediums.
“A very important thought is that an hypnotic influence need not spring from any verbal expression. We all carry with us an influence which strikes every sensitive we meet; and if we sit with her when she is, of course, specially passive, she must receive a yet more marked influence. There is a photographic curiosity now often exhibited which, I think, illustrates the thought I want to emphasize. A family or a class can be photographed, one by one, at exactly the same focus and on the same negative, with a result that you have a clear and distinct face, not of any one’s personality, but that actually combines the features of the whole into a new individual unlike any of the sitters.”
“This is the very influence we cast upon a sensitive when she sits for us in a miscellaneous circle. We cannot say that any one of us has powerfully affected her, but we know the entire influence has got control and possession, and that influence follows her, too often with irresistible power.”
The publication of a work on animal magnetism by Binet and Féré of Paris prompts the following sketch of the subject by the Boston Herald, a newspaper which pays great attention to anything foreign or anything from the old school profession, but ignores that which is American and original. The reader will observe that the writers are all in the dark, unable to explain the phenomena they describe.
PROGRESS OF MAGNETISM.
One of the most notable features of the scientific tendencies of the present day is the extraordinary interest taken in the investigation of those peculiar physical and psychical conditions attending the states now known collectively under the name of hypnotism, varying from lethargy, catalepsy, etc., to somnambulism. Until quite recently these investigations have been frowned upon and tabooed in scientific circles, and the fact that any man of scientific inclinations was known to feel an interest in matters associated with “mesmerism” or “animal magnetism” was sufficient to make him an object of suspicion, and injure his good standing amongst his fellow-scientists. The result of the so-called investigations long ago instituted by the French Academy, pronouncing in effect the whole subject a humbug and delusion, has lain like an interdict upon further researches, and the whole matter was left over, for the most part, to charlatans or to persons hardly capable of forming sound judgments or proceeding according to the accurate methods demanded by modern science. Science, however, in the remarkable progress attained of late, has advanced so far upon certain lines that it has been hardly possible to proceed further in those directions without entering upon the forbidden field. Therefore, the old signboards against trespassing have been taken down. For “mesmerism,” that verbal scarecrow, has been substituted “hypnotism,” which word has had a wonderfully legitimatizing effect; while “animal magnetism,” that once flouted idea, has been proven to be an existent fact by methods as accurate as those adopted by Faraday or Edison to verify their observations.
EFFORTS OF SCIENTISTS.
Many of the most eminent scientists of Europe are now devoting themselves assiduously to these researches. Periodicals making a specialty of the subject are now published in France, Germany, and England. A catalogue of the recent literature of hypnotism and related phenomena, compiled by Max Dessoir, was printed in the number of the German magazine called the Sphinx for February of this year, and this catalogue occupied nine pages. The list is limited to those works written on the lines laid under the methods of the modern school, all books being excluded whose authors hold to “mesmeric” theories, or who are even professional magnetizers. The catalogue is, therefore, as strictly scientific as possible, and, being classified with German thoroughness under the different branches of the subject, such as “hystero-hypnotism,” “suggestion,” “fascination,” etc., it will prove a valuable assistance to the student.
In this country the interest of scientists has not yet been aroused to an extent comparable with that of European investigators. Old prejudices have not entirely lost their potency. One of the most eminent professors of a leading university is said to have been subjected to ridicule from his colleagues because of a marked interest shown in the subject, and a Boston physician of high standing within a few months confided to the writer that he had made use of hypnotic methods, with gratifying success, in the case of a patient where ordinary remedies had proven unavailing, but he did not venture to make the results public, since his fellow doctors might be inclined to condemn his action as “irregular.”
A work embracing the whole subject has lately