appeared in Paris, and, as it is to form a volume of the valuable International Scientific series, published in English, French, German, and Italian, it can hardly fail to diffuse a correct popular understanding of the results thus far attained. The book is called “Le Magnetism Animal” (Animal Magnetism), and its authors are Messrs. Alfred Binet and Charles Féré of the medical staff of the Salpètrière Hospital for Nervous Disorders in Paris. It gives a history of the patient researches conducted at that institution by the medical staff under the celebrated Prof. Charcot during the past nine years. These experiments have been prosecuted according to the most exact scientific methods, and with the most extreme caution. The endeavor has been to obtain, first of all, the most elementary psychic phenomena, and to test every step in the investigations by separate experiment, specially devised to prove the good faith of the subject and the reality of his hallucination, to eliminate the possibility of unconscious suggestion, to establish relations with similar phenomena of disease or health in the domain of physiology and psychology, and to note the modifications which can be brought about by altering the conditions of the experiments. The authors possess the great scientific virtue of never dogmatising. In the entire book not a single law is laid down, not a single hypothesis is advanced, which is not reached by the most approved inductive processes. A great service of the book lies in its enunciation of new and trustworthy methods for studying the physiology of the brain in health and disease, while it brings into the realm of physical experiment vexed questions of psychology heretofore given over to metaphysical methods exclusively.
THE HYPNOTIC SLEEP
Is described as a different form of natural sleep, and all the causes which bring on fatigue are capable of bringing on hypnotism in suitable subjects. Two of the leading hypnotic states are lethargy and catalepsy, the former being analogous to deep sleep, and the latter to a light slumber. In lethargy the respiratory movements are slow and deep; in catalepsy slight, shallow, very slow, and separated by a long interval. In lethargy the application of a magnet over the region of the stomach causes profound modifications in the breathing and circulation, while there is no such effect in catalepsy. This shows the connection of hypnotism with magnetism, and various other experiments with magnets have produced some remarkable results. Here it may be added that Dr. Gessmann, a Vienna scientist who has made a specialty of hypnotic studies, has invented and successfully applied an instrument called a hypnoscope, consisting of an arrangement of magnets for the purpose of ascertaining whether any person is a good hypnotic subject.
The experiments demonstrate that sensation in the hypnotic states varies between the two opposite poles of hyperæsthesia and anæesthesia; in other words, the senses may be extraordinarily exalted, as in somnambulism, or, as in lethargy, they may be extinct, except sometimes hearing. In somnambulism the field of vision and acuteness of sight are about doubled, hearing is made very acute, and smell is so intensely developed that a subject can find by scent the fragment of a card, previously given him to feel, and then torn up and hidden. The memory in somnambulism is similarly exalted. When awakened the subject does not, as a rule, remember anything that occurred while he was entranced, but, when again hypnotized, his memory includes all the facts of his sleep, his life when awake and his former sleeps. Richet attests how somnambules recall with a luxury of detail scenes in which they have taken part and places they have visited long ago. M——, one of his somnambules, sings the air of the second act of the opera “L’Africaine” when she is asleep, but can not remember a note of it when awake.
There is a theory that no experience whatever of any person is lost to the memory; it is only the power to recall it that is defective. The authors of this work say that, while the exaltation of the memory during somnambulism does not give absolute proof to the theory that nothing is lost, it proves at any rate that the memory of preservation is much greater than is generally imagined, in comparison with the memory of reproduction, or recollection. “It is evident,” they say, “that in a great number of cases, where we believe the memory is completely blotted out, it is nothing of the kind. The trace is always there, but what is lacking is the power to evoke it; and it is highly probable that if we were subjected to hypnotism, or the action of suitable excitants, memories to all appearance dead might be revived.”
A comparison between the phenomena of awakening from natural and artificial sleep is instituted. In the case of dreams, recollection more or less vivid persists for a few seconds, then becomes effaced. This forgetfulness is even more marked in the case of hypnosis. On returning to natural consciousness, the subject cannot recompose a single one of the scenes in which he has played his part as witness or actor. The loss, however, is not complete, for often a word or two is sufficient to bring back a whole scene, though this word or two coming from operator to subject, partakes more or less of the nature of a suggestion.
“Suggestion,” by which is meant the production of thoughts and actions on the part of the subject through some indication or hint given by the operator, is found to be analogous to dreaming. Say the authors: “For suggestion to succeed, the subject must have naturally fallen, or been artificially thrown into a state of morbid receptivity: but it is difficult to determine accurately the conditions of suggestionability. However, we may mention two. The first, the mental inertia of the subject: * * * the consciousness is completely empty: an idea is suggested, and reigns supreme over the slumbering consciousness, * * * The second is psychic hyperexcitability, the cause of the aptitude for suggestion.” “For example, we say to a patient: ‘Look, you have a bird in your apron,’ and no sooner are these simple words pronounced than she sees the bird, feels it with her fingers, and sometimes even hears it sing.” “Again, in place of speech we engage the attention of the patient, and when her gaze has become settled and obediently follows all our movements, we imitate with the hand the motion of an object which flies. Soon the subject cries: ‘Oh, what a pretty bird!’ How has a simple gesture produced so singular an effect?”
“It is admitted, however, that the hypothesis of the association of ideas only partly covers the facts of suggestion, even when stretched to include resemblances. For instance, when we charge the brain of an entranced patient with some strange idea, such as, ‘On awakening you will rob Mr. So-and-so of his handkerchief,’ and on awakening, the patient accomplishes the theft commanded, can we believe that in such a sequence there is nothing more than an image associated with an act? In point of fact, the patient has appropriated and assimilated the idea of the experimenter. She does not passively execute a strange order, but the order has passed in her consciousness from passive to active. We can go so far as to say that the patient has the will to steal. This state is complex and obscure, hitherto no one has explained it. * * * The facts of paralysis by suggestion completely upset classical psychology. The experimenter who produces them so easily knows neither what he produces nor how he does it. Take the example of a systematic anæsthesia (paralysis of sensation). We say to the subject, ‘On awakening you will not see Mr. X., who is there before us; he will have completely disappeared.’ No sooner said than done;