Skip to main content

Full text of "Fact and fable in psychology"

See other formats


This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 

to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 

to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 

are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other maiginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 

publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing tliis resource, we liave taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 
We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain fivm automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attributionTht GoogXt "watermark" you see on each file is essential for in forming people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liabili^ can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 

at |http: //books .google .com/I 





Vr I 


Itp ^ont^i ^ntMia^ 

tut. Pofttage i6 cento. 

crown 8to, gilt top, $aMO, 

laige crown 8to, ^.50, 

Boston ako Nsw Yokk 




BOSTOK Aim mw tobs 

ri:ilLIC LIBSillY 




A OBOUP of problema that appears oonspicnouslf in 
the present vcdnme, and in so far oontribates to the 
fitness of its title, has obtained a considerable interest 
on the part of the public at large. Snob interest seems 
prone to take its cine from the aotinty of those who 
herald startiing revelatifHia on the bans of onosnal 
payohic experiences, and who give promise of disclosing 
other worlds than the one with which common sense and 
common sensation acquaint us, rather than from the 
oaatioas and consistent results of serious and profes- 
sional students in study or in laboratory. The fascina- 
tion of the unusual over the popular mind is famitiH r 
and intelligible, and seems in no direction more pro- 
nounced than in matters psychological. So long as 
this interest is properly subordinated to a compiehen- 
sire and illuminating general view of the phenomena 
in question, it is not likely to be harmful and may 
prove to be helpfuL Bat when the conception of the 
nature of our mental endowment and the interest in the 
understanding thereof are derived from the unusual, 
the abnormal, and the obscure, instead of from the nor- 
mal, law-abiding observations systematized and illnmi- 
nated by long and successful research, there is danger 
that Uie interest will become nnwholestnne and the 
conoeptioD misleading. It is quite natural that the 

plun man alionld be interested in tbe experienoes of 
the vortd of mind wIuoIl form an intrinw) part of his 
common hnmani^ ; and it is eqnally natural that he 
shonld find attiaotion in leas oommonplaoe and seem- 
ingly anomalous mental phenomena. If thunderstorms 
were as rare as total eclipses of the ann, it is lihely 
that they would attract equal attention, be looked upon 
as terrifying and portentous by superstitious human- 
ity, and be invested by tradition with mysterious sig- 
nifioanoe, under the influence of the intereat in tbe 
unusuaL The ezistenoe of this interest is itself a dis- 
tanotivo trait meriting a paychologioal interpretation, 
and one not likely to be overlooked. Its direotion and 
regulation beocmie the care of tibe several departments 
of Boience that deal with the respeotiTe subject-matters 
involved. And yet in a special way, as ezpreaaions of the 
popular esprit, such interests daim the psychologist's 
attention as they do not chum the attention (^ repre- 
sentatives of other sciences. It may happen that the 
astronomer finds an interest in noting popular concep- 
tions in r^ard to oomets and life on other planets 
and beliefs about meteors and ecUpses, but such inters 
est forms no essential part of his occupation. He 
knows very well that Uie intelligent layman who wishes 
to be informed tm astronomioal matters will turn with 
oonfidenoe and respect to tbe accounts of tbe solar sys- 
tem, which represent tbe result of generations of scien- 
tific research under the guidance of exceptional ability 
and devotion. The psychologist is in a less fortunate 
position. His topic has neither that exclusive definite- 
ness of oontoit nor that poution of hereditary pres- 
tige nor tbe general acknowledgment of its essentially 

teduucal ohanoter, which belong to astroDomy. All 
men have their own psyobotogioal experiences aad 
notiona abont mental jdienomena, bat opinions ooncern- 
ing astronomy are admitted to belong to those who 
hare specially fitted themselves for such porsnits. 

There is thus a natural reason why it should be paiv 
ticularly difficult in psychology to bring abont a whole- 
some and right-minded and helpful interest on the part 
of the layman, — a difficulty further aggravated by the 
enoooragement of well-meaning bat logically defeotive 
publications j^lximiTig to substantiate by guasi-scientifio 
methods the popular belief in the peculiar personal and 
mysterious significance of events. In the face of this 
situation, the professional psychologist cannot but take 
heed of the dangers which imperil the tme appreciation 
of his labors and his purpose, on the part of the sym- 
pathetic layman. It is a matter of serious concern that 
the methods of genuine psychological study, that the 
conditions of advance in psychology, that the scope and 
nature of its problems should be properly understood. 
It is matter of importance that the dominant interest 
in psychology should centre about the normal nee and 
development of functions with respect to which psy- 
chology bears a significant message for the regulation 
of life. The restoration of a more desirable and pro- 
gressive point of view requires some examination of 
the false and misleading conceptions and alleged data, 
which threaten to divert the sound and progressive in- 
terest from its proper channels. It is not to be ex- 
pected, when many who engage public attention speak 
in favor of the importance of the unknown and the 
mystic in psychology, when the twilight phenomena of 

DWntal life an dwelt i^n — and profeisioiiallyftBireU 
aa by amateim — to tlie neglect of the Inmmoas day- 
light actualities, that the layman will always coireotly 
distingoiah between what is aathentioally scientific and 
in acoordanoe with the advanoing ideals of psychology, 
and what is bat the embodiment of nnfoitonate tradi- 
tions, or the miBgnided effort of the dilettante, or the 
perverse fallacy of the prepossessed mystic. Fact and 
fable in psychology can only be separated by the logi- 
cal sifting of evidence, by the exercise of the preroga- 
tive of a scientific point of view sabetaatiated and 
fortified by the lessons embodied in the history of ra- 
tional opinion. The oanse <^ tmth and the overthrow 
of error must sometimes be fought in drawn battle and 
-with the daab of arms, bat are more frequently served 
by the inauguration of an adherence to one side and the 
consequent desertion of the other. Both procedares 
may be made necessary by the cazrent status of psycho- 
logical disooBHon. 

The present collection of essays is tiered as a oon- 
tiibation towards the realization of a sounder interest 
in and a more intimate appreciation of oertun pro- 
blems upon which psychology has an aatiioritative 
charge to make to the public jury. These essays take 
their stand distinctively upon one side of certun issnas, 
and as determinately as the situation seems to warrant, 
antagonize contrary positions ; they aim to oppose cer- 
tfun tendencies and to snpport others; to show that 
tiie sound and profitable interest in mental life is in 
the usual and normal, and that the resolute pursuit of 
this interest necessarily reanlts in brii^ng the appar- 
ently irregnlar phenomena of the mental world within 

tfaft field of ilhmiiiuitioii of Uifl mora ftMwili^> and tlw 
law-abiding. They farther aim to illustrate that mia- 
eonoeptions in p^chology, as in otlier realms, are as 
ofteo the result of bad logic as of dsf eotiTe obserratioii, 
and that both are apt to be called into being by in- 
herent mental prepossessiona. S<»ne of the eeaayB are 
more especially ooonpied with an analysis of the defec- 
tive lopo which lends plaiisi1nlifr)r to and indnoes ore- 
dence in certun beliefs ; others bring forward eontri- 
bntions to an understanding of phenomena aboot which 
mifloonoeption is likely to arise ; stiU others are pre- 
sented as psychologioal investigadonB which, it is b^ 
lieved, command a somewhat genial interest. The 
prominence of the disonssion of nnfortonate and mis- 
leading tendencies in psycbol(^;ical opinion should not 
be allowed to obscure the more intrinsioally important 
problems which in the main are of a different, though 
possibly not of an nnrelated character. I should be 
defeating one of the purposes of these essays if, by the 
discussion of mooted positions, I conveyed the notion 
that the problems thus presented were naturally the 
fundamental ones about which advance in pBychology 
may be most promisingly centred. I deeply regret 
that the dispoasession of fable requires more resolnte 
and more elaborate exposition than the nnfoldment of 
fact ; but such is part of the condition confronting the 
critical student of psychological opinion. I must de- 
pend upon the reader to make doe allowances for this 
foreshortening of a portion of the oomposition, and so 
to bring away a truer impression of the whole than the 
apparent perspective suggests. 

It would not be proper to chum for this budget of 

psycliological studies b pre-arranged oni^ of detngn or 
a serial imfoldment of argument. They represent the 
unity of interest of a worker in a spetnal field, who has 
his favorite ezoorsions and vistas, who at times ven- 
tores away from the beaten paths and as frequently 
returns along those already tntTersed, but with vary- 
ing pnrposes, and reaches the outlooh from a different 
approach. There seems enough of singleness of pur- 
pose in the several presentations to warrant their incln- 
sion in a single volnme with a oonunon name. There 
is enough also to make it pertinent to explain that the 
occasional repetitions of the same line of thought 
seemed less objectionable than frequent reference from 
one essay to another. 

All of the essays have been previously printed in the 
pages of various scientifio and popular magazines ; and 
I have aooordiugly to acknowledge the courtesy of the 
several publishers, which makes possible their appear- 
ance in their present form. The essays have, however, 
been snbjeoted to a critical rerision, in the hope of 
increasing their acceptability in regard to form and ma- 
terial, and of giving them B setting appropriate to the 
interests of the present-day readers of psychological 
literature. Both in the selection of the essays from a 
larger group of published studies, and in their arrange- 
ment and elaboration, I have attempted to bear in mind 
the several current interests in questions of this type, 
and to direct these interests formatively along lines 
which seem to me fertile in promise and sterling in 
value. In the recasting thus made necessary it has 
come about (markedly in two cases, The Problems of 
Esyobioal Beseazoh and The Logic of Mental Tele- 

graphy) Qiai some of the essays have been entirely re- 
written and bear only a generic reaemblanoe to their 
former appearance. 

The several acknowledgments to be recorded are as 
follows : To the " Popular Science Monthly," for per- 
mission to reprint The Psychology of Deception (D^ 
oember, 1888), The Psychology of Spiritualism (April, 
1889), A Stady of Involuntary Movements (April and 
September, 1892), The Mind's Eye (Januaty, 1899), 
The Modem Ocoolt (September, 1900) ; to the "Kew 
Princeton Beview," for The Dreams of the Blind 
(January, 1888) ; to " Harper's Monthly Magarine," 
for The Problems of Psychical Besearch (June, 1889) ; 
to "Scribner's M^azine," for The L(^c of Mental 
Telegraphy (October, 1895) ; to the " Cosmopolitan," 
for Hypnotism and its Antecedents (Febmary, 1896). 
The Natural History of Analogy was delivered as a 
vice-presidential address before the Section of Anthro- 
pology of the American Association for the Advance- 
ment of Science, and was printed in its Proceedings, 
ToL zL, 1891. The article. Mental Prepossession 
and Inertia, appeared in a oolite publication of the 
University of Wisconsin, the " Aegis " (April, 1897). 
I have also to acknowledge my indebtedness to Miss 
Helen Keller for her very interesting contribution to 
my presentation of the dreams of the blind. My most 
comprehensive obligation in the preparation of the vol- 
ume I have acknowledged upon the dedicatory page. 

Uunscw, Wnoonor, NotcodIwt, 190O. 

Fkxfacb .... 

Tax UoDEBH OoouLT 

L The tutoie of the oconlt . 
II. HutorkMl aspect of the occult 
IIL Theowphy . ... 
IV. Spiritiulism 
V. Fnetieal ooeult ffitems ; Alehemy 
VL AatHilogy, Fhrenologj, eta 
VU. Hie oeonlt in lelation to medloine 
Vm. CliTutiu Soienae 
IX. Other forma of ooenlt bealing 
X. iDflnenooB affectiiig belief in the occult 
The Problkms or Fstchical Beskasch 

L Sdenee «nd ita attitnde tonid borderlsnd phe- 

n. The attitade of Plyohieal Heseaich ; its relatum 

to I*B7cliolog7 

IIL Types of interast m F^ohieal Besearch : the 
oooult interest ; the psjohologioal interevt ; 
piaotioal applioationa of " pay ohieal " inveatigi^ 
tiona ; the explanatory interest ; the inT«8tig»- 
Idve interest ; the anthiopologioal interest 
IT. The content of the problems of Fsyebical Be- 
aearoh : hypnotiBm; anboonsoioiis aotirities; hal- 
Inoiiwtions ; telepathy 

T. He tendeneiea of P^chioal BesMnh . 



I. Faetors of the problem : nneonscions mental pro- 
cesses; mental commoni^; ooinoidenoes 

STENTS xvii 

• Inertia 

session; pedagogical illustra- 


from the experience of the 


station .... 304 



lod of recording inyoluntarj 

iption of records of involun- 

ilysia of records of inyolim- 


•' of the object of attention 
•vements 330 

tary indications; "inyolun- 
.* subconsdoDS . . 334 

ntallife ... 337 

in dzeams as dependent 

»ss of sight; the " critical 

tion of Heerman in 1838; 

ii-yision " of the partially 


tove resolts by other eyi- 

he blind-deaf; dreams of 

u Keller^s account of her 

ons .... 345 

of incidents experienced 

•ig^ht from those of the 

lagination of the blind; 

.ims • • • . 360 

• • • • •jU" 



n. The statistical natore of the inqairj; the applio»- 

tioii of theory to special oases .... 83 

III. Sources of error in the data .... 87 

IV. The Boaroe of eoincidenees in the subjeetiye inter- 

esw •• «•••••• oo 

Y. Rdsom^ 93 

VL The yalue of the data; coincidences; experimental 

evidence; assumption and logical hypothesis . 96 
VII. The legitimacy of the telepathic hypothesis . 99 

Vm. Logical interpretation of the eyidence . . . 102 
The F&tcholoot of Deception 

Introdactory 106 

L The interpretatiye factor in perception; its rela- 
tion to sense-deceptions 106 

IL The rdle of the conjurer; the comprehension of 
conjuring tricks dependent upon a knowledge 
of technical detail; illustrations; conjuring de- 
ceptions as imitations of the conditions of real 

experience Ill 

IIL The subjectiye factors in deception: suggestion, 
expectation, misdirection of the attention; the 
setting of a trick; illustrations . . 118 

TV, The subjective attitude and prepossession as a 
factor in deception; illustrated by the phe- 
nomena of Spiritualism; experimental proof of 
the influence of the belief-attitude; extreme in- 
stances of prepossession .... 125 

V. Mental contagion 132 

VI. Bdsum^; the safeguards against deception 134 

The Pstcholoot of Spiritualism 

L Origin of modem Spiritualism; a survey of typical 
numifestations; report of the Seybert Commis- 
sion; reports of other observera . 137 
XL The belief in Spiritualism psychologically inter- 
preted; the technical requisites for a judgment 
in the matter; the investigations of Messra 
Hodgson and Davey; the psychological Actors 
contributory to deceptioii .... 147 


IIL Tlie logical stains of Spiritoalism • • 159 

rV. Tb» source of the belief in spiiit-agenoy; its an- 
thropological bearings; the appeal to nnfortop 
nate predispositions; the moral 'averrion to 

Spiritualism 166 

HTnronsM and its ANTscEDEirrB 

Introductory 171 

I. The historical aspect of hypnotism; the point of 

Tiew of modem hypnotism .... 172 
n. Healers of disease by mental methods; their meth- 
ods; Greatrakes; Grassner .... 176 

m. Mesmer; the beginnings of Animal Magnetism; 
Mesmer's career in Paris; the Commission of 
1784; decline of Mesmerism 180 

IV. The system of Animal Magnetism; its practices; 

a eritical view 189 

V. Fnysdgnr and the discovery of artificial somnam- 
bulism; the status of Puys^gur; P^tetin and his 
contributions 193 

VL The revival of Mesmerism; Abb^ Faria; somnam- 
bulism in the hospitals of Paris; the report of 
the Commission of 1825; the report of the Com- 
mission of 1837 200 

Vll. James Braid; his early observations; his enuncia- 
tion of the physiology of the hypnotic state; 
his connection with phrenology; his later views; 
his recognition of unconscious deception . 205 
Ylll. The chaotic condition of hypnotism in the middle 
decades of the nineteenth century; hypnotism 
as an amesthetic; scientific contributions . . 213 

IX* Extravagances of Mesmerism; Deleuze and his 
followers; ''electro-biology;'' Harriet Marti- 
neau's letters on Mesmerism; Mesmeric min^ 
des; Reichenbach and the *' odic " force . 216 
X. Transition to modem hypnotism; the scientific re- 
cog^tion of hypnotism; Charcot and his follow- 
ers; Bemheim and the school of Nancy • . 227 


XI. niooiplea illortnted bj the hittmy ot hjpoO' 
timi; Uok of proper wDoeptiotii; nneonMiaiu 

BDggBilian; oonolniiou 

Tia Natuxai. Histokt of Akaxoot 

I. The logical and payohologioal upeeti of analt^ . 

n. Analogy and pnniitive menUl life; illiutratioiu; 

■ympathetio magic bawd npon ualogj; further 


IIL Aiu^ogj the faui« of belief in the eonneeldon be- 
tween objeot lud namei illiutntiDiu; limilu 
relation between the object and its image, diaw- 

ing, or ihadow 

XV. Analogy and metaphor; Tagner forma of ana~ 

logT . . 

V. Analogj in children 

VL Analogj in aaperstitioiu and folk-lore outoma; 

in dream-iuterpretatioa; in fortnii»4«lluig; in 

nnmben; in f<4k-mediaine . . . . : 

TIL The dootiine of ■j'mpathies; of aignatarea; aatro- 

li^y; tberSle of analt^jin theie BTitamB; tbeir 

modem anrriTaU 

VIII. Analogs aa a phaae in mental emlntiati; the tiani- 
itioQ from inpeislitiDn to eoienoe; the evoln- 
tion of the race and of the indiTidoal; analogy, 
the aerions tbonght habit of prinutiTe man, be- 
oomee in eWiliiation a ionroe of amnaement; 

oonolnnon '■ 

Tbe Hixd's Era 

L Tlie natnre of peroeption; iti nbjeotiTe and ob- 

jeetife Cwrtoia 

IL Dhutrationa of tbe effeeti of tbe aubjeetiTe Imo- 

tor : 

TTT. Perception aa modified by attention and bj the 
mental concept; illnatrationi; equirooal diaw- 

IV. Ibe function of tbe mind'i ej« . . . ! 



L The natore of pnpoueuioiii pedagogical illiistT»- 

n. Illustntioii demed from the esperienoe of the 

Ceuns Bureau 

IIL PBTchologioal interpretation .... 

A Study of Intolontabt Movements 

I. UDCOiuKiiooa activitieg 

IL Uosole-readiug; method of iMordiug ioToluntaiy 
moTementB .... . . 

m. Blnatrationfl and de«oription of records of ioTolnn- 
tarj moTementa ...... 

IT. laterpretatiDa and analjua of recorda of inTolnn- 

tar; movemeuts 

T. lufluenoe of the nature of the object of attention 

upon involnntaij movementa 
TT. Other forma of involuntary indicationi; "involnn- 
tai7 whiipering;" Uie anboouaoiona . 
Thz Dreams of thb Blind 

L The rSle of Tision in mental life 

n. The retention of viuon in dreams as dependent 

opon the age ol the loei of tight; the " critical 

period;" tlie investigation of Heerman in 1838; 

the Btatua aa to " droam-visioii " of the partiallj 


m. CorroborationB of the above resulti by other evi- 
denoe; the dreams of tha blind-deaf; dreams of 
LanraBridgman; Helen Keller's account of her 
di«am-life; interpretations .... 
IT. Diatinctiona in dream-life of incident* experienced 
during the period of sight from those of the 
blindness period; the ima^nation of the blind; 
illuBtiations of their dreams . . , . : 

V. : 



If that imaginary individual bo convenient for liters 
ary illustration, a visitor from Mars, were to alight 
apoD oar planet at its present stage of development, 
and if his intelleotaal interests indnoed hun to survey 
the range of terrestrial views of the nature of what is 
" in heaven above, or on the earth beneath, or in the 
waters under the earth," to appraise mundane opinion 
in regard to the perennial problems of mind and matter, 
of government and society, of life and death, our 
Martian observer might conceivably report that a 
limited portion of mankind were guided by beliefs 
representing the accumulated toil and studious devotion 
of generations, — the outcome of a slow and tortuous 
but progressive growth through error and superstition, 
and at the cost of persecution and bloodshed ; that 
they mamtained ioetitutions of learning where the 
fmitB of suoh thought oonld be imparted and the seeds 
cultivated to bear stiU more richly ; but that outside of 
this respectable yet influential minority, there were end- 
less upholders of utterly unlike notions and of widely 


direrging beliefs, olamoring like the builders of the 
tower of Babel in diverse toDgaes. 

It is well, at least occasionally, to remember that our 
cotioeptioiis of science and of truth, of the nature of 
logic and of evidenoe, are not so universally held as 
we unreflectingly assume or as we hopefully wish. 
Almost every one of the fundamental, basal, and in- 
disputable tenets of science is regarded as hopelessly 
in error by some ardent wonld-be reformer. One 
Hampden declares the earth to be a motionless plane 
with the North Pole as the centre ; one Carpenter 
gives a hundred remarkable reasons why the earth is 
not round, with a challenge to the scientists of America 
to disprove them ; one Symmes regarded the earth as 
hdlow and habitable within, with openings at the poles, 
which he offered to explore for the consideration of 
the "patronage of this and the new worlds;" while 
Symmes, Jr., explains how the interior is lighted, and 
that it probably forms the home of the lost tribes of 
Israel ; and one Teed announces, on equally conclusive 
evidence, that the earth is a " stationary concave cell 
. . . with people, Sun, Moon, Planets, and Stare on the 
inside," the whole constituting an *'alchemico-oi^anic 
Btructnre, a Gigantic Electro-Magnetic Battery." If 
we were to pass from opinions regarding the shape of 
the earth to the many other and complex problems 
that appeal to human interests, it would be equally 
easy to collect " ideas " comparable to these in value, 
evidence, and eccentricity. With this conspicuously 
patholo^cal outgrowth of brain-functioning, — although 
its representatives in the literature of the occult are 
neither few nor far between, — I shall not specifically 


deal ; and yet the geaeral abuse of logic, the helpless 
fiouaderings in the mire of delusive analogy, the base- 
less asanmptiona, which oharaeterize insane or " oianh " 
prodnotioDa, are readily fonnd in the literary products 
of oconltiBm. 

The ocoult consists of a mixed a^;regate of move- 
ments and dootrines, which may be the expressions of 
kindred interests and dispositionB, but present no essen- 
tial community of content. Such members of this 
cluater of beliefs as in onr day and generation have 
attained a considerable adherence or still retain it 
from former generations, oonstitute the modem occult. 
A conspicuous and truly distinctiTe characteristic of 
the occult is its marked divergence in trend and belief 
from the reoi^nized standards and achievements of 
human thought. This divergence is one of attitude 
and logic and general perspective. It is a divergence 
of intellectnal temperament, that distorts the normal 
reactions to science and evidence, and to the general 
significance and values of the factors of onr complicated 
natures and of onr eqnally complicated environment At 
least it is this in extreme and pronounced forms ; and 
shades from it through an irregular variety of tints to 
a vague and often unconscious susceptibility for the 
unnsual and ecoentrio, combined with an instability of 
conviction regarding established beliefs that is more 
often the expression of the weakness of ignorance than 
of the courage of independence. 

In their temper and course of nnf oldment, ocoult doc- 
trines are likely to involve and to proceed upon mysti- 
cism, obsonri^, and a disguised form of superstition. 
In their content, they are attracted to such themes as 


the ultimate natnre of mental aotioa, the oonoeptioQ 
of life and death, the effect of oosmio conditions npoQ 
human erentB and endowment, the delineation of oharao- 
ter, the nature and treatment of disease ; or indeed to any 
of the larger or smaller realms of knowledge that com- 
bine with a strong human, and at times a practical in- 
terest, a oonsiderable oomplezity of basal principles and 
general relations. Both the temper and the content, the 
manner and the matter of the occult, should be borne 
in mind in a surrey of its more distinctive examples. It 
is well, while observing the particular form of occultism 
or mysticism, or, it may be, merely of euperstition and 
error, which one or another of the occult movements 
exhibits, to note as weU the importance of the intel- 
leotnal motive or temperament that inclines to the 
occult. It ia important to inquire not only what is 
believed, bat what is the nature of the evidence that 
induces belief ; to observe what attracts and then 
makes converts; to discover what are the influences 
by which the belief spreads. Two olasses of motives 
or interests are ooDapiouons : the one prominently intel- 
lectual or theoretical, the other moderately or grossly 
practical. Movements in which the former interest 
dominates, contain elements that command respect even 
when they do not engage sympathy ; and that appeal, 
though it may be unwisely, to worthy impulses and 
lofty aspirations. Amongst the movements presenting 
prominent practical aspects are to be found instances 
of the most irreverent and pernicious, as well as of the 
most vulgar, ignorant, and fraudulent schemes which 
have been devised to mislead the human mind. Most 
occult movements, however, are of a mixed character ; 


and in their career, the speculative and tiie praotickl 
change in importance at different times, or in different 
lands, or at the hands of varionsly minded leaders. 
Few escape, and some seem especially designed for the 
partisanship of that class who are seekiog whom they 
may devour ; who, Btimalated by the greed for gain or 
the love of notoriety, set their snares for the eternally 
gullible. The interest in the occult, however, is under 
the sway of the law of fashion ; and fortunately, many 
a mental garment which ie donned in apito of the pro- 
test of reason and propriety, is quietly laid aside when 
the dictum of the hour pronounces it unbecoming. 


Sistorically considered, the occult points bach to 
distant epochs and to foreign civilizations ; to ages when 
the facts of nature were but weakly grasped, when 
belief was largely dominated by the authority of tra- 
dition, when even the ablest minds fostered or assented 
to superstition, when the social conditions of life were 
inimical to independent thought, and the mass of men 
were cut off from intellectual growth of even the most 
elementaty kind. Pseudo-science flourished in the ab- 
sence of true knowledge ; and im^native speculation 
and unfounded^belief held the ofBce intended for 
inductive reaso^r Ignorance inevitably led to error, 
and false views to false practices. In the sympathetic 
environment thus developed, the occultist flourished 
and displayed the impressive insignia of exclusive wis- 
dom. His attitude was that of one seeking to solve an 
enigma, to find the key to a secret arcanum ; his search 
was for some mystic charm, some talismanio formula^ 


some magical procedure, which shonlcE dispel the mist 
that hides the face of oature and expose her secrets to 
his ecstatic gaze. By one all-encompassing, masterful 
effort the ooirect solution was to be discovered or re- 
vealed ; and at once and for all, ignorance was to give 
place to true knowledge, science and nature were to be 
as an open book, doubt and despair to be replaced by 
the serenity of perfect wisdom. As oar ordinary senses 
and faculties proved insufficient to accomplish such ends, 
supernatural powers were appealed to, a transcendental 
sphere of spiritual activity was cultivated, capable of 
perceiving, through the hidden symbolism of apparent 
phenomena, the underlying relations of cosmic struc- 
ture and final purposes. Long periods of training and 
devotion, seclusion from the world, contemplation of 
inner mysteries, were to lead the initiate through the 
various stages of adeptship up to the final plane of com- 
munion with the infinite and the oomprehension of truth 
in all things. This form of occultism reaches its full- 
est and purest expression in Oriental wisdom-religions. 
These vie in interest to the historian with the mythology 
and philosophy of Grreece and Rome ; and we of the 
Occident feel free to profit by their ethical and philo- 
sophical content, and to cherish the impulses which 
gave them life. But when such views are forcibly 
transplanted to our ^e and clime, when they are 
decked in garments so unlike their original vestments, 
particularly when they are associated with dubious 
practices and come into violent conflict with the truth 
that has accumulated since they first had birth, — their 
aspect is profoundly altered, and tiiey come within the 
inrole of the modem occult 


Of this diaracter U Theosopby, an occult morement 
brouglit into recent prominence by the activity and 
personality of Mme. Blavatsky. The story of the 
checkered career of thb remarkable woman is fairly 
accessible. Bom in Russia in 1831 as Helen Fetrovna, 
daughter of Colonel Hahn, of the Russian army, she 
was married at the age of seventeen to an elderly gen. 
tleman, M. Blavatsky. She is described in girlhood 
as a person of passionate temper and wilfol and erratic 
disposition. She separated or escaped from her hns- 
band after a few months of married life, and entered 
upon an extended period of travel and adventure. 
The search for " psychic " experiences and for unusual 
persons and beliefs seemed to form the leit-motio 
of her nomadio existence. She absorbed Hindu wis- 
dom from the adepts of India ; she sat at the feet of 
a thaumatni^st at Cairo ; she journeyed to Canada 
to meet the medicine man of the Red Indians, and to 
New Orleans to observe the practices of Voodoo among 
the negroes. It is difficult to know what to believe 
in the accounts prepared by her enthusiastio followers. 
Violations of physical law were constantly occurring in 
her presence ; and, to borrow a phrase from Mr. Lang, 
" sporadic outbreaks of rappings and feats of impul- 
sive pots, pans, beds, and chairs insisted on making 
themselves notoriouB." In 187S she came to New York 
and sat in " spiritualistic " circles, assuming an assent 
to their theories, but claiming to see through and beyond 
the manifestations the operations of her theosophio 
guides in astral projection. At sooh a a^anoe she met 


Colonel Olcott, and assisted bim in the foundation 
oC the Theosophical Society in New York in October, 
1875. Mme. Blavataky directed the thought of this 
society to the doctrines of Indian oocultism, and re- 
ported tlie appearance in New York of a Hindu Ma- 
hatma, who left a turban behind him as evidence of 
his astral visit. The Mahatmas, it was ezpluned, 
were a Society of Brothers, who dwelt in the fastneBSfls 
of far-oS Thibet, and there handed on by tradition the 
super-mortal wisdom which their spirituality and con- 
templative training enabled them to absorb. Later, 
this modem priestess of Isis and Colonel Oloott (who 
remained her etaoach supporter, but whom she referred 
to in private as a *' psychologized baby ") exchanged 
the distracting atmosphere of New York for the more 
serene environment of India ; and at Adyar established 
a shrine, from which were myaterionaly issued answers 
to letters placed within its recesses, from which secret 
facts were revealed, and a variety of interesting mar' 
vels performed. Disoorde arose within the household, 
and led to the publication by M. and Mme. Cou- 
lomb, her confederates, of letters illuminating the tricks 
of the trade by which the miracles had been produced. 
Mme. Blavatsky pronounced the letters to be forgeries, 
but they were snfBoiently momentous to bring Mr. 
Hodgson to India to investigate for the Society for 
Psychical Research. He was able to deprive many of 
the miracles of their mystery ; to show how the shrine 
from which the Mahatma's messages emanated was 
accessible to Mme. Blavatsky by the aid of sliding 
panels and secret drawers, to show that these messages 
were in s^le, spelling, and handwriting the counterpart 


of Mme; Blavatehj's, to show that many of the phe- 
nomena were the result of planned oolluBton and that 
others were created by the limitless credulity and the 
imaginatiTe exoneration of the witnesses, — "dome»> 
tic imbeciles," as madame confidentially referred to 
them. Through the Akasic force, the medium of which 
was the mysterious world-ether, Akaz, were brought 
messages that suddenly appeared in space or fluttered 
down from the ceiling ; yet M. Coulomb explained how 
by means of a piece of thread, a oonreutent recess in 
the plaster of the ceiling, and an arranged signal, the 
letters oould be made to appear at the proper dramatio 
moment. When a saucer was left standing near the 
edge of a shelf in the shrine, and the opening of the 
door brought it to the floor shattered to pieces, the 
same mysterious force was sufficient to recreate it, 
without flaw or blembh ; but when Mr. Hodgson finds 
that at a shop at which Mme. Blavatshy had made 
purchases, two such articles had been sold at the price 
of two rupees eight amias the pur, the mirade becomes 
more intelligible. 

In brief, the report of the society oonrioted "the 
Priestess of Isis" of "a long continued oombinatioa 
with other persons to produce by ordinary means a 
series of apparent marvels for the support of the 
Theosopbio movement ;" and concludes with these 
words : *' For our own part, we regard her neither 
as the mouthpiece of hidden seers nor as a mere vul- 
gar adrraituresB ; we think that she has achieved a 
title to permanent remembrance as one of the most 
accomplished, ingenious, and interesting impostors in 
history." Mme. Blavats^ died in 1891, and her 


sahes were divided betveen Adyar, London, and New 

The Theosopbio moTemeot continaea, Uiough with 
abated vigor, owing partly to the aboye-mentioned dis- 
closores, bat probably more to the increasing pro- 
pi^andism of other cults, to the hu:h of a leader of 
Mme. Blavataky's genius, or to thp inevitable ebb and 
flow of such interests. Mme. Blavatsky continued to 
expound Theosophy after the exposures, and although 
depressed by their publication still oocasionally essayed 
a miracle. Later, in a moment of confession induced 
by the discovery of a package of Chinese envelopes 
ready to serve for miraculous appearances, she is re- 
ported to have said, " What is one to do, when in order 
to role men it ia necessary to deceive them ; when their 
very stupidity invites trickery, for almost invariably 
the more simple, the more silly, and the more gross 
the phenomena, the more likely it is to succeed ? " 
Still, even self-confession does not detract from the 
fervor of convinced believers ; and Mrs. Besant, Mr. 
Sinnett, and others were ready to take up the work at 
her death. However, miracles are no longer performed, 
and no immediately practical ends are proclaimed. In- 
dividual development and evolation, mystio discourses 
on adeptship and Ksrma and Maya and Nirvana, 
oommunioo with the higher ends of life, the cultiva- 
tion of an esoteric psychic insight, form the goal of 
present endeavor. The Mahatmaa, saya Mrs. Beaant, 
are giving " intellectual instructions, enormously more 
interesting than even the exhibition of their abnormal 
powers." " Out European thinkers," thus Mr. Pod- 
more interprets Mr. Sinnett's attitude, " are like blind 


men yrho are punfully learning to read wiib thetr 
fingers from a cliild's primer, whilst these hare eyes to 
see the nnirerse, past, present, and to oome. To Mr. 
Sinnett it had been given to Uam the alphabet of that 
transcendent language." " He could make the most 
extravagant mysticism seem matter of fact. He could 
write of Manoantaraa and Nirvana, and the septen- 
ary oonstitntion of man, in laogn^e which would have 
been appropriate in a treatise on kitchen-middens, or 
the functions of the pineal gland. In his lucid prose 
the vast conceptions of primitive Buddhism were fused 
with the commonpIaoM of modem science ; and whilst 
the cosmology which resulted from their union dasded 
by its splendid visions, the precise terminol<^ of the 
writer, and tbe very poverty of his imagination, served 
to reassure his readers that they were listening to words 
of truth and sobemesB. We were taught to look back 
upon this earth and all its mighty sisterhood of planets 
and sons rolling cmward in infinite space, through cycle 
after cycle in the past. We were shown how, through 
the perpetual flux and reflux of the spiritual and the 
natural, the cosmic evolution was accomplished, and the 
earth grew, through the life of crystal, and plant, and 
brute, to man. We saw how the worlds throbbed in 
vast alternation of systole and diastole, and how the 
tide of human life itself bad its ebb and flow. And 
this fugitive human personality — the man who works, 
and loves, and suffers — we saw to endure but for a 
short life on earth, and for an age, shorter or longer, in 
Devachan. Memory is then pu^^ away, the eternal 
spirit puts on a new dress, and a new life on earth is 
begun. And so through each succeeding reincarnation 


the goftl of the life preceding becomes the startiiig- 
point of the life which foUows/' In such manner the 
modem Theosophist seeks to appeal to men and women 
of philosophical inclinations, for whom an element of 
mysticism has its charm, and who are inteUectoaUy at 
unrest with the conceptions underlying modem sdenoe 
and modem life. Such persons are quite likely to be 
educated, refined, and sincere. We may believe them 
inteUectually misguided ; we may recognize the fraud 
to which their leader resorted to glorify her creed, but 
we must equally recognize the absence of many perni- 
cious tendencies in their teachings, which characterise 
other and more practical occult movements. 


Spiritualism, another member of the modem occult 
family, presents a combination of features rather diffi- 
cult to portray ; but its public career of half a century 
has probably rendered its tenets and practices fairly 
familiar.^ For, like other movements, it presents both 
doctrines and manifestations ; and, like other move- 
ments, it achieved its popularity through its manifesta- 
tions and emphasized the doctrines to maintain the 
interest and solidarity of its numerous converts. De- 
liberate fraud has been repeatedly demonstrated in a 
large number of alleged '* spiritualistic " manifestations ; 
in many more the very nature of the phenomena and 

^ SpiritualUm is here considered only in its general bearings npon 
modem oonoepdons of the occult; any consideration of the special 
phenomena presented under its auspices or of the influences which con- 
tribute to a belief in its tenets would lead too far afield. The topic 
is separately considered from a different point of view in a later essay. 


of the conditions under whicli they appear is so 
strongly saggeBtive of trickery as to render any other 
hypothesis of their origin equally improbable and 
Buperflaous. Unconscious deception, exa^erated and 
distorted reports, defective and misleading observation, 
have been demonstrated to be most potent reagents, 
whereby alleged miracles are made to throw ofF their 
mystifying envelopiags and to leave a simple deposit 
of intelligible and often commonplace fact That the 
methods of this or that medium have not been brought 
within the range of such explanation may be admitted, 
but the admission carries with it no bias in favor of 
the spiritualistic hypothesis. It may be urged, how- 
ever, that where there is much smoke there is apt to 
be some fire ; yet there is little prospect of discovering 
Qie nature of the fire until the smoke has been com- 
pletely cleared away. Perhaps it has been snatched 
from heaven by a materialized Prometheus; perhaps 
it may prove to be the trick of a ridiculus mua gnaw- 
ing at a match. And yet, in this connection, the main 
point to be insisted upon with regard to such manifes- 
tations is that their interpretation and their explana- 
tion demand some measure of technical knowledge 
and training, and of special adaptability to such pur- 
suits. " The problem cannot be solved and settled by 
amateurs, nor by ' common sense ' that 

' Delirere brawling judgmeiitB all daj long:, 
On all things uruuluuned.' " 
Spiritualism represents a systematization of popular 
beliefs and superstitions, modified by echoes of reli- 
gious and philosophical doctrines; it thus contains 
factors which owe their origin to other interests than 


those which lead directlj to the occult. Its main pui^ 
pose was to establish the reality of commuDioatioD with 
departed spirits; the means, which at Srst spontane- 
ously presented themselves and later were devised for 
this purpose, were in large measure not original. The 
tappings are in accord with the traditional folk-lore 
behavior of ghosts ; their transformation into a signal 
code (although a device discovered before) may have 
been due to the originality of the Fox children ; the 
planchette has its analogies in Chinese and European 
modes of divination ; clairvoyance was incorporated 
from the phenomena of artifical somnambuliam, as 
practiced by the successors of Mesmer ; the " sensitive " 
or " medium" su^ests the same origin as well as the 
popular belief in the gift of supernatural powers in 
favored individuals ; others of the phenomena, such as 
^ levitation " and "cabinet performances," have their 
counterparts in Oriental magic ; " slate-writing," " form 
materializations," " spirit-messages " and " spirit photo- 
graphs " are, in the main, modem contributions. Mr. 
Lang has attractively set forth the resemblances be- 
tween primitive and ancient spiritualism and its mod- 
em revival; he suggests that "the 'Trance Medium,' 
the ' Inspirational Speaker ' was a reproduction of the 
maiden with a spirit of divination, of the Delphic 
Pythia. In the old belief, the god dominated her, and 
spoke from her lips, just as the * control ' or directing 
spirit dominates the medium. " He suggests that it is 
for like reasons that " the Davenport Brothers, like 
Eskimo and Australian conjurers, like the Highland 
seer in the bull's hide," are swathed or bound; he 
notes that "the lowest savages have their teances. 


levitAldons, bindings of the medinm, tranoe speakers ; 
FeruvisBS, IndiaoB, have their objects moved without 
contact ; " he Burmises that the Fox children, being of 
a Methodist family, may hare been inspired by " old 
Jeffrey," who haunted the Wesleys' house. 

The phenomena now associated with modem Spir- 
itualism, with theii oharaoteristio milieu, breed the 
laical atmosphere of the stance chamber, which re- 
sists precise analysis, but which in its extreme form 
involves morbid credulity, blind prepossession, and 
emotional contagion; while the dependence of the 
phenomena on the character of the medium offers 
strong temptation alike to shrewdness, eccentricity, and 
dishoQesty. On the side of his teachings the Spiritual- 
ist is likewise not strikingly original. The relations of 
his beliefs to those that grew about the revelations 
of Swedenborg, to the speculations of the Gcrmsn 
" pnemnatologiBts," and to other philosophical doc- 
trines, though perhaps not intimate, are yet traceable 
and interesting ; and in another view the Spiritualist 
is as old as man himself, and finds his antecedents 
in the neotomanoer of Chaldea, or in the Shaman of 
Siberia, or the Angekok of Greenland, or the spirit- 
doctor of various sav^e tribes. The modem mediums 
are thus simply repeating with new costumes and 
improved scenic effects the mystic drama of primitive 

Spiritualism thus appeals to a deep-seated craving in 
human nature, that of assurance of personal immortal- 
ity and of communion with the departed. Just so long 
as a portion of mankind will accept material evidence 
of sncb a belief, and will even oonntenauoe the irrever* 


ence, the triviality, and the yolgarity suirounding the 
manifestations ; just so long as those persons will mis- 
judge their own powers of detecting how the alleged 
supernatural appearances are really produced, and re- 
main unimpressed by the principles upon which alone 
a consistent explanation is possible, just so long will 
Spiritualism and'kindred delusions flourish. 

As to the presenlrday status of this cult it is not 
easy to speak positively. Its clientele has apparently 
greatly diminished ; it still numbers amongst its ad- 
herents men and women of culture and education, and 
many more who cannot be said to possess these quali- 
ties. There seems to be a considerable class of per- 
sons who believe that natural laws are insufficient to 
account for their personal experiences and those of 
others, and who temporarily or permanently incline to 
a spiritualistic hypothesis in preference to any other. 
Spiritualists of this intellectual temper can, however, 
form but a small portion of those who are enrolled 
under its creed. If one may judge by the tone and 
oontents of current spiritualistic literature, the rank 
and file to which Spiritualism appeals present an un- 
intellectual occult company, credulously accepting what 
they wish to believe, utterly regardless of the intrinsic 
significance of evidence or hypothesis, vibrating from 
one extreme or absurdity to another, and blindly fol- 
lowing a blinder or more fanatic leader or a self-inter- 
ested charlatan. While for the most extravagant and 
unreasonable expressions of Spiritualbm one would 
probably turn to the literature of a few decades ago, 
yet the symptoms presented by the Spiritualism of to- 
day are unmistakably of the same character, and form 


a oomplez as oharactomtic as the Bymptom-complez of 
hysteria or epilepsy, and which, faute de mieux, may 
be tenned occult. It is a t^pe of occnltiBm of a par> 
ticnlarly pemicioDB character, because of its power to 
lead a parasitic life upon the established growths of 
religious beliefs and interests, and at the same time to 
administer to the needs of an unfortunate but widely 
prevalent passion for special signs and omens and the 
interpretation of personal experiences. It is a weak 
though comprehensible nature that becomes bewildered 
in the presence of a few experiences that seem home- 
less among the generous provisions of modem scienoe, 
and mns off panic-stricken to find shelter in a sys- 
tem that satisfies a narrow personal craving at the sao 
rifice of broadly established principles, nurtured and 
grown strong in the hardy and beneficent atmosj^ere 
of science. It is a weaker and an ignorant nature that 
is attracted to the cruder forms of such beliefs, be it 
by the impulsive yielding to emoUonal susceptibility, 
by the cont^on of an unfortunate mental environ- 
ment, or by the absence of the steadying power of reli- 
gious faith, or of logical vigor, or of confidence in the 
knowledge of others. Spiritualism finds converts in 
both camps and assembles them under the flag of the 

^ To pi«T«iit mutrndarttanduiK it ii w«II to rapeat that I am apeak- 
ing of the gnnenl aTerag^ of tliotoiigh-g^uig Spiritoaliila. The fact 
that B few medinma hare engaged the atteation of icieiitifioally minded 
inmitigatora haa no bearing on the motiTea vhioh lead moat peraona to 
make a profa«onal call on a medinm, or to jmn a raiole. The fnrthei 
faot that theae invsetigabHa bare at timei found themaelTta baffled by 
the madiain'i perfomiairaea and that a few of them have annonnoed 
thur raadinaia to aooept tha ■{dritnaliatii) hjpotheaiB, ii of impartaoM 


The wane in the popularity of Spiritualism may be 
due in part to frequent exposures, in part to the pass- 
ing of the occult interest to pastures new, and in part 
to other and less accessible causes. Such interest may 
again become dominant by the success or innovations 
of some original medium or by the appearance of some 
unforeseen circumstances. The present dbposition to 
take up '^spiritual healing " and ^^ spiritual readings of 
the future " rather than mere assurances from the dead, 
indicates a desire to emulate the practical success of 
more recently established rivals. The history of Spir- 
itualism, by its importance and its extravagance of 
doctrine and practice, forms an essential and an in- 
structive chapter in the history of aberrant belief ; and 
there is no difficulty in tracing the imprints of its foot- 
steps on the sands of the occult. 

The impress of ancient and mediaeval lore upon 
lattemlay occultism is conspicuous in the survivals of 
Alchemy and Astrology. Phrenology represents a 
more recent pseudo-science, but one sufficiently obsolete 
to be considered under the same head; as may also 
Palmistry, which has relations both to an ancient form 
of divination and to a more modern development after 
the manner of Physiognomy. The common charac- 
teristic of these is their devotion to a practical end. 
Alchemy occupies a somewhat distinct position. The 
original alchemists sought the secret of converting the 

in some aspectis bat does not determine the general trend of the spir- 
itualistio moTement in the direction in which it is considered in the 
present discussion. 


baser metals into gold, in itself a snffioiently allaring 
and human occupation. There is no reason why such 
a problem should assume an occult aspect, except the 
sufficient one that ordinary procedures have not proved 
capable to effect the desired end. It is a proTCrbial 
fault of ambiUous inexperience to attach valiantly large 
problems with endless oonfidence and sweeping aspira- 
tion. It is well enough in shaping your ideas to hitch 
your wagon to a star, yet the temporary ntility of 
horses need not be overlooked ; but shooting arrows at 
the stars is apt to prove an idle pastime. If we are 
willing to forget for the moment that the same develop- 
ment of logio and experiment that makes possible the 
mental and material equipment of the modem chemist, 
makes impossible his consideration of the alchemist's 
search, we may note how far the inherent constitution 
of the elements, to say nothing of their possible trans- 
mutation, has eluded his most ultimate analysis. How 
immeasnrably further it was removed from the grasp 
of the alchemist can hardly be expressed. But this is 
a scientific and not an occult view of the matter ; it 
was not by progressive training in marksmanship that 
the occultist hoped to send his arrows to the stars. His 
was a mystic search for the magical tranamatation, the 
elixir of life or the philosopher's stone. One might 
suppose that, once the world has agreed that these ends 
are past finding out, the alchemist, like the maker of 
stone arrow-heads, would have found his occupation 
gone and have left no snccessor. His modem repre- 
sentative, however, is an interesting and by no means 
extinct species. He seems to flourish in France, but 
may be fonnd in Oeimany, lo England, and io this 


coiinby. He is rarely a pure alchemist (althongli so 
recently as 1854 one of them offered to manufacture 
gold for the French mint), but represents the pure type 
of occultist. He calls himself a RoBicmoian ; he estab- 
lishes a University of the Higher Studies, and becomes 
a professor of Hermetic Philosophy. His thought is 
mystic, and symbolism has an endless fascination for 
him. The recondite stgoificanoe of numbers, extrava- 
gant analogies of correspondence, the traditional hidden 
meanings of the Kabbalah, fairly intoxicate him ; and 
verbose acoonnts of momentous relations and of unin- 
telligible discoveries run riot in his writings. His sci- 
ence is not a mere Chemistry, but a Hyper-Chemistry ; 
his transmutations are no longer material, bat assume a 
spiritual aspect. Like all adept f oUowers of an esoteric 
belief, he must stand apart from his fellow-men ; he 
must cultivate the higher " psychic " powers, so that 
eventually he may be able by the mere action of his 
will to cause the atoms to group themselves into gold. 
The modem alchemist is apt to be a general occultist ; 
he may be also an astroli^er or a magnetist or a theo- 
Bopbist. But be is foremost an ardent enthusiast for 
exclusive and unusual lore — not the common and 
superficial possessions of misguided democratic science. 
He goes through the forms of study, remains superior 
to the baser practical ends of life, and finds his reward 
in the self-satisfaction of exclusive wisdom. In Paris, 
at least, he forms part of a rather respectable salon, 
speaking socially, or a " company of educated charla- 
tans," speaking soientificaUy. His class does not con- 
stitute a large proportion of modern occultists, but they 
present a prominent form of its intellectual tempera- 


meuL " There are also people," says Mr. lacag, " who 
80 dislike our detention in the prisoQ-house of old un- 
varying lavs that their bias is in favor of anything 
which may tend to prove that soience in her oontem- 
porary mood is not infallible. As tbe Frenchmao did 
not care what sort of a scheme he invested money in, 
provided that it annoys the English, so many persons 
do not care what they invest belief in, provided that it 
irritates men of science." Of such is the kingdom tA 
alohemistB and their brethren. 

Astrology, Phrenology, Physiognomy, and Palmistry 
have in common a search for positive knowledge 
whereby to regnlate the affairs of life, to foretell the 
futnre, to comprehend one's destiny and capabilities. 
They lum to secure bucocsb, or at least to be forearmed 
against failure by being forewarned. This is a natural, 
a practical, and in no essential way an occult desire. 
It becomes occult, or, more accurately, superstitious, 
when it is satisfied by appeals to relationa and infln> 
ences which do not exist, and by false interpretation of 
what may be admitted as measurably and vaguely true 
and about equally important. When not engaged in 
their usual occupation of building most startling super- 
structures on the most insecure fonndations, practical 
occultists are like Dr. Holmes's katydid, " saying an un< 
disputed thing in such a solemn way." They will not 
hearken to the experience of the ages that success can- 
not be secured nor character read by discovering their 
unreal or mystio stigmata ; they will not learn from 
physiology and psychology that the mental capabilities. 


the moral and emotional endowment of an individual 
are not stamped on his body in such a way that they 
may be revealed by half an hour's use of the calipers 
and tape-measure ; they will not listen when science 
and common sense unite in teaching that the knowledge 
of mental powers is not such as may be applied by rule 
of thumb to individual cases, but that, like much other 
valuable knowledge, it proceeds by the exercise of 
sound judgment, and must as a rule rest content with 
suggestive generalizations and imperfectly established 
correlations. An educated man with wholesome inter- 
ests and a vigorous logical sense can consider a possible 
science of character and the means of aiding its ad- 
vance without danger and with some profit. But this 
meat is sheer poison to those who are usually attracted 
to this type of speculations, while it offers to the un- 
scrupulous charlatan a most convenient net to spread 
for the unwary. In so far as these occult mariners, 
the astrologists and phrenologists et id genus omncj 
are sincere, and in so far represent superstition rather 
than commercial fraud, they simply ignore, through 
obstinacy or ignorance, the lighthouses and charts and 
the other aids to modem navigation, and persist in 
steering their craft by an occult compass. In some 
cases they are professedly setting out, not for any har- 
bor marked on terrestrial maps, but their expedition is 
for the golden fleece or for the apples of the Hesper- 
ides ; and with loud-voiced advertisements of their skill 
as pilots, they proceed to form stock companies for the 
promotion of their several enterprises and to dispose of 
the shares to credulous speculators. 
It would be a profitless task to review the alleged 


data of Astrology or Phrenology or Palmistry, except 
for the illastrations which they readily yield of the oil- 
tare of the oonoeptions and of the logic which command 
a certain popular interest and acceptance. The interest 
in these notions is, a& Mr. Lang argues about ghosts 
and rappings and Ix^lea, in how they come to be 
believed, rather than in how macb or how little they 
chance to be true. It must be remembered also that 
our present interest is in the occult factors of these 
composite systems ; they each contain other factors, — 
in part incorporations of vague and distorted scientific 
truths, in part dogmatic overstatement of results of 
observation, which, if reduced to the proportions war* 
ranted by definite evidence, dissolve into insignificance 
or intangibility, in part plausible or specious argu- 
mentation, and in still greater part mere fanciful asser- 
tion. And if we proceed to examine the professed 
evidence for the facta and laws and principles (ȣ 
venia verbis) that pervade Astrology or Phrenology or 
Palmistry or dream^interpretatiou, or beliefs of that 
ilk, we find the flimsiest kind of texture, that will 
hardly bear examination, and holds together only so 
long as it is kept secluded from the light of day. Far^ 
fetehed analogy, baseless assertion, the uncritical as- 
similation of popular superstitions, a great deal of 
prophecy after the event (it is wonderful how clearly 
the astrologer finds the indications of Napoleon's career 
in his horoscope, or the phrenologist reads them in 
the Napoleonic cranial protuberances), much fanciful 
elaboration of detail, ringing the variations on a sufB- 
ciently complex and non-demonstrable proposition, cul- 
tivating a convenient vagueness of expression, together 


with an apologetio skill in providing for and explain- 
ing exceptions, tbe courage to ignore failure and the 
shrewdness to profit by coincidences and half-assimi- 
lated smatterings of science, and with it all an insen- 
sibility to the moral and intellectual demands of the 
logical decalogue, — and you have the skeleton, which, 
clothed with one flesh, becomes Astrology, and with an- 
other Phrenology, and with another Palmistry or Solar 
Biology or Descriptive Mentality or what not. Such 
pseudo-sciences thrive upon that widespread and in- 
tense craving for practical guidance of our individual 
affairs, which is not satisfied with judicious applica- 
tions of general principles, with due consideration of 
the probabilities and uncertainties of human life, but 
demands an impossible and precise revelation. Not 
all that passes for, and in a way is knowledge, is or is 
likely soon to become scientific ; and when a peasant 
parades in an academic gown the result is likely to be 
a caricature. 


To achieve fortune, to judge well and command 
one's fellow-men, to foretell and control the future, to 
be wise in worldly lore, are natural objects of human 
desire; but still another is essential to happiness. 
Whether we attempt to procure these good fortunes 
by going early to bed and early to rise, or by more 
occult procedures, we wish to be healthy as well as 
wealthy and wise. The maintenance of health and the 
perpetuity of youth were not absent from the medisBval 
occultist's search, and formed an essential part of the 
benefits to be conferred by the elixir of life and the 


philoBopIieT'B atone. A serieB of Buperstitioos and ex- 
travagant systems are oonspicuous in the antecedents 
and the by-paths of the history of medicine, and are 
related to it much as astrology is to astronomy, or 
alchemy to chemistry; and because medicine in part 
remuns and to previous generations was conspicuously 
an empirical art rather than a soience, it offers great 
opportnnify for practical error and misapplied partial 
knowledge. It ia not necessary to go back to early 
civilizatdons or to primitive peoples, among whom the 
medicine-man and the priest were one and alike ap- 
pealing to occult powers, nor to early theories of dis- 
ease which beheld in insanity the obsession of demons 
and resorted to exorcism to cast them out ; it ia not 
necessary to consider the various person^es who aiv 
quired notoriety as healers by laying on of hands or by 
appeal to faith, or who, like Mesmer, introduced the 
system of animal magnetism, or, like some of his fol- 
lowers, sought directions for healing from the clair- 
voyant dicta of somnambules ; it is not necessary to 
ransack folk-lore superstitions and popular remedies 
for the treatment of disease ; for the modern forms 
of " irregular " healing offer sufficient illustrations of 
occult methods of escaping the ills that Sesh is heir to. 
The existence of a special term for a medical impos- 
tor is doubtless the result of the prevalence of the class 
thus named ; but quackery and occult medicine, though 
mutually overlapping, can by no means be held account- 
able for one another's failings. Many forms of quack- 
ery proceed on the basis of superstitions or fanciful or 
exaggerated notions containing occult elements, but for 
the present purpose it is wise to limit attention to those 


in which this oocult factor is distinctive ; for medical 
quackery in its larger relations is neither modem nor 
occult. Occult healing takes its distinctive character 
from the theory underlying the practice rather than 
from the nature of the practice. It is not so much what 
is done, as why it is done, or pretended to be done or not 
done, that determines its occult character. A factor 
of prominence in modem occult healing is indeed one 
that in other forms characterized many of its predeces- 
sors, and was rarely wholly absent from the connection 
between the procedure and the result ; this is the 
mental factor, which may be called upon to give char- 
acter to a theory of disease, or be utilized consciously 
or unconsciously as a curative principle. It is not 
implied that ^^ mental medicine " is necessarily and in- 
trinsically occult, but only that the general trend of 
modern occult notions regarding disease may be best 
portrayed in certain typical forms of ^^ psychic " healing. 
The legitimate recognition of the importance of mental 
conditions in health and disease is one of the results of 
the union of modem psychology and modem medicine. 
An exaggerated and extravagant as well as pretentious 
and illogical overstatement and misstatement of this 
principle may properly be considered as occult. 


Among such systems there is one which by its mo- 
mentary prominence overshadows all others; and for 
this reason, as well as for its more explicit or rather 
more extended statement of principles, must be ac- 
corded special attention : I need hardly say that I refer 
to that egregious misnomer, Christian Science. This 


■fBtem is said to have been discovered by, or revealed 
to, Mrs. Mary Baker Glover Eddy in 1866. Several 
of its most distinctiTe positions (without their religious 
setting) are to be found in the writings, and were used 
ID the practice of Mr. or Dr. F. P. Quimby (1802- 
1866), whom Mrs. Eddy professionally consulted 
shortly before she began her own propagandnm. On 
its theoretical side, the system presents a series of quasi- 
metaphysical principles and also a professed inteiv 
pretation of the Scriptures ; on its practical side, it 
offers a means of curing or avoiding disease, and in- 
cludes under disease also what is more generally de- 
scribed as sin and misfortune. With Christian Science 
as a religious movement I shall not directly deal ; I 
wish, however, to point out that this assumption of a 
religious aspect finds a parallel in Spiritualism and 
TheoBophy, and doubtless forms one of the most potent 
reasons for the success of these occult movements. It 
would be a most dangerous principle to admit that 
the treatment of disease and the right to ignoi-e hygi- 
ene can become the perquisite of any religious faith. 
It would be equally unwarranted to permit the prin- 
ciples which are responsible for such beliefs to teke 
shelter behind the ramparts of religious tolerance, for 
the essentia principles of Christian Science do not 
constitute a form of Chriatiani^ any more than they 
constitute a scie&oe ; but, in so far as they do not alto- 
gether elude description, perttun to the domain over 
which medicine, physiology, and psychology hold sway. 
Aa Ddvid Harum, in speaking of his cburch-going 
habits, characteristically explains, "the one I stay 
away from when I don't go 's the Presbyterian," so the 


doctrines which Christian Science '^ stays away from,'* 
are those over which recognized departments of aca- 
demic learning have the authority to decide. 

Mrs. Eddy's magrvum opusy serving at once as the 
text-book of the *^ science " and as a revised version of 
the Scriptures, ** Science and Health, with Key to the 
Scriptures," has been circulated to the extent of one 
hundred and seventy thousand copies. I shall not give 
an account of this book, nor subject its more tangible 
tenets to a logical review ; I must be content to recom- 
mend its pages as suggestive reading for the student of 
the modem occult, and to set forth in the credentials 
of quotation marks some of the dicta concerning dis- 
ease. Yet it may be due to the author, or mouthpiece, 
of this system, to begin by citing what are declared to 
be its fundamental tenets, even if their connection with 
what is built upon them is far from evident. 

''The fundamental propositions of Christian Science are 
sommarized in the four foUowing, to me, self-evident propo- 
sitions. Even if read backward, these propositions will be 
found to agree in statement and proof : — 

'' 1. God is All in aU. 

'' 2. God is good. Good is Mind. 

*^ 3. God, Spirit, being all, nothing is matter. 

'' 4. Life, God, omnipotent Good, deny death, evil, sin, dis- 
ease — Disease, sin, evil, death, deny Grood, omnipotent 
God, Life." 

" What is termed disease does not exist" '' Matter has 
no being." '' All is mind." '' Matter is but the subjective 
state of what is here termed mortal mind.** " All disease 
is the result of education, and can carry its ill effects no 
farther than mortal mind maps out the way." '' The fear 
of dissevered bodily members, or a belief in such a possibil- 


itjj IB reflected on the body^ in the shape of headache, frac- 
tured bones, dislocated joints, and so on, as directly as shame 
is seen rising to the cheek. This human error about physi- 
cal wounds and colics is part and parcel of the delusion that 
matter can feel and see, having sensation and substance." 
^ Insanity implies belief in a diseased brain, while physical 
ailments (so-called) arise from belief that some other por- 
tions of the body are deranged. ... A bunion would pro- 
duce insanity as perceptible as that produced by congestion 
of the brain, were it not that mortal mind calls the bunion 
an unconscious portion of the body. Reverse this belief and 
the results would be different." '' We weep because others 
weep, we yawn because they yawn, and we have small-pox 
because others have it; but mortal mind, not matter, con- 
tains and carries the infection." ''A Christian Scientist 
never gives medicine, never recommends hygiene, never 
manipulates." '' Anatomy, Physiology, Treatises on Health, 
sustained by what is termed material law, are the husband- 
men of sickness and disease." ''You can even educate a 
healthy horse so far in physiology that he will take cold 
without his blanket." '' If exposure to a draught of air while 
in a state of perspiration is followed by chills, dry cough, 
influenza, congestive symptoms in the lungs, or hints of in- 
flanmiatory rheumatism, your Mind-remedy is safe and sure. 
If you are a Christian Scientist, such symptoms will not 
foUow from the exposure; but if you believe in laws of 
matter and their fatal effects when transgressed, you are 
not fit to conduct your own case or to destroy the bad effects 
of belief. When the fear subsides and the conviction abides 
that you have broken no law, neither rheumatism, consump- 
tion, nor any other disease will ever result from exposure 
to the weather." '' Destroy fear and you end the fever." 
'' To prevent disease or cure it mentally let spirit destroy the 
dream of sense. If you wish to heal by argument, find the 
type of the ailment, get its name, and array your mental plea 


against the phjsieal. Argae with the patient (mentally, nov 
audibly) that he has no disease, and conform the argument 
to the evidence. Mentally insist that health is the everlast- 
ing fact, and sickness the temporal falsity. Then realize the 
presence of health, and the corporeal senses will respond, so 
be it." '* My publications alone heal more sickness than an 
unconscientious student can begin to reach." '^ The quotients, 
when numbers have been divided by a fixed rule, are not 
more unquestionable than the scientific tests I have made of 
the effects of truth upon the sick." " I am never mistaken 
in my scientific diagnosis of disease." *' Outside of Chris- 
tian Science all is vague and h3rpothetical, the opposite of 
Truth." '' Outside Christian Science all is error." 

Surely this is a remarkable product of mortal mind I 
It would perhaps be an interesting tour deforce^ though 
hardly so entertaining as *^ Alice in Tyonderland," to 
construct a universe on the assertions and hypotheses 
which Christian Science presents ; but it would have 
less resemblance to the world we know than has Alice's 
wonderland. For any person for whom logic and evi- 
dence are something more real than ghosts or myths, 
the feat must always be relegated to the airy realm of 
the imagination, and must not be brought in contact 
with earthly realities. And yet the extravagance of 
Mrs. Eddy's book, its superb disdain of vulgar fact, 
its transcendental self-confidence, its solemn assumption 
that reiteration and variation of assertion somehow spon- 
taneously generate proof or self-evidence, its shrewd 
assimilation of a theological flavor, its occasional suc- 
cesses in producing a presentable travesty of scientific 
truth, — all these distinctions may be found in many a 
dust-covered volume, that represents the intensity of 


eonyiction of some eqoally enthusiastic and equally in- 
spired occultist, but one less successful in securing a 
ehoms to echo his refrain. 

The temptation is strong not to dismiss ** Eddyism *' 
without illustrating the peculiar structures under which, 
in an effort to be consistent, it is forced to take shelter. 
Since disease is always of purely mental origin, it fol- 
lows that disease and its symptoms cannot ensue with- 
out the conscious cooperation of the patient; since 
*^ Christian Science divests material drugs of their 
imaginary power," it follows that the labels on the 
bottles that stand on the druggist's shelves are corre- 
spondingly meaningless. And it becomes an interest- 
ing problem to inquire how the consensus of mortal 
mind came about that associates one set of symptoms 
with prussic acid, and another with alcohol, and an- 
other with quinine. Inhaling oxygen or common air 
would prepare one for the surgeon's knife, and prussic 
acid or alcohol have no more effect than water, if only 
a congress of nations were to pronounce the former 
to be anassthetic and promulgate a decree that the 
latter be harmless. Christian Science does not flinch 
from this position. ^* If a dose of poison is swallowed 
through mistake and the patient dies, even though phy- 
sician and patient are expecting favorable results, does 
belief, you ask, cause this death? Even so, and as 
directly as if the poison had been intentionally taken. 
In such cases a few persons believe the potion swal- 
lowed by the patient to be harmless ; but the vast 
majority of mankind, though they know nothing of this 
particular case and this special person, believe the 
arsenic, the strychnine, or whatever the drug used, to 


be poisonous, for it has been set down as a poison by 
mortal mind. The consequence is that the result is 
controlled by the majority of opinions outside, not by 
the infinitesimal minority of opinions in the sick cham- 
ber." But why should the opinions of ol ttoXXoi be of 
influence in such a case, and the enlightened minorities 
be sufficient to effect the marvelous cures in all the 
other cases ? Christian Scientists do not take cold in 
draughts in spite of the contrary opinions or illusions 
of misguided majorities. The logical Christian Scien- 
tist concludes that he need not eat, '' for the truth is 
food does not affect the life of man ; " and yet at once 
renounces his faith by adding, '^ but it would be foolish 
to venture beyond our present understanding, foolish to 
stop eating, until we gain more goodness and a clearer 
comprehension of the living God." And the mental 
physician, to be consistent, must be a mental surgeon 
also; and not plead that, ^^ Until the advancing age 
admits the efficacy and supremacy of mind, it is better 
to leave the adjustment of broken bones and disloca- 
tions to the fingers of surgeons." 

But it is unprofitable to consider the failings and 
absurdities of any occult system in its encounters witli 
actual science and actual fact. It is simply as a real 
and prominent menace to rationality that these doc- 
trines naturally attract consideration. Regarding them 
as illustrations of present-day occult beliefs, we are 
naturally tempted to inquire what measure of (per- 
verted) truth they may contain ; but the more worthy 
question is, How do such perversions come to find so 
large a company of " supporting listeners " ? For to 
any one who can read and be convinced by the sequence 


of ^rords of this system, ordinary logio has no power, 
and to him the world of reality brings no message. No 
form of the modem occult antagonizes the foundations 
of science so brusquely as this one. The possibility of 
science rests on the thorough and absolute distinction 
between the subjective and the objective. In what 
measure a man loses the power to draw this distinction 
clearly, and as other men do, in that measure he be- 
comes irrational or insane. The objective exists ; and 
no amount of thinking it away or thinking it differ- 
ently will change it. That is what is understood by 
ultimate scientific truth; something that will endure 
unmodified by passing ways of viewing it, open to 
every one's verification who comes equipped with the 
proper means to verify, — a permanent objective, to be 
ascertained by careful logical inquiry, not to be deter- 
mined by subjective opinion. Logio is the language 
of science ; Christian Science and what sane men call 
science can never communicate because they do not 
speak the same language. 


It would be unfortunate to emphasize the popular 
preeminence of Christian Science at a cost of the 
neglect of the significance of the many other forms 
of "drugless healing," which bid for pubKc favor 
by appeal to ignorance and to occult and superstitious 
instincts. Some are allied to Christian Science, and 
like it assimilate their cult to a religious movement ; 
others are unmistakably the attempts of charlatans to 
lure the credulous by noisy advertisements of newly 
discovered and scientifically indorsed siystems of ^* psy- 


chio force," or of Bome personal " ism." For many 
pttrpoaee it would be oajust to group together such 
Tsrious syBtems, which in the nature of things must 
include sinner and saint, the misguided sincere, the 
half-believers who think " there may be something in 
it," or " that it is worth a trial,*' along with scheming 
quacks and adepts in commercial fraud. They illus- 
trate the many and various roads traveled in the search 
for health, by pilgrims who are dissatisfied with the 
highways over which medical science pursues its stead- 
fast though it may be devious course. Among them 
there is plausible exaggeration and ignorant perversioD 
and dishonest libel of the relations that bind together 
body and mind. Among the several schisms from the 
*' Mother Church of Christian Science " there is one 
that cl^ms to be the " rational phase of the mental 
healing doctrine," that acknowledges the reality of dis- 
ease and the incurability of serious organic disorders, 
and resents any connection with the " half-fanatical 
personality worship " (of Mrs. Eddy) as quite ae foreign 
to its tenets as would be the views of the " Free Beli- 
gious Association " to the " Pope of Bome." " Divine 
Healing " ezhibits its success in one notable instuice, 
in the establishment of a school and college, a bank, a 
land and investment association, a printing and pub- 
lishing office, and sundry divine healing homes ; and 
this prosperity is now to be extended by the founda- 
tion of a city or colony of converts, who shall be united 
by the common bond of f uth in divine healing as trans- 
mitted in the personal power of their leader. The offi- 
cial oi^an of this movement announces that the person- 
ification <A thur futh " makes her reli^on a businesi 


and condttota hetself upon sound bnsineBS principles ; " 
their leader publicly boasts of his vast financial re- 
tams. With emphatic protest oo the part of each 
that he alone holds the key to salvation, and that his 
system is quite original and unlike any other, comes 
the procession of Metaphysical Healer and Mind-Curist 
and Viticulturist and Magnetic Healer and Astrol(^i- 
cal Health Guide and Fhrenopathist and Medical Clair- 
Toyant and Esoteric Vibrationist and Psychic Scientist 
and Mesmerist and Occultist. Some use or abuse the 
manipulations of hypnotism; others claim the power 
to concentrate the magnetism of the ur and to excite 
the vital fluids by arousing the proper mental vibr^ 
tions, or by some equally lucid and demonstrable pro- 
cedure ; some advertise magnetic cups, and positive 
and negative powders, and absent treatment by out- 
puts of " psychic force," and conntless other imposing 
devices. In truth, they form a motley crew, and with 
their " Colleges of Fine Forces," and " Psychic Re- 
search Companies," offering diplomas and degrees for 
a three weeks' course of study or the reading of a book, 
represent the slums of the occult. An account of their 
methods is likely to be of as much interest to the stu- 
dent of fraud as to the student of opinion. 

There can be no doubt that many of these systems 
have been stimulated into life or into renewed vigor 
by the success of Christian Science ; this is particu- 
larly noticeable in the introduction of absent treatment 
as a plank in their diverse platforms. This ingenious 
method of restoring the health of their patients and 
their own exchequers appealed to all the band of heal- 
ing occultists from Spiritualist to Vibrationist, as easily 


adaptable to their several systems. In miioh the same 
way Mesmer, more thai| a hundred years ago, adminis- 
tered to the practice which had exhausted the capacity 
of his personal attention, by magnetizing trees and sell- 
ing magnetized water. The absent treatment repre- 
sents the occult extension movement; and unencum- 
bered by the hampering restrictions of physical forces, 
superior even to wireless telegraphy, carries its influ- 
ence into the remotest homes. From ocean to ocean, 
and from North to South, these absent healers set 
apart some hour of the day, when they mentally convey 
their healing word to the scattered members of their 
flock. On the payment of a small fee you are made 
acquainted with the ** soul-communion time-table " for 
your longitude, and may know when to meet the healing 
vibrations as they pass by. Others disdain any such 
temporal details and assure a cure merely on payment 
of the fee ; the healer will know sympathetically when 
and how to transmit the curative impulses. Poverty 
and bad habits as well as disease readily succumb to 
the magic of the absent treatment. Such an hysterical 
edict as this is hardly extreme or unusual : ^^ Join the 
Success Circle. . . . The Centre of that Cirde is my 
omnipotent WORD. Daily I speak it. Its vibrations 
radiate more and more powerfully day by day. ... As 
the sun sends out vibrations ... so my WORD radi- 
ates Success to 10,000 lives as easily as to one." 

It is impossible to appreciate fully the extravagances 
of these occult healers unless one makes a sufficient 
sacrifice of time and patience to read over a consider- 
able sample of the periodical publications with which 
American occultism fairly teems. And when one has 


aooompliahed this task he is still at sea to acooimt for 
tiie readers and believers who sapport these vftrious 
systems, so ondreamt of in our philosophy. It would 
really seem that there is no combination of ideas too 
absurd to fail entirely of a following. Carlyle, without 
special provocation, concluded that there were about 
forty million persons in England, mostly fools ; what 
would have been his comment in the face of this vast 
and universal array of human folly I If it be urged in 
rejoinder that beneath all this rubbish heap a true 
jewel lies buried, that the wonderful cures and the 
practical success of these various systems indicate their 
dependence upon an essential and valuable factor in the 
cure of disease and the formation of habits, it is possi- 
ble with reservation to assent, and with emphasis to 
demor. Such success, in so far as it is rightly reported, 
exemplifies the truly remarkable function of the mental 
factor in the control of normal as of disordered physi- 
ological functioBs. This truth has been recognized and 
utilized in unobtrusive ways for many generations, and 
within recent years has received substantial elaboration 
from carefully conducted experiments and observations. 
Specifically, the therapeutic action of su^estion, both 
in its more usual forms and as hypnotic suggestion, 
has shown to what unexpected extent such action may 
proceed in susceptible individuals. The well-informed 
and capable physician requires no instruction on this 
point; his medical education furnishes him with the 
means of determining the symptoms of tme organic 
disorder, of functional derangement, and of the modi- 
fications of these under the more or less anoonsoioos 
interference of an unfortunate nervous system. It is 


quite as human for the physician as for other mortals 
to err ; and there is doubtless as wide a range among 
them, as among other pursuits, of ability, tact» and in- 
sight. ^' But when all is said and done,'* the funda- 
mental fact remains that the utilization of the mental 
factor in the alleviation of disease will be best admin- 
istered by those who are specifically trained in the 
knowledge of bodily and of mental symptoms of dis- 
ease. Such application of an established scientific prin- 
ciple may prove to be a jewel of worth in the hands of 
him who knows how to cut and set it. The difference 
between truth and error, between science and supersti- 
tion, between what is beneficent to mankind and what 
is pernicious, frequently lies in the interpretation and 
the spirit as much as, or more than, in the fact. The 
utilization of mental influences in health and disease 
becomes the one or the other according to the wisdom 
and the truth and the insight into the real relations of 
things, that guide its application. As far removed as 
ohemistrjr from alchemy, as astronomy from astrology, 
as the doctrine of the localization of function in the 
brain from phrenology, as hypnotic suggestion from 
animal magnetism, are the crude and perverse notions 
of Christian Scientist or Metaphysical Healer removed 
from the rational application of the influence of the 
mind over the body. 

The growth and development of the occult presents 
an interesting problem in the psychology of belief. 
The motives that induce the will to believe in the 
several doctrines that have been passed in review are 


eertainly not more easy to detect and to describe than 
would be the case in reference to the many other 
general problems — philosophical, scientific, religious, 
social, political, or educational — on which the right to 
an opinion is accepted as an inalienable heritage of 
humanity or at least of democracy. Professor James 
tells us that often ^' our faith is faith in some one else's 
faith, and in the greatest matters this is most the case." 
Certainly the waves of popularity of one cult and 
another reflect the potent influence of contagion in 
the formation of opinion and the guidance of conduct. 
When we look upon the popular delusions of the past 
through the achromatic glasses which historical remote- 
ness from present conditions enables us to adjust to our 
eyes, we marvel that good and great men could have been 
so grossly misled, that obvious relations and fallacies 
could have been so stupidly overlooked, that worthless 
and prejudiced evidence could have been accepted as 
sound and significant. But the opinions to which we 
incline are all colored o'er with the deep tinge of 
emotional reality, which is the living expression of our 
interest in them or our inclination toward them. What 
they require is a more vigorous infusion of the pale 
cast of thought ; for the problem of the occult and the 
temptations to belief which it holds out are such as can 
be met only by a sturdy application of a critical logic 
Only as logical thoroughness comes to prevail over 
superficial plausibility, as beliefs come to be formed 
and evidence estimated according to their intrinsic value 
rather than according to their emotional acceptability, 
will the propagandum of the occult meet with greater 
resistance and aversion. 


The fixation of belief proceeds under the influence 
both of general and of special forces ; the formation of 
a belief is at once a personal and a social reaction — a 
reaction to the evidence which recorded and personal 
experiences present, and to the current beliefs of our 
environment. To an equal extent is the reaction de- 
termined by the temperament of the reagent. And 
although the resulting individual beliefs, however com- 
plex, are not matters of chance nor are their causes 
altogether past finding out, yet some of their contrib- 
uting factors are so vague and so inaccessible that 
they are most profitably considered as specific results 
of more or less clearly discerned general principles ; 
and in many respects there is more valid interest in 
the general principles than in the particular results. 
It is interesting, and it may be profitable, to investigate 
why this area is wooded with oak and that with maple, 
but it is somewhat idle to speculate why this particular 
tree happens to be a maple rather than an oak, even 
if it chances to stand on our own property, and to have 
an interest to us beyond all other trees. 

Among the more tangible tendencies that in various 
ways lead to the occult there is distinguishable what 
may be termed the intensely personal temperament, — 
the mental attitude that absorbs knowledge only when 
dissolved in an all-pervading personal medium ; the 
attitude that finds a paramount significance in the 
personal interpretation of experiences, and reacts to 
massive and extensive generalizations most vaguely 
and impotently ; the attitude that offers a weak and 
verbal assent to scientific principles and to the reali- 
ties of nature, but inwardly cherishes an intense belief 


in the personal purport of the order of events, and 
earnestly seeks for a precise explanation of indivi- 
dual happenings. " The chronic belief of mankind," 
sa^ Professor James, "that events may happen for 
the sake of their personal signiiiDance is an abomi- 
nation." It is this chronic mental habit that broods 
apon the problem of snbjective experiences, and is 
ready to recognize in signs and omens the guiding 
principle of rationality ; not that this is always done 
designedly and superstitionsly, but the underlying bent 
obsGurea the consideration of experience in any other 
than a personal light, and obstructs that illumination 
of the concrete by the generic, which constitutes an in- 
dispeDsable factor in the growth of wholesome thought. 
The victim of this unfortunate habit will remain 
logically unfit to survive the struggle against the 
occult. Only in so far as he succeeds in getting away 
from bis personal perspective will he be able to appre- 
ciate the true status of the problem which enlists his 
interest. Above all is it necessary to subordinate ex- 
plicit individual explanations to the general illumina- 
tion of well-established principles. It may be in- 
teresting to note that the partaking of minoe-pie at 
evening induces bad dreams, but it is hardly profit- 
able to speculate deeply why my dream took the form 
of a leering demon with the impolite habit of squat- 
ting on my chest. The stuff that dreams are made 
of is not susceptible of that type of analysis. The 
most generous allowance must be made for coinci- 
dences and irrelevancies, and it must be constantly re- 
membered that the obsonre phenomena of psycholc^, 
and, indeed, the phenomena of more tborongbly estab- 


lished and intrinsically more definite sciences, cannot 
be expected to pass the test of detailed and concrete 
combinations of circumstances. In other classes of 
knowledge the temptation to demand such explicit 
explanations of observations and experiences is not so 
strong, because of the absence of an equally strong 
personal interest ; but clearly this does not affect the 
logical status of the problem. 

The reply to this argument I can readily anticipate ; 
and I confess that my admiration of Hamlet is some- 
what dulled by reason of that ill-advised remark to 
Horatio about there being more things in heaven and 
earth than are dreamt of in our philosophies. The 
occultist always seizes upon that citation to refute the 
scientist. He prints it as his motto on his books and 
journals, and regards it as a slow poison that will in 
time effect the destruction of the rabble of scientists, 
and reveal the truth of his own Psycho-Harmonic 
Science or Heliocentric Astrology. It is one thing to 
be open-minded, and to realize the incompleteness of 
scientific knowledge, and to appreciate how often what 
was ignored by one generation has become the science 
of the next ; and it is a very different thing to be im- 
pressed with coincidences and dreams and premoni- 
tions, and to regard them as giving the keynote to the 
conceptions of nature and reality, and to look upon 
science as a misdirected effort. Such differences of 
attitude depend frequently upon a difference of tem- 
perament as well as upon intellectual discernment. 
The man or the woman who flies to the things not 
dreamt of in our philosophy quite commonly does not 
understand the things which our philosophy very 


oreditablj expluns. The two types of mind toe AiSer- 
ent, aad, as Professor James expresses it, " the scien- 
tifio-academio mind and the feminme-myetical mind 
shy from each other's facts JQSt as they fiy from each 
other's temper and spirit." 

Certain special influences combine with these funda- 
mental differences of attitude to favor the spread of 
belief in the occult ; and of these the character of the 
beliefs as of the believers famishes some evidence. At 
various stages of the discussion I have referred to the 
deceptive nature of the argument by analogy ; to the 
dominating sympathy with a conclusion, and the re- 
salting aaaimilation and overestimation of apparent 
evidence in its favor ; to the frequent &ilure to under- 
stand that the formation of valid opinion and the inters 
pretation of evidence in any field of inquiry require 
somewhat of expert training and special aptitude, 
obviously so in technical matters, bat only moderately 
less so in matters misleadingly regarded as general ; 
to bias and superstition, to the weakness that beads 
easily to the influences of conta^on, to unfortunate 
educational limitations and perversions, and, not the 
least, to a defective grounding in the nature of scien- 
tiBc fact and proof. The mystery attaching to the 
behavior of the magnet led Mesmer to call his cura- 
tive influence " animal m^netism," — a conception 
that atill prevails among latter-day occultists. The 
principle of sympathetic vibration, in obedience to 
which a tuning-fork takes up the vibrations of another 
in unison with it, is violently transferred to imi^naiy 
brain vibrations and to still more imaginary telepathic 
oorrentB. The X-ray and wireless telegraphy are cer> 


tain to be utilized in corroboration of nnproven modes 
of mental action, and will be regarded as furnishing 
the key to chdrvoyance and rapport ; just as well-known 
electrical phenomena have given rise to the notions of 
positive and negative temperaments and mediumistio 
polar attraction and repulsion. All this results from 
the unwarranted and absurd application of analogies ; 
for analogies, even when appropriate, are little more 
than suggestive or corroborative of relations or con- 
ceptions which owe their main support to other and 
more sturdy evidence. Analogy under careful super- 
vision may make a useful apprentice, but endless havoc 
results when the servant plays the part of the master. 

No better illustrations could be desired of the effects 
of mental prepossession and the resulting distortion of 
evidence and of logical insight than those afforded by 
the career of Spiritualism and that of Christian Science. 
In both these movements the assimilation of a religious 
trend has been of inestimable importance to their dis- 
semination. Surely it is not merely or mainly the 
evidences obtainable in the stance chamber, nor the 
irresistible accumulation of cures by argument and 
thought-healings, that account for the organized gather- 
ings of Spiritualists and the costly temples and thriving 
congregations of Christ Scientist. It is the presenta- 
i tion of a practical doctrine of immortality and of the 
spiritual nature of disease in conjunction with an ac- 
cepted religious system, that is responsible for these 
vast results. The "Key to the Scriptures" has im- 
measurably reinforced the " Science and Health," and 
brought believers to a new form of Christianity who 
never would have been converted to a new system of 


medicine presentecl on purely intellectual gronnds. 
Bationality is doubtless a charaoteristia tendency o£ 
humanity, but logicality is an acquired possession, and 
one by no means firmly established in the race at lat^. 
So long as we are reproved by the discipline of nature, 
and that rather promptly, we tend to act in accordance 
with the established relations of things ; that is ration- 
ality. But the recognition of the more remote connec- 
tions between antecedent and consequent, and the de- 
velopment of habits of thought which shall lead to 
reliable conclusions in complex situations ; and again, 
the ability to distinguish between the plausible and the 
true, the firmness to support principle in the face of 
paradox and seeming nonconformity, to think clearly 
and consistently in the absence of the practical reproof 
of nature — that is logicality. It ia only as the result 
of a prolonged and conscientious training, aided by an 
extensive experience and by a knowledge of the histori- 
cal experience of the race, that the inherent rational 
tendencies develop into established logical habits and 
principles of belief. For many this development n- 
mains stunted or arrested ; and they continue as chil- 
dren of a larger growth, leaning much on others, rarely 
ventnriug abroad alone, and wisely confining their ex- 
cursions to familiar ground. When they become pos- 
sessed with the desire to travel among other cultures, 
their lack of appreraatiou of the sights which their 
journeys bring before them gives to their reports the 
same degree of reliability and value as attaches to the 
much ridiculed comments of the philistine nouveaias 
The survey of the modeni occult makes it seem quite 


Utopian to look forward to the day when the oceolt 
shall have disappeared, and the lion and the lamb 
shall feed and grow strong on the same nourishment. 
Doubtless new forms and phases of the occult will 
arise to take the place of the old as their popularity 
declines ; and the world will be the more interesting 
and more characteristicaDy a human dwelling-place for 
containing all sorts and conditions of minds. None 
the less, it is the plain duty and priyilege of each 
generation to utilize every opportunity to dispel error 
and superstition, and to oppose the dissemination of 
irrational beliefs. It is particularly the obligation of 
the torch-bearers of science to illuminate the path 
of progress, and to transmit the light to their suc- 
cessors with undiminished power and brilliancy; the 
flame must bum both as a beacon-light to guide the 
wayfarer along the highways of advance, and as a 
warning against the will-o'-the-wisps that shine seduc- 
tively in the by-ways. The safest and most efficient 
antidote to the spread of the pernicious tendenciea 
inherent in the occult lies in the cultivation of a 
wholesome and whole-souled interest in the genuine 
and profitable problems of nature and of life, and in 
the cultivation with it of a steadfast adherence to 
common sense, that results in a right perspective of 
the significance and value of things. These qualities, 
fortunately for our forefathers, were not reserved to be 
the exclusive prerogative of the modem ; and, fortu- 
nately for posterity, are likely to remain characteristic 
of the scientific and antagonistic to the occult. 


The division of the sciences reflects tlie diversity of 
human interests ; it represents the economical adapta- 
tion of organized thought to the conditions of reality; 
and it likewise recognizes the intrinsically and objecv 
tively distinct realms and aspects, in which and under 
which phenomena ooonr. It is obrious that the sciences 
were shaped by hnman needs ; that physics and chem- 
istry and geology and biology and psycholt^ do not 
constitute independent depaitmSats of natnte's r^me, 
but only so many aspects of complex natural activities ; 
that a cro8S'«eotion of the composite happenings of a 
cosmic moment wonid reveal an endlessly heterogeneons 
oonoomitance of diverse forms of energy acting upon 
diverse types of material ; that, aa we confine our atten- 
tion somewhat arbitrarily to one or another component 
of the aggregate, we become physicists, or chemists, or 
geolf^sts, or biolc^ists, or psychologists ; that, indeed, 
Nature is all things to all men. There is, furthermore, 
a community of spirit between the several sciences, as 
tbere is a logical unity of method and purpose within 
the realm of each. However ignorant they may be of 
one another's facts, the chemist and the psychologist 
readily appreciate one another's purposes, and find a 
bond of sympathy in the pursuit of a commonly ia- 
spixed though differeaUy applied method. The search 


for objective truth, the extension of the realm of law 
and regularity, the expansion and organization of the 
army of facts constantly marshaled and reviewed and 
made ready for service, the ever widening development 
of principles and the furthering of a deeper insight 
into their significance, — these are ideals for the ad- 
vancement of science, far easier of expression than of 
execution, but the clear and accepted formulation of 
which itself attests a highly developed stage of accurate 
thought. A clear-cut conception of the purposes and 
methods of scientific investigation and of the scope of 
the several sciences is a dearly bought product of 
generations of well-directed, as also of misdirected, 
effort. The path of progress leading to this achieve- 
ment has been tortuous and indirect ; there has been 
much expenditure of energy that resulted merely in 
marking time, in going through the movements of 
locomotion but with no advance, in following a false 
trail, or, through a loss of the sense of direction, in 
coming back after a circuitous march to an earlier 
starting-point. It is easy, when a certain height is 
reached, to look down and back, and see how much 
more readily the ascent might have been accomplished ; 
but it is a very different matter to form a successful 
phm for attaining the next higher commanding point. 
It is inevitable that there shall be differences of opinion 
as to course and manoeuvre, and errors of judgment of 
commission and omission ; but such diversity is quite 
consistent with an underlying cooperation and single- 
ness of purpose. It is in the inspiration and in the 
execution of that purpose that science becomes differ- 
entiated from the unscientific and non-scientific. 


Between the organized effort and weIl-reo(^ized 
plan of action of science and the chaotic movements of 
the antutored mind, there is a marked contrast. The 
savage, like the child, oonatantly meets with the nnex- 
pected ; every experience lying oatside hb narrow 
heatcn track stirs him with a shock and often fills him 
with fear — the handmud of ignorance. He is apt to 
picture nature as a fearful monster, and to people the 
world with tyrannical beings. Step by step the r^on 
of the known expands, and suggests the nature of the 
unknown ; men expect, they foresee, they predict 
The apparent chaos of mutually inimical forces gives 
way to the profound harmony of unifying law. And 
yet the nnknown and the borderland that separates it 
from the known are always near by, to tempt curiosity 
and the spirit of adventure. 

The problem here to be considered relates to the 
attitude which may most properly and profitably be 
taken with regard to the outlying phenomena of the 
mind. Are they outoasts, to be treated ui a spirit of 
oharity and forbearance ? Are they the true owners of 
the land, driven off, like the Indian before the white 
man, by the relentless march of civilization to a pre- 
scribed reservation? Are they the unjustly deposed 
and rightful heirs, soon to be restored to their kingdom 
by a fairer and more searching examination of their 
title? Or are they, gypsy-like, of obscure origin, sur- 
viving in a civilization which they are in but not 
of, attempting to eke out an uncertain existence by 
peddling relies of antiquated lore to the curious and 
the oredolouB 7 



The onrrent usage of the term ^^ Psychical Besearch'' 
takes its meaning from the Society for Psychical Re- 
search, founded in England in 1882. The original 
programme of the society involyed a systematic investi- 
gation of ^^ that large group of debatable phenomena 
designated by such terms as mesmeric, psychical, and 
Spiritualistic." ^^From the recorded testimony of 
many competent witnesses," it is urged, ^^ there appears 
to be, amidst much delusion and deception, an import- 
ant body of remarkable phenomena, which are prima 
facie inexplicable on any generally recognized hypothe- 
sis, and which, if inoontestably established, would be 
of the highest possible value." The work of investi- 
gation of these ^^ residual phenomena " was intrusted 
to six committees, who were to inquire severally into 
*^ the nature and extent of any influence which may be 
.exerted by one mind upon another, apart from any 
generally recognized mode of perception ; " into hypno- 
tism, the so-called mesmeric trance, clairvoyance, 
and other allied phenomena ; to undertake a revision 
of Beichenbach's researches. with reference to discover- 
ing whether his ^^ sensitives " possessed ^^ any power of 
perception beyond a highly exalted sensibility of the 
recognized sensory organs ; " to investigate the reports 
of apparitions at the moment of death, and of houses 
reputed to be haunted ; to inquire into the causes and 
general laws of the phenomena of Spiritualism ; and to 
collect material relative to the history of these subjects. 
It is the investigation of these topics from the point of 
view prevalent in the publications of this Society that 


coQstitates the definition of Paychical Besearoh. Thia 
phrase, which has come into prominence within less than 
a score of years, has no simple or familiar synonym ; it 
most not be interpreted by the combined connotation of 
its component words, bat most be accepted as the tech- 
nical equivalent of the trend and content of a certain 
type of investigation of obsoiire phenomena or alleged 
phenomena, in most of which psychological factors ate 

If the term may at all be brought within the circle 
of the soieoces, it certunly there assumes a somewhat 
unique position. It naturally becomes the analogue, or 
- -it may be the rival of Psychology ; yet its precise status 
and its logical relations to other departments of scien- 
tific research are far from obvious. The modem con- 
I ception of Psychology is geueroasly comprehensive ; it 
encompasses the endlessly variable and complex pro- 
cesses of human mentality ; it pursnes with enthusiasm 
the study of developmental processes of intelligence in 
childhood, in the animal world, in the unfoldment of 
the race ; it studies, for their own value, the aberrant 
and patholf^cal forms of mental action, and brings 
these into relation with, and thus illuminates the com- 
prehension of the normal. It forms affiliations with 
physiology and biolt^y and medicine, with philosophy 
and logic and ethics, with anthropology and sociology 
and folk-lore ; it borrows freely from their materials, 
and attempts to interpret the materials thus borrowed 
from the psychological point of view and to infuse 
into them its distinctive spirit. Surely Psychical Be- 
search should be able to find a nook in so commodious 
a home ; if the problems of Psychical Beaearch are 


legitimate members of the psychological family, some 
provision should be possible for their reoeptioD within 
the old homestead. Nor does this groap of problems 
lepresent a di£Ferenoe of school, in some such way as the 
homceopathists represent a secession from the regular 
school of medicine ; nor can it be regarded as the spetual 
stndy of the unnsnal and the abnormal in the sphere of 
mind, and thos stand in the relation which teratol<^ 
or patholc^ bears to physiology and anatomy: for in 
that event it would oonatituto a simple division of Ab- 
normal Psychology, and although Psychical Besearch 
\haB close allianoe with the latter, it cannot be, and is 
Vinwilling to be regarded aa a subordinate portion of 
that domain. 

From a survey of the literature of Psychical Be- 
searoh one might readUy draw iha inference that 

Ei—L |g Psyobolc^ studies the recognized and ezpli- 
pbases of mental phenomena, Psychical £e- 
is occupied with the disputed and mysterious. 
One might also conclude that whereas Psychology is 
oonoemed with the phenomena commonly associated 
with mental activities and their variation under normal 
as also under unusual and patholo^cal circumBtanoeB, 
Psychical Research is interested in the demonstration of 
rapemonnal faculties, and in the establishment of forma 
of mentality that diverge from and transcend those 
with which every-day humanity ia permitted to become 
familiar ; and that, moreover, in some of its ezcursions 
Psychical Besearoh does not limit itself to mental 
manifestations, but investigates undiscovered forms of 
physical energy, and seriously considers whether behind 
and beyond the world of phenomena there is another 


and a difierent world, in whioh the established order 
and the mental and material laws of this planet do not 
obtain. But the unwarranted character, not to say ab- 
surdity, of such a differentiation or classification is at 
once apparent, if we attempt to oarry it over into other 
departments of science. Speculations in regard to the 
constitution of the earth's centre or as to the future 
of onr planet, if legitimate in character, are as readily 
incorporable into geol(^ as the consideration of more 
definite and better known phenomena; biolc^^ts rec<^ 
nize that there are mythical as well as anomalous por- 
tions of their domun, bat do not consider that freaks 
of nature either destroy the validity of anatomical and 
physiological principles, or demand a totaJly distinct and 
transcendent oiganization or method for their study. 
The chemist may become interested in the examinaticHi 
of what was really done when it was supposed that other 
metals were oonverted into gold ; tUe physicist may be- 
oome interested in the applications of electricity and 
magnetism, of optical redections and images in the pro- 
duction of stage illusions ; but the conception of chem- 
istry and of physics naturally embraces considerations 
of the growth, the errors, and the applications of these 
sciences. And while these comparisons do not fui^ 
nish a complete parallel to the relation that seems to 
pertain between Psychology and Psychical Besearoh, 
yet it is as true in the one case as in Uie others, that 
the differentiation of a group of problems on the basis 
of unnsualneas of occurrence, of mysteriousness of 
origin, of doubtful authenticity, or of apparent para- 
doxical or transcendent character, is as illo^cal as it 
is onnecessary. The legitimate problems of Psychical 


Besearoli are equally and necessarily genoine problems 
of Psychology, that require no special designation. 
They need not be especially important, nor interest- 
ing, nor profitable, nor well comprehended problems 
of Psychology, but they belong there if they are sci- 
entific problems at alL The objection to Psychical 
Sesearch is not a verbal one ; it is an objection to the 
separation of a class of problems from their natural 
habitat, an objection to the violent transplanting of a 
g^wth from its own environment. It is a protest 
against the notion that while the psychologist may be 
listened to with respect and authority in one portion 
of his topic, the layman and the member of the Society 
for Psychical Research are equally or more competent 
to pronounce judgments in a closely allied field. It is 
a protest against the view that for the comprehension 
of such processes as sensation and perception a course 
in Psychology may be useful, but that telepathy may 
be established by any moderately intelligent but not 
specially informed percipient and agent; or that the 
study of hallucinations is indeed a complex and diffi- 
cult subject, but haunted houses, and phantasms of the 
living, offer a proper occupation for a leisure hour. 
All this is wrong and absurd ; and yet it is hardly an 
exaggeration to declare that a majority of those who 
profess a deep interest in, and express an opinion 
about the one group of topics, would be surprised to 
have demanded of them a familiarity with the data 
of Psychology as a prerequisite to an intelligent co- 
operation in Psychical Research. If the problems of 
Psychical Research, or that portion of the problems 
in which investigation seems profitable, are ever to 


be Uluminated and exhibited ia an intelligible form, 
it will only come about wben they are inveBtigated by 
the same methods and in the same spirit as are other 
psychological problems, wben they are studied in con- 
nection with and as a part of other general problems of 
normal and abnormal Psychology. Whether this is 
done under the anapices of a society or in the psycho- 
logical laboratories of universities is, of coarse, a debul 
of no importance. It is important, however, what the 
trend, and the spirit, and the method, and the pnrpoae 
of the investigation may be ; as it is equally important, 
what may be the training, and the capabilities, and the 
resources, and the originality, and the scholarship of 
the investigators. 

Is the " psycMoal researcher " then merely a psycholo- 
gist gone astray ? Is he a mere dilettante, an amateur 
collector of curious specimens, or is he something very 
different from a psychologbt ? He is doubtless one 
or the other or all of these. He may be a psycholo- 
gist in the truest and best sense of the word ; and as 
all psychologists have their special interests, so his 
may be centred in the group of phenomena which 
have been unwisely separated from their milieu, and 
have been inaptly termed " Psychical Kesearoh." I 
am ready not only to admit but to emphasize that a 
considerable portion of the influential contributors to 
Psychical Research are animated by as truly scien- 
tiSa motives, and carry on their work with as much 
devotion and ability, with as careful a Ic^oal acumen, 
with as shrewd comprehension of the dangers and diffi- 
culties of their topic, as characterize the labors of any 
other fidd of psyohdogical endeavor. But this state- 


ment oftn by do means be extended to all ; nor does it at 
all militate against the opituon that many of those to 
vbom it does apply, sobsoribe to illogical and perni- 
cions oonclusioDS, and indirectly enooar^e a most iin- 
fortimate attitude in others. 


Approaching the matter next from a descriptive 
point of view, it becomes pertinent to inquire what 
are the actoal interests which give vitality to Psychi- 
oal Besearch, which support the investigator in his 
laborious and tedious collection and compilation of 
oases, which provide the membership for the Society 
for Psychical Besearch, and the still wider circle of 
interested readers, which indaoe so many correspond- 
ents to record long and painstaking acoomits of their 
peculiar " psychical " experiences, which make the dis- 
cussion of these matters a favorite topic of conversa- 
tion. That these interests are diverse is obvious ; yet 
they fall naturally into a few groups or types, of which 
the occult interest is probably the most widespread. 
Hiis, in its pronounced form, proceeds upon a suppressed 
or acknowledged conviction that the world which science 
reveals is but a torso of reality ; that its very head — 
that which gives signiScance and expression to the 
whole — may be missing, and can only be restored 
from isolated fragments, themselves to be found by 
rare good fortune. The key to the riddle of existence 
is to be sought in the personal significance of events ; in 
moments of great stress and strain, in critical emei^n- 
oies when communication between individuals deeply 
oonoemed must be established though the heavens 


&11, it is claimed that the heavens do occasionallf fall, 
that the laws of earth are transcended, and the phan- 
tasms of the d;iDg are telepathically wafted to the 
sentient consciousness of the interested kinsman or 
friend. Apparitions and presentiments are interpreted 
as mystic symbols of the order of events, which cast 
their shadows before or coincidently with them. The 
intelligence of the departed, likewise, is disceroed in 
these manifestations ; and through haunted houses and 
stance chambers, through the inspired utterances of 
entranced mediums, messages are revealed that indi- 
cate conclusively the impossibility of their transmission 
through ordinary channels, or, it may be, their unmis- 
takable ** spiritual " origin. The supernormal, tran- 
scendent, undiscovered world of the occult shines 
through, though fitfully and visible only to those who 
have eyes to see, the conunonplace, constrained phe- 
nomena of earth-bound reality. Variable as may be 
the formulation and trend of this interest, yet in some 
form this suspicion or quasi-belief (for which the term 
" occult " seems appropriate) that there are things un- 
dreamt of in our philosophy, that these residual phe- 
nomena are profoundly significavt and afford a glimpse 
of the great unknown, as well as of the fallibility and the 
poverty of scientific conceptions, furnishes a very cod- 
siderable clientele of Psychical Research. The why 
and wherefore of this inclination need not here be dis- 
cussed; its prevalence is unmistakable. And though 
it appears now in a crude and superstitious guise, 
and again in a more refined and critical attitude, and 
more rarely is unwillingly assumed as the only possible 
alternative in the face of striking personal and other 


evidence, yet there is a safficient oommnni^ of belief 
in ULBse several positions to wanant their inclnsion in a 
oommoD though variable type. As applied to Psychi- 
cal Research, it is important neither to generalize from 
the worst nor from the best expressions of this occult 
interest, but to appreciate ita range of distribution 
amid the diversity of temperament and endowment. 

As the occult interest reoedes to an obscure position 
in the baohground, and as the foreground and middle 
distance come to be suffused with the light of critical 
discernment and of the scientific spirit of inquiry, the 
"psychical researcher" approximates to the psycho- 
logical point of view. This essentially psycholo^oal in- 
terest is necessarily a. strong one in some of the distinc- 
tive problems of Psychical Research, and often mingles 
with other interests to form a ourions composite. It 
may be a morbid, an uninformed, a mi^nided, a dilet- 
tante interest, but its psychological character may be 
noted without implication of any further comment of 
approval or disapproval. Favorably interpreted, this 
psychological interest is an interest in the intrinsic 
nature and analysis of mental processes, — an interest 
in tracing the various threads that compose the twisted 
strands of consciousness, in following the kaleido- 
scopic transformations wrought by attention and asso- 
ciation, in observing the play of habit, the subtle pro- 
cesses of illusion and misinterpretation, the unexpected 
intrusion of the subconscious, and likewise in the pur- 
suit of these as exemplified in oonorete instances ; among 
others, in such alleged phenomena as are commonly 
described as *' mesmeric, psychical, and Spiritualistic." 

While this interest may be combined with the occult 


interest, the two are not really oongeDial and are 
in essence antagonistic. We are all rational only in 
spots ; and many a " psyeliioal researcher " pursues 
some of his ioTestigationB under the guidance of a sci- 
entifically psychological interest, while in other direo- 
tioDB the occult interest takes the helm. The analysis 
of the contrast between the two may be helpful in 
realizing more fully the dirergences of Psychology 
and Psychical Besearcb. The " pByohical researcher " 
wishes to prove or to disprove something ; with re- 
gard to this or that phenomenon he wishes to know 
" what there is in it," and is accordingly attracted to 
phenomena which seem to have something mysterious 
in them. As soon as he succeeds in finding a con- 
sistent and commonplace explanation for a group of 
phenomena, his main curiosity is satisfied, and be takes 
to pastures new. When once he has shown that theo- 
Bophic marvels are the result of triokeiy and collusion, 
then the physical appearances of Theosopby have been 
explained. It has been demonstrated tiiat there is 
" nothing in them," that is, nothing traosoendental. The 
verdict is given, and the court passes on to the next 
case. But the psychologist's interest in how Mme. Bla- 
vatslr^ performed her astral manifestations was always 
a very Bubordinate and incidental one ; the logical soi- 
entist, whether he happened to be phyBioiet or biologist 
or psychologist, was quite convinced that Mme. Bla- 
vatsky had not discovered the meana of carrying pon- 
derables by unseen agencies from " China to Peru " 
(which, by the way, would, if possible, be a matter 
for the physicist and not at all for the payobologist to 
investigate), any more than she had been able to dis- 


cover the secret of immortality (which would in turn 
be a biolo^cal discovery), or had been able to leave 
her body in New York, while her ^* astral" soul in- 
spected what was going on in India (which might 
indeed be regarded as a psychological feat). The 
psychological problem of Theosophy, so far as there is 
one, is of a different type; it takes up the inquiry 
as to how such marvelous pretensions come to be 
beHeved, by what influences conviction is formed and 
doctrines spread. It contributes an incident or an 
apt illustration to the psychology of belief, or to the 
social psychology of contagion. The psychologist is 
interested in the illustration which such a movement 
affords of the action of certain mental processes and 
influences ; and his interest persists, whether there is 
presumably ^* something in it," or not. The resulting 
difference in attitude between the psychologist and the 
** psychical researcher" is indeed fundamental, and 
even more so in principle than in practical issue. 

It is desirable but not easy to find parallel illustra- 
tions of this difference in attitude in other than psy- 
chological discussions ; but perhaps the following may 
be pertinent. If the widespread interest in the North 
Pole were merely that in the possibility of its furnish- 
ing the key to the mystery of the northward-turning 
magnet, and were at once to disappear upon the re- 
moval of the mystery, such an interest would be quite 
parallel to that of the '^ psychic researcher ; " but the 
interest of the true physicist in any physical phe- 
nomenon which in the future may be demonstrated to 
exist at the North Pole would be u persistent one, and 
one depending for its value on the illlustration thus 


revealed, not of mystery but of reoognized physical 
principles. Furthermore, be it observed that however 
valuable may be the physical facto obtainable by a 
polar expedition, there is no overwhelming obligation 
resting upon every physicist to desert bis laboratory 
and embu-b for the farthest north ; but that such 
expeditions are decided by considerations of general 
interest, expediency, and importance. There is no 
obligation resting upon the physicist any more than 
upon the psychologist to make large sacrifices for the 
pursuit of ill-defined residual phenomena, and certainly 
not for the refutal of far-fetched theories and suggested 
Bupematural notions. Physicist and psychologist alike 
contribute most to the advancement of their science by 
an open-minded but systematic pursuit of definite, sig- 
nificant, and logically fashioned problems. 

Let it not be inferred from the emphasis placed upon 
this contrast that Psychical Beaearch is in itself to be 
condemned or to be regarded as useless. Not at all ; 
only in many aspects it is not psychological, and the 
psychologist ia imder no obligation to find an interest 
in, nor to occupy himself with, this aspect of things, if 
bis general trend does not happen to point that way. 
The physicist may be called upon with equal propriety 
to aid in many inquiries which the Society for Psychical 
Besearoh haa undertaken. Among the early records of 
the Society appears an account of a man who preaented 
himself with an iron ring on his arm, far too small 
to have been slipped over his hand, and who seemed to 
imply that possibly the spirits put it there, or that it 
came on through some supernatural agency. This was 
xegaided as a proper case for the Society for Psychical 


Besearch to examine. If it could have been demon- 
strated that the rincf reached its position through the 
exercise of the wiU of Bome Uving persons or fpirits, 
the phenomenon, I suppose, would in some sense be 
psychological ; if it were demonstrated that it came 
transported through the fourth dimension of space, it 
might be termed physical. But in reality it was prob- 
ably physiological, for there was evidence that it was by 
the efiFects of etherization that the hand was contracted 
and that the ring was forced over it. Surely it is most 
absurd to designate such an inquiry, however interest- 
ing and proper it may be regarded, Psychical Research. 
It certainly is a highly commendable function for a so- 
ciety to take upon itself the investigation of such claims 
as theosophy or spiritualism put forward, whenever 
movements of this type are likely to develop into psychic 
epidemics or to prove a social menace. Any authorita- 
tive body that will exhibit the absurdity of such claims, 
and expose the true modus operandi of the manifesta- 
tions, will perform an important civic function. Such 
a function was performed by the Royal Commission 
of 1784, in exposing the vain pretensions and the in- 
sidious dangers of animal magnetism ; Mr. Hodgson's 
investigations of theosophy, the Seybert Commission's 
report on spiritualism, are both able and useful contri- 
butions of the same type ; and, at present, an authori- 
tative statement regarding the theoretical absurdity and 
the practical dangers of Christian Science might prove 
efficacious. Such special investigations represent the 
practical application of science to concrete conditions 
and problems ; they are woefully misnamed, and their 
significance is likely to be misinterpreted, when they 


are praBented as Payohioal Beseaioh, and are grouped 
along with odier problems of a totally different nature. 

I shall next touch briefly upon other diverse yet 
allied interests in Psychical Besearoh, which may 
serve to illnstrate farther the various avenues of ap< 
proach to this heterogeneona group of problems. I 
shall speak of these as the explanatory, the investiga- 
tive, and the anthropolo^oal interests. The first is 
satisfied with finding out how alleged marvels are 
really performed ; it takes up the physical phenomena 
of spiritnalism or tbeosophy ; it investigates conjuring 
tricks; it disoovers the origin of noises in haunted 
houses; it ferrets ont the means whereby mediams 
obtain knowledge of their sitters' private affairs. This 
is proper work for experts in prestidigitation and for de- 
tectives, — not for all such, for to be sDCoessf nl, the con- 
jurer and the detective mnst have special knowledge and 
fitness for this branch of the trade. While the facts thus 
gathered may be useful as illuBtrative material to the 
psychologist, they form no essential part of his profes- 
sion ; nor is there any special reason why he should be 
best suited to determine the technical modus operandi 
of such manifestations. That some psychologists with 
a strong interest ia this ^pe of phenomena might 
properly cooperate in such an investigation, if they 
chose, is too obvioaB to merit remark ; but to trace out 
and expose trickery cannot be imposed upon the bur- 
densome duties of the psyoholt^ist. 

With a certain Qrpe of " psychical researcher " this 
explanatory interest is the dominant one ; and by dis- ' 
polling error and replacing false notions by tme ones 
he may perform a nsefnl service to the oommnnity. 


The explanatory interest is qoite certain to be snpple* 
mented by the investigatiye, and that because the latter 
soon becomes necessary to the former. While the one 
is concerned with the explanation and description of 
the actoal marrels accomplished, the other must con- 
sider also what is reported and what is believed to have 
been accomplished. The mechanism of a trick, whether 
brought forward as evidence of spiritualism or not, 
when clearly exhibited, explains the trick; a loose 
board under the roof, or the reflection from a lustrous 
surface, may at once reveal how mysterious noises and 
lights were really produced. But cue must go far- 
ther to account for the recognition of relatives in the 
form of the medium covered with flimsy drapery, for 
the automatic spelling out of messages, or for the suc- 
cesses of guessing experiments. These two interests 
thus proceed hand in hand and furnish valuable mate- 
rial which the psychologist is ready to interpret and to 
utilize; for the study of how false beliefs spread, of 
how deception proceeds, teems with points of psycho- 
logical significance. This, however, is by no means 
a unique characteristic of Psychical Eesearch ; there 
are also interesting psychological points in such diverse 
occupations as the actor's profession, in juggling and 
tricks of skill, in advertising, in religious revivals, etc. 
It is highly desirable that the materials thus gathered 
should be psychologically utilized, and it is equally 
desirable that such material should be collected. Many 
valuable studies in Psychical Research, which owe 
their origin not to a truly psychological interest but 
to this general explanatory and investigative interest, 
have incidentally brought to light material of great 


Bnggestaveness for the psychologist, and material which 
quite possibly would not otherwise have been discov- 
ered. I am more than willing to contribute whatever 
I can to the muntenance of a Cooperative Psycho- 
logical Investigation Society which shall stand ready 
to take up the investigation of any phenomena which 
promise to yield data of p^holc^cal interest ; which 
shall, however, keep far removed from any phase of 
the transcendental or the occult ; which shall not feel 
itself nnder any obligation to disprove any improbable 
or absurd hypothesis which this or that seeker for 
notoriety may choose to put forward ; which shall not 
be dominated merely by the spirit of finding out whether 
there is "anything in" one movement or another, but 
will simply stand ready to supplement the work of the 
academic laboratories by undertaking, in the same 
spirit, a special form of investigation, which, under 
existing circumstances, such laboratories or their indi- 
vidual directors cannot expediently nndertake. 

The anthropological interest, above referred to, is to 
my mind a most valid one, and is best represented in 
Mr. Andrew Lang's volume, "Cock Lane and Common 
Sense." Mr. Lang there examines the stories of ghosts 
and apparitions, and cl^rvoyance, and spiritual knocks 
and raps, and strange influences, and haunted places, 
not at all for determining how litde or bow much these 
things are true, bat how they come to be beheved in. 
How is it that the same tale is told, the same powers 
credited, the same manifestations produced, in evidence 
of the supernatural? In savage as well as in ancient 
ma^C in the stories current in former centuries as 
well as in onr own day and generation, there is a pro- 


nounced generic similarity. There is certainly as strong 
an interest in the investigation of the growth and 
distribution of these beliefs as of the other dosters 
of belief which anthropology and folk-lore consider. 
And, moreover, recently acquired knowledge of hyp- 
notic and automatic phenomena, of hyperesthesia and 
nervous disease, shed much light on the obscure tales 
of the past, and assist the comprehension of how such 
beliefs could have originated. In brief, Mr. Lang 
outlines the programme for a ^^ Comparative Psychical 
Research," and teUs us that ^^ we follow the stream of 
&ble, as we track a bum to its head, and it leads us 
into shy and strange scenes of human life, haunted by 
very fearful ¥dld fowl, and rarely visited, save by the 
credulous. There may be entertainment here, and, to 
the student of his species, there may be instruction." 
Part of the instruction will consist in gaining an in- 
creased familiarity with the psychological conditions 
which produce and foster these narratives and beliefs, 
and with their social and traditional significance; in 
concluding, with Mr. Lang, ^^that the psychological 
conditions which begat the ancient narratives produce 
the new legends." 


Thus far, our attention has been centred upon the 
tendenz^ the basis of interest, and the affiliations of 
Psychical Research. It will be well to turn to a con- 
sideration of the content of the problems. Inasmuch 
as the term represents a convenient but arbitrary 
designation of a heterogeneous group of phenomena, 
we are prepared to find that the data of the several 


problemB thiu oolleoted will be aa diverse u their 
methods of study. We may begin with the group «f 
problems which might properly be considered in the 
chapter of Abnormal Psychology that is devoted to 
the milder forma of aberrant or imusoal mental phe- 
nomena. The study of hypnotism occupies a prominent 
place in Psychology and iu Psychical Beaearch. The 
remarkable exhibitions of extreme suggestibili^, par- 
ticularly the hypenesthesia thus inducible, and again 
the illnminatioo of the subconscioos thereby effected, 
have brought about a realizing sense of how fearfully 
and wonderfully we are made. Between savage priest 
and doctor, and Delphic oracle, and mediseval ascetic, 
and magnetic sonmambule, and inepiratbnal medium, 
there is an irregular connection in their entrance into 
a trance-like condition involving a readjustment of the 
strata of consciousness and of the distribution of 
authority in the hierarchy of the nervous centres. This 
was and remains one of the gateways to the land o£ 
marvel and mystery. The importance of hypnotism in 
Psychology is in its nse, both as a method of exhibit- 
ing the relations of processes not otherwise accessible 
to experiment, and as a demonstration of the actual 
possibilities of su^estion in health and disease. The 
hypnotic phenomena are intrinsically interesting and 
valuable aa contributions to the natural history of 
mentality; the hypnotic metiiod of study offers the 
experimental psychologist the opportunity to apply his 
most potent aid to research in precisely that field of 
inqniry in which the experimental methods of ordinary 
ctmsciousness are least available. 

In this domain, the pBychol(^t and the " psychical 


researcher " proceed most amicably ; and yet their par« 
poses and points of view lead them frequently to part 
company, although it may be only for a brief au 
revoir. When the " psychical researcher " leaves the 
main highway to track a possible ^^ telepathic '* hyp- 
notic subject, or one who, while hypnotized, is sensi- 
tive to the magnetic current, or who experiences the 
characteristic e£Eects of drugs applied in sealed vials to 
the back of the neck, or who falls into the hypnotic 
condition when handling a ^^ magnetized " doll, — the 
psychologist is apt to decline the invitation to join in 
the pursuit. I should advise him, however, to go along 
for the sake of the excellent illustrations thus obtain- 
able of the efEects of unconscious suggestion. From 
the time of the first serious investigation of these 
phei.omena up to the present, unconscious suggestion 
has been one of the most potent influences for the pro- 
duction of alleged marvels and pseudo-phenomena. 
All the series of experiments brought forward at 
irregular intervals during the past century to estab- 
lish supernormal sensibilities have depended for their 
apparent success (apart from trickery) upon uncon- 
scious suggestion of the operators, combined with the 
shrewd assimilation of the desired or expected result 
on the part of the subjects. The transposition of the 
senses discovered by P^t^tin (1787), the hypnotized 
subjects who in Braid's day (1850) proved the loca- 
tion of the phrenological organs by the appropriateness 
of their actions when certain parts of the head were 
pressed, the sensitiveness to magnets and hermetically 
sealed drugs brought forward by Reichenbach (1845), 
iuid by Bourru and Buret (1885), and Dr. Luys's 


(1890) absurd trifling with puppets, and probably, 
too, Cbaroot's sharp differentiatioa of distinct bypnotio 
oonditiona (1882), — all fumisb illustrations of tbe 
subtle possibilities of uncoDscious snggestion. Be- 
sides adorning an interesting psychological tale, they 
point a moral to tbe intending investigator, and open 
his eyes to the extreme caution necessary to exclade 
this source of error, and to realize the ever-present 
possibility that, in spite of tbe sterilizing apparatus and 
tbe other equipments of modem research, the germs of 
this insidious form of delusion may have been unwit- 
tingly introduced. 

The application of our knowledge of hypnotism to 
tbe explanation of alleged supernormal and unusual 
sensibilities is particularly interesting to the " psy- 
chical researcher " ; the general enlargement of our 
knowledge of these conditions, irrespective of such an 
application, represents the aim of the psychologist. Tbe 
latter may indeed cite Mr. Lang's diotnm that " science 
is only concerned with truth, not with the mischievous 
inferences which people may draw from truth," as an 
excuse for his own declination to cooperate in the 
correction of such mischievous inferences. But the 
<nvio conscience of the psychologist may convince him 
that tbe removal of error is often an indispensable re- 
quiute to the dissemination of truth. 

The atady of the subconscious or the subliminal con- 
sciousness, of multiple personality, of meutal automa- 
tisms, of involuntary actions, of induced visualizations, 
of sporadic hallucinations, may be cited as further 
illustrations of topics interesting to the "psychical 
researcher " for their bearings upon the apparent tran- 


soendenoe of the normal, and to the psychologist for 
illustrations of important groups of mental processes 
and relations. I must refer to the general literature 
for descriptions of these several phenomena ; the subtle 
connection between one hypnotic condition and the 
next, bridging oyer a period of normal consciousness 
with complete forgetfulness of the hjrpnotic conscious- 
ness ; the still more subtle evidence for the latency of 
impressions thus revivable by an appeal to the sub- 
conscious; the elaboration, in trance experiences, of 
these nether world phenomena into organized person- 
alities, which in the remarkable case reported by Pro- 
fessor Floumoy expanded from a personification of 
Marie Antoinette to that of a Martian revisiting Mars, 
describing Martian scenery and customs, and writing 
in Martian language, and again to the reincarnation 
of a Hindu princess of four centuries ago ; the affilia- 
tion of these cases to those of spontaneous loss of 
personality in actual life, like that of the Bev. Ansel 
Bourne, related by Professor James ; the automatic 
writings performed by hypnotic subjects and by persons 
in normal conditions ; the power to induce visions by 
*^ crystal gazing," and auditory hallucinations by 
** shell-hearing " ; the census of hallucinations, together 
with the very important series of observations relative 
to the psychology of deception, — these represent the 
more truly psychological contributions of psychologists 
and ^^ psychical researchers" to their common domain. 
The place which the explanation of spiritualistic 
d iheosophic manifestations occupies in Psychical 
March has already been noted ; that of ghosts and 
lings and haunted houses and poltergeiata is quite 


Bitnilar. Not wholly yet measarably different ia the 
status of the study of hallncinatioiiB, presentiments, 
and previsions or premonitions. In this entire group 
of phenomena, the interests of Psychology and of 
Psychical Research are in the main distinct. This 
is readily illustrated with reference to the study of 
hallucinations. These are interesting to the psycholo- 
gist quite in the same sense as any other natural pro> 
duct of psycho-physiological action ; the prevalence of 
hallucinationB under fairly normal conditions presents 
one ont of a large number of interesting details, and 
forms a proper investigation for the Society for Psy- 
ehical Besearch. Their census of hallucinations hardly 
bears ont the conclusions which have been drawn 
therefrom, but contains much interesting information. 
When, however, the emphasis of the investigation is 
placed upon " veridical " hallucinations, and the es- 
tablishment of the conclusion that so many more of 
these hallucinations and presentiments " come tme," 
or have a mysterious significance, than chance would 
allow, then the psychological interest is quite obscured 
by an interest of a totally different character. A 
"veridical" hallucination has little psyohological per- 
tinence ; for it is equally iuteresting psychologically 
whether it happens to come true or not. The bearing 
of the hallucination upon or its origin in some of the 
occupations of normal wakiog life ; the possibility of 
its interpretation as a peculiar retroactive illusion of 
memory, as Professor Boyce has suggested for some 
cases ; its significance as an unconscious perception of 
the shadow already present, not yet visible to con- 
BciousnesB, but coming before the event, — such are 


wgnificant charactfliiBtios of hallucinations. The results 
of the study of hallnciDations may likewise be applied 
to a deternuDatioD of their relation to the sum total 
of the sequences of consciousness that constitute onr 
mental life ; but there is only a most incidental psy- 
chological interest in the apparently personally signifi- 
cant or " veridical " aspect of the phenomena. And 
furthermore, whether they are truly " veridical " or 
only seemingly so ; whether, in other words, there is 
evidence enough in quality and quantity to make it a 
proper scientific inquiry as to the existence of a cause- 
and-effect-like relation between presentiment and issue, 
— this is a logical inquiry, although one which, along 
with other factors, inoladee psychological considerations. 
We here naturally approach what has, on the whole, 
formed the most conspicuous problem of Psychical 
Research • — that associated with the term " telepathy." 
It will contribute to clearness of distinction to con- 
sider separately the question, whether the evidence 
accumulated in any wise justifies the conclusion, that 
there exists a form of communication occaBionally 
going on between mind and mind apart from the recog- 
nized channels of sensation. This, too, is a strictly 
k^oal question, and is so presented in the following 
essay. We are here concerned with the status of 
telepathy in its relation to Psycholi^y and Psychi- 
cal Research ; this it is possible to indicate briefly. 
First, if there really exist this extra-normal, fitful and 
occasional, uncertain and sporadic form of communi- 
cation, and if it can be conceived of in psychological 
terms, it forms an iuterestjng, possibly even a momen- 
tous contribution to onr knowledge of mental processes. 


In the present status of the alleged conditions of 
operations of telepathy, it will hardly modify serioosly 
the diTection or scope of the doTelopment of Psy- 
chology. It being unnecessary to oroes bridges before 
coming to them, it may be sufficient to observe that np 
to the present there exists no decided prospect either 
of the demonstration of the reality of this process or 
of its psychological fonnolation ; and far less either of 
its inclnsion within the soieaoe of Psychology, or of 
its practical utilization. When the day comes when 
tiie incontestable establishment of telepathy, as indeed 
of any totally novel contribution to Psychology, shall 
require a revision of psychological principles. Psy- 
chology will certainly have to be revised. What, then, 
many will retort, can be more important for the psy- 
chologist than to devote himself to the investigation 
of telepathy, to decide whether his Psychology needs 
reconstruction or not ? The answer is near at hand : 
there is no obligation upon any science to reconstruct 
its basal principles whenever it is suggested that these 
are incorrect or inadequate. It is not the suggestion 
of their inadequacy that is significant, but the concrete 
facts and evidence available to prove their inadequacy. 
If a now view can establish itself by its logical cogency 
and displace an accepted doctrine, if new facts, ade- 
quately established, make necessary a revision of 
current generalizations, no scientist and no science will 
protest The present status of telepathy is simply not 
a formidable candidate for this distinction. 

That the evidence brought forward iu proof of tele- 
pathy, similarly to that adduced for " veridioal halluci- 
nations," is capable of psychological interpretation, and 


abo containfl mterestiDg illiistratioiis of obecaie and 
fabtle mental prooeflMB, becomes evident to the diaceni- 
ing ftodenty and merits an extended demonstration. It 
if in the porsnit of snch a demonstration that the psy- 
chologist tarns to the records of ^^ phantasms of the 
liring/' and of experimental thought-transference, 
thereby adding to an already significant and extensive 
collection of material illustrative of the influences of 
(be nndercnrrents of thought-processes. Yet it is by 
no means nrged that this is the only phase of utility 
which the study of telepathy holds out. That any one 
who b convinced of his ability to demonstrate telepathy 
is free to follow his conviction, will not be disputed ; 
that in the course of his investigations he may succeed 
in revealing the presence of unrecognized forms of 
mental action, it would be mere dogmatism to deny. 
Two things, however, should be clearly understood; 
the first, that his data cannot claim serious attention 
before they are strong in their validity, and extensive 
in their scope, and consistently significant in their 
structure; then, and not before, are they ready for 
the crucible of scientific logic, from which they may or 
may not emerge as standard metal, to be stamped and 
circulated as accepted coin of the realm. The second 
IM)int relates to the status of the obligation to disprove 
the telepathic position. This is more often a question 
of ox|H)(Uonoy than of right. If the obligation can 
readily be disohargod, it is usually desirable to do so, 
for the reason that the removal of actual error and mis- 
conception is often one of the methods of advancing 
I but there is no burden of disproof resting 


That the prooeediDgs of the Society for Fiyohical 
Research contun valuable material in creditable quan- 
tity is evident to any unprejudiced reader ; in many 
ways they are neither so bad nor so good as they are 
paint«d to be. That " psychical researchers," though 
puTBoing their labors with different motives, have in one 
direction and another contributed to the advance of 
Psycholt^^, I have attempted to make clear. Furtbeiw 
more, the activity of this Society has been prominent in 
making the borderland of science of to-day present m 
far more hopeful aspect than ever before. It has sub- 
stituted definiteness of statement, careful examination, 
recognition of sources of error, close adherence to as 
carefully authenticated fact as is attainable, for looee 
and extravagant speculation, for bare assertion and ob- 
scuring irrelevancy. . It has made possible a soientiflo 
statement and a deflniteness of conception of problenu, 
even vbere its proposed solution of them may be thought 
misleading or inadequate. But in my opinion the debit 
side of the ledger far outbalances the credit side. The 
influence which Psychical Research has cast in favor 
of the ooonlt, the enrollment under a common protedp 
ive authority of the credulous and the superstitious, 
and the believers in mystery and in the personal sigmfi- 
cance of things, is but one of the evils which must be 
laid at its door. Equally pemioioos is the distorted 
conception, which the prominence of Psychical Be- 
search has scattered broadcast, of the purposes and 
methods of Psyoholt^. The status of that science has 
sufEered, its representatiTes have been misonderstood. 


its advanoement has been hampered, its appreciation by 
the public at large has been weakened and wrongly es- 
timatedy by reason of the popularity of the unfortunate 
aspects of Psychical Research, and of its confusion 
with them. Whatever in the publications of Psychical 
Besearch seems to favor mystery and to substantiate 
supernormal powers is readily absorbed, and its bearings 
fancifully interpreted and exaggerated ; the more criti- 
cal and successfully explanatory papers meet with a less 
extended and less sensational reception. Unless most 
wisely directed Psychical Research is likely, by not 
letting the right hand know what the left hand is doing, 
to foster the undesirable propensities of human nature 
as rapidly as it antagonizes them. Like indiscriminate 
almsgiving, it has the possibilities of affording relief 
and of making paupers at the same time. Particularly 
by the unwarranted acceptance of telepathy as a reality 
or as a working hypothesis, and the still more unwar- 
ranted use of this highly hypothetical process as a 
means of explaining more complex and obscure pheno- 
mena, has it defeated one of the most important pur- 
poses which it might have served. 

The popular as well as the more critical acceptance 
of Psychical Research, both of the term and of the 
conceptions associated with it, has disseminated a 
totally false estimate on the part of the public at large 
of the scope and purposes of modem Psychology ; and 
has quite possibly given an unfortunate twist to the 
trend of recent psychological thought. The right ap- 
preoiation of scientific aims and ideals by the intelligent 
and influential public has come to be almost indispensa- 
•U0 to the favorable advancement of science. Psychology 


ean less afiFord than many another saienoe to dispenae 
with this helpful infloenoe ; and no science can temwn 
unafFected by perustent misinterpretatioD of its true 
end and aims. If Psychical Besearch is to con- 
tinue in its present temper;it becomes essential to have 
it clearly understood just how far its purposes and spirit 
are, and how much farther they are not, in aocord with 
the purposes and the spirit of Fsyohology. The opti- 
mistio psychologist anticipates the day when he will no 
longer be regarded, either in high life or in low life, as 
a ooUeotor of ghost stories or an investigator of medinms. 
The disuse of the onfortonate term "Psychical Be- 
searoh," and far more, the modification of the c<mcep- 
tiona animating this type of investigation, the pursuit 
of its more intrinsically psycholc^cal problems in a 
more truly psychological spirit, and perhaps, most of 
all, the disassooiation of the term " Psychol<^ '* from 
the undesirable and irrelevant connotations of Psychical 
Beseaich, are all consummations devoutly to be de> 


What will be pronounced strange or onrious is 
largely determined by the range and composition of 
the common body of knowledge to whose laws and nni- 
f ormities the phenomena in question apparently fail to 
oonf orm. What id passing strange to one generation 
may become easily intelligible to the next. We all 
have eyes that see not for all but a limited range of 
facts and views; and we unconsciously fill out the 
blind-spots of our mental retinsB according to the 
habits and acquisitions of the surrounding areas. We 
observe and record what interests us ; and this interest 
is in turn the outcome of a greater or lesser endow- 
ment, knowledge, and training. A new observation re- 
quires, as a rule, not a new sense-organ or an additional 
faculty, nor even more powerful or novel apparatus, 
but an insight into the significance of quite lowly 
and frequent things. Most of the appearances of the 
earth's crust, which the modem geologist so intelli- 
gently describes, were just as patent centuries ago as 
now ; what we have added is the body of knowledge 
that makes men look for such facts and gives them a 
meaning. And although *'the heir of all the ages," 
we can hardly presume to have investigated more than 
a modest portion of our potential inheritance ; future 


generations will donbtleBs acquire interests and points 
of view which will enable them to fill some of the many 
gaps in our knowledge, to find a meaning in what we 
perchaooe ignore or regard as trivial, and to reduce to 
order and consistency what to us seems strange or 
curious or unintelligible. And future generations, by 
virtue of a broader perspective and a deeper insight, 
may give litUe heed to what we look npon as signifi- 
cant, — much as we pronounce irrelevant and sapersti- 
tious the minute observances whereby primitive folk 
strive to attract the good fortunes and to avoid the 
dangers of htuoan existence. 

The possibility of the transference of thought, apart 
from the rect^ized channels of sensation, has been too 
frequently discussed, with the suppressed or unconscious 
assumption that our knowledge of the means whereby 
we ordinarily and normally, consciously and unooo- 
scionsly, convey to others some notion of what b pass- 
ing in our own minds, is comprehensive and exhaustive. 
Nothing could be farther from the truth. Whenever a 
mode of perception, no matter how limited or appai^ 
entiy trivial, has been thoronghly investigated, there 
have been discovered, or at least suggested, unrecog- 
nized possibilities of its use and development. And 
no result of experimental inquiry is more constantly 
illustrated than the extent to which inferences from 
sensations and the exercise of faculties may proceed 
without arousing consciousneBs of their existence. 
Many color-blind persons remain quite ignorant of 
their defect ; and it was only after the description of 


his own notable deficiencies by Dalton (in 1794) that 
the general prevalence of color-blindness became recog- 
nized. The fact that a portion of every one's retina 
is as blind as his finger-tip escaped observation until 
about two centiuries ago ; and this because the normal 
use of our eyes does not present the conditions of its 
easy detection ; and for a like reason we persistently 
refuse to see the double images that are constantly 
formed upon our retinse. With the same unconscious- 
ness that we receive sensations and draw inferences 
from them, do we give to others indications of what is 
going on in our minds, and read between their words 
and under their expressions what ^^half reveals and 
half conceals the thoughts that lie within." It is im- 
portant to emphasize the serious limitations as yet 
attaching to our knowledge of the detailed possibilities 
of normal perception and inference, in order to realize 
the corresponding hesitancy with which we should 
regard any series of facts, no matter how apparently 
inexplicable, as evidence of a supernormal kind of 
mental telegraphy. 

A further principle important in this connection, 
and one which is likewise borne out by experimental 
inquiry, is the general similarity in our mental ma- 
chinery in matters great and small, and the resulting 
frequency with which similar trains of thought may 
be carried on by different persons as the outcome of 
similar but independent brain-functioning. There is a 
natural tendency to exaggerate the individuality of our 
own ways of thought and expression ; and yet but little 
reflection is necessary to suggest how easily this fond 
belief may be at least partially delusive. In certain 


lines of thought, anoh as maUiematics, we ehoold regard 
it as strange if two tUnkers, starting with the premises 
determined by the proUem in band, should not reach 
the same oondosion ; in others, such as economic or 
political questions, we observe the preponderance of 
evidence in one direction, and yet can appreciate the 
grounds of a contrary opinion ; and while in still other 
cases we regard the verdict as a matter of taste or of 
individual preference, it may be questioned whether 
this is so unmotived or lawless a prooess as is com- 
monly assumed. While we properly expect nwre 
mental community in certain lines than in others, 
we have good grounds for believing that it exists 
everywhere and only awaits the proper modes of inves- 
tigation to reveal it in its full extent and significance. 
With the marrelously increased facilities for the dis- 
semination and transportation of thought, the range of 
such mental community is certain to be correspondingly 
extended. Coincidences arising from the bringing to- 
gether of widely separated and apparently unrelated 
happenings are sure to multiply, when the means of 
bringing them together are so vastly increased. Each 
man's world is enlai^ed by the enlargement of the 
whole. It becomes possible for bim to come into relsr 
tion with infinitely more persons and events, and the 
resulting coincidences are nowadays more lihely to be 
noticed and recorded. 

If we consider the logical ease with which the 
successful solution of one portion of a problem sug- 
gests the next step ; how imperceptibly and yet effec- 
tively sentiments and points of view and the spirit of 
the time are disseminated; how many persons there 


are in this busily reflective era occupied with similar 
thoughts and schemes, and how readily they may come 
into communication ; how many are anxiously study- 
ing the popular taste and demand to determine what 
literary venture or mechanical invention is likely to be 
timely and successful ; how the possession of a common 
inheritance, patriotic interests, education, literature, 
political arena, social usages, newspaper intelligence, 
household conveniences, and the endless everyday fac- 
tors of our complex, richly detailed existence all con- 
tribute to our common Ufe, — shall we wonder that 
some two or half a dozen intellects should give expres- 
sion to similar thoughts at nearly the same time? 
Would it not be infinitely more wonderful if such 
coincidences did not constantly occur? In the more 
original contributions to literature, science, and inven- 
tions, such thought-correspondences should be rarer; 
and certainly this is true. Contrast the number of 
striking similarities in the higher walks of literature 
and science with those that occur in small inventions. 
Hardly a day passes without the coincidence of two 
persons thinking of devices for accomplishing the same 
purposes, so essentially similar that patents could not 
be given to both. It is certainly not difficult to under- 
stand why several different patterns of typewriting ma- 
chines should be invented nearly simultaneously, and it 
would not be altogether mysterious if, at the first, two 
inventors had independently reached the idea of a writ- 
ing-machine at nearly the same time. The experience 
of offering an article to an editor and receiving a reply 
to the effect that another article dealing with a sim- 
ilar topic in a similar way was already awaitiug the 


oompositor is oot nnnBnal. It ia tme tliat these ooinoi- 
dences are of a minor order, but it seeou desirable to 
emphasize the freqnenoy of these minor forms in order 
to suggest the law-abiding charaoter of the rarer or the 
more striking forms ; for this is just what the normal 
distribution of such phenomena would lead ns to expect. 
It would be pleasant to boliere that the application 
of the doctrine of chances to problems of this character 
is quite generally reeogmiieA; bat this recognition is 
so often accompanied by the feeling that the law veiy 
clearly applies to all cases but the one that happens to 
be under discnssion, that I fear the belief is nnwai^ 
ranted. Moreover, the notion seems to prevail that 
these coincidences should occur with equal frequency 
to all persons ; while, in fact, the law of probability pro- 
vides for the most rarions distribution among individ- 
nals. However, the attempt, and it may be the sincere 
attempt, to apply proper conceptions of probability 
and improbability to such problems often fails, because 
of an unfortunate mental attitude which presents, with 
an outward acquieeoence in the objeotive view of the 
problem, an inward conviction in which the subjective 
interpretation is really dominant ; for this and other 
reaaous, this objective method of viewing the matter, 
however pertinent, is not the most important. 

One of the most deplorable attitudes towards the 
borderland phenomena of which mental telegraphy or 
telepathy forms a tyj>e, is that which insists upon an 
exact and .detiuled explanation of concrete personal 
experiences, and r^ards these as so essentially peculiar 


that it refuses to consider them in connection with 
the many other instances of the same class, without 
reference to which a rational explanation is unattain- 
able. This tendency, to insist that the laws of sci- 
ence shall be precisely and in detail applicable to 
individual experiences possessing a personal interest 
for us, has wrought much havoc ; it has contributed to 
superstition, fostered pseudo-science, and encouraged 
charlatanism. To antagonize this tendency it is neces- 
sary to insist upon the statistical nature of the inquiry. 
We should certainly be familiar in this statistic-filled 
age with the law-abiding character of individual hap- 
penings when considered in large groups. So many 
types of facts depending upon individual and hetero- 


geneous motives shoot together and form curves of 
surprising regularity ; the number of marriages or of 
misdirected letters, the falsification of ages or the dis- 
tribution of heights^ of individuals, and countless other 
items that in individual cases seem accidental, or capri- 
cious, or due to a host of minute and unaccountable 
factors, none the less present a striking statistical 
regularity. The owners of a gaming-table, counting 
upon the statistical regularity of the accidental, are 
assured of a steady income ; they are interested long 
enough to obtain an extensive view of the fluctuations, 
and to see the law that guides the whole. Not so the 
individual player; he is interested only in that par- 
ticular portion of the game in which his money is at 
stake. He detects mysterious laws of fortune and 
freaks of luck ; sees in a series of coincidences or mo- 
mentary successes the proofs of his pet schemes, and 
dismisses the general doctrine of chances with disdain, 


because it is not obviously applicable to bis case. This 
influences tbe losers as well as the winners ; both are 
absorbed in their own minute portions of the game, 
and forget that the law makes distinct provision for 
temporary losses and gains, great and small, but is as 
indifferent to the times and order of such occurrences 
as to the personality of those affected. 

The distinction between the individual and the statis- 
tical aspect of a problem may be further illustrated in 
the much-discussed question of the differences in brain 
characteristics of men and women. When the chum- 
ants for woman's equality point to the acknowledged 
inability of an anatomist to determine whether a par^ 
ticular bnun belonged to a man or a woman as con- 
olosive evidence of their contention, they unconsciously 
assume that tbe problem is capable of determination in 
the individual specimen. A sounder logic would in- 
sure greater caution. The differences in question may 
be certdnly established and typical, and yet depend 
upon statistical, not upon individual data. Give the 
anatomist a goodly number of fairly selected brains 
and tell him that all the women's brains are in one 
group, and all the men's brains in another, and he will 
tell you which group is feminine, which masculine ; 
and this more than offsets his failure in the former 
test. It establishes a statistical regularity. Individu- 
ally we may argue that many women of our acquaint- 
ance have larger heads than the men ; that the English 
are not taller than tbe French, because the Frenchmen 
we have chanced to meet have been quite as tall as the 
Englishmen of oar acquuntance; that tbe laws of 
chance do not apply to the gaming-table, because on 


that basis we should have come out eyen and not as 
losers; and that coincidences cannot explain our 
iltrange mental experiences, because they are altogether 
too peculiar and too frequent. It is only in the most 
complete stages and in the more definite realms that 
knowledge becomes applicable accurately and definitely 
to individual cases. For the present it is well if, with 
such abstruse or rather indefinite material, we can 
glimpse the statistical regularity of the entire group 
of phenomena, trace here and there the possible or 
probable application of general principles, and refuse 
to allow our opinions to be disarranged by rather 
startling indiyidual cases. The explanation of these, 
however interesting they may be to ourselves or enter- 
taining to others, is not the test of our knowledge of 
the subject. 

I pick up a stone, and with a peculiar turn of the 
hand throw it from me ; probably no student of me- 
chanics can exactly calculate the course of that projec- 
tile, — nor is it worth while. What he can do is to show 
what laws are obeyed by ideal projectiles, ideally thrown 
under ideal conditions, and how far the more impor- 
tant practical cases tend to agree with or diverge from 
these conditions. It is unfair to test his science by 
its minute applicability to our special experiences. 

When the problems involved in mental telegraphy 
come to be generally viewed under the guidance of a 
sound logic, the outlook will be hopeful that the whole 
domain will gradually acquire definite order ; and that 
its devotees, after appreciating the statistical regularity 
of the phenomena, will come to the conclusion that 
much of the energy and ability now expended in a 


search for the explanation of complex and necessarily 
indefinite individual cases, ia on tbe whole unprofitable. 
With an infinite time and an infinite capacity it might 
be profitable to study all things ; but, at present, sanity 
consists in the maintenance of a proper perspective 
of the relative importance of the affairs of the intellec- 
tual and the practical life. It nay be that the man who 
puzzles day and night over some trivial mystery expends 
as much bnun energy as a great intellectual benefactor 
of mankind ; but the world does not equally cherish the 


It becomes important in the further consideration of 
coincidences to emphasize the great opportuni^ pre- 
sented in their description for error, for defective ob- 
servation, for neglect of details, for exa^eration of the 
degree of correspondence ; and equally demonstrable is 
the slight amount of such error or mal-observation that 
is all-sufficient to convert a plain fact into a mystery. 
Gmsider the disfigurement that a simple tale undergoes 
as it passes from month to mouth ; the forgetfulness 
of important details and the introduction of imaginary 
ones, exhibited apon the witness stand ; the almost uni- 
versal tendency to substitute inferences from Bensations 
and observations for the actual occurrences ; and add 
to these the striking results of experimental inquiry in 
this direction — for example, the divergences between 
the accounts of sleight-of-hand performances or spirit- 
ualistic stances and what really occurred — and it be- 
comes less difficult to understand wby we bo often to 
apply general principles to individual cases. The cases 
cannot be explained as they are recorded, becanse as 


recorded they do not famish the essential points npon 
which the explanation hinges. The narrator may be 
confident that the points of the story are correctly ob- 
served, that all the details are given ; and yet this feel- 
ing of confidence is by no means to be trusted. It is 
quite possible that the points that would shed most 
light on the problem are too trivial to attract atten- 
tion ; a slightly imperfect connection as effectively 
breaks the circuit and cuts off the possibility of illumi- 
nation as a more serious disturbance. After the expla- 
nation is given or the gap supplied or the break dis- 
covered, we often wonder how we could have failed to 
detect the source of the mystery ; but before we know 
what to observe and what to record and what to be on 
our guard against, the possibility of error is extremely 
great, far greater than most of us would be willing to 
make allowance for ; and the strict demonstration as 
also the refutation of a proposed explanation becomes 
correspondingly difficult. 


I turn to another point, in some respects the most 
important of all ; I refer to the readiness with which 
we interpret as the remarkable frequency of coinci- 
dences what is due to a strong interest in a given direc- 
tion. Inasmuch as we observe what interests us, a 
recently acquired interest will lead to new observations 
•^ that is, new to us, however familiar they may be to 
others. Take up the study of almost any topic that 
appeals to human curiosity, and it takes no prophet to 
predict that within a short time some portion of your 
rMMting or your conversation, or some accidental infer- 


matioD, will unezpectecUy reveal a bearing on the pre- 
cise subject of yoor study, often supplying a gap which 
it would have been most difficult otherwise to fill ; but 
surely this does not mean that all the world has become 
telepathically aware of your needs and proceeded to 
attend to them. Some years ago I became interested in 
cases of extreme longevity, particularly of centenarian- 
ism, and for some months every conversation seemed to 
lead to this topic, and every magazine and newspaper 
offered some new item about old people. Nowadays my 
interest b transferred to other themes ; but the para- 
grapher continues quite creditably to meet my present 
wants, and the centenarians have vanished. When 
I am writing about coincidences, I become keen to ob- 
serve them ; sucb for example as this : I was reading 
for the second time ain article on " Mental Telegraphy " 
(by Mark Twain in " Harper's Monthly Magazine," 
December, 1891) ; I was occupied with what is there 
described as a most wonderful coincidence, the nearly 
simultaneous origination by the author and by Mr. Wil- 
liam H. Wright of a similar literary venture, — when 
I happened to take my eyes from the page and saw on 
my desk a visiting-card bearing the name, "W. H. 
Wright." It was not the same W. H. Wright, but a 
gentleman whom I had met for the first time a few 
hours before, and have not seen since. Had I not been 
especially interested in this article and its subject, the 
identity of the names would certainly have escaped my 
attontioD, and there would have been no coincidence to 
record. Quite apropos both of ooincidenees and of 
th^ depeodenoe upon personal interest, I find recorded 
in a current magazine the experience of one who 


dcs to hMtL" 

It k oDlf neeeHuy Id 
eoineidenees, to look aboot with cjres open and 
iodeteet tiicm, in order to diMOTo them en all 
fcacdYe to reeordaO tint eame to kmd, and diq^ 
to mnlti^j mtil jon can legaid jomadf and joor 
friends aa proridentialfy faTored in tbis direction. If 
your callii^ develops a tarte for matte r s of tiiiskindy — 
for example, if joa are a writer, with a keen sense for 
the literary posribilities and dramatic effects of soch 
coincidences, or if yoa are of an imaginatire torn of 
mind with a pronoonced or a Tsgne yearning for the 
interesting or the nnnsaal ; if yon have a m<Re geaaat- 
ons or more persistent endowment of the day-dream- 
ing, fantastic, self -dramatization of adolescence, that 
is half unreal and yet half eztemaliaed in the yivid- 
ness of yonUifnl fancy, — is it strange that yon should 
meet with more of these ^ psychic experiences " than 
yonr prosaic neighbor whose thonghts and aspirations 
are turned to quite other channels, and to whom an 
account of your experiences might even prove tire- 
some ? If you cultivate the habit of having present- 
iments, and of regarding them as significant, is it 
strange that they should become more and more fre- 
quent, and that among the many, some should be 
vaguely suggestive, or even directly corroborative of 
actual occurrences ? 


The frequent ooinoidenoes, which form so iDfluential 
a factor in disseminating an inclination towards such 
an hypothesis as telepathy, are doubtless largely the 
result of an interest in these experiences. This inters 
eat is very natorol and proper, and when estimated at 
its true value is certainly harmless ; it may indeed 
contribute material worthy of record for the student 
of mental phenomena, — or it may give spice to the 
matterof-fact incidents of a workaday existence. To 
many minds, however, the temptation to magnify this 
interest into a significant portion of one's mental life, 
to invest it with a serious power to shape belief and 
to guide conduct, is unusually strong, in some cases 
almost irresistible. It is this tendency that is essen- 
tially ant^^istic to a logical view and therefore to a 
aoientifio study of these irregular mental incidents ; it 
is this tendency that is responsible for much of the 
apcrioua and the unwholesome interest in the problems 
of mental telegraphy. 

It woold naturally be expected that the nature and 
snhject-matter of the more frequent types of coinoi- 
dences and presentiments would throw some light upon 
their origin, and would in some measure reinforoe the 
general position above taken. We shonld expect that 
such coincidences would relate to persons and aSturs 
that are frequently in our thoughts, and that similari- 
ties of thought and presentiments based upon them 
should occur among persons intimately acquainted with 
one another's thonght-hahits, at least in regard to that 
line of thought to which the coincidence relates ; these 
expectations are fairly well borne out by the facts. It 
is a oommonplace observation that presentaments and 


unaBaal psychic experiences most frequently relate 
to those who are dear to us, or in whom we ha^e a 
momentarily strong interest ; that they deal with eventB 
which we have anxiously dreaded or desired, or with 
matters over which we have puzzled or worried ; and 
again, that they occur under conditions of emotional 
strain, excitement, or anxiety. In brief, they deal with 
what is frequently in our minds or what more or less 
unconsciously furnishes the general emotional and in- 
tellectual background which gives character to our 
mood and to our associations of ideas* I need hardly 
add that it is the more successful and striking coinci- 
dences that we remember and record, and the others 
that are quickly forgotten. Moreover, so large a share 
of mental operations of the type in question takes place 
in the region of the subconscious, that our recollection 
of what has occupied our thoughts is by no means a 
final authority. Occasionally we detect these subcon- 
scious similarities of mental operations, when after a 
silence the same question or thought shapes itself on 
the lips of two speakers at the same time ; and here 
again, are not many of those who give utterance to the 
same thoughts, or finish one another's sentences, inti- 
mate companions in the walks of life? Is it strange 
that in the daily intercourse with a congenial spirit, they 
should have absorbed enough of one another's mental 
processes to anticipate, now and then, a step in their 
association of ideas ? 

Still another factor that figures somewhat in coinci- 
derces relates to events which are sooner or later very 
likely or quite certain to occur, and in which the coin- 
cidence is confined to the dose simultaneity of the 


aotion on the part of two or more persons conoemed. 
The crossing of letters is easily the best iUoBtration of 
this type of ocoanenoe which has the semblance of 
thought-communication. It is so easy to fall into the 
habit of delaying all delayable matters as long as poau- 
ble that it must frequently happen that yonr own sense 
of duty is atoased and yoor correspondent's patience is 
extiansted at nearly the same time. If A is to hear 
from B, or B from A, within a period not very definite 
bat still reasonably limited, every day's delay makes it 
mtnv and more probable that their letters will cross. 
The same consideration applies to other affairs of daily 
life ; we delay a matter of business and are just aboat 
to attend to it when the other party conoemed comes 
to OS, or we delay offering some social attention until 
just as we are about to do so it is ashed of ns ; and 
so on. In brief, we find not only in siokness and 
deatb, in family ties and friendships, in travel and ad- 
venture, but also in the special and in the complicated 
interests of our civilized life an abundant opportunity 
for coincidences ; and we find that their frequency 
is clearly related to the commonness of the event, 
and to its familiari^ and closeness of relation to our 
habits of thought. 

Eeviewing the arguments which have been presented, 
we find a tendency to underestimate the possibilities 
of expression and communication through the normal 
channels of the senses and the subtle inferences based 
upon them, and also an insufficient appreciatdon of the 
nnreccgnized but by no means supernormal capabilities, 


wluch spedal and imiuiial soaoeptibility or traimng of 
diefle same powers of int e rpretation and tbooght-reyela- 
tion may bring aboot ; we find, further, a prevalent 
underestimation of the generic and at times the specific 
similarity of the products of our several diverse and yet 
homogeneous mental equipments, and with it a lack of 
consideration of the greatly increased facilities for such 
mental conununity afforded by modem conditions of 
rapid transit and rapid sharing of the common benefits 
of civilization. We find a misconception of the nature 
of the application of the doctrine of chances to mental 
ocmicidences, which brings about an apparent recognition 
but an intrinsic belittling of the role which chance 
really plays in the evidence advanced for telepathy; 
we find that this error is probably due to an unfortu- 
nate, intensely individual view of the problem, which 
insists upon an explanation of personal experiences, and 
disregards the essentially impersonal and statistical 
nature of the inquiry. This unfair attitude (which is 
equally unfair if applied to other and more exact data) 
renders difficult, if not impossible, a just appreciation 
of the theoretical aspect of the problem and of the 
application of theory to practice. We find, furthermore, 
that the recorded data are likely to involve an unusual 
degree of unreliability owing to such natural psycho- 
logical tendencies as defective observation, exaggeration, 
preconception, and the ordinary limitations and failings 
of humanity ; nor is any serious amount of such neglect 
needed to bridge the gap between intelligible fact and 
unintelligible mystery. Finally, it is not sufficiently 
borne in mind that the data are in large part created 
by the subjective attitude of expectation and interest 


in such experiences, and that the nature of the more 
frequent ooinoidenoes f omiahes satisfactory evidence of 
their natnral rektions to dominant interests and occu- 
pations. The concordant su^estion from these vari- 
ous considerations is that a very lai^ part of the expe- 
riences offered in evidence of mental telegraphy, finds a 
much more natnral and more consbtent explanation 
when viewed as the complex and irr^ular results of 
^rpes of mental processes included within the legitimate 
and recc^nized domain of psychology. There is no 
desire to overlook the loose and distant connection that 
often pertains between the general considerations and 
the particular phenomena here relevant ; on the con- 
trary, this lack of explicit and intimate conneotioD is a 
logical characteristic of the relation of theory to prac- 
tice in dealing with such complex and irregular mate- 
rial, and is likely for a long time to remiun so. A 
more properly cultivated logical sense will hring about 
a more satisfactory appreciation of and a greater intel- 
lectoal content with this aspect of the problem ; it will 
be recognized that it is wiser to make the best of actual 
though admittedly unsatisfactory conditions than to fly 
to evils that we know not of. 

I therefore regard the inclination towards atelepathic 
hypothesis as the result of a defective l(^cal attitude, 
which in turn may be regarded as the outcome of a 
natural but unfortunate psychological tendency. In 
considering the question, " What is the proper inference 
to be drawn from the accumulated data apparently 
suggestive of ' communication between mind and mind 


odienriae than tbioii^ die known dtdmnriai of die 
lemes'?'* we mre eonsiderii^ a logical proUem — a 
problem of considerable difficulty, not one to be entered 
upon without deliberation and preparation. In con- 
sidering die question, ^ How is it that snch eridenoe is 
xeadify accepted as proof of telepathy? How is it that 
this hypothesis is faToved abore others intrinsically no 
less improbable?** we are likewise entering upon a 
complex problem, bat one that is psychological kq scope 
and nature. It is to a more fundamental connderation 
of these qnesdons that we now turn. 

I haTe based my discussion of mental tdegoLphj 
almost wholly upon the occurrence of coincidences 
(unng that term not as the equiyalent wholly of chance 
occurrences, but including suggestire or interesting 
conjunctions of circumstances in general), for the reason 
that coincidences — both tiiose of a commonplace char- 
acter and those that seem to possess a striking personal 
significance — hare prepared the popular mind for the 
acceptance of the telepathic hypothesis, and still con- 
stitute the most formidable array of evidence presented 
for that hypothesis. The other class of evidence to be 
considered is the experimental, which may be said to 
include as its most distinctive type the results of tests 
in which intentional attempts at mental telegraphy were 
made under definite conditions and usually with spe- 
cially selected subjects ; and as another type, the pre- 
cise verification and registration of presentiments and 
peculiar and startling " psychic experiences " with re- 
ference to their coincidence with death, accidents, and 
other serious events in life. It may be admitted that 
the experimental data are equally worthy with the 


others of a logical analysis, and indeed that the; pre- 
sent in some respeota different and more favorable con- 
ditions for the application of snch an analysis. In 
general, however (and I desire to confine this discussion 
to the general principles involved and not to the analy- 
sis of Bpecial oases), the considerations that determine 
the logical value, or the lack of it, of the one type of 
evidence are applicable without undue modification to 
the other. Kor do I consider that the experimental data 
have seriously modified the logical status of the problem 
as a whole ; nor that they have, except in relatively few 
oases, been of themselves sufficient to make converts to 
a belief in telepathy. They have undoubtedly very 
much strengtheoed and disseminated that belief ; but 
this implies that a favorable dbposition to the belief 
was already present. It is because it seems to me that 
the presence of this favorable disposition, albeit in 
suppressed or half-acknowledged form, is in most oases 
due to some phase of the ailment from coincidences, 
that I have made it central in my discussion. I muBt 
not ful to point out, however, that experiments in 
thought-transference have one important, and that a 
lo^eal, advant^e over observations of coincidences; 
this is the possibility which they present of quite acco- 
rately allowing for the effect of chance. In coinci- 
dences the estimate of chance as the source of the con- 
junction of events is frequently, if not alwajrs, a matter 
of complex judgment over which serious differences of 
opinion will occur. Some of the published quantitative 
estimates made by serious and able students of such 
problems, of the probabilities that certain coincidences 
have been due to chance have been pronounced alto* 


gether wide of the mark and even absard by others. 
In experiments arranged with due precautions there 
can be no uncertainty on this point ; the proportion 
of successes, that is, of striking coincidences, may be 
calculated. If the actual number of chance coinci- 
dences appreciably exceeds the calculated propor- 
tion, and if the theory on which the calcidation was 
based corresponds to the actual conditions, then the 
results were not due to chance alone. But whether 
they were due to fraud, or to some unconscious trans- 
ference of indications, or to telepathy, or to spirit influ- 
ence, or to interference of the devil, or to the fact that 
the participants in the experiment were bom when the 
stars and planets presented certain conjunctions, or to 
the existence of a totally unrecognized form of mental 
vibrations, — all these are mere hypotheses which may 
be strong or weak or absurd, according to their power 
to really account for the results, to their concordance 
with the sum total of scientific knowledge in this field 
and with the logical principles guiding the formation 
of scientific hypotheses. To jump from the conclusion 
that the results are not due to chance to the conclusion 
that they are due to telepathy, is no whit more absurd 
than the position of the astrologer, or the spiritualistic 
explanation of conjuring tricks. That there is some- 
thing in these results to be explained is admitted ; 
whether the results have been obtained and recorded 
in such a way as to contain the clue to their explana- 
tion cannot be affirmed ; whether our present state of 
knowledge enables us to explain them may be argued 
pro and con ; whether they are worth serious attention 
is also a debatable question ; but none of these condi- 


Uma warrants a reeort to the telepathic bypothesu. 
That hypothesis as all others must be weighed in tha 
li^cfU balance without prepossession, and with fall 
realization of the possibility, that *' general appearances 
suspicions," or "not proven," or a complete suspen- 
sion of judgment, may be among the present verdicts. 

So far as the strength and weakness of the a^umenta 
for mental telegraphy depend npon the perspective of 
value attached to the various data and to the conditions 
under which these have been gathered, I have presented 
my estimate and indicated the burden of my conoln- 
sions. But I am aware that I may have laid myself 
open to the charge — which will be brought not by 
the advocates of telepathy, but by its most emphatio 
opponents — of a neglect of consideration of the gen- 
eral logical status of telepathy as a germane and 
legidmate hypothesis. That the hypothesis of tele- 
pathy when carefully interpreted is capable, if not of 
explaining the data, at least of being fitted without 
nndue straining to a large portion of the data, may 
be claimed with some plausibility ; that I regard the 
hypothesis as unwarranted and unnecessary has been 
made sufficiently dear. But what if the hypoibeus 
is not a legitimate one, not one which the methods and 
spirit of science can properly or profitably consider? 
If this be the case, it would seem superfluons to oon- 
sider whether the hypothesis is warranted by the data 
or capable of explaining them. That it is the policy 
of science to allow the utmost latitude of opinion and 
theory and to interpret the possible in an unprejudioed 



and liberal spirit will readily be conceded. That it is 
equally the policy of science to demand of all claimants 
for recognition authentic credentials framed in accord- 
ance with the laws of logic and the principles of evidence 
and probability, is sometimes overlooked. Science can- 
not possibly consider all hypotheses, but only legitimate 
ones. To explain coincidences and the success of ex- 
periments in thought-transference by assuming that 
there is a demon, whose special business it is to make 
people have uncanny feelings when their relatives in 
distant places are dying or in danger, and to suggest 
to the guesser what is in the mind of the party of 
the second part in the experiment, is certainly not an 
hypothesis worthy of consideration by science ; and 
incidentally be it noted that this hypothesis may be 
successfully shaped to fit the facts, and cannot be 
definitely disproved. Some absurd hypotheses may 
be readily disproved and others not ; but are scientists 
really called upon to disprove them ? There recently 
fell under my observation a claim for the theory that 
when persons felt an unaccountable aversion for one 
another, either at once or after a time of friendship, it 
was due to their opposite horoscopic natures, and it 
would be found that their birthdays were not far 
from six months apart, that is, nearly as far apart as 
they possibly could be. Divorces, breaches of pro- 
mise, family feuds, and antipathies at first sight could 
thus be accounted for. Now, it would involve no 
very burdensome undertaking to disprove this theory ; 
but I should not expect a cordial approval of my 
effort, on a.. ^ „, ooU«g.o.''i£ I c^J 
through the investigation. The hypothesis is im- 


Bcientifio, or even anti-Btaentifio, and its examination 
unnecessary and unprofitable. Yet it is not always 
possible to render so decisive a verdiot; and in the 
present case, vbile I incline to the belief that the 
hypothesis of telepathy is, as usually advanced and in 
essence, an iUe^timate one, I still regard it as possible 
that in the future some modification of this hypothesis 
may be framed, whtoh will bring it within the scope of 
a liberal conception of ^ke scientific. It is important 
to make this attitude perfectly clear: if telepathy 
means the hypothesis of a new force, that is, the as- 
sumption of an as yet uncomprehended mode of the 
output of energy, subject rigorously to the physical 
bonds of material causation which make possible a 
rational conception of psycho-physiological processes; 
and if, further, some one will put forth a rational con- 
ception of how this assumed action can take place 
apart from the ezeroise of the senses, I am prepared 
to admit that this hypothesis is (not sound, or strong, or 
in accordance with the facts, or capable of explaining 
the facts, or warranted by the facts, but) one which it 
is legitimate, though perhaps not profitable, to consider. 
If, however, telepathy is pat forward as a totally new 
and peculiar kind of action, which is quite unrelated 
to the ordinary forces with which our senses and scien- 
tific observation acquaint us, and which is not subject 
to the limitations of the material world of causation ; 
if telepathy is supposed to reveal to us a world beyond 
or behind or mysteriously intertwined with the pheno- 
mena of this world, — a world in which events happen 
not in accordance with the established physical laws, 
but for their personal significance even in defiance of 


those laws, — then it becomes impossible for the scien* 
tist to consider this hypothesis without abandoning his 
fundamental conceptions of law and science. 

My defense, therefore, for not beginning and possibly 
confining this discussion to the question of the scientific 
legitimacy of the telepathic hypothesis is that, in the 
present status of opinion, it does not seem to me hope- 
ful to influence belief by such a presentation. It 
seems to me a far more practical step to present the 
unwarranted character of the hypothesis and its logical 
insufficiencies as a means of influencing those who had 
been, or were likely to be, impressed by coincidences 
and death-warning experiences and guessing experi- 
ments. And, moreover, it is necessary, so long as 
such experiences have a strong hold on the popular 
imagination and shape the popular conceptions of the 
nature both of mental processes and of the field of 
psychology, to portray as well as may be the natural 
explanation and significance of the phenomena, and to 
indicate the general trend of the conceptions imder 
which they may be profitably viewed ; and this, even 
though it be but measurably possible to apply general 
principles to special cases. This step is an essential 
part of the logical task here attempted. Under other 
circumstances it would have been advisable, as it always 
would be proper, to determine the legitimacy of an 
hypothesis before considering it as worthy of detailed 
examination on other counts. But here, as is frequently 
the case, it is a condition and not one of our own 
choosing that confronts us. 


What U the lc^;ioal conoluuon to be drawn from the 
data offerable in evidence of some snperaensor; form 
of thongbt-transference, and whence the dispoBitioa to 
believe in the existence of such a procedure ? — these 
remun the central questions of the discnssion. As to 
the former, I can say no more in dismisaing the topio 
than that to me the phenomena represent a complex 
conglomerate, in which imperfectly rec<^ized modes of 
sense-action, hypersestbia and hysteria, fraud, conscious 
and nnconsciooB, chance, collusion, similarity of mental 
processes, an expectant interest in presentiments and a 
belief in their significance, nervousness and ill health, 
iUnsions of memory, hallucinations, suggestion, con- 
t^on, and other elements enter into the composition ; 
while defective observation, falsification of memory, 
forgetfulneSB of details, bias and prepossession, sugges- 
tion from others, lack of training and of a proper 
investigatiTe temperament, further invalidate and con- 
fuse the records of what is supposed to have been 
observed. Many of the reported facts are not facts 
at all; others are too distortedly and too deficiently 
reported to be either intelligible or suggestive ; some 
are accurately observed and properly recorded, and 
these sometimes contain a probable su^eation of their 
natural explanation, sometimes must be pot down as 
chance, and more often must be left unexplained. To 
call this absence of an explanation telepathy is surely no 
advance ; to pose this hypothetic process as the modus 
operandi of any result that can be even remotely and 
ixmtingetitly otherwise aoooonted for seems superfluous ; 


to actually use this hypothesis to aoooont for still more 
obscure and more indefinite and less clearly established 
phenomena is a most ^;r^ous logical sin. 

As to the natural tendency to believe in telepathy, 
it may be regarded as part of the anthropocentric and 
egoeentric view of the universe and its happenings, 
and as an exemplification of the persistence of the 
mystical view of mundane events, — both of which are 
dominant in primitive philosophy, remain conspicuous 
wherever superstition still has a hold, flourish in 
pseudo-science and in esoteric cults, and will probably 
never become wholly obsolete. Mr. Clodd's remarks 
concerning the general notions underlying ^sympa- 
thetic magic " may be applied to the bias in favor of 
the telepathic theory : ^^ The general idea has only to 
be decked in another garb to fit the frame of mind 
which still reserves some pet sphere of nature for the 
operation of the special and the arbitrary." However 
difficult it may be to realize fully and in detail that 
the objective order of things is not arranged for our 
several personal benefits, that conclusion is inevitably 
forced upon us by a true insight into the inexorable 
logic of events, and harmonizes with the reflections of 
our more logical moods. Whatever tide there may be 
in human affairs is largely of our own making ; there 
is nothing to mark the flood except our own judgment 
and insight. We may select and arrange and adapt 
circumstances according to our needs, but the selection 
is made by us and not for us : '^ We must take the 
current when it serves." Some effort is necessary, 
some schooling must be gone through with, to enforce 
this attitude and to give it the practical effectiveness 


of a living conviction. Tlie attitude of conformity with 
onrrent belief, tbe easy acceptance of the plaosible, the 
avoidance of careful and questioning analysis, are far 
more inviting and less exacting than the regulation of 
belief by tbe logio of matured principles. The strenn- 
oos life has quite as important a mission in intellectual 
as in practical affairs. It will be a decided advance 
when it becomes generally acknowledged that the dis- 
cuBUon of such an hypothesis as telepathy presupposes 
an intimate acquaintance not merely with the facts 
ooncemed, but with the Ic^cal aspects of their inters 
pretation; that the probability of forming a sound 
opinion on such matters is measured not by the fervor 
of the interest in them, but by the intellectual requi- 
sites necessary to steer one's way among the intrioaues 
and dangers of such an expedition. Ko persons are 
more deeply interested in the successful issue of a 
voyage than the passengers ; but this interest does not 
qualify them to form an intelligent opinion upon tbe 
proper direction of the machinery or the setting of the 
course, — mnch less does it fit them to take an active 
part in the actual navigation. Yet there are always 
those who confidently criticise the actions of captain and 
pilot, and are anxious to display their ability to form 
opinions of their own in regard to the intricate navi- 
gation over nature's highways. The most efBcient anti- 
dote to the too ready inclination towards the popular or 
the superficial interpretation of the phenomena involved 
in mental telegraphy is doubtiess the cultivation of the 
logical vigor and prudence so f requendy referred to ; 
and next to this is an appreciation of the marvelous oom- 
plezi^ and nnf atbomable subtlety of mental operations. 


The wKjTDg that appearanoes are deoeptiTe is an 
inbentaiiee from andent times ; to Oriental and to 
Greek philosopiiers the iDnaory nature of the know- 
ledge fnmidied hj the senses was a frequent and a fer- 
tile theme of eontempbUion and discussion. The same 
pfoUem stands cfpesa to the psychologist of to-da j ; bat, 
profiting by the specialization of learning and the ad- 
Tanee of technical science, he can give it a more com- 
prehensire as well as a more practical answer. The 
pfaysicdogioal actiyities underlying sense-perception are 
now fairly well understood ; the experimental method 
has extended its domain over the field of mental phe- 
nomena; and in many ways have we become more 
expert in addressing our queries to the sphinx. Nature, 
so as to force a reply. To outline the position of 
modem psychology with reference to this interesting 
problem of deception is the object of the present essay. 

In a sense-impression we recognize a primitive ele- 
ment in the acquisition of knowledge. The depriva- 
tion of a sense even under most favorable circumstances 
leaves some traces of an incomplete mental develop- 
ment. This is due, not to the mere sense-impressions 
that the organ furnishes, but to the perception and co- 
ordination of these by inferential processes of a more 


complex nature. It is not the eye of the eagle, bat 
the brain directing the human eye, that leads to intel- 
lectual supremacy. Physiology recognizes this distinc- 
tion as one between lower and higher brain*oentres. 
A man may have his retina or his optic nerve injured, 
and so be blind in the ordinary sense of the word. He 
is prevented from aoqairing farther knowledge by this 
avenue; but, nnless he become blind in early child- 
hood, he will retain a memory for visnal im^es, will 
be able more or less clearly to imagine pictorially the 
appearances of objects from verbal descriptions, and in 
the free roamings of his dream fancy will live in a 
world in which blindness is unknown. On the other 
hand, there is a condition resulting from the disintegra- 
tion of certain portions of the finely organized cortex 
of the bnun, in which the patient may retain fnll sight 
and understanding, but be unable to derive any mean- 
ing from what he sees. The same duster of sensations 
that enables us to recognize a book, a picture, a face, 
and to arouse all t^ numerous associations attaching 
to these, is as unmeaning to him as the symbols of a 
cipher alphabet. This condition is termed "psychic 
blindness ; " and what is there lost is not the power of 
vision, but of interpreting, of assimilating, of reading 
the meaning of visual sense-impressions. It is tliis 
interpreting and assimilating process that is largely 
ooDcemed in the formation of illusions. 

In the experiences of daily life we have to do not 
with simple sensations, but with more or less complex 
inferences from them ; and it is just because these in- 
ferences go on so constantly and so unconsciously that 
they are oontinnaUy and perustently overlooked. It 


is an oocasioiial experience in nusing a water-]ntclier 
to baTe the Tessel fly np in the hand in a yerj gtartling 
manner, — the reason for this being that the pitcher, 
which one is accnstomed to find well filled, happens to 
be empty. This experience shows that we nncon- 
scionsly estimate the force necessary to raise the yessd, 
bat only become oonscioos of this train of inference 
when it happens to lead to conclusions oontradictoiy of 
the fact. The perception of distance, once thought to 
be as primitive a factor in cognition as the impresaon 
of a color, is likewise the result of complex though un* 
realized inferences ; and the phenomena of the stereo- 
scope, by imitating the conditions of the perception of 
solidity and thus making us see as solid the flat repre- 
sentations of a pair of diagrams or photographs, furnish 
a brilliant illustration of the variety and complexity of 
such unconscious reasonings. As for essential pur- 
poses normal persons have a common anatomy, a com- 
mon physiology, and a conmion psychology, it results 
that we draw these unconscious inferences after the 
same pattern ; and so completely are they the outcome 
of the normal reactions to our common environment, 
that we need not be, and as a rule are not, aware of 
their existence until — and probably with some little 
effort — our attention is directed to them. Uncon- 
sciously and spontaneously we learn to see, — that is, to 
extract meaning out of the sense-impressions that fall 
upon the retina. 

The simplest type of a deception occurs when an in- 
ference or an interpretation of this type, owing to an 
unusual disposition of external circumstances^ leads 
to a conclusion which other and presumably superior 


teBtimony shows to be false. Thus, in the obserration 
which Aristotle knew and described, that a pea or other 
round object held between two fingers crossed one over 
the other seems double, it is the nnnsual position of 
the fingers that induces the illusion. Under ordinary 
circumstanoes a sensation of contact on the left side of 
one finger and on the right side of the finger next to it 
(to the right) could only be produced by the simultane- 
ous application of two bodies. We unconsciously and 
naturally make the same inference when the fingers are 
crossed, and thus faU into error — an error, it is impor- 
tant to observe, which we do not ovtgrou) but antago- 
nize by more convincing evidence. The pea held be- 
tween the crossed fingers continues tofe^ like two peas, 
but we are under no temptation to heliefse that there 
really are two peas. 

The limitations of our senses lead directly to the 
possibilities of their deception, which may in turn be 
realized inadvertently or utilized intentionally. We 
f^preciate bow defective is our localization of sound 
when we attempt to find a cricket by locating whence 
proceeds its chirp; the same difBculty lends uncer- 
tainty to the determination of the direction of fog-horn 
signals of passing stea'mers. This tmcertainty coope- 
rates in the illusions of ventriloqoism ; it is involved in 
the smack wbioh one clown gives another, but which is 
really the olapping of the hands of the supposed victim ; 
it produces a realistic effect when a cannon is fired on 
die stage, for it is necessary only to show the flash 
while the noise is produced behind the scenes. Again, 
the stimulation of the retina is ordinarily due to tbe 
impinging upon it of light-waves emanating from an 


external object. Acooidinglj, when the 
turbed by any exceptional cause, such as a bkyw tm tke 
head or an electric shock to the optic neire, 
sensation of light projected ontward into 
perception of our own locomotion^ which is 
highly inferential process, offers illustrations of 
illusion and of artificial deception. When on i 
it is by the passing-by before our eyes in the opponte 
direction of trees and posts and other features of 
landscape, that we realize that we are moying 
accordingly, when a train alongside moves oat beforo 
our own train has started, we have a distinct rpiliwa 
tion that we are moving backwards so long as we look 
at the forward-moving train. There is an illmnon 
devised for amnsement called the ^^ Magic Swing," in 
which one is apparently swung to and fro with wider 
and wider excursions until a complete revolution ia 
apparently made from a vertical to a horiaontal, 
through the antipodal position, back to the horizontal 
and the normal. In reality, only a sUght motion ia 
imparted to the swing, but the inclosing walls, which 
are painted to represent a forest scene, are themaelvea 
revolved forward and then backward about the azia 
from which the swing is suspended. As, however, we 
have no experience with oscillating trees, we nnoon- 
sciously infer the oscillations to be and feel them in onr 
own persons. In another application of the same illu- 
sion we seem to be let down into the bowels of the 
earth : but after a sli<:ht actual descent the car remains 
stationary while the illuminated sides of the shaft, 
which are suitably ]Viinted. are moved panorama-like 
in an upwanl direction. In brief, we are creatures of 


tlie arentge ; ve are adjnBted for the most probable 
event ; our ot^anism has acquired the habits impressed 
npon it by the most frequent experiences ; and this has 
induced an inherent logical necessity to interpret a 
new experience by tlie old, an nnfamiliar by the famil. 
iar. In describing illasions of the above type, Mr. 
Sully aptly says that they "depend on the general 
mental lav that when we have to do with the an&^ 
quent, the unimportant, and therefore unattended to, 
and the exceptional, we employ the ordinary, the famil- 
iar, and the well known as oar standard." Ulusioa 
arises when the rule thus applied fails to hold; and 
whether or not we become cognizant of the illusion 
depends npon the ease with which the exceptional char- 
acter of the particular instance can be recognized, or 
the inference to which it leads be opposed by presum- 
ably more reliable evidence. 

To make things seem more wonderful than they are, 
to possess knowledge and exhibit power beyond the 
ken of the multitude, has exercised a fascination upon 
the human mind in all its stages of development The 
primitive conjuring of the ancient priest or of the 
savage medicine-man, the long tradition of Oriental 
legerdemun, and the stage performances of the mod- 
em prestidigitateur are all connected with deep«eated 
human instincts. It has even been au^ested ' that 

* B J Noimui Triplett, " The PijohologT of CoDJnring Ttteap&im," 
Amtncan Journal of Ftythalagil, xi. 4, Joly, 1900. Thia mort nemt 
mud BxtannT* treatmant of Hd* to{nii fnnuiliM a irell-ad«ct«d sfan*- 
hoiue of but, togatbu with ngK^rtin and able intacpntatloai of tl>a 


the sumiciy and doKtli-f eigning buttiiielB of aaimaby 
tlKmgli eBMDtaallT biologicml in trpe, are yot rdatod 
to the pBTchologicil insdnets of deoepdon which make 
their first dear aj^^eannc^ in the higher animals 
and asBiune a distinctire position in the psychological 
equipment of childhood. The eonjoring tricks or 
paradoxes which apparently contradict or rise aope- 
rior to ordinaiy experience, famish the most ^arioas 
types of illnstration of the psychology of deception. 
Whether presented as miracle by priest or by thaii- 
matoigist or by expounder of the black art, or pre- 
sented as proof of spirit agency by the modem spirit- 
nalistic medium or his less pretentious predecessors, 
or by the stage performer for entertainment, the 
analysis of what was actuaUy done, and the acooonts 
of what the spectators saw or believed that they saw, 
illuminate with striking brilliancy the modus operandi 
of the processes whereby appearance takes the sem- 
blance of reality and observation is shrewdly led 
astray. The conjurer thus becomes a suggester and 
an actor, not a mere exhibitor of his manipulatiye 

An our present purpose is to investigate the nature 
of real deception, of the formation of false belieb 
which may in turn lead to unwise action, it will be 
well U) note that even such elementary forms of sense- 
dec45iitionM as those just noted may fall under this 
litiiul. No one allowed the use of his eyes will ever 
believe that the pea held between the crossed fingers 

iDAteriiil of coDJorinfp deceptions. I shall draw from this material in 
•ev«ral portioui of tliis eisay, without further detailed aoknowledg^ 


is really double, bat children often think that a spoon 
half immersed in water is really bent. PrimitiTe 
peoples believe that the moon really grows smaller as 
it rises above the horizon ; and the ancients conld eount 
BufBciently upon the ignorance of the people, to make 
use of mirrors and other stage devices for revealing 
the power of the gods. The ability to correct snoh 
errors depends solely upon the possession of certain 
knowledge or of a confidence in its exbtenoe. 

Continuing with deceptions dependent upon excep- 
tional external arrangements, we may find in conjur- 
ing tricks simple and complex illustrations in great 
perfection. When wine ia turned into water, when 
two half-dollars are rolled into one, when a box into 
which an article has just been placed is immediately 
opened and found to be empty, when a handkerchief 
is torn and made whole aguu, when the performer 
drives a nail through his finger, when a coin sud- 
denly appears out of space at the end of a wand, 
when a card which you have just assured yooraelf is 
the ace of hearts on second view is the king of spades, 
when a bowl filled with water in which goldfish are 
swimming is produced from under a handkerchief, 
when a child rests horizontally in mid-air supported 
only on one elbow, — you are misled or mystified or 
deceived in so far as you are unaware that the wine 
was potassium permanganate and sulpbnric acid, and 
was clarified by sodium hyposulphite ; that the one 
half dollar is hollow and the solid one fits into it ; that 
the box has a double bottom controlled by a secret 
spring ; that the real handkerchief was not torn but an- 
other Bubstitated for it ; that the nail has been replaced 


by one that fits around the finger ; that the wand is 
hollow, and a spring controls the appearance or with- 
drawal of a split coin at its other end ; that one half 
of the card is printed on a flap which, by &lling down, 
shows another aspect ; that the bowl covered with m 
mbber cap was secreted under the coat of the per- 
former; that the child wears a steel suit fitted with 
joints that lock and become rigid. All these are tech- 
nical devices which amuse us by the ingenuity of their 
construction, and, though they may be most baffling, 
provoke about the same type of mental interest as does 
a punle or an automaton. Ignorance of this technical 
knowledge or lack of confidence in its existence may 
convert these devices into real deceptions by changing 
the mental attitude of the spectator. However, the 
plausibility of such performances depends so much 
upon their general presentation that they seldom rely 
for their effectiveness solely upon the objective appear- 
ances presented. They are given a dramatic setting, 
or put forward as examples of newly discovered forces 
or of magical control ; and this makes them far more 
effective than this bare account would suggest. 

Asking the reader, then, to bear in mind the very 
great number and ingenuity of such devices, and in- 
sisting once more that the only complete safeguard 
against being misled by them to the extent of forming 
false conceptions of their modus openindi^ is the acqui- 
sition of the purely technical knowledge that underlies 
their success^ I shall cite in detail a trick combining 
illustrations of several of the principles to be discussed. 
Several rings are coUected from the audience upon 
the perf ormer*s wand ; ha takes the rings back to the 


stage and throws them npon a |datter; a pistol is 
needed, and is handed to the perfonuer from behind 
the scenes ; with conspicuous indifference he hammers 
the precioos trinkets until they fit into the pistoL A 
chest is hanging on a nul at the side of the st^;e ; the 
pistol is fired at this chest, which is thereupon taken 
down and placed upon a table towards the rear of the 
stage. The chest is unlocked and found to contain a 
second chest ; this is unlocked and contains a third i 
this a foorth. As the chests emerge fhey are placed 
npon the table ; and now from the fourth chest there 
comes a fifth, which the performer carries to the front 
of the stage and shows to contain bonbons around each 
of which is tied one of the rings taken from the audi- 
ence. The effect is most startling. This is the ap- 
pearance of the trick from the audience. Now let na 
consider what really takes plaoe. In the hand holding 
the wand are as many brass rings as are to he collected. 
In walking back to tiie stage the genuine rings are 
allowed to slip off the wand and the false rings to take 
their places. This excites no suspicion, as the walking 
back to the stage is obviously necessary, and never 
impresses one as part of the performance. The pistol 
is not ready upon the stage, but must be gone for ; and 
as the assistant hands the performer the pistol, the 
latter transfers to the assistant the true rings. The 
hammering of the false rings is now deliberately under- 
taken, thus goring the assistant ample time to tie the 
true rings to the bonbons ; and, while all attention is 
concentrated upon the firing of the pistol, the assistant 
unobtrusively pushes a small table on to the tear of the 
stage. This table has a small fringe banging about it* 


certainly an inrignificant detail, but none the lev wortli 
noting. The chestB are now opened, and, after haying 
shown the andienoe that the second chest comes oot of 
the first, the third oot of the second, and so on, the 
performer can yeiy readily and quickly draw the hmt^ 
smallest chest from a groove under the table, where it 
was concealed by the aforesaid fringe, and bring it f or^ 
ward as though it had come out of the next burger 
chest ; this smallest chest is opened and the trick is 
accomplished. *So thoroughly conyinced is the observer 
by the correctness of his first three inferences that the 
last box came out of the one before it, that I ventore 
to say this explanation does not occur to one person in 
many thousand, and that most of the audience would 
have been wiUing to affirm on oath that they saw the 
last box so emerge. The psychology of the process, 
then, consists in inducing the spectator to draw the 
natural inference, which, in this case, it has been care« 
fully arranged shall be a wrong one. 

Deception becomes real according to the skill with 
which the conditions of reality are imitated. The 
dexterity and training of the professional conjurer 
are measured by the fidelity with which he mimics 
the movements which are supposed to be done. The 
life-likeness of the movement with which the late 
Hermann could take up an imaginary orange with 
both hands from a table (the orange was really let 
down in a trap on the table as the hands were placed 
over it), and carry it over to another table where it 
mysteriously disappeared or passed through a hat, was 
quite irresistible. Equally so was his palming, or his 
production of objects from his person, or out of the 


ur, or in outK>f-the-wa7 places. The mimetio move- 
ments aooompanyiug these actions were so vividly real- 
istic, the misdirection of the attention was so perfect, 
as to produce a complete hallucination of the appear- 
ance of objects from places from which they never 
emerged. When this was preceded by an actual 
sleigbt^f-hand movement, a tme hallucination re- 
sulted ; for example, in the trick of the flying cards 
which were skilfully thrown to all parts of the audi- 
torium, a card was occasionally thrown which seemed 
to disappear mysteriouBly in mid-air ; but in reality no 
card had been thrown but only the movements of 
throwing it imitated. A rabbit was tossed up in the 
air two or three times, and then disappeared at the 
report of a pistol ; in reality the rabbit was not tossed 
at all on the last apparent throw, but was slipped into 
the hollow of the table.^ 

The more closely the conditions that lead to correct 
inferences in ordinary experiences are imitated, the 
more succesafol will be the illusion ; and a osef nl prin- 
ciple of conjuring illusions is to first actually do that 
which you aflerward wish the audience to hdieve that 

* Hr. Triplett irent through » (iinilmr perfonnBiioe with k ball in the 
pnwnM at aohool ohildmi ; and of lOfi ohildnn, 18 dtaeribed bow they 
uw the ball ga up ud diwppsai ; of thtue who were thni haUndnatod 
40 per oent. were boya and 60 per oeat. wen prU. Hallncinatjtuw of 
parfDOie* in duldieo wen obtained by another exparimanter when water 
waa (pnyed from bottlw labeltd ■■ perfnniM ; TS par oant. of SSI 
pnpUa law a toy camel move when a orank attached ta the oamel by 
a atrinf; waa turned, althoagh the oamel remained qnite motionl»w 
The eiperimenlal teiti, though rather oold and lif elsaa when oom- 
pared with the dnmatio itaga deceptions, illnatnle the aame proneei, 
and make poMible a oomparadve atndy of the degree of deoaptioD ia 
diffsnnt inditidnala and under different dioomatHMMi 


you continue to do. Thus, when coins aie etM^bit m 
mid-air and thrown into a hat, a few are really thrown 
in ; bat the others are pahned in the hand holding the 
hat, and allowed to fall when the other hand makes 
the appropriate moTements. Some of the rings to be 
mysterionslj linked together are giyen to the andienoe 
for examination and fonnd to contain no opening, the 
audience at once condnding that the rings which the 
performer retains are precisely like them. In general, 
to gain the confidence of the person to be deceiyed is 
the first step alike in sleight^f-hand and in criminal 


As we torn from the objective to the subjective 
conditions of deception, we enter the true domain of 
psychology ; for the most scientific deceiver is he who 
employs least external aids, and counts most upon his 
power of captivating the intellect. Just as we inter- 
pret appearances by the forms they most commonly 
assume, so it is our average normal selves that inter- 
pret them. A variation in our sense-organs or in our 
judging powers will lead to illusion. The effects of 
contrast may serve as apt illustrations. When passing 
from a dark to a light room the light seems glaringly 
bright; a hand immersed in hot water and then in 
lukewarm water will feel the latter as cold ; when ac- 
customed to the silence of the country the bustle of the 
city seems unusually noisy. Fatigue produces similar 
results. Fatigue the eye for red, and it sees white 
light as gi'een ; the last mile of a long walk seems the 
longest ; the last hour of a long wait, the most tedious. 


80 long as we recognize oar mtasnal conditioD and 
allow for its eSeota, we are not deceived ; but under 
the influence of emotion tMs power a readily lost, aa 
it may be permanently lost in the insane. The delu- 
sions of the insane are often influenced by misinter- 
pretations of real but abnormal sensations under the 
guidance of a dominant idea. On the basis of an 
ansBstbetic skin a patient may come to believe that he 
is made of glass or stone ; subjective noises in the ear, 
due to disturbances of the circulation, are transformed 
into the jeers and taonts of an invisible persecutor. 
But for the present we will assume that the judging 
powers do not vary beyond their normal limits. 

In every perception two factors contribute to the 
result. The one is the nature of the object perceived, 
the other that of the percipient. Tbe effect of the 
first factor is obvious and well recognized ; the impor- 
tance of the second factor is more apt to be overlooked. 
The sunset is a different experience to the artist from 
what it b to the farmer ; a piece of rocky scenery is 
viewed with quite a different interest by the artist and 
the geologist. The things that were attractive in child- 
hood have lost their charm ; and what was then, if no* 
ticed at all, considered stupid, has become a cherished 
hobby. Even from day to day, our interests change 
with our moods, and our views of things brighten with 
the weather or the good behavior of our digestive 
organs. Not only will the nature of the impression 
change with the interests of the observer, but even 
more, whether or not an object will be perceived at all, 
will depend upon the same cause. The naturalist sees 
what the stroller entirely overUx^; the aoibr detectt 


a ship in the distant horizon where the landsman seea 
nothing; and this is not because the naturalist and 
the sailor have keener vision, bat because they know 
what to look for. Wheneyer an impression is yague, 
or an observation made under poor conditions, this 
subjective element comes to the front. Darkness, fear, 
any strong emotion, any difficulty in perception reveal 
the same influence. ^^La nuit tons les chats sont 
gris.'* Expectation, or expectant attention, is doubt- 
less the most influential of all such factors. When 
awaiting a friend, any indistinct noise is readily con- 
verted into the rumbling of carriage - wheels ; the 
mother hears in eveiy sound the cry of her sick child. 
After viewing an object through a magnifying-glass, 
we detect details with the naked eye which escaped 
our vision before. In spite of the fact that the answer 
in the book happens to be wrong, a considerable pro- 
portion of the class succeeds in reaching it. Every- 
where we are apt to perceive what we expect to per- 
ceive, in the perception of which we have an interest. 
The process that we term ^* sensation," the gathering 
of evidence by the senses, is dual in character, and de- 
pends upon the eyes that see as well as upon the things 
that are present to be seen. 

Accordingly, the conjurer succeeds in his deception 
by creating an interest in some unimportant detail, 
while he is performing the real trick before our eyes 
without our noticing it. He looks intently at his ex- 
tended right hand, involuntarily carrying our eyes to 
the same spot while he is doing the trick with the 
unobserved left hand. The conjurer's wand is ex- 
tremely serviceable in directing the spectator's atten- 


tioa to tlie place where the performer desires to have 
it.' A call upon tiie attention in one direotion prerents 
its dispersion in another. When engrossed in work, 
we are oblivious to the noise of the street or even to 
the knock at the door. An absent-minded person is 
one so entirely " present-minded " to one train of 
thought that other stimuli go nnperceived. The pick- 
pocket is pqrcholc^st enough to know that at the rail- 
way station, the theatre, or wherever one's attention is 
sharply focused in one direction, is he apt to find the 
psychological moment for the exercise of his pursuit. 
It IB in the negative field of attention that deception 
effects its purpose. Houdin, the first of the famous 
prestidigitateurs (died 1871), gives it as one of his 
rules never to announce beforehand the nature of the 
effect which you intend to produce, in order that the 
flpectator may not know where to fix his attention. 
He also tells us that whenever you count ** one, two, 
three," as preliminary to the disappearance of an oh- 
ject, the real vanishing must take place before yon say 
" three," — for the audience have theb attention fixed 
npon " three," and whatever is done at " one " ot 
" two " entirely escapes their notice. The " patter " 
or setting of a trick often constitutes the real art of its 
execution, because it directs or rather misdirects the 
attention. When performing before the Arabs, Houdin 

I " Again, a mere tap witli the wkod on any apot, at tha tuns tlnw 
lookup at it attentiTelj, will infallibly draw the ejei of a whole agm. 
{Buy in the lame dirootion. " — Houdin. 

Robert Hoodin, often termed " the Idng of the ooDJnters," wm a 
man of remarkable ingeDiiity and buight. Hia aatobiognphj ia 
thronghont interevtjng and peyohali^Dally Taloable, and hia oonjnr. 
iag pieoepta aboond in pointi of ImpoctaoM to the pajohologirt. 


pfodnoed an astoiiiidiiig eSect hj a Teiy siniple trieic 
Under ordinary circnmstanoes the trick was annoanoed 
as the changing of the weight of a chest, making it 
heavy or lig^t at wilL The mechanism was simply the 
attachment and disconnection of an electro-magnet, in 
those days a far less familiar affair than now. To 
impress the Arabs he announced that he could ^irit 
a man's strength away and restore it again at a 
moment's notice. The trick succeeded as usual, but 
was changed from a mere trick to sorcery — the Araba 
declaring him in league with the deviL 

The trick, aboTe cited, of supporting a child in mid- 
air, was performed by Houdin at the time when the 
inhalations of ether for purposes of insensibility were 
first introduced. This idea was in the minds of the 
audience, and magical effects were readily attributed 
to etherization. Accordingly the trick was announced 
as ^^ suspension in equilibrium by atmospheric air 
through the action of concentrated ether," and so 
successfully was this aspect of the trick accepted that 
protests were sent in against ^^the unnatural father 
who sacrificed the health of his poor child to the 
pleasures of the public." In the same way, Kellar in- 
troduces a ^ thought-reading " performance, by going 
through the movements of hypnotizing the lady who 
assists in the trick ; this enables him to present the 
phenomenon in a mysterious light, and incidentally his 
manipulations furnish the opportunity to connect the 
end of a speaking-tube concealed in the lady's hair 
with another portion attached to the chair. In brief, 
the effect of a trick depends more upon the receptive 
attitude of the spectators than upon what is really 


done. " Conjoriog," Mr. Triplett observes, " ts thnB 
seen to be a kind of game of preperception wherein 
the performer so plays upon the psjchical processes of 
bis andienoe that the issues are as he desires." 

There is, too, a chiss of tricks which illuatrate a 
process, the reverse of this ; and which depend for 
their dclat npon making the issues coincide with the 
apparently freely expressed choice of the spectator, 
while really the performer as rigidly determines the 
result as in all other oases. One of the best of these 
proceeds by collecting some eight or nine questions pro- 
pared by as many persons in the audience, then placing 
them in a hat, drawing out one at random, and finding 
the answer to the question thus selected written on the 
inside suifaoes of a pur of slates. The deception 
begins in the substitution for the collected slips of 
paper, of the same number of slips all containing the 
same carefully prepared question ; the production of the 
writing on the blank slate is a chemical technically. 
It is a similar result that is obtained in forcing a card ; 
or when the conjurer asks the audience to select one of 
a group of similar objects, and then himself decides 
whether the selected object shall be used for the trick 
or discarded ; likewise, when a magic bottle is pre- 
sented from wluoh any desired varie^ of liquor may 
be produced, it is easy to suggest the choice according 
to the available possibilities. There is thus an imita- 
tion of the psychological factors as well as of the ob. 
jective factors of real experience ; and both are utilized 
in the deceptions of the professional conjurer. 

The art of misleading the attention is recognized as 
t&e point ci good oonjuring, the analogy of the diplo- 


nmtj Ast flakes die objeet of lu^iBige to 
tbouglit; mud many mpprofpnatB illastrmtions of tlus 
point may be derrred from tlus field. The IiUle floor- 
ifthes, toonng an object ap in the air, raffling or 
qninging a paek of earda, a little joke — all diese 
eieate a fayorable opportnnily, a temp wben the atten- 
tion is diyerted and the other hand can reach behind 
the table or into the ** pocket.'' It is not necessary to 
pnrsoe farther these details of techniqoe ; it will saffiee 
to analyze the points of interest in the chest-and- 
ring trick described aboTe. Here the moment for the 
exchange of the rings is the one which is least snggest- 
iTe of its being a part of the performance, and there^ 
fore least attended to. The preparations for the shoot* 
ing absorb the attention and allow the introdncticm of 
the small table at the rear to pass onnoticed; while 
the series of drawings of the chests so entirely prepare 
the spectator for the appearance of the last chest from 
the one preceding, that he actoally sees the chest emerge 
from where it never had been. 

It is necessary, however, not only to provide an 
opportonity for non-attention or misdirected attention, 
bat to be able to take advantage of it when the proper 
moment arrives. Here enters the dexterity alike of 
pickpocket and of conjurer. The trainiDg in quickness 
and accuracy of motion, in delicacy of touch, in the 
simultaneous perception of a wide range of sense-im- 
pressions, are among the psychological requisites of a 
successful conjurer. He must dissociate the natural 
factors of his habits, actually doing one thing while 
seemingly attending to another ; at the same time his 
eyes and his gestures and his ^^ patter " misdirect the 


attention to what is apparently the essentiat field of 
operation, hat really only a hlind to distract attention 
away from the tme scene of action. The conjurer 
directs your attention to what he does not do ; he does 
not do what he pretends to do; and to what be actu- 
ally does he ia careful neither to appear to direct hiB 
own attention nor to arouse yours. 

There is, however, one important factor lacking in 
the oonjurer's performance to illustrate completely the 
psychology of deception ; it is that the mental attitude 
of the observer is too definite. He knows that he is 
being deceived by skill and adroitness, and rather enjoys 
it the more, the more he is deceived. He has nothing 
at stake ; his mind rests easy withoat any detailed or 
complete explanation of how it was done. Quite dif- 
ferent most hare been the feeling of the spectator before 
the necromancer of old, in whose performance was seeo 
the evidence of secret powers that could at a moment's 
notice be turned against any one to take away good 
lock, to bring on disease, or even to transform one into a 
beast. "When magic spells and wonder-working potions 
were believed in, what we would now speak of as a 
trick was surrounded with a halo of awe and mystery 
by the sympathetic attitude of the spectators. The 
most complete parallel to this in modem times is pre- 
sented by the physical phenomena of Spiritualism ; and 
BO many of the manifestations presented by performing 
medioms in evidence of Spiritualism have been exposed 
and proven to be conjuring tricks, that it ia no longer 
an assumption to consider tbem in diis i 


Spiritaalistio phenomena present a perfect mine for 
illustrations of the psychology of deception, and it is 
these that I shall consider as the final topic in this 
cursory view. 

The first general principle to be borne in mind is 
that the medium performs to spectators in dovbt as to 
the interpretation to be placed upon what they see, or 
more or less prepared or determined to see in eyerj- 
thing the evidence of the supernatural. This mental 
attitude on the part of the spectators is worth more to 
the medium than any single factor in the performance. 
The difference between such a presentation and one 
addressed to persons cognizant of the conjuring element 
in the performance and interested in its detection, can- 
not be exaggerated. It is this that makes all the differ- 
ence between the stance swarming with miracles, any 
one of which completely revolutionizes the principles 
of science, and the tedious dreariness of a blank sitting 
varied only by childish utterances and amateurish 
sleight-of-hand. Careful observers often report that 
the very same phenomena that were utterly beyond 
suspicion in the eyes of believers are to unprejudiced 
eyes so apparent ^^ that there was really no need of any 
elaborate method of investigation " ; close observation 
was all that was required, and Mr. Davey, who con- 
ducted an admirable investigation of the reliability of 
accounts of sleight-of-hand performances, has experi- 
mentally shown that of equally good observers, the one 
who is informed of the general modus operandi by 
which such a phenomenon as ^^ slate-writing " is pro- 
duced will make much less of a marvel of it than one 
who is left in doubt in this regard. 


Witli these all-powerful magicianB — an expected 
result and the willingness to credit a marvel — clearly 
in mind, let ue proceed from those instances in which 
they have least effect up to the point where they form 
the chief factor. First come a host of conjuring tricks 
performed on the stage in slightly modified forms, but 
which are presented as " spiritualistic." So simple a 
trick as scratching a name on one's hand with a clean 
pen dipped in water, then writing the name on a slip 
of paper, huming the slip and rubbing the part with 
the asbea, thus causing the ashes to cling to the letters 
formed on the hand and reveal the name, has been 
offered as a proof of spirit agency. Whenever an 
article disappears or rapidly changes its place, the spir- 
ihialist is apt to see the workings of hidden spirits; 
and over and over again have the performances of pro- 
fessional conjurers been declared to be spiritual in ori- 
gin in spite of all protest from the conjurers themselves. 
Here everything depends upon the possession of cer- 
tain technical knowledge ; judging without such know- 
ledge is apt to be mere prejudice. Another very large 
class of phenomena consists of those in which the per- 
former is placed in a position apparently inconsistent 
with his taking any active part in their production ; 
rope-tying teats, cabinet stances, the appearance of a 
*' spirit-hand " from behind a screen, locking the per- 
former in a cage, sewing him in a bag, and so on. The 
psychologist has very little interest in these; their 
solution depends upon the skill with which knots may 
be picked, locks unfastened, and the other devices by 
which security may be simulated. The chief interest 
in such performances is the historical one, for these 


have done perhaps more than anything else to oonvinoe 
believers of the truth of Spiritualism. Here, where 
everything depends upon the security of the fastenings 
(for once free, the medium can produce messages from 
the limited only by his ingenuity and bold- 
ness), upon the particular moment when the examina- 
tion was permitted or the light turned down, upon the 
success with which an appearance of security and in- 
tactness of seals and knots may be simulated, it might 
be supposed that all possible precautions had been 
taken to control and eliminate these possibilities ; while, 
as a matter'of fact, the laxity of most investigators in 
this regard is weU known. These performances deceive 
because people overlook the technical acquisitions 
needed to pronounce upon the possibility or impossi- 
bility of a fastening having been tampered with and 
apparently restored without detection. If manufac- 
turers of safes were equally credulous, and gave equally 
little time to the study of the security of locks, ^^ safe '' 
would be an ironical expression indeed. 

Passing next to the most interesting of spiritualistic 
manifestations, those in which self-deception comes to 
the foreground, I need hardly dwell at length upon the 
tilting of tables, the production of raps by movements 
of which the sitters are unconscious ; for these have 
been so often and so ably presented that they must 
now be well understood. Suffice it to say that it has 
been objectively proven that it is almost impossible not 
to give some indication of one's thoughts, when put 
upon the strain ; and that under excitement, these in- 
dications may become palpably plain and yet remain 
unperceived by the individual who gives them. The 


eztieme subtlety of tliese indieations is met by the 
nnnsiial skill of the professioiial mind-reader, who 
takes bis oloe from indications which his subject is 
"absolutely confident he did not give." The assure 
ances of sitters that the;/ £now they did not more the 
table are equally valueless ; and nothing bat objective 
tests will suffice. The most wholesome lesson to be 
derived from the study ot these phenomena is the proof 
that not all onr intentions and actions are under the 
control of consciousness, and that, under emotioual or 
other excitement, the value of the testimony of oon- 
oioosness is very much weakened. Again, it is almost 
impossible to realize the difficulty of accurately describ- 
ing a phenomenon lying outside the common range of 
observation. Kot alone that the knowledge necessary 
to pronounce such and such a phenomenon impossible 
of performance by oonjoring methods is absent, bnt 
with due modesty and most sincere intentions the readi- 
ness with which the observing powers and the memory 
play one false is overlooked. In the investigation of 
Mr. Dav^, above referred to, the sitters prepared ac- 
counts of the *' slate-writing " manifestations they had 
witnessed, and described marvels that had not occurred, 
but which they were convinced they had seen — mes- 
a^es written on slates utterly inaccessible to Mr. Davey, 
and upon slates which they had noticed a moment be- 
fore were clean. The witnesses are honest ; how do 
these mistakes arise ? Simply a detail omitted here, 
an event out of place there, an nnconscioos insertion 
in one place, an undue importance given to a certain 
point in another place — nothing of which any one 
needs feel ashamed, something which it requires nnosaal 


training and natural gifts to avoid. The mistake lies 
in not recognizing our liability to such error. 

If, however, the spectator is once convinced that he 
has evidence of the supernatural, he soon sees it in 
every accident and incident of the performance. Not 
only that he overlooks natural physical explanations, 
but he is led to create marvels by the very ardor of his 
sincerity. At a materializing stance the believer recog- 
nizes a dear friend in a carelessly arranged drapery 
seen in a dim light. Conclusive evidence of the sub- 
jective character of such perceptions is furnished by 
the fact that the same appearance is frequently recog- 
nized by different sitters as the spiritual counterpart of 
entirely different and totally dissimilar persons. A 
** spirit-photograph " is declared to be the precise image 
of entirely unlike individuals. In the ^^ Revelations of 
a Spirit Medium," we read that a wire gauze mask 
placed in front of a handkerchief, made luminous by 
phosphorus, and projected through the opening of the 
cabinet, was ^^ recognized by dozens of persons as fa- 
thers, mothers, sisters, brothers, cousins, sweethearts, 
wives, husbands, and various other relatives and 
friends." Each one sees what he expects to see, what 
appeals to his interests the most intensely. What the 
unprejudiced observer recognizes as the flimsily dis- 
guised form of the medium, the believer transforms 
into the object of his thoughts and longings. Only let 
the form be vague enough, the light dim enough, the 
emotions upon a sufficient strain, and that part of 
perception in which the external image is deficient will 
be readily supplied by the subjective tendencies of each 
individual. In the presence of such a mental attitude 


tlie possibilities of deception are endless ; the perf onner 
grows bolder as his rictim passes from a watohf ul, criti- 
oal attitude to one of easy conviction, and we get sci- 
entific proofs of the fonrth dimension of space, of the 
possibility of matter pasung through matter, of the Isti- 
tation or elongation of the medium's body, of the tran* 
scendence of the laws of gravity. And the same per< 
formance that convinced Professor ZoeUner of the 
reality of the fourth dimension of space would prove to 
the spiritualist the intercourse with deceased friends, 
would convince the theosophist of the flight of the 
performer's astral body ; and, it may not be irrelevant 
to add, it wa« the same type of performance that 
served and yet serves to terri^ the minds of unculti- 
vated and superstitious savages. All depends not 
upon what is done, but upon the mental disporition 
of the spectator. Little by little, through n^lect, 
through mal-observation and lapses of memory, through 
an unwillingness to mistrust the reports of an ex- 
cited consciousness, caution is abandoned and credulity 
enters. Mediums are actually seen flying out of one 
window and in through another. The wildest and 
most far-fetched fantastic explanation is preferred 
above a simple one ; the bonnds of the normal are 
passed ; real hallucinations set in ; conduct becomes 
irrational, and a state hardly distinguishable from in- 
sanity ensues. If this seems improbable, turn to the 
records of witchcraft persecutions and read upon what 
trifling and wholly imaginary evidence thousands of 
innocent lives were sacrificed ; and this not by igno- 
rant, bloodthirsty men, bnt by earnest, eminent, and 
xeligions leaders. A child u taken sick, is remem- 


' bered to have been fondled by an old woman ; there- 
fore the woman has put the child under a spell and 
must be burned. A man sees an old woman in the 
woods, and, on turning about, the old woman is gone 
and a hare flies across his track; he concludes that 
she turned herself into a hare, and the witch test is 
applied. When the personal devil was believed in, 
he was seen daily clothed in the garments that imagi- 
nation had given him, and engaged in mischief and 
villainy of all kinds. When witchery was the domi- 
nant superstition, all things gave evidence of that. So 
long as Spiritualism forms a prominent cult with a real 
hold upon the beliefs of its adherents, the number of 
mediums and manifestations will be correspondingly 
abundant. Create a belief in the theory, and the facts 
will create themselves. 

In the production of this state of mind a factor as 
yet unmentioned plays a leading role, the power of 
mental contagion. Error, like truth, flourishes in 
crowds. At the hearth of sympathy each finds a home. 
The fanatical lead, the saner follow. When a person 
of nervous temperament, not strongly independent in 
thought and action, enters a spiritualistic circle, where 
he is constantly surrounded by confident believers, all 
eager to have him share their sacred visions and pro- 
found revelations, where the atmosphere is replete with 
miracles, and every chair and table may at any instant 
be transformed into a proof of the supernatural, is it 
strange that he soon becomes affected by the contagion 
of belief that surrounds him? He succumbs to its 


inflaencd imperceptibly and besitatmgl; at first, aod ' 
perhaps yet reetorable to hb former modes of tliongbt 
by the fresh aii of another and more steadfast mental 
iDtercoorse, but more and more oertunly and ardently 
oonviaced the longer he breathes the stance atmos- 
phere. Ko form of oonta^on is so insidioos in its 
onset, so difficult to check in its advance, so certtun to 
leave genua that may at any moment reveal their per- 
niciouB power, as a mental contagion — the contagion 
of fear, of panic, of fanaticism, of lawlessness, of super- 
stition, of error. The story of the witehcraft perseoo- 
tions, were there no similar records to deface the pi^^ 
of histoiy, would suffice as a staoding illustration of 
the overwhelming power of psychic oonta^pon. To 
illustrate with any completeness its importance in the 
production of deception or in the dissemination of error, 
would carry us beyond the proper limits of the present 
discussion. It enters at every stage of the process and 
in every type of illusion. Although it has least effect 
wLen deception is carried on by external arrangements, 
by skilful counterfeits of logical inferences, yet even 
then it enters into the dbtinotion between a critical, 
skeptical, and irresponsive body of spectators, and one 
that is sympathetic, acquiescent, and cordial ; it renders 
it easier to effect bold and striking impressions with a 
larger audience tiian with a smaller one ; its power is 
greatest, however, where the subjective factor in decep- 
tion is greatest, more particularly in such forma of 
deception as have been last described. 

In brief, we mast add to tlie many factors which 
contribute to deception the recognized lowering of 
critical ability, of the power of aocorate observation, 


indeed of rationality, which merely being one of a 
crowd induces. The conjurer finds it easier to perform 
to large audiences because, among other reasons, it is 
easier to arouse their admiration and sympathy, easier 
to make tbem forget themselves and enter into the 
uncritical spirit of wonderland. It would seem that in 
some respects the critical tone of an assembly, like the 
strength of a chain, is that of its weakest member. 
*^ The mental quality of the individuals in a crowd," 
says M. Le Bon, ^^ is without importance. From the 
moment that they are in the crowd the ignorant and 
the learned are equally incapable of observation." 


In this review of the types of deception I have 
made no mention of such devices as the gaining of 
one's confidence for selfish ends, preying upon igno- 
rance or fear, acting the friend while at heart the 
enemy, planned connivance and skilful plotting, to- 
gether with the whole outfit of insincerity, villainy, and 
crime. It is not that these are without interest or are 
unrelated to the several types of deception above con- 
sidered, but that they are too complex and too hetero- 
geneous to be capable of ready or rigid analysis. 
When deception becomes an art of life, consciously 
planned and craftily executed, there must be acting 
and subterfuge and evasion to maintain the appearance 
of sincerity. The psychology of the processes therein 
concerned is almost coincident with the range of social, 
intellectual, and emotional influences. Complex as 
these operations may be, they have, in common with 
the less intricate forms of deception, the attempt to 


parallel the conditionB nnderlyiDg the l<^oal infer- 
mces which it is desired to indace. If we add this 
great class of deceptions to those already enanierated, 
we may perhaps realize how vast ia its domain, and 
how long and sad most be the chapter that records the 
history of human error. 

Ethics is BO closely related to psychology — right 
knowing to right doing — that a brief hcecfoinda docet 
by way of summary may not be out of place. We 
find, first, a class of sense-deceptions which are due 
to the nature of our sense-endowment, and deceive 
only so long as their tme character remains imknown. 
These are neither pernicious nor difficult to correct. 
Next oomes a class of deceptions that deceive because 
we are ignorant of the possibilities of technical devioes, 
Buoh as those used in legerdemun, and prtmoonoe upoD 
the possibility or impossibility of a certiun explanation 
in advance of complete knowledge. Bnt still another 
class, and that the most dangerous and insidious, are 
the deceptions in which self-deception plays the leading 
r&le. The only safeguard here is a preventive; the 
thorough infusion of sound habits of thought, a full 
recognition of the conditions under which the testimony 
of consciousness becomes dubious, an appreciation of 
the tme value of objective scientific evidence, and an 
inoculation against the evils of contagion by an in- 
dependent, unprejudiced, logical schooling. When 
once the evil spirit of self-deception, fed by the 
fire of contagion and emotional excitement, begins to 
spread, reason has little control. As Tyndall tells us, 
such " victims like to believe, and they do not like to 
be nndeceived. Science is perfectly powerless in the 


presence of this frame of mind. ... It [science] keeps 
down the weed of superstition, not by logic, but by 
slowly rendering the mental soil unfit for cultivation." 
With the spread of an education that fosters independ- 
ence and self-reliance, with the growth of the capacity 
to profit by the experiences of others, with the recogni- 
tion of the technical requisites that alone qualify one 
for a judgment in this or that field, with a knowledge 
of the possibilities of deception and of the psycho- 
logical processes by which error is propagated, the soil 
upon which superstitions, psychic delusions, mental 
epidemics, or senseless fads are likely to flourish will 
gradually be rendered unfit 


In 1848, from the town of Hydeville, New York, 
came the somewhat startling annonnoement that cer- 
tain hnockings, the source of which had mystified the 
hooaehold of one of its residents, seemed to be intelli- 
gently guided and ready to appear at call. Somewhat 
later, communication was established by agreeing that 
one rap should mean no, and three raps yes; to 
which was afterwards added the device of calling off 
the alphabet and noting at which letters the raps 
occurred. In this way, the rapper revealed himself aa 
the spirit of a murdered peddler. Within a short 
period the news of this simple and childish invention 
had called into existence thousands of spirit-circles; 
had developed wonderful " mediums" to whose special 
gifts the manifestations were ascribed ; had amassed 
a vast store of strange testimony ; had added to the 
rappings such performances as moving tables, caosing 
objects to be mysterioasly thrown about, playing on in- 
struments by unseen hands, materializing spirit flowers, 
producing spirit forms and faces, gathering messages 
from spirits on sealed slates, and so on. In brief, the 
movement became an epidemic ; and that despite the 
fact that from the beginning and continuously satis- 
factory and rational explanations were offered of what 
rally oconrred, and that mediums were oonstantly 


detected in the grossest fraud. So early as 1851 the 
peculiar rappings occurring in the presence of the Fox 
sisters, the originators of the movement, were condu- 
sively traced to the partial dislocation and resetting of 
a joint of the knee or foot; and the raps failed to occur 
when the girls were placed in a position in which the 
leverage necessary for this action was denied them. 
Many years thereafter, in 1888, Margaret Fox (Mrs. 
Kane) and E^atie Fox (Mrs. Jencken) publicly con- 
fessed that the raps to which they as children gave rise 
were produced by dislocation of the toes ; and one of 
them added to their confession a demonstration of how 
this was done. It is unfortunate alike that the char- 
acter of the confessers leaves much to be desired, that 
the confession was both belated and made under sen- 
sational surroundings, and that the sinners have no 
better excuse to offer for their long silence than that 
the movement was started when they were too young 
to appreciate what was being done, and that when they 
realized the fraud which they were fostering and the 
success with which they were meeting, it was too late 
or too difficult to retract. None the less, these circum- 
stances do not destroy the interest in tracing the evi- 
dence of deception and the presence of a moral taint 
to the very starting-point of one of the most widespread 
delusions of modem times. 

The psychological aspect of the phenomena of Spir- 
itualism may be presented in a consideration of these 
questions : How is it that the manifestations produced 
in evidence of spirit-control carry conviction? What is 
the origin of this mass of testimony in favor of spirit- 
ualistic marvels? Whence this general tendency to 


believe in the reality of spirit-influenoe as thus mani- 
f ested ? For the porposes of these inquiries it will be 
profitable to consider a few typical manifestatioQB and 
to obeerre their true inwardneHs. Among the most 
influential mediums was Henry Slade ; throogb him 
many were converted to Spiritualism, including the 
famoujB Zollner ooterie, for whom he gave a spiritual 
demonstration of the reality of the fourth dimension of 
spaoe. After all the prominence which has been given 
to the Zollner sittings and the importance attached to 
them by reason of the eminence of the participants, it 
is somewhat unexpected to read in the report of a reli- 
able observer who interviewed Zollner'e associates, that 
"of the four eminent men whose names have made 
famous the investigstion, there is reason to believe 
one, ZoUtier, was of unsound mind at (ihe time, and 
anxious for an experimental demonstration of an 
already accepted hypothesis (the fourth dimension of 
space); another, i^ecAn«r, was partly blind, and be- 
lieved because of Zbllner's observations ; a third, 
Scheibner, was also afBicted with defective vision, and 
not entirely satisfied in his own mind as to the phe- 
nomena ; and a fourth, Weber, was advanced in age, 
and did not even reci^ize the disabilities of his asso- 
ciates." \one knew anything about conjuring, and, 
deservedly honored as these men were in their own 
specialties, they were certainly not fitted to compete 
with a professional like Slade. One of Slade's stand- 
ard performances was the production of communica- 
tions on a slate held beneath a table, in answer to 
questiooB asked by his sitters verbally or in writing, 
the writing in some cases being oonoealed in folded 


slips of paper. In his performances before the Seybert 
Commission it was soon discovered that the character 
of the writing on the slates was of two kinds. The 
long messages were neatly written, with the i's dotted 
and the fs crossed, and often produced unasked, or not 
in direct answer to a question ; while the short ones 
in prompt answer to direct questions were scrawled, 
hardly legible, and evidently written without the aid o£ 
the eye. The many methods of producing the short 
writings were repeated by a professional prestidigita- 
teur much more skillfully than by Slade. The com- 
mission distinctly saw every step in Slade's method on 
one occasion or another, but were utterly baffled by the 
conjurer (Mr. Harry Kellar), who subsequently re- 
Tealed his methods to one of their number. The long 
messages wei^ written beforehand, on slates to be sub- 
stituted at a favorable opportunity for the ones sup- 
plied to the medium. At the last stance with Dr. 
Slade, two prepared slates were resting against a table 
behind him, and one of the investigators kept a sharp 
watch upon these slates. ^' Unfortunately, it was too 
sharp ; for one second the medium saw me looking at 
them. It was enough. That detected look prevented 
the revelation of those elaborate spirit messages. But 
when the stance was over, and he was signing the 
receipt for his money, I passed round behind his chair 
and pushed these slates with my foot, so as to make 
them fall over, whereupon the writing on one of them 
was distinctly revealed." The medium at once pushed 
back his chair, snatched the slates, hurriedly washed 
them, and could with difficulty regain sufficient com- 
posure to sign the receipt for the exorbitant payment 


of his services. Another observer says with regard 
to Slade : " The methods of this medium's operations 
appear to me to be perfectly transparent, and I wish 
to say emphatically that I am astonished beyond ex- 
pression at the confidence of this man in his ability to 
deceive, and at the Tecklessness of the risks which he 
assumes in the most barefaced msuner. The only 
reason of our having any so-called 'manifestations,* 
under the ciroumstanoes, was because of the fact that 
the committee had agreed in advance to be entirely 
passive, and to acquiesce in every condition imposed." 
Mrs. Sidgwick, an able English observer, detected the 
fraudulent character of Slade's performances from the 
beginning. She points oat five important grounds of 
suspicion : " Hb conjurer-like way of trying to distract 
one's Btt«ntdon, his always uttang so as to have the 
right band to manipoUte the slate, the vagne and gen- 
eral character of the communioations, his compelling 
one to sit with one's hands in a position that makes it 
difficult to look under the table, and lus only allowing 
two sitters at a time." 

The Seybert Commission, it should be explained, 
owes its origin to the bequest of an ardent believer in 
Spiritualism, Mr. Henry Seybert, to the University of 
Pennsylvania; which was coupled with the condition 
that this university should appoint a commission to 
investigate modem Spiritualism. It is from their re- 
port' that several of my illustrations are taken. The 
' Prdimiaar!/ B^port iifthe Commiuion appmnitd bg tie Vnivenitg tf 
Ptwaylvatiia to tniKtfijiale Modtm ^irilHaiim, Pkilmilelpliia, 1887, 
LippincDtt, pp. 150. Ths mamben of th« cowiiniMian war* : Dr. 
WiUiam Fsppar, Dr. JoMph Lddy, Dr. O. S. Kotmg, Prof. & E. 
ThonipuD, Prat. Q. S. FollsTtoii, Dr. H. H. Fudmi, Ht. CoUtun 
SdUn, Dr. J. W. WUM, Dr. C. B. Eneir, ud Dr. a WAMitohalL 


members of this commission began their investigations 
with an entire willingness to aeoept any conclusion 
warranted by facts ; and their chairman, Dr. Horace 
Howard Fumess, confessed ^' to a leaning in favor of 
the substantial truth of spiritualism." They examined 
many of the most famous mediums and the manifes- 
tations that contributed most to their fame. Their 
verdict, individually and collectively, is the same re- 
garding every medium with whom they saw anything 
noteworthy : gross, intentional fraud throughout. The 
mediums were treated with the utmost fairness and 
oourtesy ; their conditions were agreed to and upheld ; 
every one, in each kind of manifestation, was caught 
in the act o£ trickery, or else the tei<& was repeated 
and explained by one of the commission. This testi- 
mony goes far to justify the substitution of '^ trick" 
for ^^manifestation," of ''senseless cant" for ''spiritual- 
istic explanation," of "adroit conjurer" for "medium." 
While the accumulative force of this conclusion can 
only be appreciated by a reading of the report itself, a 
few further illustrations will contribute to a realization 
of the nature of the "manifestations " and their typical 
milieu. Mrs. Patterson, medium, gives a performance 
similar to that of Slade. Dr. Knerr had a sitting with 
her, and adjusted a mirror about his person so as to 
reflect whatever was going on beneath the table. " In 
the mirror I beheld a hand . . . stealthily insert its 
fingers between the leaves of the slate, take out the 
little slip (containing the question), unfold and again 
fold it, grasp the little pencil . . . and with rapid but 
noiseless motion . . . write across the slate from left 
to right a few lines ; then the leaves of the slate were 


oIoBOd, the little pencil lud on the top," aod the spirits 
were graciously iovoked to send a message. 

The monotony of the narratiTe of somewhat vulgar 
deception is agreeably reliered by the entertuning 
account given by Dr. Fumess of bis experiences vith 
mediums. He sent out sealed letters, the contents of 
which certain mediums claimed to be able to read and 
to answer by the aid of spirits, and found the seals 
tampered with, and mucilage and skill used to conceal 
the crime ; be asked Uie same question of various me- 
dimns and received hopelessly contradictory answers ; 
he detected the form of the medium in her assumed 
materializatioDB, and found the spirit ready to answer 
to any and every name in fiction or reality, from 
"Olivia" of "The Talking Oak" to Shakespeare. 
One of the questions asked by Mr. FumesB related to 
the ownership in life of a skull in his possession, used 
for a long time as the " Yoriok's skull " at a Phila- 
delphia theatre. He was told by one medium that it 
was "Marie St. Clair," by another that it was "Sister 
Belle." Hence these remarks : " Marie St. Clair, who, 
on spiritual authority as I have shown above, shares 
the ownership with Sister Belle of ' Torick's ' skull in 
my possession, has never failed to assent whenever I 
ask a Spirit if it be she. To be sure, she varies with 
every different medium, but that la only one of her 
piquant little ways, which I early learned to overlook 
and at last grew to like. She is both short and tall, 
lean and plump, with straight htur and with curls, 
young and middle-aged, so that now it affords me real 
pleasure to meet with a new variety of her." Equally 
amusing is the conversation with a Spirit who waa 


led to assent to the suggestion that she was ** Olive,** 
and at length was addressed thus: ^^'Oh, Olive, 
there 's one thing I want so much to ask you about. 

• . • What was the matter with you that afternoon, 
one summer, when your father rode his hunter to the 
town, and Albert followed after upon his ; and then 
your mother trundled to the gate behind the dappled 
grays? Do you remember it, dear?' * Perfectly.* 

* Well, don't you remember, nothing seemed to please 
you that afternoon, you left the novel all uncut upon 
the rosewood shelf, you left your new piano shut, some- 
thing seemed to worry you? Do you remember it, 
dear one?' 'All of it; yes, yes.' ^Then you came 
singing down to that old oak, and kissed the place 
where I had carved our names with many vows. Tell 
me, you little witch, who were you thinking of all the 
time?* 'All the while of you,' she sighed. 'And 
do you, oh, do you remember that you fell asleep 
ttnder the oak, and that a little acorn fell into your 
bosom and you tossed it out in a pet? Ah, Olive 
dear, I found that acorn, and kissed it twice and 
kissed it thrice for thee I And do you know that it 
has grown into a fine young oak ? ' 'I know it,' she 
answered softly and sadly, 'I often go to it.' This 
was almost too much for me, and as my memory, on 
the spur of the moment, of Tennyson's ^ Talking Oak ' 
was growing misty, I was afraid the interview might 
become embarrassing for lack of reminiscences;" so 
the materialization of a very human form was brought 
to a close. To this may be added — to illustrate the 
baref acedness of the medium's business — the fact, com- 
municated to me by Dr. Fumess, that a noted medium 


had Tisited a professional ju^ler, and, "makbg no 
secret to him of his trickery as a medium for inde- 
pendent slate-writing, had purchased from the juggler 
several other triokg with which to carry on his epiritual- 
istic trade." 

There is both entertainment and instruction in Dr.. 
Knerr's account of a stance in which the spirit of an 
Indian and the mysterious use of a drum were to form 
parts of the performance. He tells of his success in 
getting some printer's ink on the drum-sticks jost 
before the lights were lowered, and of the bewildered 
astonishment (when the lights were tamed up after 
the Indian had manifested) at the condition of the 
medium's hands. " How in the world printer's ink 
could have gotten smeared over them while under the 
control of *Deerfoot, the Indian,' no one, not even 
the medium, conld fathom." We may read how a 
medium who professed to materialize a " spirit " right- 
hand while apparently holding his sitter's hand or arm 
with both his own, was shown to imitate tbis double 
grip with one hand and to do the hocus-pocus with the 
other. We may vary the nature of the fraud almost 
indefinitely and observe how universal, how coarse, how 
degrading it is, and how readily it may be induced to 
leave its hiding-place to snatch at a cunningly offered 
bait, — until in the end, if it were not so sad, it would 
be only ridiculous. 

In the reports of the investigations of mediums, 
published by the Society for Psychical Research (vol. 
iv.), we find accounts of the performances of one Sng- 
linton, also with slate-writing, and whose success, as 
described by enthusiastic sttteis, does not fall short of 


the miraculous. Yet the description of this wondeiv 
worker's doings by a competent observer, Professor 
Carvill Lewis, renders the manifestations absolutely 
transparent. He sat intently watching Englinton for 
an hour, and nothing happened ; fearing a blank stance, 
he purposely diverted his attention. The moment he 
looked away the manifestations began, and he could 
see ^^ the medium look down intently toward his knees 
and in the direction of the slate. I now quickly turned 
back my head, when the slate was brought up against 
the table with a sharp rap." The manoeuvre was re- 
peated with the same result; and while the writing 
was going on. Professor Lewis distinctly saw ^^the 
movement of the central tendon in his wrist corre- 
sponding to that made by his middle finger in the act 
of writing. Each movement of the tendon was simul- 
taneously accompanied by the sound of a scratch on 
the slate." Again, for the answer to the request to 
define " Idocrase," Englinton required the use of a dic- 
tionary, and left the room for a minute ; the answer 
was then written just as it is given in Webster's dic- 
tionary; but, unfortunately, albumina was read for 
alumina. When the slate, which acts with a spring, 
was to be closed, Englinton suddenly sneezed ; when 
the writing was small and faint, he shifted his position 
until he came within a few inches of it ; a postage 
stamp secretly glued across the two leaves of the 
double slate prevented all manifestations ; a double fee 
immediately caused further manifestations, when, owing 
to the exhaustion of power, such had just been declared 
to be impossible ; and the writing on the slates was iden- 
tified by an expert as that of Englinton. It was the 


same Englintoc who was convicted of connivance with 
Mme. Blavatsky in the prodnotdon of a spurious tfaeo- 
sophio marvel; and it is to him that the following 
story, supplied by Mr. Padshah and indorsed hy Mr. 
Hodgson (the exposer of Mme. Blavatsl^), relates: 
Mr. Padshah and a friend had asked for Cinjerati 
writing at a stance, but without snocess. Mr. Padshah 
(without informing his friend) sent anonymously to 
Englinton a poem in Gujerati ; and the friend received 
from the medium a minutely faithful copy of the same 
on a slate, as the direct revelation of the spirits 1 


But all this aooonnts for only part of the problem. 
To convict every medium of fraud is not a complete 
explanation of the appearance which this belief pre- 
sented in its most oharacteristio form some decades 
ago, and still presents. It remains to account for the 
great success of the movement ; for the fact that so 
many have been deceived and so few have really under^ 
stood ; to show why we are to believe the Seybert 
Commission, and not credit the countless miracle- 
mongers. This ie psychologically the most interesting 
portion of the problem, and has been very successfully 
treated by Mrs. Sidgwick, Mr. Hodgson, and Mr. 
Davey, of the Society for Psychical Research. 

There is a very broadspread notion that anybody 
can go to a spiritualistic stance and give a reliable 
opinion as to whether what he or she may chance to 
see is explicable as conjuring or not. Especially where 
the right to one's opinion is regarded as a corollary 
to the right of liber^, does this notion prevwL It ia 


joobably not ao exaggera^o to maintain that most 
BOoh claimants are about as competent to form a 
bustworthy opinion on sucb a subject as they are to 
prononnce upon the genuineness of a Syriao manu- 
Boript. The matter is in some aspects as much a 
technical acquisition as is the diagnosticating of a 
disease. It is not at all to the discredit of any one's 
powers of observation or intellectual acumen to be 
deceived by the performances of a conjurer ; and the 
same holds true of the professional part of mediumistio 
phenomena. Until this homely but salutary truth is 
impressed vith all its importance upon all intending 
investigators, there is little hope of bringing about a 
proper attitude towards these and kindred phenomena. 
We believe that there will be an eclipse of the moon 
when the astronomer so predicts, sot because we oaa 
calculate the time or even understand how the astrono- 
mer does it, but because that is a technical acquisition 
which he has learned and we have not ; and so with a 
thousand other and more humble facts of daily life. 
Spiritualism, to a large extent, comes under the same 
category ; and observers who have acquainted them- 
selves with the possibilities of conjuring and the natural 
history of deoeption, who by their training and endow- 
ment have fitted themselves to be competent judges of 
such alleged ultra-physical facts — these persons have 
the same right to our confidence and respect as a body 
of chemists or physicians on a question within their 
province. It by no means follows that all scientists 
are fitted for an investigation of this kind, nor that all 
laymen are not ; it does follow that a body of trained 
and able observerB, who are aware of the possibilities 


of fanl^ obserratioD and of the tendency to BubBtitute 
hasty inference for fact, who know Bomething about 
deception as a psychological oharacteristic, who have 
acquired or call to their aid the technical requisites for 
such an investigation, are better fitted to carry it to a 
logical outcome than are otherB, equally distinguished 
in other directions and eqnally able, if yon will, but 
who have not these special qualifications. It follows 
that it is not fair for you to set up what you think you 
have seen as overthrowing their authority ; even if you - 
happen to be an unprejudiced and accurate observer 
and have weighed the probability of your observations 
being vitiated by one or other of the many sources of 
error in such observation, it is only a aniall fact, 
though of course one worthy of notice. There is no 
good reastm why the average man should set bo mooh 
store by big own impressionB of sense, when the falli- 
bility of other witnesses is so readily demonstrable. 

Whatever of seeming dogmatism there is in this 
view is removed by the experimental demonstration 
furnished by Messrs. Hodgson and Davey, that the 
kind and amount of mal-observation and faulty de- 
scription which an average observer will introdace 
into the account of a performance such as the medium 
gives, is amply sufficient to account for the divetgenoe 
between his report of the performance and what really 
occurred. The success of a large class of tricks de- 
pends upon diverting the observer's attention from the 
points of real importance, and in leading him to draw 
inferences perfectly valid under ordinary circumstances 
bat entirely wrong in the particular case. It must be 
constantly remembered that the jud^ng powers are at 


a great disadTantage in observing suoh perfonnaoces, 
and Uiat it is a kind of jndgmetit in whioh they hare 
litUe practice. la the intercourse of daily life a oertiua 
amount of good futh and of confidence in the straight 
forwardness of the doings of others prevents us from 
exercising that dose somtiDj and suspicion here neoes- 
aary. We know that most of our neighbors have 
neither the intention nor the sharpness to deceive us, 
and do not live on the principle of tlie detective, who 
regards every one as dishonest until proven to be 
otherwise. This attitnde of extreme suspicion is in- 
dispensable in dealing with the phenomena now under 
discussion. It follows, therefore, that the layman can- 
not serve as a pilot for himself or for others in such 
troubled waters. This, however, if duly recognized, 
need not be a matter of concern. " This unprepared- 
ness and inobservancy of mind in the presence of a 
conjurer," says Mr. Hodgson, is not "a thing of which 
any one who is not familiar with the tricks already 
need be ashamed." Even a professional may be non- 
plussed by a medium's performance, if he have no 
experience in the special kind of sleight^f-band re- 
quired for the triok. This ia the experience of Mr. 
Harry Kellar ; he at first declared himself unable to 
explain alate-writing as a trick, but now can repeat 
the process in a variety of ways, and with far greater 
skill than is shown by the mediums. We may there- 
fore approach Mr. Davey's investigation with the as- 
surance that, in all probability, we too should have 
failed to detect what was really done, and should have 
tendered quite as erroneous account of what we saw as 
did his actual sitters ; and according to our training 


and temperament we should Iisve drawn our BeVeial 
eoQclosions, and all of them Tarioosly wide of the 

Mr. Davey (who, hy the way, was at one time de- 
ceived almost into conversion by spiritnalistio phe- 
nomena, and who, before he took up the matter seri- 
ously, recorded his oonviotion that " the idea of 
trickery or jugglery in slate-writing oommnnications ia 
quite out of the question ") was an expert amateur 
oonjurer, and repeated the slate-wriiang performanoes 
of such as Englinton with at least equal skill. He 
arranged with Mr. Hodgson to give sittinga to seretal 
ladies and gentlemen, on the condition that they send 
him detfuled written accounts of what they had seen. 
He did not pose as a medium nqr accept a fee, but 
simply said that he had something to show which his 
sitters were to explain as best they oonld, and with 
due consideration of trickery as a possible mode of ex- 
planation. The ** medium " has here a decided advan- 
ta^ over Mr. Davey, because his sitters come to htm 
witb a mental attitude that entertains, however r^ 
motely, the possibility of witnessing something super- 
natural ; and this difference is sufGcient to create an 
adjustment of the powers of observation less fitted to 
detect trickery tiian if the performer refrains from 
announcing himself as the go-between of the super- 
natural. This is well illustrated in the reports of Mr. 
Davey's sitters ; for a few friends who were told before- 
hand that they were to witness a sleight^f-band per- 
formance, or were strongly led to believe it such, made 
much less of a marvel of the performance than those 
who had not been thus enlightened. " Nevertheless " 


(I am dting from Mr. Podmore's r^sum^}, " the effect 
produced was such that a well-known profeasioaal con- 
jurer ezpresaed his complete inability to explain the 
results by trickery ; that no one of his sitters ever de- 
tected his modvs operandi ; that most were completely 
bafHed, or took refuge in the supposition of a new form 
of electricity, or ' a powerful magnetic force used in 
doable manner : (1) a force of attraction, and (2) diat 
of repulsion ' ; and that more than one spiritualist 
ascribed the phenomena to occult agency, and regarded 
— perhaps still regard — Mr. Davey as a renegade 

Mr. Davey's performances, o« deacnbed by many of 
bis sitters, like the desoriptions of the performances 
of many a medium, are marveloos enough to demand 
the hypothesis of occult agency : " Writing between a 
conjurer's own slates in a way quite inexplicable to 
the oonjurer ; writing upon slates locked and carefully 
guarded by witnesses ; writing upon slates held by 
the witnesses firmly against the under-surface of the 
table ; writing upon slates held by the witnesses 
above the table ; answers to questions written secretly 
in locked slates ; correct quotations appearing on 
guarded slates from books chosen by the witnesses at 
random, and sometimes mentally, the books not touched 
by the ' medium ' ; writing in different colors men- 
tally chosen by the witnesses, covering the whole side 
of one of their own slates ; messages in languages 
unknown to the ' medium,' including a message in Ger- 
man, for which only a mental request had been made, 
and a letter in Japanese in a double slata locked and 
sealed by the witness ; the date of a coin placed by the 


witness in a sealed envelope correctly written in a 
locked slate apon the table, the envelope remaining in- 
tact ; a word written between alates screwed together 
and also corded and sealed together, the word being 
chosen by the witness after the slates were fastened 
hy himself, eta., etc. And yet, though * antogmphio ' 
fragments of pencil were * heard ' weaving mysterious 
messages between and under and over slates, and frag- 
ments of chalk were seen moving about under a 
tumbler placed above the table in full view, none of 
the sitters witnessed that best phenomenon, Mr. Davey 

It most not be supposed that the errors of mal- 
description and lapse of memory thus committed are at 
all serious in themselvea; on the contrary, they are 
mostly such as would be entirely pardonable in ordinary 
matters. Mr. Hodgson places them in four classes. 
In the first, the observer interpolatea a fact which 
really did not happen, but which he was led to believe 
had occurred ; he records that he examined the slate, 
when he really did not. Secondly, for similar causes, 
lie tuhatitatea one statement for another closely like it ; 
he saya he examined tbe slate minutely, when he really 
only did bo hastily. Thirdly, be tran^oaea the order 
in which the events happened, making the examina- 
tion of the slate occur at a later period than when it 
really took place. Xiaatly, he omite certain deteils 
which he was carefully led to consider trivial, bat which 
really were most important. Such slight lapses as these 
are sufficient to make a marvel of a clever piece of 
conjuring ; add to this the increased temptationa fw 
mal-observation afforded by the dim light and mysteri- 


ous surroundings of the medium, as well as by the 
sympathetic attitude of the sitters, and the wide diver- 
gence between the miraculous narratives of spiritualists 
and the homely deceptions which they are intended to 
describe, is no longer a mystery. 

It cannot be too strongly insisted upon how slight 
may be the clue that holds the key to the explanation, 
how easy it is to overlook it, how mysterious the per- 
formance becomes without it. It may be the difference 
between pllusing the slate in a given position and start- 
ing to do so when the hand of the medium naturally 
comes forward to receive it; it may depend upon 
whether the slates were examined just before or just 
after a certain detail in the performance which was 
carefully not made prominent; it may depend upon 
the difficulty of really seeing a quick and unexpected 
sleight-of-hand movement on the part of a skilled per- 
former; it may depend upon whether the question 
asked was really of your own choosing, or was deftly 
led up to ; it may depend upon a score of other equally 
insignificant details upon which the assurance of the 
average person, that such mal-observation or misde- 
scription did not occur, is almost worthless. These are 
some of the slighter factors in the case ; there may be 
much more serious ones which lead not merely to exag- 
geration but to elaborate falsification and distortion of 
truth, and to the emphatic assertion of the most extra- 
vagant miracles, coupled usually with the assurance 
that there was no possibility or room for deception. 
Mr. Davey's performance was relatively a matter-of-fact 
test with critical and intelligent sitters ; hence we 
should expect the divergence between report and real- 


ity to be far less serious than when the qaestioD at 
issne is the demonstration of the Bnperiiatnral by an 
appeal to the reli^ous fervor and to the emotional sus- 
ceptibilities of would-be believera and sympathetio 
propagandists. I shall return to this difference of 
attitude in discnssing the prepossession in favor of the 
belief in Spiritualism ; for the present, it is sufficient 
to notice that mider the most favorable combination of 
circumstances — that is, an able, educated, and expe- 
rienced observer witnessing a definite performance in 
a calm, critical mood, and carefully preparing a written 
account of his observations — the difference between 
actual fact and the testimony of tbe witness is still 
considerable, and the divergence often apon essential 
points. We are accordingly justified in making allow- 
ance for double or treble or a hundredfold more seri- 
ous divergence between fact and report, when we pass 
to decidedly less favorable conditions, snch as those of 
the ordinary spiritualistic test or stance ; for these 
enrely present conditions least conducive to accuracy 
of observation or of record. 

It is seldom that so direct and forcible an applica- 
tion of experimental results to actual mental expe- 
riences occurring nnder familiar circumstances can be 
made, as is the case in regard to this noteworthy inves- 
tigation of Messrs. Hodgson and Davey. This in- 
vestigation, almost at one stroke, throws a blinding light 
upon the entire field of the phenomena ; accounting in 
large part for the vast ^gregate of testimony in favor 
of miracles by actual witnesses, demonstrating the 
readiness with which we may unwittingly deceive out^ 
selves by false observation and others by lapses of 


memoiy, as to what we actually witnessed ; and again 
presenting the nature of these fallible charaoteristios 
of sense-perception and memory, of inference and judg- 
ment, so strikingly and tangibly as to serve as a olassio 
illustration for the psychologist. The practical import 
of these considerations has been quite generally dis- 
regarded by apholders of the spiritualistic hypothesis, 
and has by no means been fully appreciated by those 
who lay claim to an opinion upon the Bigni6oance of 
spiritualiBtio manifestations, and who discuss the psy- 
chological questions which they involve. 

It is pertinent to add that after Mr. Davey's death, 
Mr. Hodgson felt free to publish a precise account of 
what Mr. Davey actually did daring the slate-writing 
stances.' The description from before the footJights 
nay thus be compared with the account from behind 
the scenes ; and although verbal accounts must always 
be weak and lack the realistic touch of the mise en 
scfene, yet this account makes possible a kinetosoopio 
reproduction, as it were, of the original sitting ; we 
may observe the point at which the several sitters com- 
mitted their faults of defective observation or report ; 
we may examine at leisure the several steps in the 
performance which the eyes overlooked in the hasty 
single glimpse afforded by the sitting itself ; we may 
attend to details which in the original sitting reached 
only the outlying and evanescent phases of conscioua- 
ness. But, on the whole, the psychological compre- 
hension of the " stance " was sufi&cienUy manifest 
without this disclosure of the modus operandi; the 
disclosure has its value, however, in removing the poa- 

' Procttdingt of the SoeUls/ar Pigtiiieai Baearck, toL TiiL 263. 


sibility of certain forms of oriticifim of the resolts, in 
presenting data by which the specific nature of mal- 
observation may be more concretely studied, and in 
convincing the more obstinate and skeptioal of how 
natural it is to err in matters beyond the range of 
one's intimate experience. 

A corroborative illustration of the subjective con- 
tribution to deceptions of this type — the part that 
" always comes out of our head," in Professor James's 
phrase — is furnished by M. Binet's series of photo- 
graphs, taken at the rat« of ten or twelve per second, 
of the hands of the performer during a sleight-of-hand 
performance; for the photographs do not show the 
essential illusion which the eyes seem to see, but which 
is really supplied by the fixed interpretative habits of 
the spectators. 

The conclusion thus experimentally arrived at by 
Messrs. Hodgson and Davey is reinforced by other 
investigators. After witnessing a stance that was 
merely a series of the simplest and most glaringly evi- 
dent tricks, Mrs. Sidgwich was expected to have had 
all her doubts entirely removed, and was assured that 
what she had seen was better than the materializations 
at Paris. " Experiences like this make one feel how 
misleading the accounts of some completely honest wit- 
nesses may be ; for the materializations in Paris were 
those which the Comte de Bullet had with Firman, 
where near relatives of the Count were believed con- 
stantly to appear, and which are among the most won- 
derful recorded in spiritualistic literature. And, after 
all, it appears that these marvelous stances were no 
better than this miserable personation by Hazby.*' 


The Seybeit CommissioD finds that " with every poa- 
Bible desire on the part of spiritualiBta to tell the trath* 
the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, concerning 
marvelous phenomena, it is extremely difficult to do so. 
Be it distinctly understood that we do not for an in- 
stant impute willful perversion of the truth. All that 
we mean is that, for two reasons, it is likely that the 
marvels of spiritualism will be, by believers in them, 
incorrectly and insufficiently reported. The first rea- 
son is to be found in the mental ccmdition of the ob- 
server ; if he be excited or deeply moved, his aceonnt 
cannot but be affected, and essential det^Is will surely 
be distorted. For a second reason, note how hard it 
is to give a truthful account of any common, everyday 
occurrence. The difficulty is increased a hundredfold 
when what we would tell partakes of the wonderful. 
Who can truthfully describe a juggler's trick? Who 
woold hesitate to affirm that a watch, which never left 
the eyesight for an instant, was broken by the juggler 
on an anvil ; or that a handkerchief was burned before 
our eyes 7 We all know the juggler does not break 
the watob, and does not bum the handkerchief. We 
watched most olosely the ju^Ier's right hand, while 
the trick was done with his left. The one minute cir- 
cumstance has been omitted that would have converted 
the trick into no-trick. It is likely to be the same in 
the accounts of the most wonderful phenomena of 

If we desire a concrete instance of this omission of 
an important detail, we may turn once more to Dr. 
Fnmess's narrative. Certain highly intelligent ob- 
servers had described to him the marvelous accomplish- 


ments of a BostoB mediam; and this is Us own ao- 
ooont : " There are two tables in the room of stance, 
at one of which sits the mediam, at the other, the 
Tisitor. The visitor at his table writes his qaestion in 
pencil at the top of a long slip of paper, and, after 
folding over several times the portion of the slip on 
which his qaestion is written, gams it down with maci- 
lage and hands it to the medium, who thereupon places 
on the folded and gummed portion his left hand, and 
in a few miuates with his right haad writes down an- 
swers to the concealed questions; these answers are 
marvels of pertinency, and prove beyond a cavil the 
dairvc^ant or spiritual powers of the medium." Dr. 
Fumess went to the medium, prepared his slip of 
paper about as described, and thus continues : ** As 
Boon as he took his seat, and laid the strip on his table 
before him, I rose aad approached the table so as to 
keep my paper still in sight ; the row of books entirdy 
intercepted my view of it. The mediam instantly 
motioned to me to return to my seat, and, I think, told 
me to do so. I obeyed, and as I did so could not re- 
press a profound sigh. Why had no one ever told me 
of that row of books 7 " 


I have thus passed in review a series of facts aod 
ooDsideratioDs in pursuance of the general inquiry as to 
why the manifestations produoed in evidence of spirit 
agency deceive, and as to the origin of the vast testi- 
mony in favor ot spiritualistic marvels. It is not 
necessary for the purposes of the psychological discos- 
aion to demonstrate that all such manifestations are 


fraudulent ; it is not even neoeaaary — although witli 
limitleBB time and energy it might be desirable — to 
examine all of the various kinds of manifestations whioh 
the ingenuity of mediums has devised, or which have been 
presented through medinmistio ^enoy.' All that is 
necessary is to examine a sufficient number of manifesta- 
tions of acknowledged standing and repute among spir- 
itualists, — manifestations, be it clearly understood, 
which have actually brought hundreds and thousands 
of converts to its ranks, which have been persistently 
brought forwardas indisputable evidence of supernatural 
agency — and to show that in reference to these, actual 
and extensive deception has taken place. It would not 
be proper to declare that at this point the psychologist's 
interest ends ; for the centre of interest in such pro- 
blems may shift from one point to another. The central 
point in the present discussion, however, is not what is 
the evidence in favor of the spiritualistic hypotheus 
logically worth, — although the considerations here pre- 
sented have obvious and radical bearings upon that 
qnestioa. If that were our quest, we should put the 

> I d«iln not to *Mm to orgdook tbe fact that tbara are manifestk- 
tioaa pTMentMl by Stdiitoaliam of a different ohanuMT from tLoaa 
abD*a DooaideTed. Thara are, for example, tlie impiratioiwl meaaagM 
retaaled tliroug'lL the mediom vhen in a ^anoa-like ooDdition, and vhioh 
an anppoaad to rat fbt theit prcwf of ■apematnral origin on the taati- 
nmaj of the medium or apon their intemal aontent The paychologi- 
eal atatni of theaa and umilar mediumiitio phenomena moat be inter- 
preted in the light of our knovladge of hypaotio and allied conditioos. of 
aatomatio writing, of modificatioiu of coOBoious and aubconscious ptsmiii- 
ality. I do not oonaider that the eTidenoB whiob theae phenomena 
contribute towarda the establiahmant of the probability of the tnilb of 
the apiritualiatio hjpothoaij at all aSeata the eatimat« arriTed at in the 
That there are otlier than the phyiioal pheu 
n ihonld, howaTer, not be overlooksd. 


spiritnaliflts upon the defensive ; for the burden rests 
upon them to show the inadequacy of the natural ex- 
planation of the phenomena, and to present the special 
facts that point to the correctness of the spiritualistic 
as opposed to other explanations. We may recognize, 
in passing, to what sorry excuses they are driven in its 
defense ; wi-iting, they are driven to explun, is beet 
produced in the dark, because dark is *' negative," and 
light is " positive " ; if the spirit that appears resembles 
the mediam, that is an effect of the materializing pro- 
cess ; if a piece of mnslin is found in the medium's 
cabinet (and obviously used as drapery in the materi- 
alizations), it is supposed to have been brought by the 
spirits to clothe their nakedness, or that the spirit which 
had brought the muslin "had to vanish so quickly 
that it had no time to dematerialize the mnslin ; " 
if writing does not appear when the slates are looked 
at, that is because the " magnetism " of the eye inter- 
feres with this spiritual prooess of writing ; and did 
not Slade receive an express command from the spirits 
forbidding him, on penalty of cutting off all communi- 
cation, to attempt to write on sealed slates? Some 
even claim that fraud and genuine manifestations go 
band in hand, or that the former are the work of evil 
spirits oounterfeitiDg conjuring tricks. A prominent 
spiritoalist openly announces that Slade "now often 
cheats with an almost infiuitile audacity and naivety 
while at the same or the next stance, with the same 
investigators," genuine spiritualistic phenomena occur; 
while another disciple h(dda that the true spirit in 
which to approach the study is an " entire willingness 
to be deceived." Sorely there is no doty resting npon 


Boientifio men to consider the claims of a system that 
resorts to such idle and extravagant hypotheses, and 
that fosters and prospers in such a moral atmosphere. 

We may therefore profitably confine our attention to 
the psychological lessons to be drawn from the record of 
fraud and deception which the exploitation of Spirit- 
ualism has produced.^ When the day comes when the 
manifestations above considered shall be definitely con- 
ceded to have a natural explanation along the general 
lines here presented, and the spiritualists shall have 
taken refuge in other and distinctively different mani- 
festations, then it may become advisable to prepare a 
revised account of the psychology of Spiritualism. 

There remains an important series of considerations 
that form an essential factor in the psychological com- 
prehension of the phenomena of Spiritualism ; this is 
the effect of bias and prepossession. When by one 

^ There is a minor problem of psyohologioal interest in regard to the 
fraud apparent in these manifestations, that is worthy of consideration : 
namely, the motiTes for snoh fraud. That greed for g^ain and notoriety 
oonstitnte two of the main inducements is obyious enongh ; that the 
latter is a far more widespread and yariable mental inducement than 
we ordinarily realize, has been shown by the oases in which fraud 
has been detected. In addition we must recognize the eziBtence of de- 
oeption as the expression of a deep-seated instinct abnormally present 
in not a few persons. It is deception for the love of imposing upon 
humanity, mingled somewhat with a love of the conspicuousneas and 
interest which the deceiver's position brings with it; and this often 
eziBts where the motires for it cannot be accurately determined. Cases 
of deception on the part of children, on the part of those who present 
suspicions of the hysterical temperament, and cases of so-called disin- 
terested deception, have been collected in sufficient number to make the 
criticisms which are adyanced against professional mediums quite as 
cogent in the case of unpaid and private mediums. I may refer to the 
discussion of the subject by Mr. Podmore. Studiet in Psychical Be» 
iearchf p. 186, sqq. 


means or another a strong faith in the reality of spirit- 
nalistic manifestationB has been induced ; when the 
critical attitude gives place to a state of extreme emo- 
tional tension ; when, perhaps, special griefs and trials 
give undue fervor to the desire for a material proof of 
life after death, of comimunioD with the dear departed ; 
when the convert beoomes a defendant of the faith, 
anxious to strengthen the proofs of his own conviction, 
— then we have no longer mere uninteotioual lapses of 
oheervation and memory to deal with, bat actual men- 
tal blindness to obvious fraud and natural explanations ; 
then caution is thrown to the winds and marvels are 
reported that are the result of expectant attention and 
imagination, or of real illusion and hallucination. The 
blamelessnesB that may be conceded for one's mystifies 
tion by conjuring performances cannot be extended to the 
j>resent class of experiences ; here it is not unusualness 
of external arrangements that forms the main factor in 
the deception, but the abnormal condition of the ob- 
server's mind. The materialization s&nces offer a 
sufficient example of this form of manifestation. To 
recognize a departed friend in the thinly disguised form 
of the medium is most naturally interpreted as a mark 
of weah insight or of strong prejudice. " Again and 
^ain," writes Dr. Fumess, " men have led round the 
circles the materialized spirits of their wives and intro- 
duced them to each visitor in turn ; fathers have taken 
round their daughters, and I have seen widows eob in 
the arms of their dead husbands. Testimony such as 
this stf^gers me. Have I been smitten with color< 
blindness ? Before me, as far as I can detect, stands 
the veiy medium herself, in shape, size, form, and fe^ 


tore trae to a line, and yet, one after anotiier, honest 
men and women at my side, within ten minutes of each 
other, assert that ehe is the absolute connterpart of 
their nearest and dearest friend ; oay, that she ia that 
friend. It is as incomprehensible to me as the asser- 
tion that the heavena are green, and the leaves of the 
trees deep blue. Can it be that the faculty of observa- 
tion and comparison is rare, and that our features are 
really vague and misty to our best friends? Ia it that 
the medium exercises some mesmeric influence on her 
visitors, who are thus made to accept the faces which 
she wills them to see ? Or is it, af tor all, only the dim 
light and a fresh illustration of la nuit tous lea chats 
tont grUf" In the confessions of an exposed medium 
we read : " The first stance I held, after it became 
known to the Rochester people that I was a medium, a 
gentleman from Chic^o recognized his daughter Lizzie 
in me after I had covered my small mustache with a 
piece of flesh-colored cloth, and reduced the size of my 
face with a shawl I had purposely hung up in the back 
of the cabinet." With such powerful magicians as an 
expectant interest and a strong prepossession, the realm 
of the marvelous is easily entered; but the evidence 
thus accumulated may be said to have about the same 
scientific value as the far more interesting entortEun< 
menta of the " Thousand and One Nights." " Sergeant 
Cox," Mr. Fodmore tells us, "adduced the hallucina- 
tory feeling of a missing limb in proof of a spiritual 
body ; and a writer in the ' Spiritualist,' ' not yet con- 
vinced of the spiritualistic theory,' could even pronounce 
the after-images produced by gazing at a straw hat to 
be ' independent of any known human agency.' From 


all of which it may be gathered that the oonsdentioiu 
Bpiritualist, when on marvels bent, did not display a 
frugal mind." Snch opiniong certiunl; justify Mr. 
Podmore's remark that there are spiritualists, " not a 
few, who would be capable of testifying, if their prepos- 
sessions happened to point that way, that they had 
seen the oow jump over the moos ; and would refer for 
corroborative evidence to the archives of the nursery." 
It is natural to suppose that prepossession of such 
intensity could occur only amongst the less intelligent 
and less discerning portions of mankind ; but to a con> 
siderable extant, and certainly in sporadic instances, 
this is not the case. The distinguished naturalist who 
shares with Darwin the honor of contributing to 
modem thought the conceptions of evolution, in his 
ardent advocacy of Spiritualism, has recorded his assent 
to the belief that professional conjurers, performing 
at the Crystal Palace in London, could not aooompUsh 
their tricks without supernatural aid. With peculiar 
obliviousness to the double-edgedness of his remark, he 
writes : " If you think it all juggling, point ont where 
the difference lies between it and mediumiatic pheno- 
mena." The same prepossession renders him so imper- 
vious to the actual status of the evidence for Spititoalism 
as to permit him to record so preposterous a statement 
as the following : The physical phenomena of Spirit- 
ualism " have all, or nearly all, been before the world 
for twenty years ; the theories and explanations of 
reviewers and critics do not touch them, or in any way 
satisfy any sane man who has repeatedly witnessed 
them ; they have been tested and examined by skeptics 
of every grade of inoreduli^, men in every way qoali> 


fied to detect impostare or to diaoover tmtoral cuTims, 
— truned physiciats, medical men, lawyers, and men o£ 
bnaiiiew, — but in every case the investigators have 
either retired bafSed, or beooma converts." And in 
tlie latest ntterances of the same authority the failure 
to credit the marvels of Spiritualism is put down along 
with the eqnal neglect of phrenology, as among the 
signal failnrea of our "wonderful century." If any 
furUier instanoeB be required of the astounding efFects 
of bias and prepossession in matters spiritualistic, the 
vast literature of the subject may be referred to as a 
Bad but instructive monument of its influence. 


The conaideration of the effeota of a prepossesaion 
in favor of a belief in spiritagency leada naturally to 
a consideration of the ori^n of the belief. Thia tend- 
eooy to believe in the return to earth of the apirits of 
the departed, is probably to be viewed as a form of 
cxpteaston of the primitive animism that dominates 
savE^ philosophy, that pervades the hiatorical develop- 
ment of religion and of aoience, and that crops out in 
varions ways throughout all grades of civilization and 
all levels of aociety. Combined with it is an equally 
fundamental love for the marvelous, and a more or 
less suppressed belief in the significance of the ob- 
scure, the myaterioua, the occult. These belief-tenden- 
ciea, accordingly, have an anthropological significance 
and an hiatorical continuity which Mr. Lang thus pre- 
sents : " These instances prove that, from the Austra- 
lian blacks in the Bush, who hear raps when the apirits 
oome, to ancient Egypt, and thence to Grreece, and 


but, in onr own time, and in a London suburb, similar 
experiences real or imaginary are explained by the 
same hypothesis. No ' anrviral ' can be more odd 
and striking, none more illustrative of the permanence, 
in human nature, of certain elements. To examine 
these psychological curiosities may, or may not, be 
' useful,' bnt, at the lowest, the study may rank as a 
branch of mythology or folk-lore." Mr. Tylor fully 
concords with this view : " The received apiritualistio 
theory," he says, " belongs to the philosophy of sav- 
ages. . . . Suppose a wild North American Indian 
looking on at a spirit-a£ance in London. As to the 
presence of disembodied spirits, manifeatiDg themselves 
by raps, noises, voices, and other physical actions, the 
savage would be perfectly at home in the proceedings ; 
for such things are part and parcel of his recognized 
system of nature." Mr. Fodmore's comment upon the 
spiritoalistjo hypothesis expresses a kindred thought. 
** As the peasant referred the movement of the steam- 
engine to the only motive force with which he was 
acquainted, and supposed that there were horses inside, 
BO the spiritualists, recognizing, as they thought, in the 
phenomena the manifestations of will and intelligence 
not apparently those of any person visibly present, 
invoked the agency of the spirits of the dead. We 
can hardly call this belief an hypothesis or an explana- 
tion ; it seems indeed at its outset to have been little 
more than the instinctive utterance of primitive an- 

The strongly rooted, anti-logical tendencies of oar 
nature, thus indicated, come to the surface in variona 
and unexpected ways, and give rise to views and cults 


that have mncli in common with the manifeat&tions 
and beliefs of Spiritnalism. It is this very oommu- 
nitf that forms one of the recognizable stigmata of 
snob movements ; everywhere there is an appeal to the 
yearning for the mysterious, for special signs and 
mnens that may reinforce the personal interpretation 
of the events of the universe, and reveal the tran- 
toendence of the limitations of natural law. These 
movements, too, seem at different epochs to flare up 
and spread into true epidemics, utterly consuming all 
inherent foundations of logic and common sense, in the 
white beat of the emotional interest with which they 
advance. It seems to matter little how tidvial, how 
absurd, how vulgar, bow ignorant, or how improbable 
the manifestations may be, the passion for belief in 
their mysterious origin sets all aside. Why returning 
spirits should devote their energies to playing tam- 
bourines, and conjuring with slates, to Indian dances, 
and vapid, bombastic, and nngrammatdcal " inspira- 
tional " speeches, seems not even to be considered. It 
requires as little evidence and as ridicoloua evidence 
to prove a spirit to a spiritualist as it did to prove 
a witob to a witch-finder. Those whose feelings are 
not appealed to by the doctrines of Spiritualism will 
assuredly never be attracted by its logic. 

The psychologist who observes the natural hbtory 
of the belief in Spiritualism, — its origin, and mode of 
propagation, its blossoming and fruitage, is naturally 
led to consider the nature of its decline. That it 
declines rapidly in the presence of newer rivals for 
popular favor, appealing to mneb the same mental 
and emotional traits, and therefore finding a similar 


oonstitDency, has bees made evident in the vioiABitades 
of its career. It suffered considerably at the period 
when the meteoric showers of Theosophy passed over 
oar planet ; it is subject to the waning of interest that 
always acoompanies familiarity, and that makes even 
the most exciting experiences pale with time. Such 
familiarity also gives opportunity for the return of a 
calm and critical investigative attitnde, such as the 
last two decades, in particular, have broagbt about. 
That such investigation is destined seriously to influ- 
enoe opinion, and eventoally to triumph over error and 
Buperstitioa, no one with confidence in the ultimate 
rationality of mankind will be inclined to doubt In 
the case of Spiritualism, l<^c will find a worthy ally in 
the more discerning development of the moral aensi- 
bilitiea which true culture always brings with it. When 
it is realized that a system that aims to instruct men in 
regard to beliefs appealing most earnestly and deeply 
to the human heart appears in the light of exact in- 
vestigation as a tottering framework, held tc^ther by 
gross fraud, covered over with innocent self-deception, 
but also with vulgar sham ; when it is realized that 
under the shelter of such a system men and women alt 
over our land are daily and hourly preying upon the 
credulity of simple-minded folk, and obtaining a live- 
lihood by means for which the law provides punisb- 
ment, — the moral indignation following upon this 
realization will impart vigor to the protest against 
such practices, which a mere sense of their irration- 
ality would fail to incite. The moral and feathetio 
aversion which many of the practices and tenets of 
Spiritnalism arouses in those whose ideals are sound 



and Bteadfart may prore to be a more Berioos memoe 
to the spread of the belief, a more potent sooroe of ita 
decay, than flven its iuberent moonaistenoies and iiii> 


luFOBTANT periods in the histoiy of science are as 
likely to be characterized by changes in attitude to- 
wards the accepted body of knowledge, as by the ex- 
tension of its realm through new discoveries. The 
contrast between the undeveloped and the advanced 
stages of a science is as well realized by noting the 
totally different mode in which facta are viewed, as by 
observing the vast increase in the range of recorded 
fact. The alchemist and the chemist have far more in 
common in the way of operations and material than 
in thdr conceptionB of the purposes and the method of 
their porsuits. The astrologer and the astronomer are 
again most characteristically differentiated by their 
motives and point of view ; both observe the positions 
of planet and star, and calculate orbits and phases 
and oppositions ; but nothing is more absurdly ii^ 
relevant to the astronomer's purpose than the hope of 
predicting the fortunes of men. A more modem ex- 
ample of a similar relation is that between phrenology 
and the physiolo^cal doctrine of the localization of 
fnnotions in the brain. And alchemist, astrologer, and 
phrenologist have this in common : that they aimed at 
immediately practical ends. The one hoped to create 
wealth, the other to foretell and control fate, and the 
third to insure success by discovering the earmarks of 
natural gifts. They distorted the facts of nature, and 


in tlie narrow pursuit of a praotioal goal, sabstitoted 
for realities their own fanciful theories, or the elabora- 
tions of their defective logic. Science advances moat 
favorably when the best ener^es are devoted to a com- 
prehension of fundamental principles and to the accn< 
mulation of data under the guidance of the interests to 
which these principles ^ve rise ; and when the work 
proceeds with the confidence that, more indirectly bat 
more sorely, will the richest practical benefits thns 
aoome. The marked contrast exemplified in the hia- 
Uaj of chemistry and astronomy, and in a more limited 
way of brain physiology, make it proper to speak of 
the very different pursuits with which they were asso> 
oiated as their antecedents and not as early stages of 
their own development. Intimate as may be the rela- 
tions between the two historically, the one represents 
but the forerunner of the other ; it indicates in what 
direction interest guided thought before that changed 
interest appeared, which made possible the germina- 
tion and growth of the true science. Only when the 
weeds had been rooted out did the flowers begin to 

The history of hypnotism furnishes another and a 
varied illuBtration of a similar relation. If we accept as 
the essential fact of modem hypnotism the demonstra- 
tion of an altered nervous and mental state, in which sug- 
gestibility is increased to a quite abnormal degree ; in 
which, accordingly, functions not ordinarily under the 
control of voluntary effort become so controllable, and 
there are induced simple and complex modifications of 


pl^iological and psjcholo^cal actmties, — tlien the 
conditioii of opinion tbat prevailed prior to the recog- 
nition of the true signifioance of the phenomena in 
question, the false and unfounded and mystical con- 
ceptions concerning them, may properly be grouped 
together as the antecedents of hypnotism. The entire 
aspect of the problem under the one regime is strik- 
ingly different from its appearance under the reign oi 
the snocessor. 

In the presentation, from the point of view of modern 
hypnotism, of the more important steps in the tortaons 
and laborious transition from unbridled speculation and 
fantastic praotioes to a rational and consistent body 
of truth, a twofold interest may be maintained ; the one, 
in the fluctuation of opinion antecedent to the scientific 
reoogoition of hypnotism, and the other in the dra- 
m(Ui8 pentotUB concerned in this history and their 
contributions, great and small, for good or for ill, 
to that gradnal and irregular change of attitude the 
tested residue of which modem hypnotism embodies. 
The latter interest will form a helpful gnide for selec- 
tion unong the complex sequence of events with which 
we shall have to deal. Accounts of the well-established 
phenomena of hypnotism are so readily accessible, that 
it seems sufficient to emphasize these two fundamental 
points — the ultimate recognition of an altered psycho- 
physiological state, and of the dominant part which 
suggestion plays in the development of hypnotic pheno- 
mena — and to accept them as furnishing the principles 
according to which tiie survey of the antecedents of 
hypnotism is to be conducted. 

It will ai^iear that much of the conflict which the 


present tale unfolds is the conflict between the rational 
investigatioa of intelligible facts and the unwarranted 
attempts at an explanation of alleged miracles, — 
a phase of the conflict between science and mysta- 
«nsm. The imperfectly understood is apt to be ex- 
plained by the still more obscure ; totally ima^nary 
forms of energy are called upon to account for poorly 
obserred effects ; and so the mystery deepens, super- 
stition spreads, and charlatanism finds a fertile field 
for its display. This conflict in the present instance 
is by no means conflned to the past ; the mystical 
and the mimooloos, or at least the unintelligible side 
of bypnotio phenomena still finds its exponents. Ao- 
oounts of observations and experiments purporting to 
demonstrate that hypnotism not only presents hyper^ 
lesthesia and exaggerated forms of mental activity, but 
transcends all normal psychological processes and re- 
veals a hidden world in which other forces and other 
modes of mental oommunication freely appear, are 
widely circulated and sometimes with the authority of 
names of repute. But the more discerning, the more 
exact, and the more logical students of hypnotism, 
cannot accept such observations, and have often been 
able to point out the anmistakable sources of error 
which gave rise to them. The shrewdness of hyp- 
notized subjects, the unconscious suggestiou of the 
operator, looseness of observation and theoretical bias, 
exercise the same influence for error to-day as they 
presented in the antecedents of hypnotism. 

In reading the story of former opinion, it ia of advan- 
tage to heep in mind the well-established facts regard- 
ing hypnotism, not alone for the sake of recognizing 


what U important and what uneBsential, what are the 
iDBtruotive and what the irrelevant facta and details, 
but also for the equal advantage of securiD^ data for 
the interpretation of phenomena, which in the aheence 
of present-day knowledge, and in the misleading 
accoonta current at the time, naturally gave rise toi 
extravagant forms of explanation. Our knowledge 
of insanity, hysteria, and trance-conditions, of the in- 
fluence of the mind over the body, of the nature of 
illusion and hallucination, of preposaession and sugges- 
tion, shed a strong light upon religious ecstasy, upon 
demon-possession, upon cures by shrines and relics, or 
by the king's touch, upon the conti^ion of psychio 
epidemics, upon the action of magnetized tree or " mes- 
merized " water, upon the performances of " sensitives " 
and sonmambulists, and the sensational scenes enacted 
about the " baquet." Our historical survey might ac- 
cordingly include an account of the states of insensi- 
bility and of the potent power of sug^^tion, which 
occurred in connection with the religious observances 
in the practices of ancient civilizations, and have 
always formed, as they still form, a characteristic cult 
among primitive peoples. That such states, closely 
corresponding to the hypnotic trance, are induced for 
magical purposes among savages is more than probable ; 
equally clear is it that interspersed through the vener- 
able record of magio and witchcraft and ecstasy and 
exorcism and miraculous cures, are accounts of states, 
induced usually by religious fervor, which are strongly 
Bu^^estive of some of the characteristics of the hyp. 
notic condition. But in the interests of unity and 
brevity it will be best to limit attention to those 


ancestors of faypnotism, of whoae methods and praotioes 
we have fairly definite information. More especially 
does the career of Mesmer supply the most favorable 
startin^point of the surrey ; yet some notice should 
be taken of those who preceded him in achieving repu- 
tation as healers of disease. 

One of the best known of these healers was Valen- 
tine Greateriok (or Greatrakes), who was bom in Ire- 
land in 1628, and who came to England (about 16(i5) 
by invitation of Lord Conway, upon a mission thus 
quaintly expressed: to cure "that excellent lady of 
his, the pains of whose head, as great and aa unparal- 
leled as they are, have not made her more known and 
admired at home and abroad, than have her other 
endowments." Lady Conway seems to have been in- 
tensely devoted to mystical pursuits, and assembled at 
Kagley Castle such men as Greatrakes, Rev. Joseph 
Glanvill, F. R. S., author of Sadduciaaimua Triumpha- 
tae. Dr. Henry Moore, the Cambridge Flatonist, and 
others of whom Mr. Lang speaks as " an unofficial but 
active society for psychical research, as that study- 
existed in the seventeenth century." They told tales 
of " levitation " and witchcraft and the movements of 
bodies by unseen agencies, at all of which one or the 
other had been an eyewitness ; and Greatrakes seems 
to have taken as prominent a part in these as in the 
healing proceedings. Greatrakes was called to his 
career by a special indication of providence — "he 
heard a voyce within him (audible to none else) en- 
couraging to the tryals ; and afterwards to correct his 


nnbelief the voice aforesaid added this signe, that his 
right hand ahould be dead, and that the atroaHng of 
his Itft arme should recover it again, the events 
whereof were fully verified by him three nighta together 
by a sacoessive infirmity and cure of his arme." While 
hfl failed to cure Lady Conway's headaches " he wrought 
a few miracles of healing among rural invalids," and 
seems to have been particularly successful with nervous 
complunts. "I saw him," writes a contemporary, 
" put his Finger into the Eares of a man who was very 
thick of Hearing, and immediately he beard me when I 
asked him very softly severall questions." 

The status of the medical science of the day is well 
refieoted in the comment of Henry Stubbe, physician 
at Stratford upon Avon, from whose contemporary 
account our knowledge of Greatrakes is obtained. For 
explanation of the cures, he suggests *' that God had 
bestowed upon Mr. Greatarick a peculiar Tempera- 
ment, or composed his Body of some particular Fer- 
ments, the Effluvia whereof, being introduced someUmes 
by a light, sometimes by a violent Friction, should 
restore the Temperament of the Debilitated parts, re- 
invigorate the Blood, and ^ssipate all heterogeneous 
Ferments out of the Bodies of the Diseased, by the 
Eyes, Nose, Month, Hand and Feet." However crude 
may seem this cure by the " Precipitation of the Morbif- 
ique Ferment," the theoretical position of Mesmer is 
not less hypothetical, dogmatic, and gratuitous. Indeed, 
to Greatrakes's and his bic^rapher's credit, it should 
be noted that they recognized the distinction between 
functional and organic complaints ; that Mr. Greatarick 
" meddles " only with such diseases as " have their 


Tiiinnfrfi either in iha mane of Blood and Bpbnt (or 
nervons liqnon) or in the particular Tempnament oE 
the parts of the Body," that he ooree no disease 
** wherein tbereisadeoajof Xatnre." "This is aotm- 
fessed tmth hy him, he ref luiag still to touch the £yes 
of snoh as their sight has quite perished." None the 
less his onres were regarded as miraouloiifl, and Dr. 
Stnbbe tells ns that " as there is but one Mr. Great- 
arioks, so there is but one Sonne " ; and to dispel in- 
credolity in regard to these, wonders, he adds : " Wft 
aie all Indians and Salvages in what we hare not ao- 
onstomed our senses ; What was oonjiuing in the lasfc 
age is Hathemattqnes in this. And if we do but otat- 
sider the sole effects of Gnn-powder, as it is seTetally 
to be used, and rerolTe with onrselves what we would 
have thought if we had been told those Prodigies, and 
not seen them ; will we think it strange if men think 
the actions of extraordinary Ferments impossible?" 
But to leave the " Ferments " for the recorded acoonnt 
of what was done, we can only note that Grreatrakes's 
methodfl oonnsted mainly of strokings and passes and 
in driving the pains from one point to another tut^ 
they went out at the fingers or toes. There is nothing 
recorded that definitely sn^eats the production of the 
hypnotic state ; but direct Buggestion, reinforced by 
manipulations, obviously had much to do with the 
cures. They clearly approximate more closely to the 
faith-«nre methods of to-day than to the phenomena of 

The latter half of the eighteenth century seems to 
have offered social, intelleotoal, and political conditions 
peonliarly favorable to the snocess of fantastic schemers. 


of [nopagandiBts of Btrange philosophies, and adver- 
tisers of supernatural procedures for short«ircuiting 
the road to health, wealth, knowledge, and immortality. 
In this period there appeared Swedenbd^'s inspired 
revelations and philosophic cult ; Caglioatro's extrava- 
gant cliunu of personal power and bold-faced impos- 
tures ; Schrepfer, who combined with Masonio mysteries 
a striking anticipation of the materializing stances of 
modem spiritualiBm ; GaBsner, the priest, exorcist, and 
healer ; and finally Mesmer, the founder of animal 
magnetism, and through it the parent of an endless 
prc^eny of unproved and unprovable systems, and of 
equally irrational practices. 

It is worth while to consider for a moment the career 
of Gassner, if for no other reason than that Mesmer 
witnessed Gassncr's procedures, and that their methods 
have some points in common, — in particular the calling 
out of acute symptoms, or " a crisis," as a means- of 
cure. Johann Joseph Gassner, a Suabian priest, ap- 
peared as a curer of disease about 1778 ; he regarded 
most maladies as of Satanic origin, and attempted 
cures by driving out the demon of disease by appeal'to 
divine i^noy. After inquiry regarding the nature of 
the complaint and its symptoms, he would urge the 
patient to have faith, and perhaps would offer a prayer 
for his recovery ; he would then call out the various 
symptoms of pain, stiffness, weakness, and Uie like, and 
at the word " Cesaet " these symptoms would disappear. 
"Cessrf iata Debilitaa" — the patient beoomes as 
strong and as active as though be bad never been sick. 
"Modo adsit l^ebris tan^an in Manu et Brachio 
dextro" — ihe right hand beoomes cold and numb, and 


trembles, the pulse in this arm is rapid, feverish, and 
strong, but slow and normal in the left. '^ Cesset in 
ista Manu et adeat sinistram;' — the left arm now be- 
comes as the right had been, and the pulse of the right 
is now normal ; and so the treatment proceeds, accom- 
panied by the invocation, *^ JProedpio hoc in nomine 
c/e^ti." This process of alternation of pain and its 
remission is continued, until at length the patient is 
dismissed as cured. The status of Gassner's cures, 
except for their more pronounced religious character, 
is much the same as those of Greatrakes ; both exhibit 
the effects of suggestion, but neither recognized the 
process of suggestion, nor gives evidence of having 
produced an abnormal condition. This, however, is by 
no means excluded; and Greatrahes's account of the 
insensibility of his own arm, as well as the similar 
state induced in his patients by Gassner, indicate a 
high degree of suggestibility. 


Friedrich Anton Mesmer was bom in Iznang, on the 
Lake of Constance, May 28, 1734; destined by his 
parents for the church, he turned from the study of 
theology to that of law, and again changed to medicine. 
He graduated as a physician from the University of 
Vienna in 1776, and in his doctor's thesis upon '^ The 
Influence of the Planets on the Human Body,'* he 
attempted to revive the underlying doctrines of astro- 
logy from a medical point of view. He defined the 
*' quality of animal bodies, rendering them suscept- 
ible to the influence of heaven and earth," as ^' ani- 
mal magnetism ; " and regarded the action involved as 


analogous to that of the moon npon the abb and flow of 
the tide. Tbe fluctuations and periodicities of disease 
he sought to produce artificial!;, and therefore called 
his theory the " imitatiTe theory," the object being to 
imitate the upe and downs of nature. He records bis 
first practical test on the 28tb of July, 1774, when he 
placed magnets upon the chest and feet of his patient, 
a young lady, who was suffering from a variety of 
morbid symptoms. Shortly thereafter " she felt inter- 
nally a painful streaming of a very fine substance going 
now here and now there, but finally settling in the 
lower part of hor body, and freeing her from all farther 
attacks for six hours." Somewhat later, when the same 
patient chanced to be suffering from one of her attacks, 
and was lying unconscions, she responded by violent 
movements to the slightest touch of Mesmer, but re- 
mained entirely unresponsive to the manipulations of 
a bystander. One of six cups was then chosen by 
Mesmer's visitor to be impressed with magnetic pro- 
perties. Contact with this cup, which Mesmer had 
touched, produced in the patient movements of her 
hands and expressions of pain. Mesmer's influence 
made itself felt at a distance of eight steps, and even 
when a third person stood between the two. These 
simple observations were the humble beginnings of the 
practices of animal ma^etism. 

The details of Mesmer's early doings are of special 
value, for in them we may expect to discover the true 
nature of the man and his system ; our knowledge of 
tbem is derived mainly from tbe account, written some 
thirty-five years aftar the events, by a not too discern- 
ing eyewitness. They give a sufficiently definite jnotore 


of his nuumer and meihods. Magnets and eleofem 
maohines, pasaes and strokings, fantastic dress and 
equally fantastic manipulations, he utilized eyen bef oze 
he became well known. The method was always the 
same ; calling out pains and paroxysms and crises, and 
in turn allaying the symptoms thus aroused until the 
patient was pronounced cured. From the first, too, he 
was anxious to secure tiie recognitj^on of authoritative 
bodies of scientific men. Early in 1775, Mesmer pro- 
posed his theory for acceptance to several learned 
societies, but received no encouragement His use of 
magnets (which he probably derived from the astrono- 
mer. Hell) had aroused the opposition of his fellow- 
practitioners, and his professed cure of a prot^g^ of 
Maria Theresa involved him in a somewhat unseemly 
dispute, ultimately necessitating his departure from 
Vienna. In February, 1778, he came to Paris, where 
he entered upon a remarkable but brief career, termi- 
nating somewhat abruptiy in 1784. 

Mesmer has left us a narrative of his doings during 
the first three of these years — a record devoted almost 
exclusively to a wearisome account of his controversies 
with the various learned societies of Paris. He ap- 
pealed to the French Academy of Sciences and to the 
Boyal Medical Society, announcing a most wonderful 
physical discovery, to describe which suitable words 
were as yet lacking. Mesmer wished these societies to 
sanction his discovery, not to act as judges of its truth, 
of which he says there can be no reasonable doubt. 
He offered them a series of dogmatic propositions, set- 
ting forth the nature of animal magnetism, and appar- 
endy desired the cures to be considered a subordinate 

part of the issne. He waa, however, continuously en- 
gaged in caring disease. His most valuable convert 
was M. Desloo, a member of the Medical Faculty of 
Paris, a man of considerable influence, who at onoe 
espoused Mesmer's cause with unlimited enthusiasm. 
He invited a dozen of his collei^es to meet Mesmer 
at dinner, and had read to them an CKposition of the 
system of animal m^netism. The company seem not 
to have been very deeply impressed ; for it was with 
difficulty that Deslon indnoed three of them to asso- 
ciate themselves with him in an investigation ; and they 
soon deserted him, when their requests for simple, un> 
ambignons tests and their explanation of the observed 
effect as dae to an overstironlated im^nation, were 
alike dier^arded. i The point at issue in these testa 
seems to have been whether Mesmer in his own person 
poseessed an influence or magnetic radiation, which 
brought him into rapport with his magnetically sensi- 
tive subjects ; but Mesmer apparently regarded any 
test that reflected the skeptical attitude of liia investi- 
gators as unbecomingly suspicious. Deslon, however, 
remained a staunch believer in the new system, and 
defended its cause before the Faculty of Medicine, 
dwelling upon the honor of having it presented to 
them, and the eternal glory they would merit by accept- 
ing " the most important discovery at which the human 
mind had ever marveled." But the Faculty voted to 
reject the propositions, and Deslon lost his seat in their 

This adverse action, together with Mesmer's threat 
to leave France, seems to have swelled the enthusiasm 
in his behalf to enormous proportions. He tells us 


that he received a letter from the queen urging him 
not to shirk his duty to mankind by leaving France at 
this juncture, that he was visited by a high official in 
behalf of the king offering him an annuity of 20,000 
livres, with an additional 10,000 livres for the rental 
of an establishment for operating his cures. Mesmer 
insisted upon the formal and irrevocable admission of 
the existence and utility of his discovery as prelim- 
inary to all negotiations, and demanded, in addition to 
the annuity, the gift of an estate ; but this was a step 
farther than royal protection would venture. 

Our information regarding the latter portion of 
Mesmer's Parisian career is meagre. In 1781 Deslon 
published his work on ^^ Animal Magnetism," in which 
he repeats with undiminished enthusiasm his praises of 
Mesmer, describes the marvelous cures he has wit- 
nessed and prophesies the eventual triumph of the 
system. Shortly thereafter Mesmer went to the Spa ; 
Deslon remained in Paris and began to treat patients 
by animal magnetism and with great success. He 
formed a special private class of educated men and 
women, from each of whom he received ten louis d'or 
per month. Upon hearing of this, Mesmer hurried 
back to Paris and found his former adherents divided 
into Mesmerists and Deslonists. He then (October, 
1782) denounced Deslon as one who had betrayed his 
secrets and was misrepresenting the system. Through 
the efforts of friends, an inner circle — the first of the 
" Loges d'Harmonie " — was formed, consisting of one 
hundred members, each of whom paid one hundred 
louis d'or for the privilege of hearing Mesmer's exposi- 
tion of his whole secret. Dissensions and discussions 


oontinued to arise; one of his he&rere said "that those 
who know the secret are in greater doubt than those 
who are ignorant of it ; " and M. Berthellot, the chem- 
ist, who in paying his fee reserved the right of criti- 
cism, was so irritated at the pedantic and ridiculous 
treatment to which he was subjected, that he upset the 
"baquet" and left the room inavioleut rage. Matters 
went on in this way, with frequent propositions of a 
scientific examination, and as frequent refusals on the 
part of Mesmer to have further dealings with scientific 
societies, until, in 1784, the famous commission was 
appointed by the throne. 

This commission was composed of four members of 
the Faculty of Medicine, MM. Borie (who at his death 
was succeeded by M. Majault), Sallin, Darcet, Gnillo- 
tin, to whom were added five members of the Academy 
of Sciences, MM. Franklin, Leroy, Bailly, Lavoisier, 
and de Bory. Their report describes in scrupulous 
and careful detail everything that they witnessed at the 
house of Deslon, who carefully and circumstantially 
assured them that Meamer's procedures and hb own 
were quite the same ; and who allowed them the great- 
est freedom in examinations and tests. They tried 
the treatment themselves, but felt no effects. They 
emphasized the fact that public performances in which 
excitement and contagion have full play are more suo- 
ceseful than private ones, and that the subjects most 
easily influenced are to be found among the ignorant 
rather than among the educated classes. They blind- 
folded one of their subjects, and pretended to per- 
form the usual passes, while they really did nothing ; 
yet the expected results ensued. It was believed that 


when the subject came in contact with a tree that had 
been magnetized, the symptoms of an approaching 
crisis would be manifested; accordingly they had a tree 
in Franklin's garden magnetized, but their subject 
went to four other trees and at each exhibited the 
usual phenomena. From such experiments, ingen- 
iously devised and varied, the commissioners concluded 
that the effects witnessed were due to an overstimu- 
lated imagination, to an anticipation of the result, to 
excitement and contagion. *^ Let us represent to our- 
selves," they say, **the situation of a person of the 
lower class, and in consequence ignorant, attacked 
with a distemper and desirous of a cure, introduced 
with some degree of ceremony to a large company 
partly composed of physicians, where an operation is 
performed upon him, totally new, and from which he 
persuades himself beforehand that he is about to ex- 
perience prodigious effects. Let us add to this that 
he is paid for his compliance, that he thinks he shall 
contribute more to our satisfaction by professing to 
experience sensations of some kind, and we shall have 
definite causes to which to attribute these effects." 

There was presented at the same time a secret re- 
port by the same commission, dwelling upon the dangers 
to morality inherent in these practices. A commission 
appointed by the Royal Medical Society reported to 
the same effect. They found in all their experiments 
that an expectation of the result was necessary to its 
accomplishmcDt, and they directed attention anew to 
the entire lack of proof of any of Mesmer's proposi- 
tions regarding the magnetic fluid. To this second 
report there was one dissenting voice, that of Jussieu, 


the botanist, who, while rejeotbg all belief in animal 
magnetism, yet curiously regarded heat, as developed 
by friotioa, aa an essential factor of the phenomena. 
Farthermore, M. Thouret reported, by request of the 
same society, npon the literature and history of the 
doctrine, and traced the notions which Mesmer ad- 
vanced to older writers ; and showed the similarity of 
his practices to those of former astrologers and mystics. 
In opposition to these reports, of which more than 
twenty thousand copies were issued, Mesmer denounced 
the goremment, the scientific societies, the medical 
profession, and all who had opposed him. His attitude 
may be inferred from the closing words of a letter to 
Franklin. " I am like you, Sir, one of those whom one 
cannot oppress without danger, one of those men, who, 
because they have done great things, dispose of insult 
as other men dispose of authority. If any one like 
you, Sir, cares to try it, I have the world as my judge, 
and if the world can forget the good I have done, and 
prevent the good I wish to do, I have posterity aa my 

These adverse reports were most influential in ter- 
minating Mesmer's career in Paris ; but in this they 
were assisted by other events. Several deaths at the 
" baqnet " alarmed his adherents, and were promptly 
turned to account by his opponents. The death of 
M. Court de Gobelin, an author and prominent man 
of the day, was the occasion of the characteristic 
oommeots of the period ; and especially so as he had 
recently and publicly announced his indebtedness for 
renewed health to Mesmer. One of the journals noted 
his death thus : " M. Court de Gobelin vient de monrir. 


gu^ri par le Magnetisme animale ; " another suggested 
for his epitaph : — 

'* Ci git oe paaTie GMbelin, 
Qui saTait greo, h^bren, latin ; 
Admirex toos son h^ro'isme, 
H fat martyr de magnetisme." 

A comedy entitled *^ Docteurs Modemes " brought the 
** baquet '' upon the stage, ridiculed Mesmer and his 
procedures, and hinted with no great delicacy at the 
abuses to which the popularity of his treatment might 
give rise. In England the system was thus satirized : 


Take of the chymical oil of Fear, Dread, 

and Terror, each 4 ounces ; 

of the rectified Spirits of Lnagination 2 pounds ; 

Pat aU these ingredients into the bottle of fancy, dig^est 
for several days, and take forty drops at about nine in the 
morning, or a few minutes before you receive a portion of 
the Magnetic Effluvia. They will make the effluvia have a 
surprising effect, etc., etc. 

In 1785 there appeared a mock funeral oration upon 
Mesmer, travestying with endless extravagance his 
pretensions and methods. Caricature was a favorite 
mode of attack ; and the examples that have escaped 
destruction vividly preserve the spirit and the local 
color of the times. Yet both learned aud unlearned 
opinion was divided, and the press was the medium of 
eulogy as well as of denunciation. Of still greater im- 
portance were the discoveries of the Marquis de Puy- 
s^gur, one of Mesmer's disciples, which diverted the 
interest in animal magnetism into a new channel ; and, 


Gnally, the tnnnoil of the French Kevolatioa drove 
Mesmerism into obscurity, and Mesmer to a retreat 
in the town of Frauenfeld, near the lake of Constance. 
Our last picture of Mesmer shows him living in simple 
seclusion, complaining of the world's treatment of him, 
performing cares among those about him, and cherish- 
ing to the end his belief in animal m^netism. He 
died March 5, 1815, at Meersburg, where be lies buried. 

The system of animal magnetism Mesmer summed 
up in a series of twenty-seven propositions presented 
entirdy without proof, asserting the existence of an 
" universally diffused subtle fluid, appearing in all por- 
tions of the celestial system, and affecting the animal 
economy by insinuating itself into the nerves ; it has 
properties analogous to that of the magnet, may be 
reflected like light, propagated like sound, and may 
be increased, opposed, accumulated, transmitted to 
another object, and transported ; furthermore this prin- 
ciple, which is, in a way, a sixth sense artificially ac- 
quired, will cure nervous disease directiy, and others 
indirectly by provoking salutary crises, thus bringing 
the art of healing to perfection." Mesmer's methods 
varied at different stages of his career. The use of 
magnets as the main or exclusive factor in his cures, 
he seems to have abandoned before going to Paris ; at 
first he made the passes with his hands, or with an 
iron rod, directing his fingers toward his patient, and 
emphasizing these movements by strokings and ral> 
bings. The object of these manipulationa wm to «0lt> 
oentrate and send out the magnetinn vidi 


body was saturated. This magnetism lie oould trans- 
fer to others or to inanimate objects. ^ I have magp- 
netized paper, bread, wool, silk, leather, stone, glaas, 
water, different metals, wood, men, dogs, — in one 
word, all that I have touched, so that these substances 
produced the same effects on the patients as the mag- 
nets.'' When his increasing success no longer allowed 
him to attend personally to all his patients, he em- 
ployed a valet toucher, or imparted the curative pro- 
perties to water, to a tree, etc. At the height of hie 
career he devised the ** baquet," which he describes as 
a ^^ small open vessel on a three-legged support, from 
which emerged some bent iron rods, the points of 
which could be easily applied to the outer parts of the 
body, such as the head, breast, stomach, etc." The 
baquet and other paraphernalia served to concentrate 
and impart the fluid that issued abundantly from Mes- 
mer's person. An eyewitness thus describes the re- 
sults of the treatment : ^^ Some patients experienced 
pains and fever ; others fell into unusual and severe 
convulsions, frequently lasting for three hours ; others 
became faint and dazed, and but few remained unaf- 
fected. There were manifested the most violent invol- 
untary distortions of the limbs; partial suffocation, 
heaving of the abdomen, wild glances, were observed ; 
one patient utters piercing cries, another has fits of 
laughter, while a third bursts into tears. Nothing can 
break this spell save the command of the magnetizer, 
and whether the patients be in the wildest frenzy or 
in the deepest stupor, a word, look, or nod of the mas- 
ter is sufficient to bring them to consciousness. This 
violent condition was technically termed a crisis, and 


depriTecl the patients of all conscioaBnees bo that none 
could at all remember what had been felt, heard, or 
done while in this condition; and yet they were so 
senBJtive that one could not come in contact with them, 
not even touch the chair on which they sat, without 
causing fright and couYuIsions which only the master 
could pacify." As the curea pn^ressed, the patients 
lost their aenBitiveuesB to the magnetic fluid. The 
scenes about the bagoet have come to be the most nsual 
association with the name of Mesmer. The dimly lit 
room, the odor of incense, the mellow tones of the 
organ, the hnahed silence and anxious expectancy; 
the entrance of Mesmer, wand in hand, clad in strik- 
ing robes, to initiate the crises that then spread by the 
contagion of nerroas disorder ; all these reflect the in- 
tellectual and social conditions of the time, and are most 
naturally interpreted as the adaptation of a shrewd 
adventurer to his environment. 

In the light of this account it becomes dear that 
while an altered condition of the nervous B3rBtem and a 
state of increased suggcBtibility were constantly mani- 
fested in Mesmer's salle des criaea, yet Mesmer did 
not at all appreciate the nature of the process by which 
the effects were produced, nor the condition which 
he brought about in his patients. In brief, MeB- 
meriam in the hands of Mesmer was clearly only an 
antecedent of hypnotism. Yet certwn of the more 
detailed descriptions of the scenes about the haquet 
unmistakably indicate that some of Mesmer's subjects 
went into a true hypnotic condition ; that as many 
or more were the victims of more or less compleic 
hysterical attacks u eqoaUf dear. But to this aspect 


of the phenomena, Mesmer waa entirely inattoitiTa. 
Hu attention vaa deroted to the elaboiation of tlw 
phyuoal ageDoies which in his view were the canae of 
the phenomena, and to the prodnotion of the rather 
violent Bymptoms of the crisis which he always regarded 
M an essential part of the oniatiTe prooedure. He 
dabotated the baqnet, filled it with bottles and glaas 
and iron filings and water arranged in fanciful ways, 
and in some mystioal sense sag^;e8tive of magnetic in- 
floeiioes. Mesmerism thus oonsisted of the induction 
of erises by fnJTnaT magnetism, as concentrated in 
Maamer'a person and assisted by the baqnet, by 
passes and physioal manipnlations. Farther than this 
Mesmer never went in Ms comprehension of the phe- 
nomena that we now know as hypnotism. Indeed, 
when he was confronted with Fuys^gnr's subjects in 
the somsambulio state, be regarded the production 
of this true hypnotio condition as foolish, and oonsid- 
ered it to be only a subordinate phase of the vaag- 
netio crisis. Towards the close of his life, and when 
the tormoil and the glory of his Parisian career were 
memories of the past, when he had had abundant 
opportunity for reflection and for the observation of 
the altered condition which the status of Mesmerism 
had assumed, Mesmer still miuntained unaltered the 
d(^;ma8 of animal magnetism. 

In criticism of the attitude of the commission, it may 
certainly be held that they nnderestimated the signifi- 
cance of what they saw and used the term " imagina- 
tion " in a sense both vague and uncritical ; and yet 
the tenor of their oonolusiooa was as wholesome as it 
vaa justifiable. They were primarily concerned with 


the correotness of the proposed explanation of the phe- 
nomena, and with the value of the curative procednres ; 
and on these points their verdict is logically reached 
and forcibly stated. The psychic element in the guid- 
ance of conduct as in the treatment of diseases they 
were prepared to acknowledge, hut not as an indorse- 
ment of animal magnetism. " In searching for an 
imaginary caase for animal magnetism, the actual 
power whioh man exercises over his fellow-beings with- 
out the immediate and evident intervention of a physi- 
cal agent, is recognized." Their testa evidence their 
appreciation of the efficacy of suggestion, a power 
which they admit " can be elaborated to an art." 
While it may properly be ni^ed that the report con- 
tributed to the postponement of the scientific study of 
this class of phenomena, ite admirable logical qualities 
entitle its authors to the gratitude and honorable re- 
membrance of mankind. Indeed, in deference to the 
excited state of public opinion of the time, they sub- 
jected themselves and others to most painstaking teste, 
assuming the burden of disproof, and treating Mesmer's 
arbitrary attitude with more than scientific fairness. 
Their verdict not only destroyed Mesmer's pretensions, 
but held out a rational, though in our present Hghte an 
inadequate, interpretation of the phenomena, then so 
sensationally presented to an eniited and distraction- 
loving public. 

Before the commissioners had completed tlieir exam- 
ination, the aspect of animal magnetism was, in the 
hands of a French aMaauait aDdMoing an entire 


dnuige;. The MarqmB A. M. J. Cbastenet de Pirrs6> 
gar, bom in 1762, came of » dudi^Dished bmOj, aoA 
htmielf todi an impottuit part in tbe BenJatioD ; 
his deitb ms the mult of a romaatM: but impnident 
met of devotMn to the royalist cause, mi the oocamoa of 
tbe coronation of Charles X. in 1825. He was one 
ei Mesmer's select jmpils, and himself a good subject at 
the baqnet ; and likewise remained a firm supporter of 
the doctrines of ■"■"■■* magnetism. He had constructed 
ft haqoet at his estate at Bnzancy, aod was applying the 
** Mesmeric " practices among his dependents. It hap- 
pened on the fourth of May, 1784, that he had magne- 
tized his subject, Victor, in the usual way, when (to 
continue with his own words) " what was my sorprijM 
to see at the end of a quarter of an hoar this man 
ileepiog peaceably in my arms without convulsion or 
pun. . . . He spoke and seemed occupied with his 
own thoughts. ... I perceived that these were affect- 
ing him unpleasantly, and I stopped them and sug- 
gested plaasanter ones, which indeed was not difficult 
Soon I saw that he was happy, imi^ning that he had 
drawn a prize or was dancing at a fete, etc. ; these 
ideas I fostered, and thus forced him to move about on 
his chair as if dancing to a melody, which I made him 
repeat aloud, by bumming it myself." Upon awaken- 
ing, Victor remembered nothing of what bad happened. 
In this observation there are clearly recognizable an 
altered mental condition, a sleep-like unconscious state, 
losH of memory upon awakening, and suggestibility of 
sonsations, ideas, and movements, — all important 
characteristics of a true hypnosis. Indeed, this may 
be considered aa the first clearly recorded and uncom- 


plicated prodnotion of the conditioD which made poBU> 
ble the study of hypnotism. 

The phenomena thns presented might readily have 
been the starting-point of a acientifio investigation of 
this peculiar state, had not a subseqaent observation 
unfortunately directed the experiments into a different 
channel. When Victor was agun thrown into this 
"magnetic orisifl" or sleep, — as Puys^or at first 
termed it, — he began to speak, describing his ailments, 
directing what should be done to effect his cure, and 
giving similar prescriptions, when questioned in regard 
to the treatment of others. This strange condition, 
which by its analogy to sleep-walking came to be termed 
"artificial somnambulism," was destined to mark a 
taming-point in the history of the topic. It was evi- 
dent, almost from the outset, that the baqoet and 
the other paraphernalia, the crises, pain, and oon- 
tortions were rendered quite unnecessary. The patients 
had become their own pbyeictana, prescribing snch sim- 
ple remedies as were familiar to them by use or hearsay, 
and predicting the time of appearance and the nature of 
the symptoms, such as they had witnessed about the 
baquet or in everyday life. Within two months of 
the first observation, 62 cures had been effected trnder 
Puys^gur's direction, 300 patients were in attendance, 
and 10 somnambolists had been discovered ; before die 
dose of tie year (1784) Puys^gur published a volume 
detailing his cures, his correspondence, and his theory 
of animal magnetism. 

From the point of view of modem hypnotism, Puys^ 
gur's position is a most important one, more important, 
indeed, than that of Mesmer. His literary prodnotions 


and his personal activity in the formation of the 
Loges d'Harmonie (organizations devoted to the 
study of animal magnetism) were the most influential 
factors in keeping alive the study of these phenomena 
after Mesmer's downfall, and in their revival after the 
long interruption of the Revolution. Puys^gur's views 
were at first identical with those of Mesmer ; he be- 
lieved in the magnetic fluid and the baquet and the 
crises ; but his practices gradually dispensed with all 
these manipulations and regarded the action of the will 
upon the somnambules as the essential and sufficient 
method of effecting a cure. His conceptions were ex- 
tremely fanciful, and the point of view of his later 
writings is considerably at variance with that of his 
earlier compositions. ^^ Some day/' he predicts, ** after 
five or six thousand years of existence upon earth, 
mankind will admit that there is a fluid, or rather a 
conserving agent of their existence and their health, 
which they can utilize . . . and direct for the benefit 
of their fellow-men by the simple action of their wills." 
This universal magnetism is regarded as acting directly 
through the human will ; ^^ croyez et veuillez " is his 
motto. The tree likewise acts upon the patients con- 
nected with it, through the magnetic action imparted 
to it by the will of the magnetizer. Puys^gur regarded 
what he termed the instinctive electro-magnetism of 
man as analogous to the force by which the chick im- 
parts movement and life to the germ upon which she 
broods. It was, however, his practical influence, and 
not that of his decidedly fantastic views, wnich guided 
the progress of the antecedents of hypnotism. The 
oontributions of his successors, as of his predecessors. 


oamtot deprive liim of the credit of disooveiy of the 
hypnotic conditbt) and of the first clear appreciation of 
its importance. Bnt the progress which Puys^gur's 
disGOTery had brought 'about was almost at oDoe lost 
by the extravagant claims which were soon made for 
the somnambnles in their prediction and direction of 
the course of disease. They came to be regarded as 
possessed of supernormal powers by which they could 
perceive the anatomical conditions of their patients; 
they predicted the future, or rather they were impressed 
in advance with a sensation of what was to happen — ' 
"presentiment" or ** optique preliminaire " ; they 
traveled in spirit to distant times and places ; they 
were en rapport with the magnetizer, hearing and 
obeying him alone, and interpreting his unexpressed 
thoughts and wishes ; their remedies were declared 
infallible, and Fuys^gur himself, after thirty years of 
experience, records that he bad met with no case of a 
wrong prediction. The valuable discovery of an artifi- 
cially induced condition, recognizable by definite physir 
ological and psychological changes, wasat once engulfed 
in a senseless search for the wonderful and the pursuit 
of fantastic theories. 

Next in importance to the discoveries of Puys^gur 
were those of Dr. P^tetin, of Lyons. His general posi- 
tion is much the same as that of Puys^gur ; for " animal 
magnetism," he substituted an *' animal electricity," 
(such was the title of his posthumous volume, 1808) ; 
and he claimed to have found that the intervention of 
poor electric conductors opposed the appearance of cer^ 
taia of the phenomena of the somnambulic state. In a 
1 in 1787, he described a new condition 


ohuBotemed by a Bxtd rigidity of tbe limbs, to Trhidi 
be g»Te the name (still applied to it) of " oatalep^," 
and wbiob oontinnes to be one of tlie cbanudniistao 
modiftcations artificially prodnoed by hypnotixation. 
Dr. F^tetin desoribes bow bis snbjeot, wben magnet- 
iaed, became ituenuble to external ctimoli, how her 
poise slaokeoed, ber mnsoles became fixed, and how she 
would maintain any position in wbioh §be was placed 
with statue-like rigidity. Dr. F^tin was also the first 
to reoord tbe aatomatic repetition by tbe subject of the 
movements of the operator ; the recollection when re- 
magnetized of what had happened in a prerions som- 
nambolio oondition, bnt bad been forgotten in the 
noxmal interval ; and be also recorded tbe production 
(rf what is now known as a negative hallooination. 
When he had suggested to bis subject that whoever 
would tonoh a oeitain oandleitiok would disappear 
from ber sight, the subject no longer saw the individual 
thus spirited away. But as in the case of Pnys^gnr, 
so also in that of F£tetin, he became known not for 
bis moat oarefnl and significant observations, but for 
those wbioh administered to the love of tbe marvelous, 
and which were in essence totally erroneous. P£tetin's 
oontribntioo to the aggregate of error in which this 
study was to bo merged was the memorable " trwis- 
position of tbe senses." The same subject who brought 
to his notice tbe cataleptic condition led him into this 
extravagance. This subject while magnetized began to 
sing vociferously ; while engaged in changing her posi- 
tion during ber catalepsy, bis chair slipped, and he fell 
toward ber, exclaiming, " Oh, bow unfortunate that I 
cannot stc^ this singing." " Oh, doctor," she replied, 


"do not wony, I won't sing any more;" and she 
stopped at once. Presently the singing was resumed, 
and no words of the doctor could stop it, until he spoke to 
her in the attitude previonsly assnmed by the aooideatal 
fall, with his head near her stomach. In this position 
she heard him and obeyed, but gave no heed to his 
commands when he shouted them into her ear. And 
thus was originated the transposition of the senses ; for 
P^tetin at onoe concluded, in accordance with the 
remarkable sensibilities attributed to eonuuunbules, 
that his anbject heard through her stomach. By further 
Bxperiments he became oonvinced that tastes and odors 
could be similarly perceived, and that his subject could 
read what was written on a card applied to her stomach. 
He also credited the various other exalted and marvel- 
ous mental faculties of his subjects, and added to the 
prevtuling mystery and supernatural tendency of the 
period. His historical inBuence was but slight ; he 
was regarded as a mesmerist, and was chiefly remem- 
bered by his introduction of the transposition of the 
senses into the traditional system of artificial sonmam- 
bulism. It is interesting to note that the detection of 
error in another's work does not protect against a simi- 
lar error in one's own ; Puys^gur, while accepting with 
implicit faith the extravagances of his own subjeota, 
was able to recognize that unconscious suggestion lay 
St the basis of P^tetin's observations. If at first, he 
remarks, Pi!tetin had happened to suppose that bis oata- 
lepticB eould speak only during the wane of the moon 
in May, they would have been dumb for eleven and a 
half months. 


The early decades of tiio preaect oeiitni7 witnessed 
a nTiT&l of interest in animal magnetism. TluMe 
whom the Bevolntion had tnrned away from their 
favorite studies returned to them ; new societieB were 
organized ; jonmals in the interest of the science were 
founded; it was recognized by various goremmentB 
and Boientifie associations ; the Berlin Academy in 1818 
offered a prize of 3000 marks for the best memoir oa 
the sabject ; Mesmer was brought forth from bis ob- 
sonri^, and many of the distinctive traits of his system 
were reintrodnoed and amplified. The movement was 
no longer confined to France, but spread all over 
Europe, and even reached America. Its most con- 
tinuous connection was, however, still with Paris, and 
mainly with the learned societies to which Mesmer had 
appealed in vain. 

In contrast to the dominant belief in the miraculous 
endowment of "somnambulic" subjects, there were a 
few who presented the subjective nature of the pheno- 
mena. The career of Faria, a priest of Portuguese 
extraction, who resided long in India, is regarded by 
some as occupying an important place in the history 
ot hypnotism. The Abbe Faria came to Paris in 1814 
and gave public exhibitions, in which he produced 
many of the typical hypnotic phenomena, and ex- 
plained them as dependent not at all on his own 
powers, but entirely upon the ausceptibilily and the 
faitb of his subjects. He rejected alike any belief in 
a personal influence or in a magnetic or other fluid. 
He simply asked his subjects to think determinedly of 


sleep, or to look at the back' of his hand ; and then in 
an anthoritatiTe voice he would call ont ** dormer," 
emphasizing the command by pressing his hand on the 
subject's forehead. By sach simple means he put to 
sleep three or four of every five subjects, and that 
within a minute or two. He demonstrated the produc- 
tion of forced movements, the deprivation of control of 
simple movements, the false perceptions of sense, etc., 
all as products of su^estion, and indeed anticipated 
many of the typical phenomena of modem hypnotism. 
Faria's career was prematurely curtailed by an unfor- 
tnnate incident ; an actor succeeded in feigning sleep in 
one of his performanoes, and forthwith branded him as 
an impostor. If we may credit certain accounts, his 
position practically anticipated that of Braid ; but, 
according to others, while impressed with the value of 
verbal suggeation, he was not free from the prevailing 
mysteries and dc^mas of somnambulism. In 1819 
Bertrand delivered a course of public lectures on ani- 
mal magnetism, notable for their appreciation of the 
rSIe of su^;estion in their production. For example, 
he sent a magnetized letter to his patient which, when 
applied to the body, produced the desired symptoms ; 
but a second letter, not magnetized, but supposed to be 
BO, and a third letter, written by a friend in imitation 
of Bertrand's handwriting, were equally efficacious. 
These are, however, some of the excepttonal exponents 
of the doctrines, which in the main were concerned 
with the miraculous element of somnambulism intro- 
duced by Puys^gur and his followers. 

It is to be noted that in the revival of hypnotism the 
■oene of opention wm transferred from the baquet 


and talle dea crigea to Uie hospital ; the sahjeeta are 
no longer persona of fashion seeking release from ennni^ 
hnt patients of the poorer classes, suffering mainly front 
one or other of the protean forms of nervous derange- 
ment. Some YSTj remarkahlfl subjects were disooTered 
at the SalpStri^re by Geot^t and Bostan, and the 
former inserted a chapter on somnambulism in his 
textbook of physiology. In 1820 Husson authorized 
magnetism at the HStel Dieu ; and within a brief time 
somnambules were to be found at almost all the hos- 
pitals of Paris. The phenomena presented were those 
introduced by Pnys^gnr ; patients became somnambulic, 
prescribed for themselves and others, perceived by an 
internal sense the details of their own anatomy, fore- 
saw the fntnre, and developed a variety of abnormal 
sensibilities. Baron Dn Potet, who experimented ex- 
tensively at the H6tel Dieu, was convinced that his 
subjects could perceive his silent wish and obey his 
miexpressed command. In Grermany appeared eccen- 
tric systems of " Tellurism " and " Siderism," and the 
occult was rampant The mysterious and extreme 
j^enomena were accentuated, and the value and gena- 
ineness of the entire somnambulic condition were made 
to rest upon the demonstrability of miracles. Here 
and there a few of the simpler phenomena, such as 
insensibility to p^n, were produced, but in the main 
these were neglected. 

Of this type were the observations that, through the 
zeal of Dr. Foissac, the Academy of Medicine was called 
upon to conaider in 1825. He offered to exhibit his 
subjects, claiming for them all the supernormal powers 
above indicated — that, indeed, " they were possessed of 


the geniufl that had inspired Hippocrates." The work 
of this oonnnission was not free from diBseiiBioiis ; and 
fiye years elapsed before they were able to submit a 
report. The report was extremely favorable to the 
mi^netists, and ni^ed that, while some of the effects 
produced were too trivial to serve as evidence of a new 
system, and while others cottld be explained as due to 
the action of the imagination, "some results depend 
solely upon magnetism and cannot be produced without 
it." The commission corroborated the physiological 
and other effects that had been already recorded, — 
such as quickening of respiration and cironlatioa, the 
induction of tremors and convulsive movements, in- 
sensibili^ to pun and to ordinary stimuli, the rapport 
between subject and operator, the continuity of memory 
in successive mi^etia states ; but the chief stress was 
laid upon the more wonderful operations. Of these 
they certified as geouine, reading with dosed eyes, the 
prediction of the course of disease, clairvoyance, and 
general mental exaltation. They also testified to Ae 
value of the tberapeatio effects, and oonolade that the 
"academy should recognize and encourage researches 
into magnetism as an interesting branch of psychology 
and natural history." The report was read, but met 
with such decided disapproval that it was withheld 
from the public. Its fundamental error was the sup- 
position that the demonstration of so unacconntable a 
phenomenon as reading without the use of the eyes 
was necessary to or oould establish the existence of 
animal mi^etism ; they also erred through ignorance 
of the extreme rigidity of conditions necessaty to ex- 
clude the endless possibilities of deception, oonBoions 


■nd imoonMuotu, and of the rema^aUa labtle^ mod 
hypenutfaesia of hyBtflrioal and bypiiotio anbjects. 

The next Boene npon the stage of the Axndemy of 
Medicine waa enacted in 18ST. At this time, the pain- 
lees extraotiojL of a tooth from a patient in a soninam- 
bnlio oonditioD aroiued ooniiderable attention, eq>e- 
eially as the operator, Dr. Ondet, waa a member of the 
Aoademy. Other painless snrgioal operations npon 
magnetued patients were reported. At aboat this time, 
Dr. Bema directed the attention of the Academy to his 
ubjeota, for whom he claimed suoh powers as reading 
with dosed eyes. To test these alums a commission 
of nine was appointed, and reported promptly, July 17, 
1887. This report was negative in the extreme. It 
taiaed the objection that eveiything was made to rest 
npon the testimony of these soanarabulista ; it de- 
clared that even the proofs of insensibili^ were defec- 
tive, and flaUy denied the existence of the condition 
of Bomnambnlifim. The alleged interpretation of the 
will of the operator was referred to nnoonsoions sug- 
gestion ; the attempt at reading with the eyes dosed 
and the reoognition of objects applied to the oodpnt was 
either a total fulnre, or depended for its small measoie 
of soooess npon the shrewd gaessea of the subjects, 
whose honesty was regarded as not above sospioion. 
" We are at a loss what to think of a somnambulist 
who described the knave of dubs on a blank card, who 
transformed the ticket of an academician into a gold 
watch with a white dial plate inscribed with black 
figures, and who, if she had been pressed, would per- 
haps have gone on to tell us the hour marked by this 
watch." The commission of 1887, even more specifio. 


ally than thai of 1825, was called upon to consider 
alleged marrels ; and this oircnmatance should be taken 
into account in applying to them, as may properly be 
done, the same oritioism as was directed against former 
commissions. They, too, have mistaken the real issne, 
and their jusHGable skepticism regarding sack facts as 
reading without the use of the eyes unduly biased 
their judgment in regard to the simpler and readily 
verifiable phenomena. 

The next step was certainly a practicable one ; Bai^ 
din, a member of the Academy, offered a prize of three 
thousand francs to any one who could read without the 
use of the eyes. The offer was open for two years, and 
subsequently the time was extended. Considering tiie 
large number who had claimed this power, few offered 
themselves for examination ; and these either clearly 
fuled to meet the test (being detected in the manipula- 
tion of the bandage, and the like), or those who had 
the somnambulists in charge refused to conform to the 
conditions required by the examiners ; and so the prize 
was never awarded. The Academy then voted, Octo- 
ber 1, 1840, to refuse from that time on to give any 
consideration to questions relating to animal mag- 

Soon after the study of animal magnetism was thus 
denied academic recognition in France, it was in soma 
measure divested of its mystifying and confusing accre- 
tions, by the independent observations of an English 
sui^^n, James Br^d. Braid's first experience with 
the phenomena of animal magnetism was at the stance 


given by CluurleB lAfootaine, a tntTeling i 
ftt Manolwgter, on Norember 13, 1841. He oame to 
this exhibition ioolined to r^ard the phenomenA h 
dne to deoeplaon, trickery, and illusion, and saw no- 
thing to disturb bis belief. At a seooyd attendanoa^ 
he was impressed wiih the fact that the " magnetiied " 
sobjeots were nuable to open their eyes ; this he attrib- 
uted to a paralysis of the nerrons centres by a too 
prolonged or too intense sensory strain. Bzud at onoe 
initiated experiments at his home. He began by aak- 
ing a friend to stare fixedly at the neck of a bottle^ 
held cloee to and a litUe above his eyes ; in a fev min- 
utes the rabjeofs eyelids olosed, his bead dropped, and 
he went to sleep ; the same prooesa was repeated npon 
Hre. Braid, with an equally snocesafol result. These 
experiments were soon extended, and Braid was soo- 
oessful in sending to sleep nearly aU who presented 
themselves. The regularity and simplioity of the pro- 
cess, as well as the unmistakable eTidencee of an 
altered mental condition, left no doubt of the genoine* 
nesB of the induced sleep. *' I now stated that I eoa- 
ndered the experiments fully proved my theory, and 
expressed my entire oonriotion that the phenomena of 
mesmerism were to be aooonnted for on the princii^ 
of a derangement of the state of the oerebro-apinal 
centres, and of the circulatory, and respiratory, and 
muscular systems, induced, as I have expbuoed, by a 
fixed stare, absolute repose of body, fixed attention, and 
suppressed respiration concomitant with that fixity of 
attention. That the whole depended upon the physi- 
cal and psychical condition of the patient, arising from 
llie cansea referred to, and not at all on the nditaon, or 

paBBes of the operator, tfarovmg oat a magneUo flaid, 
or exciting into aotiTity eome mjrBtioal imiTenal flaid 
or medium. I farther added that having thoa pro- 
duced the primary phenomena, I had no doubt that tlie 
others would follow as a matter of ooane, time being 
allowed for their gradual and BnoceBaive development." 
The practical importance of the change of view thus 
inaagurated was extreme; it combated the prevalent 
notion that to prove the reality of the magnetized con- 
dition, it was necessary to perform miracles ; it recog- 
nized different degrees and stages of the induced con- 
dition ; it emphasized the dependence of the condition 
upon the state of the nervous system, and sapplied the 
physiologist with a rational interest in the phenomena ; 
it discarded the vain hypotiiesis of an nniversal fluid ; 
it simplified the methods of prodnoing the state, and 
showed its analogy to ordinary sleep ; it proved that 
the phenomena were independent of the wiU or any 
snbtle power of the operator, bat depended essentially 
apon the compliance and suggestibility of the sabjeot. 
The importance of Braid's position in the history of 
hypnotism is not easily overrated ; it depends largely 
upon the fact that 'he was the first to reoognize the 
physiol<^cal aspect of the phenomena and to abandon 
completely any relation with the fantastic theories and 
practices that grew np in the wake of animal magn^ 
tism. It cannot be sud that Braid's discoveries, bow- 
ever original with him, had not been anticipated by 
others ; indeed, it is clear that the Abb£ Faria's method 
of inducing the oondition and the phenomena that he 
exhibited were easentially the same as those to which 
Bnid dircolid ■ttention; while Bertrand, and even 


PajB^nr and otben, hid reoogniud the rdle of sogw 
gestdbili^ uid imagiiutioD in prodooing nuuiy of tlie 
effeota. Bat Braid, iai more dearly than any one else, 
piflwnted the phenomena from a legitimate Bcientiflc 
view, oorzelated the varioos phenomena with one an- 
other, and laid the fonndatioDS of a true scienoe of 
hypnotism. Without disparaging the labors of others 
in this field, and without forgetting the unfortunate 
cirenmstanceB in Braid's career which detracted from 
hii inflnenoe, the title may be justly olaimed for Hitn , 
of the founder of modem hypnotism, as he was also 
the inTOntor of the term. 

It would take us too far into the details of the hyp> 
notio condition to describe Braid's piactioes and experi- 
ments i attention will be directed only to those points 
which hare a bearing upon the further history of the 
topic. At the outset, Bnud recognised that he was 
dealing with an altered nervous condition, in which 
were present hypertestheBia, or exalted sensibility of 
several of the senses, together with a control over 
fanctioifl normally beyond the reach of the will ; that 
tiuse powers oonld be used to nentralize pun, as well 
as tor onratiTe suggestions in the treatment of dis- 
ease ; and that the phenomena had a distinct relation 
to ordinary sleep ; this last relation led him at first to 
speak <rf the topio as " M'ear3rpnology," — the title of 
his first book, published in 184S. It is quite intelli- 
gible that the confused and misleading form in which 
the phenomena were presented during Braid's time 
prevented him from grasjnng at once or completely 
the true Bubjeotive nature of the condition, in spite 
of the oleamesB with which be recognized the mariu 


of its genuineness. Thus, he regarded tliat a phjsioal 
ioflaenoe had madi to do with the restdt, and con- 
fessed that he was entirely at a loss to understand 
why a breath of ur upon the skia, as by blowing upon 
it, should terminate the hypnotic condition ; or make 
a rigid limb flexible, or restore the sight of one eye, 
and leave the other iuBensible ; or change the condi- 
tion from that of general inactivity to one of extreme 
mobility and excitability. Later, however, he recog- 
nized in all this, the action of suggestion combined with 
the imaginative ingenuity of the subject. But bis most 
serious handicap was his connection with the doctrines 
of pbrenolt^, then occupying a very conspionons posi- 
tion in the pnblio eye. It was brought into connection 
with mesmerism or hypnotism by the performances of 
professional exhibitors, who claimed that pressure upon 
different parts of the bead of the magnetized sub- 
ject induced the display of the corresponding " facul- 
ties." It seems quite clear that Braid was entirely 
misled by tbese curious experiments ; and in spite of 
the fact that he later abandoned all belief in their real- 
ist and explained them as due to suggestion and asso- 
ciation ; and further that be presented some grounds 
for believing that his former experiments were intended 
to disprove phrenology, — yet it is perfectly clear 
why the medical profession and the intelligent public 
should have discredited Braid's labors by reason of his 
notorious connection with the doctrines of pbrenoI<^. 
Surely a work which recorded such experiments as the 
following naturally excited a feeling of distmst. Pa- 
tients, on being " pressed over the phrenologist's organ 
of time, always expressed a desira ' to write * — a letter 


— to her mother or brother ; over their ot^an of tone, 
* to sing ' ; between this and wit, ' to be judicious ' ; 
the botmdar; between wit and cauaalitj, ' to be clever ' ; 
oaosality, ' to have knowledge ' ; in the centre of the 
forehead, to have ' a certain perceptioQ of learning ' ; 
and so on." And again : " I placed a cork endways 
over the organ of veneration and bound it in that pou- 
tioo by a bandage passing under the cbin. I now 
hypnotized the patient, and . . . after a minute and a 
half an altered ezprcBsion of oountenance took place, 
■ad a movement of the arms and handa, which latter 
became clasped as in adoration, and the patient now 
arose from the seat and knelt down as if engaged in 
prayer. On moving the cork forward, active bene- 
volence was manifested, and, on being pushed back, 
veneration agun manifested itself." We are then 
assured that the subjects knew nothing of phrenology, 
were perfectly honest, and that no indications were 
given of the expected results. Braid frankly records 
his belief in the possibility of calling out phrenological 
activities by pressure on definite points of the cranium ; 
and the only loophole of explanation which he left 
open was the one to which he later resorted, oluming 
that the manifeatations may be due to '* a system of 
training during the sleep, so that they may come out 
subsequently as acts of memory, when corresponding 
points are touched, with which particular ideas have 
been associated through audible suggestion." In brief, 
in this explanation, given in 1854, Braid demonstrated 
the admitted possibility of arousing emotions in hyp- 
notic subjects by inducing the expressions with which 
those emotions were associated. But in 1843 he wrote, 



" If I am to believe the endenoe of my seiues, there- 
fore, in anything, I cannot Bee how I can donbt the re- 
lation whiflh consists between certain points of the 
cranium and the mental manifestations which are ex- 
cited by acting on them during bypnotism. I believe 
there are few physiological phenomena which oan be 
more dearly demonstrated, especially at soch an early 
stage of their investigation." 

Braid's later works did not attract the attention 
which they deserved, and perhaps it is proper to base 
an estimate of bis insight into the phenomena of hyp- 
notism upon his more mature but less influential writ- 
ings. In these, Braid recognized the subjective nature 
of the phenomena aa fully as they are recognized by 
the extreme representatives of the " suggeetionist " 
school of to^ay. Indeed, he spoke of the state as 
" Monoideism," to emphasize the fact that, while in 
this condition, the subject's mind was totally absorbed 
in one idea; and that this narrow concentration of 
consciouanesB, this influence of the dominant idea, 
completely controlled mental and physical action, and 
rendered the subject insensible to all other stimuli. 
Braid acquired a profound knowledge of the effects of 
snggestion, both directiy, as verbal suggestion, and the 
indirect suggestion of manner and expectation. He 
tells of a physician in London who used " mesmerism '* 
with his patients, and who produced catalepsy of the 
hands and arms and other wonderfol effects by the . 
application of magnets. Braid recognized that the sub- 
ject, though asleep, was in a condition in which she 
could hear what was going on. He assured the physi- 
cian (in the subject's hearing) that he had a little 


ioatrnment in his pocket, which Uiough not » magnet^ 
would produce equally marked effects. Braid gave the 
patient the little instrument, with the remark to the 
physician that it would produce catalepsy in both 
hands and arms; and such was the result. Next, 
Braid declared that now she would be unable to hold 
it, which also was the case, the little instrument 
dropping out of her hands whenever it vras given to 
her. When the patient was aroused, Braid next told 
the physician that when the little instrument was sus- 
pended on the third finger of the right hand of the 
patient, it would send her to sleep ; to which the physi- 
cian responded, ** It never will." But Braid insisted 
that it would ; and the event proved that he was cor- 
rect. The little instrument, so variously potent in 
oombination with a proper su^estion, was nothing . 
more than his portmanteau key and ring. It illustrates 
the reverse of Voltaire's saying, that incantations, to- 
gether with a snfBcient amount of arsenic, will kill your 
neighbor's sheep. In the same way Braid proved that 
the experiments which seemed to show that certun 
persons were sensitive to metals were in reality due to 
nnoonsciouB suggestion, and that when, unknown to the 
subjects, wood was substituted for metals, the expected 
results ensued. The pecoliar effects described by 
Beiohenbach's sensitives he naturally referred to the 
same cause; as also the doctrine, then brought for- 
ward, that susceptible individuals could perceive the 
effects o£ drugs enclosed in sealed vials. All these 
alleged phenomena were correctly referred to uncon- 
scious suggestion and to hyperiesthesia. Homeopathic 
remedies, he argued, owed their efficiency to the same 


action of the expectant imaginatioB; for the effect 
coold hardly be ascribed to a qnastity bo minate that 
a patient would have to take a dose every second of the 
day and night for 30,000 years to get a single grain 
of the substance. He analyzed the posaibilitiea of 
error in the interpretation of olairvoyasce ; and showed 
that perfectly natural and well-understood processes 
were suf&cient to furnish an intelligible mode of ac- 
ooundng for so much of the success as oould be Teri- 
fied. He recognized the dangers of hypnotism id 
inexperienced hands ; although he believed &at the 
moral sensibility of the subject was sufficiently retained 
in the hypnotic condition to prevent the abase of the 
state for criminal purposes. He appreciated its field 
of applicability in the cure of disease, though he by no 
means r^ardcd it as a panacea, and also its special use 
in surgical operations. In fine, Br^d, in spite of cer* 
tain shortcomings, which are characteristic only of his 
earlier writings, stands oat preeminently as the first to 
appreciate at their true value the entire range of the 
complex factors of the hypnotic condition; to distin- 
guish the genuine phenomena from those which owed 
their marvelous aspect to unconsciooa suggestion; and 
to show the relation of the whole topic to the rect^- 
nized body of scientific knowledge. 

In spite of these very great merits, Braid's inflaenoe 
was for a considerable time a slight and uncertain one ; 
this was probably due not alone to the opposition wbioh 
bis methods and teachings aroused in the medical pr«>. 
fession, bnt far more to the natnral distrast of a topic 


which was exploited in the form of popular and vulgar 
exhibitions. The main association of hypnotism was 
still with the absnid notions of animal magnetism, and 
with attempts to demonstrate marrels, snch as olair- 
Toyance and the sensitiveness to magnets. It thus 
oame abont that, during the period subsequent to 
Braid's discoveries, hypnotism presented a varied as- 
pect. On the one band, nnlimited skepticism and a 
determined repndiatioa of readily verifiable observa- 
tions; on the other, uncritical enthusiasm withoat 
appreoation of science and its methods. But in addi- 
taim to the conservatism of the man of science, and the 
groundless pretensions of the mesmerist, ue found 
the contributions of a few discerning students aiding, 
though in a sporadic and uncertain way, the progress 
of the science. What had been repeatedly established 
was forgotten and had to be reestablished ; observationa 
made by those who in some one direction had fallen 
into error were discredited, and had to be verified 
anew. The prepress was thus tortuous and ill-defined, 
but none the less the essential and important phe- 
nomena were gaining wider and more authoritative 
recognition. The use of hypnotism as an auEesthetio 
was most influential in compelling the attention of the 
medical profession ; for the frequent reports of surgical 
operations upon hypnotized patients by men of reputa- 
tion could hardly be dismissed as illusory. As early 
as 1821 Becamier had utilized the magnetic insensi- 
bility for surgical purposes ; in 1829 Clocquet per- 
formed a severe operation upon a magnetized woman ; 
in 1837 Oudet extracted a tooth from a patient in this 
condition ; from 1842 on a number of English surgeons 

— Tnpham, Ward, ElliotBon, Fnrland — ased IiTpiio* 
tiam for vartouB sni^oal operations, and a Mesmeric 
Infirmary for this purpoee vns saocessfuUy main- 
tained. Many of the reports of suoh operations were 
received witli extreme skepticism. The celebrated sqp- 
geon, Lisfraoc, regarded Clocqnet as a dupe; and 
Ondet met with a similar reception. Most extenaive 
and remarkable were the series of operations performed 
in India upon natives by Dr. Esdaile, and reported in 
1846. The most shocking and dangerous pathological 
growths were removed without pain and with the mini- 
mum of discomfort. Dr. Esdaile is entitled to high 
Tank in the aooonnt of this period, because his work 
was done so largely in independenoe of others ; more- 
over, be developed a theory of the phenomena quite 
analf^ns to that of Brud ; and in days when antes- 
thetics were bnt little known naturally grew enthusi- 
astio over the value of the practioes which he had so 
Bucoessf ally demonstrated. 

A more detailed account of this period than is here 
possible would condder the phyaiolt^cal contributions 
of snch as Carpenter and Bennett and Mayo, whose 
criticisms and explanations of the alleged marvels and 
false theories of mesmerism stemmed but could not 
stay the flow of extravagant practices and beliefs with 
which England was then deluged ; with the carefully 
detailed conclnaiona and experiments of Azam, of De- 
marquay, and Gtrard-Teulon, of Dnrand dc Groa (who 
later assumed the name of Phillips, and through whom 
Bnud*s work was introduced into France) ; and ot 
several other and often independent workers. There 
is one, however, whoae potttion is worthy of separate 


notice, and who in a peculiar way forms the transitioa 
between the present status of hypnotism and that 
which previuled a half century ago. I refer to Dr. 
A. A. Liebanlt, who, nntil within recent years, mun- 
tuned St Nancy the hypnotic clinic founded by him 
forty yeara ago. In 1866, he published a valuable 
and original work describing bis methods and practice. 
He put his subjects to sleep by verbal command, and 
suggested to them the relief of their pains and ail- 
ments, enforcing the suggestions with such prescriptiona 
as were likely to be effective. He thus adopted 
the method of " suggestion " as the central point of 
the system, and may be regarded as the founder of the 
" snggestionist " school, also known, thongh not in the 
main by reason of hia labors, as the school of Nancy. 
Living in retirement, out of touch with the medical 
profession, presenting his results in a form unattractive 
to the Bcientifio mind, and encumbered by pecnliar per- 
sonal views, his work attracted no attention ; and it 
remained for more influential investigators, particularly 
Charoot at Paris and Bemheim at Nancy, to establish 
the recognized doctrines of modem hypnotism, 


It will be instructive at this point to retrace our 
steps and complete the survey of the antecedents of 
hypnotism by some account of a series of contributions, 
which, while they may represent the backward steps in 
the zigzag line of progress from obscure speculations 
to science, are nevertheless important historical factors 
in the continuity of the movement, and in the mainte- 
nance of the interest in this branch of psychological 


Btady. The fanciful doctrmes, which Mesmer revived, 
originated in medisBval myBtdciflm and saperatition ; 
and at no time, from then till now, have snch extrava- 
gant sjstems and notions failed to attract an all too 
extensive class of intellectual malcontents, to whom the 
prepress of knowledge seems absordl; slow and labori- 
ous. Before the establishment of the scientific theory 
of the relation of body and mind, the opportunity in 
this field for such speculations was endless, and it is to 
the vast history of pseudo-science that an account of 
tiese properly belongs. It is for the purpose of gtun- 
ing a proper understanding of the various conceptions 
which were and are associated with hypnotism that an 
excursion into this barren area is here made. The 
fantastic schemes of Mesmer, Puys^gur, and P^tetin, 
and even of Braid, have already been noticed, and the 
seed sown by them still bears undesirable fruit To 
J. P. F. Delenze (1785-1885), author of influential 
works on mesmerism, may be accorded the doubtful 
honor of ranking as leader in the movement which 
continued the mystic and eccentrio elements of animal 
magnetism. He accepted the combined marvels of mes- 
merism and somnambulism. He directed his efforts 
towards the elaboration of the paraphernalia of the 
baqnet, the wand and passes, and the inculcation of 
most detailed cantioos and regulations for the gui- 
dance of the operator. Every movement of the hand, 
and eyes, and head assumed special significance. The 
poles of the human frame must be considered, and 
no departure made from the prescribed manipulation. ' 
The process of demonetizing is thus described : — 
" When you wish to pat an end to the utting, take 


oare to draw toward the extreoiit^ of the hands and 
toward the extremity of the feet, proloQ^ng your 
passes beyond these extremities and shaking your 
finger each time. Finally, make several passes tran» 
versely before the faoe, and also before the breast, at 
the distance of three or four inches ; these passes are 
made by presenting the two hands together, and briskly 
drawing them from each other, as if to carry off the 
saperabnndaiioe of fluid with which the patient may be 
charged. You see that it is essential to monetise, 
always descending from the head to tiie extremities, 
and never monnting from the extremities to the head." 
The m^netism is imparted to inanimate objects, and 
** one may magnetize a pitober of water in two or three 
minutes, a glass of water in one minute. It is un- 
necessary to repeat here that processes pointed out for 
magnetizing water, like everything else, would be abscv 
lutely useless, if tbey were not employed with attention 
and with a determinate wilL" "The magnetizer who 
uses a wand ought to have one of his own, and not lend 
it to any person, lest it should be charged with diSer> 
ent fluids — a preoantion more important than it is 
commonly thought to be." It is this phase of the sub- 
ject that found its way into Germany, and was most 
typically embodied in the writings of Wolfart, Kieser, 
and Ennemoser. For such mystics nothing seemed too 
absurd to find credence, nor too profound to find an 
explanation in animal magnetism. 

It was through Deleuze's influence, also, that mes- 
merism was transplanted to America. As early as 
1837, Charles Poyen lectured and wrote on animal 
magnetism in New England j he exhibited the usual 


phenomena, made the QBnal churns for snpematnTsl 
faculties, and gave the osual fanrafnl expositions. It 
was, hovever, through Doda and Grimes, in 1850, that 
mesmerism became prominent in America, under the 
absurd name of " electro-biology." The popular inter- 
est which they aroused may be inferred from the fact 
that the^ were invited to exhibit before Congress, the 
signatures of Clay and Webster appearing in the letter 
of invitation. The absurdity of their writings is suffi- 
ciently evident in the following extracts : " Let two 
persons of equal brain, both in size and fluid, sit down. 
Let one of these indtriduals remain perfectly passive, 
and let the other exercise his mental and physical 
energies according to the true principles of mesmeriz- 
ing, and he will displace some of the nervo-rital fluid 
from the passive brain and deposit it in his own 
instead. The next day let them sit another hour, and 
so on day after day, untU the acting brun shall have 
displaced the major part of the nervo-vital fluid from 
the passive brain and filled up that space with its own 
nervous force, and the person will yield to the mag- 
netic power and serenely slumber in its inexpressible 
quietude." " Tour brain being magnetioally subdued 
is worth hundreds of dollars to yon. You are then 
ready for the day of distress." An ignorant young 
man is magnetized and forthwith converses with a 
" mental activity which put to blush men of superior 
education and intellectual endowments." An eminent 
lawyer is astonished at his learning and his quotations 
from legal authorities. He speaks Greeh, Idtin, 
French, Polish, all perfectly, and without accent ; 
though when awake he knows no language but Eng- 


lish. Grimes determuied the function of parts of the 
brain from the answers of hb sonmamhulist, and thus 
discovered that the corpus callosam ia designed to 
equalize the flow of the nervous fluid. From the same 
source he received the assurance of the correctness of 
bis phrenological views. " I then ashed her concern- 
ing the location and uses oi several new phreno-organs, 
which I supposed that I had discovered, and to my 
surprise she answered me without the least hesitation, 
and confirmed all my previous opinions, not even ex- 
cepting those opinions which I bad never mentioned to 
any one, and which she could only have known by 

"Electro-biology" made its way into England, and 
there found a place among the endless forma of abaurd< 
ity and pseudo-science then prevalent. A few illustra- 
tions are powerless to give any adequate notion of the 
extent and variety of the extravagant pretenBione with 
which animal mi^netism was saturated in the years 
following Braid's observations. The diabolic origin 
of mesmeriBm was discussed by pulpit and press ; a 
pamphlet, entitled " Dialogue between a Mesmerist and 
a Christian," maintained that the two faiths were in- 
compatible. It was generally urged that mesmerism 
favored materialism, and in 1856 the Catholic Church 
issued an edict against the practice. The skepticism 
of the medical profession found expreBsion in extreme 
and certainly unscientiflc statements. Dr. Buchanan 
(1851) of Glasgow, holding that the alleged condition 
was the result of acting and trickery, proposed the 
experiment of telling a hypnotized boy that he could 
not move, and then applying the birch ; this, be felt 


oonfldent, would satiaf actorily refate the whole doctrine,* 
and if, in ninety-nine caseB ont of one hundred, the 
boy did not scamper off, though hia feet were mes- 
merized, he pronuBed to recant " and to believe in 
mesmeriem ever after." There Ib unfortunately no 
record of the acceptance of this test, whioli, in com- 
parison with the hypnotic anesthesia of surgical 
operations then performed, would have been easily 
met. From the following comment of a medical jour- 
nal, in 1843, one may infer that the controversy did 
not always rect^nizc the poliUsaes of disonssion. 
" The mesmero-mauia has nearly dwindled in the 
metropolis into servile fatuity, but lingers in some of 
the provinces with the gdbe-mouchss and chaw-bacons, 
who, after gulping down a pound of fat pork, would, 
with well-greased gullets, swallow anch a lot of mee- 
merio mummery as would choke an alligator or boa- 

The two writers to be presently cited are selected as 
illustrations of the truth that the possession of intel- 
lectual attunments in other directions does not insure 
against Buch gross errors as are about to be noticed, 
and the second, moreover, serves as a type of the com- 
pilations of the period, to whioh the reader may be 
referred for further instances. The reputation of Miss 
Harriet Martineau insured general attention to her 
"Letters on Mesmerism" (1845). Miss Martineaa 
was cured of a long-standing illness by magnetio treat- 
ment, the operator being a noted mesmerist, Spencer 
T. Hall. The magnetiziog^process gave rise to peool- 
iar sensations which were attributed to the action of 
the magnetio fluid. " My head has often appeand to 


be drawn ont, to change its form according to the tn»- 
tion of my mesmeriat, and an indescribable but ex- 
oeedingly agreeable sensation of transparency and 
lightness through a part or whole of tbe frame has 
followed." Miss Martineau was thus made a convert 
to mesmerism, and initiated experiments of her own, 
finding in her maid, J., a somnambole of unusual 
powers. She maintained her health by following the 
prescriptions given by the sonmambule, and the latter 
exhibited the many varieties of marvels with which we 
have become familiar. The spontaneous or suggested 
otteranoes of the somnambnle upon matters relating to 
her exalted condition were nnqnestioningly accepted. 
"Do the minds of the mesmerist and the patient 
become one ? " " Sometimes, bat not often." — " Is it, 
then, that they taste, feel, etc., the same things, at the 
same moment ? " " Yes." — " Will oar minds become 
one ? " "I think not," — " What are your chief 
powers ? " "I like to look op and see spiritual things ; 
I can see diseases, and I like to see visions." — " Can 
the mind hear otherwise than by the ear?" "Xot 
naturally ; but a deaf person can hear the mesmerist 
when in the sleep ; not anybody else, however." — " How 
is it that yon can see without your eyes ! " '* Ah 1 
that is a curious thing. I have not found it out yet." 
From the " Letters to a Candid Inquirer on Animal 
M^;netism," by William Gregory, M. D., F. R. S. E., 
professor of chemistry in the University of Edinburgh, 
selections appropriate to our present purpose may be 
made almost at random. Some writing is placed in 
the hands of the somnambnle, and from this she pic- 
tures the writer, tells of the lady's recent wlments, her 


sniTonndmgB, her travels, and her oonditioii ; and when 
tiie lady herself is presented she immediately recognizes 
her as the suhjeet of her vision. A lost wat(^ is re- 
covered and the thief detected by the same means ; the 
whereabouts of absent friends traveling in distant lands 
is determined by placing a sample of their handwriting 
or a look of their hair in the sonmambole's bands. 
The somnambnle transports herself to past times, and 
details the events of the life of Mary, Queen of Scots, 
as she witnesses them. In her magnetic vision she fol- 
lows, day by day, the adventures of Sir John Franklin, 
who was then in the Arctic regions. She frequently 
spoke of his occupations, and, when asked the time of 
day, found it either by looking at a timepiece in the 
cabin or by consulting Sir John's watch; and from 
the difference in time indicated by the somnambnle 
the longitude of Sir John Franklin's location and the 
directions of his movements were calculated. " On a 
Sunday afternoon in February, 1850, she said it was 
about 10 A. H. there, and described the captain, Sir 
John, as reading prayers to the crew, who knelt in a 
circle with their faces upward, looking at him and 
appearing very sorrowful. She even named the chapter 
of St. Mark's gospel which he read on that occasion." 
Although we are naively told that, " as a general rule, 
we ought to verify the vision before admitting it as an 
instance of genuine clairvoyance," yet in this case the 
somnambule's assertions had been so unifonnly verified 
that it seemed nnnecessary to/;[uestion the correctness 
of her mental Arctic explorations. 

All the varieties of supernatural oonditioiia — 0(m> 
loioiis Inddity, conscious dairvoyanoe, ■ympathrtio aUf- 


Toyanoe, sympatlietio retroTigiou, direct clairroyanoe, 
mental traveling, introyision and prevision, apontaneons 
letroviBion — were formulated and added their quota 
to the general mystery. The doctrine of cross-magnet- 
ism, or the disturbing influence of different nu^netizers, 
was developed, and became a favorite modeof accounting 
for failures of all kinds. Extravagant doctrines origi- 
nating in other fields of pseudo-science were incorpo- 
rated into magnetism ; the magic mirror or crystal was 
one of these. The notion is doubtless very ancient, — 
compare the shew-stone of Dr. Dee (1527-1608), — 
and was revived by Baron Du Potet, who drew a black 
magic circle on the floor with a piece of charcoal ; this 
the subject approached, stared at it fixedly, and seemed 
fascinated by it ; grew excited, breathed hard, moved 
to and fro, and then saw visions in the magic mirror. 
*' It was no dream nor nightmare ; the apparitions were 
actually present. A series of events were unrolled 
before him, represented by signs and figures which he 
oonld understand and gloat over, sometimes joyful, 
sometimes gloomy, just aa these representations of the 
future passed before his eyes I Very soon he was over- 
come by delirinto, he wished to seize the im^e, and 
darted a ferocious glance towards it; he finally started 
forward to trample on the charcoal circle, the dust 
from it arose, and the operator approached to put an 
end to a drama ao full of emotion and terror." 

" Darliogism " was a term brought forward by one 
Darling, who used a disc, said to be made of zinc and 
copper, to put his subjects to sleep. Like electro- 
biology, it was merely a new name for the same 
phenomena exhibited in connection with absurd theo- 


ntioal notioiiB. The phrenological manifeBtatdona, so 
□nfortimatel; coantenanced by Braid, continQed to be 
exhibited by others in ooDDection with the hypnotic 
state. Churroyaoce continued to be regarded as one 
of the most essential tests of the mesmeric condition, 
and took a prominent part in public exhibitions. 
Somewhat later it was incorporated into the equipment 
of spiritualism, and this movement probably exerted s 
mystic influence upon mesmerism. 

The investigations of Baron Beichenbach added a 
new class of sensitives. Beichenbach announced the 
doctrine of an " odio " force or " odyle," streaming forth 
from m^^ets and from the human frame, and affect- 
ing the human system ; certain sensitiTes could see 
these emanations, and magnetized subjects at onoe be- 
come " odic " sensitives. The doctrine that certain 
persons are sensitive to metals was an ancient one. It 
reappeared in the myths that were woven about Casper 
Hauser, the wild boy of Nuremberg (1828), who gave 
evidence of his unusual origin by shuddering in the 
presence of a needle, and evidencing intense agony in 
passing a hardware shop. Miss Martineau's J. holds 
a piece of steel so tightly that no one can wrench it 
from her, but touch the steel with gold and it falls 
front her hands at once. The following citation will 
show how this movement was utilized in mesmerio 
pracUces: "But to ascertain whether he (a Major 
Buckley, a mesmerist) can obtain conscious clairvoy- 
ance, he makes slow passes from his own forehead to his 
own chest. If this produces a blue light in his face, 
strongly visible, the subject will probably acquire con- 
scious clairvoyance. If not, if tlte light be pale, the 


aabjflot miut flnfc be tendered olairvoyaQt in the deep. 
Takiiig thoae snbjects wbo see a veiy deep blue ligbt, 
be oontiaaea to make paaaes over bis own face, and 
ftbo over the object, a box or a not, for example, in 
which written or printed words are inclosed, which the 
ohuTToyant a to read. Some subjects require only a 
pass or two to be made clairroyant, oth^v require 
many. They deooribe the bine light as rendering the 
box or not transparent, so that they can read what is 
inaide. If too many passes be made by Major B., the 
Uae Hgbt beoomes so deep that they cannot read, and 
wNne reverse passes must be made to render the ligbt 
1ms deep. Major Bndkley has tbns produoed conBoions 
elairvoyanoe in eigh^-nine persons, of whom forty-four 
have been able to read mottoes oontwned in nut-shells, 
purchased by other parties for the experiment'* 

It most not be supposed that these practices have 
entirely disappeared. In a work publbhed as late aa 
1869 we may read snoh sentences as, "the dairvoy- 
aaee of an idiot in a state of somnambulism would in- 
spire me with more oonfidenoe if I were sick than the 
greatest geoinses which graoe modem medicine ; " and 
agun, "it never oonld be imagined with what tact, 
accuracy, and preeiston, somnambulists account for 
anything that takes plaoe in them. They are literally 
present at the performance of all their organic func- 
tions ; they detect in them the slightest disorder, the 
minutest change. Then of all this he forms a clear, 
exact, and mathematioal idea. He could tell, for in- 
stance, how many drops of blood there are in his 
heart ; he knows, almost to a gramme, how much it 
would require to satisfy bis appetite at the moment ; 

bow many drops of water would be oeoeBBary to satisfy 
bis thirst, and his valoations are inconceivably exact 
Time, space, forces of all kinds, the resistance and 
weight of objects, his thonghta, or rather bis instinct 
measures, he calculates, appreciates all these matters by 
a single glance of the eye." In the lectures and cheap 
compendiums telling " How to Mesmerize," and giving 
"The Whole Art of Mesmerism," by which the travel- 
ing mesmerists of yesterday, if not of to-day, extend 
their fame, one may find these very same doctrines 
side by side with garbled accounts of recent disoorer- 
ies in hypnotism. But we have already dwelt too long 
upon the aberrations of the fanman intellect, in which 
the ludicrous and the solemn are so curiously combined. 

Hie transition from the antecedent to the present 
status of hypnotism was accomplished in the main by 
two factors ; by the precise determination, according 
to rigidly scientific methods, of the physiological and 
psychological characteristics of the hypnotic state, 
and by the advocacy of its claims and the further devel- 
opment of its sphere of influence, on the part of prcv 
fessional men of ability and acknowledged standing. 
The miscbievons and erratic assodations of mesmer- 
ism, as also of hypnotism, were difficult to outgrow. 
Unjustifiable skepticism and neglect were the natural 
oonsequences of extravi^ance, perversion, and charla- 
tanism. Even the repeated and verifiable production 
by hypnotic means of anesthesia sufficient for seri- 
ous surgical operations, was ignored ; partly, perhaps, 
because of the disooveiy of ether, which turned the 


interest in aiuesthetios into new ohannela. The le^ti- 
mate and progressive investigations of such as Braid, 
Liebault, Azam, Dorand de Gros, and others, were only 
fitfully and sparsely rec<^ized. As late as 1874 De- 
ohambre, in hb Medical Encyclopedia, declares that 
all the phenomena rest upon self-deception and deloslon, 
and that the condition does not exist. But beginning 
with the third quarter of the century the attitude rap- 
idly changed. Richet (1875} published an important 
paper in an anthoritative physiolo^cal journal, in 
iriuoh he again established by scientific methods the 
zeali^ of the hypnotio condition. In this he wrote, 
"It requires considerable courage to speak aloud the 
word sonmambulism. The stupid credulity of the 
masses and the pretensione of certain charlatans have 
brought the thing itself as well as the name into such 
disfavor that there are but few men of science who do 
not look disparagingly upon any communication on the 
subject." The advocacy of Charcot (1878) and his 
demonstrations at tbe SalpebriSre finally succeeded in 
gaining the day; and in 1882 the ban placed upon 
aoademio discussions of this subject was lifted by the 
reception on the part of the Academy of Science of 
a memoir by Charcot on hypnotism. The extensive 
series of studies instigated by him at the Salpctri^re, 
and carried on with marked ability and success by 
those who in some measure drew their inspiration from 
the field of inquiry which he inaugurated ; the recog- 
nition which he scoured for tbe presentation of studies 
upon hypnotism before learned societies ; the far- 
reaching influence of his authority, — all contributed 
to tbe acceptance of hypnotism as a scientific fact, and 


the inolnsion of its study within tbe oiiole of the Bci- 
ences. It should be carefully noted, however, that the 
period (whioh, to connect it with the name of but one 
of its representatives, may be called the period of 
Charcot), though marked by important extensions of 
our knowledge of hypnotic phenomena, was in essence 
a period of reinstatement AM the essential and fun- 
damental disooTeries had been made and forgotten, 
and even had been rediscovered decades before ; but 
not until this period were they extensively and aotbori- 
tatively acknowledged. This reinstatement was natu- 
rally the result of cooperation of many workers ; while 
hypnotism still remained a favorite study of French 
neurologists, other countries contributed extensively to 
its advance. In Germany the main impetus to its 
study seems to have been given by the striking demon- 
stnttions of hypnotic phenomena by a Danish hypno- 
tist, Hansen (18T9 and 1880), whioh led to their study 
by various physiologists. The earliest American con- 
tribution of this period (and which was somewhat 
independent in origin) was a study of trance-states by 
Dr. G. M. Beard, of New York, in 1881. But ac- 
counts of contributors and contributions belong no 
longer to the historical aspect which we are oonsider- 
ing, but to modem hypnotism. SufBce it to say that 
the literature of the subject of the past two decades is 
almost alarmingly voluminous in its extent, and most 
cosmopolitan in its composition ; that cognate depart- 
ments of science — physiology, psychology, medicine 
—consider its bearings upon their special problems ; 
that its therapeutic application to the cure of disease 
by the efScaoy of the power of suggestion is leoognixed 


extensiTfllj by general praotitioiiers, by nenrol<^uts, 
as well as in speoifio hypootio clinics ; that its utiliz»> 
tion as a special method of psychology has been pro- 
dnctiTe of interesting and valuable oontributionB ; and 
that it illuminates many a dark recess in the story of 
the historical and sociolo^cal development of humanity. 
One phase of the matter, alone, seems destined to 
serve as an historical turning-point ; the year of the 
new epoch is best marked by the appearance in 1886 
(tf Dr. Bemheim's classic volume on " Suggestion and 
its Therapeutical Applications " ; and the key-note 
of the newer doctrine lies in the term " suggestion." 
Cbaioot and his followers had, in different degrees and 
ways, emphasized the physical characteristics of the 
faypnous ; they held that in typical subjects there were 
objectively dis^ct hypnotic states, characterized and 
induced by physical manifestations. They recognized 
the importance of suggestion, but in addition to it also 
recognized the existence of objectively differentiated 
hypnotic phenomena. These and related doctrines 
am commonly referred to as those of the " school of 
Paris." In contrast with this is the " school of Nancy," 
of which I>r. Bemheim is the acknowledged leader, 
and which may be characterized as the " suggestionist " 
school. This school recogaixes different degrees of 
suggestibility, and an endless variety of resulting phe- 
nomena, but regards suggestion, in its various forms, 
as furnishing a sufficient and comprehensive clue to 
the entire range of observations. It is compelled ac- 
cordingly to regard the three distinctive states recog- 
nized by Charcot as themselves the product of uncon- 
scious suggestion and of a contagious eaprit de carps 


of tha SalpStri^re sabjecta. The school of Nancy 
to^y enjoys the most extensive following, and may 
be said to represent the dominant trend of present 
study. One may fairly say that the present psycholo- 
gical study in this domain is the study of saggestion, 
one form, though only one form, of which is hypnotic 
ai^geation. With the complete realization of the psy- 
chological significance of the hypnotic state, the fierce 
and adrenturoos struggle for existenoe of bypnotdsm 
may be said to terminate in its nndistarbed adaptation 
to a scientific environment. 

The history of the antecedents of hypnotism is rich 
in soggestirenesB. For the historian of the inductive 
sciences it iUnstrates the influence of the cirenmstancas 
accompanying a discovery apon the status of the dis- 
covery itself ; that the acceptance of a discovery de- 
pends more upon its logical concordance with onrrent 
Bcientifio conceptions, upon the manner of its demon- 
stration, than upon the intrinsic content of what is 
demonstrated. It is as difficult in science as in real 
life to escape the influences of nnfortunate associates ; 
the interesting state which ve now recognize as hypno 
sis was naturally discredited when it consorted with 
animal m^netism and the marvels of somnambulism, 
bnt was recognized when its credentials were expressed 
in intelligible physiological and psychological terms. 
For the historian o£ human error the story is equally 
significant. It illustrates again that the mental atti- 
tude essentially influences truth and error alike ; that 
with all due allowsnoe fw ignorance, for faulty obseiv 


TatioD, for defective organization of knowledge, error 
was due, more tiuin to any of these, to the lack of suit- 
able ooncepts for the proper absorption and appreoia- 
tion of the phenomena in their true significance. For 
lack of these there was misconception and oversight, 
and in their stead prepossession by notions of a wholly 
irrelevant character. Such notions were fostered by 
what we retrospectively recognize as pseudo-science; 
such was the fictitious animid magnetism, an entity 
never demonstrated, bat supported only by a superficial 
aoalogical plausibility. Tbey were fostered also by 
the activity of the marvel-loving impulse, which is nn- 
responsive to the uniformities of nature, and favors 
mystic fable, while overlooking sensible fact. " Wer 
nnmogliches geglaubt, kiinnt unmogliches verrichten." 
The special form of belief, the name of the system, the 
nature of the explanatory theory, seem almost acci- 
dentaL Throughout all times, the same intense crav- 
ing to overthrow the limitations of the human mind 
has been present, and has been satisfied by much the 
same beliefs and theories. Mesmerism harks back to 
astrology ; prophets and seers have always existed ; the 
mystety of the attractive force of the mf^et for long 
made magnetism a most popular explanation of any 
obscure phenomena ; the same performances that con- 
vinced the mesmerist of the existence of the magnetic 
fluid are evidence to the electro-biologist of the electro- 
vital force, of the " od " to the followers of Reichen- 
bach ; and — more staking still — the outfit of the 
modern spiritualistic medium, the trance, the clairvoy- 
ant discovery of one's private affairs, the reading of 
messages in sealed envelopes, the conversation with 


absent or departed friends, are all to be foimd in 
the annals of BomnambnliBm. Truly, history repeats 
itself ; and the endless forma of mysticism, error, and 
extrav^ance seem immortal ; they change in fonn and 
accommodate themselveB to the advance in knowledge 
and civilization, and parody the forms of statement 
and the methods of science in an age which has learned 
to be impressed with scientific demonstrations. 

For the special student of hypnotism no lesson of 
the history of its antecedents is more practically signifi- 
cant than its illumination of the extent, variety, and 
subtlety of onoonscious suggestion. If Fuys^gur's 
subjects prescribe for their own ills and see without 
their eyes ; if PItelin's read what is placed on their 
stomachs ; or the interposition of poor electric-conduc- 
tors prevent manifestations; if one of the subjects 
examined by t^ commission of 1784 could not be 
deprived of speech unless the magnetiziiig hand passed 
below his mouth ; if one of the Salpetriere subjects of 
1829 oould be cured only by immersion in the river ; 
if Deleuze's subjects respond differently to the minute 
differences in manipulations, which he believed to be 
essential ; if the subjects whom Braid examined could 
prove the truth of phrenology, and the mesmerist's 
subjects feel the magnetic fluid streaming through 
their systems ; if within recent ^es paralyses are 
transferred from one arm to the other by the action 
of a magnet, or Dr. Luys's subjects show the character- 
istic effects of a drug wlten a sealed vial conttuning it 
is placed upon the anbject's neck, or respond to the 
puppets which he has maniptdated, — surely it is as 
obvious that some spontaneoas oaprioe of the subject 


or nnoonBcionB auggestions of the operator have origi> 
nated these notions, and that unconscious imitation has 
further oootiibuted to their dissemination, as it is 
obvious that ail these in part mutually contradictory 
phenomena cannot be true, objective facts. The sig- 
nificanoe of more recent investigations in allied fields 
still turns upon the factor which unconscious sugges- 
tion plays in their production. The advocates of 
telepathy, whether occurring under hypnotic or more 
normal conditions, feel confident that unconscious sug- 
gestion as well as all other sources of error have been 
eliminated ; the skeptical critics point out overlooked 
and novel modes of unconscious suggestion, and draw 
ponfidence from the history of the past, both of the 
unwarranted flight to improbable hypothesis on the 
basis of an alleged absence of a natural explanation, 
and of the solvent power which future investigatioD 
may hold in store. 

The story of the conquest of a realm of fable by a 
oamptugn of enlightenment is always a tale of interest. 
The opening of a new vista directs one's gaze outward 
over unexplored areas. It may be, as our seventeenth- 
oentniy chrooicler tells us, that " we are all Indians 
and Salvages in what we have not accustomed our 
senses," and that, "what was Conjuring in the last 
^e is Mathematiques iu this " ; but our more exten- 
sive acquaintance with the course of discovery and the 
demonstration of truth has given us a more logical 
sense of the probable and the improbable ; and the evo- 
lution by which conjuring becomes mathematics is more 
intimately understood. The recent establishment of 
faypnoUsm in its scientific aspects furnishes the proper 


perspective for the oomprelteiision of its antecedents ; it 
gives oonfidenoe that its f atore developmeDt will incor> 
porate the spirit of present research, as it will avoid 
the aberrations of the past ; and it gives to the story of 
its vicissitudes a timely pertioeitce as well as a psycho- 
logical significanea. 


The origin of human endowment lies hidden in an 
obscure and unrocorded past ; the fact of developmeDt, 
of the gradual onfoldment'of capacity, stands out con- 
spiououBly throughout the historical record of human 
achieTement, and is equaUy recognizable in the ex- 
tensive remains of prehistoric humanity. The story 
of the mental development of man is constructed 
from travelers' accounts of primitive peoples, from the 
records of early civilizatione, from the sequences of 
thought and belief that are considered in the history 
of culture, from the study of the intellectual growth 
of childhood, from the observation of the less progre^ 
sive elements of current civilizations. The present 
essay attempts to portray the status of one form of 
intellectual process, or of mental attitude, which char- 
acterizes undeveloped stages of human thought, and has 
played an important and variable part in the drama of 
mental evolution. I propose to present the " Natural 
History of Analogy," — meaning thereby the treat- 
ment, according to the methods of natural science, 
of a type of mental action, interesting at once as a 
pBjchological process, and again from its practical 
results as a factor in the anthropological history of the 


An analog; is a type of reasoning, and as such is 
referred to the logician for more precise definition. 
His briefest explanation of the term may be stated as 
the inference of a further degree of resemblance from 
an observed degree of resemblance ; the ailment that 
because the Earth and Mars agree in the common pos- 
session of a solid crust, an atmosphere, presence of 
water, ohauges of season, the possibilities of rain and 
snow, and other observed qualities, they will also agree 
in the further respect of being inhabited. This may 
serve as au exemplar of the analo^cal argument iu its 
purest and most developed form; bat in the survey 
of the varieties and distribution of this natural pro- 
duct of rationality, it will be necessaiy to include 
many forms of thought diverging more or less from, 
though always retaining, a reoognizable relation to this 
lype. The analogical inference, indeed, goes back to 
an inarticulate form, in which it merges into a feeling 
rather than an argument, a susceptibility to au influ- 
ence supported by undefined plausibility, rather than a 
concluuon from tangible evidence. But however lack- 
ing in definiteness or formulation, however uncon- 
sciously realized and barely expressible, the tendency 
or disposition to believe is communicated to others and 
becomes an influential factor in the ultimate fixation 
of belief and in the guidance of conduct Logically 
considered, analogy is always a weak argument ; and 
becomes weaker, as the range of observed resemblance 
is more and more limited, as the resemblances belong 
to accidental, unessential traits, and as the underlying 
basis of the inference is removed from direct verifica- 
tion. Psychologically, its power to inflaenoa belief 


may be veiy strong, and when this is not the case, 
there still may exist a disposition to be influenced by 
analo^cal oonsiderations, even when these are Buooeaa- 
fully resisted or suppressed. The instinctiTe proclivi^ 
towards the use of analogies, whether it be logical or 
anti-logioal in effect, forms an interesting psychol<^oal 
trait. Logic oonnsels how we may think most profit- 
ably and correctly ; psychology describes how we actn- 
ally do think or tend to think. The logician is the 
gardener bent upon truning certun selected flowers 
according to an ideal standard, and eradicating all 
others as weeds ; while the psychologist is the botanist 
to whom all plants, weeds, and flowers alike are worthy 
objects of study, and who, indeed, traces significant 
resemblances between the despised weed and the clunoe 

The natural history account of analogy wiU oon- 
sider the status in less advanced stages of human de- 
velopment, and the evolution of this form of thought, 
which Boientists to-day use only with the greatest oaa- 
tioD, and to which they at best assign but a limited 
and corroborative value. It will appear that analogy 
is dominant in primitive types of thought ; that it has 
an important cultural history ; and has left an unmis- 
takable impress upon many beliefs of our civilisation, 
marked as obsolete, perhaps, in the dictionary of the 
cultured, but current still in the parlance of average 
and untutored humanity. 


The great law of apperception, teaching that we 
cAwerve aooording to onr inherited oapacities and our 


acquired experience, th&t we in a very real Bflnse create 
the world in whioh we live, explains the difficult of 
realizing modes of thought strikingly different fro'n 
oar own, either as more primitive, or more oomplez, ot 
as based upon other perspectives of the social, intellec- 
tual, and ethical rules that guide thought and conduct. 
To the supremely civilized citizen of the nineteenth 
century, the mental life of one who has .hardly a firm 
hold on the first round of the ladder of civilization is 
naturally somewhat inoomprehensible. An illustration 
of the conspicuous contrast, though doubtless amidst an 
inherent commonity, of the thought-habits of untutored 
and ot cultured man, may suggest the direction and 
the nature of the evolutionary development that sepa- 
rates, yet binds, the one and the other. Prominent 
among such contrasts is the different standing assumed 
by the facts and reasonings of soienoe in primitive and 
in highly civilized life ; and an important part of this 
difference may be viewed as the shifting of the posi- 
tion occupied by the argument by analc^y. Deeper 
than the language of words, and underlying their use 
and formation, is the habit of comparing qbject with 
object, of tracing resemblances and noting contraats. 
It would seem that in the primitive use of this process 
there is lat^ng the distinction between the resemblances 
more strictly inherent in the objects and those originat- 
ing in the mode of viewing them ; subject and object 
are still merged in a vaguer realm of perception where 
myth and science, poetical fiction and evident fact, are 
as yet undifferentiated and mingle without let or hin- 
drance. The savage frames his world by the realization 
of simple fancies soggested by alight analogies, where 


tbe nuut ot flultare examines tlie objective causes of 
phenomena nnder the guidance of scientifically estab- 
lished principles and accarate logic. Fortunately, how- 
ever, for our power of reali^ng bygone mental traits, 
these forms of belief still find currency as BurviTals, in 
Mr. Tylor's apt words, "of the lower culture which 
they are of to the higher culture which they are in." 
We thus can understand the belief we no longer share ; 
we can appreciate as suggestive myth or far-fetched 
analf^y what to onr ancestors may have been a plausi- 
ble belief or a satis&ctory explanation. 

The prominence of analogy among undeveloped 
peoples supplies unlimited illustrations of the role which 
it plays in primitive circles, tbe essential influence 
which it exerts over thoughts and customs in the early 
history of manliiDd. Consider first that widespread 
class of customs and observances by which the savage 
regards himself as influencing for good or ill the fate 
of friend or foe. The Zulu chewing a bit of wood to 
soften the heart of the man he wishes to buy oxen from, 
ot of the woman he is wooing (Tylor) ; the Illinois 
Lidians making figures of those whose days they desire 
to shorten, and stabbing these images to the heart, or 
by performing incantations upon a stone trying to form 
a stone in the hearts of their enemies (Borman) ; the 
Peruvian sorcerer, making rag dolls and piercing them 
with cactus-thorns, and hiding them about the beds to 
cripple people ; or the native of Borneo, making a wax 
figure of his enemy in the belief that as the image 
melts, the enemy's body will waste away (Tylor) ; the 
Zulu sorcerer who secures a portion of a desired victim's 
dress and buries it secretly, so that, as it rots away, tut 


life may decay (Clodd) ; the confeBBion recorded in a 
BeveuteentlKientury trial for witchcraft, that the ac- 
cused had " buried a glove of the said Lord Henty 
in the ground, so that as the glove did rot and waste, 
the liver of the said lord might rot and waste " 
(Brand) ; the New Britain sorcerer of to-day who bums 
a castaway banana skin, so that he who carelessly left 
it unburied may die a tormenting death (Clodd) ; be- 
witching by operating upon a lock of hair or the 
parings of the finger-nails, and the consequent wide- 
spread custom of religiously preventing such personal 
scraps from falling into others' possession ; — all these 
varied forms of primitive witchcraft rest upon the 
notion that one kind of connection, one link of resem- 
blance, will bring with it others. The ai^ument, if 
explicitly stated, as can hardly be done without doing 
violcnoe to its instinctive force, may be put thus: 
this bit of wood or stone or lock of hair or scrap of 
clothing resembles this man or woman in that tiie one 
represents the other or that the one had a personal 
connection with the other ; therefore they will further 
resemble one another in that whatever will make the 
one soft and yielding or the other hard and unfeeling 
will have the same effect on the other, or in that what- 
ever is done to the one will happen to the other. Other 
considerations combine with this underlying analogical 
factor to impart cogency and plausibility to a belief 
or custom ; but the type of the logic, crooked though 
it be, is recognizable throughout. 

Another significant group of primitive beliefs, in- 
Tolving a similarly indirect argument by analogy, 
relates to the partaking of an animal for the sake of 


thus absorbing its typical qualities. Tbe Malays eat 
tiger to acquire the sagacity as well as the canning of 
that animal ; the Dyaks refuse to eat deer for fear of 
becoming faint-hearted ; the Caribs eschew pigs and 
tortoises for fear of having tbeir eyes grow small 
(Lubbock) ; even cannibalism may be indulged in, in 
the hopes of absorbing the courage of a brave man, as 
in the case of Captun Wells, who was killed near 
Chicago in 1812, and whose body was cut up and dis- 
tributed among the Indians, " so that all might have 
the opportunity of getting a taste of tbe courageous 
soldier " (Clodd) ; and in an ancient Mexican rite, 
called the eating of the god, there occurs an elaborated 
and symbolical form of the same belief. 

The use of omens, the interpretation of signs and 
coincidences, forms another rich &eld for illustration 
of ailments by analogy. " Magical arts," says Mr. 
Tylor, " in which the connection is that of mere analogy 
or symbolism, are endlessly numerous throughout the 
course of civilization. Their common theory may 
be readily made out from a few typical cases, and 
thence apjJied confidently to the general mass. The 
Australian will observe the track of an insect near 
a grave to ascertain the direction where the sorcerer is 
to be found by whose craft the man died. . . . The 
Khondi sets up the iron arrow of the war god in a 
basket of rice, and judges from its standing upright 
that war must be kept up also, or from its falling that 
the quarrel may be let fall too ; and when he tortures 
human victims sacrificed to the earth goddess he rejoices 
to see them shed plentiful tears, which betoken copious 
showers to fall upon his land." " In the burial cere- 


monies of the natives of AlanTtft, if too many tears were 
shed they said that the road of the dead would be 
muddy, but a few tears jnst had the dust " (Dorman). 
" The Zapoteos had a very onrions manner of seleoting 
a maoitou for a child at its birth. When a woman 
wa8 about to be delivered, the relatives assembled in 
the hut and commenced to draw on the Soor figures of 
different animals, rubbing out each one as fast as oom- 
pleted. The one that remained at the time of the 
birth was called the child's second self, and as soon 
as grown up he procured the animal, and believed his 
health and existence bonnd up with it" (Dorman). 
The taking of omens by the flight of birds or the 
tracks of animals, by the sky, by the inspection of sac- 
rifices, by the ttivial happenings of daily life, abound io 
savage ceremonials, and in a &ir proportion of oases 
carry with them the rationale of their origin, that 
saves them from being mere caprice. And in all 
those endless appeals to chance or lot for the detection 
of crime, the unfoldmeot of the future, the prediction 
of the issue of disease or of important tribal events, 
there is always some underlying link of oonnection 
between the kind of omen or the nature of its interpre- 
tation and the issue it signifies ; and this connection it 
is, however slight or fanciful, that muntains the belief 
in the further bond of omen and issue. 

That such connections may travel still farther aloi^ 
the path of analogy without losing force, is well illus- 
trated in the observances regarding the use of names. 
13w rr^t****** seems to pass from thing to imi^e, to 


name, mndi as piotare-writing passes into word-writing. 
The use of idols is abundant evidence of the extent of 
this mental operation ; what is done to or for the idol 
is analogically transferred to the god, and the confusion 
may become so gross that when the oracles of two gods 
disagree, their idols are knocked against each other, and 
the one that breaks is declared in the wrong. A draw- 
ing or other rough resemblance may do service for the 
thing, especially in sacrifices of objects of value. By 
similar steps the name becomes an essential portion of 
the object or person named, and analogies formed 
through the name are applied to the thing. Accord- 
ingly, a man may be bewitched through his name ; 
hence there arise the most elaborate and rigid obser- 
vances prohibiting the ose of the name, which are 
grouped together in the complex code of the Taboo, 
— that "dread tyrant of savage life, . . . the Inqai> 
sition of the lower culture, only more terrible and 
effective than the infamous ' Holy Office ' " (Clodd). 
For uncomplicated illustrations of name analogies, 
however, we must go to other customs than the Taboo, 
It is related that in the British war with Nepaul, Goree 
Sah had sent orders to " find out the name of the com- 
mander of the British army ; write it upon a piece o£ 
paper ; take it some rioe and turmeric ; say the great 
incantation three times ; having said it, send for some 
plum-tree wood, and therewith bum it ; " thus was the 
life of the commander to be destroyed. Similarly it 
was suspected that the King of Dahomey refused to 
sign a letter, written in his name to the President of 
the French Republic, for fear that M. Caruot might 
bewitoh him through it (cited by Clodd). " Barbaric 


man believes tliat his name is a vital part of Umself , 
and therefore that the namra of other men and of 
snperham&n beings are also vital parts of themselves. 
He further believes that to know the name is to pnt 
its owner, whether he be deity, ghost, or mortal, in the 
power of another, involving risk of harm or destrnotioo 
to t^ named. He therefore takes all kindsofprecaatdons 
to conceal bis name, often from his friend, and always 
from his foe " (Clodd). In Borneo the name of a sickly 
child is changed to deceive the evil spirits that torment it. 
" When the life of a Kwapa Indian is supposed to be 
in danger from illness, he at once seeks to get rid of 
his name, and sends to another member of the tribe, 
who goes to the chief and buys a new name, which is 
given to the patient. With tbe abandonment of the 
old name it u believed that the aiokness is thrown 
off. * On the reception of the new name the patient 
becomes related to the Kwapa who purchased it. Any 
Ewapa can change or abandon his personal name fonr 
times, but it is considered bad Inck to attempt such 
a thing for the fifth time ' " (Clodd). Tbe Mohawk 
ohief can confer no higher honor on his visitor than by 
giving him his name, with which goes the right of 
regatding the chiefs fame and deeds of valor as his 
own. A Tahitian chief became so smitten with Steven- 
son's charms that he asaumed Stevenson's name; in 
exchange Stevenson took the name of the chief, and 
in one of his letters signs himself, " Teritera, which 
he was previously known as Bobert Lonis Stevenson." 
When totem and tribal names are assumed to obtain 
the qualities of the animal namesake, or the reverence 
due to the person is tntnafenred to tlie name, and when 


inoaDtations and the utterances of mystio formnlaa 
are granted like efficacy as the manipulatioD of the 
things themselves, we see the operation of the mental 
law under discaBsion ; though it is still more saliently 
illustrated in the more artifieialized practices of the 
Chinese physician, who, for lack of a desired drug', 
will " write the prescription on a piece of paper and 
let the sick man swallow its ashes or an infusion of 
the writing in water ; " or of the Moslem who expects 
reUef from a decoction in which a verse of the Koran 
written on paper has been washed (Tylor). 

What 18 true of names is also regarded as true of 
other representatives or embodiments of personalis — 
the footprint, the drawing, the image, the shadow. 
** Broken bottle ends or sharp stones are put, in Russia 
and in Austria, in the footprints of a foe, for the pnrpoae 
of laming him (Lang) ; or a nail may be driven into a 
horse's footprint to make him go lame " (Grinun). The 
Ojibways practice magio "by drawing the figure of any 
person in sand or clay, or by considering any objeot as 
the figure of a person, and then pricking it with a 
sharp stick or other weapon; . . . the person thus 
represented will sufEer likewise " (Dorman). The same 
idea appears in King James's " Demonology," in which 
he speaks of " the devil teaching how to make pictures 
of war or clay, that by roasting thereof the persons 
that they bear the name of may be coDtinually melted 
or dried away by sickness ; " and even now Highland 
crofters perforate the image of an enemy with pins. 
The same idea finds a tangible illustration in the col- 
lection of objects in the Pitt Bivers Museum at Oxford 
(auch as a pig's heart from Devonshire, with pins atxu^ 


iDto it), which were aaed for a like purpose. And 
Catlin's story of the aoousation bronght agaiost him 
by the Ynkona, that he had made buffaloes scarce by 
pnt^g BO many pictures of them in his book, may be 
paralleled by the stories gathered from Scotland to 
Somerset, of " ill health or ill lock which followed the 
camera, of folks who 'took bad and died' after being 
* a-tookt ' " (Clodd). " The Basuto avoids the river- 
bank, lest, as his shadow falls on the water, a crocodile 
may seize it and harm the owner. In Wetar Island, 
□ear Celebes, the magicians profess to make a man ill 
by spearing or stabbing his shadow ; the Arabs believe 
that if a hyiena treads on a shadow, it deprives the 
man of the power of speech ; and in modem Boumania 
the ancient custom of burying a victim as saorifioe to 
the earth-spirit under any new stmoture has a survival 
in the builder enticing some passer-by to draw near, so 
that his shadow is thrown on the foundation-stone, the 
belief bemg that be will die within the year" (Clodd). 
To the underlying notions thus variously embodied 
may be applied Mr. Clodd's characterization : t^y 
form "a part of that general confusion between the 
objective and the subjective — in other words, between 
names and things, or between symbols and realities — 
which is a universal feature of barbaric modes of 
thought. This confusion attributes Uie qualities of 
living things to things not living ; it lies at the root 
of all fetichism and idolatry ; of all witchcraft, Shaman- 
ism, add other instruments which are as keys to the 
invi^ble kingdom of the dreaded." It is in such an 
atmrnphere that the philosophy of analogy roles with 
ondiipated tway. 


*' Ideas are universal, incidents are local," says Mr. 
Clodd, in speaking of the diffusion of folk-lore tales. 
The same is true of thought tendencies. We may 
realize more intimately the analogical potency of names 
by recalling their survivals from the solemn oaea o£ 
<nirsee and excommunications, to the charms carried 
about the person consisting of magic or cabalistio 
writing, to the playful or the serious German usage oi 
saying unberufen and rapping three times under the 
table if a vord or thought " tempting Providence " baa 
&llen from the lips. Clearly, if we follow analogy as a 
^de, there is much in a name. 

We may next proceed to more general nses of the 
analogical trait, — more general because the speoial 
analogical appropriateness of thought or custom ia no 
longer so apparent, but requires to be viewed more as 
a special and, it may be, a somewhat arbitrary applica- 
tion of a principle, itself supported or believed in on 
analogical grounds. Metaphor and simile and symbol- 
ism may be based upon the same types of resemblaooes 
that underlie analog, but it is desirable, so far as may 
be possible, to hold these distinct ; yet what is metaphor 
to us may still be analogy to others. 

When we speak of a head of cabbage, the trunk of 
a tree, or the legs of a table, we understand that we 
have applied these names on the basis of resemblances 
to objects to which the names more strictly belong, and, 
there is no thought that the name carries with it any 
further connection; but when the Chinese doctor ad- 
ministers the beads, middle parts, and roots of plants. 


for tlie heads, bodies, and lege of his patients reepeo- 
tirely, lie is clearly led to do so by a v^ae sense 
of analogical fitness, by a feeling that the bodily 
similarities are indicative of further connection of a 
quasi-causal type. This kind of reasoning abounds in 
primitive ceremonials, in vhich the appropriateness of 
the observances and of the elements of the ritual depend 
upon resemblances or symbolical auggestivenesB. It is 
difficult to find instances of this trait in which a more 
or less conscious symbolism is excluded, for we know 
how readily the savage mind, in its somewhat more 
developed stages, uses this mode of thought, as is 
evidenced by the ingenuity of their pioture-writiDg, 
gesture-language, and tribal systems. But apart from 
symbolical procedures, in which the unreality of the 
underlying resembhuices is half acknowledged, we may 
note the application of such general priooiples as that 
nnnsoal phenomena have unusual significance, and that 
to accomplish important objects drastic means and rare 
substances must be employed ; that operations and 
remedies will be effective according to their diveigenoe 
- from the usual and the common experience of man- 
kind. The infiuenoe of this principle is traceable in 
the bizarre fancies and grotesque performances of sav- 
ages, as also in the reverence shown to the belongings 
of t^ white man and the curious uses to which they 
are put. In their ritual observances, as well aa in 
medical practice, the same principle is involved ; a 
single illustration will suffice to recall this well-known 
form of thought. Dorman cites the fate of an Indian 
warrior brought to camp after a most disastrous en- 
conntor with a griaily bear. To repair hit very serions 


mjnriei " the doctor compounded a medldne that realfy 
oaght to have worked wonders. It was made by boiling 
tt^ether a oollection of miscellaDoous weeds, a handfnl 
of ohewing tobacco, the heads of four lattleniakea, and 
a select assortment of worn-out moccasins. The deooo- 
tion thus obtained was seasoned with a little omde 
petroleum and a large quantity of red pepper, and the 
patient was direoted to take a pint of the mixtnre 
every half hour. He was a brave man, oonspioaona 
for his fortitude under suffering, but after taking his 
first dose he tamed over and died with the ntmoat 

Another one of these general principles may have 
been suggested by the failure of the ordinary omens ; 
and thus the conclusion was reached that the analogy 
proceeds not according to resemblanoe but by contrast. 
For example, the Zulus, when dreaming " of a sick ntan 
that he is dead, . . . say, ' because we have dreamt of 
his death he will not die.' But if they dream o£ a 
wedding dance it is the sign of a funeral. So the 
Maoris hold that a kinsman dreamt of as dying will 
recover, but to see him well is a sign of death. Both 
races thus worked out, by the same crooked lo^o that 
guided our own anoestors, the axiom that dreams go by 
contraries " (Tylor). It will be seen in later portions 
of our exposition that these and other general principles 
of an analogical type have lost none of their potency in 
their more modem or more erudite phases. 

The parallelism between the mental development o{ 
the individual and of the race, though necessarily in- 


complete, is yet deeply sn^ieBtiTe and significant. In 
a very true sense the unfoldment of mental faonlty 
from ohildliood to maturity reflects tJie allied course of 
evolution from savagery to civilization ; yet the re- 
flection is distorted and is traceable only in general 
ootlineB. Undeveloped forms of thought and instino- 
tire tendencies, of a related though by no meaaa of an 
identical character, should be traceable in each ; and 
among them the natural proclivity for dependenos 
npon analogies. That children are fond of reasoning 
by analogy there can be no doubt ; their confusion of 
fact with fancy, their lack of extensive knowledge and 
the abili^ to refer effects to proper causes, their great 
love for sound effects and play of words, the earnestness 
of their {day convictions — all these furnish a rich soil 
for the growth of such habits of thou^t as we are now 
oonsidering. On the other hand, the influence of thmr 
adult companions, of their conventional snrronndings, 
of the growth of the make-believe sentiment by which 
the laws of the real world are differentiated from those 
of fury-land, make it difBcult to pronounce as an ail- 
ment by analogy what may really be a half-conscious 
play of fancy or jugglery of words and ideas. There 
is, further, considerable difficulty in collecting charao- 
teristdc and unimpeachable illustrations of ai^uments 
by analogy in children, owing to the general lack of 
suitable collections of children's spontaneous and origi- 
nal mental reactions. - What fond parents arc apt to 
observe and newspaper paragraphers to record are 
sayings that amuse by a quaintness or the assttrnptioD 
of a worldly wisdom beyond their years, while the truly 
suggestive traits pass anreoorded for lack of psycho- 


lo^cally informed observers. There is thus a gl^ 
to be snpplied by valuable and eu^estive rtody of 
analogy in childhood. However, not to pass by- the 
topic without illostratdoa, I may oite the reply of tha 
little boy who, when asked his age, said he \nw nine 
when be stood on bis feet bat six when he stood oa his 
bead, because an inverted 9 makes a 6 ; be was cer- 
tainly reasoning by a far-fetched analogy, boweTer 
little faith he may have had in the correctness of his 
reasoning. The children who believed that butter 
oconeB from butterflies, and grass from grasshoppeis, 
beans from bees, and kittens from poggy-willows (Stao- 
ley Hall), may have been simply misled by sound 
analogies ; but when Sir John Lubbock tells us of a 
little girl saying to her brother, ** If you eat bo mnoh 
goose yon will be quite silly," and adds that, " there 
are perhaps few children to whom the induction would 
not seem perfectly legitimate," we appreciate that such 
arguments, so closely paralleling the superstitionB of 
savages, may be more real to children than we suspeet. 

We may now enter in the search for reasonings by 
analogy into a field of greatest interest to the student 
of the history of culture ; namely, the household tradi- 
tions, the superstitions, and the pseudo-scientific bjs- 
tems, that originated among our ancestors, remote or 
immediate, and are still far from obsolete in all but 
the upper strata of our civilization. This portion of 
the theme indeed presents an embarras de richesses, 
and the illustrations to be cited form but an insignifi. 
cant share of those tb^ could readily be collected. 


Ceitainly more than one chapter of the hutoiy of 
human error oonld be profitably devoted to those dae 
to an nnwarranted use of the argument by analogy. 

We may begin by taking a flying exonrsion into that 
body of superstidoDS and folk-lore customs which no 
nation, however high or low in the scale of oiTtlization, 
ie without The widespread custom of carrying baby 
upstairs before being taken to the lower floors of the 
bouse, so that he may be snooessfnt in life and partici- 
pate in its ups rather than its downs, rests upon baby- 
logic indeed. The belief that if baby heeps his fists 
tightly closed he will be stingy, but if be holds an open 
palm be will be generous, likewise requires no interpr^ 
tation. It is forbidden, too, to measnre a child, for 
measuring it is measuring it for its ooffin. To the 
German peasant, if a dog bowls looking downward it 
means death, if upward recovery from sickness. " The 
Hessian lad thinks that he may escape the conscription 
by carrying a baby-girl's cap in his pocket — a symbolic 
way of repudiating manhood." " Fish," says the Cor- 
nishman, " should be eaten from the tail to the head, 
to bring other fishes' heads towards the shore, for eating 
them the wrong way turns them from the coast." " It 
IB still plain," says Mr. Tylor, from whom I have cited 
some of these examples, " why the omen of the crow 
should be different on the right or left hand, why a 
vulture should mean rapacity ; a stork, ooncord ; a 
pelican, piety ; an ass, labor ; why the fierce, conquer- 
ing wolf should be a good omen, and the timid hare a 
bad one ; why bees, types of an obedient nation, should 
be lucky to a king, while flies returning, however often 
they are driven off, should be signs of importunity and 


impudenoe." And as parallels to these rigns, in the 
T^^table world, ooe may cite the aoiaranth as signify- 
ing immortality; ivy, strength; cypress, woe; helio- 
trope, attachment ; aspen, fear; aloes, bitterness ; while 
throngh more artificial associations the laurel beooznea 
the sign of renown ; the rose, of love ; the olive, of 
peace ; and the palm, of victory. 

I^ess directly analogical are the customs of a semi- 
^mbolio character, depending upon a mysteriooB or 
potent sympathy. Thus, in '* Bavaria, ilaz will not 
thrive unless it is sown by women, and this has to be 
done with strange ceremonies, including the scattering 
over the field of the ashes of a fire made of wood con- 
secrated during matins. As high as the maids jamp 
over the fires on the hilltops on Midsummer Night, so 
high will the fiaz grow ; bat we find also that as high 
as the bride springs from the table on her marriage 
night, so high will the flax grow in that year." This 
is paralleled by the custom, recorded by Mr. Fraxer, 
current in the interior of Sumatra. There "the rioe is 
sown by women who, in sowing, let the hair hang loose 
down their backs, in order that the rice may grow 
luxuriantly and have long stalks." It is hardly necea- 
sary to cootinne these illustrations, which will at once 
suggest others, with which the wealth of superstitions lore 
overflows; nor do they require elaborate interpretation. 
The resemblances involved may be fanciful or symbolic, 
obvious or obscure, superficial or intrinsic, natural or 
artificial, but the subtle and protean bases of analogy- 
become recognizable as soon as the mind is directed 
towards their detection. 

It will be more profitable to limit the inquiry to a 



few groDps of beliefs, which have been more or leu 
folly elaborated into systems. Of these the interpreta- 
tion of dreams offers a promising harreat of analogies. 
This practice has a venerable history, the study of 
which would constitute an interesting task for the 
patient student of the by-paths of human culture. I 
shall draw only from the contemporaneous Burrivals of 
this ancient lore, the dream-books pnrcbaaable in every 
ci^ and village. 

My selections from this literature have been made 
with a view of presenting the typical kinds of analogy 
through which modem dream omens are believed in 
and through which this kind of reading finds a sale. 
" To dream of using glue," an antbori^ tells us, " fore- 
tells imprisonment for yonrself or friend ; " and this 
because a prison and glue are alike in that it is diffi- 
cult to be released from the hold of either. Similarly, 
because the pineapple has a rough and forbidding ap- 
pearanoe it becomes in dreams the omen of " crosses 
and troubles." Thb seems hardly more than a play 
of words ; indeed, we liave here touched one of the 
many points where metaphor and analogy meet. For 
instanoe, ve commonly speak of the ladder of sncoess 
and the ups and* downs of fortune ; the dream-book 
tells us that " to dream of going up a ladder foretells 
the possession of wealth ; coming down, of poverty." 
The common phrase of " mud-slin^ug " is thus inter- 
preted by the dream-books, "to dream of dirty dirt or 
mud signifies that some one will spei^ ill of yon. If 
some one throws dirt on you it foretells that you will 
be abused." To the same category belong the dream- 
book mufipiff, that **to dream of being mounted on 


stilts denotes that yoa are puffed ap with vun pride ; " 
*' to dream that you gather fruit from a very old tree 
is generally supposed to prognosticate that yoa will 
sacoeed to the wealth of some ancient person ; if yon 
dream of a clock and the hands stop it means deadi ; 
if the hands keep moving, recovery ; " "to dream of m 
concert means a life of harmony with one you love." 
So, too, various objects become significant of their 
striking characteristics : the earthworm, from its halnts 
of underground and secret destruction, denotes " seoret 
enemies that endeavor to ruin and destroy ns ; " and 
all strongly redolent food, such aa oniom, garlic, and 
leek, easily betraying the one who has partaken of 
them, becomes indicative of the betrayal of secrets and 
the like. Mr. Dyer cites some apt lines in which the 
logic is abont as meritorious aa the verse : — 

Mnoh itrifa in thy di 

Seoreti foutid oat or elie betra7«d. 

And Eimny fslaehoodi mads and sud." 

From Mr. Tylor's collection of dream omens of 
similar oharactor I cull the following : " to wash the 
hands denotes ^release from anxieties ; " "to have one's 
feet out off prevents a journey ; " " be who dreams he 
has lost a tooth shall lose a friend ; " " he that dreams 
that a rib is taken out of his side shall ere long see the 
death of his wife ; " to dream of swimming and wading 
in the water is good, so that the head be kept above 
water. A good share of the omens depend upon con- 
trasts and not upon resemblances : " to be married de- 
notes some of your kinsfolk are dead ; " "to dream of 
death denotes happiness and long life ; " and so on. 


Others of these dream-book analogies depend rather 
Bpon verbal resemblanoe, and s^ others involve re< 
semblanoes too subtle and pecaliar to be readily ex- 
plained. There is perhaps notiiiing more aaderlying - 
the diotam that " dreaming abont Qoakers means that 
yon win meet a friend soon " than the fact that t^e 
Quakers are a " Society of Friends ; " a little mors 
elaborate punning underlies the prediction that "to 
dream of a dairy showeth the dreamer to be of a milk- 
aop nature;" and finally what a curious mixture of 
perverted analogy is reflected in the notion that to 
dream of " a zebra indicates a cheokered life " 1 

The great parts that names and numbers play in 
saperstitions of all hinds is so familiar that a few in- 
Btanoes will be sufficient. It is well to bear in mind 
that these number and name predictions, in the oonrse 
of their venerable and eventful lives, have been sys- 
tematized, and the gaps in the system supplied by 
arbitrary associations. Thus the modem fortune-teU- 
ing books have an omen for each one of a pack of 
cards, or a set of dominoes, in which we find, among 
what seems little more than an arbitrary assignment of 
the ordinary events of life, good and bad, pleasant and 
unpleasant, important and trivial, — among the several 
cards or dominoes, here and there some underlying 
basis of analogy ; hearts relate to love affairs, diamonds 
to wealth; kings and queens play important rdles; 
the jack is about as often a lover as a knave ; threes 
and sevens have special significance ; and double 
throws in dice, especially the two nxes, have import- 
ant consequences. So in folk-lore, operations, to be 
effective, must be done jnst three times, or tlirioe 


Aim, or mi«i. The torendi chDd of a fleventii oUU 
lias spoeial powers, as we sll know. The twelfth hour 
that divides night from day is a momentoas ^**Ttant, 
as is also the time of the oock*s crow. ^Against a 
warty eraptkm the leeches advised the patient to take 
seven wafers and write on each wafer, M^^^w»^ftF*Tif, 
Malchos, Johannes, Martinianas, Dionysina, Coostan- 
tinos, Serafion ; then a chann was to be sang to the 
man, and a maiden was afterwards to hang it about his 
neck " (Black). In a similar strain the dreani-bocdc 
informs us that if a number of young women, not leas 
than three nor more than seven, assemble on a oertain 
night, and if, as the hoar strikes eleven, they each take 
a sprig of myrtle and throw it, together with nine hairs 
from the head, upon a live coal, and if they go to bed 
at exactly twelve o'clock, they will dream of their fatnre 
husbands as a reward of their pains and their mathe- 
matical accuracy. Not a few of number and name 
ceremonials are invested with their power by religions 
associations ; the ill luck of thirteen and of Friday is 
oommonly r^arded as due to this source. In the 
northern Fwgliah countries, witches are said to dislike 
the bracken fern, because it bears on its roots the ini- 
tial C (indicating Christ), which may be seen on cut- 
ting the root horisontally (Dyer). The clover, on 
account of its trefoil form, suggesting trinity, is like- 
wise good against witches (Dyer). A like explana- 
tion seems applicable to the efficacy of the cross and 
the cross-roads, both of which enter, in a variety of 
ways, into folk-lore beliefs and customs. While num- 
bers and names and definite associations seldom form 
the whole basis of analogy by which the belief becomes 


plaanble, they veiy freqnetitly eutor to emphasize and 
give point to practices suggested od other grounds. 
The ailment inrolTed in the pumber analogy is ex- 
tremely simple ; it is nothing more than because two 
phenomena have in common the association with the 
same number, therefore they will be connected in fur- 
ther respects. This slender line of connection affects 
the minute code of snperstitious action, and forms the 
thread whereon are strung momentous omens, poweN 
ful recipes, dire predictions, and wise precautions 
against varions imaginary dangers. 

The logic by which the treatments onrrent in folk- 
medioine acquire their efficacy is passing strange; 
at first acquaintance with this wonderland we are apt 
to imagine ourselves in some weird topsy-torvydomf 
where everything uncanny and incongmons is greedily 
collected, and the most bizarre and trivial doings be- 
come endowed with marvelous efficacy. Upon cJoBer 
aoqnuntance we discover some little order in the med- 
ley, and, in spite of much that remains arbitraty and 
capricious, we begin to trace tlie analogies according 
to which the various treatments are composed and the 
potions concocted. The common connection of toads 
with warta, both OB giving and curing tbem, is due to 
nothing more than the warty appearance of the toad's 
skin ; similarly, in Gloucestershire, against ear-ache a 
snail is pricked and the froth that exudes dropped into 
the patient's ear (Black) ; and this by reason of the 
sn^l-like passages in the ear. Fevers being connected 
with heat and blood, and both these closely associated 
with red, red things become efficacious in diseases 
characterized by fever. That thia should be especially 


in TOgoe against scarlet fever is no more than natural ; 
and it is related that when the son of Edward IL 
was sick of the small-pox, the physician directed that 
the bed-fnmitore should be red (Black). Other forma 
of such associations will be met with in the discoasion 
of the doctrines of signatures and sympathies. 

Folk-medicine forms a particularly apt field for the 
application of the two general forms of analogy indi- 
cated as prevalent among savages : analogies by oon- 
trast and the assignment of unusual effects to unoom- 
mon causes. If something b done with the right hand, 
doing it with the left reverses the action ; one set of 
directions applies to men and contrary ones to women ; 
saying a thing backwards is particularly efficaoious. 
The prescription against hiccough, that you should 
«* cross the front of the left shoe with the forefinger of 
the right hand while you repeat the Lord's prayer 
backwards " (Black) may serve to illustrate the one 
crooked type of argument, while for the other we have 
only to recMill the Shakespearean witches, with their — - 

** Roimd About Um eanldron go ; 
In tht poiw>ii*d entrailf throw. 
Toftd, that under oddest stone, 
Dayi Mid nighti hM thirty-one 
Swelter*d Tenom ileeping got, 
Boil thoQ first i* the oharmed pot ! 
Fillet of a fenny snake, 
In the cauldron boil and bake ; 
Eye of newt and toe of frog, 
Wool of bat and tongue of dog. 
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting* 
Lixard's leg, and owlet's wing, 
For a oharm of powerful trouble, 
Like a heU-broth boil and babble. 


Sc»l« o( diagpn, tooth of wolf ; 
Witcliea' mammj ; zomm and gait, 
Of tba iKTiu'd ultHMMt >h*Tk ; 
Boot of hemlock digg-'d i' th« duk ; 
lirai of blaaphemiog Jaw ; 
Qill of goat. Mid alipa of jew, 
^TBnd io the nuion'i eolipae ; 
Nosa of Turk, and Tutar'i lipa; 
Finger of birth-abaiigled babe, 
Ditob deliTer'd bjr a diab> — 
Hake the gmel thick aod ilab ; 
Add thareto ■ tiger') ahaadion, 
For the ingredieiits of our canldroOi 
Cool it with the baboon'* blood, 
Theo the ohaim i* flim and good." 

fVom folk-medicine to false and absurd forms of reme- 
dial systems, the transition is slight. For present pur- 
poses the most iastmctive of such systematized beliefs 
is the doctrine of sympathy, of which the most familiar 
surviml is the phrase, " to take a hair of the dog that 
bit yon." The system appeared in various phases and 
at varions times. We find Paracelsus a believer in it 
in the form of a " weapon salve," which is to be applied 
to the weapon that cansed the wound and thereby to 
heal the wound ; weapon and wound having once been 
related as cause and effect, this relation is supposed 
to insure further connection. The system found wide 
circulation through the efforts of Sir Kenelm Digby. 
While Sir Kenelm's practices involved bad observation 
and ignorance of medicine, what gave the method its 
plausibility and induced the faulty observation was an 
underlying belief in the argument by analogy. His 
treatment may be gathered from a story he tells of a 


Mr. Howell, whose hand was cat in an attempt to stop s 
duel between friends. Sir Kenelm arriTes on the scene 
and asks for anything that had the blood upon it ; he 
is given the garter wherewith the hand was first bound ; 
this he places in a basin of water, when suddenlj Mr. 
Howell, who is unaware of what is going on, ezperi- 
enoes a cooling effect and a relief from pun. Wlien 
the garter is placed before a great fire, Mr. Howell 
experiences an intense burning in the wound. Still 
another form of this idea appears in the *' sympathetic 
alphabet," in which each of two friends cuts out a pieoe 
of bis skin and has it transferred to the other ; on this 
grafted skin an alphabet is tattooed, and when a letter 
is pricked on the skin of the one friend, the other feels 
the pain at the corresponding point ; and thus inters 
course b established. A still more curious form of 
the doctrine appears in an out-of-the-way pamphlet; 
its title (a German translation from the French^ is 
*' The Thought Telegraph : or the instantaneous coni> 
munioation of thought at any distance, even from one 
end of the world to the other, by means of a portable 
machine. The most wonderful invention of our age." 
The true basis of the method, we are told, depends 
upon a ** sympathetio-galvano, magnetic, mineral, ani- 
mal, adamitic fluid ; " the practice depends upon the 
alleged discovery of a species of sn^Is, placed in a sym- 
pathetic relation, so that ever after their movements 
are in harmony. Accordingly each operator takes one 
of the snails and places it upon the alphabet chart; 
the snail crawls over the chart resting upon certain 
letters, and the other snail, however far removed, will 
do just the same, and thus the thought-telegraph will 


be estaliliflhed. Like Charles the Second's famons 
fish, that would not add to the weight of a dish of 
water in which it was placed, it lacks nothing hut truth 
to be a great invention. Frat^ices of the same general 
nature are BtiU current ; in the Netherlands, the knife 
that cut one is rubbed with fat in the belief that as 
the fat dries the wound will heaL The relation may 
become more remotely analogical and more arbitrary, 
as when, to cure ague, as many notches are cut in a 
stick as there have been fits ; as the stick dries the ague 
is to disappear ; ruptured children are passed through 
a split tree, and thus a sympathy is produced be- 
tween child and tree, so that as the tree heals the child 
will be oared. A like sympathy is supposed to exist 
between celestial objects and human events; this is 
particularly applied to the moon, the moon's growth 
and wane indicating the fortnnate times for growth 
and decay of earthly things. One must sow grain, cut 
the hair, and perform sundry other operations with the 
increase of the moon, to insnre increase of growth. 
The tides are similarly significant, as the ever-pathetic 
Barkis *' going out with the tide " sufSciently illus- 

While in the doctrine of sympathy, the resemblance 
basal to the analogy is one of relation, — sach as the 
relation of cause and effect, of owner and the object 
owned, of implement and the action performed by its 
use, — in the doctrine of seals or signatures, the re- 
semblance is an outward, usually a visible one, of 
form, color, or the possession of marked peculiarities. 
Underlying this doctrine seems to be the belief that no 
object or event is without profonnd significance for 


man'a welfare. The key to this signifloaitoe is to 1m 
found in a resemblance obTiom or remote, aetnal <a 
ideaL Hence the naes of things are suggested by their 
appearance. The euphrasia or ey ebright is useful in 
case of sore eyes on acoount of the bright eye-like spot 
in its corolla ; special virtues are ascribed to the gin- 
seng on account of the resemblance of its roots to a 
human shape. The granulated roots of the white 
meadow saxifrage were regarded as efficacious againat 
calcolouB complaints. The Solomon's-seal is so called 
on account of the marks in the cross-section of its 
roots, and is used to seal wounds. Water-soldier, on 
aooount of its sword-shaped leaves, was regarded as 
useful for gunshot wonndB. The red rose suggests ita 
use in blood diseases ; and yellow flowers were used in 
jaundice and liver complaints. The walnut was dearly 
defined for use in mental diseases : for its shape was 
that of the head, the outer green covering being the 
pericranium, the hard shell the skull, and the kernel 
the brain. Old ladies' thistle was for stitches in the 
nde, nettle tea for nettle-rash, hearts' -ease for heart 
troubles. Plants whose parts resembled teeth were 
prescribed for toothache, quaking grass agunst shakes, 
and so on with consistent illogicality (Dyer). The 
resemblances here involved are obvious enough ; they 
are just such aa underlie popular names of plants and 
the metaphorical use of terms. They form another 
illustration of how metaphor and analogy overlap ; 
what we accept as a sufficient suggestion for an appro- 
priate name was by pseudo-science, by folk-lore, or by 
superstition regarded as sufficiently significant to sup. 
port a cause-and^ect-like or a teleologioal relation. 


This, farthenuore, b a line of practice in which modem 
superstition and savage belief stand on an equal foot- 
ing; the prescriptions just cited are matched by the 
operations of the Cherokee, who make "a decoction of 
the ooae-flower for weak eyes because of the fancied 
resemblance of that plant to the strong-sigbted eye of 
the deer" (Clodd) ; who carry out the notion more 
elaborately when they " drink an infusion of the tenar 
cious burrs of the common be^ars'-Iice, an American 
Bpedes of the genus Desmodium, to strengthen tlie 
memory,*' or to "insure a fine voice, boil crickets and 
drink Ae liquor " (Clodd). The " Zulu medicine- 
man, who takes the bones of the oldest bull or dog of 
the tribe, giving scrapings of these to the sick, so that 
their lives may be prolonged to old age," in tarn finds 
a parallel in the seventeenth-century doctors, "who, 
with less logic, but perchance nnconscious humor, gave 
their patients pulverized mummy to prolong their 
years" (cited by Clodd). Analogy in savagery, in 
pseudo-science, and in undeveloped science, in super- 
stition and in survival, are of a nature all compact. 

The transition from mi^o to science was made 
possible by, and itself illustratea the supplanting of, 
loose and false reasoning by close and logical tbou^t ; 
the pseudo-sciences represent weak and erroneous infer- 
ence even more than they embody defective observation 
or mere ignorance. An over-dependence upon analogy 
characterizes some portions of them all, and finds its 
fullest development in astrology, as also in the various 
forms of alchemy and magic with which it is historically 
connected. Although this body of thought engaged 
tha energies of maoy able and wUrs, we 


omn look upon it only as a syBtem of rMemblanoea and 
ooincidenoes, elaborate and complex indeed, bot reqaizb 
ing little more than a vivid imagination and a 8om»> 
what keen sense for far-fetched analt^es. '* This in- 
vestigation," Bays the astrologer in Rydberg's " Majpio 
of the Middle Ages," " relies on the resemblanoes of 
things, for this similarity is derived from a correspon- 
dence, and caasality is interwoven with oorrespondeiioe. 
Thas, for instance, we jui^e from the resemblance 
between the splendor of gold and that of the son, that 
gold has its celestial correspondence in that Inminaij 
and Bustiuns to it a causal relation." Again, "the 
two-homed beetle bears a cansal relation to the moon, 
which at its increase and wane is also two-homed ; and 
if there were any doubt of this intimate relation be- 
tween them, it must vanish when we learn that the 
beetle hides its eggs in the earth for the space of 
twenty-eight days, or just so long a time as is required 
for the moon to pass through the zodiac, but digs them 
up again on the twenty-ninth, when the moon is in 
conjunction with the snn." (Agrippa, "De Occulta 
PhilosophiEB," i. 24.) 

It will readily be seen how limitless are the results 
obtainable with such a system. £ach planet becomes 
associated with a definite part of the body, and an 
argument such as the following becomes possible : 
" Since Capricomus, which presided over the knees in 
the house of Saturn, and all crawling animals are 
connected with the planet, the fat of snakes is an effec- 
tive remedy against gout in the knees, especially on 
Saturday, the day of Saturn " (Rydberg). Tables of 
correspondences were freely devised showing the repre- 


■entatives of the son, moon, aod five planets among the 
elements, tlie microcosm, animals, plants, metals, and 
stones. Thns Mara was represented in these spheres 
respectively, by fire, add jmees, beasts of prey, bnming, 
poisonous and stinging plants, iron or solpbaric metals, 
diamond, jasper, amethyst, and magnet; the vein of 
analogy lying in the fierce character of the god, whose 
name the planet bears. This idea of correspondence 
dominates the qneer collection of odds and ends by 
which the old-time m^dao worked his charms. 
" Here," for instance, he would say, '* is a plate of lead 
on which is engraved the symbol of a planet; and 
beside it a leaden flash containing gall. If I now take 
a piece of fine onyx marked with the same planet 
symbol and this dried cypress branch, and add to them 
the akin of a snake and the feather of an owl, yon will 
need but to look into one of the tables given yon to 
find that I have only collected various things in the 
elementary world which bear a relation of mutual 
activity to Saturn, and if rightly combined can attract 
both the powers of that planet and of the angels with 
which it is connected" (Rydberg). Mr. Tylor thus 
ably charaotorizes the analogies on which such systems 
are built and the uses to which they are put. " But 
most of his psendo-scienoe seema to rest on even weaker 
and more arbitrary analc^es, not of things hut of 
names. Names of stars and constellations, of signs 
denoting regions of the sky and periods of days and 
years, no matter how arbitrarily given, are materials 
which the astrologer can work upon and bring into 
ideal connection with mundane events. That astrono- 
mers should have divided the son's oonrse into imagi- 


nary signs of the sodiac, was enongh to originate 
astrologioal rules, that these oelestisl signs have an. 
actual effect on real earthl; rams, bulls, onbB, liona, 
TOgins. A child bom under the sign of the lion will 
be courageous, but one under the orab will not go fot^ 
ward in life; one bom under the waterman will be 
drowned, and bo forth. . . . Again, simply because 
astronomers chose to distribute among the placets the 
names of certain deities, the planets thereby aoqoired 
the characters of their divine namesakes. Thus it was 
diat the planet Venus became connected with love. 
Mars with war, Jupiter (whose 31 in altered ehape 
still heads our physicians' prescriptions) with power 
and joviality." The various positions of the heavenly 
bodies at one's birth, interpreted by such wild analiv 
gies, readily yield material for the prediction of future 
careers, vague enough to deiy close denial, and bold 
enough to claim readily foreseeable oonseqnenoes aa' 
striking Terifications. Astrolc^y represents the climax 
of the argument by analogy, fully systematized and 
calling into play many of the resources of modem 
learning. What is so clearly represented in astrology 
appears to a less extent in other pseudo-scientific sya- 
terns ; notably in palmistry and phrenology. It cap^ 
vates the well-informed as well as the ignorant, it 
appeals to minds that are strong as well as those 
that are weak, and emphasizes the pricelessness of 
our scientific inheritance and the necessity of guard- 
ing it by the cultivation of sound logical habits of 

It would be pleasant, but unwarranted, to think of 
these forms of thought as obsolete ; human nature is 


more deep^eatod than learning. " Li ereiy department 
of haman thought," aays Mr. Clodd, *' evidenoe of the 
non-pereistenoe of primitive ideas is the exception rather 
than the mle. Scratch the epiderm of the civilized 
man, and the barbarian ia found in the derm. In proof 
of which, there are more people who believe in Zadkiel's 
' Vox Stellarum ' than in the Nantieal Almnnim ; and 
rare are the houaeholds where the ' Book of Dreams ' 
and ' Fortane-Teller ' ^re not to be f onnd in the kitchen. 
The Singhalese caster of nativities has many repre- 
sentatives in the West, and there may lie profit in the 
reminder of the shallow depth to which knowledge of 
the orderly seqaenoe of things has yet penetrated in 
the many. Societies and serials for tJie promulgation 
of astroI(^ exist and flourish among ns ; Zadkiel 
boasts his circulation of a hundred thousand, and 
vaunts the fulfillment of his Delphio prophecies ; while 
the late Astronomer Boyal, Sir George Airy, was pes* 
tered, as his successor probably is, with requests to 
work the planets, accompanied by silver wherewith to 
cross his expert palm." The old astrology finds its 
descendants in modem fatuous volumes on Heliooentrio 
Astrology, or Kabalistic Astrology, abounding in absurd 
pseudo-philosophic jargon and science-aping demonstra- 
tions, but in reality only the " vulgaiest travesty of the 


By way of conclusion it nuy be helpful to consider 
certain general truths in the field of anthropology and 
mental evolution, upon which the illustrations we have 
been considering have a bearing. We have seen what 
m widely extended geona the analogioal argument com- 


passes ; and yet, if we were to include under this head 
eerbuQ closely allied and yet distingaishable fomis of 
thought, it would be much wider still. I refer par- 
ticulnrly to the use of metaphor and symbolism, which, 
like the children's make-beliere with their dolls or 
&irieB, is none the less on the boundary line between 
the real and the fictitious. Myth equally readily passes 
from the unconscious to the conscious stage, and maeh 
of what is plausibly interpreted as an argninent by 
aaalogj, seems equally well an intentional use (^ sym- 
bdism and myth. That savages, at least in all but 
the lower stages, appreciate the use of myth is beyond 
all doubt Primitive ceremonials, as also pnmitive 
explanations of the changes of nature, are full of sym- 
bolisms, which involve the same mental habit, whose 
products in the domain of analogy have been portrayed. 
This mythological instinct, Mr. Tylor well says, " be- 
longs to that great doctrine of analogy from which we 
have gained so much of our apprehension of the world 
around us. Distrusted as it now is by severer soionoe 
for its misleading results, analogy is to us still a ohief 
means of discovery and illustration, while in earlier 
grades of education its influence was all but paramonnt. 
Anal<^es which are but fancies to ns were to men oi 
past ^es reality. They could see the flame ticking its 
yet undevonred prey with tongues of fire, or the serpent 
gliding along the sword from hilt to point ; they could 
see a live creature gnawing within their bodies in the 
pangs of hunger ; they heard the voices of the hill- 
dwarfa answering in the echo, and the chariot of the 
heaven god rattling in thunder over the solid fimuu 
ment. Men to whom these were living tbonghts had 


DO need of the Bohoolmaster and his rules of oomp(v 
Bition, his iDJunotions to use metaphor cautiously and 
to take care to make all similes consistent" 

The principle that what was once the serioos occu' 
pation of men becomes in more advanced stages of 
culture the play of children, or is reduced from seri- 
ousness to mere amusement, finds illuBtrations in the 
mental as in the material world. The drum, onoe the 
serious terrifying instrument of the savage warrior, 
and the rattle, onoe the powerful emblem of the medi- 
cine man, have become the common toys of children. 
The bow and arrow are used for skill and sport only. 
In a aimilar way the formidable and trusted argument 
1^ aaeiogy finds its proper field in riddles and puns. 
When we put the question, " Why is this object like 
the other?" we understand that some out-of-the-way 
and accidental resemblance is asked for, some not very 
close analogy, that provokes amosement but not belief ; 
in many cases the resemblance is in the name only and 
degenerates into a pun. In such ezennses of fancy we 
are employing the same faculties that our ancestors 
used in arriving at the customs and beliefs that we 
have been considering. The laws governing the progress 
of industrial arts, of mechanical inventioas and social 
institutioDS seem thns to find equally ready application 
to the evolution of habits and customs in the mental 

From another, and that also a comparative anthro- 
pologioal point of view, the natural history of analogy 
illostrates, though imperfectly, the evolutionaiy bond 
that unites the development of the race from primitive 
culture to civilization, from infantile belplea 


adult power, and again the dissolntion of theae pio- 
oesses in disease or their atavistic retention in leas 
progressive strata of society. Significant, even thougli 
sporadic, parallelbms have been pointed out in the use 
of analogy by savages and by children ; and far more 
completely^ can it be shown that superstitions and 
pseudo-sciences, folk-lore traditions and popular beliefs 
show the survival of these same analogical habits of 
mind, which may be viewed in part as reversions to 
outgrown conditions of thought, in part as the crop- 
ping out, in pathological form, of retarding tendencies 
which the course of evolution may have repressed but 
not wholly destroyed. For there is hardly a form of 
modem superstition, there is hardly a custom sanc- 
tioned by the unwritten tradition of the people, but 
what can be closely duplicated among the customs and 
beliefs of the untutored savage. 

All this impresses us with the enduring qualities 
of man's barbaric past, the permanent though latent 
effect of his complete adaptation for thousands of years 
to a low intellectual environment. ^^ The intrusion of 
the scientific method," Mr. Clodd aptly comments, ^* in 
its application to man's whole nature, disturbed that 
equilibrium. But this, as yet, only within the narrow 
area of the highest culture." The earlier and more 
fundamental psychological factor of humanity is feel- 
ing and not thought, or more accurately an incipient 
rationality, thoroughly suffused with emotional mo- 
tives ; and primitive analogies proceed by a feeling of 
analogical fitness, and not by an intellectual justifica- 
tion. ^^ The exercise of feeling has been active from 
the beginning of his history, while thought, speaking 

oomparatdTely, baa but recently had free play. . . . 
Man wondered long chiliads before he reasoned, be- 
cause feeling travels along the line of least reeistanoe, 
vhile thoQght, or the challenge by inquiry, vitb its 
assumption that there may be two udea to a qnestion, 
must pursue a path obstracted by the dominance of 
taboo and onstom, by the force of imitation, and by 
the strength of prejudice, passion, and fear." 

The surrey of the ai^ument by analogy brings boms 
the conviction that there are forms of mental action, 
psychological tendencies or thought-habits, character. 
istio of undflvelqied stages of human mentality ; that 
these appear in versatile and instructive variety ; and, 
more important still, that they furnish gUmpses of the 
workings of s great progressive law, visible in the 
shifting of importance attached to the argument by 
analogy, and in its gradual subordination to, and nlti- 
mate retirement in favor of the sturdy principles of 
inductive logic. We are thus led to appreciate the 
means by which error is oonverted into truth, the slow 
and painful steps by which the logic of the sciences is 
unfolded and mastered. When Lord Chesterfield re- 
lates that the people expected a fatal issue of the 
king's illness, because the oldest lion in the tower, of 
about the same age as the king, had just died, he can- 
not help commenting upon the wildness and caprice of 
the human mind ; but Mr. Tylor more judiciously re- 
marks, " Indeed the thought was neither wild nor 
capricious ; it was simply snob an argument by analogy 
as the educated world has at length painfully learned 
to be worthless, but which it is not too much to declare 
would to this day carry considerable weight to the 


^T^ if foar^fifib €< Oe h^na nee." *-nlirgr 
^ doMbllm lort tbe |natige of oUoitiMe; but tin 
nBHuns of i^f*9 and minlnntinr (ocbh of *! »«■■ ) ■ fc t, 
■pbdd br s ^■^"'g of titeir aoaloginl fdauOHli^, eon- 
ttnne to nirTiTe, and maj at any tiMi«, ^tcn rtfmWid 
bi a modem gatb, t^ain their f (Hmer efficieiiey, and 
foed tbe contagion trf aome new fad or paendo-acieiioe ; 
while mpentitioD, like porer^, we shall alwmjs hxn 
with na, ao long at Aere an aoeial and imteDectiial 
diftancticnu aaKmgat men. In the light of the natonl 
Uftocy nurey of anah^, these pbenomena mppemr in 
tfwir tme ngnificanee, testifying at onee to the inher- 
ent progress, deepite remnraia, and to the nnderlying 
ttni^ of omstitation and pnrpoee, throogh wluoh these 
phenomena aoqaiie their deeper and more hnnuui in- 


It IB a commoDplaoe taTigbt from nimeiy to waU 
venity that we see with oar eyes, hear with oar ears, 
and feel with our fingen. This is the tmth, bat not 
the whole truth. Indispensahle as are the sense organs 
in gaining an acqatuntaooe with the worhl in which we 
live, yet they alone do not determine how extensive or 
how accoratd that acqoiuntanoe shall be. There is a 
mind behind the ejre and the ear and the finger-tipe 
which guides them in gathering information, and gives 
value and order to the exercise of the senses. This is 
particolarly true of vision, — the most iatallectoal of 
all the senses, the one in whioh mere acatenesa of the 
sense oi^an counts least and the training in observa- 
tion counts most. The eagle's eye sees farther, but 
our eyes tell as vastly more of what is seen. 

The eye may be compared to a photographic camera, 
with its eyelid cap, its iris shatter, its lens, and its sen- 
sitive plate, — the retina ; when properly adjusted for 
distance and light, the image ia formed on the retina 
as on the glass plate, and the picture is taken. So far 
the comparison is helpfol ; but while the camera takes 
a picture whenever and wherever the plate happens to 


be expoMd, the complete ut of ieeiag reqnurM aoaa» 
cooperation on the part of the mind. The retina luj 
be exposed a thoosand timee and take bat few pio- 
tnres ; of perhaps it b better to say that the piotorea 
may be taken, bat remain nndereloped and evaneaoenL 
The ptotnres that are developed are stacked up, like 
the negatives in the photographer's shop, in the pigeon- 
holes of onr mental storerooms, — some faded and 
blurred, some poorly arranged or mislaid, some often 
referred to and fresh prints made therefrom, and some 
qtiite nej^eoted. 

In order to see, it is at onoe necessary that the retina 
be suitably exposed toward the object to be seen, and 
that the mind be favorably disposed to the assimilation 
of the impression. True seeing, observing, is a doable 
process, partly objective or outward — the thing seen 
and the retina, — and partiy subjective or inward — 
the picture mysteriously transferred to the mind'a rep. 
resentative, the brain, and there received and affiliated 
with other images. Ulostrations of such seeing with 
tlie " mind's eye " are not far to seek. Wherever the 
beauties and conformations of natural scenery invite 
the eye of man, does he discover familiar forms and 
faces ; the forces of nature have rongh-hewn the rooks, 
but the human eye detects and often creates the reeem- 
blanoes. The stranger to whom such curiosities of 
form are first pointed out often finds it difficult to dia* 
cover the resemblance, but once seen, the face or form 
obtrudes itself in every view, and seems the most con- 
spicuous feature in the outlook. The filckering 6re 
famishes a fine background for the activity of the 
mind's eye, and against this it projects the forms and 

THE TAXSiyS ET£ 277 

fanoies vliioh the leaping flames and the biimuig 
embeni from time to time suggest. Mot all see these 
fire-piotures readily, for onr mental eyes differ more 
from one another than the physical ones, and perhaps 
no two persons see the same picture in quite the same 
way. It is not quite true, however, as many have held, 
that in waking hours we all have a world in common, 
but in dreams each has a world of his own ; for onr 
waking worlds are made different by the differences 
in what engages our interest and our attention. It is 
true that our eyes when open are opened very largely 
to the same views, but by no one observer are all these 
views, though visible, really seen. 

This characteristic of vision often serves as a sonroe 
of amosemeDt. The puzzle picture with its tantalizing 
face, or animal, or what not, hidden in the trees, or 
fantastically constmoted oat of heten^neous eleinento 
that make up the composition, is to many quite irr^ 
sistible. We tarn it about in all directions, wondering 
where the hidden form can be, scanning every detail 
of the picture, until suddenly a chance glimpse reveals 
it, plainly staring na in the face. When several per- 
sons are engi^ed in this occupation, it is amusing to 
observe how blind each is to what the others see ; their 
physical eyes see alike, but their mental eyes reflect 
their own individualities. 

Of the many thousands of persons who handle oar 
eUver dollar, but few happen to observe the lion's 
head which lies concealed in the representation (A the 
familiar head of Liber^ ; frequently even a caiefnl 
examination fails to detect this bidden emblem of Brit- 
ish rale ; but, as before, when once found, it is quite 


obrioiu (Hg. 1)'^ For similar leaaoos it ia a gnat 
wd in looking for an object to know wliat to look for ; 
to be leadilf found, the object, though lost to fo^tt, 
should be to memory clear. Searching is a mental 
prooeas similar to the matohing of a piece of fabric in 
texture or color, when one has fot^tten the samplA 
aod mast rely upon the remembrance of its appear- 
ance. If the recollection is clear and distinct, reoo^i- 
tion takes place when the judgment decides that what 
the pbysioal eye sees corresponds to the image in the 
mind's eye ; with an indistinct mental im^e the recog- 
nition becomes donbtful or faulty. The noviee in the 
nse of the microscope experiences oongideraUe diffl- 
onlty in observing the appearance which his instraotor 
sees and describes, and this because his conception of 
the object to be seen is lacking in precision. Henoe 
his training in the use of the microscope is distinctJy 
uded by consulting the illustrations in the text- 
book, for they enable his mental eye to realiie the 
pictures which it should entertiun. He may be alto- 
gether too much influenced by the pictnres tfans Boe- 
gested to his mental vision, and draw what ia really 
not onder his microscope at all ; much as the young 
arithmetician will manage to obtain the answer whi<^ 
the book requires even at the cost of a resort to very 

1 In order to ahtsin the eSeots described in the vuioiu illnstTationa 
it ia DeDesBury in iSTeTal cases to regurd tlie fignrea tor ft oonuderabla 
time and with close attention. The reader ia reqaeat«d not to give up 
ia cue the fiist attempt to secnre the effect is not inceesafa], bat to 
contjnae the effort for a reasonable period. IndiHdnaU differ oan- 
nderably in the readiness with whioh thej obtun aach eSeola ; in Bom* 
Quaes, snob deTioes as boiding the diagnuns inverted, or at an ai^Ie, or 
viewing: them with the ejes half dosed, are helptnL 

THE WmyB £TE 879 

nnmathematioal prooesBes. For training in oorreot and 
accurate vision it is necessary to aoqoire an alert men- 
tal eye, that observes all tliat is objectiTelj visible, bnt 
does not permit the subjeotave to add to or modify 
what is really present. 


The importance at the mind's eye in ordinary vision ii 

■Iso well illostrated in cases in which we see or seem 

to see what is not really present, but what for one cause 

Ylg. 1. — Id order to bm tbe lion's hud, look at the aboTO cnt nptid* 
down, and tbe head will be discoTered facing the left, aa above ouIliiMd. 
It ia clearoT on the coio itaelf than in this represantation. 

or another it is natural to suppose is present A verj 
familiar instance of this process ia the constant over- 
looking of misprints — false letters, transposed letters, 
and missing letters — unless these happen to be par- 
ticidarly striking. We see only the general physiog^ 
nomy of the word, and the detailed featores are sup- 
plied from within ; in this case it is the expected that 
happens. In a series of experiments by Professor 


HSnaterberg a. word wu briefly abown, while just 
before a oertain ides or train of thought wai raggeated. 
Under these circnmsbuicee the word diown waa often 
miiread in accordance with the saggeated idea ; if the 
idea of fntnre is soggested, part may be read a> past ; 
if vegetable is the suggested line of thought, fright 
may be read as frtut, and so on. Reading is thna done 
largely by the mental eye ; and entire words, obvionsly 
suggested hy the context, are sometimes read in, when 
they have been accidentally omitt«d. This is more apt 
to ooonr with the irregular characters used in manu- 
script than in the more diatinct forms of the printed 
alphabet, and is particolarly frequent in reading over 
what one has himself written. In reading proof, how- 
ever, we are eager to detect misprints, and this ohange 
in attitude helps to make them visible. It is very 
diiBouIt to illustrate this process intentionally, because 
the knowledge that one's powers of observation are 
about to be tested places ooe on one's guard, and 
thns suppresses the natural activity of the mind's eye 
and draws unusual attention to objective details. L<et 
the reader at this point hold the page at some distajioe 
off — say, eight or twelve feet — and draw an exact 
reprodaotioD of the letters shown in Fig. 2. He shonld 
not look at Fig. 2 at close range nor read further in 
the text until this has been done ; and perhaps be may 
find that be has introduced strokes which were not 
present in the original. If this is not the case, let faim 
try the test upon those who are ignorant of its nature, 
and he will find that most persons will supply light 
lines to complete the contours of the letters, which in 
the original are suggested but not really present ; the 


original outline, Fig. 2a, becomes sometliiiig like Fig. 
26, and so on for the rest of the lettera. The phyaioal 



Via. B. — IligM lattan ■honld not be lecii $t «]l nnti] thay h«Ta bMn 
obMrred at m diitaaca ot sight to twelvB feet. An inlaragling method of 
taiting the Kti*Ur ot the mind's eye with th«M latten ia deicribed in the 

, eye sees the former, but the mental eye sees the latter. 


Pio. >& Fie. 9k 

I tried this experiment with a oIabs of some thirty Uni- 

Fio. ). — For description, see text, page SBS^ 

versity students of Psychology, and, although tb^ 
were disposed to be quite critical and sospeoted some 


kind of an illusion, only three or four drew tJie letten 
oorreotJy; all the rest filled in die imapnaay li^t 
contours ; some even drew them as heavily as the real 
strokes. I followed this by an experiment of a aimilAr 
oharacter. I placed npon a table a figure (Fig. 8) 
made of light cardboard, fastened to blocks of wood 
at the base, so that the pieces would easily stand up. 
right. The middle piece, which is reotangolar and 
higher than the rest, was placed a little in front of the 
rest of the figure. The students were asked to describe 
precisely what they saw ; and with one exception they 
all described, in different words, a semioironlar piece of 
cardboard wi^ a rectangular piece in front of it. In 
reali^ there was no half-circle of cardboard, bnt only 
portions of two quarter-circles with the portion back 
of the middle piece omitted. The students, of ooorae, 
were well aware that their physical eyes could not see 
what was behind the middle cardboard, bnt they in- 
ferred, qaite naturally, that the two side pieces were 
parts of one otmtinuouB semicircle. This they saw, so 
far as they saw it at all, with their mind's eye. 

There is a farther interesting class of iUnstrationB 
in which a single outward impression changes its char- 
acter according as it is viewed as representing one 
thing or another. In a general way we see the same 
thing all the time, and the image on the retina does 
not change. But as we shift the attention from one 
portion of the view to another, or as we view it with a 
different mental conception of what the figure repr«- 
sents, it assumes a different aspect, and to oar mental 


eye beoomes quite a different thing. A slight but in- 
teresting cliange takes place if we view Fig. 4 first 
with the conception that the black is the pattern to be 
seen and the white the background, and again tty to 
see die white as the pattern gainst a black back- 

Fia. 4. — The blwk uid white purtiaiu of thu dmlgn tn preclNly ilika ; 
bat the eflict of looking at the Spire u > pMteru in blick apon a whita 
background, or as a pattam in white apon a black backgronnd ii qoita 
diffannt, althoogb tha diftenaea la aot aaiily descrihed. 

ground. I give a farther illustration of such a change 
in Fig. 5. In onr first and natural view of this we 
focus the attention upon the black lines and observe 
the familiar illusion, that the fonr vertical black bands 
seem far from parallel. That they are parallel can be 
verified by measorement, or by covering up all of the 
diagram except the four main bands. But if the white 
part of the diagram be conceived as the design gainst 
a black baokgroand, then ti» design is no longer the 
same, and with this cliange the illnsion diaappears, and 



the four bands Kern parallel, ag they really mie. It 
may require a little effort to bring aboat this isluuigs, 
but it is marked when once realized. 

A ourions optioal effect, whioh in part illnstnttaa 
the change in appearanoe under different aspects, is 


Fio. 6.— WIiealhuflgnrslgTiewed u ■ black patUm on ■ white b*ckv 
grannd, the four miin vsrtiul black bands seem tar from paimllel; wheft 
It ie viewed ai a white palUm on a black backgroandtbe pattern ia diffeia. 
ent and the illasion disappean (or neailj so), and Ibe four black bands ma 
well u the five while ones seem more nearly panlleB. 

reproduced in Fig. 6. In this case the eachantraent 
of distance is necessary to produce the transformation. 
Viewed at the usual reading distance, we see nothing 
hut an irregular and meaningless assemblage of black 
and white blotches. At a distance of not less than 
fifteen to eighteen feet, however, a man's head appears 


quite clearly. Also observe tihat after the head has 
onoe been realized it becomes possible to obtaio sug- 
gestions of it at nearer distances. 

A much lai^r class of ambiguous diagrams conBtsts 
of those which represent by simple outlines familiar 

geometncal forms or objects. We cultivate such a use 
of our eyes, as indeed of all our faculties, as will on 
the whole lead to the most profitable results. As a 
rule, the particular impression is not so important as 
wliat it represeutx. Sensc-impreBsions are simply the 
symbols or signs of things or ideas, and the thing or 
the idea is more important than the sign. Accord- 
ingly, we are accuBtomed to interpret lines, whenever 


ve oan, u the represeatatioiiB of objeoto. We an 
well awue that tbe eanvu or the etching or the phoCo- 
grsph before oa is a flat Burfaoe in two i 


drawing mȴ 


viewed aa the 

npnacnltlion o 

■ book «)• 

cling on it> btlt- 


back of tbo 

book; or u ihe 

inside view 


in open book 

•bowing tb« page*. 



Fib. 8. — Wbenthii flgnre ii viewed u anarrow, the upper orteatheTMl 
end is apt to leeni flat; when the reatof the arrow ig corered, the featliarMl 
•nd may be made to project or recede like the book-cover in Fig. 7. 

bat we see the piotnre as the representation of sidid 
objects in three dimensions. This is the illnsion of 
pictorial art. So strong is this tendency to view lines 
as the symbols of things, that if there is the slightest 
chance of so viewing them, we invariably do so ; for 
we have a great deal of experience with things that 
present their contours as lines, and very little with 
mere lines or surfaces. If we view outlines only, with- 
out shading or perspective or anything to definitely 
ang^est what is foregroimd and what background, it 


becomes possible for the mind to supply these details 
and see foreground as background, and vice versa. 

A good example to begin witb is Fig. T. These out^ 
lines will probably Bu^est at first view a book, or bet- 
ter a book-cover, seen with its back toward you and 
its sides sloping away from you ; but it may also be 
viewed as a book opened out towards you and present- 
ing to you an inside view of its contents. Should the 
change not come readily, it may be facilitated by 
thinking persistently of the appearance of an open 
book in this position. The upper portion of Fig. 8 is 
practically the same as Fig. 7, and if the rest of the 
figure be covered up, it will change as did the book 
cover ; when, however, the whole figure is viewed as an 
arrow, a new conception enters, and the apparently 
solid book cover becomes the Jtat feathered part of the 

arrow. Look at the next figure (Fig. 9), which repre- 
•enta in outline a truncated pyramid with a square base. 



Is the smaller square nearer to you, and are the sides 
of the pyramid sloping away from you toward the 
larger square in the rear ? Or are you looking into 
the hollow of a truncated pyramid with the smaller 
square in the background ? Or is it now one and now 
the other, according as you decide to see it ? Here 

Vui. 10. — This represents an or- 
amury lablc-^lass, — the bottom of 
the ^I;is8 and thr entire rear .sidt*, 
except the upper port ion, being seen 
through the transparent nearer si<le, 
and the rear apiwirmtly projecting 
above the front. Hut it fluctuates 
in appearance between this and a 
view of the ghiss in which the bot- 
tom is seen directly, i>artly from 
underneath, the whole of the rear 
side is seen through the transi>arent 
front, and the front projects above 
the back. 

Fig. 11. — In this scroll the left 
half may at first Deem concave and 
the right convex; it then seems to 
roll or advance like a wave, and the 
left seems convex and the right con- 
cave, as though the trough of the 
wa\ e had become the crest, and rtce 

(Fig. 12) is a skeleton box which you may conceive as 
iniule of wires outlining the sides. Now the front, or 
side nearest to me, seems directed downward and to 
the left ; again, it has shifted its position and is no 
longer the front, and the side which appears to be the 
front seems directed upward and to the right. The 
presence of the diagonal line makes the change more 
striking: in one position it runs from the left-hand 


rear upper comer to the right-hand yront lower corner i 
vhile in the other it connecbi the left-hand /ro?t£ upper 
comer with the right-hand veofr lower comer. 








Fig. 13a. 
F108. la, ISn, la^. — The t 

FiQ. ISft. 

s of viewing Fig. 12 are deKTibcd 
t1 to make clearer Ibe Iwn melhoda 
of viewing Pig. IS. Tlie heavier linen vetm to repreunt tlie nearer sur- 
face. Fig. 13ii more nalurallv >ugge>t> (lie nearer tiirfacc of the box In • 
ponilioD downward and to Ihe left, and Fig.136 makes the nearer nide aeem 
to be upward and tci thp righl. But in epitc of Ibe heavier outlines of the 
one aurface, il may bn made to abifl poeitionn from foreground In back- 
ground, allbough not bo readily u Id Fig. 13. 

Fig. 14 will probably seem at first glimpse to be the 
view of a Sight of ateps which one la about to ascend 
from right to left. Imagine it, however, to be a 


of the ander side of m Mries of 
iftpiCMniiiig tho lUmiuig of oforbuigiiii^ moImI 
work aeen from ondemeith At first it mmy be diffi- 
cult to see h thns, becanse the riew of steps wUeli we 
are about to mount is a more natural and frequent 
ezperienoe than the other ; but by staring^ mt it with 
the intention of seeing it differently the transition will 
oome, and often quite unexpectedly. 

The blocks in Fig. 15 are subject to a marked fluc- 
tuation. Now the black surfaces represent the bot- 
toms of the blocks, all pointing downward and to the 


Vui. M. — Each member of this frieze represents m relief ommment, ap- 
plied uprm the back^Mind, which in croM-section woold T>e an isosceles 
trimnf^le with a lar^; obtuse angle, or a »pace of similar shape hollowed 
out of the M>lid wfKMl or stone. In running the eye along the fiatteni, it 
is interesting to observe how variously the patterns fluctuate from one of 
these aspects to the other. 

left, and now the black surfaces have changed and 
have become the tops, pointing upward and to the 
right. For some the changes come at will ; for others 
they seem to come unexpectedly, but all are aided by 
anticipating mentally the nature of the transformation. 
The effect here is quite striking, the blocks seeming^ 
almost animated and moving through space. In Fig*. 
16 a similar arrangement serves to create an illusion as 
to the real number of blocks jiresent. If viewed in 
on(5 way — the black surface forming the tops of the 
blocks — there seem to be six, arranged as in Fig. 17 ; 
but when the transformation has taken place and the 
black siirfiices have become the overhanging bottoms 


Fio. Hi. 

noi. 14, Ma,4ndtU.-Tb«lvn viewsof Fi)C. Hilucribedinttic text 

■re hrou^ht out man civarly in Fig>. Ha and H6. The fhadrd porlioa 

trndn to be regardeil ■■ the nearer face. Fig. Ha is more apt to auggcit (he 

atepn open ai we airend them. Fig. 1U ttemt lo repnarnt the hollowed- 

Intarpitlalion is posBible, though Ici* obviaaa. 


of the boxes, there are seven, ammgad «a in Fig. 18. 
Somewhat different, bat still belonging to tbe group ol 
ambigaonB figures, is the ingenioos oonoeit of tlw dook- 
Eabbit shown in Fig, 19. When it is a rabbit, the Saee 

VtB, IS. — Thli intimtiDf^ flf^ure (which ii repradoced irith modlfleatuMia 
ftmn Seriptart! Tit ffta Ptyeholtigg) ii lubjeet in k atrikiilg my to in- 
teichangEi between fori^gruund and backi^und. Host pti'voos find it 
difficult to maintain fnr anr runKldcralile lime cilber aspect of tha block* 
0bMC aspects are deacribed in Ibe text) ; >ome can cbangt them at -will, 
Otben mutt accept the cbangea as tbey happen to come. 

looks to the right and a pair of ears are oonsfnonoiu 
behind ; when it is a duck, the face looks to the left 
and the ears have been changed into the bill. Moat 
observers find it difficult to hold either interpretation 
steadily, the fluctuations being frequent, and aoming 
as a surprise. 


Pi(i8.]«, Ifln, nndlM. — How manrblorhKarf then In thiR pile? Sii 
or aeven ? Ni>te Ihe t-hanm in an-BiifComcDl of the blockit u they chaoge 
in numbfr from nix tn never. This rhaii|[« Is dewribi'd in the text. F)g>. 
IBn »n(l in* shiiw the two phMes nf ■ Rmnp of any three of the blocks. 
The arrangemont nf a pyramid of nx blorku leemii (he more stable and it 
usually firnt biibk* sled ; but hold the pB([c inverted, and you will probably 
Me the allemite arrantienieiit (irith, however, the black >urfac<> gtill 
forminft the lop). And once knowing what to look for, you will very 
likely be able to lee either arranBcment, whether the diaf^an be held 
inverted or not. Thin method of viewing the flgores upjid* down and 
in other pnnilinns ia also suggested to bring out the changca indicated in 
Figs. 1!, lan, lai, and in Flgt. 14, 14a, 141. 



This collection of diagrams serves to illnstrate the 
principle that when the objective features are ambigu- 
ous, we see one thing or another according to the 
impression that is in the mind's eye ; what the objec- 
tive factors lack in definiteness the subjective ones 


Fig. 17. 

T indicatoR that the shaded portion of Yip. 16 in this view reprei^ntB 
the top of a block ; B that in the other view it represents the bottom. 

supply, while familiarity, prepossession, as well as other 
circumstances influence the result. These illustrations 
show conclusively that seeing is not wholly an objec- 
tive matter depending upon what there is to be seen, 
but is very considerably a subjective matter, depending 
upon the eye that sees. To the same observer a given 
arrangement of lines now appears as the representa- 
tion of one object and now of another ; and from the 
same objective experience, especially in instances that 
demand a somewhat complicated exercise of the senses, 
different observers derive very different impressions. 

Not only when the sense-impressions are ambiguous 
or defective, but when they are vague — when the light 
is dim or the forms obscure — does the mind's eye eke 
out the imperfections of physical vision. The vague 
conformations of drapery and make-up that are identi- 
fied and recognized in spiritualistic seances illustrate 


extreme instances of this procesB. The whitewashed 
tree or post that momentarily startles us in a dark 
country lane takes on the guise that expectancy gives 
it. The mental predisposition here becomes the domi- 
nant factor, and the timid see as ghosts what their 
more sturdy companions recognize as whitewashed posts. 
Such experiences we ascribe to the action of suggestion 
and imagination — the cloud " that 's almost in shape 
like a came]," or " like a weasel," or " like a whale." 

But throughout our visual experiences there runs this 
double strain, now mainly outward and now mainly 
inward, from the simplest excitements of the retina up 
to the realms where fancy soars free from the confines 
of sense, and the objective finds its occupation gone. 


Those who are actively engaged in educational puiv 
suits are called upon from time to time to consider the 
nature of the difficulties in the imparting of knowledge, 
the psychological impediments that stand in the way 
of successful instruction. These are many and various ; 
and pertain as well to the givers as to the receivers of 
learning. This large and well threshed field I have 
no intention of gleaning once more ; I desire simply to 
draw attention to one form of difficulty on the part 
of the learner, which has been brought home to me so 
frequently and at times so forcibly, that I should be 
inclined to select it as the most salient stumbling-block 
in the successful acquisition of those branches of study 
which it falls to my lot to expound. 

This characteristic, which may be called mental pre- 
possession, is well illustrated in the following narrative, 
the truth of which, however, is not guaranteed. The 
story dates from the exciting days when the American 
public was completely fascinated by the mental gym- 
nastics of the " spelling bee ; " and relates that towards 
the close of a very fierce contest with the alphabet, 
when only a few stalwart champions remained to 
encounter the erratic eccentricities of English ortho- 
graphy, the conductor of the "bee" announced with 
an air of grave importance a word that he felt quite 


oertain would retire not a few of the spelling virtuosi. 
He then asked their closest attention to his precise pro- 
nunciation, and solemnly gave utterance to what for 
all the world sounded like cat. Kach hearer attempted 
to spell this extraordinarily difBcult word with a suit- 
ably unusual rearrangement of the letters suggested hy 
the sound, and when each effort had in turn been pro- 
nounced a failure, the information was given that the 
correct apelliug was c-a-t. Haec fahula docet that 
when one expects a difficulty he is apt to 6nd it or 
to make it. Believing the problem to be unusual, he 
applies unusual methods to its solution ; believing it to 
be complex, he overlooks the simple means by which its 
mysteries may be unlocked. It matters little bow this 
reputation has come about, whether as the result of 
personal prejudice or of inherited tradition, whether 
suggested by the technicality of the subject or the 
awkwardness of the treatment, whether by the use of a 
few unusual terms or operations, or by any one of the 
countless methods, conscious and unconscious, by which 
such impressions are formed, — the result will be mnch 
the same. 

Many a student approaches a study such as psycho- 
logy or logic with an unshakable conviction that he is 
about to consider matters abstruse and difficult ; things 
totally unrelated to what he has studied elsewhere or 
experienced before, and accordingly requiring an exer- 
cise of the mental faculties as different as possible 
from that to which he has been accustomed. It is not 
altogether strange that such notions should be current, 
because the tradition to that effect is ancient and 
strong, and originated in times when scholars generally, 


and philosophers perhaps more than others, took pride 
in exclusive erudition, in the possession of a more or 
less esoteric wisdom quite unrelated to the knowing 
and the thinking of oi iroXXoi, It requires the com- 
bined operation of long periods of time and of persist- 
ent effort to weaken such beliefs ; and it is only within 
recent times that the notion has been successfully dis- 
seminated that the processes considered in psychology 
and logic derive their validity from our daily experi- 
ence, and require for their comprehension no mental 
gymnastics or intellectual contortions; that in brief 
these sciences simply aim to systematize and improve, 
to interpret and explain the every-day processes by 
which knowledge is gained. This, at all events, is one 
of their functions, and one profitably emphasized in 
the intro<luctory study of their scope and content. 

When one has once formed the impression, or has 
had it produced or suggested for him, that the study or 
the task he is about to attack is a difficult one, his 
mental powers are at once sufficiently reduced to make 
it really difficult ; the signal is given of an approach- 
ing intricate turn in the road, the brakes are turned 
on, and the train of thought creeps along slowly. 
Mental prepossession leads to mental inertia. The 
same question which the student would arswer readily 
and fully when asked by a friend as an item of general 
information, becomes utterly beyond his comprehen- 
sion when it appears in the text-book, the title-page of 
which bears the ominous name of one or other of the 
studies reputed as difficult. The mind is not properly 
set ; there is little receptiveness, little alertness. When 
we are asked in a conundrum-like tone, why one thing 


2 is like another, we ignore obvions and simple resem- 
blances, and look about for obscure ones. The student 
who labors under the illusion that psychology Is a maze 
of oonundrums, employs mental processes appropriate 
to such a pursuit The schoolboy finds it impossible 
to answer a question in arithmetic during the geography 
lesson, and the same lack of adaptability is shown by 
his older counterpart when he greets the answer to a 
very simple queation (which, however, he himself f^ed 
to answer) with the all too familiar, " Oh, of course I 
knew that." Perhaps the most extreme instance of 
the many that I could cite is that of a student so irre- 
sponmve and apparently at sea regarding the topic 
under discussion — the senses — as to force me to ask 
him, "With what do you hear ? " and who answered with 
perfect sincerity, " I don't know." This was a psycho- 
logical question, and as such became as difficult as the 
spelling of cat at the end of a " spelling bee." 

When the student has been made to feel that the 
questions he is asked can be answered from his every- 
day experience, and that common sense is often quite 
as serviceable a guide as special knowledge, a progress 
ensues in every way satisfactory. Such a conviction, 
however, is not a matter of verbal acknowledgment ; 
it yields slowly to explanation and proceeds somewhat 
unconsciously and inwardly. Moreover, it is a trwt 
very sensitive to the power of contt^on, so that a com- 
paratively small proportion of the class may success- 
fully spread this mental attitude to the whole number. 
A question which two or three have failed to answer 
becomes invested with a spurious difficulty which makes 
it a deep mystery to all the others. 


Hub mental 
diffefcnt and mrioos lesohs. When, £or 
goal to be reached is giTea, whoi the 
looked op in the hack i^ the book, it ia 
pemliar and irrational steps will be taken to seeon 
and jostify the answer so given. Thia is all the mois 
striking when the answer happens to be wromg ; haw* 
OTer simply soch error may be disoovered, the prepos- 
sessed mind will work away until by a nK»e or le« 
roondabont procedure the desired answer ia roerhrd 
A noted professor of chemistry has an apt illustration 
of such a case. In a chemical test his aaaiataiit by mis- 
take referred the class to the wrong botde, so that the 
snbstance which the correct liquid would have diaaolved 
could not be at all dissolred in the liquid actually used. 
However, on the professor*s next round in his labora- 
tory nearly every student assured him that the snb- 
stance had dissolved, and a few went so far as to 
describe the precise manner of its dissolution. 

It is quite clear that illustrations of mental prepos- 
session, as also of inertia, may be found in many of 
the industries and occupations of life. The bicycle has 
added a very characteristic one. At a certain stage in 
the acquisition of the art of cycling, there comes a time 
when every obstacle and irregularity in the road ab- 
sorbs the attention of the rider with a fascination that 
is quite irresistible. The rider is so possessed with the 
idea that he or she is going to run into the post or 
the curb or a rut or another vehicle, that the dreaded 
calamity may actually ensue. When the attention can 
be directed to the clear pathway, and the obstacles 
driven out from the focus of attention, the difficulty is 


Burmouuted. So ia jumping or niuning and in other 
athletic trials, the eDtertainment of the notion of a pos- 
sible failure to reach the mark lessens the intensit; of 
one's effort, and prevents the accomplishment of one's 
best. He who hesitates is lost, because the hesitation 
makes possible the suggestion of a failure, the prepos- 
session by a sense of difficulty. 

Some of the illustrations of prepossession are some- 
what trivial ; others more important, but perhaps not 
so definite as might be desired. It is seldom that an 
instance of this propensity can be pointed out in which 
an accurate and quantitative comparison may be made 
between the possessed and the unpossessed mind. One 
such illustration, which seems to me comprehensive 
and significant, is worthy of more detailed record.' It 
is derived from the experience of the United States 
Censna office in 1890, in tabulating the returns of the 
enumeration by means of machines specially devised 
for this purpose. I give an account of the manipula- 
tion of these machines in the words of one who had an 
intimate acquaintance with their use, and add italics 
to emphasize the points of special psychological signi- 

" The adoption of Mr. Hollerith's tabulating machine 
for counting the population of the country according, 
at one and the same time, to sex, color, age, marital 
condition, nationality, occupation or profession, lan- 
guage and school attendance presented an entirely 
novel problem to the office. The machines having 
1 Thia accDout I owe to Mn. Usy CoU Bkkm, of Waahington, D. C. 


neTer been used for any purpose, there was no prerums 
experience by which to act or on whioh to predioate 
results. The necessity was upon the office of employ- 
ing for a vety limited time (ninety days) at least Atb 
hundred people for this work alone, in addition to the 
one thousand who could be taken from other branohea 
of the work and placed on this one. Evexy one, indnd- 
ing Mr. Hollerith himself, felt that the rapid and ao- 
curate use of the punching machines called for a degree 
of cultivated intelligence not possessed by every dork. 
So much for the mental attitude. 

^' The clerks (an instructor for every twenty) were 
taught to edit the family schedules from which the 
count was to be made, thus learning thoroughly how 
to read and classify the returns. In order to accom- 
modate the returns to the capacity of a punching 
machine, a great variety of symbols were adopted for 
occupations and professions : thus Ad was used for 
farmer : Ac for farm hands : Kd for merchants : 6d 
for agents, etc., through twenty-four two-columned 
octavo pages of ordinary type. Some one symbol must 
be used for each occupation recorded, and the use of 
the symbols must be learned, and, for rapid work, they 
must be committed to memory.^ After five weeks of 
editing^ one by one, the most reliable and intelligent 
workers were set to use the punching machines. The 
task is much like that of using a typewriter, substitut- 
ing for keys a movable punch which passes through 

^ It sliould be noted that it is only the claaBifioation of oocnpationi 
that requires so extremely elaborate and artificial a aystem ; the re- 
turns for nationality, age, sex, marital condition, etc., are far simpler to 
record. The editing consists in writing the symbols on the returns, so 
that they need not be memorized. 


lettered holes, and in place of the for^ keys of an 
ordinary typewriter, abont two htindred and fifty holes 
are to be learned. 

** Mr. Hollerith set the number of cards for a day's 
work at 550. (Each finished card contained, ut the 
avera^, 10 holes.) It was two weeka he/ore that 
number of cards mas reached hy any derk, and that 
only in exceptional cases. Then the entire force of 
the division was set to work. In two weeks most of 
them had reached five hundred, and the average was 
duly increasing. These clerks worked at first from 
edited schedules; that is, those on which had been 
written the symbols to be punched on the machine. 
A roll of honor was made out daily showing the high- 
est records, and in a week the clerks were doing from 
six hmndred to fifteen hundred a day, but at a great 
cost of nervous force. So severe was the nervous 
strain that complaints were made to the Secretary of 
the Interior, who forbade any further posting of daily 
reports, and instead an order was posted that no clerk 
was required to do more than suoh a day's work as he 
or she could readily perform, and that no arbitrary 
number was required of any one. 

" After the work was welt under way about t*oo 
hundred new clerks were put into one room and scat- 
tered through the force already at work. They had 
no experience with schedules, knew nothing of the 
symbols, had never seen the machines. They saw 
those around them working easily and rapidly, and in 

eral average was rising. There was no longer any 


question of nervous strain, and one of these temponiy 
clerks the day before she left beat the zeoord by doing 
2,280. I think the influence of the mental attitude 
quite as remarkable in the matter of their doiiig^ the 
work easily as in that of doing it rapidly. During 
the first month many were actually sick from overwork 
when doing seven hundred, while after that time the 
idea that the work was unusually trying was never 
referred to. Another significant fact is that after the 
posting of the daily record was abolished there was no 
falling off in the daily average, as had been antioipated, 
while complaints of overwork necessarily ceased." 

It is thus demonstrated that an unskilled olerk, widi 
an environment proving the possibility of a task and 
suggesting its easy accomplishment, can in three daiys 
succeed in doing what a skilled clerk, with a prelimi- 
nary acquaintance of five weeks with the symbols to 
be used, could do only after two toeeks* practice ; and 
this because the latter, doubtless not a whit inferior in 
ability, had been led to regard his task as difficult. 


If we consider the psychological relations of the 
processes involved in the above illustrations, we are led 
to the conviction that we seldom exert our powers to 
their full capacity. Instances in which, under the influ- 
ence of some stirring, perhaps dangerous circumstance, 
persons exert physical energies ordinarily beyond their 
resources, are quite familiar; and the same is true 
though less readily demonstrated of mental effort. 
The success of the various methods of " mind cure,'* in 
which the conviction of the possibility of a cure so 


markedly aids its realization, adds another claaa of 
illuBtratioDs ; and among the experiments with hyp- 
notized persons occur countless instances of the pei^ 
formance of actions, both physical and mental, quite 
surpassing what is regarded as normal. The powers 
which are here called upon through somewhat extreme 
and drastic means, can doubtless be drawn upon to a 
less extent by the use of more moderate agencies ; and 
this at once su^este the educational utilization of the 
mental attitude in question. Perhaps the ideal aim is 
to impress the student indirectly rather than directly, 
by manner rather than by instruction, with the convic- 
tion that what is required of him is well within his 
powers ; and to do this without in the least impugning 
the necessity of honest, hard work for the accomplish- 
ment of serious results. The complaint is often made 
that &e American boy takes longer by several years 
to reach a given grade of scholarship than his foreign 
brother; and the reason of this difference is usually 
assigned to the extremely slow progress made in the 
elementary public schools. The machinery is started 
at too slow a rate, and seems to leave the impress of its 
inertia upon all succeeding periods. 

It is not possible to devise any readily formulated 
and easily applied cure for this mental prepossession ; 
our aim must be to sterilize the mental atmosphere, so 
that the germs of the disease may not gain a foothold ; 
to set a healthy normal step and take it for granted 
that it can be followed by all but the laggards. But 
in spite of all effort, the failing is quite certiun to crop 
out, and will always continue to demand for its treat- 
ment much educational tact and insight. 


When we oome to a a nlljipery place in the roadt we 
i'd voluntarily take short steps and become extremely 
conscious of our locomotion. It is important to pre- 
vent the growth of the habit of imaginings slippery 
places in the paths about to be trodden ; and even 
■n they are actually to be encountered, it is well to 
Mt them with the bracing effort that comes from tiiA 
> of a reserve energy, to prooeed without too maeh 
wioiumess of the path, and with as nearly a normal 
as possible. There are sufficient difficoltie* in ths 
ooB walks of life without adding to l£em those tiut 
9 from mental i^epoeaeBuon, and Uist lead to meo- 

Quite a number of delusions find a common point 
of origin io the natural tendency to view our men- 
tal life — the ^gregate of our thoughts and doings 

— aa coextensive with the experiencee of which our 
consciousness gives information and which our will 
directs. The significance of the unconscious and the 
involuntary is apt to be underestimated or disregarded. 
We are more ready to acknowledge that in certain un- 
usual and semi-morbid conditions persons will exhibit 
these peculiar expressions of the subterranean strata 
of our mental structure — that some have the habit of 
walking or talking in their sleep, that others occasion- 
ally fall into an automatic, trance-like condition, that 
hypnotism and hysteria and obscure lapses of conscious- 
ness and alterations of personality bring to the surface 
curious specimens of the mysteries of this underworld, 

— but we are slow to appreciate that the sub-conscious 
and the involuntary find a common and a natural place 
amidst the soundly reasoned and aptly directed activi- 
ties of our own intelligence. While it is reasonable 
and proper to have faith in the testimony of conscious- 
ness, it is desirable that this confidence should be ac- 
companied by an understanding of the conditions under 
which such testimony is presumably valid, and when 


presumably defectiye or misleadiiig. Sense-deoeptiaiis, 
faulty observation, distraction, exaggeration, illnsioii, 
fallacy, and error are not idle abstract fancies of the 
psychologist, but stem realities; and their existence 
emphasizes the need in the determination of tmth 
and the maintenance of a sound rationality, of a calm, 
unprejudiced judgment, of an experienced and balanced 
intelligence, of a discerning sense for nice distinctions, 
of an appreciation of the circumstances under which 
it is peculiarly human to err. A demonstration of the 
readiness with which perfectly normal individuals may 
be induced to yield visible evidence of unconscious and 
involuntary processes, thus possesses a special interest ; 
for when the naturalness of a few definite types of in- 
voluntary movements is made clear, the application of 
the experience to more complex and more indefinite 
circumstances will easily and logically follow. While 
the circumstances under which involuntary indications 
of mental activity are ordinarily given, are too vari- 
ous to enable one to say ab uno disce omnea^ yet the 
principle demonstrated in one case is capable of a con- 
siderable generalization, which will go far to prevent 
misconception of apparently mysterious and exceptional 


When some years ago, the American public was con- 
fronted with the striking exhibitions of muscle-reading, 
the wildest speculations were indulged in regarding its 
true modus operandi ; and the suggestion that all that 
was done was explicable by the skillful interpretation 
of the unconscious indications given by the subjects. 


was scouted or even ridionled. It was not supposed 
that such indications were sufficiently definite for the 
purpOBes of the "mind-reader," or were obtainable 
under the conditions of his tests. Again, it was urged 
that this explanation was hardly applicable to certain 
striking performances, which in reality involved other 
and subtler modes of thought-interpreteUon, and the 
accounts of which were also exaggerated and distorted. 
And furthermore, it was argued, too many worthy and 
learned persons were absolutely certain that they had 
given no indications whatever. For a time the view 
that mind-reading was muscle-reading rested upon 
rather indirect evidence, and upon a form of argument 
that carries more weight with those familiar with the 
nature of soientifio problems than with the public at 
large. But the development of experimental research in 
the domain of psychology has made possible a variefy 
of demonstrations of the truth and adequacy of this 
explanation. It was with the purpose of securing a 
visible record of certain types of involuntary move- 
ments, that the investigation, the results of which are 
here presented, was undertaken. 

Inasmuch as the movements in question are often 
very slight, somewhat delicate apparatus is required 
to secure their record ; the apparatus must in a mea- 
sure exi^gerate the tendency to motion though without 
altering its nature. The form of apparatus which I 
devised for this study, and which may be appropriately 
called an automatograpfa, is illustrated in the accompa- 
nying figurTQ). 310). It coasiste of a wooden frame, 
enclosing a heavy piece of plate glass (fifteen inches 
square), and mounted upon three legs which are pro- 


Tided with aorew adjuatmenta for bringing the pittts 
into a perfect level. Upon the plate of glass sre 
placed in the form of a triangle three well turned and 
poliahed ateel or braaa balla ; and upon the halls rests 
a thin crystal-plate glass set in a light wooden frame. 
The fiDger-tipa of one hand rest upon the upper plate 
in the position indicated. When all is properly ad- 


bu fmin Ihe •ubject. The rrcordiii); derire. w 
b« uwd wparatcly, h phatin in oulllnit in half U» full hIe*. 
R in a glaM rnd wlilcli nrnvrs [reelv up aiid down in the 
glwa tube T. wbirh is rat into thr cork C. A rubber band B 
ia pmvidfd tn prevent the nid frciin fKllint; ihmugh Ihe tube, 
when nal rentiiif; upuii the ircunlinc-plalF. 

justed and glass and balls are rubbed smooth 
with oil, it is quite Impossible to hold the 
apparatus perfectly still for more than a tew 
seconds ; the slightest unsteadiness or move- 
ment of tlie liaiid at oiicc sets the plate roll- 
ing with an irregular motion. If one closes the eyes 
ami fixes the attention upon a definite mental image or 
train of thouglit, it is easy to form the conviction that 
the plate remains quiet, but the record proves that this 


is not the case. The other parts of the apparatus are 
designed to give a record of the moTements of the 
plate. Fastened to the light frame containing the 
upper glass plate is a slender rod some ten inches 
long, bearing at its end a cork ; and piercing the cork 
is a small glass tube within which a snugly fitting glass 
rod has room to more. The rod is drawn to a smooth, 
round point ; and when in position rests upon a piece 
of glazed paper that has been blackened over a flame 
and then smoothly stretched over a small glass plate. 
The point of the rod thus records easily and accurately 
every movement of the hand that is imparted to the 
upper plate, and by the manner of its adjustment 
accommodates itself to all irregularities of movement 
or recording surface. This recording device is shown 
in greater detail in the illustration, and was used to 
good advantage as a simple automatograph in inde- 
pendence of the balls and plates. In that case the 
recording part is held in the hand as though it were 
a pencil, but in a vertical position, and the record-plate 
may be placed upon a table ; or for special purposes 
the plate may be held in the other band or fastened to 
the top of one's head. When not otherwise stated, the 
records here reproduced were obtained by use of the 
automatograph. Some of the records are noted as 
having been secured with the simpler device just de- 

The process of securing a record is as follows : tlie 
subject, standing, places his band upon the automato- 
graph, with the arm nearly horizontal and not quite 
fully extended, and the elbow bent in a fairly comfort- 
able posture ; his attention is engaged by asking him 


to U«tea to and ooimt the strokv of a metranooie ; to 
liN^ at and ooont the oMillationa of a pendulnin ; to 
nad from a, book; to call out the mmfw of oolon; 
to think of a given direction or loealit^, of the poahiim 
of an object ; and so on. Ha is instnicted to think at 
little as possible of his hand, Tnalriiig s reaaoiutble 
effort to keep it from moving. To cat off the mppar»- 
tna from the subject's field of vision and attentaon, s 
large screen is interposed betneen htm and the reoord, 
a onrtain with a soitable opening for the ami forming 
part of the screen. The operator holds the glaaa pen- 
cil in his band, and when all is in readiness allows it 
to slip throu^ the glass tube and begin to write, re- 
moving it agun after a definite interval or when the 
record seems completed. 


We may now consider a few typical results. Fig. 2, 

an ordinary average resnlt, was obtained while the sab- 

Pia. 3. — Readiho ciilobb. Time of record, SB nccondi. PMition 
of cnlnn ) » ». Subjrct faring > » - > . In itl th? 6gani A rp|>rp- 
Mnt» the br|;innin(t of thi; iwiird, and 7. the mil. The •dmwb are useil 
to iiiilicate Ibc dirwiion in whlcli (be uiiJN-t altcmli^d tu waK iijlualed, ami 
aim Iha direclkin in which Ibv Huhjccl wan faeinf;. Tiir IrarincH are ]>rr- 
manenlly Hxed by iMating Ibrniwilhaweak Hotution of shellac in alcohol. 

ject was calling out the names of a series of small 
patches of color, displayetl on the wall facing him, about 
eight feet distant. It will be observed that the move- 


ment (which in all the Ulastratioas has its beginning 
marked by an A and its end by a Z) proceeds irregu- 
larly but decidedly toward B the object upon which the 
attention was fixed. As a rule the subject is unaware 
of the movement which his hand has made, and exercises 
DO essential control over the results ; indeed it is likely 
that he is considerably surprised when the results are 
first shown to him. At times he becomes conscious of 
the loss of equilibrium of the apparatus, but the indi- 
cation is rarely suf&ciently definite to inform him of 
the direction of the movement. Not infrequently, the 
movement is performed with complete unconsciousness, 
and is iwoompaDied by a strong conviction that the 
apparatus has been stationary. In several cases an 
intentional simulation of the movements was produced 
for comparison with the involuntary records ; the 
result was quite generally a very different and coarser 
type of movement, readily distinguishable from the 
involuntary writings. A prominent characteristic of 
practically all of the movements is their irregular and 
jerky character ; the hand for a time oscillates about 
uncertainly, and then moves rather suddenly and 
quickly in a given direction ; then another period of 
hesitation, agiun a more or less sharp advance, and so 
on. It is probable that it is these repeated brief 
movements of more vigorous indication of the direction 
of the subject's attention, that the muscle-reader waits 
for and utilizes. 

It is obvious enough that the results of a test of this 
kind cannot be anticipated, not alone because there 
are marked differences between individuals in the 
readiness with which they will manifest involuntaiy 

I I 



moTemants, but also because the intensity of the 
tion and the momentary condition of the subject ave 
important and variable factors in the residt. Wiih 
Tery good subjects it becomes quite safe to prediet die 
general nature of the tracing; and the diffetant 
cings of the same subject often bear a fiunOy 
Uance. We must now learn what we can of die 
various factors which influence these sub-oonaeioiui 
handwritings. That indefinitely complex oonabiiuidgn 
of natural and nurtural circumstances, to wbioh 
give the name of character, or individuality, or 
ality, doubtless presents the most striking factor in 
this, as it does in normal handwriting; and in bodi 
cases analyses are inevitably vague and confined to 
prominent points of difference. Extreme types axe 
always interesting and at times instructive. The trm* 
cing of Fig. 8 was obtained under the same oiroimi- 
stances as Fig. 2, but with a subject whose tendency 
towards involuntary movements is far more marked, is 
indeed unusual. The total extent of the movement ia 
more than three times as great as in the former oeaet 
and it twice changes its direction. This latter charao» 
teristic is the noteworthy one, for it is due to Uie fact 
that the colors which the subject was reading were 
arranged in three rows ; the first row was read from 
left to right (corresiK>ndiDg to a downward direction in 
the figure) ; the second row was read in the reversed 
direction ; and the third row in the original direction 
again. The completeness of correspondence between 
the movements of the hand and of the attention leaves 
nothing to be desired. This subject yielded the most 
extensive and predictable involuntary movements of 


any whom I tested. A satisfactory impression of the 
variety and range of the individual differences which 

nenid 90 seviuiiln. Tlie l<r>l Unv was read in Ilie direclion ^ ; the necoiK 
iu thr direction a ; und thv third tguu it ■ At the turn V from thi 
wcuiid tu the T thinl liiii- thp rM-urd f is inlemipled. j Show] 

mi>r<'intiit of 1 thfliBiid iiiralii'i with f Ibe muvc * nenl of thi 
a,t.,„iu„. % it 


■objeots, ohoMn somewhat at random, are likely to 
preaent, may be gathered from the series of reoords 
whkli frill be reproduced as illnstratiTe also at other 
inflaenoes. In Hg. 4 is represented another average 
reoord quite similar to that of Fig. 2 bat prodnoed by 
another subjeot, while reading from a printed pa^ for 
three-quarters of a minute ; as before the hand mores 
towards the focns of attention. It wonld be easy to 
present both more decided and eztensiTe, and more 
nnoertiun inroluntary records of still other subjeota; 
while negative or quite indeterminate traoinga are by 

When, to vary the nature of the impression to which 
the attention is directed, a metronome is used, and to 

insare attention on the part of tbe sabjeot he ia re- 
quired to count the strokes, it may be that another 
form of iuToluntary movement appears. The teod> 
enoy to beat time to enlivening music by tapping with 
the hands, or stamping with the feet, or nodding with 
tlie head, is most familar ; and Dr. Lombard has showit 
that music is capable of effecting snch thoroughly in- 
voluntary movements as the sudden rise of the 1^ that 
follows reflexly upon a blow on the patella of the knee. 
It is not surprising, therefore, to find evidences of peri- 
odic movements in these automatograms ; and in some 


iostanoes, such as Fig. 5, this pervades the whole 
record. ' Here the hand moves to and fro, keeping 
time — not accurately at all, but in a general way — 
with the strokes of the metronome. 

To obtain similar results for a visual impression 
a silently swinging pendulum is used, the subject 
following the oscillations with his eyes and counting 
them. The result is more frequently Bimply a move- 


of record, U MCOndH. Diredliun vt the atlenliim i» > > . Suliject 
faciag ^n > 'The poliiU 1, 3, 3, Kbuw the poiiilinna of Ihe writing- 
poiDt, 15, 30, and U> Beraudii ofler the recuid w» ttarted. 

ment towards the pendulum, Fig. 6 ; but occasionally 
there appear periodic movements indiiced by those of 
the pendulum. A very excellent instance of the latter 
appears in Fig. 7 (p. 818). 


We may more closely approziinftte the ordiiuiy 
ezperimeot of the mnsole-readflr by ^ring the sal^eet 
aome object to hide. Bay a knife, and then inHng him 

Tima of record, ao 
avement >t tint taward Ihc peDdnlum, and tticD 
Is oaciltatimu. 

to place his hand upon the automatograph, and to 
think intently of the place of concealment. As before 
there is a movement of the hand ; and on the basis of 

the general direction of tliiii movement one may ven- 
ture a pi-etliction of the direction in which the knife 
lies. The results will show all grades of success, from 


complete failure to an accnrate localizing of the object ; 
but as good a record as Fig. 8 is not infrequent. As 
indicated by the letters and the arrow, the hand moved 

moTe<i about tbe sab- Tail i*^^ '" ^^ dlrectioD of the 

irr^;ular1y toward the hidden knife. In this case the 
eyes are closed, and the concentration of the attention 
is maintained by a mental effort without the aid of the 

Fia. IQ. — CoDRTiHo FKHDULiTM OBCiLLATioMB. Time of t«oord, 
laOMCond*. Direction of the ■ittntioB » > » . Subject ficiDg]|^—to, 
niDatrates slow and indirecl movemenl. The poinln, 1, 3, 3, i, 'vaii. 
c*[e the poailion of the writing- poiLt, 30, 60, 90, and ISO Mcondi afur 
the record was Marted. 

senses. The peculiar line of Fig. 9 was obtained in an 
experiment in which a book was slowly carried about 
the room, the subject being required to read contina- 


ously from the page. It is evident that the hand fol- 
lowed the moveuieiit of the attention, not in a oiiole 
bat in an irregular outline closing in upon itself ; the 

, 2, 3, 4, indicate Ihe po»itionn of the 
Kconils 4fter Ihe record iru begun. 
. Siibjfct t»cinK»| > > . Illiumten 
rapid movemsnt toirard the abject of 

Fio. 11. — CODBTIIKI 
record, 70 wciindi'. The 
vritinc |>oiiii ai IS. 3U, 4 
Diirctiiin of lli« ■Itcntiun 
■ligbl h«*itjUiun at tirtt u 
Mleutiuii. Keduced lo 1 1 

change tn posture which this process involved has on 
undoubted influence uiK>n the result. 

Before i)assing to a more specific interpretation of 
the data, it may be interesting to illustrate more fully 
the scope of individual variations ; for the great dif- 

feren(.-e iu availability of subjects to the muscle-reader 
is equally prominent iu tests with the automatograph. 
Some movements are direct and extensive, others are 
circuitous and brief. Fig. 10 is a goo<l type of a email 
movement, but of one quite constantly toward the 


object of the attentioD. This may be contrasted with 
an extreme record, not here reproduced, in which there 
is a moTement of six and a half inches in forty-five 
seconds ; or with a fiurly extensive movement as in Fig. 
11. In some cases the first impnlse carries the hand 
toward the object of thought, and is followed by con- 
siderable hesitation and uncertainty ; a marked exam- 
ple of this tendency may be seen in Fig. 12. There 

Time racord 190 Kcond*. 
Dlreclion of the MltnUnn C « C- Subject ftcing <> ^ f. ninatnuei 
initi&l hesitaDc; followed by a ateady movimeDt toward tha objtct 
thought of. 

is, too, an opposite type, in which the initial move- 
ments are variable, and the significant movement toward 
the object of thought comes later, when perhaps there 
is some fatigue. This tendency appears somewhat in 
Figs. 11 and 13. 

What is the origin of the movements involved in 
these records ? To what extent are they movements of 
the hand, of the arm, or of the entire body? Casual 
observation ia sufRcient to show that with a given 
position of the arm, certain movements are much more 
readily made than others ; and the involuntary tenden- 


oies will Dfttnnlly follow the UnM of letatj 
If, for iiutaiioe, yoa bold jonr arm nearly on' « laval 
with the Bhonldera and in line with tham, yoa par- 
oeiTe at onoe that movements of the hand to the frmt 
are mnfih more readily made than to th« rsftr, and 
movements toward the body more readily than thoae 
away from the body ; the tendency of the hand la to 
move forward ia a circle of which the shoulder is Hab 
oeatre. What we require is a position in which move- 
ments in any one direotioo are as readily made aa in 
any other; and this may be approximated, though 
only approximated, by holding the hand at an angle of 
about 45° with the line joining the shoulders, and with 
the elbow bent at an angle of abont 120°. Thia waa tha 
position in most of the tests, and the nsnal remit was 
a movement toward the object of attention ; bat vriien 
the object attended to lies in back of the snbjeot, this 
tendency is sometimes outweighed by the nataral tend- 
ency for the arm to move forward, and the remit magr 
be a movement ybrwanf, but a less direct moranient 
forward than when the object of attention is to the 
front la a good subject, however, the involnnt»ry 
tendency is strong enough to prevail, and a movement 
backward results. An inst&noe of this, obtained under 
other but comparable circumstances, appears in Fig. 
14. It ia to be noted that in this figure the tracing 
marked I. was obtained with the subject seated, and 
the metronome beating behind him ; the hand after 
some hesitation moves backward slowly towards the 
metronome to a moderate extent. In tracing II., with 
the subject also seated, the metronome is to the front, 
and the hand moves directly and quickly towards it. 


We conclude that the position of the body ia an im- 
portant factor in the resultant movements, but that it 
does not interfere with their accepted pBycbol<^caI 

When observing the subject during a test, we may 
note the movements of the body as a whole, and of 
the arm or hand. The movement of the body is an 
irregular swayiug with the feet as the centre of the 
movement ; this 
swaying i; 
readily recorded by 
fixing the recording- 
plate upon the sub- 
ject's head, aud huv- 

Fio. 14.- 


RS or A HI 


wnted. In 


: I. the mclTonnme 

n >t the r» 

>r. Time of record, 



ionof iheMlenlion*— «E. Sul 

biecttwing;^^ — ». 

In trying II 


■tmnome wa« lo the 

front. Tloic 

: of record 45 Fecondi. 

Direction of 

lli« ato 

mli0D»»— »^ S 

■ubjeet f«Lng 

J» — >■ ("iMi. 

ing the recording-rod held in a suitable position above 
it. It was found that in connection with the swaying 
movements there were general movements towards the 
object of attention ; and such movements were as 
readily made when the object was to the front, to the 
rear, or to either side. To determine how far this 
movement is the same in head and hand, it is neces- 
sary to record both simultaneously. Fig. 15 illustrates 
the correspondence of the two movements. It thus 


becomes clear that the swaying of the body as a whole 
constitutes ao important factor of these automatograph 
records ; that the movements of the head (being farther 

away from tbe rontre of motion} are more extensive 
than those of tlx? liand ; nnil that both bead and band 
are st'iiaitive organs for the expressioii of involuntary 
nioveinuiits. That the nmaele-reader is aware of this 
fact in obvious from the usual positions which he main- 
tiiiis towarils liis subject in reading the direction of the 
hid.Ion ol.j.'Ct. 

To eliminate tlie record of the swaying of the body, 
we may experiment with the subject seated ; we obtain 
a distinctive record in which certain phases of the 
fluctuations have ahnost disa])j)earcd, and in which the 
record approximates to a straight line (tracing II. of 


Fig. 14). One may also eliminate the record of the 
swaying by diapensiDg with the automat<^raph, and 
simply holding the lecordiag plate in one hand and the 
recording device or pencil in the other ; for then the 
plate and pencil sway together, and naturally no record 
of it is made. The relatively fine movements thus ob- 
tained are shown in Fig. 16 ; the contrast between this 
record and sach records as Figs. 4, 6, 6, is munly the 
contrast between a record in which the general sway- 
ing of the body is registered, and one from which it has 
been eliminated. It is interesting to note that in rec- 
ords thus taken, there is bat a slight difference in the 
result when the subject is standing and when he is 
sitting ; which is a further proof that the svaying ol 
the-hody has been eliminated. (Compare these with 

, SDd left hi 

I. Subject 

KB standing; time n( rcford, I 

:t was eilting; time of recard. 

Fig. 14.) Traces of periodic oscillations are notice- 
able in Fig. 16 ; these are due to movemente of respira- 
tion, and in tracing 11. of Fig. 17, they are unusually 


distiDct and regular, about twenty to the minute. In 
this case the forearm of the hand holding the record- 
plate was braced against the body, while the recording 


Siibji'il faiillK * ■ III ira.iii); 1., plutp. llir.rtbli nf Hit 

dirfplioii of I the aikiiliuii A; fr.iiii A lo B«. fn.iiiBio' 

in trflriiiR II., ^ direcii.-i .if I [rom(M,>Uv,TfromDln I 

the atlrnlinn Z . Time i.f ' ' -■ - it i • 

McriHl. 80 spc- T I""!-. I 

hand was lield free from it ; and tluis the abtlotntnal 
niovenients were registered. The movements towai-d 
the object of attention appear throughout. Fig. 17 
shows a movement towards the ri'ar of tlie subject, as 
well as towards the f t-ont ; wliii-li again shows that 
under suitable conditions, involuntary movements may 
lie rcoorded in one diicction as rea*iily as in another. 
Fig. 18 presents a most beautifully regular movement 
in all four directions. As the metronome, the strokes 
of which the subject was counting, was carried from 
Olio corner of the room to another and so on around 


the room, the hand inToluntarily followed it and re- 
corded an almost perfect square. So strikiag and 
reguhir and so varied an involuntary movement, in 
conformity with changes in the direction of attention, 
one can expect to secure but seldom, and then only 
with a good subject. 

The outline presented in Fig. 19 was obtained in a 
test in which the movements of the hands were sepa- 
rately recorded, in order to determine the degree of 
correspondence between them. The result shows a 
marked general resemblance, indicating in part a com< 

Fio. 19. — Thihkino of a BTm-DlKG. Both handa bold Kcord 
plates, the p«ncit9 being hdd flz^d above them. Time of record 36 MC- 
nndi. DirertinnofthealteDtiaD w . Subject facing » . I., led hand; 
IIt right hand. T T 

mon origin of the two movements. The next figure, 
Fig. 20, shows that this correspondence is dependent 
in part upon the similarity of the positions of the two 


hands. The hand that is held away from the body 
moves more flxtensively ; but the form of the move- 
raents remaia similar. The records reproduced in 
Figs. 14—22 and 26 were obtained upon the same sub- 
ject, though with slightly varying conditions, and are 
fairly comparable with one another, and thus illustrate 
the analysis of (he resultant movements into their com- 
ponent factors. 

Vir.. ai. - TiiiNKiNC OF A BUiLiUNn. Jjioh hanil hoMs 
plmr, TlnK i>l rccoril, 't.'i ^-ivoml-. Dirrrlinn ••! the atlention ^. 
jpO fnringr X. I.. Irft liiltid tii'l.l exlendvd faruul. II., righl T 

Involuntary movements are not limited to the hori- 
zontal plane ; vertical movements may be recorded by 
holding the recording device in a slanting position, 
and fixing the record plate upon the wall. The main 
characteristic of such a record is the sinking of the 
arm through fatigue ; the movement is rapid and 


ooane (tracing I. of Fig. 20). If the attention be 
directed to the front, we obtain a resultant of the ten- 

Fio. 81— TillHKiMO iir iiKB'a fbbt. Record pimte vertical. Tlm» 
of record, » necondn. Direction of the allontion Jf . II., iMnkingnfm 
point overhead. Time of record, A ii aeconds. T Kecordlng pinte 
vertical. Direction of the attaDtionr. 


denoy to move towards the object of attention, and of 
the ainking of the arm, as appears in the diagonal line 
of Fig. 22. Fig. 21 illustrates an interestiog point 
eitnilar to that illustrated in Fig. 14. When the atten- 
tioD in directed downward, the hand 
falls rapidly (tracing I.) ; but 
when the attention is di- 
rected upward, very li 
tie movement at all 
takes plac 

- till? tendency to move towards the 
object of attention constantly counter- 
arting the tendency for the arm to fall (tracing II,). 

Willie I have not been altogether successful in de- 
termining by this method tJie relative efficiency of dif- 
ferent sense-impressions in holding the attention, the 
successful results are esi>ecially interesting. In Fig. 
23 the tracing marked I. shows the movement of the 
hand during the thirty-five seconds that the subject 
was counting the strokes of a metronome; tracing 
II. shows the movement while counting for twenty- 
five seconds the oscillations of a pendulum. The latter 


^BfinoTement is id this case mnch more extensive than 
^tbe former, thus indicating that the visua l impression 
,i;)ie)d the attention mach better than the auditory- The 


malognph record. Time of record, 36 mconilt. Direction of theMMD- 
lion » > ^ Subject lacing j JJ .> . II. Couhtiho PEnDOLUM obcil- 
i^TIOMB. AntonuUograph record. Hme of record, 2{ aeconds. Dine- 
tioD of the ■llentioa » > ■■ -> . Subject facing 3t » ■ » . 

subject of this record is a well-known writer and 
novelist ; and hia description of his own mental pro- 
cesses entirely accords with this result ; be is a good 

Fio. 24. — Fkoh a tc 

Li^TH)sg. Autornalograph i 

■tuntlon »» > . Subject fwrngSS 

visualizer, and visual impressions and memory-images 
dominate his mental habits. 

We may next turn to Fig. 24. The subject was 
asked to call the names of a series of small patches of 


color hanging upon the wall in f rout of him. He did 
thiB with some uncertainty for thirty-five seconds, and 
during this time his hand on the automatograph moved 
from A to A'. At the latter point he was asked to 
count the oscillations of a pendulum ; this entirely 
changed the movement, the hand at once moving 
rapidly toward the pendulum. The pendulum was a 

Time nf record, 35 

I" with thai of A to B, 

The sul>. 

ariginat ^izc. 

more attractive sense-impression than the colors. The 
special point of interest in this record is, that upon 
examination the subject's color-vision proved to be de- 
fective, and thus accounted for the faihire of the colors 
to hold his attention. 

An important problem relates to the possible corre- 
lation of types of involuntary movements with age, 
sex, temperament, disease, and the like. A few obser- 
vations upon children are interesting in this respect. 
They reveal the limited control tliat children have 
over their muscles, and their difficulty to fix the atten- 
tion when and where desired. Their involuntary move- 


meets are large, with great fluctuations, and irregularly 
towards the object of attention. Fig. 25 illustrates 
some of these poiuts ; in thirty-flve seconds the child's 
hand moved by lai^ steps seven inches toward the 
pendulum, and the entire appearance of the outline ia 
different from those obtained upon adults. 

Much attention has recently been paid to automatic 
writing, or the unconscious indication of the nature, 
not* merely the direction of one's thoughts, while the 
attention is elsewhere eng^ed. I attempted this upon 
the automatograph by asking the subject to view or 
think of some letter or geometric figure, and then 
searching the record for some trace of the letter or 
figure ; but always with a negative result. While nn- 
vuooessf ul in this sense, the records prove of value in 

furnishing a salient contrast to the experiments in 
which the attention was fixed in a definite direction. 
For example, the subject is thinking of the letter O ; 
be does not think of it as in any special place, and the 
record (Fig. 26) likewise reveals no movement in any 
one direction. Two records are shown quite similar in 
significance, and illustrating as well the difference be- 
tween the movements while standing and while sitting. 


^ VI 

There have thus been passed in review a yariety of 
involuntary movements obtained in different ways, and 
with bearings upon many points of importance to the 
psychologist. They by no means exhaust the possi- 
bilities of research, or the deduction of conclusions in 
this field of study ; but they may serve to illustrate 
how subtle and intricate are the expressions of the 
thoughts that lie within. That involuntary movements 
are by no means limited to the type here illustrated is 
easily shown. In the exhibitions of muscle-reading, 
the changes in breathing, the flushing, the tremor of 
the subject when the reader approaches the hiding- 
place, and the relative relaxation when he is on the 
wrong scent, serve as valuable clues ; to borrow the 
apt expression of ^^ hide and seek," the performer grows 
'^ hot " and ^^ colii." with his subject. Then, too, the 
tentative excursions in one direction and another, to 
determine in which the subject follows with least re- 
sistance, present another variation of the same process. 
The hushed calm of the audience when success is near, 
the restlessness and whispering during a false scent, 
are equally welcome suggestions which a clever pep- 
former freely utilizes, thereby adding to the ^clat of 
his exhibition. When a combination of numbers or 
of letters in a word is to be guessed, the operator 
passes over with the subject the several digits or the 
alphabet, and notes at which the tell-tale tremor or 
mark of excitement occurs, and so again performs the 
feat on the basis of the involuntary contractions that 
express the slight changes of attention or interest when 
the correct number or letter is indicated. In much the 


same way we nnwittiDgly betray our feelings and emo- 
tions, oar interest or distraction or ennni ; the oorreot 
inte^iretation of these in others and their snppressioD 
in one'ss^f^foim part of the artificial complexity of 
sooiarmteioonrse. But in the line of experimental 
demonstration also, another form of involuntary moT»> 
meat has been brought forward in reooit years by the 
iuTestigation of Hansen and Lehmann upon " involun- 
tary ^^uporing." This investigation brings "out the 
fact tlutt many of as, when we think intently of a num- 
ber, tend to innervate the mechanism appropriate to ita 
utterance. We do not aotaally speak or whisper the 
word or sound, but we initiate the process. If one 
person thinks of a number, — say from one to tea, at 
from one to one hundred, — and the other records any 
number which at the same moment suggests itself to 
him, it may result that the proportion of correct or 
partially correct guesses exceeds that -whioh chaaoe 
would produce ; and arguments for telepathy bave 
been based on such results. In the series of experi- 
ments in question these ** involuntary whisperings " were 
not severely sai^nressed, — mnoh as in the antomato- 
graph tests one might determine to let the glass move 
if it would. It most be understood that there was no 
true whispering nor any movement of the speaking 
mechanism whioh a bystander could detect ; and yet it 
seems likely that the one participant was influenced in 
bis guessing by the vague bat yet real, suboonsciooi, 
embryonic articulation of the other. The proof <A 
this lies mainly in the analysis of the successes and 
errors ; for the confusions are strikingly between nu- 
meiala of somewhat similar sound, — aa between font^ 
tMo and iartj, or six^ and Uiir^, or uz and seven. 


1: iW Twi' jwTMw an wmtbi in the reqpectiTe load 
ni*/" «vaw«^Y »utftM» wUdi colleet the sound (tfans b i 
nMitein?r MTalMinjr the exalted sensibility of Bpeaib 
pflM Of k^Tmocised mbjects), the chances of raoees 
*Ma£ n^ hr ihoithammL While the investigation is bock 
<v>sn}OrJk ASM uMvmpkte« yet the general trend of it is 
imftciwttiJx ol^MU- to make it piobaUe that ^ involantazj 
mh»;i^Mruij: " M)r«Y« nor^ or less freqaently as a sob- 
<vm9iciKn» mk) involiintaiy indication of thought It 
ah.^^** acsia ikat bdow the thresbold of conacioiu 
a<s)ais)i)«\a and intMitio&al expression lie a consider- 
ahW nuus^ of a^vitmk which though they blossom 
aaM^Mi d«^ not quitter waste their fragrance, but come 
w^i«^) ovM' in va$:ne and subtle essence. The falling 
of a dx\^p of watv'.r is unheard, but the sound of the 
i\>arii\$ torrent i» but the sound of myriads of drops, 
llio KmiularT betwt«en the conscious and the unoon- 
a^'^i^m^ is bi\vi«l and indefinite ; and vague influences, if 
not dii>N>t niossaj:^Mk pass from one side to the other. 

The general l^earing of the study of involnntaiy 
moTenient» 1 hare indicated at the outset; and no 
elaborate CNMument on the practical significance of the 
results described seems necessary. They certainly 
facilitate the appreciation of the^Eeality of the subson- 
sciotts and the involnntary; and in connection with 
explanations of muscle-reading or telepathy, they illus- 
trate how naturally a neglect of this realm of psycho- 
logical activity may lead to false conclusions. They 
bring a striking corroboration of the view that thought 
is but more or less successfully suppressed action, and 
as a well-known muscle-reader expresses it, all willing 
is cither pushing or pulling. 


Man is predomimuitly a visual aQimal. To him 
seeing is believing, — a saying which in canine par- 
lance might readily become smelling is believing. 
We teach by illnstrations, models, and object-lessons, 
and reduce complex relations to the curves of the gnt^ 
pbic method, to bting home and impress our state- 
ments. Our every-day language, as well as the im- 
^[ery of poetry, abounds in metaphors and similes 
appealing to images which the eye has taught ns to 
appreciate. The eye is also the mediom of impressions 
of [Bsthetac as well as of intellectual value ; and one 
grand division of art is lost to those who cannot see. 
The eye, too, forms the centre of emotional expression, 
and reveals to our fellow-men the subtile variations in 
mood and passion, as it is to the physician a delicate 
index of our well-being. There are reasons for believ- 
ing that it was the function of sight as a distaaoe-sense 
that led to its supremacy in the lives of our primitive 
ancestors. Whatever its origin, the growth of civiliza- 
tion has served to develop this eye-minded&ess of the 
race, and to increase and diversify the modes of its 

The eye, thus constaotly stimulated in waking life, 
and attracting to its sensations the focus of attention, 
possessing, as it does, in the retinal fovea a special and 


unique aid to ooncentratiye attention, does not yield up 
its supremacy in the world of dreams. The visiul 
centres subside but slowly from their day's stimulation; 
and the rich stock of images which these centres ha^e 
stored up ia completely at the serrioe of the fancy tbat 
guides our dreams. Indeed, the dream itself is spoken 
of as a vision. 

Though, as a race, we are eyMninded, individually 
we differ much with regard to the role that sight plays 
in our psychic life. In one direction a good index of 
its importance is to be found in the perfection of the 
visualizing faculty, of which Mr. Galton has given an 
interesting account. He asked various persons to de- 
scribe, amongst other things, the vividness of their 
mental picture when calling to mind the morning's 
breakfast-table. To some the mental scene was as 
clear and as natural as reality, lacking none of the de- 
tails of form or color ; to others the resulting mental 
image was tolerably distinct, with the conspicuous fea- 
tures well brought out, but the rest dim and ill-defined * 
while a third group could only piece together a very 
yague, fragmentary, and unreliable series of images, 
with no distinct or constant picture. 

Similar differences are observable with regard to 
memories. Some persons firmly retain what they read 
^hile the memory forte of others is in what they hear - 
gnd pathology supports this subdivision of the sense- 
memories by showing, for example, that all remem- 
brance for seen objects may be lost while that for 
goonds remains intact. A case, remarkable in several 
^gM^ is recorded by M. Charcot. The subject in 
qg0B^ ooold accurately call up, in full detail, all the 


flcenes of his many travels, could repeat pages of his 
favorite aathors from the mental picture of the printed 
pi^, and by the same means oould mentally add long 
oolomns of numbers. The mere mention of a scene in 
a play, or of a oonverBation with a friend, immediately 
bronght up a vivid picture of the entire circnmstance. 
Through nervous prostration he tost this visual mem- 
ory. An attempt to sketch a familiar scene now re- 
sulted in a childish scrawl ; he remembered litUe of 
his correspondence, forgot the appearance of his wife 
and friends, and even failed to recognize his own image 
in a mirror. Yet his eyesight was intact and his intel- 
lect unimptured. Id order to remember things he had 
now to have them read aloud to him, and thus bring 
into play his undisturbed auditory centre — to him an 
almost new experience. 

The function of vision in dreams is doubtless subject 
to similar individual yariations, though probably to a 
less extent. Seeing, with rare exceptions, oonstitutes 
the fypical operation in dreams ; it is this sense, too, 
that, under the influence of drugs or of other excite- 
ment, is most readily stimulated into morbid action, 
and most easily furnishes the basis of delusions and 
hallucinations to a disordered mind. The dependence 
of the nature and content of dreams upon the waking 
experiences is so clearly proven that it would be sur- 
prising not to find in them the individual character- 
istics of our mental processes ; and if Aristotle is right 
in saying that in waking life we all have a world in 
common but in dreams each has a world of his own, we 
may look to the evidence of dream-life for indicataons 
of unrestrained and distinctive psychological truts. 

I ■ 



With r^ard to the blind, much of what has been 
said above is entirely irrelevant. However intimately 
we appreciate the function of sight in our own mental 
development, it is almost impossible to imagine how 
different our life would have been had we never seen. 
But here, at the outset, a fundamental distinction must 
be drawn between those blind from birth or early in- 
fancy, and those who lose their sight in youth or adult 
life.* ** It is better to have seen and lost one's sight 
A^n never to have seen at all,** is quite as true as the 
sentiment which this form of statement parodies. Ex- 
pressed physiologically, this means, that to have begun 
the general brain-building process with the aid of the 
eye insures some further self-development of the visual 
centre, and thus makes possible a kind of mental 
possession of which those bom blind are inevitably 

I ' A noted Uind teacher o£ the blind says. "Wenn wir . . . den £Sn- 

V flnai der Blindheit aof die geisiage Thi&tigkeit dee Blinden beobachten, 

I eo haben wir BUndgeborene and BUndg^wordene . . . streng* aoaeinan- 

! der mn halten." 

' This applies mainly to int^eotual aoqnirementa. The emotiona] 

life of thoae who have lost their mght is often, and with muoh tmtli. 

regarded as sadder and more dreary than that of the congenitally blind ; 

the former regretfully appreciate what they have loet ; the l&tter live 

in a different and more meagre world, but haye never known any other, 

It is interesting in this connection to trace the influence of the age oi 

** blinding" {sit venia verbo) on the mental development of eminenl 

blind men and women. Of a list of 1*25 blind persons of very variooj 

degrees of talent, which I have been able to collect, the age of blinding 

was (approximately) ascertainable in 114 cases. Of these about 11 are 

really very distinguished, and 10 of them (the exceptionJ^hft^wonder- 

fnl mathematician, Nicholas Saunderson) became V *^ ^' 



A fact of prime importanoe regarding the develop- 
ment of tlie eigbt-centre is the ag^ at wMoh its educa- 
tion is sufficiently completed to enable it to continue its 
function witbout further object-lessons on the part of 
the retina. If we accept aa the test of the independent 
existence of the sight-centre its automatic excitation in 
dreams, the question can be answered by determining 
the age of the onset of blindness, which divides those 
who do not from those who still retain in their dream- 
life the images derired from the world of sight. The 
data that enable me to answer this question were gath- 
ered at the InstitatioDS for the Blind in Philadelphia 
and Baltimore. Nearly 200 persons of both sexes were 
personally examined, and their answers to quite a long 
series of qaestions recorded. All dates and ages were 
verified by the register of the instituticHi, and the 
degree of sight was tested. 

Be^nning with cases of total blindness (inclading 
under this head those upon whom light has simply a 
general subjective " heat-effect," enabling them to dis- 
tinguish between night and day, between shade and 
sunshine, but inducing little or no tendency to project 
the cause of the sensation into the external world) , I find 
on my list fifty-eight such cases. Of these, thirty-two 

nmoed yontli, nuddla life, en itill Imter ; at tha gmaf naxt in sminanoa 
(about 26) tha a*ang;e age of ths muet of blindnea ii in narly jontli (at 
nine or ton jeui) ; and Uioae Mulieat blind aie gauenllj mnnoiani, 
irho least of all reqnire aiglit for tlieir calling. The aretage age of 
blinding of Uie rwt of the liit — nhoae aohievementa would for the 
moat part not ban bean reooided had they not been thoae of blind per- 
•ona — ia aa low aa aaien yean, irbila tliat of the maaiciana (about 10 
in the gronp) ia little OTar thiM yaaia. All thia apeaka ationgl; for 
the permanent intelleotiial importanoe of aight in earl; edocation. 


became blind before the completion of their fifth year, 
and not one of this gtonp of thirtjr-two sees in dreama. 
Six became blind between the fifth and the seventh 
year : of these, four have dreams of seeing, but two of 
them do so seldom and with some Tagneness ; while two 
never dream of seeing at all. Of twenty persons who 
became blind after their seventh year aU have ** dreams- 
vision" — as I shall term the faculty of seeing in 
dreams. The period from the fifth to the eenenth yeoar 
ie thus indicated as the critical one. Before this age 
the visual centre is undergoing its elementary educa- 
tion ; its life is closely dependent upon the constant 
food-supply of sensations ; and when these are cut o£E 
by blindness, it degenerates and decays. If blindness 
occurs between the fifth and the seventh years, the pre- 
servation of the visualizing power depends on the de- 
gree of development of the individuaL If the faculty 
is retained, it is neither stable nor pronounced. If 
sight is lost after the seventh year, the sight-centre can, 
in spite of the loss, maintain its function; and the 
dreams of such an individual may be hardly distin- 
guishable from those of a seeing person. 

It was a very unexpected discovery, to find, after I 
had planned and partly completed this investigation, 
that I had a predecessor. So long ago as 1838, Dr. 
G. Heermann studied the dreams of the blind with the 
view of determining this same question, the physiologi- 
cal significance of which, however, was not then clearly 
understood. He records the answers of fourteen totally 
blind persons who lost their sight previous to their fifth 
year, and none of these has dream-vision. Of four who 
lost their sight between the fifth and the seventh year, 


one has dream-vision ; one has it dimly and occasion- 
ally ; and two do not definitely know. Of thirty-five 
who became blind after their seventh year cUl have 
dream-vision. The two independent researches thus 
yield the very same conclusion. Dr. Heermann in- 
cludes in his list many aged persons, and from their 
answers is able to conclude that, generally speaking, 
those who become blind in mature life retain the power 
of dream-vision longer than those who become blind 
nearer the critical age of five to seven years. He re- 
cords twelve cases where dream-vision still continues 
after a blindness of from ten to fifteen years, four of 
from fifteen to twenty years, four of from twenty to 
twenty-five years, and one of thirty-five years. In one 
case dream-vision was maintained for fifty-two, and in 
another for fifty-four years, but then faded out.^ 

With regard to the partially blind, the question 
most analogous to the persistence of dream-vision after 
total blindness, is whether or not the dream-vision is 
brighter and clearer than that of waking life ; whether 
the sight-centre maintains the full normal power to 
which it was educated, or whether the partial loss of 
sight has essentially altered and replaced it. To this 
rather difficult question I have fewer and less satisfac- 

1 Dr. Heemumn'i obflervrntions also enable ns to trace the anatomical 
conditions underlying^ the power of dream-yirion. From ten cases in 
which poet-mortem examinations were held, he condndes that, aUow- 
\skg for much individnal difference, after about twenty years the optic 
nenres degenerate, and often as far back as the chiasma. This shows 
that the nerve is not necessary for dream-yision, and thus groes to prove 
that the process is dependent on cerebral organs — a valuable piece of 
evidence fifty years ago. Esquirol records a case of sight-haUncina- 
tions in a blind woman, again indicating the same oo&oln^n. 


toiy answen than to tlw forawr inqimj; but the evi- 
dence 18 perfectly in aoeoid with the previous ooneb- 
siong. Of twenty-three who describe tbair dream-yisioa 
as only as dear as waking sighti aU became blind not 
Zoter than the close of their ^/^ year/ wbile of twenty- 
four whose dieam-yisioQ is more or lees markedly 
clearer than their partial sight, all lost their full sight 
not earlier than their sixth year} The age that maris 
off those to whom total blindness carries with it the 
loss of dream-vision from those whose dream-Yisi<m 
oontinaes, is thus the age at which the sight^^ntre has 
reached a sufficient stage of development to enable it 
to maintain its full function, when partially or totally 
deprived of retinal stimulation. The same age is also 
assigned by some authorities as the limiting age at 
which deafness will cause muteness (unless special 
pains be taken to prevent it) ; while later the vocal 
organs, though trained to action by the ear, can per- 
form their duties without the teacher's aid. This, too, 

^ A forther intereetiiig qnestioii regarding the dream-Tisioii of the 

partially blind is, How mnoh must they be able to see in order to cLraam 

of feeing ? In answering thia qneation, the blind giTe the name ^ 

Ing " to what is really a complez of lensationi and judgments, and 

laroe oomplez may enter into their dreams. Cases oocnr in which 

there is only the slightest remnant of sight, and yet this forma a factor 

in dream-life. It is a very imperfect kind of yision, and acts mor« aa 

a gtuioml sense of illumination, and as an anticipatory sense. Generally 

N|M«Hkinf;, thoBO who know color have more frequent and brig-hter 

(iMtniu-viMion than those who distiugnish light and shade only. Kor 

ci«Aiit|ilo, of thoao partially blind from birth, such as see color tolerably 

woU (thont art) sixteen such) have regular dream-vision — of coarse no 

olitartir than thoir best days of sight Of eleven who have some faint 

nutitui of color, three have dream-vision regularly ; six have it rarely, 

%hllo two (ahuiMt never or) never have it Of eleven who can see no 

oolur at all, ten have no dream-vision, and on^ iMsionally. 


is assigned as the earliest age at which we have a r& 
membrance of oorselTes. This last statement I am 
able to test by one hundred answers, collected among 
these blind persons, to the question, " What is your 
earliest remembrance of yourself? " The arerage age 
to which these memories go back is 5.2 years ; seven^* 
nine instances being inolnded between the third and 
the sixth years. At this period of child development 
— the centre of which is at about the close of the fifth 
year — there seems to be a general declaration of in- 
dependence of the sense-centres from their food-snpply 
of sensations. Mr. Sully finds sense, imagination, and 
abstraction to be the order in which the precocity of 
great men reveals itself ; and the critical period which 
we are now considering seems to mark the point at 
which imt^nation and abstraction as permanent men- 
tal powers ordinarily come into play. M. Perez like- 
wise recognizes the distinctire character of this era of 
childhood by making the second part of his ** Child 
Psychology " embrace the period from the third to the 
seventh year. 


The general fact thus brought to light — that the 
mode in which a bnun-oentre will function depends so 
largely upon its initial education, but that, this edu- 
cation once completed, the centre can maintain its func- 
tion, though deprived of sense-stimnlatiDn — is snfiB- 
oiendy important to merit further illustration.* This 

> Tliat ami a (nmp«iatiT«l7 ilight diitnrbuioa of Twon, affaetiDg 
only k »iik11 poTtion of the vinal •xparisnoe, oui leaTS k pamunent 
tiaoa npoD the Bght«enti« ia made nry probable h; > oaaa (neorded 
bj Dr. HoCoah, Cognitive Pewtn, p. 108) of a yonnp man whoaa defect 


£Mfc» thougli .my daw and eEndant wima slated 6qmi 
modem pomt of Tiew, hn not elwajs been **iiiig n5^ 
So ingenioDi a thinker as Etmamiia Dteirin intenl 
from two oaaes (the one of a hfind mn^ the odiBr ef a 
deaf-mute) in whioh the wanting ttmaoe weiw ate 
abeent in dieama, that the periphand nmiao oigan wat 
n e eo aa ar y for all peroeptioa, aabjeeiive aa wdl ai 
otgeotiTe ; aad entirely naglerted the ag« at wUek As 
aanae waa loat Snoih noted idtynologiefea aa Beil, Ba- 
ddphi, Hartman, Wardrop (iriio aaya, ^when aa 
oigan o£ aenae ia totally deai^rayed, tha adeaa wUflh 
were reoei^ed by that organ seem to periah along wiA 
it aa well aa the power of peroeption "), more or leaa 
diatinody &yored thia Tiew; while aome ^^^^h oga of 
the Uind and the physiologiata Naaae aad Antoptre i Uk 
rightly drew the distinction between those bom, ^^ 
thoae who became, blind. An experimental deoMm- 
atiation of the original dependenoe of tlie peare ep iiTo 
and emotional powera upon aenae-impreaaioina waa fnr^ 
aiahad by BoA and SohiflEi who found that young dogs 
whoae ol&otoiy bnlba had been removed failed to 
de?alop any affection for man. 

What ia true of the riaoal, ia donbtleaa eqoalfy true 
0f Ibe other perceptive eentrea. The dreams of iha 

^^MaM«A te Ui M^ • m jttOt d— lil%->adtitetwhfaii a 
^^iMkl «rM**«» >w»v^ *" n I attMnpt," he wriftai, << to imOI 
l^iil \ mm wluU ny •jw wm out of oider, I inTuiably see tiiam •• 
»Wx jiji^mtJ duia^ that time, altlioiigh I may haTe leen them many 
^ww« M«^ the «fNnlii»* For laihiiwfti in the oaae of the minister ia 
«l^ l^wl|Nit at Ww ae^ I see two images of him, no matter how mooh I 
H^<\\ «\^ tvk C^ nd of oaa of them. ... My reooUeetion of the offioe 
m^ ^tk%^ tW ^^fMalkai was peKibimed,ls also of ererything in it, is 
^^^M^ al«K^^««lk \ taw U oaly twiee heftne the restoration of my sight, 
^^^ MMMO t4wMa afWiw IW o^Jeeti whidi I haTe seen sinoe the opera. 


deaf-mute offer hd attraotive and nntouched field for 
sach study.i The few aocoimts of such dreams that I 
have met with, fail to give the age at whioh deafness 
set in ; in one case, however, in which deafness oo> 
ourred at thirty years, the pantomimic had replaced 
the spoken langoage in the dreams of thirty yeara 
later. Similarly, cripples dream of their lost limbs for 
many years after their loss ; in snch cases, however, 
stimulation of the ont nerves may be the sn^estive 
cause of snob dreams. A man of forty, wbo lost his 
right arm seventeen years before, still dreams of hav< 
ing die arm. The earliest age of losing and dreaming 
about a lost limb, of which I find a record, is of a boy 
of thirteen years who lost a leg at the age of ten ; this 
boy still dreams of walking on his feet. Those who 
are bom cripples must necessarily have their defects 
represented in their dream consciousness. Heermann 
cites the case of a man bom without hands, forearms, 
feet, or lower legs. He always dreamt of walking on 
his knees ; and all the peculiarities of his movements 
were present in his dream-Ufe. 

The dreams of those both blind and deaf are espe- 
cially instructive. Many of Laura Bridgman's dreams 
have been recorded ; and an unpublished manuscript 
by Dr. G. Stanley Hall plaoes at my service a valuable 
account of her sleep and dreams. Sight and hearing 
were as absent from her dreams as they were from the 
dark and silent world whioh alone she knew. The 
tactual-motor sensations, by whioh she communicated 
with her fellow-beings, and through whioh almost all 

' I liBT« gatliarMl ooondarsblo date io regard to the diwmi of Ui* 
deaf, but tb«7 an not nadj tor dafinlta tmnnlatioa. 


her inteUectiud food reached her, alao formed ber 
mainstay in dreams. This aoconnts for the soddeiir 
ness and fright with which she often waked from Iier 
dreams; she is perchance dreaming of an animsl, 
which to us would first make itself seen or heaid, but 
to her is present only when it touches and startles 
her — for she lacks any anticipatory senae. Language 
has become so all-important a factor in civilized life, 
that it naturally is frequently represented in dreams. 
We not only dream of speaking and being spoken to, 
but we actuaUy innervate the appropriate muscles and 
talk in our sleep; this Laura Bridgman also did. 
^^Her sleep seemed almost never undisturbed by 
dreams. Again and again she would suddenly fa^llr a 
few words or letters with her fingers, too rapidly and 
too imperfectly to be intelligible (just as other people 
utter incoherent words and inarticulate sounds in sleep)^ 
but apparently never making a sentenoe." ^ So, too, 

^ From Dr. HaU*8 nuunaeript Dr. Hall had the opportunitj of 
obterriiig her during three short naps, and haa inoorpormted a part of 
his maanaeript into a paper on Laura Bridgpnan, repahliahed in his 
AtpeciM ofGtrman OtUwrty pp. 268-270. From this mannaoript I take 
the foUowii^ iUotzatioas of her dreams, and her method of deaorihiiy 
them. Tliey are reeofded Terbatim. 

" Question, * Do yon dream often ? ' Antwer. ' Very often, many 
things.' Q. ' Did yon think hard yesterday to remember dreams for 
me ? * A, *I did try, bnt I always forget yery soon.' Q. ' Did yon 
ever dream to hear?* [Her idiom for * that yon could hear.*! A. 
Only the angels playing in heaven.* Q. * How did it sound ? ' A. 
* Very beautiful/ Q. ' Like what ? ' .4. ' NotHng.* Q. * Was it 
loud?' A. * Yes, very.' Q. * What instrument ? * A. * Piano.' Q. 
' How did the angels look ?' A. ' Beautiful.' Q. * Had they wings ? ' 
/I. * I could not know.' Q. * Were they men or women ? ' A, * Don*t 
know.' Q. ' Can you describe their dress ? ' A. * No.' Q. ' Was the 
music fast or slow ? ' A, ^1 cannot telL' On another occasion she was 


all the people who enter into her dreams talk with 
their fingers. This habit had already presented itself 
at the age of twelve, four years after her first lesson 
in the alphabet ** I do not dream to talk with mouth ; 
I dream to talk with fingers." No prettier illiutra- 
■■ked, ' Did joa »Ttt dream to n« ? ' A. 'I oonU mn die «iul' Q. 
' How did it look ? ' ^ 'Oloriixu.' Q. 'Wluteolar?' ^'loan- 
not tell ' [witli a agn of graat impMieiMe]. Q. ' Wai itrer; bright?' 
J. 'Tea.' Q. ' Did it hnit jmir eyea 7 ' A 'Yea, theraohed.' Q. 
' WLat waa it like ?' A. 'Nothii^. I ■*« it vith mj tijm' [nmoh 
ezinted, bnaUung haid and faat, and pointiiig to her right e}e]. Sonw 
daja later, after •ome piomptiiigi from ber attendauta, ike nnew«d 
the enbjaot of lier own aooord, ai foUowi : ' I remember ODoa a dream. 
I waa iD ■ Tery laiga place. It waa Ter; glorioiia and fall of people. 
H; father and mother wen atanding by. The gloriooi pvio waa 
pUpng. When I heard the ronde I laiaed op my hand ao ' [etanding 
and pwnting impreaiTely npward and forward with the index finger, 
aa the letter g ia made in the daaf and dumb alphabet] ' to m j heaTenly 
Father. I tried to aay God.' Q. ' With your finger* 7' A. ' Yea.' 
Q. 'Whwe waa Ood?' A. 'So' [pointing aa before]. Q. 'Far 
away?' A 'No.' Q. ' Could yon toosh him 7 ' ^ 'No.' Q. 'How 
did yoD know he waa there f A. 'I sannot talL' Q. ' How did yon 
know it waa Ood?' ^.' I oannot explain.' Q. ' What waa ha like ? ' A, 
[After a paoae] ' I cannot tell erarything to everybody ' [half playfully, 
whipping her right hand with her left, and tooehing her forehead aig- 
nifloantly, to indioate that abe waa unable adeqnately to apraai what 
waa in her mind]. Q. ' Could he toooh yon t' A. ' Na He it a 
apiiit' Q. 'Didheeeeyon?' ^. 'Heeeee erarything. Sea how 
malanoholy I look beeaoae I do not feel intereatad.' On another ooea- 
aion ihe aaid, ' I often dream (hat Doctor Howe ia alive and very aick,' 
bnt no delwla eonld be elicited. Again, after imitating the gwt of 
different peojde, abe and, ' I dream often of people walldi^. I dream 
many thiiq^ bnt do not remember what I really dream. I naed to 
dream of animal* running aroond the room, and it woke me.' " 

It ia evident that her dieama of bearing and aeeing were either 
merely verbal, or the aabalitnlion and elaboration of kindred aenaa- 
tJooB (aenae of jar and heat) which abe experienced. For fnrtiier ex- 
amplee of her dieame aee her Lift and Eduealioii, by Hra. Lamion, 

pp. 88, lu, lee-ias, 218, 223, 221, saa, 286, aeo^ sos, soi 


tion oould be given of the way in which her fancy 
built upon her real experiences, than the fact recorded 
by Charles Dickens, that on picking up her doll he 
found across its eyes a green band such as she herself 
wore. The organic sensations originating in the tIs- 
cera, though often prominently represented in dreams 
of normal persons, seemed especially prominent in 
her dreams. She tells of feeling her blood rush 
about, and of her heart beating fast when suddenly 
waking, much frightened, from a distressing dream. 
One such dream she describes as ^^ hard, heayy, and 
thick;'' terms which, though to us glaringly inap- 
propriate in reference to so fairy-like a structure 
as a dream, form an accurate description in the 
language of her own realistic senses. In short, her 
dreams are accurately modeled upon the experiences 
of her waking life, reproducing in detail all the pecul- 
iarities of thought and action which a very special 
education had impressed upon her curious mind. 

I have had the opportunity of questioning a blind and 
deaf young man whose life-history offers a striking con- 
trast to that of Laura Bridgman, and illustrates with 
all the force of an experimental demonstration the 
critical educational importance of the early years of 
life. He was, at the time of my questioning him, 
twenty-three years of age, and was earning a comfort- 
able living as a broom-maker. He had an active interest 
in the affairs of the world, and disliked to be considered 
in any way peculiar. His eyesight began to fail him 
in early childhood ; and in his fifth year the sight of 
one eye was entirely lost, while that of the other was 
very poor. After a less gradual loss of hearing, he 


bdcsme completely deaf in his ninth year. At the age 
of twelve he was (practically} totally blind, deaf, and 
nearly mate. The small remnant of articulating 
power has been cultivated ; and those who are aocns- 
tomed to it can understand bis spoken language. He 
also communicates as Laura Bridgman did, and has 
a further advantage over her in possessing a very acute 
sense of smell. He remembers the world of sight and 
hearing perfectly, and in a little sketch of his life 
which he wrote for me vividly describes the sights 
and Bonnds of his play-days. He usually dreams of 
seeing and hearing, though the experieoces of his pres- 
ent existence also enter into his dreams. Some of his 
dreams relate to flowers which be smelled and saw ; 
he dreamt of being upset in a boat ; shortly after his 
confirmation he dreamt of seeing God. When he 
dreams of making brooms, his dream ia entirely in 
terms of motion and feeling, not of sight. His history 
thus strongly emphasizes the importance which a variety 
of evidence attribntes to the period of childhood, and 
perhaps especially to that from the third to the seventh 

Hie remarkable powers which Helen Keller has ex- 
hibited throughout her phenomenal education give to 
an account of her dream life an especial interest. I am 
fortunate in being able to present her own account as 
she prepared it at my solicitation. The wealth and 
brilliancy of her imagination frequently lead to modes 
of expression which seem to brusquely contradict her 
sightless and soundless condition. But a careful ob- 
servation of her mental activities brings out the verbal 
or literary character of snch allusions, in certain oases 

fjlct ssd table is psychology 

y UMi bj a wnmtfo ps with impRssioiu of tiie 

sue zMiiuuL to hiir. In sach cases her familb 

XT. annc^ Suracatv and through interooaise, ri 

-M aavraoLW «if cfatf bsaring and seeing and with tk 

^UA'OL'oa^ jod aUKlLwfiaal associations that oidinan 


T^rsvoj* so^ aav9 vich definite scenes or occssmqs, 
i'sLiiua JMc ai 5«nlia». and her Tivid imagination to 
^.^'sscra:^ a iiniwwsuc idmliwd aceoont of her Ticaii- 
A» «jnr»&Mk :aja^ perimps real emotions. Her 
I» MHStf *n wiH&pIece concordance with her 
.:3c ATOiccctt : 3ac dUsi imaginatiTe &ctor most be 
t&y Srrw in oifnd in n»ding her report of her 
":«.. r^ iacnssar mserest of this human doco- 
r:«^r%« loii ;^ .^Osiim oc she sarratiTe, present so lifelike 
-.^ tjm>vc .vaiiiitHi;:s&I a pcrtraval of her world of 
.>'.^xi>^ iijn: %aj iijMCiX comment would be unneces- 
>»-.'■ tv <$sx\raiji >! Tsuwmb^red chat Helen Keller be- 
«>^v,^ ^'w^ulr >;:/&£ jAX iear at nineteen months ; that 
X h in<rtccim >«!^^ki a? the age cf seren years ; that 
vN t^^-n>^ V ^Mk ccallr from her eleventh year; 
•s. M ^K^fttmc $atf sMiks orallr almost exclusiFelj, 
- :\ sv* *vr wttcwa; b the itse of the finger alpha- 
V* r\« Hhf siL i!}ui X* xaderstand what is said to her 
^tt^ JVC iii$tf» x^« the lips and throat of the 
■' >ui ;ihf 3NVW exf^doos and certain mode 
• v-i*-.:tv: *-;i >*ff a bj making the letters of 
"^v : .r.i^«\ . I : jc rul:ii of her hand. This latter 
vN. is^-N ,*.f .:-^Cy w::2i her teacher and with all 
^x- x»>ci.j»: »:jl ;:. This account of her dreams 
« V tiTi^si I AW when she was twenty 
v^ ^ ^:fc* wTt::ifa «>ff-hand by her on a 
\ * »,v . 4.,^ 5^ -c^^j^|t»u in its original fornt. 


Mr Dbeams 

" It 'is DO exa^eration to say that I lire two distiocb 
lives, — one in the evetyday world and the other in 
the Land of Nod t Lilie most people I generally for- 
get my dreams as soon as I wake op in the morning ; - 
but I know that when I dream I am just as active and 
as much interested in everything — trees, books and 
events — as when I am awake. 

" My dreams have strangely changed during the past 
twelve years. Before and after my teacher first came 
to me, they were devoid of sound, or thought or emo- 
tion of any kind, except fear, and only came in the 
form of sensations. I would often dream that I ran 
into a still, dark room, and that, while I stood there, I 
felt something fall heavily without any noise, causing 
the floor to shake up and down violently ; and each time 
I woke up with a jump. As I learned more and more 
about the objects around me, this strange dream ceased 
to haunt me ; but I was in a high state of exdtement 
and received impressions very easily. It is not strange 
then that I dreamed at that time of a wolf, which 
seemed to rush towards me and put his cruel teeth 
deep into my body I I could not speak (the fact was, I 
could only spell with mj Angers), and I tried to scream ; 
but DO sound escaped from my lipa. It is very likely 
that I had heard the story of Red lUding Hood, and 
was deeply impressed by it. This dream, however, 
passed away in time, and I began to dream of objects 
outside of myself. 

" I never spelled with my fingers in my sleep ; but I 
have often spoken, and one night I actually laughed. 


I was dreaming of a great frolic with my schooIiDiia 
at the Perkins Institution. But, if I do not nse the 
manual alphabet in my dreams, my friends sometiBM 
spell to me. Their sentences are always brief aad 
vague. I obtain information in a very curious nuumet, 
which it is difficult to describe. My mind acts as i 
sort of mirror, in which faces and landscapes are re- 
flected, and thoughts, which throng unbidden in mj 
brain, describe the conversation and the events graog 
on around me. 

^^ I remember a beautiful and striking illustration d 
the peculiar mode of communication I have just men- 
tioned. One night I dreamed that I was in a lovely 
mansion, all built of leaves and flowers. My thoughtB 
declared the floor was of green twigs, and the ceiling of 
pink and white roses. The walls were of roses, pinks, 
hyacinths, and many other flowers, loosely arranged 
so as to make the whole structure wavy and g^raoefuL 
Here and there I saw an opening between the leaves, 
which admitted the purest air. I learned that the 
flowers were imperishable, and with such a wonderful 
discovery thrilling my spirit I awoke. 

^' I do not think I have seen or heard more than once 
in my sleep. Then the sunlight flashed suddenly on 
my eyes, and I was so dazzled I could not think or 
distinguish anything. When I looked up, some one 
spelled hastily to me, ' Why, you are looking back upon 
your babyhood 1 ' As to the sound I heard, it was like 
the rushing of a mighty cataract, and reminded me 
forcibly of my visit to Niagara Falls. I remembered 
as if it were yesterday how I had come very close to 
the water and felt the great roar by placing my hand 


OB a Boft pillow. Now, however, I knew I wu far 
away from the plaoe whence the sonnd came, and the 
▼ibratioD fell dear, though not lond, npon my ear- 
drums ; so I concluded in my sleep that I really heard. 
What happened next I have entirely forgotten ; but 
in the morning I was deeply impressed by the only 
instance in which I had dreamed of hearing, and I 
wished I oonld go back to Dreamland, just to hear 
that f ar-oS, inspiring sound. 

" Occasionally I think I am reading with my fingers, 
either Braille or line print, and even translating a littlo 
Latin, but always with an odd feeling that I am toucb< 
ing forbidden fmit. Somehow I feel that the spirits of 
sleep are displeased if any thoughts of literature cross 
my mind. Still I am free to enjoy everything else — 
I can wander among flowers and trees and be with my 
friends, especially those who live at a distance from 
where I happen to be. Sometimes I am with my 
mother, and at other times with my sister Mildred. 
My teacher scarcely ever appears in my dreams ; but 
I know she would very often if a cruel fate should tear 
her away from me. I shall never forget the morning 
seven or eight years »go, when I dreamed that my dear 
friend. Bishop Brooks, was dying. A tew hours later 
I found that my dream was a terrible reality. It is 
probable that I thought of him at the very moment when 
he was passing away, and I certainly wept in the same 
manner and in the same place while I dreamed, that I 
did afterwards I 

*' I hardly ever dream of anything that has happened 
the day before, although I sometimes have several dif- 
ferent dreams on the same night ; nor do I dream of 


the same ihingB often. However, I dream oftenest o£ 
the unpleasant and horrible, no matter how happy and 
suooessfol the day may have been. Indeed, I have 
found it unadvisable to read terrible stories or tragedies 
often, or in the evening. They impress me so pain- 
fully, and retain so firm a hold of my imagination that 
they sooner or later force themselyes into my dreams. 
About two years ago I read in ^ Sixty Years a Queen ' 
the story of the awful massacre at Cawnpore, which 
took place during the Indian Mutiny. It filled me 
with a horror that haunted me persistently for several 
days. At last I managed to banish these disagreeable 
feelings ; but one night a frightful distortion of the 
selfsame story appeared before my mind. I thought I 
was in a small prison. At first I only noticed a skele- 
ton hanging up on one of the walls; then I felt a 
strange, awful sound, like heavy iron being cast down, 
and the most heartrending cries ensued. I was in- 
formed that twenty men were being put to death with 
the utmost cruelty. I rushed madly from one room to 
another, and, as each rufiBan came out, I locked the 
door behind him, in the hope that some of the victims 
might thereby be saved. All my efforts were futile, 
and I awoke with a sickening horror weighing down 
on my heart I have also fancied that I saw cities on 
fire, and brave, innocent men dragged to a fiery mar- 
tyrdom. One instant I would stand in speechless 
bewilderment, as the flames leaped up, dark and glar- 
ing, into a black sky. The next moment I would be 
in the midst of the conflagration, trying to save some 
of the sufferers, and seeing in dismay how they slipped 
away beyond my power. At such times I have thought 

i the most wretched person in the world ; bat in 
e morning the bright eunshiDe aud fresh air of our 
Q dear, beautiful world would chase away those Bor- 
6 phantoms. 
" On the whole, my dreams are consistent with m; 
ings and sympathies ; but once I thought I was 
1 a great boat-race between Yale and Hai^ 
Now, m reality I am always on Harvard's side 
' in the great games ; but at that time I dreamed tlutt I 
* WM a thorough Yale man I Perhaps this inconsistency 
^ aiose from the fact that a long time ago I had declared 
' how glad I was of Harvard's failure to win a certain 
boat-iaoe, because the Yale men rowed with the Ameri- 
can stroke and the Harrard men had learned the £ng- 
li^ stroke. At an; rate, sleeping or waking, I love 
my friends, and never think they change or grow un- 
kind. From time to time I make friends in my dreams ; 
but usually I am too busy running around and watch- 
ing other people to have any long conversations or 
' reveries.' 

** I am often led into pretty fantasies, of which I will 
give an illustration. Consternation was spread every- 
where because the news had been received of King 
Winter's determination to establish his rule perma^ 
nently in the temperate zones. The stem monarch ful- 
filled his threat all too soon ; for, although it was mid- 
summer, yet the whole ocean was suddenly frozen, and 
all the boats and steamers were stuck fast in the ice. 
Commerce was ruined, and starvation was unavoidable. 
Hie flowers and trees shared in the universal sorrow, 
and bravely strove to keep alive through the summer. 
Finally, overcome by the intense odd, they dropped 


their leayes and blossoms, which they had kept fresh 
and spoUess to the last Slowly the flowers flattered 
down and lay at King Winter's f eet» silently supplicat- 
ing him to show mercy, but all in vain. They frosse 
unheeded, and were changed into pearls, diamonds, 
and turquoises. 

*^ Another time I took it into my head to dimbtothe 
stars. I sprang up into the air, and was borne upward 
by a strong impulse. I could not see or hear ; but my 
mind was my guide as well as my interpreter. Higher 
and higher I rose, until I was very dose to the stars. 
Their intense light prevented me from coming any 
nearer; so I hung on invisible wings, &scinated by 
the rolling spheres and the constant play of light 
and shadow, which my thoughts reflected. All at once 
I lost my balance, I knew not how, and down, down I 
rushed through empty space, till I struck violently 
against a tree, and my body sank to the ground. The 
shock waked me up, and for a moment I thought all 
my bones were broken to atoms. 

^' I have said all that I can remember concerning my 
dreams; but what really surprises me is this; some- 
times, in the midst of a nightmare, I am conscious of a 
desire to wake up, and I make a vigorous effort to 
break the spell. Something seems to hold my senses 
tightly, and it is only with a spasmodic movement that 
I can open my eyes. Even then I feel, or I think I 
feel, a rapid motion shaking my bed and a sound of 
light, swift footsteps. It seems strange to me that 
I should make such an effort to wake up, instead of 
doing it automatically." 

This faithful and dramatic sketch is replete with 


Bpecifio Bs well &8 with generic oonobotstionB of the 
dietinctiTe resolts of the present inquiry. The differ- 
encea between the dream ezperienoes of Helen Keller 
before and after education are qnite eonsisteut with 
comparable results in the cases of other defectives — 
although dreams of her uneducated period seem to 
occur rarely if at ail, and it is not possible to deter- 
mine how soon after she began to speak, such speech- 
communication made its appearance in ber dreams. It 
is iuterestiug to note that oral speech, when once ac- 
quired, speedily superseded manual talking, and that 
automatic talking aloud in her sleep appeared; the 
finger alphabet became almost obsolete in her waking 
life, and likewise in her dreams. Yet the persistence 
of early acquired habits is strikingly shown in her occa^ 
sional unconscious tendency to talk to herself by form- 
iug the letters with one hand against the palm of the 
other. These processes she seems to utilize quite auto- 
matically and unconsciously as aids te composition or 
to ** thinking aloud." 

In regard to the source and content of her dreams, 
the more realistic episodes reflect their perceptional 
origin in tactile and motor experiences ; such are the 
attack of the wolf, the fall from a height, the reception 
of infonuadou through the palm, reading the r^sed 
print, — while dreams of flying naturally present tbe 
same elaboration of sensory elements as in normally 
equipped' individuals. Tbe dreams of seeing and hear- 
ing probably reflect far more of conceptual interpreta- 
tion and imaginative inference than of tme sensation ; 
yet they are in part built up upon a sensory basis, — 
in the former case, that of the heat sensations radiat- 


ing from a brilliant illumination (witness the flames of 
the conflagration, the ** intense light " of the stars), in 
the latter of vibrational or jarring sensations communi- 
cated to the body (as in the torrent of Niagara). But, 
on the whole, the direct sensory tone of her dream life 
is weak ; while for this very reason, possibly, the im- 
aginative and ^ transferred " components are unusually 
dominant. The associative elaboration of fancies in 
dream life is rarely capable of simple analysis, and 
commonly reveals results, and not the processes or 
stages by which the results were reached. Dependent, 
as Helen Keller is so largely, upon the communication o£ 
others for her knowledge of what is going on about her, 
it is natural that this transferred communication should 
be important in her dream knowledge. That her con- 
sciousness of the process of such acquisition should be 
vague and difficult to express is natural; and the 
phrases ^' my thoughts declared," '' my mind acts as a 
sort of mirror," '' I was informed," are as satisfactory 
psychologically as could be expected. It is, however, 
in dreams not of external incidents involving vaguely 
transferred or directiy communicated information, but 
in the free roamings of creative imagination, that the 
dream life of Helen Keller finds its most suitable 
metier ; it is in this direction that this dream narrative, 
reflecting, as it does, her rich emotional nature and 
enthusiastically sympathetic temperament, presents its 
most distinctive and attractive aspect. 


Betuming to the general data regarding the dreams 
of the blind, the question that next suggests itself ia 


whether and how, in cases where hiindneaa ensued after 
a remembered period of Tiaion, the pre-blindness period 
is distinguished from the post-blindness period tn 
dream-im^ery. It was nodoed, for iostaoce, that the 
blind and deaf young man mentioned above, though 
seeing in hla dreams, never thoa saw the shop in whioh 
he worked. It is easy to imagine that the more or leas 
sadden loss of eight, the immersion into a strange 
and dark world, would for a time leave the individual 
living entirely upon the past. Hia remembered expe- 
riences are richer and more vivid (we are aupposing 
his hiindneaa to occur after childhood) than those he 
now baa ; he is learning a new language and translates 
everything back into the old. Hia dreama will natu- 
rally continue to be those of his seeing life. As his 
experiences in his new snrroundings increase, and the 
memory of the old begins to fade, the tendency of 
recent impreasiona to arise in the antomatism of dream- 
ing will bring the events of the post-blindness period 
as factors into his dreams. I find in my list only seven 
who do not have such dreams ; and in these the blind- 
ness has been on the average of only 2.8 years stand- 
ing. The average age of " blinding " of tfae seven ia 
fifteen years, making it probable that the adaptation 
to the new environment has here been a alow one, and 
that such dreams will occur later on. On the other 
hand, cases occur in wbich, aft«r three, two, or even 
one year's blindness, when the persons so a£Bicted were 
young, events happening within that period have been 
dreamed of. Heermann cites a case of a man of sev< 
enty who never dreamed of the hospital in which he 
had been living for eighteen years, and to which he 


was brought shortly after his blindness. This and 
other oases suggest that the more mature and settled 
the brain-tissue, the more difficult is it to impress 
upon it new conditions sufficiently deeply to have them 
appear in the automatic life of dreams. 

Whether there is a difference in the vividness, or 
any other characteristic which sight would lend, in the 
dreams of events before and after blindness, is a ques- 
tion to which I could obtain few intelligent and satis- 
factory answers ; but, as far as they go, the tendency 
of these replies is to show that when blindness ensues 
dose upon the critical period of five to seven years of 
age, the power of vivid dream-vision is more exclu- 
sively limited to the events of the years of full sight ; 
and, as Heermann pointed out, this power is often sub- 
ject to a comparatively early decay. Similarly, I find 
that those who lose their sight near the critical age are 
not nearly so apt to retain color in their dream-vision 
as those who become blind later on. The average age 
of ^' blinding " of twenty-four persons who have colored 
dream-vision, is 16.6 years, including one case in which 
blindness set in as early as the seventh year. All who 
see enough to see color, have colored dream-vision. 

I also asked those who became blind in youth, or 
later, whether they were in the habit of giving imagin- 
ary faces to the persons they met after their blindness, 
and whether they ever saw such in their dreams. Some 
answered in very vague terms, but several undoubtedly 
make good use of this power, probably somewhat on 
the same basis as we imagine the appearance of emi- 
nent men of whom we have read or heard, but whose 
features we have never seen. When we remember 


how erroneous such impresuoss often ue, we can 
understand how easily it may mislead the blind. Such 
imaginary faces and soenes also enter into their dreams, 
but to a less extent than into those of the sighted. Dr. 
Eitto ' quotes a letter from a mosician who lost his 
sight when eighteen years old, but who retains a very 
strong visualizing power both in waking life and in 
dreams. The mention of a famous man, of a friend, 
OF of a scene, always carries with it a visual piotnre, 
complete and vivid. Moreover, these images of his 
friends are reported to change as the friends grow old ; 
and he feela himself intellectually in no way different 
from the seeing. 

This leads naturally to the consideration of the 
power of the imagination in the blind. It is not dif- 
ficult to understand that they are deprived of one 
powerful means of cultivating this f acul^, that the eye 
is in one sense the organ of the ideaL Their know- 
ledge is more realistic and tan^ble, and so their dreams 
often, though by no means always, lack all poetical 
characteristics, and are very commonplace. Ghosts, 
elves, fairies, monsters, and all the host of strange 
romance that commonly people dreams, are not nearly 
so well represented as in the dreams of the sighted. 
What is almost typical in the dreams of the latter is 

^ 7^ LaMt Saua, }>j John Eitto. Dr. Kitto dimwi u ingwnon* in- 
fnraiwa from thg unngt uldrmed by Hilton to hii d«BBMod (•BOond) 
«ifa, whom ba nuniod kftar the onaet of iaa blindiiNi. From tb« 
liaca, " I tnut to biTC | Full sight of her in Hur'n withont reitnint," 
and "The face «>■ Tsiled, jet to my fancied dght," etc.he uiiniat 
that thg poet wu nnabU to imigine tbg faoe of hii wife, which be had 
nerer really ueu, and lo law the faoe Tailed ; bnt hi^ed in the 
fntnis world to have " foil sight of her without reatnint." 


unusual in the dreams of the blind, especially of those 
early blind. Many observe that suoh dreams grow 
rare as they outgrow their youth,^ which is probably 
true of the sighted. When the blind dream of ghosts 
they either hear them, and that usually not until they 
are close at hand, or they are actually touched by them. 
A blind man, describing a dream in which his friend 
appeared to him, said : ^^ Then I dreamt that he tried 
to frighten me, and make believe he was a ghost, by 
pushing me down sideways,^^ etc. By some the ghost 
is heard only; it has a rough voice, and its bones 
rattle ; or it pursues the victim, humming and groan- 
ing as it runs. 

Contrary to the opinions of some writers, I find 
hearing, and not the group oi tactual-motor sensations, 
to be the chief sense with the blind, both in waking 
and in dreams. That hearing owes very much of this 
supremacy to its being the vehicle of conversation, 
goes without saying. Many of the blind dream almost 
exclusively in this sense, and it is quite generally 
spoken of as the most important. Even those who see 
a little, often regard hearing as their most useful sense ; 
those who see well enough to see color, almost invari- 
ably claim for their partial sight an importance exceed- 

^ I have evidence to indicate that among the blind (as probably 
amongst persons at large) women dream more extensiyely than men, 
that is, they have more " frequent " and fewer " occasional '* dreamers 
than men. The period from five to nine years is richer in dreams than 
the period from ten to fourteen years, and from then on a slight de> 
crease with age occurs. It is to childhood, the period of lively imagi- 
nation and of a highly tinged emotional life (and to women, who 
present these characteristics more prominently than men), that dream- 
life brings its richest harvest. 


ing th&t of hearing. Next in importance to hearing is 
the group of Bensations aocompaupng motiou. An 
important item in the dreams of the sighted is fur- 
nished by this complex of sensations, and the same is 
true of the blind ; almost all remember such dreams, 
and some make this their most important avenae of 
sensation. Yet snch a purely artificial movement as 
reading the raised type with the finger almost never 
oocnrs in dreams. The boys dream of playing, run- 
ning, jumping, and so on ; the men of broom-making, 
piano-tuning, teaching, and similar work ; the girls of 
sewing, fancy work, household work, and the like. 

There is often ascribed to the blind a somewhat 
mystical sense, by which they can tell the presence and 
even the nature of objects, and can feel their way. As 
far as such a power exists, it depends upon a complex 
group of sensations, and includes the cultivation of the 
irradiation sense, which we all possess. It is not at all 
difficult to tell whether s large object is within a few 
inches of the hand, by the fact that it modifies the ur 
oarrents and heat radiations teaching the hand. This 
is especially the case if the temperature of the object 
be somewhat different from that of the room, or if it 
be an object like metal, which rapidly exchanges its 
heat In sunlight the shadows of stones and posts can 
be thus detected ; and the illumination of a room, both 
as to its source and extent, oan be judged. This sense 
the blind carefully, though often unconsciously, culti- 
vate, and I have heard it spoken of by them as " facial 
perception," because the face seems to be most sensitive 
to this kind of change. Many mention that the power 
fails them under the influence of a headache or similar 


nervonsness. The question whether the position of a 
door, whether opened or closed, ooold be told at a dis- 
tance was yariooslj answered; about half testified 
that they could do so mainly by the aid of this &oial 
perception. This enters in a vague way into their 
dreams, but seldom plays an important role. 

The stories attributing to the blind rather wonderful 
notions of color have, on careful examination, been 
readily explained by natural means ; the use of words 
referring to color is often merely verbal (of this both 
Laura Bridgman and Helen Keller furnish many ex- 
cellent examples), while the knowledge of the colors 
of special objects is obtained by inference, based upon 
texture, appropriateness, and similar characteristics. 
The analogies between color and sound have been fre- 
quently described within recent years. Mr. Gralton has 
recorded many cases in which the sounds of the vowels, 
of words, of musical notes, and the like, immediately 
summon to the mental eye an appropriate color, often 
with a peculiar outline and shading. One person could 
actually read sounds out of a wall-paper pattern, or 
write the sounds in the name Francis Galton in colors. 
It seemed possible that the blind might obtain or re- 
ceive some dim notions of color by a similar process ; 
and Dr. Kitto and the blind teacher, Friedrich Soberer, 
mention that such is the case, though to a very slight 
extent. The latter calls musical instruments the bridge 
across which color comes to him. (He became blind 
when two years old.) The flute is his symbol of 
green, the swelling organ tones of blue. The trumpet 
is red, the hunter's horn dark green and violet, a gen- 
eral confusion of tones is gray, while pink and crimson 

_ m^^^^^^S 


are SMoeiated with the feeling of Tslvet In my list 
occurs the record of a yoong man twenty years old, 
and blind for tliree years. He saw colors on bearing 
certun sonnds soon after bis blindness, and claims that 
be is thus able to keep alive bis notions of color. To 
him an alto voice is gray ; a soprano, white ; a tenor, 
yellow; a bass, black. My own voice snggested a 
dark backgroond. A few words are also colored to 
him ; the sound of Smith seems yellow. These analo- 
gies, however, are fanciful and rare. They belong to 
a region of mental phenomena, of great complexity, in 
which asBOOtations and idiosynotscies have free play, 
and seem as little capable of definite explanation as 
much of the stuff that dreams are made of. 

A brief selection of instances from the collection 
of dreams and parts of dreams which these blind peo- 
ple have put at my command, may serve to reinforce 
the several factors of the dream-life of the blind 
which have \teea eommented upon. Many ot the 
dreams present no special differentiation from those of 
the seeing, but the most carefully recorded ones usu- 
ally reveal some tiaoes of a defective or peculiar apper- 
ception. A blind boy with more than usual imagina- 
tion dreamed that he was in a battle in which Alexander 
the Great pot the Gauls to flight ; he heard the tbun- 
der of the cannon, but saw no flash. A young man 
dreamed that his mother was dead ; this fae knew by 
the cold touch of her body. He next beard the chant- 
ing of the Mass at her funeraL This young man 
at times improvises airs tn his dreams. A pardally- 
sighted girl dreams repeatedly of a wide river, and 
is afraid of being dashed across it, while anxious to 


aeoiiie the flowers on the oppodte bank, wliioh she 
dimly sees. A boy dreamed of being picked np by 
some mysterious agency, and then suddenly allowed to 
fall from a tremendous height Here he awoke, and 
found his head at the foot of the bed. Another dreamed 
of the Judgment Day, mainly in terms of hearing. 
He was drawn to heaven by a rope, clinging to a pole 
used for exercising ; he heard the trumpets sounding, 
ud the Yoioes singing, aad so on. One d»>amed that 
he was on a steamboat which suddenly sank, where- 
upon he quietly walked ashore. Another, that his 
father saw some wild people in the water, and swam 
out and rescued them ; another, of a large conflagra- 
tion, of which he saw nothing, but was constantly re- 
ceiving reports from the bystanders. A girl dreamed 
that she was sent by her aunt to get a loaf of bread 
from the cellar, and was cautioned not to step too far 
down in the cellar, because there was water there ; 
upon arriving at the dangerous place she stood still, 
and called for her aunt. Another dreamed of chivalry, 
as the result of reading ^' Ivanhoe ; " another of visit- 
ing Lincoki and being much impressed with the strange- 
ness of the place ; another of her examination in 
physics — she placed a piece of glass on her finger, 
and showed its centre of gravity, when the glass fell 
and broke with a crash; on another occasion she 
dreamed that she was sick, went to the doctor, and 
recovered her full sight, and things looked strange and 
unfamiliar when compared with the knowledge she 
had derived from touch. 


Hie study of the dreaicB of tiie blind thos empha- 
aizes naaj poiata of interest in the nature and devd- 
opment of tlie cortical centres of the human bmin ; 
it graphically ilioatrates the explanatory power of the 
modem view of their functions ; and it presents in a 
new aspect certain charaoteristios of their constitntion. 
It shows beyond a question that the power of apperw 
oeiving sight-images is in no true sense innatq, but is 
the product of slow development and long training. 
That the same holds true of other centres is proved "by 
a mass of evidence gatliered from many quarters ; with 
regard to the motor centres, it is even experimentally 
determined by the observation that stimulation of the 
central oonvolntions of the brwns of puppies fails to 
excite the appropriate movements of the logo, unless the 
puppies are already nine or ten days old. These facts 
will be ntiliaed in the formulation ol an important de- 
velopmental law applicable alike to phyuologioal and 
to psychological processes. 

The "critical period," revealed by the above re- 
searoh, must not be understood as ma rkin g the point 
at which t^e visual centre begins its life ; this indeed 
ooeurs at a much earlier age, and this centre from the 
outset and oontinnouBly increases in complexity and 
stabili^. Nor was the statement made that there was 
DO difference here relevant, between the loss trf vision 
at Afferent ages bef(n« the critical period. That a 
child who has seen up to the fourth, or the third, or even 
the second year of life, probably retains some traces 
of visualizing not attunable by those who attended 


the school of vision for a shorter time or not at all, is 
believed on evidence of a general, bnt not as yet of a 
specific nature. Among other facts it is indicated by 
the influence of the age of blinding on the future 
development of noted blind persons. Similarly, after 
the critical period, the same processes of growth and 
assimilation continue, as is evidenced by the vague 
character and comparatively early decay of the dream- 
vision of those becoming blind close upon the end of 
the seventh year. The more time spent in gathering 
in the {provisions, the longer do .they hold out The 
significance of the critical period lies in its demon- 
strating a point in the growth of the higher sense- 
centres, at which a divorce from sense-impression is 
no longer followed by a loss of their psychical mean- 
ing ; a point at which imagination and abstraction find 
a sufficiently extended and firmly knit collection of ex- 
periences to enable them to build up and keep alive 
their important functions; a point where the scholar 
dispenses with the object-lesson and lives off his capital ; 
a point at which the scaffolding may be torn down and 
the edifice will stand. 

The indication of such a period in the development 
of the human mind brings clearly into view the de- 
pendence of the higher mental processes upon the 
basis furnished them by the experiences of sensation ; 
it strongly suggests a rational order and proportion in 
the training of the several faculties of the child's 
inind ; and finally, it prevents the formation and sur- 
vival of false notions, by substituting certain definite 
though incomplete knowledge for much indefinite 
though very systematic speculation. 



iiiod«m tonu df , 20; tj^ of owult- 
Im rspiwud br, 30. 
AdaJwv, u fcppUvd In p«eDdo40t4D0«, 
a^ Q. 44, aST, 2«8; >■ k la|l»l pnr- 

■M, itn, an, ajSi Uw numi iito- 

ton Tlwr s(, SSfl nq., ZI1 i u duns- 
MMig 0« prtBlUn thooAUbililta, 
no, Ml, Mt I In oUldfai. »lT w ■too. 
HMubnr, Hjth, SbbIh*, BnpHiU- 
Uoo, Bnnboliim. DnuuL 
AalBiAllhcii^Unii; iHltMaMi. 

Bdif, tutka 1^, «,' UM, ItB I aoodt, 
•mOmdH; pmh(ilo0c(,lBi<O> 

BMniDd, — ,'va, 
BlMt, TwT. 

BUDdMW,' >tO i IM^ 5U ; HHtM, 94 
BM; lBdcHB-IU*,an-»r3n,3(ISi 
H* at <mM Brf dnHB-Tygs, Ml- 
Mi, W. SIOi nd th* taivliutloB, 

Bnid, Jna, «S ; Ui «i)T ehHm- 

HoH. »«, an: bU UMoilad to*- 
Vaa, 307, 90>: Ui mMbod, »?; bU 
UMOdM, 100, 311: bU nlitlaa to 
V^wlv. no, SlOi hfa biUr writ- 

BrtdnH, lam, >» i dnma o<, 311- 

OkHoot, J. M., «, B8, no. 
OkiWteB BdMW, W, M 1 ef)(tB of, SI I 
Mfactolm<g|-»,n,M; tert^wok 

«, W: «» w»Mwi» A 10, 31, »: 

Olodd, idnid. Ml, H^ Mi W, W^ 
OalDddiBaiB,81,8S,BB,Sai and dans*, 
Oslor, ■mbUIob Willi ■oud. Hi MT. 

. Ifltf i M J«flJ1 


Kot, lllioMitntH, llS.ll«-in, 
UK; tM WtaUoB ^ i2la, lio- 
ns 1 ■■ dniadtM uMB wi^tMn 
MOdHIOM. na, 110-1^1 — ■ —■■-■-■ 
kmnrkdn, 1S,1U,14S: 
Ua;»«hiB— Milwiw 

Mmh, J. P. r., 21T. 

Dalo — •" 


Mdr, Hht Bikv Olvnr, R. 
Ktostn-Uiaan, 310. 
SapMB, .14B 

Tub, Abb«, no 1 U> <M g( Mn 
FDlfcwdliiliw, M0,9as. 
r<n, HatfUM and Kin*, 118. 

OilkB, Fiuell, SIS, M. 
OiHiiU', JobuBB JSatpb, in, ItO. 
Onatnink or OwttBlwo, Vtkattatk 
1T0-17B, lao. 

Ha%m, BMhL S, UT, ■>! Hi 

Hill irri ir hiiiiiihiii if. hi. 

*— -■ -rr- ■! I" ■ 

^--ta, Hi KcMMtM, MOi m. 

iZiSS mbMI, 9M, vTWl 

Mon «f . SiMn I bdMon (< b«ab 
ebjHt at MHHm qoB, sn-Oi 1 n* 

xtths jcAb%l ass. 

KMn, Bi., 141, 1«, 1«. 

U*hM,A.A.,1I«. _ 

XcBtnl CmunaiiKT, 80-81 
HanUl IMHiapht ; wa TalepatbT. 

Hbudv. ifleJitcb Antw, 14, SB, X, 
43, IGOi hi* thmrlH. 181, Iffi: hi* 
pnetUH. 1S1, 190, m I bli PulKui 
DUHr, 182-189) ttw commMon to 
uubIm. ISS-187, 182, 193; fall UU- 
tnd*, Ifa \ oirloatorH o<. 188 ; Ua 
■atM InnifMj toHjpiwanB. IW, IBa. 

ai-«. Hi ta«MM> •M>li««U| 



FVtaon, rMik, KL laS, 164. IR. 

KrdbBi, . 3M, 9«7. 





. Jeybert Coniinisalon, 140, 141, 158. 
*3idffwick, Mrs., 141, 157. 
Bigiit ; »t*e Vision. 
Signatures, doctrine of, 2C4. 
.Bixmett, A. P., 10, 11. 
; Blade, Henrv, 139, 140, 141. 
Somnambullnn, artifloial, 197, 198. 
(^tnalim, 12, 27, 44, 126 ; manifflsta- 

tkna of, 13, 128, 131 ; origin of, 14, 

Ifi, 137, 166, 167 ; dootrinea of , 16, 161, 

166 ; preMDt ■total of, 16, 18, 169 ; 

tnmd diadoaed In, 140, 141, 142-146, 

146, 107, 160. 
Bplr^iaUato, temper of, 16, 17. 
BUtirtIca, In relation to mental pnv 

Saboonadooa, 70, 79, 02, 106, 128, 129, 

Boggeetion, 230; nnoooacioaa, 68, 174, 

IW, 199, 211, 233. 
Solly, Jamea, 111 ,346. 
fluperuattkral, dlTergenoe between re> 

port and fact, 163, 166, 168 ; ocoflict 

with arie n oe, 174. 
8aperatition,^82, 264, 268 ; in relation 

to analogy, 263 ; in medicine, 289. 
enrrlTala, MO, 248, 309, 274. 
ftrmboUm, in relation to analogy, 248, 

BfmjftXbji am lUgio, nympathetlo 

Telepathy, 72, 73, 78 ; lof?ical status of, 

74 ; evidence for, 90-98, 103 ; validity as 

an hypothesis, *JD ; inclination toward, 

TheoAopby, 7, 27 ; Mr. Hodgaon^a inves- 

tigatioD of, 8, 9 ; alleged miracles of, 

9, 10 ; doctrinea of, 11, 12. 
Tbought-habita, in children and aaTages, 

261, 271, 272. 
Triplett, Norman, 117, 123. 
I^jbr, , 167, 240, 242, 260, 263, 266, 

267, 270, 273. 
Ij^ndall, , 136. 

Unoonaeioaaneaa ol delacto, 79, 80 ; tee 

alao Baboonadoua. 
Unknown, attitade toward the, 48. 
Unnanal, in relation to analogy, 260, 


Tialon, ito natore, 276, 837 ; aabJeotlTe 
and objectlTe, 276; aabjeotlTe factor 
in, 277, 279, 280, 283, 2W-296 ; inter- 
pretaticn in, 2B6, 286-296; educa- 
tion of the Tiaoai centre. 841, 84^ 
847, 360, 370; ita fnnctioa in dieama, 

Yiaoaliiing power, 888. 

ZflUner, ,138L 

, 4 

.\ * 


1>I . ' 




I . 

. H 

• ii 

! ■. 

} ' 



I I