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Full text of "Mesmerism in India, and its practical application in surgery and medicine"

EXHLIBRIS 

John C. 

Reddick 







*''? 



, 



MESMERISM IN INDIA 



AND ITS 



PRACTICAL APPLICATION IN SURGERY 
AND MEDICINE. 



BY 



JAMES ESDAILE, M. D., 

CIVIL ASSISTANT SUROEON, H. C. 8., BENGAL. 



"I rather choose to endure the wounds of those darts which envy castefh at novelty, 
than to go on safely and sleepily in the easy ways of ancient mistakings. RALEIGH. 



AMERICAN EDITION 

PBINTKD BY 

THE PSYCHIC RESEARCH COMPANY, 

THX OOLONNADK8, 
VlNCENNES AVE., CHICAGO. 




COPYBIHHT, 1C02, B* 

THE PSYCHIC RESEARCH COMPANY, 
CHICAGO AND LONDON. 



PREFACE TO THIS EDITION. 



There is a frankness, an absence of art, about this book which makes 
its testimony to the power of mind over matter of double worth. No one 
may question the facts here recorded. They are FACTS, and they are 
recorded, as Truth should be, in simple speech. 

It may be asked by the non-professional reader if it was necessary to 
present to the laity this record of the somewhat sickening surgical opera- 
tions performed painlessly by Dr. Esdaile sixty odd years ago in India. 

Our answer is that this is Dr. Esdaile's book, as he wrote it, and as he 
would wish it to be reprinted were he alive today. It will be very easy for 
the lay-reader to skip those portions which offend his taste. He will find 
sufficient other matter in these pages to repay his close attention. The 
Psychic Research Company has rescued this book from oblivion because 
it contains the simplest, clearest and most convincing data on the power of 
the mind to control agonizing pain. 

It is nothing that we disagree with Dr. Esdaile touching the nature of 
the power or force manifested. To Dr. Esdaile the marvel lay in the 
thing Mesmerism ; in the operator, or mesmerizer. To us this book is 
clearest evidence of the power that lies in the subject the mesmerized 
person. To the author his work was a tribute to the power of a man to 
help his fellow. To use it is a promise of the time to come when man 
shall help himself. The full importance of this collection of facts can only 
be appreciated when we grasp the idea that all the phenomena here pro- 
duced by mesmerism are capable of reproduction by auto-suggestion. The 
control of pain ; the restoration to health, &c., are effects which man, with- 
out the aid of another, can, and some day shall perfectly, accomplish in him- 
self by the power of his own will while he is in a normal waking condition. 

Let us honor the man who blazed the path. We have little to do now 
but cut away the underbrush. SYDNEY FLOWER, 

THE PSYCHIC RESEARCH COMPANY. 
Chicago, May, 1902. 



ENGLISH EDITOR'S PREFACE. 



APPEARING before the public as the Editor of a work on Mesmerism, 
I trust I may be pardoned for alluding to the circumstances under which 
I have been called upon to undertake such a duty. Several months 
ago my brother, a medical officer in the service of the East India Com- 
pany, surprised me by announcing that he had now found something to 
dispel the ennui of Indian life, and that his mission was to become "the 
Apostle of Mesmerism in India." More than twelve years ago, my atten- 
tion had been arrested by reading M. Cloquet's account of his having 
removed a cancerous breast from a lady while in the mesmeric trance, 
and by his certifying her insensibility to pain. Knowing the eminence 
of M. Coquet as a surgeon, and his reputation as a man of veracity, I was 
constrained to believe in the reality of the mysterious agent denominated 
Mesmerism, or Animal Magnetism; and my belief was confirmed by 
the fact of the operator not being a believer in Mesmerism. From that 
hour I never doubted that many things, scouted by most people as frauds 
or delusions, were merely new manifestations of this incomprehensible 
power. The evidence was so strong, that incredulity seemed irrational. 
Professional avocations hindered me paying further attention to the sub- 
ject; and I had almost ceased to think of Mesmerism when it was again 
unexpectedly brought before me by my brother. Being thoroughly con- 
vinced of his honesty, as well as of his ability to detect imposture, I read 
his communications, transmitted from time to time, with the liveliest 
interest, and rejoiced to be at length informed that he was about to com- 
municate his experience to the public ; and that he relied on my services in 
seeing his work through the press, and in making any necessary alterations 
in the MS. 

A determination to know the truth, and to afford to others the oppor- 
tunity of investigating it for themselves, has induced me to read my 
brother's work with care, and to undertake the responsibility of prepar- 
ing it for the press. In justice to him I must add, that the only alterations 
I have made in the MS. have been merely verbal ; so that whatever merit 
is due to the work, either as a literary performance, or a philosophical 
treatise upon an imperfectly understood branch of science, none of it be- 
longs to me. 

While he will be gratified to learn that his literary offspring has as- 
sumed so little of the aspect of a changeling, by being transferred to my 
care, I fear that on another point he will be mortified, and that some 



ENGLISH EDITORS PREFACE. 5 

of his readers will share in his regret. His MS. was accompanied by 
nine beautifully executed drawings, also intended for publication. After 
consulting with friends interested in Mesmerism, it has been resolved 
that these drawings shall not be published. They are very striking ; but, 
unfortunately, their very fidelity is a reason for their non-publication, for, 
assuredly, they are fitted to shock the delicate, who are unaccustomed to 
witness the fearful ravages of disease on the human frame. Moreover, to 
publish them would add materially to the price of the work a result 
which would frustrate, to some extent at least, the object of the author, 
who obviously desires that the British public shall have every facility in 
procuring information regarding the derided science of which, and with 
such good reason, he is so decided an advocate. 

On the probable reception of the work in this country, it may be 
imprudent to speculate ; but I cannot help hoping that the evident honesty 
of the writer, and his willingness to receive assistance, even from his 
opponents, in detecting the imposture of Mesmerism, if imposture it be, 
will conciliate the most incredulous, and induce them calmly to examine 
a multitude of facts accumulated by a man who has never been suspected 
to be either a knave or a fool. Every body is alike interested in fair 
play being afforded to the propounders of the strange facts and theo- 
ries connected with Mesmerism. It is to be borne in mind, that it may 
be used for evil as well as for good ; and that, if we obstinately refuse 
even to examine the subject, we expose ourselves, defenceless, to the 
abuse of a power capable of being perverted to the most nefarious ends. 
This, perhaps, will not be reckoned a fanciful danger by those who 
carefully peruse the author's remarks on the singular trial for the abduc- 
tion of a boy. And if from this case, corroborated by the general im- 
pression in India of the frequency of far more detestable crimes, the public 
arrive at the conviction that Mesmerism is a terrible engine in the hands 
of a villain, as we have good reason for believing it to be, surely our 
legislators, who spend laborious nights in perfecting bills of pains and 
penalties against the felonious abductors of favourite poodles and the 
various members of the canine race, will see it to be their duty to make 
the practice of Mesmerism penal, save by regularly educated medical 
men. If my brother's book does nothing more than arouse the public to a 
sense of danger, it will not have been written in vain. Small as is my 
personal experience of Mesmerism, I have yet, with my own hands, done 
enough to impress me with a profound conviction that, manifold as are 
the blessings it confers, it must be used with care, and that it is a most 
formidable source of mischief in the hands of the ignorant and the un- 
principled. In a note, in the body of the work, will be found an account 
of the influence I exerted over a young gentleman in London. I can now 
relate a still more striking case. When lately inviting a lady to pay me a 
visit, I thus wrote to her : "Unbeliever in Mesmerism as you are, I hope 
to convince you of its reality by setting you asleep." In her reply she 
observed: "You will, indeed, find me hard to be convinced; but if you 



6 ENGLISH EDITORS PREFACE. 

can procure me refreshing sleep, it will be the greatest blessing, for I have 
not had a sound sleep for eighteen months." Knowing the anguish she 
had endured by family bereavements, and that her health was much im- 
paired, a desire to relieve her sufferings made me resolve to try whether 
she could be brought under the influence of Mesmerism. An opportunity 
presented itself shortly after her arrival here. On the evening of the gth 
of this month (June,) the oppressive heat of the weather rendered her 
languid ; her voice was very rough, and she was evidently labouring under 
a slight attack of bronchitis. Believing that the inflammation might be 
subdued by means of Mesmerism, I requested permission to try its efficacy. 
This having been kindly granted, I subjected her to the usual manipulation 
for half an hour. She became perfectly placid, but did not fall asleep; 
she was merely drowsy, and disinclined to rise. No marked symptoms 
having been exhibited, I concluded that the experiment had failed ; but, 
next morning, I was agreeably surprised to learn that she had passed a 
most comfortable night, and had slept for seven hours and a half without 
waking. Her voice also was clear, the expression of languor had left her 
countenance, and she felt so well that she ventured to dine at the house 
of a friend, distant three miles from the Manse. Whatever was the cause 
of the improvement, I was delighted to see my friend evidently better, and 
resolved again to mesmerise 'her. On our return from a saunter in the 
garden, on the evening of the nth (June.) she lay down on the sofa, 
waiting the entrance of the servants to prayers. As they happened to be 
longer in coming than we expected, I said "Suppose I try to mesmerise 
you?" The reply being "Very well,-" I commenced my manipulations at 
five minutes before ten. Before that hour struck, we had the following 
conversation. "Oh ! I am very sleepy." "Do you really think I am exert- 
ing any influence over you?" "How can I doubt it? I never felt this way 
before. I am in a state of the most delightful placidity." "Why, then, I 
had better put off the prayers, and keep the house quiet for 
a little." "No, no, don't do that. I am very drowsy," and 
with these words she relinquished the attempt to rise, and sank her head on 
the pillow. Having slipped out of the room, and ordered no noise to be 
made, I found her on my return still very somnolent, and, without saying 
another word, proceeded with my manipulations for twenty minutes. I 
then spoke, and, receiving no answer, proceeded to get a witness of my 
subsequent doings. Calling my housekeeper, I said "Come and try if you 
can waken Mrs. C: I have mesmerised her, I think." She tried every 
means so to do, but in vain. Her respect for the lady would not allow her 
to obey my order to prick her with a pin ; I therefore took a sharp-pointed 
instrument, and pricked her hand till the marks were visible. No uneasi- 
ness being manifested, I was now certain that the mesmeric sleep was 
established, and proceeded to test its intensity by loudly calling, and clap- 
ping my hands close to the face of the sleeper. Not a feature moved ; 
and the exquisitely placid countenance of my entranced friend will long 
live in my memory. 



ENGLISH EDITOR S PREFACE. 7 

As she was laid on a sofa in the dining-room, I could not permit her 
to remain there without sitting up all night to watch her, or causing my 
servants to do so. Circumstances rendering this inconvenient, I proceeded, 
at ii o'clock, to demesmerise her. This proved a work of the greatest 
difficulty : for half an hour I used all the methods resorted to by the mes- 
merists, but with hardly any success. Being resolved, however, to break 
in upon her repose, I applied the strongest smelling salts to her nostrils, 
threw cold water on her face, and blew upon it with a pair of bellows. 
This rough usage roused her a little; but even after I got her to sit up, 
she fell helplessly into my arms, and, if let alone, would instantly have been 
as fast asleep as ever. 

On questioning her next morning, she could give no account of what 
had happened. She only remembered that she lay down, and that I soon 
made her very drowsy. She acknowledged that I might have done with 
her whatever I chose, and expressed her conviction that had I amputated 
a limb, she would have been unconscious of the operation. What a power, 
then, is this for evil as well as for good ! How foolish in people to expose 
themselves to the machinations of the wicked, by treating Mesmerism as 
a fraud or a delusion ! It is a fact, proved by incontestable evidence ; and 
capable of being applied to the relief of suffering humanity, or perverted 
so as to accomplish the designs of villainy. As a clergyman, I shall be 
happy to apply it, gratuitously for the relief of the sick, until medical men 
become convinced of the therapeutic value of Mesmerism, and introduce 
it into their practice. And for the encouragement of non-professional per- 
sons, who, like myself, are anxious to investigate the truth, I am glad to 
be able to state that a benevolent bishop in England, and his amiable fam- 
ily, are successfully employed in relieving the afflicted ; and that my friend 
Mrs. C. expresses the warmest gratitude for the benefit she has derived 
from my mesmeric treatment. 

The above remarks are for the general reader. I would now respect- 
fully invite the attention of the medical profession to the facts detailed 
by my brother. He is neither a quack nor an enthusiast, but a regularly 
educated, truth-loving physician, whose reputation for talent and honesty 
is unquestionable. The facts he adduces cannot be controverted, and, as 
I was happy to learn from a medical man just arrived from Hooghly, are 
admitted both by Europeans and natives, on the spot where they occurred. 
If he, then, in eight months, has performed no less than seventy-six opera- 
tions, besides relieving eighteen medical cases, how can medical men in 
this country justify their heartless apathy in regard to Mesmerism? It is 
a fact, in the highest degree disgraceful to them, that our doctors will not 
be persuaded even to try whether their patients can be benefitted by the 
mesmeric agency. They insist on going on inflicting tortures, without an 
attempt to ascertain whether they may not be obviated by Mesmerism. The 
Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society of London permitted Dr. Copland, 
without a word of disapprobation, to declare that "pain is a wise pro- 



8 ENGLISH EDITOR'S PREFACE. 

vision of nature ; and patients ought to suffer pain while their surgeon is 
operating; they are all the better for it, and recover better." A London 
dentist has announced that several of his fraternity have resolved not to 
extract the teeth of persons in the mesmeric sleep! By this combination 
of doctors and dentists, we are threatened with the infliction of pain, 
whenever we are so unfortunate as to fall into their hands; and our 
agonies "are to be soothed by Dr. Copland's pious assurance that pain is a 
wise infliction intended for good ! Let others do as they please, for my- 
self I shall only say, that, having twice suffered under the surgeon's knife, 
all the doctors in Europe shall not persuade me to permit them again to 
mangle my "pleasant flesh," until a persevering attempt has been made 
to reduce me to insensibility by means of Mesmerism. As the best per- 
suasive to induce sufferers to form a similar resolution, I request their 
attention to the subjoined resume of my brother's mesmeric practice, as 
published by him in a Calcutta newspaper, on the eve of his departure 
for the army of the Punjaub. 

It now only remains that I should publicly offer my warmest thanks 
to Dr. Gregory, Professor of Chemistry in the University of Edinburgh, 
and to Mr. Colquhoun, author of "Isis Revelata," and many other well- 
known works, for the highly flattering commendations they have bestowed 
on my brother's labours, and for many friendly and generous communica- 
tions addressed to myself. DAVID ESDAILE. 

Manse of Rescobie, Forfar, 
I3th June, 1846. 

POSTSCRIPT. iQth June. To-day f have had a new proof of the value 

of Mesmerism in relieving the sick. I was visiting Isabel A , a young 

woman recovering from fever; the fever had left her, but the second 
night before I saw her an attack of inflammation in the breast had rendered 
necessary the application of leeches. I found her in pain from the inflam- 
mation, and also from toothache, and complaining of inability to sleep. In 
ten minutes I threw her into the mesmeric trance ; this was at 9 p. M. : she 
awoke at 2 A. M., refreshed and hungry. 23d. The change of weather 
has injured my relative, Mrs. C This evening she had a dreadful cough,- 
which banished sleep, and gave her much pain. I proceeded to mesmerise 
her in the usual way: the paroxysms of the cough rendered the process 
more laborious than formerly ; at last I succeeded in allaying the spasmodic 
motions of the thorax, by placing my fingers on her throat, and breathing 
continuously on the spot which appeared to be the seat of the irritation 
which annoyed her. In half an hour she was fast asleep; she slept two 
hours, and awoke refreshed. The cough had left her, and has not returned 
at this date (25th June). These are facts; and I record them for the bene- 
fit of the suffering. Let sceptics scoff, and doctors talk of danger : I have 
alleviated pain ; and any one who will honestly make the attempt may do 
the same. D. E. 



TO THE 

REV. JAMES ESDAILE, D. D. 

MY DEAR FATHER, 

However new and strange the subject of this work may be to you, I 
am sure that it will afford you pleasure to know that I have introduced, 
and I hope I may say established, a new and powerful means of alleviating 
human suffering among the natives of Bengal. 

I shall soon ascertain to what extent other varieties of mankind are 
capable of benefitting by this natural curative power, as I am ordered to 
join the army in the field, and depart tomorrow, by dak, a journey of 
eleven hundred miles! 

I am, your affectionate son, 

JAMES ESDAILE. 
HOOGHLY, Feb. ist, 1846. 



PREFACE. 



IF this production should be unfortunate enough to attract attention at 
home, I hope that criticism will be chiefly expended upon a careful 
examination of the alleged facts, and their practical application to the 
improvement of Surgery and Medicine. 

What I now offer to the public is the result of only eight months' 
mesmeric practice, in a country charity hospital ; but it has been sufficient 
to demonstrate the singular and most beneficial influence that Mesmerism 
exerts over the constitution of the people of Bengal, and that painless 
surgical operations, and other medical advantages, are their natural birth- 
right; of which I hope they will be no longer deprived. 

Duty calls me to another and more extensive field, (the Civil Sur- 
geons being ordered to join the army of the Sutlej,) where I hope to work 
out this curious and interesting subject in all its practical bearings, and to 
live to communicate my experience to the public. 

Hooghly, Feb. ist, 1846. 




MESMERIC FACTS. 

REPORTED BY JAMES ESDAILE, M. D. 



To the Editor of the Englishman. 

SIR, Before proceeding to join the army, I have the pleasure to send 
you a "resume" of my mesmeric practice during the last eight months. 

My experience has demonstrated the singular and beneficial influence ex- 
erted by Mesmerism over the constitution of the natives of Bengal, and 
that painless surgical operations, with other advantages, are their natural 
birthright, of which they will no longer be deprived, I hope. 

Duty calls me to another and more extensive field, where I hope to 
work out this curious and interesting subject in all its practical details, 
and to ascertain to what extent other varieties of mankind are capable of 
being benefitted by this natural curative power. 

I am, your obedient servant, 

JAMES ESDAILE, M. D. 

Hooghly, 22d Jan., 1846. 



12 



REPORT OF 



A Return showing the Number of painless Surgical Operations performed 
at Hooghly, during the last eight months. 

Arm amputated ----- i 

Breast ditto ------ i 

Tumour extracted from the upper jaw I 

Scirrhus testium extirpated 2 

Penis amputated - 2 

Contracted knees straightened - 3 

Ditto arms - ... 3 

Operations for cataract - 3 

Large tumour in the groin cut off - - i 
Operations for Hydrocele - -7 

Ditto Dropsy - 2 

Actual Cautery applied to a sore - - . - i 

Muriatic acid ditto - 2 

Unhealthy sores pared down - 7 

Abscesses opened 5 

Sinus, six inches long, laid open - i 

Heel flayed ----- - i 

End of thumb cut off - i 

Teeth extracted - 3 

Gum cut away i 

Prepuce cut off 3 

Piles ditto - i 

Great toe nails cut out by the. roots - 5 

Seton introduced from ankle to knee - i 

Large tumour on leg removed i 
Scrotal tumours, weighing from 8 lb. to 80 lb., 

removed 17 ------ 14 




Painless operations 



73 



MESMERIC FACTS. 



'A Return of Medical Cases cured by Mesmerism, during the last eight 

months. 



Nervous Headache ... 

Tic-doloureux - ... 

Nervousness, and Lameness from 
Rheumatism of 2 l / 2 years' 
standing ----- 

Spasmodic Colic - - - - 

Acute inflammation of the eye 

Chronic ditto ...... 

Acute inflammation of testes 

Convulsions - 

Lameness from Rheumatism 

Lumbago ...... 

Sciatica - 
Pain in crural nerve - 
Palsy of one arm - - - - 
Ditto of half the body - - - 
Feeling of insects crawling over 
the body - 



3 cured by one trance, 
i ditto. 



I by chronic treatment.* 

i by one trance. 

i by repeated trances in 24 hours. 

i by chronic treatment. 

i by repeated trance in 36 hours. 

1 by one trance. 

2 by chronic treatment. 

i by general and local mesmerising 

for a week, 
i ditto, 
i ditto. 

i ditto for a month, 
i ditto for 6 weeks. 

i by one trance. 



18 



It will be perceived that the above cases are chiefly diseases of the 
nervous system. But as sleep and the absence of pain is the best condi- 
tion of the body for promoting the resolution of inflammation by the pow- 
ers of Nature, I have extinguished local inflammations by keeping the 
patients entranced till this was effected. 



*By chronic treatment is meant daily mesmerising without the intention 
of entrancing the patient, which is not necessary. 



14 REPORT OF 

I beg to state, for the satisfaction of those who have not yet a prac- 
tical knowledge of the subject, that I have seen no bad consequences what- 
ever arise from persons being operated on when in the mesmeric trance. 
Cases have occurred in which no pain has been felt subsequent to the 
operation even ; the wounds healing in a few days by the first intention ; 
and in the rest, I have seen no indications of any injury being done to the 
constitution. On the contrary, it appears to me to have been saved, and 
that less constitutional disturbance has followed than under ordinary cir- 
cumstances. 

There has not been a death among the cases operated on. In my 
early operations, I availed myself of the first fit of insensibility, not know- 
ing whether I could command it back again at pleasure. 

But if the trance is not profound the first time, the surgeon may safely 
calculate on its being deeper the next, and when operating in public, it 
will be prudent to take the security of one or two preliminary trances. 
Flexibility of the limbs till moved, and their remaining rigid in any posi- 
tion we put them in, are characteristic of the trance : but there are excep- 
tions, and these are equally diagnostic, and to be depended upon. It 
sometimes happens, that the limbs become rigid as they lie, and on bend- 
ing them they have always a disposition to return to a state of spas- 
modic extension. At other times, there is a complete relaxation of the 
whole muscular system, and the limbs can be tossed about like those of 
a person just dead. 

The eyes are usually closed, but the eyelids are sometimes seen a 
little separated, or half-open and tremulous, and the eye is even occasionally 
wide open, fixed, and insensible to the light. On one occasion, having 
ordered a man to be entranced, I returned after two hours, and was told 
by my assistant that the man was not affected. I went to see, and found 
him with half-open eyes, quivering eyelids, and trembling hands. I 
immediately said that he was ready, and, without further testing his condi- 
tion, performed a most severe operation upon him, without his knowing 
anything about it. 

I also wish to remark that I have seen no symptom of congestion of 
blood on the brain; the circulation in the trance being usually quite nat- 
ural, like that of a sleeping person. My patients appear to escape the 
stimulating stage of the mesmeric influence altogether, and to pass at 
once from life to temporary death. This I am disposed to attribute to 
the concentrated uninterrupted manner in which the power is applied. 
As soon as it is felt, there is no time given to the system to rally from 
the first impression, and it succumbs without a struggle to the con- 
straining power. 

Some patients, when suddenly awakened, say that their vision is hazy, 
and their heads light ; but I take this to arise from the imperfectly recov- 
ered sensibility of the brain and the organs of sense, which are not at 



MESMERIC FACTS. IS 

once roused up into the full possession of their waking powers, just as is 
seen in persons suddenly aroused from profound natural sleep. 

That the mesmeric torpor of the brain and nerves does not arise from 
sanguine congestion, is often beautifully seen in the first actions of per- 
sons awaking from the trance. 

They open their eyes, and at the same moment recover all their fac- 
ulties ; but it is seen that the pupil is insensible to the light : this they also 
become aware of; they know that their eyes are open, and that they 
ought to see, but do not. The thought fills them with horror, and with 
a fearful cry they bury their faces in their hands, like persons struck 
blind by lightning; but this soon passes off, and the retina recovers its 
sensibility by a little rubbing of the eye. The dreadful shock given to 
the mind under such circumstances, or when a somnambulist awakes and 
finds himself standing in some strange attitude naked, in the midst of 
strangers (an experiment I have often made,) is a trial of the nerves 
which it would be very imprudent, and even dangerous, to make with 
any but such singularly impassive subjects as my Indian patients. 

This, and the inconveniences of inducing the mesmeric disease (spon- 
taneous mesmeric action in the system) by doing more than is necessary 
for the cure of disease, appear to me to be the real dangers to be avoided 
in the use of Mesmerism as a remedy. 

I am now able to say from experience, that debility of the nervous 
system predisposes to the easy reception of the mesmeric influence, and 
I augur well of a patient's powers of submission, when I recognize in 
him the listless dejected air, "I' air abattu," that usually accompanies 
functional debility of the nerves. 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. 

Aversion of the old Schools and the Public to new Ideas. Some old No- 
tions must be suspended in fairly considering Mesmerism. Irrational 
Incredulity. Mesmerism to be tried by the usual Laws of Evidence. 
Medical men not entitled to decide the Matter for the Public. The 
Public invited to judge of the Matter of Fact. Medical Men in this 
Country favourably placed. Personal Labour necessary. All easy 
afterwards. Qualifications of a Mesmeriser. The Mesmeric Power very 
general. The Sick the proper Subjects for Experiment. The Natives 
of Bengal very susceptible to the Mesmeric Influence. Nature the 
School of the true Physician. Mesmerism a natural Power of Man. 
Instincts of Animals. Mesmerism known and practised in India. 
Trial of Skill with an Eastern Magician. Dangers of Mesmerism no 
Reason for rejecting it. No need to interfere with the mind in Bodily 
Disease. My Patients bad subjects for the Mental Phenomena. The 
Public invited to judge the Question practically and fairly - Page 19 

CHAPTER II. 

The French Commission of 1779. Both Right and Wrong. The Mes- 
merists properly punished. Condition required in the Patient. State 
of my mind before experimenting for myself. Report of the Bishop of 
Lausanne to the Pope. His Reply. Accidental Nature of my First 
Experiment. Accidental Nature of my Second Experiment. First Mes- 
meric Surgical Operation. Conclusion ----- Page 34 

CHAPTER III. 

Mesmerism the same in India and in Europe. Examples of Mesmeric 
Sleep. Sealing of the Eyes. Altered Sensibility. Temporary Par- 
alysis. Muscular Rigidity. Insensibility to Pain. Exaltation of partic- 
ular Organs. Convulsions. Delirium. Injustice done to the Memory 
of the first Mesmerists. Every available Evidence here given. Impos- 
ture morally and physically impossible. Mode of Proceeding. Mes- 
meric and Non-Mesmeric Operations contrasted. Physiological Dem- 
onstration of the Impossibility of Imposture - Page 50 

16 



CONTENTS. 17 

CHAPTER IV. 

Somnambulism. Definition. Singular Introduction to it. Suspected 
Child-stealing by its Means. First Experiment in making a Somnam- 
bulist. Trial of Mesmeric Skill in a Court of Justice. Men stolen out 
of Court. Truth of Mesmerism publicly proved. Natural Sleep, and 
Its Varieties, can be imitated by Artificial Means. Mesmeric Sleep. 
Mesmeric Day-mare. Mesmeric Sleep-walking. Mesmeric Sleep-wak- 
ing. Mesmeric Dreaming. How to make Somnambulists. Imitative 
Stage of Somnambulism. Communicative Stage of Somnambulism. 
Mesmeric Catalepsy. Mesmeric Coma. Natural Clairvoyance. Mes- 
meric Clairvoyance. Nature of the Mesmeric Power. Illustrative Ex- 
amples --..--- ... p a ge 62 

CHAPTER V. 

The Mesmeric Processes. Publicity the best Security to the Public. 
Ignorance and Indifference the Real Dangers. Mesmeric Treatment of 
Disease a Field for the Philanthropist. Puysegur and Deleuze, unpro- 
fessional Men. Processes for producing Coma. Tumour in Upper Jaw 
removed during Coma. Hypertrophy of Scrotum, ditto. Trance re- 
newable at Pleasure. Three consecutive Operations on one Person. 
Mode of Mesmerising in Chronic Diseases. Cure of Rheumatism and 
Nervousness. Local Mesmerising. Mesmerised Water. Process for 
preparing it. First Experiments with it. The last. Means of awaking 
Persons Mesmerised ---..-.. Page 90 

CHAPTER VI. 

Mesmerism as a remedy. Coma as a Medical Agent. Journal of Practi- 
cal Mesmerism. Chronic Inflammation of Eye cured. Nervous Head- 
ache ditto. Acute Inflammation of Eye ditto. Return of Nervous 
Headache prevented. Rev. Mr. Fisher's Report. How to make a Con- 
vert. Tooth drawn in the Trance. Convulsions cured by ditto. Arms 
straightened in ditto. Sense of Formication removed. Lumbago, Sci- 
atica, Pain in Crural Nerve, cured. Palsy of an Arm ditto. Hemiplegia 
greatly benefitted. Tic cured. Rheumatism ditto. Mesmerism as a 
Disease. Resembles Hysteria. Ignorant charges of Imposture. The 
Public abused. The Public disabused. Folly and Unfairness of its 
would-be Guides. Spontaneous Development of the Mesmeric Disease. 
Mesmerising by doing nothing taught by the Mesmerists themselves. A 
natural Consequence of frequent Mesmerising.- Examples of Mesmer- 
ising by doing nothing. Hysteric Theory. Hope to hear of Hysteria 
as a Remedy soon. Rational Mode of studying Mesmerism Page 103 

CHAPTER VII. 

Mesmerism in Surgery. Journal of Practical Mesmerism. Mesmeric 
Trance: A Leg straightened in; Colic cured by; Penis amputated in; 



1 8 CONTENTS. 

Arm straightened in; Arm amputated in; Breast cut off in; Abscess 
opened in ; Heel flayed in ; Tooth extracted in ; End of Thumb cut off 
in ; Arm laid open in ; Three Abscesses opened in ; Sinus laid open in ; 
Gum cut away in. Invasion of the waking by the Sleeping State. 
Mesmeric Trance: hypertrophied Prepuce cut off in; suppurating Pile 
in; both great Toe Nails cut out in; Knee straightened in; Ulcer on 
Temple burned with Muriatic Acid in; Seton introduced, &c., in; Tu- 
mour in Groin removed in ; Fungoid Sores pared off in ; scirrhus Testes 
extirpated in; Cataract operated on in; Malignant Disease of Testes 
extirpated in; unhealthy Sore pared in; hypertrophied Prepuce cut off 
in; Pain extinguished by; Return on Awakening; Amputation of Penis 
in ; unhealthy Sores pared in ; Two Operations for Hydrocele in. Mes- 
merism alike favourable to the Operator and the Patient - Page 120 

CHAPTER VIII. 

Hypertrophy of the Scrotum; different Causes of. Elephantiasis endemic 
in Bengal and Lower Egypt ; probable Causes of. Example of Malarious 
Fever. True Elephantiasis of the Scrotum. Hypertrophy from Hydro- 
cele; from Syphilis; Condition of the Organs involved; Mode of oper- 
ating; Mismanagement by the Native Doctors; Number of Operations 
for six Years previous to April, 1845; in the Mesmeric Trance, for 
Eight Months. First Case. Some Cause for the late Increase of Cases. 
Operations in the Mesmeric Trance - .... Page 134 

CHAPTER IX. 

Curiosities of Mesmerism. Unsatisfactory Nature of Public Exhibitions. 
Apology for giving one. Account of it by a Visitor. The modes in 
which the Mesmeric Fluid can be transmitted. It acts at great Dis- 
tances. Is absorbed by Water. Can pass through a Wall. Final 
Experiments ----___._ Page 145 

APPENDIX ...-....., p age I5 6 



MESMERISM IN INDIA. 



CHAPTER I. 

Aversion of the old Schools and the Public to new Ideas. Some 
old Notions must be suspended in fairly considering Mesmer- 
ism. Irrational Incredulity. Mesmerism to be tried by the 
usual Laws of Evidence. Medical Men not entitled to decide 
the Matter for the Public. The Public invited to judge of the 
Matter of Fact. Medical Men in this Country favourably 
placed. Personal Labour necessary. All easy afterwards. 
Qualifications of a Mesmeriser. The Mesmeric Power very 
general. The Sick the proper Subjects for Experiment. 
The Natives of Bengal very susceptible to the Mesmeric Influ- 
ence. Nature the School of the true Physician. Mesmerism 
a natural Power of Man. Instincts of Animals. Mesmerism 
known and practised in India. Trial of Skill with an Eastern 
Magician. Dangers of Mesmerism no Reason for rejecting 
it. No need to interfere with the Mind in Bodily Disease. 
My Patients bad Subjects for the Mental Phenomena. The 
Public invited to judge the Question practically and fairly. 

ON the first broaching of any new branch of knowledge, there 
is ever a great commotion and combination among the old-estab- 
lished schools, which have thriven on the wisdom of their ances- 
tors, and desire nothing more than "stare super vias antiquas," 
satisfied with things as they are, and content to "let well alone" ; 
and there is also a general dislike in society to have its mind un- 
settled, and to be called upon to think again about matters sup- 
posed to have been set at rest long ago. We have the same 
affection for old familiar ideas that we entertain for old coats, 
shoes, and hats, because they humour the peculiarities of our 
constitutions. 

But I hope the time has at last come for the public, and the 
medical profession, to listen patiently to a medical man, while he 
relates facts that have fallen under his observation regarding 
Mesmerism, and for the truth of which he pledges his private 
and professional character, as I hereby do. 

9 



^ 



2O SOME OLD NOTIONS NOT TENABLE. 

Under such circumstances, a writer has a right to expect 
that his statements shall be believed till they are disproved, or 
till dishonesty in any of the parties concerned shall be detected. 

In considering a subject so new and wonderful, it will be 
necessary to clear away many thorns and thistles which have 
grown up in the mental soil, exhausting its strength, and unfitting 
it for receiving the seeds of truth, however freely and carefully 
sown. At present it will be sufficient, if, as a preliminary, the 
reader will dismiss the respectable old notion, that the vital 
powers of our bodies are confined within their own limits, and 
cannot be transferred to and act upon others. On the contrary, 
there is good reason to believe that the vital fluid of one_per- 
son can be poured into the system of andlffer, upon which it 
has various effects, according to constitutional peculiarities, the 
demand for it as a remedy, and the manner and extent to which 
it is exhiSited in order to answer different purposes. Man is not, 
as commonly supposed, shut up in that pent-house, his body, 
isolated, and impotent to affect his fellow-creatures beneficially 
by a benevolent will, and his own innate resources. A merciful 
God has ingrafted a communicable, life-giving, curative power 
>^j \x in the human body, in order that when two individuals are found 
together, deprived of the aids of art, the one in health may often 
be able to soothe and relieve his sick companion, by imparting to 
him a portion of his vitality. To believe that we possess such a 
power is, surely, a proud and exalting idea, which I hope the 
public will entertain with pleasure; and I trust to be able to 
prove to the satisfaction of all dispassionate and reflecting minds, 
that this is no fond delusion of an excited brain, but a substan- 
tial blessing, daily at work for good, extending immeasurably 
man's individual power of doing good by his unaided natural 
powers, and bringing healing and comfort to suffering humanity, 
all over the world. 

Such is the force of habit, and aversion to a new train of 
thought, that this proposed extension of man's power has been re- 
ceived with as much distaste, as if it had been intended to deprive 
him of a limb, or one of his senses, and has been subjected to an 
irrational incredulity which nothing can satisfy. Nothing is more 
common than to hear persons boast, "that they will not believe it 
till they see it:" some go a step farther in smothering their 
reason, and declare, that "they would not believe it if they saw it ;" 
and I have known others, not only refuse the evidence of their 
senses, but deny their own deeds, because they had declared 



IRRATIONAL INCREDULITY. 21 

the thing to be "impossible !" It is a common and ludicrous error 
to see people mistaking obstinacy for strength of mind, and self- 
sufficiency for knowledge; and aiding the delusion, by calling 
themselves "Sceptics," that name having once been respectable in 
philosophy; whereas, they have never had any doubt about the 
matter, and will never condescend to hear the subject mentioned 
without emphatic expressions of contempt and disgust. These 
are the "enfans perdus" of knowledge, and must be left to the 
free indulgence of their passions and prejudices ; for a man who 
never doubts, will never learn : he may grow older, but not wiser. 
Few, in the solution of their doubts, can be privileged to the 
extent of St. Thomas; and the horizon of human knowledge 
would be miserably circumscribed, if we rejected all that we did 
not understand, and refused to believe facts, except on the evi- 
dence of our own senses. There is absolutely no merit in believ- 
ing what we have seen and handled; this is no exercise of the 
judgment, and is level to the understanding of a savage : but it is 
the privilege of reason to be able to believe in the most surprising 
statements of others, if properly supported by evidence, and to 
adopt their conclusions, although the facts may have been ob- 
served, and the deductions drawn, by our antipodes. One such 
rational conversion is worth a thousand produced by crediting 
the senses; for its influence extends to reasoning minds all over 
the world. When a person says, "I would not have believed it, 
unless I had seen it," he must not be surprised at his neighbour 
requiring equal satisfaction.. As a lover of truth for its own sake, 
I am very little gratified by being told by my friends, "I believe it, 
because you say so." This is a very barren belief, and reaches 
only a small circle ; our faith and opinions should be built upon 
a broader basis, than personal confidence in any one. There are 
recognised laws of evidence for testing the credibility of human 
testimony, upon whatever subject it may be given ; and however 
new or strange the proposition may be, we shall, by a careful and 
dispassionate examination of the proofs, be able to determine 
what we may safely believe, on what points we ought to suspend 
our judgments, and how much should be rejected. In spiritual 
matters, we have been told, "Blessed are they that have not seen, 
and yet have believed." This blessing also follows the ready, but 
discriminating, reception of truth in philosophy, morals, and secu- 
lar affairs. Mental satisfaction, honour, and profit, if cared for, 
reward the first discoverers of the secrets of nature ; riches await 
the men of clear sense, who know how to turn the new truths to 



22 MEDICAL MEN NOT ENTITLED 

practical purposes ; and in medicine, the early application of new 
remedies removes much human suffering that would probably 
have been otherwise hopeless. It is a curious psychological phe- 
nomenon, that a hard disbelief in Mesmerism seems to be in pro- 
portion to the extraordinary facilities afforded to every one of sat- 
isfying himself by his own deeds, and the evidence of his own 
senses. No "hocus pocus," no pretensions to exclusive powers, no 
attempts at concealment, are resorted to by many Mesmerisers, 
whose word has never been doubted, and who are well known to 
be neither fools nor knaves. They say to us, "Do thus, and you 
will probably become as wise as ourselves; or if you cannot, or 
will not, be at the necessary trouble, come and see." 

But people in general prefer to dictate laws to nature from 
their easy chairs, and amuse themselves at the expense of her 
followers, chasing the shapes of their own imaginations, as they 
_ <0 are pleased to say. To those who really desire to know the truth, 
whatever favourite ideas it may upset, I would venture to recom- 
mend that they should examine the evidence in support of Mes- 
merism, just as they would any other matter worth inquiring 
about ; and I can confidently promise that they will be richly re- 
warded. To encourage them, I would remind them in the words 
of Bacon, "that the inquiry of truth, which is the love-making 
<y or wooing of it; the knowledge of truth, which is the presence 
of it ; and the belief of truth, which is the enjoying of it ; is the 
<& sovereign good of human nature;" and that this highest gratifi- 
cation of humanity can only be attained by carefully training and 
exercising our intellect, to which the senses are only handmaids. 

The public are too apt to consider the subject of Mesmerism 
as a professional one, and not to take the necessary means to be- 
come acquainted with it till the doctors shall have decided what 
is to be believed about it. This is an error on the part of the 
public, for, I am sorry to say, medical men in general as yet 
know nothing about it; and there is nothing in their previous 
knowledge, however great and varied, that bears upon the sub- 
ject, or can entitle them to decide, ex cathedra, on the truth or 
falsehood of the new discoveries. As the question at present 
stands, it is one of facts, and of evidence in support of them, of 
which a jury of sensible unprofessional men can judge as well 
as so many doctors, to whom the subject is equally new and per- 
plexing. When the doctors shall have experimented for them- 
selves, or taken the trouble to witness the practice of others, 
and carefully studied the subject, the public cannot do better 




TO DECIDE THE MATTER FOR THE PUBLIC. 23 

than take them for their guides ; but this "consummation devoutly 
to be wished" is so remote, I fear, that not many of this genera- 
tion will live to benefit by Mesmerism, if they wait till it is ad- 
mitted into the Pharmacopoeia. 

I would therefore recommend the public to exercise their 
common sense, and sober judgment, in determining for the doc- 
tors the matter of fact ; and if the community decides that it is 
really a remedy of great efficacy, that there is no resisting the 
proofs in support of it, that to know nothing about it is no recom- 
mendation to a medical man; then Mesmerism will assume its 
proper rank as a remedial agent, and be lodged in the hands of 
those who should alone practise it ; for it is subject to enormous 
abuses in the hands of the ignorant and unprincipled. Instead of 
doubting and dogmatising about Mesmerism, I would earnestly 
entreat my medical brethren to put it to the test by personal 
experiment, for it is a thing to be done, and not talked of only : "I 
want facts, and not ivords," will be the answer of every person of 
common sense to the most dogmatical and ingenious objectors. 

It is by medical men in this country taking up the subject 
experimentally, without previous knowledge of it, and having no 
theories to make good or defend, that the truth or falsehood of 
Mesmerism may be very speedily decided. By following the 
instructions to be hereafter given, I doubt not that many will be 
as successful as myself, for they are the means of putting in mo- 
tion a law of nature whose springs are hidden from us, but whose 
effects are most wonderful and beneficial to humanity, when 
properly directed. 

But I beg leave to warn all who have not yet a practical 
knowledge of the subject, that to produce the phenomena of Mes- 
merism is by no means a thing so light and easy as some imagine. 
In singularly sensitive persons the extreme degree of coma, so 
intense as to permit the performance of surgical operations, with- 
out awaking the patient, may sometimes be obtained in a few 
minutes ; but, in general, it takes an hour or two, and the process 
often does not succeed till the second, or even fourteenth time. 
In this, as in everything else, nature will not "unsought be won," 
and only yields her secret treasures to those who court her with 
earnestness, sincerity, and resolution. "Lahore ct sudore" ought 
to be the Mesmerist's motto, until he has produced the desired 
results by his personal efforts, and thereby given confidence to 
himself and others. After this, all is easy, for any number of 
proper assistants may be taught to act under our superintendence ; 



24 QUALIFICATIONS OF A MESMERISER. 

and this is the only way in which a physician can practise Mes- 
merism to any extent. 

But I would venture to suggest, that it will not be enough to 
set people to mesmerise for us by the book. It is exacting too 
much of human nature to expect people to sweat for hours paw- 
ing the air, &c., for our incomprehensible objects. But let them 
look on and see the wonderful effects produced by the labours of 
their superiors; and a host of willing and efficient Mesmerisers 
will spring up, to execute the will of the directing mind, and re- 
lieve it from the drudgery of the needful bodily exertion. Much 
has been written about the physical and moral qualities necessary 
in a Mesmeriser, and such a picture of a "perfect monster" has 
been drawn, that it is enough to deter one from making the at- 
tempt. If asked to select a natural Mesmeriser, I should be dis- 
posed to choose a person of a high organisation, in whom the 
nervous and circulating systems were equally active, with deter- 
mined will, a resolution to do the thing if possible, and a love 
of truth and humanity, that would induce him to "do for love 
what gold could never buy." But, when the way has been shown, 
far less energy of mind and body is quite sufficient for all prac- 
tical purposes. Healthy young persons, who are tractable and 
patient, and who will give the necessary degree of attention, can 
be made to work out our intentions in the most efficient manner ; 
and I hope to make it appear that the mesmeric power is a far 
more general gift of nature than has hitherto been supposed. 
Finding it impossible, after the first month, to prosecute the sub- 
ject in my own person, owing to the great bodily and mental 
fatigue it caused, for I spared neither, I set to work my 
hospital attendants, young Hindoos and Mahomedans; and such 
has been my success, that every one I have taught has become 
a skilful Mesmeriser. Now I do not need to mesmerise at all, 
having a dozen assistants to execute my wishes, whether it be 
in mesmeric treatment of medical cases, or for procuring coma 
in surgical operations. 

To those who, by their own powers, may desire to test the 
truth for themselves, I would venture to suggest that an earnest 
desire to know the truth, a fixed attention, and a resolution to 
overcome first difficulties, are essential conditions of mind for 
the operator, as the means of concentrating and keeping up the 
continued action of the vital agent, whatever it may be. First 
experiments should be made on the sick, in the hope of benefitting 
them ; which hopes, if strongly felt, will be a stimulus to exertion, 



THE SICK THE PROPER SUBJECTS. 25 

and an element of success totally wanting in experimenting on 
healthy subjects, who are also more difficult to be affected. "The 
whole need not a physician, but they that are sick;" and how- 
ever bountiful nature may be to her creatures, she is never prod- 
igal, and never wastes unnecessary power. Mesmerism is the 
"Medidne_joi_Nature ;" and she refuses, very wisely, to take it 
when it is not needed ; and if forced upon her in a state of health, 
it is very likely to do mischief ; for any attempt to be better than 
"well" is pretty sure to make one ill People say to me, "I would 
like to ascertain if I can be mesmerized ; do try." I reply, " You 
very probably cannot; and I should as soon comply with your 
desire to feel the effects of opium as mesmerise you without a 
cause; when you need it, you will probably be benefitted by it." 
Besides, a person in health resisting the influence is no proof 
that he will remain insensible to it in an altered state of the body, 
when there may be an actual craving of the nervous system for 
this sustenance from without. i>Ar5P' 

As yet, I am sorry to add, I cannot, with any degree of con- 
fidence, Say who ara-lha-persnns snsrppHhlp fo thA-mpcmprir i n - 

fluence, without first trying. But it is satisfactory to know, that 
by far the majority of persons acted upon by me, and my assist- 
ants, have been affected in different degrees, all of which are in- 
valuable to their possessors, for the relief and cure of their dis- 
eases; and in most of the failures I have little doubt that we 
should have succeeded, if the process had been prosecuted. 

The people of this part of the world seem to be peculiarly 
sensitive to the mesmeric power; and as it has been observed 
that a depressed state of the nervous system favours its reception, 
we can understand why they, as a body, should be more easily 
affected than Europeans. Taking the population of Bengal gen- 
erally, they are a feeble, ill-nourished race, remarkably deficient 
in nervous energy ; and natural debility of constitution being still 
further lowered by disease, will probably account for their 
being so readily subdued by the Mesmerist. Their mental con- 
stitution also favours jis ; we have none of the morbid irritability 
of nerves, and the mental impatience of the civilised man, to 
contend against; both of which resist and neutralise the efforts 
of nature. The success I have met with is mainly to be attrib- 
uted, I believe, to my patients being the simple, unsophisticated 
children of nature; neither thinking, questioning, nor remon- 
strating, but passively submitting to my pleasure, without in the 
smallest degree understanding my object or intentions. How far 



26 



NATURE THE TRUE PHYSICIAN. 






artificial man may have forfeited his birthright I have not yet 
had the means of knowing; but out of the small number of Euro- 
peans who have come under my observation, the majority have 
also succumbed to the influence ; and if the proud sons of civilisa- 
tion will condescend to return for a moment to the feet of their 
mother Nature, they also will probably benefit by her bounties. 
We have so far deserted Nature, that, in return, she has re- 
nounced us as unnatural children, and left us to our self-suffi- 
ciency and artificial resources; but these, in general, are mere 
make-shifts and palliatives, compared with the steady and endur- 
ing curative powers of nature, when properly understood and 
brought into action. The whole art of the true physician is ex- 
erted to induce nature to interfere and take up the case of his 
patient ; and when he sees signs of her gracious presence, he only 
reverentially looks on, and confines himself to removing impedi- 
ments in her way. But the routine practitioner will rarely con- 
descend to divide with nature the merit of the cure. He and his 
pills, powders, and potions, must have all the credit ; and if any 
one pretends to be able sometimes to cure disease by the unassist- 
ed powers of nature, he is called quack, impostor, or fool, and 
hunted down as a fera naturae. But, in my estimation, the gen- 
uine medical quack is he who, professing to cure disease, yet al- 
lows his patients to suffer and perish, by ignorantly, or presump- 
tuously, despising any promising or possible means of relief. The 
Father of Medicine thought very differently from his degenerate 
sons, for he says, "Nothing should be omitted in an art which 
interests the whole world, which may be beneficial to suffering 
humanity, and which does not risk human life and comfort." 
But a time was, when apothecaries, chemists, and diploma'd 
physicians did not exist ; when man was an unreasoning animal, 
devoid of all the resources of art, yet subject to all the ills that 
natural flesh is heir to ; and it is a subject of deep interest to the 
philosopher and the physician to ascertain what were his natural 
remedies, in common with the other animals; whether his in- 
stincts were as strong as theirs, and to what conservative powers 
he resorted when labouring under disease. That he possessed 
such appears to me to be extremely probable, from the analogies 
of the animal creation, and the universal benevolence of the Deity 
to his creatures. It must be most important and instructive to 
discover what were, or, if not yet known, what are, the natural 
remedies of man; for by observing their effects we shall best 
understand the restorative processes of Nature, and be able to 



ANTIQUITY OF MESMERISM. 



imitate them by art, with a certainty hitherto unattained by medi- 
cine. 

So far from Mesmerism being a new and unnatural art, 
there is every reason to believe that it is the oldest and most 
natural mode of curing many of the severe, uncomplicated dis- 
eases of the human race. Let us imagine, for a moment, the 
condition of savage men, before, by long experience, they had 
learned to avail themselves of the medicinal virtues of the vegeta- 
ble and mineral kingdoms, for the cure of their most pressing 
diseases. Man, in this state, would be more helpless than the 
brute creation ; they have happy instincts, many of them known 
to us, by which they are directed not only to their natural food, 
but to their natural medicines. But man, so far as we yet know 
him, could in his sufferings only make vague experiments on the 
natural objects around him, in the desperate hope of stumbling 
upon some suitable remedy. This might occasionally happen, 
but he was more likely to be poisoned than cured by his first ex- 
periments. The very fish were more favoured than he. The 
salmon, by an infallible instinct, quit the sea at a certain season, 
and ascend the rivers, thereby getting rid of their tormentors, 
the sea-lice (which the fresh water speedily kills,) and at the same 
time reaching the spots destined for the propagation of their 
kind. After depositing the spawn, the parent fish, black, lank, 
and sick, distasteful to themselves, and unwholesome to us, hasten 
to the sea to renovate their health ; whence, again, they issue in 
another year, increased in size, and brilliant as silver, to run the 
same course as long as life continues. The young fry, also, the 
moment they break the egg, turn their heads seaward, and never 
stop till they reach the ocean, whose action is necessary for their 
growth and health. 

The dog eats grass, and licks his sores when sick; the cow, 
and calf even, sham dead, to induce the crows to pick the vermin 
from their eyes and ears ; the chick, as soon as it breaks the shell, 
pecks gravel, to aid digestion; the mongoose, after being bitten 
by its enemy, the snake, retires to the fields, to seek its antidote 
against the poison ; and this it finds, for it comes back quite well ; 
and at certain seasons the wild animals resort, from the most 
distant parts of the country, to the "salt-licks," to renovate their 
constitutions. Numberless instances of the same kind will occur 
to the naturalist, and the humble observer of nature even ; and is 
it imaginable that the ever-watchful, all-bountiful Providence of 
God should have left the "noble savage," alone of all His crea- 






28 MESMERISM THE UNIVERSAL CURE 

tures, to run such cruel risks, and perish helplessly in his natural 
ignorance ? Reasoning a priori, we should say not ; and our posi- 
tive knowledge of the equal care bestowed by God on all his 
creatures, forbids the supposition. Man, then, had probably some 
instinct by which he was directed to a natural medicine of sov- 
ereign virtue, and by which the hunter and his family were saved 
from starvation, when disease, for a time, deprived his right 
hand of its cunning, unnerved his iron sinews, and bowed his 
gallant head. If this be a natural supposition, what could be his 
resource if not Mesmerism that inherent power, implanted, as 
I conceive, in the human being, for the solace of his suffering 
fellow creature ? This is the simplest and most speedy restorative 
of the powers of life, in cases adapted to it (for, like every nat- 
ural agent, it has its conditions and limits;) and men in pain 
have an instinctive tendency to perform the required processes. 
From its simplicity, how consonant with all we know of the laws 
of nature would be such a power, and how admirably adapted to 
meet the exigencies of savage life ! 

The more observing among savage men, it is presumable, 
would soon detect the latent curative powers of their bodily sys- 
tem, and develope them into an art for the cure of disease, and 
the advancement of their own interests. But when experience 
had given them skill, and it became a source of gain, they made, 
we may suppose, a mystery of their calling, and attempted to se- 
cure the lucrative secret for themselves and families. Hence, 
among the savage races of mankind, we see the healing art prac- 
tised exclusively by conjurors, either artfully concealing the secret 
of their power by incantations, and other mummery, or, possibly, 
themselves deceived into a belief of the efficacy of such accom- 
plishments. If the Mumbo Jumbo men of Africa, the medicine 
men of America, and the charmers of this country, ever succeed 
in relieving their patients (and here they do,) I am disposed to 
think that it is generally in cases curable by Mesmerism. The 
following extract from my "Mesmeric Journal" will show that 
this is not so fanciful a speculation as it may at first appear, and 
that Mesmerism is actually practised in this country, and has 
probably been so from time immemorial, like every other custom 
in this immutable society. 

June Qth, 1845. I had to-day the honour of being introduced 
to one of the most famous magicians in Bengal, who enjoys a 
high reputation for his successful treatment of hysteria, and had 
been sent for to prescribe for my patient (whose case will be 




AMONGST SAVAGE NATIONS. 29 

afterwards given,) but came too late; the success of my charm, 
Mesmerism, having left him nothing to do. Baboo Essanchunder 
Ghosaul, deputy magistrate of Hooghly, at my request intro- 
duced me to him as a brother magician, who had studied the art 
of magic in different parts of the world, but particularly in 
Egypt, where I had learned the secrets of the great Sooley- 
mann, from the moollahs and fuqueers, and that I had a great 
desire to ascertain whether our charms were the same, as the 
hakeems of Europe held the wise men of the East in high estima- 
tion, knowing that all knowledge had come from that quarter. I 
proposed that we should show each other our respective charms, 
and, after much persuasion, he agreed to show me his process 
for assuaging pain. He sent for a brass pot, containing water, 
and a twig with two or three leaves upon it, and commenced 
muttering his charms, at arm's length from the patient. In a 
short time he dipped his fore-finger into the water, and, with the 
help of his thumb, flirted it into the patient's face ; he then took 
the leaves, and commenced stroking the person from the crown 
of the head to the toes, with a slow drawing motion. The knuckles 
almost touched the body, and he said that he would continue the 
process for an hour, or longer, if necessary ; and it convinced me 
that, if these charmers ever do good by such means, it is by the 
Mesmeric influence, probably unknown to themselves. I said 
that I was convinced of the great efficacy of his charm, and 
would now show him mine ; but that he would understand it bet- 
ter if performed on his own person. After some difficulty, we 
got him to lie down, and, to give due solemnity to my proceed- 
ings, I chanted, as an invocation, the chorus of the "King of the 
Cannibal Islands !" I desired him to shut his eyes, and he clenched 
his eyelids firmly, that I might find no entrance to the brain by 
that inlet. In a quarter of an hour he jumped up, and said he 
felt something disagreeable coming over him, and wished to make 
his escape. He was over-persuaded to lie down again, however, 
and I soon saw the muscles around the eye begin to relax, and 
his face became perfectly smooth and calm. I was sure that I 
had caught my brother magician napping, for, in a few minutes, 
he bolted up suddenly, clapped his hands to his head, cried he 
felt drunk, and nothing could induce him to lie down again; 
"abiit, exccssit, evasit, erupit!" Next day I saw him, and said, 
"Well, you were too strong for my charm last night ; I could not 
put you to sleep." "Oh ! yes, Sahib," he answered, "you did ; I 
allow it ; it is allowed that you put me to sleep." 



3O CONTRARY TENDENCIES OF MESMERISM. 

A gentleman, whose case will be given hereafter, immediately 
recognised the identity of the two processes, and told me that he 
had been Mesmerised, he now knew, in a different part of the 
country, and with much relief, in a painful affection of the leg. 
In addition to the traction with the leaves, his mesmeriser had 
breathed carefully upon the pained part, just as my assistant had 
done when mesmerising him locally for rheumatism. It thus ap- 
pears that the beneficial effects of the Mesmeric processes are 
known in this country, and the secret has probably descended 
from remote antiquity, in certain families, or castes. Farther on, 
when speaking of Somnambulism, a curious history will be given, 
which leads me to suspect that they knew the evil, as well as 
good, of Mesmerism, and practise it for the most villainous pur- 
poses. The possible evil resulting to society from the practice of 
Mesmerism has been a favourite objection, even when the evi- 
dence of its existence and power could no longer be resisted. 

But the tendency of all power depends upon the direction 
given to it for good, or evil; and to eject opium, mercury, and 
prussic acid from the pharmacopoeia, because, when injudiciously 
administered, they poison, instead of curing our patients; or to 
^ reject the agency of steam for the purposes of life, because it 
sometimes takes us a longer journey than we intended, would 
be as reasonable as to refuse to be cured by Mesmerism, because 
it could also injure us, if ignorantly and injudiciously applied. 
That this agent may, and will, be turned to the most diabolical 
purposes, is most certain, if the public will not be at the trouble 
to think upon the subject, and defend itself by common-sense 
precautions. But the power as it comes from the Creator is 
pure, and the perversion of it is the work of the creature. The 
object of man's life here clearly is to separate the good from 
the evil ; "to prove all things, and hold fast that which is good ;" 
and this can be done in Mesmerism, as in anything else: the 
abuse, and not the use of any great power, is to be dreaded and 
guarded against. I have great hopes that my experiments will 
go far to separate the regions of mind and body, which, it seems 
to me, have been unnecessarily and perplexingly intermingled 
by former Mesmeric observers; and this will not only simplify 
the Mesmeric treatment of disease, but remove the principal 
objection to it; namely the necessity of acting on the mind, 
often injuriously, during the cure of a bodily infirmity. It will 
appear, that in the exercise of the art, as a medical agent of the 
most benign as well as powerful nature, the mind has never been 



SIMPLICITY OF MESMERISM. $1 

attempted to be influenced by me, nor has it ever been heard of in 
my practice. In subjecting my patients to the sanative influence 
of Mesmerism for bodily complaints, no mental rapport has ever 
been thought of; and if so much can be done without it, I am 
sanguine that it will soon be proved to be a tedious and unneces- 
sary complication of the art, and "more honoured in the breach 
than the. observance." In the management of mental disease, it 
will probably be required, and be useful, as the mind depends 
much more upon organisation than is generally supposed. But 
this is only an extension of the blessing, if the power is wielded 
in all honour and simplicity of purpose. In this, as in other mat- 
ters, the danger lies in the company we keep. The possessor of 
a well-filled purse does not seek the companionship of pick- 
pockets ; and the honest man eschews the society of knaves ; and if 
Mesmerism is thought likely to benefit us, the same common- 
sense mode of proceeding should influence us in the disposal of 
our bodies and minds, when affected by disease. I am convinced 
that in the majority of bodily evils removable by this means, 
there will be no need to interfere with the mind at all. To do so 
is a mere travelling out of the record ; and where a mixed treat- 
ment is required it can be safely adopted, by using the simple 
precaution of seeking an honest man with the necessary knowl- 
edge of the subject ; and let us hope that such will soon abound. 
Many will be disappointed that I have no mental wonders to 
relate; but no inference against the existence of such wonders 
can be fairly drawn from the silence of my patients. My re- 
searches have been purely physical, and preclude me from getting 
at the mind at all, for all activity of mind is the natural enemy 
of the purely physical impressions made upon the system; I 
therefore seclude the brain from all external impressions as rap- 
idly as possible ; the object being to extinguish bodily and mental 
sensibility together, and altogether; and in proportion to our 
success in effecting this, is the early inducement of Coma for 
surgical purposes. It is quite unreasonable to expect to extract 
music from a fiddle without strings : and I endeavor to break at 
a blow, as it were, all the strings of the mind the five senses. 
It is true, that this treatment is only required for acute diseases, 
or to induce insensibility to pain, and it might be expected that 
in the treatment of chronic diseases, I should be able to elicit the 
mental phenomena, if they exist in nature. But as my principal 
object is to ascertain how far this new agent is capable of alle- 
viating bodily suffering, I have purposely -kept myself from em- 



32 MESMERIC SOMNAMBULISM. 

barking on the troubled sea of metaphysics, till the more pressing 
bodily problem shall be solved, and a "terra firma" of indisputable 
facts created, from whence we may securely, and at leisure, ex- 
amine, and attempt to understand, the high and mysterious ob- 
jects above us. 

My patients, being the poorest and most ignorant of the peo- 
ple, and convicted felons from the same degraded orders, are 
the most unfavourable subjects for psychological experiments. As 
to physique, men are nearly the same all the world over : an uni- 
versal vital law reduces all to the same level of animal, and the 
coolie, therefore, may be able to mesmerise the philosopher; but 
the difference in morale is so great, not only among races, but 
individuals, as to preclude all sympathy, and to often amount to 
actual antipathy, and mutual repulsion. Although in producing 
the physical effects of Mesmerism, I have not seen any necessity 
for the sympathy and rapport we read so much about, I can 
readily understand, 'that in eliciting the higher mental phenomena, 
these fine mental sympathies may be developed, and be necessary 
for the success of the abnormal mental manifestations; but my 
patients and I have probably too little in common to admit of 
mental sympathy between us. It will be seen, however, in the 
chapter on Somnambulism, that I have created a singular boule- 
versement in the minds of coolies and pariahs even, when under 
the Mesmeric influence. 

The public, when examing a subject so deeply interesting to 
them, will, I hope, take an enlarged and liberal view of the mat- 
ter, and look for fundamental and incontrovertible truths, which 
are practically important, and not allow themselves to be cheated 
out of their senses and judgment, by the doubtful, mysterious, 
and theoretical parts of the subject being exclusively dwelt upon, 
by those who wish Mesmerism to be untrue, or by others who 
have neither the desire nor capacity to acquire new knowledge. 
Errors of observation and of judgment must often occur in in- 
vestigating a new and difficult subject, but I hope such uninten- 
tional mistakes will be excused; and wherever they shall be 
pointed out in my observations, I shall be ready to acknowledge 
and correct them. Let all doubtful evidence be totally rejected, 
and a mass of substantial important truth will remain, which, I 
am confident, the public "will not willingly let die;" for human 
nature can ill afford to lose any new and promising source of 
comfort to suffering humanity. 

Before concluding these prefatory remarks, I beg the reader 




MESMERISM AND MEDICINE. 33 

not to do me the injustice to think me a Mesmeric doctor, for it 
would be as true to call me a rhubarb, jalap, or castor-oil physi- 
cian. Mesmerism often comes to the aid of my patients, when 
all the resources of medicine are exhausted, and all the drugs 
of Arabia useless ; and therefore, I consider it to be my duty to 
benefit them by it, and to assist in making it known for the ad- 
vantage of mankind. 



' 









CHAPTER II. 

The French Commission of 1779. Both Right and Wrong. The 
Mesmerists properly punished. Condition required in the 
Patient. State of my Mind before experimenting for myself. 
Report of the Bishop of Lausanne to the Pope. His Reply. 
Accidental Nature of my First Experiment. Accidental 
Nature of my Second Experiment. First Mesmeric Surgical 
Operation. Conclusion. 

THE most formidable, because the most reasonable argument 
against the existence of Mesmerism as a natural power, is, per- 
haps, the report of the French Commission in 1779, of which 
Franklin was president. The verdict of the Savans was fair 
enough, considering the nature of the evidence placed before 
them; but yet, (such is human fallibility,) in this case summum 
fus was also summa injuria, truth was sacrificed to falsehood, as I 
think will clearly appear from a short analysis of their proceed- 
ings. This will probably not be time wasted, as I have heard in- 
telligent gentlemen say, that the report of the French philosophers 
still decided their opinions. They had a series of axioms in Mes- 
merism presented to them, whose truth they were to examine, and 
the efficacy of certain processes was to be proved to their satis- 
faction by experiment. 

The Mesmerist's object seems to have been, to try to convince 
the commission that he had a secret worth knowing, and yet 
continue to keep it to himself, by hiding its extreme simplicity 
under a load of complicated machinery and various kinds of mum- 
mery. D'Eslon, the pupil of Mesmer, propounded his laws of 
animal magnetism, after this fashion : 

"I. Animal magnetism is an universal fluid, constituting an 
absolute plenum in nature, and the medium of all mutual influence 
between the celestial bodies, and betwixt the earth and animal 
bodies." 

This is only a gigantic assertion. 

"II. It is the most subtle fluid in nature, capable of flux, 
and of reflux, and of receiving, propagating, and continuing all 
kinds of motion." 

34 



FRENCH COMMISSION OF 1779. 35 

The first two clauses are probable enough ; the last is only 
rash dogmatism. 

"III. The animal body is subjected to the influences of this 
fluid by means of the nerves, which are immediately affected 
by it." 

We see no other way, at present. 

"IV. The human body has poles, and other properties, anal- 
ogous to the magnet." 

The first proposition has never been proved, and takes every- 
thing for granted ; there is only likelihood in the second. 

"V. The action and virtue of animal magnetism may be com- 
municated from one body to another, whether animate or inani- 
mate." 

True, as regards the relations between animate bodies; and 
these can also impregnate inanimate substances. 

"VI. It operates at a great distance, without the intervention 
of any body." 

True. 

"VII. It is increased and reflected by mirrors, communicated, 
propagated, and increased by sound, and may be accumulated, 
concentrated, and transported." 

Soothing sounds may possibly assist in lulling the brain, but 
quiet is far more essential ; the other assertions are borne out 
by modern experience. 

"VIII. Notwithstanding the universality of this fluid, all 
animal bodies are not affected by it ; on the other hand, there are 
some, though but few in number, the presence of which destroys 
all the effects of animal magnetism." 

The first part correct, the last not improbable. 

"IX. By means of this fluid, nervous diseases are cured imme- 
diately, and others mediately; and its virtues, in fact, extend to 
the universal cure and preservation of mankind." 

True ; to so great a degree, that we do not yet know how far 
it may go. 

1 Is it surprising that the Commission dismissed contemptu- 
ously such a mass of sheer assertion and unsupported theory, 
seasoned with truth to be sure, but so diluted and obscured as not 
to be recognisable ? Like a Bengal witness, D'Eslon was not con- 
tent to tell the truth simply, but added so many corroborating 
inventions of his own, that no one knew what to believe, and the 
case was dismissed as unworthy of further investigation. He 
ruined himself, and his cause, also, (perhaps in ignorance, how- 







BELIEF IN MESMERISM. 

ever,) by loading the truth with a parcel of trumpery machinery, 
through which he hoped the power of nature would nevertheless 
penetrate. But Nature, like an over-loaded camel, turned upon 
her driver, and threw him and his paraphernalia of magnetic plat- 
forms, conducting-rods and ropes, pianos, magnetised trees and 
buckets, into the dirt ; and truth retired in disgust to the bottom of 
her well, there to dwell till more honest men should draw her 
forth again to surprise and benefit the world. 

As far as my observation goes, all that is necessary for suc- 
cess, if the parties are in the relation of agent and subject, is pass- 
ive obedience in the patient, and a sustained attention and patience 
on the part of the operator. The process being a natural one, the 
more the parties are in a state of nature the better : the bodies of 
my patients being naked, and their heads generally shaved, is 
probably of no small consequence in the proceedings. 

Before presenting to the reader my first experiment in mes- 
merising, I may perhaps be excused the egotism of giving a brief 
sketch of the history of my belief in Mesmerism, as it is a re- 
markable epoch in a man's life the day he discovers that he pos- 
sesses the temporary power of life and death over his fellow- 
creatures. 

v \ \ ^1 

Ever since Dr. Elliotson declared, years ago, that he "should 
despise himself if he did not declare his conviction of the truth 
of Mesmerism," I ceased to regard it lightly, and paid attention 
to all well-attested reports upon the subject. At last the facts 
became so numerous, and were so well supported by credible wit- 
nesses, and kept their ground so firmly, both against adverse rea- 
soning and ridicule, that I felt compelled to surrender my belief 
in the existence of the Unknown Power, or cease my reason and 
judgment. Ten days before making my first experiment, I thus 
wrote to a friend in England : "What think you of this new mys- 
tery, Mesmerism ? For my part, I am thinking seriously about it, 
and cannot help suspecting that we have hit upon one of Nature's 
great secrets. I keep myself perfectly neutral, and hear the pro 
and con. If it turns out to be a delusion, I shall be happy to assist 
in digging its grave." 

The uniformity of the phenomena described by different per- 
sons, and coming from various parts of the world, strongly 
arrested my attention, and impressed me with the conviction that 
some new general law of Nature had been discovered. England, 
France, Germany, and America, all combined to give the same 
evidence in support of the new doctrines, or, rather, new phe- 



BISHOP OF LAUSANNE'S REPORT. 37 

nomena of Nature. About the time that Miss Martineau's dis- 
closures appeared, I also read a curious and striking document 
written in May, 1841, by the Archbishop of Lausanne and 
Geneva, and addressed to the Sacred Penitentiary, at Rome. As 
it may possibly make the impression upon others that it did on 
me, it is here transcribed. 

"Most Eminent Lord, 

Since that which has hitherto been answered respecting ani- 
mal magnetism seems by no means to suffice, and it is much to 
be wished that cases not unfrequently occurring may be solved 
more and more uniformly, the undersigned humbly lays before 
your Eminence that which follows : raT" 

"A magnetised person, who is generally of the fpmaia-ggy, 
enters into that state of sleep called Magnetic Somnambulism so 
deeply, that not even the greatest noise at her ears, nor any vio- 
lence of iron or fire, is capable of raising her from it. She is 
brought into this kind of ecstacy by the magnetiser alone, to 
whom she has given consent (for consent is necessary,) either by 
various touches or gesticulations, when he is present, or by a 
simple command, and that, too, an internal one, when he is at a 
distance of even several leagues. 

"Then, being interrogated, aloud or mentally, concerning her 
own disease, or those of absent persons entirely unknown to her, 
this person, who is evidently one unlearned, at once exhibits great 
superiority in science to medical men ; announces most accurately 
anatomical matters; indicates the cause, seat, and nature of in- 
ternal diseases in the human body, which, to the skilful, are most 
difficult of understanding, and unravels their progress, variation, 
and complications; and this in the terms proper to them, and 
prescribes the most simple and efficacious remedies. 

"If the person concerning whom the magnetised woman is 
consulted is present, the magnetiser establishes the relation be- 
tween them by means of contact. If, however, he be absent, a 
lock of his hair supplies his place, and suffices; for, when this 
lock of hair is brought into the proximity of the hand of the 
magnetised person, he declares what it is (without casting his 
eyes on it,) whose hair it is, where the person is actually sojourn- 
ing, to whom the hair belongs, what he is doing, and affords the 
above-mentioned information respecting his disease not otherwise 
than if, after the manner of medical men, he were inspecting the 
interior of his body. v \" f V/T) 







38 BISHOP OF LAUSANNE'S REPORT. 

"Lastly, the magnetised person does not see with the eye. 
The eyes being covered, though not knowing how to read, he 
will read off whatever is placed on his head or stomach, whether 
a book or manuscript, open or shut. His words, too, seem to 
issue from this region : but when brought out of this state, either 
at the order, even internal, of the magnetiser, or, as it were, spon- 
taneously at the moment previously announced by himself, he 
appears to be not at all conscious of the things gone through by 
him in the paroxysm, how long soever it may have lasted ; what 
may have been demanded of him ; what he may have answered ; 
what he may have undergone; all these things have left no idea 
in his understanding, nor the least vestige in his memory. 

"Therefore, the undersigned petitioner, seeing valid reasons 
for doubting whether such effects, the occasional cause of which 
is shown to be so little proportioned to them, be simply natural, 
earnestly and most fervently prays that your Eminence in your 
wisdom, for the greater glory of the Omnipotent, as well as the 
greater good of souls, which have been redeemed by the Lord at 
so great a price, may be pleased to decide, whether, admitting the 
r^- truth of the premises, a confessor or curate may safely permit 

JL to his penitents or parishioners : 

"i. That they practise animal magnetism, endowed with such, 
or other like characteristics, as an art auxiliary and supplemen- 
tary to medicine. 

"2. That they consent to be thrown into such a state of mag- 
netic somnambulism. 

"3. That they consult persons magnetised in such a manner 
either concerning themselves or concerning others. 

"4. Or that they undertake one of these last mentioned three 
things, having first taken the precaution of formally renouncing 
in their minds every diabolic compact, explicit or implicit, as 
well as all satanic interventions, since, notwithstanding such pre- 
cautions, similar effects, or some such effects, have been obtained 
by some persons. 

"Most Eminent Lord, by command of the most Rev. the Arch- 
bishop of Lausanne and Geneva, your Eminence's most humble 
and most obedient servant, 

"JAMES XAVIER FONTANA, 
"Chancellor of the Episcopal Chancery. 

"Friburgh, in Switzerland, Episcopal Palace, the ipth of 
May, 1841." 



REPLY OF THE PENITENTIARY. 39 

RESPONSE. 

"The Sacred Penitentiary, the premises having been maturely 
weighed, considers that these should be answered as it now 
answers : the use of magnetism, as set forth in the case, is not 
permissible. 

"Given at Rome, in the Sacred Penitentiary, the 1st day of 
July, 1841. "C. CARD, Castracane, M. P. 

"Pii. POM ELLA, of the S. P. Sec'y. 

"Certified as a copy conformable to the original. Friburgh, 
the 26th July, 1841. 

"By order, J. Perroulaz, Sec'y. of the Bishopric." 

It will be observed, that though the subject is held in dread 
by the reporter, as probably of diabolic origin, yet it is treated 
as a "great fact," known to, and believed in, by a large com- 
munity, so that catholics and protestants are found alike profess- 
ing a belief in Mesmerism. If the twentieth part of what was 
reported was true, it well deserved careful investigation ; and, as 
I had no dread of knowing anything that God has permitted to 
be known, I determined to try to find out the truth for myself, 
on the first favourable opportunity. In choosing a proper subject 
to experiment upon, I should probably have selected some highly 
sensitive female of a nervous temperament, and excitable imag- 
ination, who desired to submit to the supposed influence. But, 
I beg it to be particularly remarked, my first essay was not guided 
by theory, and was not made on a subject supposed to be favour- 
able. On the contrary, the very worst specimen of humanity, 
theoretically considered, was the person destined to be my first 
mesmeric victim; he being none other than a Hindoo felon of 
the hangman cast, condemned to labour on the roads, in irons. 
Accident alone determined my choice, and decided the matter for 
me, perhaps much better than theory would have done; for I 
should as soon have thought of commencing operations on the 
first dog or pig I met on the road, as of selecting this man for 
his good mesmeric "material." 

There are some interesting particulars in this first successful 
mesmeric experiment in India, to which I beg leave to direct the 
reader's attention. 

I. The purely accidental and unpremeditated nature of the 
experiment. 

II. All want of consent between the parties. 



4O NATURE OF MY FIRST EXPERIMENT. 

III. The operator's want of belief in his own power; for I 
had never seen Mesmerism, and all I knew about it was from 
scraps in the newspapers. 

IV. The absolute ignorance of the patient ; it being impossi- 
ble that he should ever have heard of Mesmerism. 

V. The impossibility, therefore, of imitating the mesmeric 
phenomena. 

Under all the circumstances of the case, collusion between 
the parties will not, I presume, be suspected : and every possible 
care was taken to exclude any source of fallacy in the experiment. 
European gentlemen, sceptical and critical, or so strong in dis- 
belief that they would have reasoned themselves out of their 
senses, if they could : Ignorant Hindoos and Mussulmanns, who 
merely used their eyes and ears without an attempt at reflection, 
will all be found, by their separate and independent reports, 
bearing testimony to the same series of phenomena. As I might 
never succeed again, I endeavoured to make this case as perfect 
as possible in all its parts, by bringing the senses of different 
people to bear upon it, in all its stages ; and, I must say, that I 
cannot see any possible opening for mistake or deception. It 
has for many months been before the Indian public, who were 
invited to point out any source of error that may have escaped 
me, and no attempt has been made to disprove the facts, or 
explain them away, except by the easy and sweeping charge of 
imposition in the patient, and delusion in the observers; of the 
probability of which I shall now give the reader the means of 
judging. 

First Experiment. 

Madhab Kaura, a hog-dealer, condemned to seven years' im- 
prisonment, with labour on the roads, in irons, for wounding a 
man so as to endanger his life, has got a double Hydrocele. He 
was ordered to be taken from the jail to the charity hospital, to 
be operated upon. 

April 4th. The water was drawn off one side of the scrotum, 
and two drachms of the usual cor. sub. injection were thrown in. 
On feeling the pain from the injection, he threw his head over 
the back of the chair, and pressed his hands along the course 
of the spermatic cords, closing his eyelids firmly, and making the 
grimaces of a man in pain. Seeing him suffering in this way, I 
turned to the native sub-assistant surgeon, an eleve of the med- 
ical college, and asked him if he had ever seen Mesmerism ? He 



FIRST SURGICAL OPERATION. 41 

said that he had seen it tried at the medical college, but without 
effect. Upon which I remarked, "I have a great mind to try it 
on this man, but as I never saw it practised, and know it only 
from reading, I shall probably not succeed." The man continu- 
ing in the position described, I placed his knees between mine, 
and began to pass my hands slowly over his face, at the distance 
of an inch, and carried them down to the pit of his stomach. 
This was continued for half an hour before he was spoken to, 
and when questioned at the end of this time his answers were 
quite sensible and coherent. 

He was ordered to remain quiet, and the passes were con- 
tinued for a quarter of an hour longer still no sensible effect. 
Being now tired (thermometer 85,) I gave it up in despair, and 
declared it to be a failure. While I rested myself, the man 
remained quiet, and made fewer grimaces, and when ordered to 
open his eyes, he said there was smoke in the room. This 
roused my attention, and tempted me to persevere. I now 
breathed on his head, and carried my hands from the back of 
his head over his face and down to the epigastrium, where I 
pressed them united. The first time this was done, he took his 
hands off his groins and pressed them both firmly down upon 
mine ; drew a long breath, and said, "I was his father and mother, 
and had given him life again." The same process was persevered 
in, and in about an hour he began to gape, said he must sleep, 
that his senses were gone; and his replies became incoherent. 
He opened his eyes, when ordered, but said he only saw smoke, 
and could distinguish no one ; his eyes were quite lustreless, and 
the lids were opened heavily. All appearance of pain now dis- 
appeared ; his hands were crossed on his breast, instead of being 
pressed on the groins, and his countenance showed the most per- 
fect repose. He now took, no notice of our questions, and I 
called loudly on him by name without attracting any notice. 

I now pinched him, without disturbing him, and then asking 
for a pin in English, I desired my assistant to watch him nar- 
rowly, and drove it into the small of his back ; it produced no 
effect whatever; and my assistant repeated it at intervals in 
different places as uselessly. His back had continued to arch 
more backwards latterly, and he now was in a state of "opisthoto- 
nos ;" the nape of his neck resting on the sharp back of the chair, 
and his breech on the edge of it. Being now satisfied that we 
had got something extraordinary, I went over to the Kutcherry, 
and begged Mr. Russell, the judge, and Mr. Money, the collector, 



42 FIRST SURGICAL OPERATION. 

to come and see what had been done, as I wanted the presence 
of intelligent witnesses in what remained to do. We found him 
in the position I had left him in, and no hallooing in his ears could 
attract his attention. Fire was then applied to his knee, without 
his shrinking in the least; and liquor ammoniac, that brought 
tears into our eyes in a moment, was inhaled for some minutes 
without causing an eyelid to quiver. This seemed to have re- 
vived him a little, as he moved- his head shortly afterwards, and 
I asked him if he wanted to drink ; he only gaped in reply, and I 
took the opportunity to give, slowly, a mixture of ammonia so 
strong that I could not bear to taste it; this he drank like milk, 
and gaped for more. As the "experimentum crucis," I lifted 
his head, and placed his face, which was directed to the ceiling 
all this time, in front of a full light ; opened his eyes, one after 
the other, but without producing any effect upon the iris; his 
eyes were exactly an amaurotic person's, and all noticed their 
lack-lustre appearance. We were all now convinced that total 
insensibility of all the senses existed, and I ordered him to be 
placed on a mattrass on the floor, and not to be disturbed till I 
returned. It was now I o'clock, the process having commenced 
at ii A. M. 

I returned at 3 o'clock, and was vexed to find that he had 
awoke, and been carried back -to the jail hospital. The native 
doctor of the jail had come in; and on hearing that the Sahibs 
could not awake the patient, he set about doing so, and succeeded 
by throwing water on his face, &c. I again went to Messrs. 
Russell and Money, and requested them to accompany me to 
the jail, to be present when he was interrogated regarding his 
reminiscences ; and we put down a series of questions to be put 
to him, at once, and without explanation. We found him looking 
well, with a lively expression of face, and the following questions 
were put to him ; his answers being taken down at the same 
time : 

"How do you feel?" 

"Very well." 

"Any pain in the throat, or elsewhere?" 

"A little uneasiness in the throat, no pain anywhere else." 

"What has happened to you to-day ?" 

"I went in the morning to the Imbarah Hospital, to get the 
water taken out of my scrotum." 



QUESTIONS PUT TO PATIENT. 43 

"Was the water drawn off?" 

"Yes." 

"What do you remember after the operation?" 

"I went to sleep soon after, and remember nothing else." 

"Did you eat or drink after the operation ?" 

"I felt thirsty, but got nothing to drink till Kurreem Ali, the 
native doctor, awoke me." 

"Did any body prick, or burn you?" 

"No, no." 

"Did you smell anything disagreeable?" 

"No." 

"Were you happy when asleep ?" 

"Very." 

"Did you hear anything when you were asleep?" 

"I heard voices, but did not understand them." 

"Did you see any gentleman in the hospital but me?" 

"No." 

"Did you feel any pain in the scrotum after going to sleep?" 

"I felt none till I awoke." 

"Any pain in that part now ?" 

"A very little." 

"How many motions have you had to-day?" (he was suffer- 
ing from chronic diarrhoea.) 

"Four, before going to the hospital, none since; belly is 
much easier than it has been for some time." 

Having answered all these questions readily and frankly, he 
began to cry, thinking it was some kind of judicial investigation, 
I suppose. 

"The above is an exact relation of what took place in our 
presence, and we are thoroughly convinced that there was a com- 
plete suspension of sensibility to external impressions of the most 
painful kind. 

(Signed) F. W. RUSSELL. 

D. J. MONEY. 
BUDDEN CRUNDER CHOWDAREE, 

Sub-Assistant Surgeon." 

April 5th. There is less than the usual inflammation, and 
he makes no complaint. I intend to operate on the other side in 
a few days, mesmerizing him first, if possible, and have invited 
many persons to be present. 



44 SECOND EXPERIMENT. 

Second Experiment. 

April 6th. n o'clock, A. M. The inflammation has become 
high during last night ; the part is hot, and excessively tender ; 
the lightest touch causes great pain. Skin hot; pulse quick. I 
could not resist the temptation of satisfying myself still further, 
and relieve him at the same time. So, turning to the native doc- 
tors, I said that I would try the "Belatee Muntur" (the Europe 
charm,) and began the process as before; he lying in bed. In 
ten minutes the mesmeric haze (smoke he always calls it) was 
produced. After half an hour he still complained of the pain in 
the inflamed part, and could not bear its being touched ; in three- 
quarters of an hour the coma was established, and I squeezed the 
inflamed part with no more effect than if it had been a bladder. 
Having business to attend to in Chandernagore, six miles off, 
I called, in passing, on the Rev. Mr. Fisher, and said that he 
might now satisfy himself by going to the hospital in my absence ; 
and that, except mesmeric means, he was at liberty to use every 
possible means to awake him, or make him feel. Here I have 
the pleasure to introduce a report of the proceedings of Mr. 
Fisher and Mr. Money while I was at Chandernagore : 

"To J. Esdaile, Esq. 

"My Dear Sir, I beg to certify that I twice saw the native 
whom you had put into a mesmeric trance, or state of catalepsy, 
and from the successful application of different tests I have no 
hesitation in stating, should my statement add weight to your 
own testimony, or be of any service to the cause of the imper- 
fectly known, and hitherto unfairly treated, science of Mesmer- 
ism, that the individual in question was in that state entirely 
insensible of pain, and that I believe, if you had cut his leg off, 
he would not have felt it. I saw, when I was in England, both 
publicly and in private, many cases of Mesmerism accompanied 
by unnatural and wonderful phenomena, without being con- 
vinced. But your case is one so free from all possibility of sus- 
picion, that to have doubted it, one might as well have doubted 
his own existence. Yours truly, 

"D. J. MONEY. 

"Hooghly, gth April, 1845." 

"I have only to add to the above, that I was present upon the 
last occasion referred to by Mr. Money, and fully concur with 
him in thinking that the patient, during the Mesmeric trance, 



REPORT OF KURREEM ALI KHAN. 45 

was totally insensible to pain. Indeed, all the senses appeared 
to be unnaturally suspended from any manifestation of their ordi- 
nary operations, and every available test was tried in vain. Dr. 
Esdaile upon this occasion was absent at Chandernagore, having 
previously put the patient into the trance. 

"F. FISHER." 

Returned to the hospital at 3 o'clock, and found him lying 
just as I had left him. Awoke him in a few minutes, by rapid 
transverse passes, blowing in his face, and giving water to drink. 
Is free of pain, and still desires to sleep ; says his head turns. 

Translation of a Report from Kurreem All Khan, native doctor, 
of -what he saw and heard in the Jail Hospital, on the 6th 
'April, 1845. 

"At II o'clock, A. M., the patient, Madhab Kaura, was in a 
fever, and there was an acute pain in the scrotum. The worthy 
Dr. Sahib (may he ever prosper) came to the hospital, and began 
to do something to him. When the experiment was going on, 
Madhab was asked, 

"What do you see?" 

"I cannot see clearly; something like smoke is before my 
eyes." 

"Do you see the doors ?" 

"No, nothing but smoke." 

"Do you see Dr. Sahib?" 

"No, I see nobody, but perceive some one is talking near me." 

"Is there any pain in your body?" 

"Yes, breathing causes pain in the belly." 

"Is there pain in the scrotum ?" 

"Yes, as acute as ever." 

"How do you feel now?" 

"I feel cold and sleepy." 

After the Doctor Sahib had tried for nearly three-quarters of 
an hour, he fell into a deep sleep, and there seemed to be no pain 
in the scrotum ; he slept so sound, that even the pricking of his 
body with a pin did not restore his senses, or awake him. Before, 
a touch of the scrotum was painful, but after he was asleep, even 
pricking it caused no pain whatever. 

He continued in this state for three hours, when, the Dr. 
Sahib calling him aloud twice or thrice, he came to his senses, 
and opened his eyes. He asked for water, which he drank, and, 
feeling cold, covered himself." 



46 REPORT OF NOBOO. 

Translation of a Report from Noboo, native doctor, of what he 
saw and heard in the Jail Hospital, on the 6th April, 1845. 

"On the morning of the 6th of April, I went to the hospital, 
and found the body of Madhab Kaura hot and feverish, and he 
felt a great pain in the scrotum. 

At ii o'clock, Dr. Esdaile, the civil doctor, came and made 
some operations on the body : something I do not know. While 
the operation was going on, the patient was asked if he could 
see plainly, but said no. When asked if he could see any one, 
he answered, that he could see no one, but knew by the sounds 
rhat some people were there. 

Again he was asked if he felt any pain ; he said, that he felt 
a severe pain in the belly, on breathing, and also in the scrotum, 
and felt very cold. Soon afterwards he became senseless. 

At 2 o'clock p. M. the Rev. Mr. Fisher and Mr. Money came 
to the hospital, and tried to bring him to his senses by pricking 
him with a pin, putting fire on his hand, and beating a gong in 
his ear, but all proved ineffectual." 

I forgot to note down what these reports notice; his com- 
plaining of feeling cold soon after the process began ; and that 
when I left him the temperature of his body was natural. 

On these two occasions, the effects were witnessed by all the 
patients and hangers-on in and about both hospitals. 

April 7th. Has had a good night, is a little feverish ; pain in 
the scrotum much less. He now complains, for the first time, of 
pain in the places where he was pricked and burned. 

This makes one ashamed of incredulity, and I will never put 
a patient to the "question" in this way again. It is only excusa- 
ble for the first time, when we can hardly believe the evidence of 
our senses. 

Third Experiment. 

April nth. Took the sub-assistant surgeon with me to-day 
to the Jail Hospital, and desired him to watch the time taken to 
produce the different effects. There is still considerable pain in 
the side operated upon. Pulse regular, 60; skin warm. At n 
o'clock A. M. I seated him on the floor with his back against the 
wall ; placed myself before him on a stool, and proceeded pretty 
much as before. The process, in one particular, was varied; I 
leaned my elbows upon my knees, placed my mouth over the 
back of my joined hands, and breathed along their upper surface; 
the points of my fingers being pointed steadily at his eyes, nose, 



THIRD EXPERIMENT. 47 

*/ 

and forehead, in succession. This seemed to be very effectual, 
and was done with the idea of concentrating the mesmeric influ- 
ence of the whole body into one conductor. It was curious to 
observe that he had begun to think on the subject, and was ob- 
serving the effects for himself, and testing his senses as we 
proceeded. After manipulating for a few minutes, he opened his 
eyes, looked sharply and minutely about him, and being asked 
it he saw quite well, he said, "Oh, yes." In a minute or two he 
repeated his inspection, and answered again, that he saw quite 
distinctly; in seven minutes he again looked about him, seemed 
surprised, and said he only saw "smoke." 

In fifteen minutes he was pinched; and when asked if any 
one was pinching him, he replied that he could not tell, as I 
might now cut a piece out of his body without his feeling it. I 
now tried for an abnormal mental manifestation; certainly not 
expecting to be gratified. I asked, "What will cure your com- 
plaint?" 

"You know best." 

"Has the Baboo any complaint ?" 

"How should I know?" 

I understood this as a hint to attend to the business in hand, 
the body, and therefore proceeded to induce the mesmeric coma 
as quickly as possible; and succeeded in twenty minutes from 
the commencement. I then said to the sub-assistant surgeon that 
I would operate upon him in this state, if I could find some of 
the European gentlemen to be witnesses. On going to Chin- 
surah, two miles off. I fortunately found a considerable party, 
consisting of the Baron Law de Clapernou, Governor of Chan- 
dernagore, Mr. Russell, the judge, Mr. Wauchope, the magis- 
trate, J. St. Pourcain, Esq., Mr. Clint, Principal of Hooghly Col- 
lege, and Mr. Clermont, head master of the Lower School ; who 
all accompanied me back to the hospital. The man had fallen 
down, and was lying on his back. The large gong of the jail was 
brought, and struck violently within a few inches of 'his ear, 
with no effect. I then pierced the scrotum, and threw in the 
injection, without any one being sensible of the smallest move- 
ment in his face or body. His limbs were quite flexible ; but on 
holding one of his legs in my hand for a few seconds, it grad- 
ually became quite rigid, and we could not bend it again; the 
same occurred in the other leg. The arms were supple, and lay 
in any position into which they were thrown; and when the 
fore-arm was bent upon the humerus, and then let go, it fell 



4 THIRD EXPERIMENT. 

upwards, or downwards, instantly. But on placing my united 
fingers over the ends of his, the arm remained fixed at a right 
angle in the air, and swayed to and fro, according to my move- 
ments. The insensibility of the iris was also tested, and proved. 

6 o'clock, p. M. Still sleeps; most complete relaxation of all 
the limbs now exists. The legs and arms can be tossed about in 
every direction, and where they fall there they lie. Being curious 
to ascertain the effect of the artificial state on the natural process 
of inflammation, I did not awake him, but saw that the part was 
as flaccid as when the water was just withdrawn. 

April I2th. He awoke at 12 o'clock last night, spontaneously. 
Recollects nothing after going to sleep ; sees the water is gone, 
knows not how; supposes the Dr. Sahib did it. The testicle is 
considerably enlarged to-day; there is little pain, and it did not 
swell till after he awoke. He has had chronic diarrhoea for some 
time; four and five motions a day, but has had none since yes- 
terday forenoon till this morning. Natural, artificial, and dis- 
eased actions have therefore been all equally arrested for the 
last thirteen hours; a practical fact of the utmost importance, 
which will not be lost sight of by myself, or others, I hope. What 
a blessed prospect this opens to sufferers who may be sensible 
to the Mesmeric influence! In time we may hope to discover 
who they are, by detecting the laws which regulate this power 
of Nature, and thereby save ourselves much trouble and disap- 
pointment. In the mean time let us accumulate facts, as the seed 
for a correct theory hereafter. Although I should never succeed 
again, I will in future think, speak, and write of Mesmerism as 
being as much a reality as the principle of gravitation, or the 
properties of opium. For, under all the circumstances, I cannot 
but consider these to be unexceptionable facts; and if I should 
not again be able to elicit them, it would not shake my belief in 
the existence of Mesmerism; I should only conclude that the 
failure arose from my ignorance of the conditions required by 
Nature, or from some personal disqualification. The rarity of 
the occurrence would not make it less a reality; and to deny a 
fact because it has been seldom witnessed, would be as reasonable 
as to doubt the existence of comets because they are rare appear- 
ances. 

Great weight is very justly attached to first experiments in 
any new subject of investigation, for these are oiten a voluntary 
and unexpected evolution of the powers of nature ; and when the 
results surprise the experimenter even, we feel confident that he 






THIRD EXPERIMENT. 4Q 

only relates what he actually saw, and that he is not seduced, 
by previous theory and prepossession of mind, to interpret ap- 
pearances in support of a foregone conclusion. In making. these 
experiments, I was in the situation of a chemist, who has heard 
that a new elementary substance had been discovered by a cer- 
tain process, and who thereupon sets his apparatus to work in 
the way prescribed, and is rewarded by obtaining the same results 
as the first discoverer. 

Besides the general results, I noted in this case the following 
particulars as facts, which determined the course of my future 
proceedings. 

I was sure that there could be no imagination at work in the 
matter. 

That there was no consent between the parties. 

No mental sympathy. 

That the patient's eyes need not be open. 

I therefore came to the conclusion, that in this instance, the 
influence must have been of a purely physical description, and 
on this supposition I conducted my subsequent experiments ; 
with what success will be shortly seen. 



CHAPTER III. 

Mesmerism the same in India and in Europe. Examples of Mes- 
meric Sleep. Sealing of the Eyes. Altered Sensibility. 
Temporary Paralysis. Muscular Rigidity. Insensibility to 
Pain. Exaltation of particular Organs. Convulsions. De- 
lirium. Injustice done to the Memory of the first Mesmer- 
ists. Every available Evidence here given. Imposture mor- 
ally and physically impossible. Mode of Proceeding. 
Mesmeric and Non-Mesmeric Operations contrasted. Phy- 
siological Demonstration of the Impossibility of Imposture. 

HAVING, by the experiments described in the last chapter, 
satisfied myself of the existence of the Mesmeric power, I lost 
no time in applying it to practical purposes. The effects pro- 
duced were nearly as various as the different persons acted upon, 
and corresponded perfectly with the appearances observed in 
Europe ; and when the public see the same effects following like 
causes on the banks of the Thames, and the Seine, the Rhine, and 
the Hooghly; I presume it will conclude, that the same agent is 
at work, provided the same evidence, in support of matters of 
fact, is received for hot and cold climates, and it is not supposed 
that the truth is affected by degrees of latitude. In a late number 
of the "British and Foreign Medical Review," the reviewer gives 
a summary of the Mesmeric symptoms as known to himself, and 
recorded by various writers on Mesmerism, and acknowledges a 
perfect accord in all the accounts of the bodily phenomena. The 
following extract will place these appearances succinctly before 
my readers, and I beg them to compare my account of Mesmer- 
ism in Bengal with this statement of its effects in Europe, and 
then say whether the identity of the thing in the east and west 
is not established : 

"Sometimes, however, there is said to supervene a state of 
coma; at others, exaltation, depression, or some anomalous 
modification of sensibility; and occasionally, a state somewhat 
approaching to that of reverie, wherein the individual, although 
conscious, feels incapable of independent exertion, and spell- 
bound, as it were, to a particular train of thought or feeling. 
The occurrence of convulsive action, and of muscular rigidity, 

5 



MESMERISM DESCRIBED. 51 

is described as taking place in some cases to a greater or less 
extent. These results are said to constitute the simpler phenom- 
ena of Mesmerism. We shall illustrate them by some extracts 
from accredited writers upon the subject. 

"In this peculiar state of sleep, the surface of the body is 
sometimes acutely sensible, but more frequently the sense of 
feeling is absolutely annihilated. The jaws are firmly locked, 
and resist every effort to wrench them open ; the joints are often 
rigid, and the limbs inflexible ; and not only is the sense of feel- 
ing, but the senses of smell, hearing, and sight also, are so 
deadened to all external impressions, that no pungent odour, loud 
report, or glare of light, can excite them in the slightest degree. 
The body may be pricked, pinched, lacerated, or burnt; fumes 
of concentrated liquid ammonia may be passed up the nostrils; 
the loudest reports suddenly made close upon the ear; dazzling 
and intense light may be thrown upon the pupil of the eye ; yet so 
profound is the physical state of lethargy, that the sleeper will 
remain undisturbed and insensible to tortures, which in the wak- 
ing state, would be intolerable." (Dupotet, p. 36.) 

The above concise sketch corresponds very closely with what 
is laid down in other works of Mesmeric repute. A few brief 
quotations, exhibiting this correspondence, we subjoin. The 
first we take from Deleuze's Practical Instructions, wherein he 
states that "the magnetised feels the necessity of closing the 
eyes ; his eyes are so sealed that he cannot open them ; he experi- 
ences a calm, a feeling of comfort; he becomes drowsy; he is 
put to sleep." Teste, another writer of distinction, speaking of 
the physical insensibility, says, "it exists, not only in the skin, 
but in the subcutaneous tissues, in the muscles, and even in the 
nervous ramifications." Dr. Passavant of Frankfort, an author 
often referred to, avers as follows: "As an especial effect of 
the power of animal magnetism, results the magnetic sleep. This 
is mostly deeper than ordinary sleep, the mediation of the senses 
is yet more decidedly suspended. The sensibility can so have 
vanished in a moment, that the loudest sound, the brightest light, 
even bodily injuries, are not perceived in this sleep." Indeed, all 
the authorities seem to coincide very much in their accounts, and, 
this we say, after referring to Chenevix, Elliotson, Townshend, 
Gauthier, Foissac, and others." 

1 shall now present to the reader illustrations of all the sin- 
gular states of the system described above, and drawn from my 
practice here. 






52 CASES OF MESMERISM. 

Mesmeric Sleep. This simulates, perfectly, sound natural 
sleep, and is more refreshing, even if it has been resorted to for 
soothing pain, or disturbance of the system, and can be had 
recourse to when it would be improper or useless to administer 
common narcotics; over which it has the advantage of not in- 
ducing a disagreeable constitutional derangement, after the spe- 
cific influence has ceased. The restorative powers of mesmeric 
sleep seem to depend upon an actual infusion of nervous vigour 
into the body, and, when induced as a remedial agent, this may 
account for its superiority over common sleep. 

April 7th. Janokee-Sing, a hardy looking peon; the whole 
of the scrotum is sloughing, from the application of some acrid 
leaves, and the pain is most intense. 

April 1 5th. The whole scrotum has sloughed off; has not 
slept since coming to hospital. The compounder, a healthy, in- 
telligent Hindoo, succeeded in putting him to sleep to-day, in half 
an hour. He awoke when pinched, or called upon by name, but 
instantly fell asleep again. 

April i6th. Has slept, almost without interruption, from n 
o'clock A. M. yesterday till 7 o'clock this morning, the only sleep 
he has had since he was burned. 

April i Qth. He has been mesmerised daily, and sleeps the 
greater part of his time; to mesmerise him, becomes more easy 
every day ; and a few minutes now suffice to overcome him. 

April 2Oth. Kowsoalla; aged forty, a peasant woman. I 
subdued her to-day, for the first time, in ten minutes ; she awoke 
when called upon, but, in a second, fell asleep again. The limbs 
are quite loose, but when I let them remain for a moment in any 
new position, they become rigid, and require to be dragged into 
a new attitude; the muscles yield precisely like lead, without a 
vestige of re-action, when the bending force is removed. 

April 25th. She can now be mesmerised in a minute. 

May 3rd. Bissumber Chowdry: has had retention of urine 
for three days; the bladder is prominent at the navel, and no 
instrument can be introduced. Ordered to lie in the easiest pos- 
ture, and to be put to sleep, if possible. 

May 4th. He slept for two hours yesterday, and voided his 
urine freely, when he awoke. 

May 4th. Deenoo, a prisoner; convalescent from cholera, is 
tormented with incessant hiccough for the last twenty-four hours. 
Opii Grs. ii. 
Con feet. Arom. Grs. x. 



ALTERED SENSIBILITY. 53 

If this does not check it, a blister to be applied over the dia- 
phragm. 

May 5th. No better To be mesmerised. I returned after 
three hours, and found him asleep awoke him : has no hiccough. 

May nth. No return of the hiccough. 

Sealing of the eyes. The quivering of the eyelids, and their 
subsequent spasmodic closure, is one of the most specific mes- 
meric symptoms. 

June 27th. The woman Alunga complains of considerable 
pain from the extension of her arm yesterday, and the nerve at 
the elbow is very tender. I passed my fingers along the course 
of the nerve for a few minutes, which removed the pain ; I then 
held my fingers before her eyes, and in a few seconds she fell 
into my arms quite insensible. I soon after awoke her, and she 
sat up conversing with us as usual, but could not possibly open 
her eyes; when ordered to do so, she was obliged to pull the 
eyelids asunder with her fingers ; but they would not remain 
open, and the difficulty was only removed by my rubbing, and 
blowing in her eyes. I have shown this peculiarity, in numerous 
cases, to great numbers of persons. 

Altered sensibility. Rajah , an intelligent Hindoo gen- 
tleman, who has received an English education, and speaks our 
language perfectly well, wished to be operated on for hydrocele, 
while in the mesmeric trance. After half an hour's manipulating, 
I extended his arm, and it took a fix in any position I -put it: 
it was put perpendicular into the air, and remained motionless 
for ten minutes ; on depressing it again, it bent like lead, in the 
true cataleptic fashion. Having replaced his arm at his side, 
I began to open his dress, when he awoke with a violent start, 
and instantly said that he had no feeling in his arm ; that it was 
very cold, which we all felt, and on putting a thermometer into 
his hand, we found it to be two degrees colder than the other. 
He remembered my raising his arm, and felt me let go my hold 
of his thumb, but what became of his arm after that, he could 
not tell he imagined it was lost. Having lately felt the sensa- 
tion of galvanism, he said, that he felt slight shocks in his skin 
during the process, exactly like what he had experienced from 
galvanism. I have observed this in other patients. 

Temporary paralysis of muscles. Madub, a shopkeeper. This 
man was operated on for hydrocele, when in the trance, without 
feeling it, and ever since has been very easily affected; I have, 
therefore, made him the subject of several experiments. In a 



54 CASES OF MESMERISM. 

minute or two, his eyelids begin to quiver, then slowly close, 
opening heavily at short intervals, till at last they remain closed 
altogether. If at this stage he is ordered to open his eyes, the 
effort to do so only strains the eyelids, which appear to be glued 
together, and he says it is impossible to separate them. Being 
desired to help himself with his fingers, he rubs his eyes vio- 
lently, and then forcibly separates the eye-lids, when nothing but 
the white of the eye is seen ; the cornea being turned up to the 
roof of the orbit. While rubbing his eyes, I sometimes seize his 
hands and extend his arms horizontally on either side; the arms 
become fixed in a moment, and when desired to apply his hands 
to his eyes now, he says that he cannot, that he does not know 
where his arms are. If I blow on one arm, or impel a current 
of air against it by fanning, the rigidity disappears, and he uses 
his arm as desired, but the other continues catalepsed and use- 
less, till relieved in the same way. When I urge him to use both 
arms, he says he has only one, and on being desired to seek for 
the other, he passes the flexible arm across his body, and gropes 
at the other side for it, but soon gives up the search, saying, it 
is not there: being desired to look for it higher up, he carries 
his hand up the opposite side till he reaches the catalepsed arm, 
and tries in vain to depress it ; the arm remains horizontally ex- 
tended, and resists all his efforts. 

Muscular rigidity. Is usually attendant on mesmeric coma, 
of which numerous instances will be given, when treating of the 
medical part of the subject. My first patient, by repeated experi- 
ments, became excessively sensitive, and affords a good specimen 
of mesmeric catalepsy. 

May I3th. Madub Kaura; this man can be catalepsed in less 
than a minute ; and the effects are passing strange. If, when he 
is standing, I point my fingers at him for a few seconds, his eye- 
lids immediately droop, his arms fall by their mere weight to his 
sides ; his whole body begins to tremble, owing to the incipient 
loss of command over the muscular system ; and, if not supported, 
he would fall down in a heap. But give him a moment's support, 
and he becomes as rigid as a statue, and if the centre of gravity 
is well poised he will remain in any posture he is put into, and 
that for a longer time than I have waited to see. The muscles 
must be dragged out of the fixed position they have assumed, 
and allowed a moment to contract in a new attitude, out of the 
perpendicular ; for if suddenly pushed, he goes down, head fore- 
most, like a statue from its pedestal, and his life is endangered. 



CONVULSIONS. DELIRIUM. 55 

However inconvenient, or grotesque, the position may be, he is 
equally well satisfied, and continues to sleep, quite comfortably, 
with his heels behind his neck; and if his forehead is placed 
against the wall at an acute angle, he remains sticking out from 
it, like a buttress, longer than I have ascertained. 

Insensibility to pain. This will be copiously illustrated in my 
numerous surgical operations. 

Somnambulism. Will have a chapter to itself, and need not 
be now introduced. 

Exaltation of particular organs, convulsions, delirium. 
Instances of all these will occur in the course of this work, 
and be found to correspond with the irregularities observed in 
Europe ; so that the general rule, and its exceptions, will be recog- 
nised to be the same in the eastern and the western hemispheres ; 
thereby proving the universality of the truths declared by many 
honest and independent men, during the last sixty years, and for 
propounding which they were laughed at, and scorned. 

Apart from the personal gratification of being admitted to see 
the secret processes of nature's workshop, and the advantages 
of being able to imitate her processes, for the alleviation and 
removal of human suffering; it will be a great satisfaction to 
me, if any evidence and labours should assist in raising the dis- 
honoured dead into the public consideration and respect, due to 
them as benefactors of mankind, and in exciting a regret that 
wisdom called so long in the streets, without any one regarding 
her. 

I now know (and I deplore my long ignorance) that the bat- 
tle was fought, and won, before I was born, by the truthful and 
benevolent Puysegur, Deleuze, and their companions, and that 
I, under tHe tropics, am only again demonstrating what they, on 
the banks of the Seine, had long ago established. The people of 
the continent have been familiar with both the good and evil of 
Mesmerism for the last thirty years, while we in England are 
only now giving an unwilling ear to the expounders of a law 
of nature, which is as much a part of the human constitution as 
the processes of thought and digestion. It is to be hoped that, 
on this subject, our neighbours will no longer have reason to 
reproach our insular ignorance and presumption, and that if Mes- 
merism is rejected by the English public, it will be after study 
and experiment, and not from prejudice and passion. 

Knowing the new and wonderful nature of the subject, and 
that the public was ill prepared to receive the naked truth on 



56 IRREFRAGABLE EVIDENCE 

individual testimony, I have called in all the available evidence 
on the spot; and the facts related by me will be found to be 
vouched for by disinterested, honourable, and intelligent gentle- 
men, both residents and strangers; and if there is not a cloud 
of European witnesses, it is simply because no more exist in this 
neighbourhood. I would have preferred the plain of Calcutta 
for my theatre, and all the inhabitants for spectators, if it had 
been possible. All I have done, or may hereafter do, has been 
done, and shall be done, in open day, and every case related has 
had from half a dozen to hundreds of witnesses. The patients 
are on the spot, or can easily be found, and a host of eye-witnesses 
are ready for any one who may take the trouble to investigate the 
matter on the spot. 

Taking these general circumstances into account, I might 
leave the cases to be adduced to speak for themselves,, but I hope 
to be excused for pointing out some particulars which will, I 
trust, demonstrate that imposture, in the generality of my cases, 
is morally and physically impossible. 

It is morally impossible that I could have taught my patients 
what I did not know ; for I knew not the existence of the diversi- 
fied symptoms they exhibited, till, day by day, I became a witness 
of their unexpected occurrence. I had never read a Mesmeric 
book, when I made my first experiment; and having succeeded 
in getting nature to speak, I determined to listen only to her for 
some time, and for months purposely refrained from reading on 
the subject, in order that my senses might not be predisposed to 
see things in any particular light, and that my judgment might 
be left unbiased by the opinions of others. My reason did not 
teach me to expect what, was presented to my senses ; but was 
gradually instructed by what I saw and did : and all that I know 
about Mesmerism has been acquired by reading the book of 
nature, without guide or interpreter. If I was ignorant of the 
subject, the peasants and coolies of Bengal must have been 
equally so, I presume. No rumour had gone abroad regarding 
the existence of such a power; Mesmerism had not become the 
village talk in Bengal, so as to enable some clever rogue to 
exhibit the phenomena of which he had heard: there was no 
type to imitate, therefore imitation, in the first instance, was im- 
possible. Be it observed also, that the cases did not happen 
among people in hospitals at the same time, but arose, day by 
day, among patients newly arrived from different parts of the 
country. The routine followed is this. A person presents himself 



OF THE TRUTH OF MESMERISM. 57 

before me for the first time, and I see he has a disease requiring 
an operation for its removal ; he is desired to go into another 
room (which is dark,) and repose himself after his journey, not 
a word being said about an operation, as this would cause a 
mental excitement, destructive to the mesmeric influence. One 
of my assistants follows him; seats himself (if unperceived, so 
much the better,) at the head of the bed ; and by using the process 
to be hereafter described, often reduces the patient to a state of 
coma by the end of my visit : I then do what is necessary, whether 
it be to take off, or straighten a limb, without his knowledge or 
consent. Now, supposing these poor ignorant people to be im- 
postors, whence comes their intimate knowledge of the mesmeric 
phenomena, from the quivering of an eye-lid onwards to insensi- 
bility to the most cruel tortures? If they are not what they seem 
to be, then are they heaven-born impostors, or have had super- 
natural instruction, on earth they could not have learned it. 

It may be said, that it is the taste of the coolies of Bengal to 
have themselves cut to pieces, and to have corrosive acids, and 
red-hot pokers applied to their sores, without showing a sign of 
life ; or that, knowing my hobby, they come from all quarters to 
be silently tormented, in order to please my Honour. Or we may 
be told, that the passive endurance of pain is no sign of the ab- 
sence of it, for the North American invites his enemy to tear him 
at the stake, and the Indian Fuqueer voluntarily torments himself. 

To do justice to this ingenious hypothesis, I shall present the 
reader with some examples of the way in which pain is borne by 
my patients, in the mesmeric and non-mesmeric condition of the 
body. 

June I2th. Lokee, a peasant woman, aged 60, has a tumour 
on the calf of the leg of nine years' standing; it is full of deep 
tilcerations and maggots. I tried to subdue her yesterday, but 
the pain did not allow her to get beyond common sleep. To-day, 
after much trouble, first by one person, and then another, she was 
entranced, and I cut out the tumour in the presence of Captain 
Elder, without her feeling it, and we left her sleeping. 

June 1 3th. She awoke three hours after the operation ; felt 
no pain on waking, and asked me to-day, who cut off the tumour? 

Oct. 24th. The woman Lokee has come back to hospital, with 
a return of the tumour, cut out in June last, to be mesmerised. 

Oct. 27th. She has been mesmerised daily, for two hours, 
but without effect. I therefore operated on her to-day, as we 
could spare no more time for her, others requiring equal atten- 



58 INSENSIBILITY TO PAIN 

tion. The poor old woman screamed miserably the whole time, 
crying, that I was murdering her ; and she continued in the great- 
est pain for hours afterwards. 

If the old woman shammed insensibility on the first occasion, 
why did she not do so on the second? She had had practice; 
every facility and encouragement were given her, and she knew 
what was wanted of her, and yet would not pretend to be asleep ! 

This perverse and inconsistent conduct appears to me to be 
easily accounted for, from the very fact of her being aware of 
what was wanted and intended to be done ; her anxiety to go to 
sleep neutralised her good intentions r-^excitement of mind being 
destructive of the mesmeric influence for the production of coma. 

August 1 3th. Dr. Finch freely applied muriatic acid (such 
as is furnished by the Company's dispensary) to a sore, covering 
all the right temple of the woman Gendo (who was mesmerised, 
in his presence, by one of my assistants,) without her showing 
the smallest degree of consciousness ; and it was with great diffi- 
culty I awoke her, after he had failed to do so. During the burn- 
ing with the acid, her pulse fell from 88 to 80, and her respira- 
tion, which was quite natural before she was mesmerised, became 
entirely diaphragmatic, and abdominal; the voluntary and semi- 
voluntary muscles of the chest being completely paralysed. 

August i8th. Dr. Bedford to-day asked permission to apply 
the acid to the woman Gendo's sore, when she was awake; and 
though I thought this most irrational scepticism (he having wit- 
nessed Dr. Finch's experiment) I consented, in order that it 
might not be said that I interfered to save my phenomena. He 
accordingly wetted the end of the glass stopper with the acid, 
and touched the sore with it, and the woman, for a few seconds, 
did not show any signs of acute pain. There could be no doubt 
about it, she was found out! The arch deceiver, having set a 
snare and delusion for me, was now laughing at my beard ; and 
I was not relieved from my thick-coming fancies by Dr. B. kindly 
suggesting, "that she was probably a very insensible person 
naturally." I was soon roused from my trance of bewilderment, 
however, by hearing the woman cry out, that "we had put pepper 
to her head !" and she sat up, showing signs of great pain ; imme- 
diately- after, she declared "her head was on fire," and got out of 
bed, walking about distractedly in great agony. I ordered her 
head to be bathed, and, as the best anodyne, threw her into the 
trance : the sore being surrounded by tubercles, which retarded its 
healing, I took the opportunity to pare them off; and to this she 



WHILE IN MESMERIC TRANCE. 59 

was perfectly indifferent. In half an hour, I awoke her with 
much difficulty, in order that Dr. B. might hear her first words, 
which were, that she knew nothing about what we were talking 
of, having even forgotten the burning ; an invasion of the waking 
by the sleeping state, which will be seen in another patient, when 
Mrs. Clermont's case is given. So that if Mesmerism did not 
protect this old woman, we have the curious fact of muriatic acid, 
applied in large quantities to a raw surface by Dr. Finch, acting 
as a direct anodyne and narcotic, calming at the same time the 
circulation, and revolutionising the respiration, while a drop in 
the hands of Dr. Bedford causes the greatest suffering and gen- 
eral excitement ! "Non nobis tantas componcrc lites." 

Oct. loth. Beppo Dass, a prisoner, was entranced to-day; 
in the presence of Dr. Roer, Mr. Bradbury, Major Riddell, Mr. 
Higgins, Mr. Muller, Mr. Graves, Messrs, Savigny, Mr. Bartlett ; 
and I operated on him for hydrocele. The injection was thrown 
in without his showing a vestige of feeling, and his arm, which 
I had placed in the air, on purpose, at the commencement, never 
moved, and had to be taken down after the operation ; this was 
the second operation performed on the man during the last fort- 
night; and on both occasions he slept for two hours afterwards, 
knew nothing of what had happened on waking, and felt no pain 
till the artificial inflammation commenced at 9 o'clock at night ; 
the operation having been performed at noon. This has been 
called a painless operation. 

"They laugh at scars who never felt a wound," 

and I shall therefore transcribe a passage from a friend's letter, 
written shortly after the publication of my first case. 

"When I was first operated on, some years ago, for hydrocele, 
and the injection was thrown up, the pain was like a coir rope, 
round my loins, being pulled at each end by some persons as hard 
as they could ; and the perspiration ran down my head as if some 
one was sprinkling water on my hair; so this is what you have 
laid dormant by your Mesmerism." 

But it is for the sequel of this case, that I here quote it, and 
in order to show the man's behaviour in his natural and artificial 
states. On the day after the operation, the inflammation is 
usually high, and from the sensitive nature of the parts, pressure 
is excessively painful. Now, on both occasions, I have requested 
numerous gentlemen to press the part, and ascertain if it was 
really painful: "a question not to be asked," was always their 



60 MESMERIC FACTS. 

reply. The man was then entranced, and the experiment repeated 
by the same persons, when he allowed the part to be pressed as 
if it was a bottle: he was then awakened, and on being now 
pressed, showed all the signs of instant and acute pain. 

The cases above cited, along with, if I may use the expres- 
sion, very numerous painless severe surgical operations, might 
be safely adduced as demonstrations of the physical impossibility 
of imposture ; but I shall now submit to the physiologist a series 
of facts which, to him, will be more convincing than all the cut- 
ting, tearing, and lacerating we can invent. For although we 
may pretty certainly conclude, that men will not exhibit insen- 
sibility to torture, without some adequate object to be gained, 
yet the incentive may escape our observation, or be unintelligible 
to us. It is, therefore, desirable to discover something which 
it was impossible for a man in a natural condition to do, under 
the influence of any passion, or under the temptation of the 
highest bribe. To perform the following feats, will, I imagine, 
be found above the power of the most accomplished impostor: 
to keep the pupils dilated, without the use of drugs, in passing 
from darkness into sunshine, to lower the pulse at pleasure, 
to breathe only by the diaphragm, for hours, and diminish the 
temperature of the body, at will. The dilation and insensibility 
of the pupil are recorded in my first case, and have since been 
frequently seen. 

June nth. Kaloo, a Fuqueer, has an excrescence, larger than 
a man's fist, at the end of his penis, and the body of the organ is 
also much enlarged. I entranced him in a few minutes, on the 
first trial, and in the presence of Major Riddell, Captain Ander- 
son, Mr. Bennett, and Mr. Jackson, dissected out the organ, but 
was obliged to sacrifice the glans, as it was a cartilaginous degen- 
eration of all the structures of the part : the man did not awake 
till I was amputating the organ, after a long dissection. Won- 
derful to say, he relapsed into the trance again in a few minutes, 
and remained for twenty minutes, quite rigid, and insensible, with 
his eyes wide open, and the pupils dilated, in a full noonday light, 
ito which they were wholly insensible. This is not the only in- 
stance in which the eyes have been wide open during the trance, 
and would not remain shut when I closed them, showing, I con- 
ceive, the absolute extinction of muscular power. In most cases 
the muscles of the eyeball continue to act involuntarily, after the 
rest of the muscular system has gone to rest, and on opening the 
eyelids, the ball of the eye is seen rolling round the orbit, like an 



MESMERIC FACTS. 6l 

agitated magnetic needle. Under the most intense degree of the 
influence, the msucles of the eye, and iris, also lose their con- 
tractibility, and the eye becomes as motionless and insensible to 
light as that of a dead man. That the second trance was not a 
faint, we all satisfied ourselves, not only from the general rigidity 
.of the body, but from the regular natural pulse. 

Sept. 1 7th. In the presence of the Reverend Mr. Fisher and 
Dr. Heathcote, I to-day operated for cataract on a man while in 
the mesmeric trance. The pupil was so much dilated that Dr. H. 
asked if belladonna had been applied? After depressing the lens, 
and withdrawing the needle, the lens rose again, and such was 
the continued dilation of the pupil, that it passed into the anterior 
chamber, and came in contact with the cornea; the man being 
insensible all the time. 

Sept. 1 8th. To-day, in the presence of the Reverend Mr. 
Bradbury, -I entranced a man for the first time, in the hope of 
subduing an inflammation of one eye, by removing all pain and 
irritation, and thereby allowing the restorative powers of nature 
to act undisturbed ; he was entranced sitting on a stool, in order 
to lessen the flow of blood to the head. We counted his pulse 
beforehand ; it was 100 in the minute ; respiration 20 ; thoracic 
movement natural ; temperature higher than usual. After 20 
minutes, his pulse had sunk to 70, his respiration to 18, and, by 
comparing his chest with that of a man lying alongside of him, 
we ascertained that there was not a vestige of thoracic movement. 
All above the diphragm was as fixed as the trunk of a statue, 
and the temperature of his body had become lower than natural. 

If these tests are not considered an "experimentum cmcis," 
I am at a loss to imagine what will be reckoned more satisfactory 
by the human physiologist. It appears to me, that when we see 
the involuntary organs of the body revolutionised, it is absurd 
to attribute it to the effect of the will. 



CHAPTER IV. 

Somnambulism. Definition. Singular Introduction to it. SuS- 
pected Child-Stealing by its Means. First Experiment in 
making a Somnambulist. Trial of Mesmeric Skill in a Court 
of Justice. Men stolen out of Court. Truth of Mesmerism 
publicly proved. Natural Sleep, and its Varieties, can be 
imitated by Artificial Means. Mesmeric Sleep. Mesmeric 
Day-marc. Mesmeric Sleep-walking. Mesmeric Sleep-wak- 
ing. Mesmeric Dreaming. How to make Somnambulists. 
Imitative Stage of Somnambulism. Communicative Stage of 
Somnambulism. Mesmeric Catalepsy. Mesmeric Coma. 
Natural Clairvoyance. Mesmeric Clairvoyance. Nature of 
the Mesmeric Power. Illustrative Examples. 

BEFORE submitting to the reader the results of my observa- 
tions on somnambulism, I beg leave to prefix the following sum- 
mary of the appearances recognised as distinctive of the som- 
nambulistic state in Europe. It is given in the British and 
Foreign Medical Review, already quoted : "Somnambulism is 
a condition in which certain senses and faculties are suppressed, 
or rendered thoroughly impassive, whilst others prevail in most 
unwonted exaltation ; in which an individual, though asleep, feels 
and acts most energetically, holding an anomalous species of com- 
munication with the external world, awake to objects of atten- 
tion, and most profoundly torpid to things at the time indifferent ; 
a condition respecting which, most commonly, the patient on 
awaking retains no recollection; but, on any relapse into which 
a train of thought and feeling related to, and associated with, 
the antecedent paroxysm, will very often be developed." 

I intended to have reserved this branch of the subject till I 
had examined it in all its purely medical bearings; but I was 
forced, by most extraordinary circumstances, to enter prematurely 
into this difficult and obscure field of experiment, in order to 
enable me to give my evidence in a court of justice; and in de- 
scribing my experiments, I hope it will be borne in mind, that I 
had never seen a somnambulist, or thought of making one, up 
to this date. My first essay was as extemporaneous and accidental 

62 



SOMNAMBULISM. 63 

as the production ol mesmeric coma, on the first occasion I tried 
to mesmerise : the facts are simply these. 

June 1 7th. About a fortnight ago, I was driving through 
Hooghly Bazaar, and saw a crowd collected before the police 
office. On asking what was the matter, I was told that a man 
had been apprehended in the act of stealing a boy, and that the 
parties were inside the guard-house. Upon hearing this, I 
entered the house, and found a boy of ten or twelve years old, 
sitting on the lap of a man who was said to have rescued him. 
The boy was half stupid, and one of his eyes was swollen; I 
therefore ordered him to be taken to the hospital. The culprit 
was then shown to me. He said he was a barber ; and a bundle 
containing his instruments of trade, was produced ; this I care- 
fully examined, but only found the usual barber's tools. The 
boy soon recovered his senses, and told me, readily and con- 
sistently, the following tale, which I again heard him repeat 
before the magistrate, in a different sequence, but without a tittle 
of variation. He said, that early in the morning he went into a 
field close to a house, and that shortly after, a strange man left 
the road, and came up to him: as soon as he was near him, he 
began to mutter charms, and then took hold of his hand ; very 
soon after, he passed his hand across his eyes, and that thereupon 
he lost his senses, and only recollected that the man led him away, 
but without force, and that he felt compelled to follow him. When 
he came to his senses, it was at the gate of Chandernagore, two 
miles from where he had met the man ; and this was all he had 
to say. He had not eaten, drunk, or smoked, in company with 
the man ; and his master and friends all said he was a clever, 
well-behaved boy, and had never been known to have fits, or 
walk in his sleep. I then examined the man who was said to 
have rescued him : his evidence was to this effect ; that on the 
morning in question, he saw the boy, whom he knew very well, 
following a strange man ; that he stopped him, and asked what 
he was doing there? The boy made no answer, and appeared 
to be idiotic : upon seeing this, he became alarmed, brought water 
to throw on his face, and used other means to revive him; in 
which he at last succeeded. On again questioning him, he said 
that he did not know why he was there ; that he was obliged to 
follow that man, though he did not know him, and after saying 
this, he fell down, and bruised his eye on the ground. In the 
mean time, the man was making off, but was apprehended, and 
brought to Hooghly. I then called in the barber ; and this was 



64 FIRST EXPERIMENT 

his story : he met the boy on the road crying and looking stupid, 
and on asking him what ailed him he said that he had lost his 
way. Upon hearing this, he desired the boy to accompany him 
to the police station, and that a policeman would take him home. 
The strange nature of the transaction, whichever side was true, 
strongly arrested my attention, and the trade of the man roused 
my suspicions ; as I had heard that barbers in this country, while 
performing their tedious processes, could put people to sleep; 
and reports are rife, all over the country, of people having been 
obliged to follow persons who had charmed them ; and the victims 
are said to be usually women. The barbers, all over the world, 
are a shrewd, observing race; their occupation brings them into 
close contact with the surfaces most sensitive to the mesmeric 
influence; and they are, therefore, very likely to have become 
possessed of the secret of Mesmerism at an early period, and 
perhaps it has descended to them as a mystery of their craft. I 
could only see two roads out of the dilemma : it was either a case 
of natural, or artificial somnambulism ; and if the latter, how 
could it be brought about unless by Mesmerism? As accident 
had made me a witness in the case, I anticipated that I should 
be called upon to speak as to the possibility of such a mode of 
abduction; and as I was completely ignorant of the subject, I 
determined to make experiments, to satisfy myself. I thought 
it probable, that if this could be done by Mesmerism, I should 
perhaps be able to imitate it, as the greater power includes the 
less ; and that I had only to stop short in the progress to insensi- 
bility, in order to produce like effects, if obtainable by this means. 
I therefore repaired to the Jail Hospital, and mesmerised a 
man; in whom I had subdued inflammation of the eye, by en- 
trancing him several times ; but only went to the extent of induc- 
ing the cataleptic tendency, and leaving him the power of moving 
and hearing, but very imperfectly. At this point, I led him away, 
and then letting him go, he stalked to the other end of the en- 
closure, till brought up by the wall ; being turned, he walked in a 
straight line till some obstacle obstructed him, and then stood help- 
lessly still. If allowed to stand motionless for some minutes, the 
trance deepened, and he became insensible to sounds ; by blowing 
in his eyes, and addressing him all the time, he revived, and re- 
peated after me, with great exactness, both English and Hindo- 
stanee ; on awakening him, he had no recollection of any part of 
his proceedings, and said that he had never stirred from the spot, 
although he was at the opposite end of the enclosure from where 



IN MAKING A SOMNAMBULIST. 6$ 

we commenced. Being summoned to the Magistrate's Court as 
a witness, I was asked, "if I thought it practicable to carry off a 
person in the way described in the evidence?" I replied, that 
"I thought it possible, because I had just done something very 
like it, by making a prisoner follow me round the hospital en- 
closure, without his knowing it." The magistrate committed the 
case ; but when it came to be tried before the judge, it was found 
to be utterly impossible to convey even a glimpse of my meaning 
in the minds of the native law officers who had to try the case ; 
and the judge therefore asked me if I had any objection to show 
the Moulavies in court that it was possible for one person to make 
another follow him involuntarily, as I said. I answered, that I 
was willing to make the experiment, but would engage to do 
nothing: if he would order three men, whom I named, to be 
sent for to Court, I would try what could be done, the men to 
be kept in total ignorance of our intentions. 

In a day or two after, I was requested to attend the judge's 
court, which was crowded with Europeans and natives. Nazir 
Mahomed was brought in, and placed at the bar: I mesmerised 
him in a few minutes, and led him, with his arms catalepsed, out 
of the court, and set him walking down the road for some dis- 
tance, making his arms rigid in any position, as long as I pleased. 
'I then replaced him at the bar, where the judge and Moulavies 
all addressed him, without his paying any attention to them ; and 
they were obliged to ask me to awake him. This I did, and 
on being asked from the bench, if he had left the room since he 
first entered it, he confidently answered, "No." While they were 
speaking to him in front, I approached, unperceived, behind, and 
entranced him on the spot, in the act of speaking. The words 
died on his lips, and he became insensible to all voices that 
addressed him ; he was again awoke by blowing in his eyes. 
Madub was put in the dock, and he did not see me on entering. 
The judge and Moulavies engaged him in conversation, and 
while he was speaking with animation and intelligence, I cata- 
lepsed him from behind, while in the usual praying attitude of 
a prisoner at the bar, and, in a moment, he ceased to speak or 
hear: I was told by those in front, that his lips moved as if in 
the act of speaking, after he ceased to be heard. He was so 
deeply affected that all motive power was nearly extinguished, 
and I had to push him from behind with my finger, to make him 
walk: he walked a few yards with difficulty, and then becoming 
suddenly rigid from head to foot, a slight push sent him down 



66 TRIAL OF MESMERIC SKILL 

headlong upon the floor, in a most alarming manner: the fit of 
rigidity was so instantaneous that I was not aware of it. He 
was revived with some difficulty, and fortunately was not injured 
by his fall. 

Sooroop Chund was next brought in, and, as I had not seen 
him for a month, I began asking him about his health, &c., mes- 
merising him all the time. In a few minutes, he ceased to answer, 
and I took him out of the dock, turned him round like a teetotum, 
his arms rigidly fixed all the time, and then restored him to his 
former place in a state of complete insensibility; no one could 
make him hear, or show the slightest sign of life. When I 
blew in his eyes, he instantly recovered his senses, and declared 
he had never left the spot. 

Whether the barber stole the boy mesmerically or not, I will 
not pretend to decide, but it gave me an opportunity of proving, 
in the most public manner, that the thing could be done, and no 
one has ventured to deny publicly that I stole the men ; and, with 
the facilities of a native barber, I could almost engage to steal a 
man, woman, or child, daily. From the moment that I witnessed 
the extreme degrees of Mesmerism, I became deeply impressed 
with a conviction of its power for evil as well as good; and I 
have driven it thus far, in the hope of rousing the public mind 
to a sense of the dangers, as well as benefits, that may be expected 
from it; and I trust the day is not distant, when public opinion 
will strongly condemn all those who practise the art, except for 
philosophic and medical purposes. 

That the barber was in illegal possession of the boy's person, 
however obtained, was so clear, that he was sentenced to nine 
years' imprisonment, and labour in irons; and the sentence was 
confirmed by the superior court. But the government called for 
the proceedings, and thinking, I suppose, that the mesmeric ex- 
periments had made too deep an impression on the mind of the 
court, graciously pardoned the barber. 

When puzzled by the unexpected exhibition of new and won- 
derful bodily, or mental phenomena, instead of solving our diffi- 
culties by denying the existence of the phenomena, or dismissing 
them contemptuously as the offspring of deception, or delusion, 
we shall do much better, and generally be nearer the truth, if we 
suspect that we have overlooked some power of the human con- 
stitution, and resolve diligently to betake ourselves to the study 
of the nature of the new agent. Like the careless knitter, we 
find, at the end of our work, that some stitches have been dropped, 



IN A COURT OF JUSTICE. 67 

and that we must recommence our work de novo. By a com- 
parison of the effects of natural and mesmeric sleep on the human 
system, it will be seen, I think, that they only differ in degree, and 
in the greater command we have over the artificial than the 
natural state of sleep ; and I feel disposed to think that extreme 
conditions of the nervous system, its exhaustion or repletion, and 
the irregular distribution of the nervous secretions, produce the 
same effects on the bodily and mental organs in normal and 
abnormal sleep. 

I shall attempt to exemplify this, by instituting a comparison 
between natural sleep and its diseased varieties, and the mesmeric 
phenomena ; from which it will be apparent that most of the latter 
exist in the routine of life, and that the novelty consists in our 
being able to produce and vary them, at will, by a new direction 
of the nervous energy. 

Common Sleep. In this condition of the system there is an 
absolute repose of body and mind ; at least, there is no conscious- 
ness of movement in either, on awaking. 

Mesmeric Sleep exactly resembles common sleep, with added 
restorative and curative power, of which the following cases are 
'examples. 

July 8th. Geereah, a Hindoo girl ; aged 10 : is suffering from 
suppression of urine for two days, in consequence of violence 
done to the perineum, by which the recto-vaginal septum has 
been destroyed : the bladder extends up to the navel, and no 
instrument can be passed, owing to the painful condition of the 
parts. I mesmerised her for half an hour, after which she slept 
an hour, and on waking voided her urine freely ; all disagreeable 
symptoms immediately disappeared, and she was cured without 
a dose of medicine. 

July loth. Oboychurn Roy, a Hindoo land-owner: had his 
left arm struck off, twelve days ago, in defending his house 
against a gang of dacoits. There are two white rings on his arm, 
made by ligatures applied to staunch the blood ; and it is wonder- 
ful that mortification has not been produced. Several pieces of 
bone required to be removed, and this gave him great pain : he 
was mesmerised, locally, with great relief, and afterwards gener- 
ally: he dropped asleep in half an hour, and slept the whole of 
that night; the only sleep he had had since the infliction of the 
injury. 

2. Night-mare. If the brain is disagreeably affected by in- 
ternal physical impressions, such as an unequal distribution of 



68 MESMERIC DAY-MARE. 

blood, or nervous energy, then a confused train of painful images 
take possession of the mind, which is filled with causeless fears 
and shadowy horrors; and the sleeper struggles helplessly to 
shake off the incubus that oppresses him. 

Mesmeric day-mare. This very much resembles night-marc, 
but with a greater tendency to walk and talk, and appears to 
depend upon the irregular distribution of the nervous power, and 
the consequent derangement of the respiration and circulation. 
This is so alarming an effect of Mesmerism, that I do not envy 
the amateur who may produce it. 

July 4th. Bunnoo, a Hindoo girl ; aged 15. She sprained her 
ankle, ten days ago, by a fall : the foot, ankle, and half the leg, 
are much swollen, infiltrated, and very painful. I mesmerised 
her for an hour, but she only slept for a few minutes, and little 
relief was given. 

July 5th. She was again mesmerised to-day, and in ten 
minutes she became much agitated ; her chest was convulsed, and 
she showed all the signs of a violent attack of hysteria. The 
convulsions were soothed in a short time, by generalising the 
mesmeric influence, and then she became delirious, crying out^ 
that there was a man before her with great eyes, and desiring him 
to be taken away. Her eyes were wide open, but she said I was 
a Bengalee ; thought she was in her own house, and did not know 
her own, or her mother's name, who was standing by her. I 
placed her mother before her, whom she took for a man, and 
ordered away, covering him with the choicest flowers of Bengalee 
abuse. She was sitting up, and carefully protecting her leg all this 
time, answering all my questions about it quite clearly. As it 
was not in a comfortable position, I desired her to place it to her 
liking, as she would not allow it to be touched : this she did, and 
said it was now right. I then asked, if she would go to sleep : 
she answered "yes ;" upon which I pointed my fingers at her eyes, 
and she fell back as if shot, and went into the trance. 

The leg could now be freely pressed all over, without disturb- 
ing her, and I made my assistants apply their hands to it, to show 
them that the heat had also disappeared ; the inflamed parts were 
now cooler than our hands. 

This was not a case in which the mesmeric trance could rap- 
idly subdue inflammation ; it was of too long standing, and the 
ligaments had been too much injured, but local manipulations 
gave great relief, and induced sleep even. 






MESMERIC SLEEP-WALKING. 69 

Sleep-walking. Sometimes from irritability of the muscular 
system, there is a craving for motion as the natural source of 
relief, and, volition sympathising to the required degree only, the 
person gets up, and walks till tired : having thus exhausted the 
muscular and nervous irritation by exercise in the cool night air, 
he returns to bed, sleeps soundly, and, next day, has no recollec- 
tion of his nocturnal promenade. 

Mesmeric Sleep-walking. July i8th. I entranced five men 
to-day, in the presence of the Rev. Mr. Fisher, and Mr. Clint, 
Principal of Hooghly college : two of them awoke, on being pulled 
up, and set on their feet ; the others slept standing. 

No. i could not possibly open his eyes, though he understood 
my order to do so, and tried with all his might ; nor could he walk 
when desired, but being set in motion, he poked helplessly for- 
ward, till he came in contact with the wall, against which he 
bowed his head, and then stood motionless. Being relieved from 
his dilemma, and set a-going again, he slouched about, a most 
forlorn-looking wretch, till he got embayed between a window 
shutter and the wall, and there he would have remained till the 
fit went off, if I had not taken pity on him. 

No. 2 on being raised, and roused a little by rubbing, and 
blowing in his eyes, half opened them, and saw sufficiently to 
enable him to avoid obstacles. Being ordered to walk, he stalked 
out of the room like a walking corpse ; descended four steps, very 
cautiously, and continued his course in a straight line: when 
ordered to stop, he did so, and would never have moved again, 
of his own accord, till the unnatural state disappeared. 

No. 3 being roused, opened his eyes wider than natural, but 
saw no better than the others. I think he even saw less, as he 
had to be warned of the steps, to prevent his falling: his pupils 
were dilated, and he never winked. Having got upon the grass, 
his actions portrayed the most helpless timidity : he walked as if 
upon glass, and stared intently at every tuft of grass in his way ; 
sometimes turning aside to avoid what, to his disordered senses, 
probably appeared to be insurmountable obstacles. He turned, 
when ordered, and made towards the hospital again, picking his 
steps very cautiously, and never looking up till he came to the 
steps leading up to the verandah; he then stopped, looked up, 
carefully studied the nature of the impediment, and, seeing the 
mass of building before him, gave up the idea of ascending the 
steps as hopeless, and turned along the road running round the 
hospital, till he came to where we were standing. Here I stopped 



7O MESMERIC SLEEP-WAKING. 

him, and very distinctly told him the nature of the obstacle ; four 
steps, namely, and desired him to come to me. This he under- 
stood, undertook, and accomplished ; being assisted by my warn- 
ing him at each of the steps, and counting them. All the men, 
as usual, were unconscious of having left the spot where they 
went to sleep. 

Sleep-waking. At other times, one or more senses remain 
active after the others have gone to rest ; the wants of the waking 
organ are transmitted to the sensorium, and are followed by an 
effort of the will to gratify them. The sleeper rises, and performs 
the actions necessary to satisfy his desires ; eye-sight, to a small 
extent, usually assists ; if not, hearing and touch come to his aid, 
and guide him with singular accuracy in known localities. I 
may here give an illustration, from my own experience, of the 
preternatural acuteness of hearing, developed to aid the somnam- 
bulist in getting out of his troubles. In my youth, I was an 
eager sportsman, by flood and field; and one night, after a 
fatiguing day's sport, I found myself in the middle of the room, 
and very cold, but could not possibly contrive to get back to bed 
again. My last waking impression was made by the ticking of 
my watch under the pillow, and this recollection came to rescue 
me from my difficulties. After the most mature reflection, it 
occurred to me, that if I could.only detect my watch by its ticking, 
I should also find my bed. Acting upon this happy idea, I hunted 
my watch by ear, till I actually ifound it ; and got into bed again, 
as the reward of sound reasoning and perseverance. 

I may also here notice a similar instance which occurred to my 
brother, a clergyman in Scotland. I give it in his own words : 
"Returning to London, after a tedious and dangerous voyage from 
the continent, I retired to bed shortly after reaching my hotel. I 
had taken possession of a spacious apartment, in which were two 
beds, of which only one was occupied. I soon fell asleep, as I 
thought, but in a short time left my bed, and wandered about in 
the greatest perplexity, under the idea that I was still on board 
the foreign steamer, which I had recently left. I went from berth 
to berth, as I conceived, beseeching all and sundry to show me 
my own berth. At last I came in contact with the empty bed, and 
creeping over it, got embayed between it and the wall. I was 
long of getting out of this new dilemma, and resuming my sup- 
plications to the numerous sleepers by whom I fancied myself 
surrounded. I remember well one part of the affair, which filled 
me with the greatest trepidation. I came up to a small table, on 



MESMERIC SLEEP-WAKING. Jl 

which I distinctly heard a watch ticking. The idea came into 
my head that should the owner awake, and find me in such sus- 
picious proximity to his watch, he would denounce me as a thief. 
I spoke long and eloquently, rebutting the base suspicion, but the 
sleeper remained unmoved ; I paced about in despair. I came to 
the door, but having locked it, it did not yield to my attempt at 
opening ; but on coming to the window I drew up the blind, and 
was still more bewildered on seeing the mighty mass of London 
spread out before me. The light of the moon, however, striking 
on the watch, was at last the means of restoring me to the full use 
of my senses. It suddenly occurred to me that the watch was my 
own. I instantly seized it, and forthwith was wide awake. I was 
in the middle of the room, and in a cold sweat. A considerable 
time must have elapsed, during the occurrences above described, 
and the curious thing is, that my eyes were wide open the whole 
time. I spoke only French, and that with the greatest volubility." 

Mesmeric Sleep-waking. The following is a beautiful exam- 
ple of the same condition of mind, produced by art. 

Mrs. , an English lady, wished to be entranced, to have 

a tooth taken out by the dentist, who was shortly expected to 
arrive. I told her husband, that my labour would be in vain, if 
she thought advantage was going to be taken of her sleep ; fear 
and anxiety being quite destructive to the production of coma; 
and suggested that when the dentist arrived, I should then pro- 
pose to make a preliminary experiment, telling her, that if it 
succeeded she could then suit her convenience, and be entranced 
at any time, to have the tooth taken out. 

The dentist came, and his arrival being carefully concealed 
from the lady, I proposed to test her powers of submission. At 
the end of half an hour, her arms appearing cataleptic, I desired 
her husband to order the carriage, and go for the dentist. In a 
quarter of an hour they arrived, and I bent back the lady's head, 
and began to open her mouth without any attempt at resistance ; 
but, on the window being thrown open to give the dentist light, 
she awoke with a sudden start, and said the dentist was present. 
She thus described her feelings: she very soo'n became uncon- 
scious, after feeling a general sense of warmth and oppression 
on the chest; she felt me raise her arms, and leave them in the 
air without the power to move them, but did not hear me desire 
her husband to get the carriage ready. She heard the carriage 
wheels, however, and then it flashed across her brain that her 
husband had gone to bring the dentist, (although she firmly be- 



72 MESMERIC DREAMING. 

lieved him to be in Calcutta,) and this conviction, from that 
minute, took complete possession of her mind. She greatly 
wished to call back her husband, or to get up and run, but she 
could not move tongue or foot, and showed all the time the most 
perfect repose of body and feature. She heard the carriage 
return, and knew it brought the dreaded dentist ; was sure it was 
he who was speaking to her husband, and yet remained fixed to 
her seat, like a statue. In this instance, the sense of hearing was 
the only means of communication with the outward world, but 
it excited a former train of ideas ; and how accurately did fear 
and causality come to a right conclusion, from the ear having 
transmitted a suspicious sound ! 

This case opened out to me the nature of Somnambulism, and 
taught me how to make somnambulists. 

Dreaming of the Organs of Sentiment and Intellect. Perhaps 
no demand is made on the organs of sense ; but the waking parts 
of the brain are those connected with the passions, feelings, hopes, 
and fears of the individual. The imagination becomes inflamed 
by sympathy with the excited organ, and the most vivid sensa- 
tions of pain or pleasure, ecstacy and agony, are excited, accord- 
ing to the organ stimulated, and the control, more or less, of the 
reflecting power. The lover, the miser, the philanthropist, and 
the murderer; the man who hopes for coming good fortune, and 
he who lives in constant dread of coming evil; all enjoy, or 
torment, themselves to a height of pleasure, or horror, that cannot 
be felt when awake. If the reflecting organs are chiefly called 
into play, then the man of business does a stroke in trade, or 
conceives a capital speculation that might be of use to him, if he 
could recollect it when awake: the student easily conquers his 
difficulties; the mathematician solves the problem, and the his- 
torian removes a doubt ; the poet's thoughts and lines no longer 
leave his brain like bird-lime, but he pours forth his soul "in 
thoughts that breathe, and words that burn." All good dreamers, 
in fact, confess that they think, say, and do better things when 
asleep than when awake. Or, let us suppose that the reflecting 
organs have been intensely engaged during the day, in consider- 
ing our proper course of action in certain circumstances, and the 
probable consequences, or that a craving to penetrate the future 
has been the haunting idea ; then the judgment is undisturbed by 
external impressions, and undistracted by passion, self-interest, 
and routine habits of thought, and supplied by memory only with 
the past experience and knowledge that bear upon the question ; 



MESMERIC DREAMING. 73 

under these circumstances it is imaginable that the mind may 
jump to just conclusions, and receive a clear and happy glimpse 
into futurity. These impressions, when remembered on waking, 
and verified by subsequent events, are naturally converted into 
inspired dreams, and supernatural warnings, merely by the train 
of reasoning having been lost. The persons, in reality, have 
reasoned correctly, but by an unusual mode, whose processes 
have penetrated the future, only by comparing it with the past. 
In this way 

"Old experience may attain 

To something like prophetic strain." 

And such dreams being remembered, and the reasoning analysed, 
may be of real use to us, in shaping the course of our present and 
future conduct, because our sleeping conclusions have been come 
to from just premises, and the natural process of connecting 
cause and effect : whether this is done sleeping or waking, is of 
little consequence, the results being equally correct. 

If the state of one's health has intensely occupied the thoughts, 
and the hope of being cured of some distressing complaint is the 
leading idea; then the man of medical and physical knowledge 
may possibly hit on the precise nature of his disease in dreaming, 
and prescribe for its cure in sleep better than he could have done 
by waking reflection ; and, perhaps, the animal instinct of self- 
preservation may be concentrated on the case, and suggest a 
course of proceeding, the rationale of which we do not under- 
stand, but which yet may benefit the patient if acted upon; just 
as morbid longings, as we call them, (though frequently they are 
promptings of nature, and ought never to be despised by the 
physician,) often do the system good, when yielded to and 
gratified. This is called dreaming of what will do one good. 

Mesmeric Dreaming of Different Organs. As in natural 
sleep the organs are often preternaturally excited, and their 
powers singularly increased, by the concentration of the nervous 
energy upon them ; so, in the mesmeric sleep, this may be effected, 
and of course to a greater and more wonderful extent, by the 
person being under the control of a reflecting and directing agent, 
instead of being left to the fitful lights of his own imagination, 
and the short unsustained flights of his intellect, as in common 
dreaming. This power of acting on separate portions of the 
brain, and thereby inducing such trains of thought as we may be 
pleased to excite, will perhaps be found of practical utility in the 
treatment of mental diseases ; the diseased haunting idea might 



74 MESMERIC DREAMING. 

be banished, and a more healthy tone of feeling and reasoning 
substituted and sustained, till a new and better habit of mind 
was produced. I see no reason to doubt that the mental organs 
can be isolated and exalted by the mesmeric influence under the 
direction of a skilful leader and suggester, and can readily be- 
lieve that the mind, by this artificial stimulus, may be excited 
into more vigorous activity than when acted upon by the usual 
conditions of life. If persons may derive benefit from night 
thoughts in dreams, their sleep-waking day thoughts should be 
more valuable; but the one has no more pretensions to super- 
natural power than the other. The night-dream is woven out of 
past impressions lighted up by a flickering imagination and a 
wavering judgment; and the somnambulist has only the advan- 
tage of having his thoughts sustained and concentrated by his 
mental director. Nor, considering the excessive nervous delicacy 
developed in the course of mesmeric treatment, and the power 
of fixing the whole attention upon their bodily sensations, do I 
think it impossible that somnambulists may acquire an instinctive 
perception of the condition of their organs, and occasionally be 
able to prescribe something for their relief; just as persons dream, 
under nearly an analogous state, of what will do them good, and 
which sometimes really does so. My psychological experiments 
have been very limited, partly because I feared to bewilder 
myself at the outset, and also from want of proper subjects to try 
them on. The mental range of my patients is so circumscribed, 
that the topics of food, drink, and clothing, almost exhaust it, 
and with most of them I have no common language. But I have 
done enough to show me how the higher grades of somnambulism 
may be reached ; and with more highly organised and intellectual 
natures, I should have good hopes of doing so. 

If properly set about, somnambulism may be produced at a 
very early stage of the mesmeric phasis, or can be developed as 
the first step in the return to life from the mesmeric trance; but 
in the latter case, the sleeper is apt to wake up, at once, to perfect 
consciousness. To make the simple somnambulist, it is only 
necessary to operate on the person till his arms become cataleptic ; 
all expression then vanishes, and even when the person answers 
on subjects of deep interest to himself, no sign of mental emotion 
ever disturbs his countenance. This statue-like serenity of fea- 
tures may be singularly broken by concentrating his attention, 
and desiring him to do whatever you do: he then becomes an 
imitative automaton, mimicking most servilely, and exactly, the 



HOW TO MAKE SOMNAMBULISTS. 75 

actions and words of the mesmerist, or any one substituted for 
him, and who attracts his attention. Even at this stage, I have 
not established any "rapport" between the parties, but have only 
desired the person who took my place to call upon the somnam- 
bulist repeatedly by name, till he answered, and then to give clear 
and short orders, which were obeyed as readily as my own. 
There is much misapprehension prevalent, I am convinced, about 
the necessity of "rapport" in the physical and lower mental phe- 
nomena of Mesmerism : most of my experiments have been made 
on patients first entranced by my assistants, and my subsequent 
control over their movements was often acquired without touch- 
ing them ; it being only necessary for me to attract their exclusive 
attention. 

July 29th. I made a man senseless and cataleptic, at a great 
distance, in the presence of a large number of gentlemen, who 
had come from Calcutta and elsewhere* ; among them were six 
doctors, in whose hands, and in those of the rest of the company, 
he was left as long as they pleased, without my approaching 
till I was requested to awake him, after they had all tried in vain. 
This I did, but only to the extent of enabling him to walk and 
follow me. I then said, that I would try to clear up his percep- 
tive organs sufficiently to permit him to understand my wishes, 
with which he would implicitly comply: I did not wish to leave 
him the power of speech even, at this stage. Having attracted 
his ear, I ordered him to do what I did, and this he very faith- 
fully performed by throwing himself, on the instant, into every 
attitude I assumed ; but I required to be careful, for if I threw 
him much out of balance, he was in danger of plunging head 
foremost against the floor. Those who did not see him, may 

*I take the liberty to give the names of such gentlemen as I knew, or 
who were introduced to me ; not, however, as being all vouchers for the 
truth of Mesmerism, for I did not know many of them, and know not the 
effect produced on their minds by what they saw. There were upwards of 
60 persons present, and some will be found, I hope, to put me right, if I 
misrepresent, or incorrectly report, what every one saw. Messrs. Barlow, 
and Tucker, Judges of the Sudder Court; Mr. Elliot, Law Commissioner; 
Mr. Hardinge, Capt. Hardinge, Mr. Melville, Mr. Larpent, Mr. Bayley, 
Mr. Wanchope, Mr. Jackson, Mr. Graves, Mr. Clermont, Mr. Betts, the 
Rev. H. Fisher, the Rev. F. Fisher, the Rev. Mr. Bradbury, Mr. Hunter, 
Mr. Bennett, Major Wood, Major Anderson, Major Riddcll, Capt. Duncan, 
Capt. Cantlcy, Dr. McPhcrson, Dr. Smith, Dr. Burt, Dr. Walker, Dr. 
Elton, Dr. Ross. 



76 CASE OF MESMERIC SOMNAMBULISM. 

imagine how little the poor fellow knew what he was about, when 
they were told, that he took the "longitude" of the judges of the 
Supreme Court with the cool impudence and precision of a cab- 
man, and the gravity of an astronomer. I then proceeded to free 
his voice, but only to the extent of making him my echo : he was 
told to repeat whatever I said, and he showed his intelligence by 
repeating the order. He then gave us "Ye Mariners of England," 
and if the pronunciation was not very perfect, he seemed to me 
to reverberate exactly my tones, and my gesticulations were also 
faithfully copied. We passed suddenly from "grave to gay," and 
he did such justice to "Hey diddle diddle," that I lost my gravity 
and burst into a laugh ; he joined me in full chorus, and I heard 
it remarked "he can't help laughing himself;" and some were 
now quite satisfied that he was found out! upon this, I stopped 
laughing, and, on the instant, his features relapsed into the most 
awful repose, and I pointed out that it was no joke to him, but 
purely imitative laughter, and this, I should think, became evi- 
dent to all. He also sang "God save the Queen," as well, or 
rather as badly as I, for he is capable of much better things, under 
a more skilful music master. I now awoke him up a little more, 
and made him capable of answering questions: he was asked if 
he could fence ; he said that he could ; and I bid him show me. 
He began to cut the preliminary capers of the native fencers, but, 
in the act of stooping, a fit of rigidity shot through him, and he 
would have fallen with dangerous violence against the floor, if 
his fall had not been fortunately broken. I am always alarmed, 
and on the look out, when this man is experimented on, from 
this tendency to instantaneous rigidity of the body. A profound 
trance, from which it is very difficult to awake him, succeeds such 
exertions, and usually lasts for four or five hours. I showed 
another step in the mental phenomena, on other subjects ; enabling 
them to answer simple questions correctly, and extinguishing and 
releasing the power at pleasure. All reflection being dormant, 
they feel a natural impulse to give a direct answer to a direct 
question, and in this way tell me frankly whatever I choose to ask. 
We are assured that common sleepers can also be played upon in 
the same way by patient and skilful persons, and that this is well 
known to the secret police of France. 

Catalepsy. The following is a medical description of natural 
catalepsy, from the Cyclopaedia of Practical Medicine. "The 
attack is generally instantaneous, the sudden rigidity of the trunk 
and limbs, the suspension of the senses, and temporary interrup- 



NATURAL CATALEPSY. 77 

tion of the exercise of the intellectual faculties, having been 
preceded by no premonitory stage. The patient retains the pos- 
ture of body and the expression of countenance which he chanced 
to have at the moment of seizure ; and by this combination of fixed 
attitude and unvarying expression, presents the air of a statue 
rather than of an animated being. The eyes continue either 
fixedly, or shut, as they happened to be at the commencement, 
whilst the pupil, though usually dilated, contracts on the approach 
of a strong light. The balance between the flexor and extensor 
muscles is so perfect, that any new position given to the head, 
trunk, or extremities, by an external force, is easily received, and 
steadily maintained. This passive energy of the muscular system, 
permitting the body to be moulded into almost as great a variety 
of attitudes as if it were a figure of wax or lead, is the distinguish- 
ing characteristic of the disease." 

Mesmeric Catalepsy. Sept. 24th. Mr. Blyth, curator of 
the Asiatic Society's Museum, paid me a visit yesterday, and saw 
various mesmeric operations in my hospitals. He begged 
so earnestly to be allowed to see a somnambulist that I 
was over-persuaded to gratify him, as I wished to confine myself 
to the purely medical relations of Mesmerism. I told him, thai 
when the mesmeric influence, or rather disease, had been deeply 
felt by the constitution, any body could re-develop it very easily, 
and that if he would follow my directions, he might mesmerise a 
man for himself, and convert him into a somnambulist after- 
wards. 

He accordingly rendered a man senseless, standing erect, in 
a few minutes, and failing to awake him, requested me to do so, 
which was instantaneously done. But, as often happens, when 
the system is deeply affected, he fell back into the trance, and 
Mr. B. begged to see the imitative stage of somnambulism. I 
said, he could do this also himself, by concentrating the patient's 
attention. Mr. B. was sitting on a table a few yards in front of 
the man, and made all kinds of noises, which he echoed back. 
Wishing to examine him more closely, Mr. B. jumped off the 
table, and came running forward with his body bent, and singing. 
The man did exactly the same, but a sudden fit of rigidity passed 
through him, and he plunged head foremost against the floor, to 
Mr. B.'s great distress. I had him placed on a comfortable bed 
to sleep off the effects, and we left him at I o'clock, p. M. 

I was painfully startled to find the man stiff as a log to-day, 



^8 CASE Of MESMERIC CATALEPSY. 

at II o'clock, and that he had shown no sign of life since we left 
him. 

This would have not alarmed me without the accident, but I 
feared the head might have been injured by his fall, and set about 
restoring him to his senses by the usual mesmeric processes, but 
all in vain. I then had recourse to volatile stimulants to the nose 
(I could not induce any attempt to swallow,) and effusion of cold 
water on the body, and to water poured from a height into his 
open eyes ; but to no purpose. I returned in an hour, and renewed 
my efforts; no fluid could be got to pass down his throat, it ran 
out of his mouth as from a dead man's ; while looking on atten- 
tively, I saw an instinctive effort made to clear the wind-pipe of 
mucus that obstructed it, and then an attempt to swallow ; I took 
advantage of this, and poured some water down his throat ; some, 
luckily for my purpose, passed into his wind-pipe, and brought on 
a violent fit of spasmodic coughing. I continued to rouse the 
system at the same time, by every possible means, and succeeded 
in awaking him. But from the rigidity of the muscles of respira- 
tion continuing, his efforts to get rid of the water, and the accu-. 
mulated mucus of twenty-four hours, nearly choked him. At 
length, the respiratory muscles resumed their natural action, and 
enabled him to eject the phlegm from his wind-pipe. 

After the trunk had become pliable, his legs remained as 
rigid as bars of iron, and could not be bent for half an hour after- 
wards. 

This will not only be a lesson to myself, but to others, I hope ; 
and, in future, I must resist all application to do more than is 
necessary for the removal of disease, even at the expense of 
being thought uncourteous and disobliging. 

Coma. "Last stage of all in this strange, eventful history," 
is only separated from the chamber of death by a very fine parti- 
tion. In this, mind and body are equally torpid, and insensible 
to all external impressions. It is seen in persons exhausted by 
long watching and fatigue, exposure to cold, or intense suffering 
of body and mind; and in this condition of the nervous system 
surgical operations might often be performed without causing 
pain. Irregularity in the vital organs, anguish and misery of the 
countenance, characterise natural coma, and indicate that the icy 
hand of death is arresting the currents of life, and, in general, 
the last trump alone can rouse the sleeper from this torpor of 
exhaustion. 



CASE OF MESMERIC COMA. 7Q 

Mesmeric Coma. In this, the great organic functions are 
usually undisturbed; the countenance is calm and full, and the 
complexion that of health. The person is generally easily aroused, 
and how different is his waking ! In an instant, often, he returns 
to full life and consciousness, without knowing that he has been 
asleep, and his feelings are often those of pleasure and relief; if 
he has lain down in pain, he often awakes free from it, and reno- 
vated in strength and spirits. In the subsequent part of this work, 
abundant instances will be given of this, and I will only here intro- 
duce one. 

May 22d. I went to-day to see my patient Mr. Clermont, 
head master of Hooghly College ; but found that he had gone out 
to his duty. Mrs. Clermont mentioned, that she was suffering 
from one of her nervous headaches, which commence with a 
pain in the back of the neck, that spreads over the scalp, and 
around the eye-brows ; she had been weakly and nervous of late. 
She knew nothing about Mesmerism, and I had never mentioned 
it to her, but now proposed to try the effect of it on her complaint. 
No objection being made, I requested her to turn her back to me, 
and sit erect in her chair, and describe anything uncommon she 
might feel during the process. 

After a few minutes, she said that she felt a warmth in the 
neck, and on extending my manipulations, it advanced to the 
scalp and eyes. In about eight minutes, she said that the pain 
was much less, and that she felt very drowsy: upon which, I 
asked, "shall I put you. to sleep?" She only smiled in reply, 
raised her right arm, put her hand to the side of her head, and 
went to sleep. At this moment a lady (Mr. Clermont's sister,) 
entered the room, and I begged her to remain by Mrs. Clermont 
till I returned with her husband. Having found him, I asked 
pardon for taking the liberty of mesmerising his wife without his 
consent, and requested him to return to see her awake. We 
found her as I had left her, with some members of the family 
looking on. I extended her arm at a right angle to her body, in 
which position, or any other, it remained fixed till moved again, 
and her sister-in-law pricked her hand unheeded. As I saw the 
party becoming uneasy, I awoke her, but with considerable 
difficulty: she felt very much ashamed at having been found 
asleep by me, as she supposed, and it was only after long ques- 
tioning and reflection that she recalled the circumstances attend- 
ing her sleep. The headache was quite gone, and she felt, and 
looked, greatly refreshed. 



8o NATURAL CLAIRVOYANCE. 

Letter from Mr. Clcrmont. 

"MY DEAR SIR, 

"I have read your report to the parties who were in the 
next room at the time you mesmerised Mrs. Clermont. They 
are perfectly satisfied as to its correctness, and have not the 
slightest objection to your making use of their names, if necessary. 
It would be superfluous to detail here the circumstances which 
came under my observation on my return from Judge Russell's, 
as they have already been described by you. But, in short, I fully 
corroborate your account of the case, and even bear the most 
positive testimony to all that transpired in my presence. You 
will be glad to learn, that Mrs. Clermont has been doing well 
ever since. I am, Yours faithfully, 

"T. M. CLERMONT. 

"Chinsurah, May 2$th, 1845. 

"P. S. I herein insert the names of the parties present : 
"Miss Clermont. 
"Mr. Manly. 

, /' Q > Students of the Medical College." 



'Mr. Scott. 

Nov. 23. Mrs. Clermont has not suffered any return of the 
headache, and no longer feels the distressing languor and oppres- 
sion she complained of till she was mesmerised. 

Natural Clairvoyance. This is recorded to have been seen in 
cases of natural catalepsy, and a French physician, M. Petetin, 
has related several instances of it, which are as well attested 
as most facts in the history of medicine. M. Petetin had opposed 
Mesmerism, when alive, and the cases of catalepsy, in which he 
had observed a transference of the senses, were found among his 
posthumous papers, and published after his death. In his first 
case, the discovery was purely accidental: a cataleptic patient 
was seized with an uncontrollable impulse to sing, which nothing 
could stop, as she was completely deaf and insensible to external 
impressions on the organs of sense. 

M. Petetin fell by accident across the bed, and when his mouth 
was near the patient's stomach, exclaimed in despair, "Good God ! 
what a pity that this woman can't be stopped singing!" This 
exclamation the woman heard, and answered, to his great amaze- 
ment, and they continued to converse through the pit of her 
stomach, and the functions of other senses were also performed 
by remote parts of the body. All this is supported by unexcep- 



CASE OF NATURAL CLAIRVOYANCE. 8l 

tionable authority; such as one cannot reject, and hope to be 
himself believed. 

It has also been seen and described by unprofessional persons 
of intelligence and veracity ; of which the following is a curious 
example : it is a communication from a clergyman to Sir George 
McKenzie, President of the Edinburgh Phrenological Society, 
and was written without any reference to Mesmerism, and before 
it had attracted any attention in England : 

"DEAR SIR, 

"It is perfectly true, that our poor friend, who has now been 
some months with us, presents one of those singular and almost 
incredible cases of hysterical or nervous affection, which are at 
distant intervals witnessed under the dispensation of the 
Almighty. The overthrow of the regular functions of the nervous 
system was occasioned by the almost sudden death of her father 
(to whom she was fondly attached,) who was seized with illness, 
during her absence from him, and died in a few hours after she 
returned to her home. I cannot enter into any longer details of 
the case, which has been attended with all those varieties, which 
have long characterised the complaint among medical men as the 
Protean disorder. The extraordinary powers communicated to 
the other senses by the temporary suspension of one or two of 
them, are beyond credibility to all those who do not witness it : 
and I really seldom enter into any of the details, because it would 
be but reasonable, that those who have not seen should doubt the 
reality of them. 

"All colours she can distinguish with the greatest correctness 
by night or by day, whether presented to her on cloth, silk, muslin, 
wax, or even glass ; and this I may safely say, as easily on any part 
of the body as with the hands, although, of course, the ordinary 
routine of such an exhibition of power takes place with the 
hands, the other being that of mere curiosity. Her delicacy of 
mind, and high tone of religious feeling, are such, that she has 
the greatest objection to make that which she regards in the 
light of a heavy affliction from God, a matter of show or curiosity 
to others, although to ourselves, of course, all these unusual 
extravagances of nervous sensibility are manifest, for at least 
twelve out of every twenty-four hours. She can not only read 
with the greatest rapidity any writing that is legible to us, music, 
&c., with the mere passing of her fingers over it, whether in a dark 
or light room, (for her sight is for the most part suspended, 
when under the influence of the attack, or paroxysm, although 



82 CASE OF NATURAL CLAIRVOYANCE. 

she is perfectly sensible, nay, more acute and clever than in her 
natural state;) but within this month past she has been able to 
collect the contents of any printing or MS., by merely laying her 
hand on the page, without tracing the lines or letters ; and I saw 
her, last night only, declare the contents of a note just brought 
into the room, in this way, (when I could not decipher it myself, 
without a candle) and with a rapidity with which I could not have 
read it by daylight. I have seen her develop hand-writing by 
the application of a note to the back of her hand, neck, or foot ; 
and she can do it at any time. There is nothing unnatural in 
this, for, of course, the nervous susceptibility extends all over 
the surface of the body, but use and habit cause us to limit its 
power more to the fingers. Many, even medical men, take upon 
themselves to declare, that we are all, her medical attendants as 
well, under a mere delusion. We ask none to believe anything, 
if they prefer not to do so, and only reply, The case is equally 
marvellous either way; either that this poor patient should be 
thus afflicted, or that eighteen or nineteen persons of my family 
and friends, in the daily habit of seeing her, should fancy she is, 
for every twelve hours out of the twenty-four, doing at intervals 
that which she is not doing. There are many exhibitions of 
extravagant powers which she possesses, that we talk of to no 
one ; for finding it difficult to acquire credit for lesser things, we 
do not venture on the greater. Her power ceases the moment the 
attack passes off. A considerable swelling has at times been 
visible at the back of the head, which has yielded to the treat- 
ment. It is certainly a case which would be an instructive one, 
in the consideration of the physiology of the human frame: but 
she, poor thing! is most averse to experiments being purposely 
made on her; but in her every day life among us, we have no 
lack of proof for all we believe and know. 

"Between the attacks, she is as perfectly in a natural state 
as ever she was in her life. There is but one paradox in her state ; 
and that is, that she can, at such times, hear some sounds, and 
not others, though very much louder, and see some things, and 
not others, though placed before her. She could hear a tune 
whistled, when she could not hear a gun fired close to her. It 
is certainly the absorption or absence of mind that occasions this ; 
absent to some things, though present to others, like any absent 
man ; and thus Dr. Y. accounts for it. In making this communica- 
tion to you, in part to vindicate the testimony of my friend, Mr. 
M., I have really exceeded my usual custom and resolution; for 



MESMERIC CLAIRVOYANCE. 83 

I do not think it fair to the poor sufferer herself, to make her too 
much the talk of others. Very few believe what we tell them, 
and therefore we are in no degree anxious to open our lips on 
the subject. All I know is, that I should not have believed it 
myself, had I been only told it. I must beg, that you will not 
make any undue use of this communication, by handing my letter 
about to any one. The friend for whom you ask the information 
is perfectly welcome to read it, or I should not have written it. 
If the case were my own, the world should be welcome to it ; 
but a young female of such sensibility might be much embarrassed 
by finding the world at large in possession of all particulars on 
her recovery, should God so please to permit. 

"I am, &c. &c. 



Mesmeric Clairvoyance. If the above are facts (and it is no 
sign of credulity to believe them till they are refuted, which has 
never been done, I believe,) I think it extremely probable that 
art, having copied nature so far, can also imitate her in this; 
and that clairvoyance has actually been produced in the derange- 
ment of the nervous system caused by Mesmerism. It has not yet 
occurred in my experience, but I should not be at all surprised to 
encounter it. A gentleman who saw me amputate a tumor, 28 Ibs. 
weight, the other day, and cut and rudely handle the most delicate 
parts of the human body for twenty minutes without the patient 
showing a sign of life, said at the conclusion, "Well ! I have 
learned one thing to-day, and that is never to be again positive 
about anything : I did not believe a word of it, and am now com- 
pletely convinced of its truth ;" and those who wish to know the 
truth about Mesmerism will do well to follow his example. 

It would be more prudent perhaps to continue my facts, and 
plead ignorance of the modus opcrandi of this mysterious agent ; 
but it is impossible not to think, though perhaps little to the pur- 
pose. By turning it all round we may chance to make a happy 
hit, perhaps; but nothing can be gained by indulging only in 
thoughtless wonder : I shall, therefore, venture to put down what 
has occurred to me about it. 

The exhaustion of any particular organ, the eye for instance, 
and the consequent derangement of the nervous system ; the shock 
given to the nervous centres by sudden mental emotions, or the 
effect produced on the imagination by a powerful mind acting on a 
weaker; have all been said, and truly, to simulate the mesmeric 
symptoms, and therefore "imagination" has very generally got 



84 AUTHOR'S THEORY. 

the credit of being the "primum mobile" in these singular affec- 
tions of the system ; ami I do not intend to dispute its power, or 
the reality of the effects produced by this agency. But my pro- 
found impression is, that the first effects produced on my patients 
by the mode of practising Mesmerism, are of a purely physical 
nature; an influence exerted by one animal over another, under 
certain circumstances and conditions of their respective systems. 
I should as soon adopt the "opium diabolical," or "all humbug 
theory," as a satisfactory solution of the problem, as attempt by 
the action of the imagination to account for what I have seen and 
done. Would the most imaginative of my readers ever think the 
following process as a likely means to make people insensible* to 
fire and steel, by the effect produced on the imagination? A 
Bengal coolie, or pariah, comes before me for the first time, and 
I see he has a disease requiring a surgical operation ; I never say 
a word to him, but desire my assistants to take him to another 
room and mermerise him. They desire him to lie down, shut his 
eyes, and try to sleep, and they pass their hands slowly over the 
most sensitive parts of the body ; exhaling their breath upon the 
patient, and loading him with their sweat, if he does not readily 
yield to the mesmeric influence. A few minutes of this will some- 
times suffice, but more generally it takes hours, and relays of 
mesmerisers ; and a less imaginative process I cannot imagine. 
Calomel, rhubarb, and castor oil, have all the same effects, and 
it seems to me, that it would be as reasonable to say they were 
therefore all the same thing, as to declare the effects of the above 
process to be "all imagination." "Well ! there is one thing certain, 
and that is, that imagination has nothing to do with this," is the 
common remark of gentlemen who have witnessed the cause and 
effect, and whose senses are not stuffed by prejudice. That it 
mingles inexplicably, and inextricably, with the true mesmeric 
influence, after the constitution has taken on the diseased action 
deeply, is well known, and will be abundantly shown afterwards ; 
but I now speak of first effects, on which alone I desire to insist, 
in leading proof of the reality and nature of Mesmerism. One 
person induces mesmeric symptoms by deranging the nervous 
equilibrium, through a commotion of the mind, another by means 
of squinting, a third by monotony of sensation, &c. ; the same 
effects being produced by different processes, as we see on many 
other occasions. It is too common for persons engaged in the 
same pursuit to become exclusively addicted to their own ivay 
of gaining their object, and when a new path is open they 



AUTHOR'S THEORY. 85 

attempt to obstruct it as an infringement of their exclusive 
right of way. "Your way is not my way, and therefore it is 
wrong," argues self-love ; and the public seeing so many travellers 
pretending to reach the same destination, each by his particular 
route, and every one proclaiming his to be the only true road ; the 
impatient public, with its usual slashing logic, sets them all down 
as wrong, and declares them to be chasing a delusion. Whereas, 
very often, they are all right, and only wrong by taking too limited 
a view of the subject : the combined observations of all will prob- 
ably bring us near the truth, and each plan will be found a useful 
resource, in different circumstances. 

It seems to me that irregularity in the distribution of the 
nervous energy is at the bottom of all the mesmeric symptoms, 
however produced, whether naturally or artificially ; and I suspect 
that the same effects may follow a state of exhaustion or repletion 
of the nervous system. If I might venture on so material an illus- 
tration, I should say that the first effects produced in the system 
by Mesmerism may be likened to a river rolled back upon its 
source by a heavier body of water, stagnating in its channel, and 
unable to resume its usual course, till the opposing tide subsides. 

From all I have seen, I cannot but believe, that there is an in- 
fluence of some kind that passes from one person into another, 
when one of two persons is mesmerised in the way I have de- 
scribed ; that, in fact, there is a virtual transfusion of some vital 
agent from the one body into the other. The wonderful subtlety 
as well as the effects of this power, lead us to suspect that it is a 
nervous product ; and may it not be the nervous energy passing 
off by the organs of sense, and even for a short time going beyond 
the surface of the body ; the lungs, meanwhile, and periphery of 
the body, retaining their vital properties, and remaining under the 
direction of the will? Every time we move a finger, it is by 
transmitting something under the control of the will to the ends 
of the fingers, and why should it not go farther? Supposing this 
to be possible, and that this nervous emanation can be directed by 
one person upon another, then I would venture to conjecture, that, 
being a nervous product, it is accepted by the nerves of sense, on 
coming into contact with them in a continuous well-sustained 
stream, and is transmitted by them to the brain, thereby adding 
to, rather than subtracting from, the nervous secretions of the 
brain, which it is their duty to carry off as soon as formed. If 
the sensorial secretions are not conveyed away by the nerves of 
sense and volition, and the exercise of the perceptive and intellec- 



86 AUTHOR'S THEORY. 

tual organs, the brain becomes torpid and oppressed. In like 
manner, the transmission of foreign nervous matter might over- 
whelm the brain, or a mere stoppage of its own fluids might steep 
it in a sleepy drench, and the functions of the sensorium would 
not be restored until the usual outlet for its energies were re-estab- 
lished. 

The entireness of the organic functions would seem to counte- 
nance the idea, that the external influence is propagated to the 
brain by the nerves of sense : the general and capillary circulation, 
the respiration, and temperature, often remain tranquil, and 
natural, as in sleep ; which shows that organic life is little affected. 
The accumulation of nervous fluid that oppresses the brain, is also 
seen in the singular condition of the muscular system, and may 
perhaps explain the strange" helplessness, and at the same time 
the wonderful passive power of resistance in the muscles, which 
enables cataleptics to stand asleep in the most painful and exhaust- 
ing attitudes, longer than would wear out the strongest and most 
practised athletse, who enjoy all the resources of art and training. 
The absorption of another's nervous emanations being thought 
possible, and this abnormal susceptibility being once established, 
it is possible to conceive the extreme degree to which this required 
habit, of transmitting extraneous nervous fluids to the brain, may 
be developed; and we can comprehend the delicate impressions 
that would be made by so subtle an agent on such fiue conductors 
as the nerves of sense ; nor, on such a supposition, should it sur- 
prise us to be told, that the subject receives at the same time some 
impressions of the individuality of the agent, and manifests a 
certain degree of submission to his will even. The shades of such 
an interchange of vitality would be infinite, and probably resemble 
the effects which we are told can actually be produced by the mere 
will of the mesmeriser on his patient. I suspect, however, that 
considerable error exists regarding the power of the will in pro- 
ducing the physical mesmeric phenomena. People are willed to 
sleep, I believe, by directing our nervous influence upon them, and 
simply making them the objects of our attention, which is sufficient 
to impel this influence against them, and, if they have become 
extremely sensitive to the impression, the usual specific effects 
will ensue, and they appear to go to sleep in obedience to our will 
that they should. I have tested this in a variety of ways, by 
desiring Hindoos, Mussulmans, and Europeans of all professions, 
merely to concentrate their attention upon certain highly sensitive 
patients; and the results were as striking and certain as if the 



AUTHOR'S THEORY. 87 

most energetic will had been directed against them. On one 
memorable and ludicrous occasion, I induced a learned brother 
(who came purposely to expose the "humbug") to give me the 
command of his person for a short time. The result was, I forced 
him, against his will, and "in spite of his teeth," to produce all 
the mesmeric symptoms, from the quivering of an eyelid, to the 
most intense coma, in subjects of morbid sensitiveness, in whom 
the tendency to mesmeric action had become a deep-rooted dis- 
ease. The will is no doubt very influential in producing first 
effects by giving continuity and intensity to our influence, but the 
system having been once deeply affected, the simple act of atten- 
tion, on the part of any one, seems to be quite sufficient to bring it 
within his nervous atmosphere and influence. 

But I wish it to be understood, that I speak only of the 
physical and inferior mental phenomena, such as I have described ; 
of the higher mental manifestations I have no personal knowledge, 
and to produce them, mental sympathy will no doubt be indispens- 
able. That the nervous sensibility has retreated from the surface, 
and the organs of sense, is evident to all observers, by the univer- 
sal insensibility; and the condition of the brain, and muscular 
system, would seem to indicate that they labour undes the effects 
of this revulsion. The means used to de-mesmerise particular 
organs, and the brain itself, appear to act by determining the ner- 
vous currents back to the surface, thereby relieving the deeper 
organs from the load that oppressed them ; at least I cannot ac- 
count for the following singular exhibition in any other way. 

Nov. 16. In the presence of Mr. S. Palmer, Major Smith, 
Mr. Stopford, and Dr. Scott, I showed the spontaneous develop- 
ment of the mesmeric disease (for such it becomes, if pushed far) 
in a man who becomes entranced to the most intense degree, by 
being merely brought into my presence: every one was left to 
test his conditions, in his own way, and no one doubted the reality 
of his condition. I at last awoke him for them, and carrying him 
to the end of the room, placed him erect against the wall ; in a 
few minutes he relapsed into the trance, and I catalcpsed him 
in the attitude of St. Andrew on the cross. I then mesmerised 
another man, only, however, to the extent of sealing his eyes, 
and inducing the cataleptic tendency in the muscles: having set 
him walking, I extended his arms horizontally, and directed him 
against the man crucified on the wall. On coming into contact 
with him, he stopped, and I urged him on, asking "what stopped 
him ?" He tried in vain to separate his eyelids, in order that he 



88 MODES OF DE-MESMERISING. 

might see the nature of the obstruction, and, having no use of his 
hands, he thought of helping himself by rubbing his forehead 
against the object before him : this I stopped by pulling back his 
head, and it remained stiffened in the position I left it. He was 
now reduced to utter helplessness, as his feet struck nothing but 
the wall below : I then blew on his neck, thereby immediately re- 
leasing it, and on being again urged to tell what was in his way, 
he began rubbing his forehead against the man, as before. One 
arm was next freed in the same way ; this he brought into play ; 
then the other, and he used both in feeling and rubbing the man 
all over, with the greatest earnestness, but without a vestige of 
expression in his countenance. At length, he said there was a 
man before him. I also showed, that my breath had no specific 
effect by doing the same thing with a fan ; a current of air being 
all that was required to dissolve the rigidity of the muscles. 

Blowing in the eyes is also the most expeditious way of re- 
lieving the brain, and restoring its functions; rubbing the eyes, 
and pouring water from a height are also efficacious, and some- 
times are all needed to de-mesmerise the brain. Air, cold, and 
friction, are natural stimuli to the skin, and the most likely means 
to restore jts sensibility, if diminished; and I imagine that they 
relax the mucles by determining again to the surface the nervous 
currents, which had been thrown back upon the muscular system, 
when I produced its cataleptic condition. I cannot otherwise ac- 
count for the following singular effects of cold, which, from my 
patients being naked, I can apply in any way I please. On several 
occasions, I have entranced persons standing, stript them naked, 
and catalepsed them in the most painful postures imaginable and 
in these they would remain an incredible length of time, but let a 
little cold water be squirted from a distance on any member, and 
it became instantly relaxed. If both arms were fixed perpen- 
dicularly in the air, one after the other was shot down instantly, 
by a slight stream of water ; and if it was directed to the calf of 
the leg the person fell, as if he had been hamstrung: or if the 
body was catalepsed, out of the perpendicular, squirting water on 
the loins would send the patient head foremost against the ground. 
Blowing on, or rubbing any part had the same effect, but the gen- 
eral torpor is often too deep to exhibit these sensibilities, and 
such persons are awoke with great difficulty, by the use of all the 
de-mesmerising agents. 

The respiratory nerves of the face are more particularly sensi- 
tive to the impressions of air, cold, and friction ; indeed the shock 



AUTHOR'S THEORY. 89 

given to a somnambulist by blowing in his face simply, often re- 
sembles the effects of an actual blow, and is sufficient to awake 
him ; how, I cannot possibly imagine, unless it be by acting as a 
relief to the brain, by restoring its secretions to their natural 
channels. 

Having followed, and imitated, nature so far, in producing 
different symptoms according to the extent of the nervous de- 
rangement we induce, I see nothing more wonderful in the mes- 
meric phenomena than in the disturbances that occur in the at- 
mosphere, when the electric relations of the earth and air are 
changed, and the equilibrium for a time destroyed ; but we need 
not, I suspect, seek for this marvellous agent among the great 
inorganic powers of nature; for if they are employed, they are 
so altered and endowed with new vital qualities, by being sub- 
jected to the principle of life, that they are no longer recognisable 
after being converted from their control of brute matter, to be 
the directing powers of animal life ; and I fear the secret lies too 
near the sources of life and death for man to be permitted to 
approach it very nearly. 

That an agent capable of affecting the physical condition of 
the brain to such a degree, should have no influence on it as the 
organ of thought, appears, at first sight, extremely improbable, 
and we might reasonably expect the production of singular and 
abnormal mental phenomena, when the influence was directed 
so as to act principally upon the intellectual organs. Like wine 
and opium, the extreme degree of the mesmeric influence torpifies 
the brain, but in smaller quantities, it is a bodily and mental 
stimulus, and if it be possible to transfuse our cerebral fluid into 
the brain of another, I see no absurdity in supposing that it may 
be stamped with our individuality, and may, for a time, induce 
a synchrony of action between the brains of the giver and the 
recipient. 

But, beyond the simpler manifestations of somnambulism, all 
is so dark, that to stop short, and wait for farther evidence, is 
better than to advance and step in the dark. The ignorance and 
presumption of man ; his passion for the mysterious and marvel- 
lous, his powers of self-delusion, with the pranks of knaves and 
the simplicity of fools, have so mystified the subject, that the 
artificial difficulties cost us more trouble to remove than the nat- 
ural ; and a mass of rubbish must be removed before we can 
reach the foundation stone of truth. 



CHAPTER V. 

The Mesmeric Processes. Publicity the best Security to the Pub- 
lic. Ignorance and Indifference the real Dangers. Mesmeric 
Treatment of Disease a Field for the Philanthropist. Puyse- 
gnr and Deleuze, unprofessional Men. Processes for produc- 
ing Coma. Tumour in Upper Jaw removed during 
Coma. Hypertrophy of Scrotum, ditto. Trance renew- 
able at Pleasure. Three consecutive Operations on one 
Person. Mode of Mesmerising in Chronic Diseases. Cure 
of Rheumatism and Nervousness. Local Mesmerising. 
Mesmerised Water. Process for preparing it. First experi- 
ments zvith it. The last. Means of awaking Persons Mes- 
merised. 

At the commencement of my mesmeric experiments, I had re- 
solved to communicate only to professional men the modes which 
I had found most effectual in educing the influences of Mesmer- 
ism. I was, at first, alarmed at the possible dangers to the public, 
were the most effectual means of producing the extreme degrees 
of Mesmerism generally known; but I am now of opinion that 
the greatest danger to a community is a contemptuous disregard 
of an unseen and unknown enemy, and, therefore, all I know on 
this important subject shall be revealed. The best means of 
avoiding danger is to know its full extent, and, sometimes, the 
best policy is to meet it half way, fully prepared to repel it. While 
the public remain in a listless indifferent humour about Mesmer- 
ism, the dangers from an abuse of it are very likely, I may say 
are very certain to occur. But when, by attending to the fol- 
lowing directions, proofs of its truth shall pour in from every 
quarter, then Mesmerism will come home to men's minds as a 
reality, and become an object of personal interest to all ; and 
the instinct of self-preservation will rouse people to take the 
necessary steps for deriving all the benefit, and avoiding all the 
danger attending its practice. If evil arises, let the blame rest on 
the culpable negligence of the public, and the punishment fall on 
those who pervert good to evil. 

The utmost publicity is most consonant to my taste, and, upon 
the whole, the best security to the public. 

Many benevolent and honourable unprofessional persons may 

90 



PUBLICITY THE BEST SECURITY. QI 

also be induced to exercise their natural gifts, in the alleviation 
of human suffering, under the superintendence of the physician, 
who cannot spare the time, and waste of body, which are re- 
quired before his patients can be benefitted by the processes of 
Mesmerism. The persons to whom Europe owes its knowledge 
of Mesmerism, uncontaminated by self-interest and the devices 
of quackery, were unprofessional men, the Baron Puysegur and 
M. Deleuze; the one a wealthy French nobleman, who conse- 
crated his life to relieving the sufferings of the poor, and who 
said it was his mission to lodge Mesmerism in the hands of the 
doctors (a trust they have been very neglectful of, unfortu- 
nately;) and the other, a truthful and benevolent man of letters, 
long keeper of the "Jardin des Plantcs," at Paris, who practised 
the art for thirty-five years, and whose works are most honest 
and true guides; errors of judgment, to which all are subject, 
being their only defects; as I have tested by experience, before 
reading them. 

Coma I usually -procure in the following manner, and am 
inclined to think that its comparative rarity in Europe is owing 
to the mesmeric influence not being at once sufficiently concen- 
trated on the patient, by transmitting it to his brain from all the 
organs of the operator, and through every channel by which it 
can be communicated. With the necessary degree of patience, 
and sustained attention, the following process is so effectual in 
producing coma, that in a large enough field, and with properly 
instructed assistants, it may here be obtained daily, for the pur- 
pose of procuring insensibility to surgical operations. No trial 
under an hour should be reckoned a fair one ; two hours are bet- 
ter; and the most perfect success will often follow frequent fail- 
ures, but insensibility is sometimes induced in a few minutes. 

Desire the patient to lie down, and compose himself to sleep, 
taking care, if you wish to operate, that he does not know your 
intention : this object may be gained by saying it is only a trial ; 
for fear and expectation are destructive to the physical impres- 
sion required. Bring the crown of the patient's head to the end 
of the bed, and seat yourself so as to be able to bring your face 
into contact with his, and extend your hands to the pit of the 
stomach, when it is wished; make the room dark, enjoin quiet, 
and then shutting your patient's eyes, begin to pass both your 
nands, in the shape of claws, slowly, within an inch of the sur- 
face, from the back of the head to the pit of the stomach ; dwell- 
ing for several minutes over the eyes, nose, and mouth, and then 



92 MODE OF OPERATION. 

passing down each side of the neck, go downwards to the pit of 
the stomach, keeping your hands suspended there for some time. 
Repeat this process steadily for a quarter of an hour, breathing 
gently on the head and eyes all the time. The longitudinal passes 
may then be advantageously terminated, by placing both hands 
gently, but firmly, on the pit of the stomach and sides; the 
perspiration and saliva seem also to aid the effect on the system. 

It is better not to test the patient's condition by speaking to 
him, but by gently trying if the cataleptic tendency exists in the 
arms. If the arms remain fixed in any position they are left 
in, and require some force to move them out of every new posi- 
tion, the process has been successful ; the patient may soon after 
be called upon by name, and pricked, and if he does not awake, 
the operation may be proceeded with. It is impossible to say to 
what precise extent the insensibility will befriend us : the trance 
is sometimes completely broken by the knife, but it can occasion- 
ally be reproduced by continuing the process, and then the sleeper 
remembers nothing; he has only been disturbed by a night-mare, 
of which on waking he retains no recollection. Here is an in- 
stance of this. 

July 29th. In the presence of some sixty gentlemen, who 
came from Calcutta and the vicinity, I to-day cut off an enlarged 
and ulcerated prepuce ; the man moved, and cried out, before 1 
had finished, but was immediately thrown back into the trance, 
from which all the efforts of the spectators, six doctors included, 
could not arouse him, or excite a sign of vitality. He was oper- 
ated on, at twelve o'clock, and awoke at three : on being ques- 
tioned, he said, that he had felt no pain, and had not seen an 
European that day. Next day, he complained of the pricks of 
pins, inflicted upon him by my visitors, who had actually made 
a pincushion of him. In future, I must request that pins be left 
at the door. 

The person can be raised into any position required for the 
operation ; but some peculiarity in the case may demand the sit- 
ting posture from the commencement, as in the following in- 
stance. 

June 3d. Teencowrie Paulit, a peasant, aged 40. Two years 
ago, he began to suffer from a tumour in the antrum maxillare ; 
the tumour has pushed upon the orbit of the eye, filled up the 
nose, passed into the throat, and caused an enlargement of the 
glands of the neck. 

I was very desirous to reduce him to a state of insensibility 



ILLUSTRATIVE CASE. 93 

before operating on him, and for the last fortnight my assistants 
have all pcrseveringly tried it, but without inducing sleep even. 
Indeed, from the tumour obstructing his throat, he has hardly 
slept for five months. Having ascertained that he was easier 
when sitting, I took him in hand myself, to-day, and entranced 
him in a chair by the following process. The room being dark- 
ened, I suspended my spread hands over his head for some time, 
and then carried them slowly down, one in front, the other behind ; 
the former dwelling over the eyes, nose, mouth, and sides of the 
neck, and the latter being applied over the base of the brain: 
both were then carried down the centre of the body, claw-like, 
to the pit of the stomach, where they were spread and gently 
pressed, one opposite the other ; and I kept breathing on the head 
and eyes all the time. In half an hour, the man was catalepsed, 
and in a quarter more, I performed one of the most severe and 
protracted operations in surgery; the man was totally uncon- 
scious. 

I put a long knife in at the corner of his mouth, and brought 
the point out over the cheek-bone, dividing the parts between ; 
from this, I pushed it through the skin at the inner corner of 
the eye, and dissected the cheek back to the nose. The pressure 
of the tumour had caused the absorption of the anterior wall of 
the antrum, and on pressing my fingers between it and the bones, 
it burst, and a shocking gush of blood, and brain-like matter, 
followed. The tumour extended as far as my finger could reach 
under the orbit and cheek-bone, and passed into the gullet 
having destroyed the bones and partition of the nose. No one 
touched the man, and I turned his head into any position I de- 
sired, without resistance, and there it remained till I wished to 
move it again : when the blood accumulated, I bent his head for- 
ward, and it ran from his mouth as if from a leaden spout. The 
man never moved, nor showed any signs of life, except an occa- 
sional indistinct moan; but when I threw back his head, and 
passed my fingers into his throat to detach the mass in that direc- 
tion, the stream of blood was directed into his wind-pipe, and 
some instinctive effort became necessary for existence ; he there- 
fore coughed, and leaned forward, to get rid of the blood ; and I 
supposed that he then awoke. The operation was by this time 
finished, and he was laid on the floor to have his face sewed up, 
and while this was doing, he for the first time opened his eyes. 

June 4th. This is even a more wonderful affair than I sup- 
posed yesterday. The man declares by the most emphatic panto- 



94 MESMERIC COMA. 

mime, that he felt no pain while in the chair, and that when he 
awoke, I was engaged in sewing up his face, on the floor; so 
that the coughing and forward movement to get rid of the blood, 
were involuntary, instinctive efforts, to prevent suffocation. 

June 6th. The dressings were undone to-day, and the whole 
extent of the wounds in the face has united completely by the 
first intention. He is out of all danger, and can speak plainly: 
he declares most positively, that he knew nothing that had been 
done to him until he awoke on the floor, and found me sewing 
up his cheek; and I presume he knows best. Here is a trans- 
lation of his own statement in Bengalee: 

"For two years I laboured under this disease, and scarcely 
slept for five months. On the I9th May, I came to the Imam- 
barah Hospital, and three or four persons tried to make me sleep, 
but all in vain. On the 3d June Dr. Esdaile having kindly un- 
dertaken my cure, with a great deal of labour, made me sleep, 
and took something out of my left cheek, which at that time I 
did not perceive. After the operation, I did not sleep for two 
1 nights, but after the third day, I have slept as usual. 

"TEENCOWRIE PAULIT, 
of Madra." 

If patients are fortunate enough to sleep some time after the 
operation, they not only feel no pain on waking, but none subse- 
quently even. The following is an extraordinary instance of 
the absence of pain, from first to last. 

Sept. ist. Teg AH Khan, a tall strong-looking man; has a 
hypertrophied scrotum, caused by repeated operations for hydro- 
cele by native doctors ; who only withdraw the water as often as 
it accumulates, without attempting the radical cure. The tumour 
is perfectly round, and as big as a man's head. He was mesmer- 
ised in two hours, on the first trial, and, in the presence of Drs. 
Ross and Sissmore, I dissected out all the parts ; which was very 
tedious, from the testes having contracted adhesions all round 
them ; and it was about half an hour before the organs were cov- 
ered up again by stitching flaps over them. Not a quiver of the 
flesh was visible all this time, and at the end, his body was as 
stiff as a log, from head to foot, and his separated legs could 
be with difficulty put together again. He awoke in half an hou-r 
after the operation, and felt no pain. 

Sept. 4th. The stitches were taken out to-day; the wound 
has healed throughout, and he has had no pain whatever since 



ILLUSTRATIVE CASE. 95 

the operation ; so much for the absence of the usual irritative 
shock to the system. 

We can renew the trance at pleasure, in order to render people 
insensible to repeated operations. 

Sept. i8th. Morally Dass, a peasant, aged fifty, has an 
unhealthy cartilaginous sore, half an inch high above the skin, 
and extending for six inches along the outer ham-string of the 
left leg, which it has contracted to nearly a right angle with the 
thigh, for a year past. 

He was entranced to-day, for the first time, and I deeply 
cauterised the whole sore with a red-hot plaister iron, without 
awaking him. 

Sept. iQth. The excrescence is so hard, and thick, that it 
must be dissected off the ham-string: he was again entranced, 
and the diseased part was pared down to a level with the sur- 
rounding skin, without his feeling it. 

Sept. 20th. When he was in the trance to-day I straightened 
the leg completely, and bound it up in splints: he awoke not, 
and when he did, had no pain ; although it took all my strength 
and weight to break down the adhesions, which I felt and heard 
cracking under my hands. The Rev. Mr. Bradbury saw the first 
operation. The Rev. Mr. Fisher, and Mr. Graves, the second, 
and Mr. Blyth the third. In the treatment of chronic diseases 
suited for Mesmerism, coma is not required : if it occurs, it is 
probably because nature needs it; but we ought to be satisfied 
with the improvement of the patient, though it is unaccompanied 
with any striking phenomena. The system is not less effectually 
recruited, because it is done silently, just as the best digestion 
is least felt. For refreshing the nervous system, and inducing 
natural sleep, mesmerising "a longs courants," as the French 
call it, it will be found sufficient. These are steady continuous 
tractions, with the point of the spread fingers, from head to 
foot ; the head may be occasionally breathed upon, and the hands 
allowed to rest for a few minutes on the pit of the stomach. An 
hour of this, on going to bed, will often soothe restlessness, bring 
back natural sleep, and invigorate the nervous system. 

Sept. 25th. Mr. Calder (I mention his name at his own re- 
quest,) who has been twenty years in India, came to me to-day, 
complaining of general rheumatism, nervousness, and debility. 
He walks with great difficulty, with the help of a stick, and 
cannot ascend a stair. His nerves are shattered, his eye-sight is 
weak, and his hands tremble when writing; when he walks on 



96 MESMERIC COMA. 

smooth ground, he fancies that it slips from helow him, and the 
effort made to save himself nearly throws him down : of late he 
has not been able to drive his buggy, from a feeling that it is 
impossible for him to prevent his horse from running into any 
carriage he meets. He has been in this state for two years and 
a half; during which he has gone a tour of doctors, and swal- 
lowed a dispensary of physic, to no good purpose. I said that 
I could not in conscience physic him more, but recommended him 
to try what nature would do for him, as, upon the whole, I 
thought his case adapted for mesmeric treatment, but that it 
would require time and patience to do him any good. He was 
very glad of any untried chance of relief, and I desired one of 
my people to mesmerise him for an hour in bed, every night. 

Never having been present when Mr. Calder was mesmerised, 
I am indebted to him for the following note of his case. 

"On the 25th of September last, your native assistant, as 
directed by you, made the first attempt to induce the mesmeric 
sleep, but without success : the trial lasted for an hour and a half. 

"26th and 27th September, ditto. 

"28th. After a persevering trial for the same length of 
time, I was thrown into a trance, from which I awoke after up- 
wards of five hours, I found great difficulty in raising my eye- 
lids, or keeping my eyes open. I left the couch and retired to 
bed, and had my natural sleep afterwards, till six o'clock next 
morning. For a week afterwards, the efforts to mesmerise me 
were repeated for an hour daily, but without farther effect than 
causing a sleep of a few minutes. I however continued to enjoy 
my natural rest at night, found my pains abating daily, and my 
nerves considerably braced up; so much so, that I could walk 
up and down stairs without assistance, and with every confidence 
drive out in a buggy alone, which I could not have attempted 
for two years and a half previously. 

"Up to the i /th of Oct. I was thrown into sleep, every third 
or fourth night, for about two hours; the effect of which you 
may judge of, from my being able to walk yesterday morning 
more than four, and this morning, more than six miles. 

"(Signed) J. CALDER. 
"Oct. 28th, 1845." 

This is the gentleman who, I said, recognised the identity of 
the mesmeric processes with the Indian modes of charming away 
pain. 



MESMERISED WATER. 97 

Topical mesmerising, by suspending the ends of the fingers 
over the pained part, breathing on it at the same time, and then 
drawing the fingers downwards, continued for a long enough 
time, say an hour or two, is often very effectual in soothing 
local pain; and I have seen it relieve the pain in gout, bruises, 
and rheumatism. 

The much ridiculed "mesmerised water" is another means 
of producing the mesmeric symptoms, and as it is practically 
useful, the process for preparing it shall be described; and let 
those who do not choose to avail themselves of it, let it alone. 
But before doing this, and illustrating its effects by facts, it will 
perhaps be advisable to clear the way for the reception of them, 
by showing that there is no prima facie absurdity or impossibility 
about the matter. In accordance with Lord Bacon's advice, I 
will "foment the part to make the unguent enter the better." To 
those who will condescend to think seriously on the subject, and 
apply their previous knowledge to the examination of it, I would 
suggest, that if there is a vital emanation from the body, called 
"Mesmerism," there is nothing improbable in the assertion that 
it can be communicated to water and other inorganic substances, 
like other invisible and imponderable agents. Water absorbs air 
and different gases, and the odours of neighbouring objects with 
great facility; a glass of water can be charged with electricity, 
or an empty glass filled with it. Mesmerism has been called 
"animal electricity," and if correctly named, we should expect 
it to resemble inorganic electricity in many particulars: but 
whether it is a modification of electricity or not, I can see no 
reason why water should not absorb an invisible animal fluid, as 
easily as a fluid which is imperceptible and organic. There is 
nothing in the known laws of physics to make it improbable that 
water can be mesmerised, as well as electrified. On the contrary, 
it seemed to me so probable from analogy, that I fully believed 
the statements of others regarding it, and made my first experi- 
ments with considerable confidence. 

Deleuze, a most honest and trustworthy man, and who had 
practised Mesmerism, for thirty-five years in France, with great 
success, gives the following directions for mesmerising water. 
"It is to be poured over the tips of the fingers, and the glass is 
then to be mesmerised by passing the hands down its sides, and 
the water may also be breathed upon." The following process, 
though less delicate, is a shorter, and, I believe, a more effectual 
mode of charging water with the mesmeric fluid. 



p8 MESMERISED WATER. 

As there is good reason to believe that the breath is impreg- 
nated with the vital fluid, I breathe through a tube into the bot- 
tom of a cupful of water, keeping the points of the fingers in 
contact with the surface; in five minutes the water is charged, 
and here are my first experiments with it. 

June 28th. From her extreme sensibility to the influence, it 
seemed to be probable that the woman Alunga would exhibit in 
perfection the virtues of mesmerised water, if it had any. In 
the presence of my hospital attendants, I to-day took an ounce of 
water from the common reservoir, and mesmerised it, putting 
the like quantity of plain water into another glass. We then 
went into the women's ward, and I gave the plain water first 
very slowly, asking her if it had any taste? It was only plain 
water, she said ; I then gave her the other ; after waiting some 
time, she said it was different from the first, that it was sharp 
to the tongue, and created a warmth in the stomach. Almost 
immediately, her countenance began to change; she insisted 
upon getting up to walk ; and I immediately saw that she was a 
somnambulist: after taking a few staggering steps, she would 
have fallen, but was prevented, and taken back to bed, where 
she instantly sank into the mesmeric coma, and remained so for 
hours. 

June 29th. I to-day had the pleasure of meeting the Rev. 
Mr. Long, from Calcutta, a stranger to me and mesmerism, who 
asked me if I could show him any mesmeric cases in the hospital 
at present. I replied that I should be happy to verify, in his 
presence, an important experiment regarding the efficacy of mes- 
merised water, which I had made for the first time, yesterday. I 
was glad to learn that he had never heard of such a thing; and 
he willingly agreed to accompany me to the hospital. 

I took the same quantity of water as yesterday, out of the 
common cistern, and charged it before him, and again put the 
same measure of plain water in another glass, the woman being 
unconscious of our presence. We then went to her, administered 
the common water first, and waited for the effects ; none appear- 
ing, the mesmerised water was given, and in a few minutes her 
expression altered ; she rose, and walked in a wavering uncertain 
manner, and then set about washing the floor, which was dirty, 
she said. Soon after she complained of the room being full of 
kites, crows, and paddy birds, and desired them to be scared away. 
On being asked who I was, she said I was a Baboo, and that the 
sweeper was her brother Essan, who had come to take her home ; 



ILLUSTRATIVE CASE. 99 

she was put to bed, and immediately fell into the mesmeric trance. 
We then retired to talk over the matter, and I asked Mr. Long if 
he had any doubts that could be resolved on the spot. He said, 
nothing could be more certain than the connection of cause and 
effect, and that he would gladly certify to it. After some time 
we returned to her, and I awoke her, all but her eyes ; these she 
could not open ; but this being done with my assistance, she was 
seen to be in complete possession of all her senses and faculties, 
as was evinced by her ready and consistent replies, and the total 
revolution in her countenance. 

June 3Oth. I thought of varying the experiment on the 
woman Alunga, whom I had not seen to-day: I therefore went 
to the house of my assistant, and asked him to give me a phial 
and a little water, telling him my intentions, which were to call 
for Mr. Betts, the deputy-collector (who had never seen Mes- 
merism and to whom I had never spoken on the sub- 
ject,) and request him to go to the hospital, give the water 
to the woman, and then send to inform me that it was done. 
Having mesmerised the water, I carried the phial to Mr. Betts, 
and begged him to be good enough to perform an experiment 
for me, and at the same time satisfy his curiosity, perhaps. I 
assured him, on my honour, that this was pure water, only mes- 
merised, and requested him to go and give it to the woman named 
Alunga, and then to let me know. He kindly consented, and in 
a short time a messenger came for me ; when I arrived, the woman 
was getting up to walk, in the same delirious state as on former 
occasions, her phantasms only being varied ; and again she could 
not open her eyes, even by pulling : when partially opened they 
instantly closed again, till I relieved her by blowing and rubbing. 
On awaking there was no vestige of derangement in her mind 
or perceptions. Mr. Betts was sure of the facts he had witnessed, 
but, I suspect, had some difficulty in believing that he had only 
given uwtcr. 

June 28th. Sidissur Ghose, a prisoner, in a different hos- 
pital ; I saw him for the first time to-day, at 1 1 o'clock ; he has 
been suffering for three days from inflammation of the testes, 
which were extremely tender to the touch, and he was bent 
double in walking. I determined to subject him to the trance if 
possible, for the following reasons. As a fire expires for want 
of fuel, it seemed to me very probable that inflammation would 



TOO MESMERISED WATER. 

die out during many hours of absolute repose to the system, pain 
and irritation being the sustaining causes of inflammation. Re- 
move all pain and sensibility for hours, and it is only natural to 
suppose that the circulation will return to its usual channels, and 
the disease be removed by a natural curative effort. If the 
repose be too short to recruit the vital powers, the trance can be 
repeated at will when the system has been once affected. I suc- 
ceeded in entrancing him in half an hour, and left him sleeping. 
I then went to the Charity Hospital, and made my first experi- 
ment, as above related, on the woman Alunga, with mesmerised 
water. Having completely succeeded, I returned to the Jail 
Hospital, and found that the man Sidissur had just awoke. He 
bore pressure much better, and there was no heat in the part. I 
gave him three ounces of mesmerised water, and in five minutes 
he was again in the trance. 

June 29th. Sidissur awoke at nine o'clock last night, but 
went to sleep again immediately, and slept all night; the swell- 
ing has decreased, and I can squeeze the part all over without 
causing pain, and he walks erect, with ease. The disease is sub- 
dued, but for the sake of experiment I gave him another dose of 
mesmerised water, and in three minutes he was in the trance. 

June 3Oth. Sidissur again slept till nine o'clock last night, 
and had a good night afterwards. Dismissed cured, at his own 
request. 

July 2d. Nobee, an elderly, worn-out woman, has had 
rheumatism in her back for some months : she was put into the 
trance to-day, and on waking was free of pain. 

July 3rd. No pain. Gave her a dose of mesmerised water; 
she soon said that she felt warm all over ; a general tremor fol- 
lowed ; and on being desired to walk she complained of her head 
turning, and walked a little, with great difficulty. On returning 
to bed she fell asleep immediately, and slept for two hours. 

July 2Qth. At the public Seance, already mentioned, eight 
men drank mesmerised water prepared by my assistants, and 
superintended by two doctors, and two clergymen; and in spite 
of the incessant tormenting of their visitors, four of them, to my 
great surprise, became entranced and cataleptic, and were con- 
verted into somnambulists. 

December I4th. Jadoo, a prisoner, convalescent from cholera, 
is plagued with continual hiccough eight convulsions in a min- 
ute. To be mesmerised : he was subdued in fifteen minutes, but 



ILLUSTRATIVE CASE. IOI 

there was little change in the hiccough for half an hour after- 
wards. He was raised upon his feet, and a bandage soaked in 
cold water wound around his chest, without awaking him, and 
he was allowed to sleep half an hour longer : still no change for 
the better. I now prepared some mesmerised water, and awoke 
him ; he no sooner drank it than he fell asleep again, and the hic- 
cough immediately stopped, and never returned. He slept for 
three hours after drinking the water. 

To illustrate the subject farther, as I could do by scores of 
examples, would be intolerably tedious ; and I hope it will not be 
for a moment supposed that I mean to say that such will in gen- 
eral be the effects of mesmerised water, but only that in persons 
already under the mesmeric influence such results can be pro- 
cured : it has been known to affect the uncontaminated system, 
but it is a rare occurrence. 

The means used for dissipating the mesmeric influence, are 
precisely those employed for disengaging the brain in fainting, 
or natural insensibility, caused by a revulsion or stoppage of the 
nervous fluid by natural causes. They act, I presume, exactly 
in the same way, by re-determining the nervous rousing to 
the skin and the organs of sense ; thereby rousing the brain from 
its torpor of exhaustion in the case of fainting, or relieving it of 
the nervous plethora which I have suggested might be the cause 
of mesmeric coma. 

Blowing sharply in the eyes, rubbing the eye-lids, and eye- 
brows, and sprinkling cold water in the face, are the methods 
for de-mesmerising the brain, and when locally applied, are 
equally efficacious, in de-catalepsing rigid limbs. Let an arm be 
catalepsed, short of the most intense degree of coma, and although 
it may require considerable force to bend it, yet blowing on it, 
rubbing it gently, or letting a few drops of cold water fall on it, 
will generally relax the rigidity of the muscles, and cause the 
arm to fall down at the side, with its flexibility restored ; and it 
looks to me as if the muscles recovered their functions (just as 
the activity of the brain is renewed) by being relieved of the 
nervous secretions that have deserted the surface, and become 
concentrated on the sensorium and muscular system. 

The smallness of the cause, and the greatness of the result, 
when we restore a person to the complete possession of his 
senses, and intellect, by sprinkling water in his eyes when in the 
mesmeric coma, are quite as remarkable in natural fainting, in 



IO2 MODE OF DE-MESMERISING. 

which the effects are often equally striking and instantaneous; 
and I leave it to the reader to determine whether the exhaustion 
of the nervous system in natural coma, and its presumed reple- 
tion in the mesmeric state, does not assist us in understanding 
the similarities and differences observed in natural, and mes- 
meric sleep. 



CHAPTER VI. 

Mesmerism as a Remedy. Coma as a Medical Agent. Journal 
of Practical Mesmerism. Chronic Inflammation of Eye 
cured. Nervous Headache ditto. Acute Inflammation of 
Eye ditto. Return of Nervous Headache prevented. Rev. 
Mr. Fisher's Report. How to make a Convert. Tooth 
drawn in the Trance. Convulsions cured by ditto. Arms 
straightened in ditto. Sense of Formication removed. Lum- 
bago, Sciatica, Pain in Crural Nerve, cured. Palsy of an 
Arm ditto. Hemiplegia greatly benefittcd. Tic cured. 
Rheumatism ditto. Mesmerism as a Disease. Resembles 
Hysteria. Ignorant Charges of Imposture. The Public 
abused. The Public disabused. Folly and Unfairness of its 
would-be Guides. Spontaneous Development of the Mes- 
meric Disease. Mesmerising by doing nothing taught by the 
Mesmerists themselves. A natural Consequence of frequent 
Mesmerising. Examples of Mesmerising by doing nothing. 
Hysteric Theory. Hope to hear of Hysteria as a Remedy 
soon. Rational Mode of studying Mesmerism. 

FOR practical purposes, the physical effects of Mesmerism 
may be divided into simple somnolence, semi-insensibility, and 
total insensibility, or coma: of the first, nothing more need be 
said, and abundant examples of the others will be given in my 
"Journal of Practical Mesmerism." 

Although accepting thankfully whatever nature deigned to 
offer in answer to my inquiries, in the various cases in which I 
consulted her ; yet they were not presented to the vis medicatrix 
natura, at haphazard, and without selection. My first case was 
indeed a "pomegranate full of many kernels," and offered so 
many facts from which great practical deductions could be drawn, 
that I only followed out the indications of nature in all my sub- 
sequent proceedings; so that my operations have not been "A 
mighty maze, and all without a plan." 

I. I was certain (if life is not a phantasmagoria) that in 
the mesmeric trance, the muscles of the whole body had been as 
plastic, and obedient to my command, as clay in the hands of the 
potter; and I felt satisfied that if the same state of things could 

103 



IO4 MESMERISM AS A REMEDY. 

be brought about, muscular spasms and contractions would dis- 
appear before this great solvent. The straightening of limbs, 
long contracted, very soon verified this inference. 

II. Having, in this case, witnessed the total extinction of 
nervous irritability, I was led to conclude, that in a like state of 
things, nervous pains would vanish before this supreme anodyne. 
The cure of nervous headaches immediately demonstrated the 
truth of this idea. 

III. The insensibility to pain convinced me that the most 
painful surgical operations might be performed without the 
knowledge of the patient, and this has been done to an extraor- 
dinary extent, so much so, as to be a daily matter of course. 

IV. I had seen high local inflammation, and sympathetic 
fever suspended during the trance in my first patient, and that 
the artificial inflammation (which it was my object to excite, for 
the cure of hydrocele,) did not develop itself, while the mesmeric 
influence was in activity, and that the pulse and temperature had 
become natural : thence I inferred, that inflammation was prob- 
ably incompatible with such a state of the constitution, and I 
soon succeeded in curing acute inflammation of the eye and 
testis, by no other means than the mesmeric trance. 

As regards the certainty of my conclusions, it required no 
great sagacity to believe the evidence of my senses, and to go 
and do as nature bid me. A {act in nature being once ascer- 
tained, and all its accessories carefully observed, we may be con- 
fident of re-producing it, at will, by fulfilling the necessary condi- 
tions, if the phenomenon is under human control. I therefore 
tried to bring about the same condition of body, by the means 
required to be used by nature, before she will condescend to in- 
terfere in our favour, feeling convinced that if she did interfere, 
it would be with unerring wisdom, and unapproachable skill ; and 
that what had been feebly begun by her weak, but obedient 
creature, would be triumphantly completed by her laws, when 
brought into action ; the way for them being merely prepared, 
in the manner pointed out by experience. 

"Nature is but a name for an effect, whose cause is God ;" and 
the Author of nature has ordained, that such effects should often 
follow such predisposing causes. 

Mesmeric coma will in the following pages chiefly figure in 
surgical operations, and is not so often required in the treatment 
of medical cases ; but when it can be induced, it is extremely 
important in instantly extinguishing nervous pains, arresting 



COMA A REMEDIAL AGENT. 10$ 

convulsions, and aiding the natural resolution of inflammation, 
by its anodyne and restorative powers; and if it could be in- 
duced in the commencement of some of the most fatal diseases, 
it would probably arrest their progress, for it revolutionises the 
whole system, and every other constitutional affection is for the 
time suspended. 

In chronic inflammation it is a useful discutient, gently stimu- 
lating the nerves, and capillary vessels of the part, to more 
healthy action; and for this purpose, local Mesmerism is only 
required. 

The chronic exhibition of Mesmerism as a general tonic, in 
diseases of debility promises to be of great service, especially in 
functional derangement of the nervous system and I am hopeful 
that we have at last got a direct nervous remedy, hitherto, a 
"desideratum" in medicine. 

In palsy from weakness of the nerves, it promises to assist us 
greatly, and Dr. Elliotson has recorded many cures of cases he 
could not have managed before. All who venture to confess the 
truth to themselves, know how miserably impotent for the cure of 
palsy, and nervous diseases generally, are the medical means 
hitherto employed. If we succeed, we often cannot tell why, 
and the connection of cause and effect is very uncertain. But in 
the chronic treatment of palsy, by Mesmerism alone, the patient 
often feels and shows early and continued improvement under 
the action of this natural remedy; and we cannot refuse to be- 
lieve that it is the exciting cause: we must believe that it is, or 
own that it is a spontaneous cure of a commonly incurable dis- 
ease ! But both the practitioner and the patient must remember,- 
that Mesmerism is no exception to the general rule, that a 
chronic disease must have a chronic cure: much patience and 
labour will be required in the mesmeric treatment of paralytic 
affections, and the result will greatly depend upon whether the 
disease is one of debility or over-excitement of the nervous sys- 
tem. In the latter case, I should think, that unless the sedative 
effects on the system could be induced, we should be disap- 
pointed; in the former, every degree of the influence would 
probably be of service. 

We find in practice, that nervous persons, from over-excite- 
ment of the nerves, are with great difficulty subdued, and appear 
to be still farther irritated by subjecting them to the mesmeric 
process ; whereas those who suffer from irfitability of the nerves 
from weakness, are easily affected, and soon benefitted by it. 



IO6 EXTRACTS FROM JOURNAL 

The medical cases adapted for the use of Mesmerism, do not 
occur in my practice among the poor so often as surgical cases, 
as the labouring poor do not usually resort to medical advice for 
nervous diseases, till they are past cure: I can however present 
the reader with some interesting cases, which I will extract, as 
they occurred from my 

JOURNAL OF PRACTICAL MESMERISM. 

"May 7th. Nazir, a Mussulman ; aged 20 : is suffering from 
the sequela of ophthalmia of two months' standing; the sight of 
the left eye is destroyed. The cornea of the right eye is muddy 
with superficial ulcerations, and a pterygium is forming; there 
is constant lacrymation, and he cannot distinguish a white man 
from a black. I placed him in a chair before me, and directed 
the operation to the eyes and head generally, desiring 
him to mention what he felt as we proceeded. He soon said, 
that he felt an agreeable warmth where my fingers passed with- 
out touching him ; shortly after, he said his eyes were easier, and 
on extending the process to the body, he felt a general warmth 
pervade it, and sweat stood in drops on his face. He next said, 
that he felt a fear come over him that he could not account for, 
and desired greatly to sleep: having no desire to go farther, I 
here stopped : the eyes to be mesmerised daily for ten minutes, 
and then be put to sleep." 

"May 22d. Has been mesmerised daily, and put to sleep 
twice: he always feels better after the process; says that his 
body feels pleasant and "light, and the expression of his counte- 
nance is much improved. The lacrymation has ceased, and he 
read two words in Bengalee and Persian to-day; the pterygium 
will be the only impediment to his sight. 

"May 22d. Keenoo, a prisoner; saw him for the first time 
to-day, at ii o'clock. He has had a severe pain extending from 
the left eye-brow to one half of his head for four days; and 
there is pain on pressing at the supra-orbitor notch. I made him 
lie down, in a small room off the hospital, and in twenty minutes 
left him asleep with one arm raised perpendicularly in the air, 
and locking the door, I left him alone. 

"I returned at I o'clock, and on opening the door, found him 
lying exactly as I had left him with his arm still in the air: he 
awoke whilst I was looking at him, and said that he had not been 
asleep. On being asked why his arm was in the air, he could 
give no reason for it. So sensible is the approach of sleep under 



OF PRACTICAL MESMERISM. IO7 

this grand narcotic, or so sudden its invasion, that in the minds 
of the sleepers often no trace remains of the circumstances at- 
tending their sleep ! This was seen in the case of Mrs. Clermont. 
He awoke perfectly free from headache. 

"May 24th. No return of pain discharged cured. 

"May 24th. Nazir Mahomed, a prisoner; saw him for the 
first time to-day, at II o'clock. For the last four days, he has 
laboured under acute inflammation of the conjunctiva: the con- 
junctival vessels form a raised zone around the cornea ; there is 
a constant lacrymation, pain over half the head, and he cannot 
distinguish objects. 

"I made him lie down on the floor, and rendered him catalep- 
tic in twenty minutes ; then putting his hands, clasped, above his 
head, I locked the door, and took the key with me to Chinsurah, 
two miles off, where I found the Rev. Mr. Fisher, and Mr. 
Money, the collector, who are much interested in my proceed- 
ings, and daily ask, 'What progress?' I answered, that a man 
entranced was waiting my return ; and they offered to go back 
with me. On opening the door we found the man had just 
awoke; and being asked in what attitude he found himself on 
waking, he said that his hands were clasped over his head: he 
reports the pain to have quite left the side of his head; only a 
little remains about the eye ; the eyelids move much more freely, 
and the watering is less ; his general feelings are much improved : 
before the sleep he felt his body hot and heavy, and it is now 
cool and light. Cold water to the head and eyes ; a dose of 
physic. When we were leaving the hospital the native doctor 
reported that a man had just come in with a pain in one side of 
his head, like the man cured on the 23rd. I desired him to be 
brought before us, and he stated that for the last six days he had 
suffered from an acute intermittent headache, confined to one 
side of his head ; that it commences at 4 o'clock in the morning, 
and continues till 12 p. M. Turning to my friends, I observed 
that if they would wait I should like to entrance this man, as a 
preventive. They consented to do so, and Mr. Fisher has been 
good enough to send me his notes of what followed : 

"Mr. Fisher's Report. 

"On Saturday last, the 24th inst., I visited the Jail Hospital, 
in company with Dr. Esdaile, for the purpose of seeing a pris- 
oner awakened out of the mesmeric trance, who had been suffer- 
ing for some time with an inflamed eye. Upon our arrival the 



IO8 EXTRACTS FROM JOURNAL 

man was awake, and no further experiment could therefore be 
tried with this patient. Another, however, immediately pre- 
sented himself, who had never been subjected to the mesmeric 
influence before, and whom, I believe, the doctor had never seen. 
He had been suffering much for some days from severe pains 
in the head and face ; though not at that moment in pain, it was 
thought advisable to try the effects of Mesmerism as a preventive. 
The manipulations were immediately commenced, and in seven 
minutes the man was in a cataleptic state. We tried various 
means to test the intensity of the trance : his limbs rigidly main- 
tained themselves in any posture in which Dr. Esdaile chose tQ 
place them; and at last he was raised upon his feet; his back 
being slightly bent, his arms stretched over head, which was 
drooping upon his shoulder, and he remained fixed in this con- 
strained position for some time, without exhibiting any symp- 
toms of consciousness, or uneasiness. After a few minutes he 
was left to his deep repose, reclined upon the ground; and I 
understand that, since this first trial, he has never had the slight- 
est return of the pains of which he previously complained : we 
were much astonished at the phenomena exhibited on this occa- 
sion ; the limbs being so extraordinarily supple, and at the same 
time capable of being so rigidly fixed in any position, at the will 
of the operator. (Signed) F. FISHER." 

"Chinsurah, May 2$th, 1845." 

May 25th. Nazir Mahomed, entranced yesterday for con- 
junctivitis, has slept well all night. There is no pain in the 
head ; very slight uneasiness about the eye : no watering. The 
zone of blood-vessels around the cornea is gone, and the inflam- 
mation is reduced from the vivid redness of the acute stage to 
the dull, brick-red colour of the chronic state. He can now see 
very well with the inflamed eye. 

I put him on a high stool before me, and desired him to tell 
me when he became sleepy, but he had not time to do so, as I 
left him sitting entranced in five minutes : this was done with the 
idea of lessening the determination of blood to the head. I then 
proceeded to my usual business in Chinsurah, and was there in- 
troduced to Mr. M'Ouesten, the dentist, who was on a profes- 
sional visit at the house of one of my patients. As he expressed 
a great desire to see some of my Mesmeric cases, I said that he 
had better take the present opportunity, as I had left a man 
entranced, and hoped to find him so on my return, and that others 



OF PRACTICAL MESMERISM. I<X) 

were undergoing the process at the Charity Hospital, but I knew 
not with what results. 

The lady and gentleman of the house, hereupon, suddenly 
resolved to go, too; and the expedition gave rise to a little epi- 
sode, which I have the pleasure of introducing here, by permis- 
sion. 

We returned to the Jail Hospital, after I had been absent an 
hour, and found the man sitting precisely as I had left him, and 
his body colder than natural. The influence was now nearly 
worn out (partly, no doubt, by the exhausting position,) and he 
awoke soon after our arrival. He said that the eye was still 
farther improved, and it looked so. I consider the case terminated. 
It was evident, to the most unpractised eye, that inflammation 
was incompatible with such a state of the system. 

But a man sitting on a high .stool for an hour without know- 
ing it, was not enough to satisfy the curiosity and unbelief of 
my lady visitor. Her theory was, that I must be "Angelus out 
Diabolns," to be permitted to do such things ; and as both 
hypothesis had their difficulties, she took refuge in an unap- 
proachable unbelief. This to me was a singular mental phenom- 
enon, and I determined to experiment upon her mind through 
her own senses (as she would not believe her husband even,) 
and to observe the effects. The man entranced for hemicrania 
yesterday was sent for, and put upon the stool. The gentlemen 
pulled out their watches, and in three minutes he was as insensi- 
ble to life as the stool on which he sat. He was now put through 
all the amazing postures already described, and his friends were 
called in to awake him, but all to no purpose, till I came to their 
aid, when he awoke with a violent start, and look of alarm ; and, 
on being questioned, said that he had gone to sleep of his own 
accord. 

My honoured visitor had now evidently some difficulty in 
collecting her senses, and kept exclaiming, "It's impossible! 
it can't be ! I won't believe it ; it's all a trick !" I replied, "If you 
will be good enough to go to the other hospital, I shall, perhaps, 
be able to show you more tricks of the same kind." 

Having entered the "Blue Chamber," she was resolved to 
see its mysteries, and the party proceeded. I had ordered a man 
to be mesmerised in the morning, to have a tooth taken out; 
and, on reaching the Charity Hospital, had the satisfaction to 
find him entranced, and begged Mr. Mc'Questen to give him the 
benefit of his skill. This he declined; and I extracted the tooth 



IIO EXTRACTS FROM JOURNAL 

before him, without awaking the man, and presented it to the 
lady as a mesmeric "souvenir." Seeing a collection of matter 
near the ear, I also made an incision into the swelling before he 
awoke. On coming to his senses he said that he felt as if an ant 
had bit him while he was asleep. . 

I had now the gratification, rarely granted to first believers, 
of living to see the triumph of the truth. My fair infidel frankly 
gave up the "diabolic theory;" and although she could not yet 
adopt the angelic one in my favour, yet she was convinced that, 
instead of being in league with the evil power, I was a highly 
favoured individual, and congratulated me on my new powers 
of doing good. At parting I took the liberty to hint, in the most 
respectful manner, that there was something still more wonder- 
ful to me than Mesmerism; and that was, the extent of human, 
incredulity on the subject. 

June 6th. I was called at 8 o'clock last night, to see the wife 
of Baboo Essanchunder Ghosaul, deputy-magistrate of Hooghly. 
I found her in dreadful convulsions ; she was speechless, and 
suffering from a constriction in the throat, that threatened to 
suffocate her every minute; and she constantly beat, or pointed 
at the part. At one moment her body was perfectly rigid, and 
in another it was bent back like a bow, till she rested on the back 
of her head and heels only. I never saw such convulsions except 
in Tetanus and Hydrophobia, arid all I knew of the resources of 
medicine was useless; for how could she take physic when she 
could not take breath ! I therefore had recourse to my new solvent 
power, and, after nearly an hour's hard work, I left her asleep, 
and catalepsed. 

July ist. She has had no return of the fit. This is the lady 
for whose relief the conjurer was sent, but came too late. 

June 26th. Alunga, aged 24; she has slight contractions of 
both elbow- joints, from rheumatism, with acute pain on press- 
ing the ulnar nerve at the elbow. At first, she did not bear much 
handling without awaking; but, on being left alone, the trance 
deepened, and she permitted me to work her joints like door 
hinges, and extend them to the natural degree, without awaking. 
One arm was much freer after the first trance and extension, and 
there was no pain. 

June 27th. Complains of considerable pain in her left arm 
to-day, and the nerve at the elbow is very tender. I passed my 
fingers along the course of the nerve for a few minutes, which 
removed the pain, and allowed her to extend the arm: I then 



OF PRACTICAL MESMERISM. Ill 

held my fingers before her eyes for a few seconds, and she fell 
into my arms insensible. 

July 3rd. This woman's pains fly about, but I can chase 
them away from any part by holding my fingers over it for a 
short time. She came limping up to me to-day, to have the pain 
taken out of her "tendo Achillis ;" and this I did by passing my 
fingers over the pained part. I then grasped it firmly : she felt no 
pain, and by words and looks expressed the utmost astonishment 
and delight. This woman's sensibility is such, that I, or any one, 
can now make her delirious by merely looking at her for five 
minutes ; but more of this hereafter. 

Aug. i8th. I requested Dr. Bedford to satisfy himself if 
the woman Alunga had pain in any part of her body. On being 
asked, she said there was acute pain in one heel ; and Dr. B. spent 
a long time in testing the reality of its existence. He at last said 
that he was convinced there was considerable pain in that spot. 
I then passed my fingers over the part for a minute, and grasped 
the heel as firmly as I could, and she declared the pain had van- 
ished ; and Dr. B. allowed that it had. He then looked at her 
steadily, and in a few minutes developed the mesmeric delirium, 
and desire to sleep- walk, always produced in this woman, if the 
influence is not quickly concentrated upon her: the other symp- 
toms, tremor of the eyelids, inability to open them when closed, 
and the mesmeric trance, all followed in due course. 

July 4th. Dookee, a shop-keeper. For several months has 
had a constant feeling of insects crawling about his face and 
scalp, and it often extends to the whole body ; his eyes wink and 
water constantly. He was mesmerised for an hour, and then 
got a dose of mesmerised water. He soon after complained of 
general agitation, and feeling of alarm at the heart, and then 
slept a little. On leaving the hospital the sense of formication 
had entirely disappeared, and he did not wink more than was 
natural : he has not returned. 

July 1 3th. Four men and one woman were entranced to-day. 

No. I. for Lumbago. 

No. 2. for Sciatica. 

No. 3. for pain in the course of the crural nerve. 

No. 4. for Syphilitic rheumatism. 

No. 5. ditto. 

They were all subdued by the usual manipulations, assisted by 
the breath. 

After the first day the trance was induced in them all, by 



112 EXTRACTS FROM JOURNAL 

giving mesmerised water daily, till the i7th : on which day the 
three with neuralgic pains were dismissed cured; the syphilitic 
cases were not benefitted, as might be expected, the constitu- 
tional specific disease being still in operation: the local pains 
were eased, however, and sleep procured: no small matter in 
such cases. 

July 2Qth. Sustee Ram, a bearer ; aged 30. He became par- 
alytic in his left arm, twelve days ago, during the night: he 
cannot raise it higher than his navel; there is pain under the 
capula ; and he has slept very little since the attack : to be mes- 
merised daily, for half-an-hour. 

July 3Oth. Slept all night, can raise his arm to his breast, 
head, spine, shoulder, and arm : to be mesmerised daily. 

July 3 1 st. Slept yesterday, immediately after being mes- 
merised, and all night: can touch the opposite shoulder and his 
forehead to-day. 

Aug. 1 5th. Has improved daily: usually sleeps after the 
process, and well at night. 

Aug. 25th. Can hold his arm perpendicular, and has con- 
siderable command over it. 

Sept. 8th. Can clap his hands above his head, strikes out 
well with the left arm, and squeezes my hand with considerable 
force. Discharged at his own request, being fit for work. 

The next case I should never have taken in hand, if new 
hopes had not been infused into me by the evident effects of 
Mesmerism on the nervous system. 

Aug. 9th. Geeois, a husbandman ; aged 22. A man of large 
frame, and in good condition. There is complete palsy of the 
whole of the left side; the arm can only be separated from the 
side for a few inches. He has taken mercury six times, in four 
years, for rheumatism : the paralysis began four months ago, 
and he has been three months in his present state : to be mes- 
merised for half an hour daily. 

Aug. 1 8th. He sometimes goes to sleep during the process, 
and generally sleeps for two hours after it : he can raise his arm 
more, and there is a little resistance on the left side, on walking 
between two persons. 

Aug. 2oth. He began to walk a little with a stick to-day. 

Aug. 25th. Improves daily; there is more command over 
the diseased side; the leg is stronger, and he raises the arm 
higher: he walked to the end of the room to-day, with the help 
of a stick only. 






OF PRACTICAL MESMERISM. 113 

Sept. 8th. Much better; walks across the compound, with 
the aid of a stick ; arm also improving. 

Sept. 2Oth. He has discarded his stick, and crosses the com- 
pound unaided. 

Sept. 25th. Daily improving; he can hold his arm nearly 
perpendicular : there is every prospect of his recovering, and he 
was allowed to go home, with orders to his friends to mesmerise 
him daily, in the way they had witnessed. 

Dec. loth. Horo, a Hindoo woman; aged 28. She has 
suffered for three years from tic-dolowrcux in the right eyebrow 
and temple, especially in the cold weather : it is very intense now, 
and comes on at 6 A. M., remaining till 2 p. M. to be mesmerised. 
I returned after an hour, and found her asleep : she awoke soon 
after, and said there was no pain whatever in the part now, and 
that "it was cold as water." 

Jan. 8th. She has had no return of pain. 

Dec. I4th. Podo, a Hindoo woman, a beggar; aged 40. She 
has been a cripple for a year and a half, from rheumatism in her 
shoulders and knees: there is much tenderness about the joints, 
and her knees are so weak that she cannot sit with her hams 
bent, and is obliged to ease herself standing, and she cannot rise 
from the ground without pushing herself up with her hands : 
to be mesmerised an hour daily. 

Dec. i6th. Slept half an hour after the process to-day. 

Dec. 1 7th. Feels much better. 

Dec. i8th. Slept an hour to-day; the pain about the joints 
is much less; she can rise from the ground without aid, and 
walks much more freely. 

Dec. iQth. Says she has no pain, and is quite well : dismissed 
cured, at her own request. 



Mesmerism, like other powerful natural agents, is not only a 
remedy, but becomies a formidable disease when pushed far, and 
deeply rooted in the constitution ; and a knowledge of this is the 
key to a variety of anomalous phenomena, mesmeric in their 
origin, but not directly produced by it at the time, and which 
give rise to absurd charges of imposture, delusion, &c., from 
persons totally ignorant of the subject. These are, in fact, the 
secondary or constitutional symptoms of the primary disease 
Mesmerism, which has contaminated the nervous system, and 
predisposed it to take on the Mesmeric action whenever it is 



114 REMARKS ON MESMERISM. 

deranged, especially by any thing having reference to the pro- 
cesses by which it was first developed in the system.. 

In this respect, Mesmerism very closely resembles Hysteria^ 
which, however primarily induced, is apt to recur on any agita* 
tion of the body or mind, more particularly if it is in any way 
associated with the first disturbing cause; and they both corre* 
spond, in each being sometimes voluntarily producible. Every 
one knows how a genuine fit of hysterics can be willed on, and 
that often there can be no doubt of the reality of the exhibition ; 
and, in like manner, some persons can zc'i// on somnambulism and 
the other Mesmeric symptoms, the reality of which are indis- 
putable. To an experienced person, the springing up of true 
Mesmjeric phenomena, without the usual exciting cause, is a 
moral demonstration that the system has been previously revo- 
lutionized by Mesmerism. The nervous centres having become 
morbidly sensitive by the action of this great nervous excitant, 

L every shock of the nerves, especially if connected with Mesmer- 
ism, is exhibited in the shape of abnormal mesmeric symptoms. 
The eye of the hunter can tell by the foot-prints the kind of 
animal that has gone before : from the shadow we can guess the 
semblance of the substance; and, in like manner, the qualified 
observer, when he sees pseudo-mesmeric appearances, at once 
says, the Mesmerist has been here before me ex pede Herculem. 

It is high time that the public should be disabused of many 
erroneous impressions regarding the finer phenomena of Mes- 
merism, which have been sedulously propagated by medical men 
even, affectedly impartial, but, in reality, labouring under intense 
prejudice, and profound ignorance of the subject. 

It is of no consequence to the community whether it is misled 
by the ignorance or dishonesty of those who set themselves up 
as leaders of public opinion ; the offence against truth, the injury 
done to the public, and the injustice to those who have practically 
studied the question, and declared what they know to be true, 
careless whom it may displease, are equally great. It is a com- 
mon thing for Doctors, who have never seen or thought of Mes- 
merism, to step forward to enlighten the public, and expose the 
"humbug." They have heard of "Mesmeric coma," and that, 
under its influence, the most severe surgical operations can be 
performed without pain ; and they thereupon exact total insensi- 
bility into their experimenting crucis of the truth of Mesmerism ; 
and if any unfortunate Mesmeric wight, having a vulnerable 
point in his "tendo Achillis" even, should fall under their ob- 



REMARKS ON MESMERISM. 11$ 

servation, he is denounced as a hardened and determined im- 
postor, and his physician exposed as a quack, or charitably al- 
lowed to be, perhaps, only a fool. 

Nothing short of the extinction of life will satisfy these dis- 
criminating observers : physiological revolutions in the system 
altered bearing changed expression in features and voice 
the approach and advance of sleep the extinction of some 
senses and the preservation or exaltation of others, are all not 
only lost upon such philosophers, but are, one and all, "con- 
firmations, strong as Holy Writ," of the existence of imposture ! 
Such is the procrustean bed to which the anti-mesmerists bind 
down Nature in this most varied and wonderful display of her 
powers. If the body of their venerable mother be longer than 
her unnatural children, the Doctors, wish it, they mercilessly 
amputate the offending members: if shorter, she is pulled and 
stretched by pulleys, sccundem artem, to the length prescribed. 
A dispassionate and candid judge of this description (the wolf 
judging the lamb) is perhaps invited by a medical Mesmerist to 
satisfy himself by ocular demonstration in his hospitals, since 
nothing short of this can affect his understanding ; and the Mes- 
meric guest commences his course of practical experiment by 
tossing and goring the patients (fortunately generally insensi- 
ble) like a mad bull; his only thought being how to kill two at 
a blow; and because he has been compelled to develop all the 
Mesmeric phenomena himself, he revenges himself by declar- 
ing it to be all a miserable imposture and delusion : passion is 
the same all over the world, and it is easier to instruct ignorance 
than pride. 

But I am anxious that the public should know what Mesmer- 
ism really is, in order that they may know it when it comes be- 
fore them, and be no longer deluded by prejudiced, ignorant, or 
interested quasi descriptions of it. Abundant examples of its 
acute, and extreme effects on the system will be found in these 
pages, as well as many of the intermediate phases, and each, 
to the discriminating observer, is distinctive and characteristic 
of an unusual condition of the body. The involuntary quivering 
of the eyelids, and the spasmodic closing of the eye, in per- 
sons a minute before wide awake, and resisting, perhaps ; the 
extinction o one or more of the organs of sense, which we saw 
in full activity but a moment ago; the eye turned up so that 
the white can only be seen, or staring wide open, fixed and 
insensible to light; sleep walking, delirium, convulsions, 



Il6 MESMERISM BY DOING NOTHING. 

catalepsy, in persons not subject to these affections till they were 
subjected to the mesmeric processes ; is not any one of these 
induced symptoms as clearly the effect of some constraining in- 
fluence as the production of insensibility? They are all links 
of the same chain, and in some patients can all be beautifully ex- 
hibited in sequence and connection, from the quivering of an 
eyelash to the most intense coma. 

Another anti-mesmerist, who to save appearances has conde- 
scended to look at certain of the mesmeric phenomena, says, on 
seeing their reality : "There is no use in denying the extraor- 
dinary condition these people are reduced to; but the whole 
secret of the matter is that they are a set of poor hysterical 
wretches, and I will show you that I can mesmerise them as well 
as you, by doing nothing." The enterprising experimentalist 
proceeds to redeem his pledge, and actually succeeds, to his great 
delight and the mystification of the public, in disproving the 
truth of the axiom, "ex nihilo nihil fit," for he produces a 
serious disease, hysteria, by the compelling power of nothing! 
Upon this, the obstructives congratulate each other, and call upon 
the public to put down the naked humbug. Would not the pub- 
lic suppose that this mesmerising by nothing was an ingenious 
and original experiment of the anti-mesmeric school of philoso- 
phy ? And yet the truth is, that they were taught their favourite 
trick by the Mesmerists; who have not only declared, that this 
can be done, but that it is a natural consequence of their pro- 
ceedings, if carried to a certain extent. It is often very difficult, 
and laborious, to excite the mesmeric action in the constitution ; 
but being once excited, a very slight recurrence to the original 
processes will bring on the paroxysm in all its first intensity, and 
if the excitement of the nervous system is kept up by frequent 
mesmerising, it takes on an independent diseased action, obeying 
constitutional laws which we do not understand : we, in fact, 
have inoculated the system with a nervous disease which often 
acts spontaneously, especially on any reference to the primary 
exciting cause; and at this stage the candid medical observer 
steps in, and demands the applause of an admiring and con- 
founded world, for having done with "nothing," what had cost 
his stupid mesmeric brother so much trouble to effect. 

It is hardly credible that Dr. Elliotson had expressly said, 
and that our candid philosophers knew it: "At length there 
is sometimes such sensibility, that almost any thing will induce 
sleep; indeed, no process at last may be requisite to produce the 



MESMERISING DY NOTHING. 117 

effect. I have three patients, whom I was originally some weeks 
in sending to sleep, though I gave each half an hour daily of 
manipulations, and gazing; but who now go to sleep on my 
merely raising my hand, or looking at them when they are pre- 
pared to expect sleep. I told each of them that, if she sat still, 
I would mesmerise her in the next room through the door. I 
retired, shut the door behind me, did nothing, but walked into 
a further room, turned back, and found her asleep: so with the 
other two in succession. While I did this, I thought as little 
of them as possible, and busied myself with any thing to dis- 
tract my attention." Mesmerists in all parts of the world have 
stated the same fact, and I can bear the most ample testimony 
to its truth. 

What candid mind, after considering this explanation, will 
regard "mesmerising by nothing," as a demonstration of the 
imposture of Mesmerism ? 

I was explaining the mesmeric disease (for such it has be- 
come, at this stage) to a party of gentlemen, the other day, and 
while speaking, a man anticipated my intention to mesmerise 
him "by nothing," by becoming intensely entranced on the spot, 
when I was not regarding him. The gentlemen, and Dr. Scott 
among them, used every means to ascertain his condition, and 
were as well convinced that he had lost his senses, as that they 
were in possession of theirs : in fact, although the paroxysm 
was spontaneous, he would have borne a severe surgical operation 
without feeling it. I went to the hospital to-day (8th Dec. 
1845) after writing the last line, and had there the pleasure of 
meeting Dr. Behn, Professor of Anatomy and Physiology in 
the University of Kiel, Mr. Kiellerup, Naturalist, and Mr. Blyth, 
Curator of the Asiatic Society's museum: the two former gen- 
tlemen are attached to the Danish frigate, now here on a po- 
litical and scientific mission. As all three were observers of 
nature by profession, I thought it a good opportunity to correct 
my own impressions by theirs, if different from mine, and there- 
fore submitted to their notice cases of direct and indirect Mes- 
merism. A man was brought before us with an enlarged and 
tender testis, and of the latter point Dr. Behn satisfied himself 
and friends, by pressing the part there could be no mistake 
about it. I then, by the hands and breath, mesmerised him, 
standing before me, till he could not open his eyes, and the sensi- 
bility of the skin had disappeared. Dr. Behn then used any de- 
gree of pressure he chose to apply to the tender part, and the 



Il8 HYSTERIC THEORY. 

man's face was as placid as a statue of Somnus; every means 
was used to ascertain the state of the skin and the organs of 
sense, and it was clear that the ear was the only organ that trans- 
mitted any sensation to the brain, and this only of sound; when 
water was squirted suddenly into his ear, he said that he felt 
nothing, and on waking, he was surprised to find his face wet. 
I also converted him into a somnambulist, that the gentlemen 
might at once have before them as many as possible of the genu- 
ine mesmeric phenomena. Another man was then brought ; and 
on asking him about his health, he said that he was feverish and 
had a severe pain in the side. This was evidently the case; for 
Dr. Behn pressed between the ribs, and found the intercostal 
spaces exceedingly tender. I then put him in a corner of the 
room, and bid him sleep : in less than five minutes he was asleep, 
could not turn round, or open his eyes, catalepsy was estab- 
lished, and all sensibility had disappeared; as Dr. Behn ascer- 
tained by now pressing between the ribs to any degree he 
pleased ; and not only so, the whole chest was seen to be catar 
lepsed and immovable. His eyelids were forced open, and the 
white of the eye could only be seen. The moment he awoke, Dr. 
Behn again made pressure on the intercostal spaces, and he 
showed immediate and acute suffering. In a word, the spon- 
taneous mesmeric condition differed in no particular from that 
induced by the direct application- of the mesmeric influence, and 
my visitors seemed to be perfectly satisfied of the reality of the 
symptoms in both states. 

It would be tedious to dwell on this point farther, and I hope 
enough has been said to convince the public that, in general, 
when people are said to have been mesmerised "by nothing," it 
is a certain proof that something has pre-disposed to this, and 
we know nothing that can do this but Mesmerism, It is hardly 
worth while to dispute about names ; and if it is allowed that I can 
cure nervous headaches, and perform painless surgical opera- 
tions by hysteria, call the process hysteric or mesmeric I care 
not. 

But after all, there is a satisfaction in calling things by their 
right names, and I cannot possibly see how hysteria has got into 
my hospitals, where I never saw it before coolies and felons 
not being at all nervous subjects. I have, therefore, generated 
a new disease among my patients by nothing, or by using the 
mesmeric processes. Which is the more likely, I leave my 
readers to decide. As natural hysteria may be supposed to be 



MODE OF STUDYING MESMERISM. IIQ 

more powerful than the imitation, I shall look with impatience 
for the announcement, in "The Morning Post," that Mrs. Freak 
has been cured of her nervous headaches by the skilful applica- 
tion of hysteria, and Lady Tantrum has had her arm cut off when 
in a fit of hysterics, without knowing it. These should be easy 
feats for our fashionable physicians and surgeons, as they have 
the disease and antidote ready made to their hands; whereas, 
it cost me and my assistants great trouble to make the coolies 
and prisoners of Bengal hysterical, to the degree necessary to 
render them insensible to the loss of their members. 

But seriously, if medical men wish to see and understand 
the effects of Mesmerism on the body, the natural -and rational 
mode of proceeding is to attempt to develop them in the persons 
of their own patients ; and if they will take a tithe of the trouble 
I have been at, I can promise them very general success. The 
finest, as well as the most striking phenomena will then be equally 
diagnostic to their practised eyes, and their understandings will 
be left clear, and free to study and imitate the curative processes 
of Nature, undisturbed by doubts and suspicions regarding the 
powers of observation and the honesty of others. 



CHAPTER VII. 

Mesmerism in Surgery.--] onrnal of Practical Mesmerism. 
Mesmeric Trance: A Leg straightened in; Colic cured by; 
Penis amputated in; Arm straightened in; Arm amputated 
in; Breast cut off in; Abscess opened in; Heel Hayed in; 
Tooth extracted in; End of Thumb cut off in; Arm laid open 
in; Three Abscesses opened in; Sinus laid open in; Gum cut 
away in; Invasion of the waking by the sleeping State. 
Mesmeric Trance: Hypertrophied Prepuce cut off in; Sup- 
purating Pile in; Both great Toe Nails cut out in; Knee 
straightened in; Ulcer on Temple burned with Muriatic Acid 
in; Seton introduced, &c. in; Tumour in Groin removed in; 
Fungoid Sores pared off in; Scirrhus Testes extirpated in; 
Cataract operated on in; Malignant Disease' of Testes ex- 
tirpated in; Unhealthy Sore pared in; Hypertrophied Pre- 
puce -cut off in; Pain extinguished by; Return on awaking; 
Amputation of Penis in; Unhealthy Sores pared in; Two 
Operations for Hydrocele in. Mesmerism alike favourable 
to the Operator and the Patient. 

IN Surgery, the benefits of Mesmerism are not confined to 
the extinction of pain during an operation, but are of the great- 
est general and particular advantage in the after-treatment of 
surgical diseases. The nerves and brain have not been shattered 
by bodily and mental anguish, which generally excites an irri- 
tative fever in the system, wasting the powers of life, and rous- 
ing local inflammation in the injured part ; thereby often destroy- 
ing all the hopes and precautions of the surgeon. In the mes- 
meric sleep, only the necessary local injury has been inflicted ; 
and on awaking, the patient sometimes feels nopain whatever, 
and generally only a slight smarting in the wound; and the 
constitution sets about repairing the breach of substance quietly, 
and under the best possible circumstances ; if local pains follow, 
they can be easily removed by topical manipulations; all which 
will be seen in the following 

JOURNAL OF PRACTICAL MESMERISM. 

April 2Oth. Jeolal, my washerman, aged 35, has been 
eighteen months ill; first with dysentery, afterwards with rheu- 

120 



PRACTICAL MESMERISM. 121 

matic fever, in consequence of which his left knee is bent upon 
the thigh at a right angle. 

I considered him to be a hopeless cripple. I mesmerised 
him to-day in a quarter of an hour. At first he supported his 
knee with both hands; but soon allowed me to remove them, 
and suspend them in the air. The leg was then gradually ex- 
tended, and straightened to a considerable extent, without awak- 
ing him. 

April 2 1 st. The process was repeated to-day, and more force 
used, which awoke him ; the leg was still farther improved. 

April 22d. The pulley was used to-day, and very consider- 
able power applied before he awoke. The muscular contraction 
is now nearly overcome, and the remaining stiffness of the knee 
seems 'to be from the tendons and ligaments about the joint, and 
will probably yield to mechanical extension, by exercise. 

May i ith. He can now walk without a stick, but the fibrous 
contractions give way slowly. I am convinced that direct force 
might have torn the muscles of the thigh, but could not have 
relaxed them. 

June 22d. His leg is now quite straight, and the knee flexible ; 
he has got a violent colic, and when speaking to me fell down 
in a fainting state. Ordered to be mesmerised. 

June 23d. He slept for an hour, and awoke much relieved 
yesterday; but a paroxysm returned last night, and still con- 
tinues. Repeat the Mesmerism. 

June 24th. He remained three hours in the mesmeric sleep 
yesterday, and awoke quite well, and continues so. His leg 
is now quite strong, and he has returned to his work. 

May I2th. Buxoo, a Khitmatgan. There is a fistulous open- 
ing in the urethra under the glans penis, which is sloughing, and 
requires to be amputated. I desired him to be mesmerised, and 
returned in an hour. I found him asleep, and when looking at 
him, he suddenly opened his eyes, but immediately went to sleep 
again, and in five minutes after I cut off the glans, without 
awaking him. He awoke soon after, and said it was from fear, 
not pain. 

April 2Oth, ii o'clock, A. M. Kangalee, a peasant; aged 20, 
weak, and ill nourished. He had a fever four years ago, after 




122 EXTRACTS FROM JOURNAL 

which sores broke out in different parts of his body, and have 
left large cicatrices like burns. There is one about the left elbow 
joint, which has been permanently contracted to nearly a right 
angle, for seven months. He was catalepsed in twenty min- 
utes ; a bottle was then put under his elbow for a fulcrum, and 
the arm was gradually extended by depressing the hand. He 
moved a little, and the muscles contracted occasionally, but soon 
melted as it were, under my hand, and I left him, with his arm 
perfectly straight, extended in the air and still asleep. Two 
o'clock, p. M. He awoke half an hour ago. Sees his arm is 
straight, knows not'how it was done, has no pain, and can move 
it freely. 

May 2d. He pulls the punkah daily with his left arm, for 
exercise. 

June 1 4th. Dismissed cured. 

May 5th. Rantoonee Buttachangie, a Brahmin; aged 40. 
There is a prodigious Fungus haematodes protruding from the 
left elbow-joint. A swelling took place at the joint when he 
was five years old, and has gone on increasing gradually, but the 
skin remained entire till an incision was made by a native doctor, 
twelve days ago, when the bloody mass started through the in- 
teguments. It exactly resembles the contents of an old aneur- 
ism ; the structure of the fungus having been broken up by the 
actual cautery applied to it all over, in order to stop the bleeding : 
it was a frightful mass. I desired him to be carefully mesmer- 
ised, and went to Chinsurah, to consult with Dr. Elton, in charge 
of the troops there. We returned to the hospital together, and 
found him in a profound sleep, and decided to take the arm off 
instantly. It was removed, without his moving or complaining, 
and Dr. Elton assured me that his countenance had never 
changed. He awoke immediately after the limb was off, and 
declared, again and again, that" he was aware of nothing having 
been done to him till he awoke and saw his arm was gone ; and 
he then saw Dr. Elton for the first time. 



May I3th. Is doing well. 

May 1 6th. He complains 
be mesmerised. 

May 1 7th. He was easily put to sleep yesterday, and slept 



May 1 6th. He complains of pain in the stump to-day. 
To be mesmerised. 



OF PRACTICAL MESMERISM. 123 

for three hours; was free from pain when he awoke, and con- 
tinues so. 

May nth. Meeroolla, a policeman; aged 28, strong and 
healthy looking. He has got a fatty tumour of the right mam- 
ma, which he begged me to remove to-day. I desired him to 
lie down, and let me carefully examine it, and commenced mes- 
merising him. In ten minutes he was fast asleep; in five min- 
utes more I transfixed the tumour with a hook, drew it up off 
the muscles, and cut it out, without disturbing him in the least, 
and he did not awake till half an hour afterwards. He declares 
that he felt no pain till he awoke, and remembers nothing after 
my hands were placed on his stomach, which was in about five 
minutes from the commencement. 

May nth. Podoo, a young Hindoo woman, has a swelling 
over the false ribs of the right side, requiring an incision to be 
made in it. I desired the compounder to mesmerise her, while 
I was engaged with the last patient, and she was ready before 
I was: a deep incision, an inch long, was made into the swell- 
ing, without awaking her, and I left her sleeping. 

May I4th. Maduh, a healthy-looking coolie; aged 30. I 
saw him for the first time to-day, at n o'clock. He has got a 
sore on the heel, of two years' standing ; the skin is half an inch 
thick, separated from the subjacent parts all round, and requires 
to be removed. To be mesmerised. I went on to Chinsurah, 
where I had the pleasure to be introduced to the Reverend Mr. 
Banergie, who is there on a visit, and who begged me to show 
him a person under the mesmeric influence. I replied that I 
disapproved of experimenting with so formidable a power, to 
gratify mere curiosity; but I had left a man under the process, 
and that if he would go to the hospital, on chance, he might possi- 
bly be gratified. I returned to the hospital after an hour, and 
there found the Reverend Mr. Fisher, Mr. Banergie, and Mr. 
Money, the collector. The patient was asleep, and I immedi- 
ately commenced dissecting the thickened skin from the plantar 
fascia, which was very difficult, owing to its thickness and hard- 
ness. It almost resembled a horse's hoof, and removal must 
have been very painful under ordinary circumstances. He was 
completely insensible to the pain, however, and remained asleep 
a quarter of an hour after I had finished. 

Mr. Banergie then questioned him, in Bengalee, regarding 



124 EXTRACTS FROM JOURNAL 

his feelings, and he protested that he felt nothing till he awoke. 
Many of the patients, already mentioned, being still in hospital, 
Mr. Banergie examined them in Bengalee, and in no instance did 
their accounts vary from what I had related. 

May 26th. Ram Dass, a large robust man, has a super- 
numerary tooth between the eye-tooth, and the first grinder, 
growing horizontally into his mouth, and causing him great an- 
noyance. I entranced him in a quarter of an hour, lying on a 
mattress on the table, and proceeded to open his jaws. It cost 
me some trouble to relax the temporal muscles, and I had to pro- 
ceed cautiously, as he did not appear to be under the extreme 
influence of the mesmeric power. From its position, it was diffi- 
cult to lay hold of the tooth, but it was at last grasped, and ex- 
tracted. He moved, and moaned a little, but I soon tranquillised 
him again, and he did not awake till almost suffocated by the 
blood. He declared he awoke from this cause, and not from 
pain. 

May 29th. Sibehurn Sing, a young robust man, had his 
thumb nearly cut through by a sword, fourteen days ago. An 
attempt was made to unite it, but failed; and the point of the 
finger would be a nuisance if kept. In ten minutes I made him 
insensible, and cut off the end of the thumb without awaking 
him. He soon after quietly opened his eyes, and I asked him: 
"Have you been asleep?" "Yes." "Have you any pain?" 
"No." "Has any thing hurt you to-day?" "No." "Do you 
wish your nail cut off?" "Yes." "Look at it." He did so, 
looked confounded, and exclaimed, "It's gone!" "Who did it?" 
"God knows." "How did it happen, has it fallen off itself?" 
"I can't tell I know nothing about it." 

May 3Oth. Modoomohun Ray, a fine boy, 12 years old, was 
brought to the hospital, fourteen days ago, with a compound 
fracture of both bones of the forearm, and my assistants had 
several times tried to mesmerise him, in the hope of assuaging the 
pain, but without success. Matter has formed, and the wound 
must be enlarged, upwards and downwards. As he was appre- 
hensive, I put a piece of wet cloth over his eyes, and went on 
with my affairs, telling him that it would cool his brain. The 
people were all dismissed, and approaching him unobserved, I 
succeeded in entrancing him in ten minutes, and laid open the 
arm without disturbing him. I returned after three hours, and 



OF PRACTICAL MESMERISM. I2fj 

v X 

found him still sleeping. On awaking, he said the pain was 
much less, and that no one had hurt him that day. 

June 2(1. Gungaram Dass, a prisoner, was injured, ten days 
ago, by some rubbish falling on him, and in consequence three 
large abscesses have formed at the elbow, wrist, and ankle, which 
require to be opened. I subdued him in a few minutes, opened 
the abscesses, and left him sleeping. On my return, after two 
hours, he had just awoke, and I found him sitting up looking 
at his wounds. I asked him how the pus had escaped, since I 
saw him in the morning? He could not tell. Of its own ac- 
cord? He supposed so. Had any one cut or hurt him to-day? 
No one. 

June 1 6th. Toorab, a peasant, aged 30, of a rickety con- 
stitution, has a sinus, six inches in length, under the pectoral 
muscle, of seven months' standing. We have not been able to 
close it by any means, and it is necessary to lay it open. He was 
entranced by one of my assistants, and I laid the whole of the 
diseased tract open without his knowing it, and left him sleeping. 

June 1 5th. He awoke soon after I left him, and on awaking, 
asked where the blood had come from? He has hardly had any 
pain in the wound, and has no recollection of being disturbed 
in his sleep yesterday. 

July Qth. Mrs. Clermont is suffering from one of her wisdom 
teeth; half of it has come through, but the rest is covered with 
the indurated and ulcerated gum. I explained that the source 
of the irritation must be removed, by cutting away the offend- 
ing gum. 

July loth. I entranced her to-day, sitting on a couch, in 
the presence of her husband and his sister; laid her back and 
cut away the gum without awaking her, and left her sleeping. 

July nth. This is a very interesting case, as it shows the 
invasion of the waking by the sleeping state. Mrs. C, on awak- 
ing yesterday, arose as if from common sleep, and went to adjust 
her hair in the glass, when she saw blood about her mouth, and 
this first attracted her attention to the tooth ; she thought the 
gum had burst, and was still expecting me to call. For, strange 
to say, she had no recollection of having seen me that day, nor 
of what happened for half an hour before I put her to sleep. 
The incidents, her husband informed me, that occurred during 



126 EXTRACTS FROM JOURNAL 

this time were these: She received letters from the postmart, 
and paid for them ; a lady came to visit her ; and then I arrived, 
and sat conversing with them a short time. After seeing the 
lady to her carriage, I returned and mesmerised her: all these 
occurrences were blotted from her mind. She feels quite well, 
and awoke much refreshed. If such inroads are made into the 
regions of sense, at one sitting, the effect of frequent unneces- 
sary experiments may be guessed at in such sensitive subjects as 
this lady ; and this is the power trifled with, and made a show of 
for money!* 

July 1 7th. To-day, in the presence of Mr. Davidson, com- 
missioner of the district, and Mr. Alexander, Registrar to the 
Board of Revenue (who have requested me to name them as 
witnesses,) I operated on a man for hypertrophy of the prepuce, 
without awaking him. After letting him sleep some time, I 
asked the gentlemen if I should awake him, and at their desire, 
did so in a moment, by blowing in his eyes. He was restored at 
once to full consciousness, and Mr. Davidson remarked, "I wish 

Doctor was here, who says you do this by opium." My 

visitors, understanding Bengalee, asked him if any one had hurt 
him to-day. He said, "No." If he would like his disease to be 



*While in London, arranging for the publication of this work, I had 
the pleasure of being introduced to Dr. Elliotson. under whose guidance 
I mesmerised two females, although I had never before seen Mesmerism, 
or attempted to practise it. These women being accustomed to be mes- 
merised, I was not surprised at my success; but an event which happened 
a few days afterwards, astonished both myself and the friends who wit- 
nessed the occurrence. At an evening party I met a young gentleman from 
Oxford, who requested me to mesmerise him. He had never seen Mes- 
merism ; and yet, in one minute, his eyes closed under my manipulations, 
and in less than three minutes he was fast asleep. Being diffident in my 
own powers, I de-mesmerised him as speedily as possible. He thus de- 
scribed his sensations : "The moment you pointed your fingers at me, I 
felt uncomfortable. I dared not meet your gaze ; a sensation of heat, 
resembling a stream of electricity, commenced at my forehead and followed 
the course of your hands, down to the pit of my stomach. I could not 
open my eyes. I knew I was sitting on a chair before you, and the last 
idea in my mind, before falling fast asleep, was this Shall I ever be 
allowed to rise again?" 

This fact seems to prove that the power of mesmerising, and of being 
mesmerised, is more general in this country than is commonly sup- 
posed. Editor. 



OF PRACTICAL MESMERISM. 127 

removed? He answered, that he would thank God if any one 
would do so. He was then desired to sit up, and his cloth re- 
moved; when, seeing his nuisance was gone, he fell back with 
an exclamation of wonder and gratitude. 

July 25th. Buggabuttee, a Hindoo woman, aged 40, has 
been troubled with a suppurating pile, as big as the end of my 
thumb. She was mesmerised at eleven o'clock, and at twelve 
I cut off the tumour, and though she moved and moaned, on 
awaking half an hour after, did not know that any thing had 
been done to her. 

Aug. 4th. Sona, a Hindoo woman; 25 years old. Both 
nails of the great toes are destroyed to the roots, by the com- 
bined effects of syphilis and mercury, and their place is filled 
with a fungoid ulcer. She was mesmerised at twelve o'clock, 
and at half past one p. M V I dissected out the entire root of one 
nail, without awaking her : her left hand and arm trembled only, 
and this was subdued in a few minutes, by her hand being held 
in mine. Left her sleeping. 

Aug. 5th. Again entranced, and I cut out the other nail 
without annoying her. On neither occasion has she had any 
pain on awaking. 

Aug. 6th. Golam Hassein. His knee has been contracted 
to a considerable extent for two months, from rheumatism. He 
was mesmerised for the first time at eleven o'clock, and I made 
his leg straight at one o'clock, the new ligamentous adhesions 
were felt, and heard, cracking under my hands. He felt no pain 
on awaking. 

Aug. 8th. Gendo, a Hindoo woman ; aged 50. There is 
a large sloughing ulcer, covering all her right temple. She was 
mesmerised at ten o'clock A. M. ; and at half past eleven, I freely 
applied muriatic acid to the whole sore, without her showing 
any sensibility. She awoke twenty minutes after, and knew 
nothing about it. 

Aug. Qth. Parbuttie, an elderly Hindoo woman, has a sinus 
extending from the inner ankle, under the calf, to the outer side 
of the leg near the knee, which is contracted by a dense cicatrix 
running two thirds round the joint, and involving the ham- 
strings: the knee has been in this state for ten years. Being 
put to sleep, a counter opening was made in the leg, and a 



128 EXTRACTS FROM JOURNAL 

seton run through the leg, without her feeling it. I then leant 
all my weight on the knee, and succeeded in extending it a little, 
but the diseased structures would yield no farther. A heavier 
and stronger gentleman then applied all his power, and effected 
a little more, but it was evident that no force short of break- 
ing the limb could straighten it. But it was equally certain, that 
any common muscular or ligamentous contraction must have 
yielded on the spot. The woman continued to sleep for hours 
after. 

Aug. 23d. Napaul Bagdy, a husbandman, has a singular 
fungoid mass in the right groin; it is the size of a small cauli- 
flower, and like it in appearance, the surface being whitish from 
sloughing. It spreads from a peduncle in the abdominal ring, 
and bleeds much when handled. His father says that, at his 
birth, there was only one testis in the scrotum, and no trace 
of the other was seen till he was six months old, when a swell- 
ing appeared in the groin. This gradually increased till his 
twelfth year, but was not painful or inconvenient. About this 
time he was attacked with fever, attended with increased sensi- 
bility and increase of size in the tumour, and the paroxysms came 
on twice a month, up to June last, when he applied to a barber- 
surgeon, who used means to ripen the swelling. In the course 
of a few days it was punctured," and blood only followed. The 
opening was plugged as well as possible with a candle covered 
with cloth smeared with some ointment, but in a few days this 
came out, and the following day, a fungus shot out of the wound, 
and daily increased to its present size. It is now a very foul 
mass, its surface mortified and the crevices filled with maggots. 

Aug. 26th. He was mesmerised after two hours' trial, and 
the mass removed without his feeling it. 

Aug. 3 1 st. Discharged at his own request wound looking 
well. 

Sept. 1st. Raimgopal, a young Hindoo, has got a high 
syphilitic sore, about the size of half a lemon, on each side of 
his nates. He was entranced on the first trial; and in the pres- 
ence of Dr. Ross and Dr. Sissmore, I turned him round like a 
log, and cut off both the excrescences level with the skin, then 
turned him back again, and left him sleeping. It is needless 
to say he did not feel it. 



OF PRACTICAL MESMERISM. 129 

Oct. 8th. Nazir, a peasant, aged 60, has suffered from en- 
larged and scirrhous testis for four years ; the parts are as large 
as a child's head, and extirpation is necessary. He was en- 
tranced after two hours to-day. 

Oct. loth. He was mesmerised the second time, to-day, in 
the presence of Mr. Sutherland, Dr. Owen, the Reverend Mr. 
Bradbury, Major Riddle, Mr. Higgen, Mr. Muller, Mr. Graves, 
Messrs. Savigny, Mr. Calder, and Mr. Bartlett. 

I removed the parts without his showing any sign of sensi-' 
bility till the last artery was being tied: he then woke up, but 
went immediately to sleep again for half an hour, and on awak- 
ing, said that he was only conscious of a little pain when he 
awoke for a moment, and found me to be tying something. He 
was cheerful and talkative, and showed no signs of suffering or 
exhaustion in his countenance or manner, and said the pain in 
the wound was very trifling. 

Nov. 2oth. Mohun Dass, a peasant ; aged 55 : has got a 
cataract in one eye. He was entranced on the first trial, and I 
broke down the lens in the presence of Major Smith of H. M.'s 
9th Regt., without awaking him. 

Nov. 2 1 st. There is much pain in the eye. To be mesmer- 
ised, and leeches applied. He slept for two hours with the 
leeches on, and on awaking, the pain was nearly gone. 

Nov. 26th. Mahes Banergie, a Brahmin, aged 40, has got 
an enlarged testis, the size of a child's head; it is red, glisten- 
ing, and very painful, and there is a scrotal hernia above it. He 
was entranced on the first trial, and I returned the gut into the 
abdomen, handling the inflamed part very rudely, without his 
showing the least sensibility. I then, in the presence of Captain 
D. L. Richardson, dissected out the diseased organ. The opera- 
tion was tedious, as I had to carefully separate the mass from 
the hernial sack. He moved, as in an uneasy dream, but did 
not awake till we were tying the arteries, which were very 
numerous; he then said, that he had felt nothing till that mo- 
ment. The muscular movements, sometimes seen, looked more 
like the contractions induced by cutting a recently dead animal, 
than the common contortions from, pain ; and I believe may be 
avoided by patience, as every trance seems to deepen the insen- 
sibility. I need not point out to the surgeon the advantage 



130 EXTRACTS FROM JOURNAL . 

he would derive from the mesmeric trance, in reducing strangU" 
lated hernia, and spasmodic strictures of the urethra. 

Nov. 3Oth. Mahes, a peasant, aged 32, has got a deep ulcer 
of a year's standing, at the root of the penis, that penetrates 
under the pubes; the edges are callous, and prevent it healing. 
He was subdued in two hours on the first day, and in the pres- 
ence of Dr. Tritton and a party of officers of the ?ist Regiment 
N. I., I pared off the margins of the sore without his awaking. 
He awoke a few minutes after, said he had been asleep, and 
dreamt that some one had pulled him off the roof of a house, 
and declared that he felt no pain whatever at the moment of 
speaking. I thereupon proposed that he should allow me to cut 
him a very little, as it would facilitate the healing of the sore, 
but he would not hear of it. Dr. Tritton and the rest also joined 
their persuasions ; but he implored us for the love of God to let 
him alone he would rather die than be cut, that the proposal 
had already killed him, &c. He was desired to sit up, and his 
cloth removed; on seeing the altered state of things, he was 
greatly alarmed and puzzled, and on being shown the pieces of 
flesh, said they had certainly belonged to him before he went to 
sleep, and how I got hold of them he had no idea. As I found 
myself in the company of candid and dispassionate observers, I 
showed them Mesmerism in all its physical symptoms, whether 
directly or indirectly produced, and Dr. Tritton very kindly said 
at parting, that he was quite convinced of the reality of the 
symptoms from first to last, whether produced by something, or 
nothing, and that he now quite understood the "mesmeric dis- 
ease," and said I was at liberty to say so, if I pleased. 

Dec. ist. I had the pleasure of receiving a visit from the 
gentlemen engaged in the railway survey, consisting of Mr. 
Simms, Captain Western, Captain Boileau, Mr. Eraser, and Dr. 
Macauley. They found a man entranced, from whom I was 
about to remove a hypertrophied prepuce. As he appeared to 
be ready, I commenced at once; but seeing that he shrunk from 
the knife, without awaking, however, I desisted, and proposed 
to adjourn to the other hospital, saying that this man would 
probably be ready on our return. We accordingly went, and I 
requested Dr. Macauley to ascertain if a man brought before 
us had pain in his scrotum. He said there was no doubt ; and 
the rest were satisfied that there was no mistake about it. I 
ordered him to be entranced before them, which was easily done, 



OF PRACTICAL MESMERISM. 

as he had been twice operated on for hydrocele, in the trance. 
I pulled him up, and set him on his feet sleeping, before the 
gentlemen, and begged them to deal with him as they pleased. 
He was catalepsed by them in the most painful attitudes, to which 
he was as indifferent as a man of clay; and Dr. Macauley now 
squeezed the painful part with as much effect as if the man had 
been a mummy. I stripped him naked ; and when he awoke and 
found himself standing in the presence of gentlemen in this 
condition, his look of wonder and shame, if not natural, was 
most beautiful acting, and he certainly escaped being found out. 
As soon as he awoke, Dr. Macauley pressed the diseased part, 
and there could be no doubt about his feelings on the subject; 
the pain was evidently instantaneous and acute. On returning 
to the Charity Hospital, I removed the enlarged cellular substance 
from the whole penis; the man did not shrink in the least from 
the knife, and slept a good while after the operation. On ques- 
tioning him, he said that he had been put to sleep to be operated 
on ; but as he was now awake, he would wish it to be put off till 
to-morrow. We then showed him the liberties that had been 
taken with him, and he recognised his property; but how it had 
changed owners he had no conception. 

Dec. 2 1 st. Samoo, a weaver, has got a bad sloughing sore 
of the prepuce and glans, of a year's standing. To be mes- 
merised. 

Dec. 22d. He was mesmerised for two hours yesterday, and 
slept an hour afterwards, apparently naturally. To-day I saw 
him after half an hour's mesmerising, when the trance was fully 
established, his whole body being rigid. As I had not time then, 
I left him, and returned in an hour, and found his body still 
stiff. I cut open and took off the prepuce ; and finding the glans 
half eroded, I cut it off too. The man showed no sign of life; 
the body continued stiff, and the pulse natural. He awoke in 
half an hour afterwards, and did not discover that any thing 
had been done to him till he went to make water. 

Dec. 29th. Mahes, operated on last month. The sore is 
callous, and it will greatly advance his cure to have it pared. 
To be mesmerised in my absence. I went on to Chinsurah, and 
there met the Rev. Mr. Cahusac, and the Rev. Mr. Mullins, who 
requested to see any mesmeric cases in hand. They returned 
with me to the hospital, and we found Mahes entranced. I 
pared the sore, and he did not awake till a quarter of an hour 



132 EXTRACTS FROM JOURNAL 

afterwards. Mr. Mullins, who speaks Bengalee, asked him i 
he had been disturbed in his sleep. He said "No;" and that 
the pain was not greater than before he went to sleep. 

We found another man entranced, whose elbow had been 
dislocated for twenty days. I tried to reduce it, using all my 
force, but did not succeed ; he moved uneasily, but did not awake 
till ten minutes after I had desisted, and then said that nothing 
had disturbed him. 

Dec. 26th. Goluck Seit, a prisoner, has got a hydrocele on 
each side. A young Hindoo subdued him to-day in ten min- 
utes, on the first trial. When about to operate, I saw that he 
possessed a consecrated nail, on one of his little fingers ; and 
knowing the value attached to this, I resolved to get possession 
of it, if possible, as a moral test of his being insensible, for he 
would as soon have cut a cow's throat and eaten a beefsteak as 
allowed me to cut off his nail, while in possession of his senses. 
It is a common practice with the Hindoos to vow their hair, 
beards, or nails to Shiva, the Destroyer, in the hope of averting 
his anger; and this man had consecrated his little finger-nail to 
Shiva Forakissore, Forakissore, in this district, being a famous 
shrine of the god. I transferred the sacred excrescence to my 
pocket, without any remonstrance being made, and then per- 
formed the less formidable operation of withdrawing the water, 
and throwing in the injection, of which he knew nothing, on 
awaking two hours after. His only distress was the loss of his 
nail, and he spent hours in hunting for it, supposing that it had 
been broken off by accident. 

Dec. 29th. I entranced Goluck Seit to-day in five minutes; 
and in the presence of Mr. Cahusac and Mr. Mullins, operated on 
the other hydrocele, to which he was as indifferent as on the 
first occasion. But before putting him to sleep, I showed the 
gentlemen how painful was the side operated on three days ago ; 
and yet, in five minutes after, he allowed me to squeeze his 
testicle to any extent, without exhibiting a vestige of uneasiness. 
I awoke him in half an hour, that Mr. Mullins might question 
him ; and he said that he saw the water was gone, but how it had 
escaped he had no idea. 

Dec. 3Oth. Bungsee, operated on last month for a scrotal 
tumour. The wound, from his debilitated condition, is glazed 
and callous, and is wasting him with a useless discharge. It 
would greatly shorten his cure to pare the sore, and bring it 



OF PRACTICAL MESMERISM. 133 

together with deep sutures; but I could hardly bring myself 
to propose it to a person in his senses, as it would be as painful 
as the capital operation. Mesmerism, however, makes surgery 
pleasant to both parties; and having easily entranced him, I 
pared and shaped the sore very leisurely, (it was six inches long, 
by two deep,) inserted the deep sutures, and left him sleeping. 
He awoke after four hours. 

Jan. 2d. The sutures were taken out to-day, and the sore is 
adherent throughout. 

This power of remedying any defect in the operation after- 
wards, without inflicting pain, is not one of the least advantages 
of Mesmerism. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

Hypertrophy of the Scrotum; different Causes of. Elephantiasis 
endemic in Bengal and Lower Egypt; probable Causes of. 
Example of Malarious Fever. True Elephantiasis of the 
Scrotum. Hypertrophy from Hydrocele; from Syphilis; Con- 
dition of the Organs involved; Mode of operating; Mismaii- 
agemcnt by the Native Doctors; Number of Operations for 
Six Years previous to April, 1845; in the Mesmeric Trance, 
for Eight Months. First Case. Some Cause for the late 
Increase of Cases. Operations in the Mesmeric Trance. 

THIS disease is so common in Bengal, and attains such a 
magnitude, that it deserves a chapter to itself, in which it will 
be seen that if Mesmerism cannot prevent, it is very effectual in 
assisting its removal. These singular, and often prodigious 
tumours are generally called "elephantiasis of the scrotum ;" but, 
correctly speaking, this is a misnomer, many of them not having 
their origin in the constitutional affection called elephantiasis, 
but arising from local irritation and debility of the parts, caused 
by syphilitic sores, or simple hydrocele; and the appearance of 
the tumours and aspect of the patients are often characteristic 
of their respective exciting causes. 

In true constitutional elephantiasis the disease is accompanied 
with periodic fever, and general cachexy to such a degree as to 
make it unsafe to remove the local excrescence. The disease, in 
this shape, is endemic in Bengal almost exclusively, it being rarely 
seen in upper India, and appears to have its origin in a hot, moist, 
malarious, relaxing climate, in which the poor are ill-fed and ill- 
clothed. In Egypt it. is also principally confined to the delta of the 
Nile, which considerably resembles Bengal in climate and the con- 
dition of its people. Endemic sources of disease abound here to a 
dreadful extent, but chiefly originate in the ignorance, indiffer- 
ence, and poverty of the people ; and an enlightened and benevo- 
lent government should interfere to prevent its subjects perishing 
in their ignorance, by enforcing stringent police regulations for 
the improvement of the public health, especially by attention to 
drainage and filling up all unnecessary pools of water. Ragged 
old tanks, and offensive pools and holes of water, form a chain 



CAUSES OF ENDEMIC ELEPHANTIASIS. 1 35 

along the roadside, in and near all towns and villages, and spread 
like a network over the country ; their insulation rendering them 
only the more pestiferous, by making each an independent hotbed 
of malarious exhalations. The thing is so general, that every 
cottage may be said to be built over a green putrefying pool, out 
of which the mud to build a house had been taken, and which is 
reckoned a domestic convenience. Into this all the animal and 
vegetable debris of the houses is thrown : the pigs wallow in it, 
the people wash their fish and rice, and bathe in it ; and it is then 
used for cooking and drinking, as it is conveniently near, and 
saves the trouble of going to the nearest large tank, or the river. 
This accumulation of animal and vegetable matter, festering un- 
der a tropical sun, renders every hole a pest pit, and the whole 
population eat, drink, and breathe perpetual infection. The ef- 
fects are as dreadful as might be anticipated in a debilitating 
climate, and among an ill-fed people, and are deeply written in 
the personal appearance of the natives of the country. 

Ague, remittent fever, spleen, rheumatism, diarrhoea, dysen- 
tery, and cholera are inherited by the poor people along with 
their homes; and the general constitutional debility is evidenced 
by the incredible frequency of elephantiasis, diseases of the skin, 
and parasitic growths on the body. Ague and spleen were en- 
demic diseases in Scotland, fifty years ago, when every cottage 
had its "midden" before the door ; and if northern nations suffer 
so much from miasmatic influences, we can readily imagine their 
terrible energy in Bengal, where every aid and appliance is af- 
forded them. 

I shall give an illustration of the extreme gravity of these 
causes of disease, from a case which lately occurred in my private 
practice, and which I am disposed to regard as an acute form of 
the disease which, in its chronic shape, gives rise to constitutional 
elephantiasis. On the i6th May, 1845, I was requested to visit 
one of the richest Hindoo families here; and on going, found 
eight persons, men, women, and children, labouring under differ- 
ent degrees of the same disease, and of which two men of the 
same party had died, shortly before. In the worst cases the 
feet were swollen, and hard as in elephantiasis, and a brick-red 
inflammation extended half way up the leg, and was still advanc- 
ing. The others were worn out with fever, and their bodies 
were generally or partially dropsical. The party consisted of 
one family and its attendants : no other persons living in the same 
house were affected. This led me to suspect some local cause 



136 CAUSES OF ENDEMIC ELEPHANTIASIS. 

of contamination, and I requested to be allowed to view the suite 
of apartments occupied by this part of the family. The house 
is a large two-storied pile, in which, as usual, all the family con- 
nections live. I could see nothing objectionable about the rooms 
inhabited by my patients; but, on looking out of the back win- 
dows, I saw that the house rose right over a large, ragged, neg- 
lected tank, covered with green filth, and smelling vilely, and 
that this was the only part of the house so situated. I then 
examined below, and perceived that the water was led upon a 
brick platform to a passage in the lower story, to save the people 
from going out ; numerous narrow lanes, the sides as high as the 
house, led from the tank to the different parts of the house, and 
all opened into the court around which this family exclusively 
lived in small ill-ventilated rooms. In short, it was a most in- 
genious labyrinth, contrived for receiving and retaining all the 
mephitic vapours from the tank, into which were thrown all the 
"exuviae" of this large family, or rather clan. This year, it so 
happened, was peculiarly adapted to the development of malaria ; 
all the tanks in the district being dried up to the dregs ; so that, 
for months, this large putrid area had been exhaling death among 
this unfortunate family. The disease, I therefore concluded, 
was only an aggravated form of the malarious fever that usually 
ends in elephantiasis and dropsy ; the stage of elephantiasis being 
only more acute than usual, from constitutional peculiarity, or the 
severity of the disease. Being questioned as to their probability 
of recovery, I said, that there was little hope, except for one of 
them, and at this moment (ist Dec.,) one only is alive, but not 
recovered. 

The true "elephantiasis" scrotal tumours are excessively dense 
in the rind, the cells of the cellular membrane being filled with 
dense fibrinous deposit, that makes it look and cut like half-tanned 
hide; the skin is black, and the mass is usually studded with 
tubercles. 

The disease sometimes only attacks the skin of the penis ; and 
this organ, in one instance, was as long and thick as a man's 
arm, and ended in a wart bigger than a fist. An incision was 
made down upon the penis from the symphysis pubis; and 
having freed it, the diseased tube was struck off where it joined 
the scrotum. I believe that the body of the penis will always 
be found unchanged and in situ, in this disease; the testes fre- 
quently unaltered, but very variously situated, and with common 
expedition, the bleeding allows time enough to save all the 



MODE OF OPERATING ON SCROTAL ELEPHANTIASIS. 137 

organs, if it is thought expedient to do so, in tumours of moder- 
ate dimensions. Even when the testes are enlarged, and castra- 
tion is performed, the spermatic vessels have not their calibre or 
activity increased (in proof of this, I did not secure them at all 
in one case) ; and in general the arterial bleeding is moderate, as 
might be expected in a disease of a low organisation. 

The mode of operating I adopt is as follows : The penis be- 
ing always in situ, as has been said, it is immediately found by 
running a bistoury from the opening in the prepuce, wherever it 
may be, up to the symphysis pubis, and a long blstouri cache is a 
very convenient instrument for this purpose; it is pushed up till 
it reaches the pubes, and the penis is exposed at once by one out- 
ward cut. The penis is then easily freed, and a semi-lunar in- 
cision carried from its root across each of the spermatic cords; 
these are easily found ; and if the testes prove to be worth pre- 
serving, they are reflected back, the incision is extended down 
to the perineum on both sides, and the mass rapidly removed ; if 
the testes are diseased, the whole is removed together. This plan 
is simple and expeditious : one continued wound suffices for find- 
ing the testes, and removing the tumour; and the wound has 
the advantage of being a gaping one, discharging the blood and 
water freely, and permitting one to see clearly. By this mode 
I always secure flaps, which often adhere in four days by the 
first intention ; and even if they partially slough, enough is left 
to support and defend the testes, as they adhere to some part of 
the covering. The testes often adhere to the fundus of the 
tumour, which vexatious complication is generally caused by 
the natives making deep escars with the actual cautery, in the 
hope of discussing the swelling by suppuration ; but the irritation 
only accelerates the disease. In these cases the spermatic cords 
are greatly elongated, perhaps a foot long; and they, as well as 
the testes, must run great risk of sloughing without any cover- 
ing and natural support. In my experience, even when the 
flaps partially fail (I have never seen them do so entirely,) they 
are a great comfort to the patient by the adhesions which the 
cords and testes form in two or three days. 

During the six years previous to April, 1845, I na o! operated 
on eleven cases; and in the last eight months, since I began to 
operate in the mesmeric trance, I have removed seventeen 
tumours, making in all twenty-eight, varying from a few pounds 
to eighty pounds; and there has not been a fatal case among 
them. 



138 MESMERIC OPERATIONS ON 

The results are 

All the parts saved in - 13 

One testis sacrificed ----- 6 

Both 8 

All removed .... j 

28 

Of the seventeen operations in the mesmeric trance three 
only were imperfect, the persons awaking before the operation 
was finished ; this imperfect sensibility was a great comfort to 
the patient, and gave great facilities to the operator. Here is my 
first case, and an example of this : 

April 23d. Bachoo. Saw him for the first time to-day, at 1 1 
o'clock A. M. : he has got hypertrophy of the scrotum ; the tumour 
is twice the size of a man's head. I put him to sleep, and made 
his arms cataleptic in three quarters of an hour. 

Pricking and inhaling ammonia disturbed, but did not awake 
him ; I therefore proceeded to operate, but he awoke after I had 
slit up the prepuce. Upon this I desisted, and will try to edu- 
cate him into insensibility. To be mesmerised daily. 

April 27th. He has been easily mesmerised daily, since the 
23d ; is not insensible to pricking, but it does not awake him, and 
I could afford no more time to him. I pulled him by the legs 
to the end of the table ; allowed the tumour to hang down unsup- 
ported, and bent his knees, putting his feet on the edge of the 
table; and in this painful attitude he remained for half an hour, 
without moving. His legs and arms were then properly disposed 
of, in case he should awake, and the tumour quickly removed ; the 
first incisions did not awake him, but before I was done he was 
completely roused. 

Since then I have had every month more operations of this 
kind than take place in the native hospital in Calcutta in a year, 
and more than I had for the six years previous. There must be 
sorrue reason for this, and I only see two ways of accounting 
for it : my patients, on returning home, either say to their friends 
similarly afflicted, "Wah! brother, what a soft man the doctor 
Sahib is ! He cut me to pieces for twenty minutes, and I made 
him believe that I did not feel it. Isn't it a capital joke? Do go 
and play him the same trick ; you have only to laugh in your elbow, 
and you will not feel the pain." Or they say to their brother suf- 
ferers, "Look at me ; I have got rid of my burthen, (of 20, 30, 



SCROTAL ELEPHANTIASIS. 139 

40, 50, 60, or 80 Ibs., as it may be,) am restored to the use of my 
body, and can again work for my bread : this, I assure you, the 
doctor Sahib did when I was asleep, and I knew nothing about 
it ; you will be equally lucky, I dare say ; and I advise you to go 
and try; you need not be cut if you feel it." Which of these 
hypotheses best explains the fact my readers will decide for them- 
selves. It ought to be added, that most of these persons were 
not paupers, but people in comfortable circumstances, whom no 
inducement short of painless operations could tempt to enter a 
charity, or any other hospital ; and all who know the natives are 
aware of this. 

I have said that only three out of the seventeen awoke be- 
fore the operation was finished ; I will not inflict the whole four- 
teen completely successful cases on the reader, but only present 
some of the last. 

Sept. 2d. I was stopped on the road to-day, and requested 
to go into a temple to see a sick Fuqueer; on entering I found 
a healthy-looking man of sixty, but he was nearly blind from 
cataracts, and had a scrotal tumour of about thirty pounds' 
weight, which he begged me to remove. I examined it, but gave 
no opinion, and said I would consider of it; I then went on to 
Chinsurah, to see Dr. Ross, (in charge of the troops there,) to 
whom I said, that if he chose to return with me, I would try to 
show him a mesmeric operation. He consented, and in passing 
the Fuqueer's house we carried him with us to the hospital. The 
cook of the hospital, one of my best mesmerisers, was set upon 
him, and in half an hour made him insensible. Considering the 
man's age and the size of the tumour, we did not think it worth 
while to attempt to save the testes, and the operation was therefore 
speedily done. The man never moved, and did not awake till 
after the last artery was tied. Seeing him about to awake, he was 
covered up, and asked if he had been any way disturbed ; he 
said, "No." He was then desired to sit up, and show me the 
tumour, as I wished to examine it; he did so, and actually put 
his hands under it, to raise the mass as usual ; his look of amaze- 
ment, on missing it, was something not to be easily forgotten. 
Dr. Ross published an account of this and other operations in 
which he assisted me. 

Oct 22d. Muffer Dass, a peasant, aged 40. He was made 
insensible on the third day of mesmerising; and in the presence 
of Mr. Reid, the collector, Mr. Wauchope, the magistrate, and 



I4O OPERATIONS DURING 

Mr. Bennett, superintendent of Excise, I removed a tumour 
weighing eight pounds, without the man being disturbed; al- 
though the operation was tedious, from the testes having con- 
tracted adhesions. I succeeded in saving all the organs; he 
awoke soon after it was all over, said he felt no pain, and was 
quite ready to be operated on now. 

Oct. 25th. Gooroochuan Shah, a shop-keeper, aged 40. He 
has got a "monster tumour," which prevents hint from moving; 
its great weight, and his having used it for a writing-desk for 
many years, has pressed it into its present shape. His pulse is 
weak, and his feet cedematous, which will make it very hazardous 
to attempt its removal ; but with such an appendage life is literally 
a burthen. He became insensible on the fourth day of mesmer- 
ising, and was drawn with the mattress to the end of the bed 
(my usual mode of proceedings:) two men then held up the 
tumour in a sheet, pulling it forward at the same time, and, in 
the presence of Mr. Bennett, I removed it by a circular incision, 
expedition being his only safety. The rush of venous blood 
was great, but fortunately soon arrested ; and, after tying the 
last vessel, the mattress was again pulled back upon the bed with 
him upon it, and at this moment he awoke. The loss of blood 
had been so great that he immediately fell into a fainting state, 
and it took a good while to remove him. On recovering he 
said that he awoke while the mattress was being pulled back, and 
that nothing had disturbed him. The tumour weighed eighty 
pounds, and is probably the largest ever removed from the human 
body. I think it extremely likely that if the circulation had been 
hurried by pain and struggling, or if the shock to the system 
had been increased by bodily and mental anguish, the man would 
have bled to death, or never have rallied from the effects of the 
operation. But the sudden loss of blood was all he had to con- 
tend against; and, though in so weak a condition, he has sur- 
mounted this, and gone on very well. 

Dec. ist. Has been allowed to go home at his own request : 
the wound is filling up slowly, for want of integument. 

Oct. 27th. Rammahun Sunokur, a jeweller, aged 44, has got 
a large tumour. He became insensible on the fifth day, and T re- 
moved the tumour in the presence of Mr. Wauchope and Mr. 
Bennett. The bleeding was violent, and the testes adherent to 
cicatrices from burnings: I was therefore obliged to sacrifice 
them. About the middle of the operation he gave a cry, but did 
not awake tilj twenty minutes after it was over, and then said, 



SCROTAL ELEPHANTIASIS. l4t 

that he wanted something to eat, as he felt empty. He said that 
he had slept well, and was not disturbed in any way; that he 
was now ready to be cut, but begged to be allowed to get his din- 
ner first. The mass of flesh was now shown to him, which he 
recognised with amazement ; thanked the gods, and said it would 
weigh twenty-four pounds, probably, it weighed thirty pounds. 

Nov. 2d. Gobinchunder Lane, aged 32, a shop-keeper, and 
a very fine handsome man, is afflicted with the same disease. 

At three o'clock yesterday, when passing the hospital, I was 
told that another man had come with a tumour, since my morning 
visit, and had been entranced. I went to see him, and found 
him still in a fit state to be operated on, although he had been 
asleep for four hours to be mesmerised again tomorrow at ten 
o'clock. 

Nov. 3d. The operation was performed to-day, at twelve 
o'clock, in the presence of the Rev. Mr. Bradbury, and Mr. Ben- 
nett. As the bleeding was moderate, and the man perfectly 
passive, I tried to save all the parts, although the testes adhered 
to the sides of the tumour, which were very thick. It was twenty 
minutes before all was over : not a sign of life appeared, and the 
organs were all saved. 

Before commencing, I put his arm erect in the air as an 
"oudanometer.-" it never even trembled, was quite stiff at the 
end of the operation, and had to be taken down. He awoke just 
as the mattress was readjusted, and said, "It is done !" Being 
asked how he knew, he said, by seeing me bloody, and the peo- 
ple all standing round, but that he had felt nothing, and had 
little pain now. The excrescence weighed twenty-five pounds. 

Nov. i6th. Ameer Mullick, a coolie, aged 50, has a large 
tumour of twenty years' growth. He was mesmerised for the 
second time to-day, and, in the presence of Mr. S. Palmer, and 
Dr. Scott, I dissected out, and saved all the organs. The opera- 
tion was tedious, on account of old adhesions; but he did not 
awake till some time after it was finished, and then said, that 
nothing had disturbed him. The mass weighed thirty pounds. 

Nov. i8th. Bungsee, a peasant, aged 55, has a tumour which 
weighed twenty-eight pounds, when cut off, and has existed for 
nine years. He was entranced on the second day, and I removed 
it in the presence of Mr. Russell, Judge of Hooghly, Major Smith, 
H. M.'s 9th Regiment, Dr. Scott, and Captain Smythe, of the En- 



142 THE MESMERIC TRAtfCE". 

ginecrs. I found all the organs, and showed that the testes were 
atrophied and useless; they were therefore sacrificed, and the 
man never moved, or showed a sign of life, till ten minutes after 
the operation, and he then said, that he was quite ready to be 
operated upon. 

In concluding this practical part of the subject, I beg to state, 
that I have seen no bad consequences whatever ensue from per- 
sons being operated on in the Mesmeric trance. Cases have oc- 
curred in which no pain was felt, even subsequent to the opera- 
tion, and the wounds healed by the first intention ; and in the rest 
I have seen no indication of any injurious consequences to the 
constitution. On the contrary, it appears to me to have been 
saved, and that less constitutional disturbance has followed than 
under ordinary circumstances. 

In my early operations, I availed myself of the first fit of 
insensibility, not knowing whether I could command it back at 
pleasure ; and when the coma is deep enough on the first occasion, 
it is probably best for the patient that it should be taken advantage 
of, as the fewer liberties we take with Nature the better, the rule 
being never to do more than enough. But if the trance is not 
profound the first time, the surgeon may safely calculate on its 
being so the next, and, when operating in public, it is prudent to 
take the precaution of a preliminary trance or two. I have al- 
ready said, that flexibility of the limbs, till moved, and their re- 
maining rigid in any position we leave them in, is characteristic 
of the trance: but there are exceptions, and these are equally 
diagnostic and to be depended upon. It sometimes happens that 
the limbs become rigid as they lie, and, on bending them, they 
are not passive and plastic, as in the first kind of catalepsy, but 
the muscles always tend towards a spasmodic extension of the 
limbs : at other times, there is a complete relaxation of the whole 
muscular system, and the arms and legs can be tossed about with- 
out resistance, like those of a person just dead. The eyes are 
usually closed, but the eyelids are sometimes seen a little sepa- 
rated, or half open and tremulous ; and the eye is even wide open, 
fixed, and the pupil dilated. On one occasion, having ordered 
a man to be entranced, I returned in two hours, and was told 
by my assistant that he was not affected : I went to see, and found 
him with half open eyes, quivering eye-lids, and trembling hands. 
I immediately said the man \vas ready, and, without testing his 
condition farther, performed on him a tedious, but painless, opera- 
tion. 



OPERATIONS DURING THE MESMERIC TRANCE. 143 

I also wish to remark, that I have seen no indication of con- 
gestion of blood on the brain; the circulation, while my patients 
were in the trance, being natural, like that of a sleeping person. 
Those I operate upon appear to escape the stimulating stage 
of the mesmeric influence altogether, and to pass at once from 
life to temporary death; and this I am disposed to attribute to 
the concentrated uninterrupted manner in which the power is 
applied ; as soon as it is felt, there is no time given to the system 
to rally round the first impression, and it succumbs, without a 
struggle, to the constraining influence. Some patients, when 
suddenly awoke, say that their vision is hazy, and their heads 
light, but I take this to arise from the imperfectly recovered sensi- 
bility of the brain and organs of sense, which are not at once 
roused up to the full possession of their waking powers ; just as 
is seen in persons suddenly aroused from profound natural sleep. 
That the mesmeric torpor of the nerves and brain does not arise 
from sanguine congestion, is often strikingly and beautifully 
illustrated by the first actions of persons suddenly awoke from 
the trance. They open their eyes wide, and at the same moment 
their faculties are restored, but it is seen that the pupil is dilated, 
and insensible to light : this they also immediately become aware 
of ; they know that their eyes are open, and that they ought to see, 
but do not. The thought fills them with horror, and, with a fear- 
ful cry, they bury their faces in their hands, like persons struck 
blind by lightning ; but this soon passes off, and the retina recov- 
ers its sensibility, by a little rubbing of the eyes. 

For any person to see this, or even hear of it from a credible 
quarter, and still talk of imposture, is to convict himiself of an 
incurable moral blindness, which it would be folly to attempt to 
dissipate by experiment and reasoning: "none are so blind as 
those who won't see." 

The dreadful shock given to the mind under such circum- 
stances, or when a somnambulist awakens and finds himself per- 
haps standing naked among strangers (an experiment I have 
often made,) is a trial of the nerves, to which it would be very 
imprudent, and unsafe, to subject any but such singularly im- 
passive beings as my patients: sometimes, however, it is too 
much for the nerves of a cooly even. In highly nervous and 
irritable constitutions the effects might be most disastrous both 
to mind and body ; and I would not dare to take such liberties with 
European temperaments. This, and the dangers and incon- 
veniences of inducing the "Mesmeric Disease," by practising on 



144 OPERATIONS DURING THE MESMERIC TRANCE. 

the system more than is necessary for the cure of disease, appear 
to me to be the real dangers to be avoided in the use of Mesmerism 
as a remedy. 

I am now able to say from experience, that debility of the 
nervous system predisposes to the easy reception of the mesmeric 
influence ; and I argue favourably of the patient's powers of sub- 
mission, when I recognise in him the languid, listless air that 
characterises functional debility of the nerves. 

As I never have attempted, and never will attempt, to mes- 
merise people in health, I cannot speak from my own experi- 
ence as to their mesmeric sensibility ; but we are assured by the 
best authorities that many persons in health can be subdued, and 

my experiments go to support this. My patient Mrs. had 

not a toothache even when she was mesmerised, in order to pre- 
pare her for the dentist ; and many others suffered only from some 
local complaint, that did not apparently impair the powers of life. 
The fact is sufficiently established ; and experimenting on the 
healthy ought to be discouraged, as it is only undermining healthy 
constitutions for no possible advantage. The artificial disease 
is not so transitory or light a matter as it seems to be reckoned 
by many Mesmerisers, who go about upsetting the nerves of 
every one they can lay hands on. In proof of this I may men- 
tion, that after prisoners have been working on the roads for 
two or three months, I have found them still as much under my 
command as ever. 

It is proper that ladies and gentlemen who beg to be mes- 
merised for fun should know this ; and then they will probably 
choose some other kind of amusement. 



CHAPTER IX. 

Curiosities of Mesmerism. Unsatisfactory Nature of Public Ex- 
hibitions. Apology for giving one. Account of it by a Vis- 
itor. The Modes in which the Mesmeric l ; luid can be trans- 
mitted. // acts at great Distances. Is absorbed by Water. 
Can pass through a Wall. Final Experiments. 

MY original intention was to confine myself strictly to an 
examination of the medical pretentions of Mesmerism, and to 
eschew all but the practical part at present, and thus open the 
minds of men to a reception of new truths, by the key of self- 
interest. Not that I was, by any means, indifferent to the 
philosophic and extra-professional bearings of the subject, but 
because I saw that the gross and palpable bodily phenomena, 
even, were more than the public stomach could bear, and I did 
not intend to serve up all my mesmeric stores, till the public had 
digested my first course of facts that cannot be denied. 

But accident, if it does not determine, generally shapes our 
actions; and (as in my accidental recontre with somnambulism) 
I have been driven, by the force of circumstances, out of the 
prudent mesmeric course, which I had resolved to follow. 

But as the "utile" has not been sacrificed to the "dulce," I hope 
to be pardoned by the stern utilitarian reader for devoting a chap- 
ter to the "Curiosities of Mesmerism." 

Knowing the worthlesness of public exhibitions for effecting 
a general conversion to the truth of Mesmerism, I was very 
averse to subject it to this unsatisfactory ordeal, and determined 
not to be made a showman of. All performers in public are .not 
unnaturally suspected to take insurances from Art, in the event 
of Nature failing them ; success on such occasions being thought 
to be more indispensable than truth. Besides this natural distrust 
of public displays, the really careful and intelligent observer has 
not the necessary means o-f close inspection, required to convince 
him beyond a doubt, and the mere sight-seer is only bewildered, 
and declares it to be "all humbug," because all beyond his com- 
prehension. But in our present state of ignorance it is as absurd 
to pretend to set limits to the possible in any unexplored regions 
of Nature, as it would be for the inhabitants of an 

MS 



146 CURIOSITIES OF MESMERISM^ 

ant-hill in the plains of Bengal to decide authorita- 
tively against the possible existence of the Himalayahs. 
I had acted with considerable consistency for some months, in 
confining my public mesmeric experiments to purely professional 
subjects ; but a very general curiosity was excited, and I was at 
length requested, from a high quarter, to gratify some of the 
inhabitants of Government-House with an especial mesmeric 
"Seance." This I could hardly have refused without appearing 
churlish; and it would have been said that I shunned the light, 
because my proceedings would not bare inspection. I therefore 
thought it best to submit to a necessary evil, and make the most 
of it, by converting an exclusive party into as general and pro- 
miscuous a meeting as possible. It was therefore pretty generally 
made known, that all the curious might be gratified for the first 
and last time on the 29th of July. Accordingly on that day I 
had the honour of meeting a large assemblage of Europeans and 
natives at my hospitals! and as a letter appeared in the news- 
papers the day after, giving an account of all that was done and 
seen, I here insert it, as it was generally allowed to give a correct 
account of all that happened, and mentions the points I wish to 
make some observations on. Six medical men were of the party, 
and one of them publicly acknowledged the faithfulness of the 
report sent to the newspapers. 

PUBLIC DISPLAY OF MESMERISM AT HOOGHLY. 

To the Editor of the Englishman. 

"Sir, I esteem myself fortunate in having been present at 
an exhibition of the powers of Mesmerism, given by Dr. Esdaile, 
yesterday, to satisfy public curiosity, as it is the last opportunity 
of the kind likely to occur, Dr. E. having for this once only, con- 
sented to mesmerise for non-professional purposes. 

"The party was very numerous, two steamers having brought 
the curious from Barrackpore and Calcutta; and there was a 
large assemblage of the European and Native residents of 
Hooghly and Chinsurah. 

"The hospital we first went to was unfortunately small, and 
the room too much crowded for one to see all that was done ; but 
what escaped me will be supplied by others, I hope, as it is de- 
sirable that all the proceedings of the day should be clearly laid 
before the public. 

"On entering the hospital, we saw two men extended on beds, 
with their native mesmerisers hanging over them ; but I had no 



CURIOSITIES OF MESMERISM. 147 

time to examine their process, as Dr. Esdaile proceedd to busi- 
ness. He said that these two men were now under the mesmeric 
influence, to what extent he did not know ; that they required to 
be operated on, and that he would do so, if they were found to 
be insensible. 

"The first man awoke on being pulled, and called upon by 
name ; so he would not do. The other, an elderly man, the Doc- 
tor thought was in a favourable state, and he immediately did 
what was needful ; it is needless to say what, but every one was 
sure that it was very painful. The first cuts did not seem to 
annoy the man, but he awoke, and cried out before the operation 
was finished, which was a couple of minutes I suppose. The mes- 
meriser was desired to continue his efforts, and I saw him breathe 
on the head, and place both hands at the same time on the pit of 
the stomach ; Dr. E. explaining that he often succeeded in restor- 
ing the trance, although broken to this degree. And sure enough 
in a few minutes, the man became perfectly senseless, to all ap- 
pearance, and every body was allowed to examine and experiment 
upon him for the whole time we remained here ; and as I believe 
there were several medical men present, making active observa- 
tions, I hope that they will favour us with the results of their 
investigation. We were now agreebly surprised by the apparition 
of two lady philosophers, and the Doctor had to give them his 
attention, and certainly made them an offer they will not receive 
every day, for he begged them to choose whether they would 
prefer to see a woman made senseless by mesmeric water, or 
through the wall. The wall was declared for, and the woman's 
face turned to it sitting upon her bed. 

"The Doctor disappeared, and what he did, I know not, but 
some went to see: whatever it was, the woman soon began to 
nod, and then fell down on her bed, her eyelids twinkling in a 
strange way, and she paid no attention to what was said to her. 
Dr. E. now returned from his ambuscade, having been absent for 
about five minutes, and pointing to the quivering eyelids, said, 
that this was very characteristic of the mesmeric state, and that 
it would be seen that this woman could not open her eyes without 
his assistance. After blowing in her eyes to restore her senses, 
she was desired, and then ordered, to open her eyes, and strained 
violently to do so ; but the eyelids looked as if gummed together, 
and she could not separate them. She then, on being urged still 
farther, pulled the lids asunder, but they instantly closed again. 
Dr. E. now rubbed her eyes, and blew into them, and she imme- 



148 CURIOSITIES OF MESMERISM. 

diately awoke, but in a delirious state, and arose to walk, mut- 
tering and staggering about in a singular manner ; and on being 
taken back to bed, she fell into a deep sleep, which usually lasted 
four or five hours, we were told. 

"We were next addressed by Dr. E., who said that he would 
now show us that the mesmeric power was not so rare and singu- 
lar a gift as was imagined, but a general law of Nature, which 
might be evolved by most people who took the necessary degree 
of trouble; and to prove this, he would desire one of his hos- 
pital assistants to mesmerise a woman across the room, a distance 
of thirty feet, I should think. The woman was placed with her 
back to the wall, and a young man placed himself before her, at 
the other end of the room. In a very short time she acted exactly 
like the first woman ; her eyes began to twinkle ; she swayed from 
side to side, and then fell down in a trance, from which no one 
could awake her not even the doctors, who again examined the 
man who had been operated upon before leaving, and no one suc- 
ceeded, I believe, in extracting a sign of sensibility. 

"We were now requested to go to another hospital, where there 
was more space for the company. We found it to be the Jail 
Hospital, where there was ample accommodation for all, the 
party having tailed off considerably. 

"Dr. E. said that he would attempt to show, in a more strik- 
ing manner, the great distance at which the mesmeric influence 
could be felt. A man was brought in, and made to sit on the floor 
with his back to the wall, and the Doctor sat down opposite him 
at the other end of the room, which I afterwards measured, and 
found to be eighty feet long. 

"We all congregated at the other end to watch the effects of 
this 'Long Range,' and I heard some good jokes cut, about keep- 
ing out of the line of fire, and the danger of the gun bursting, &c. 

"The Doctor had proved his gun, however, I suppose, as he 
coolly and steadily took aim at his man, keeping his hands ex- 
tended, and moving them across his face, and from head to foot. 
I could distinguish no sensible effects for ten minutes, and I 
imagine he became impatient, as he took a look at his opponent 
through an opera glass, and then desired him to rise, to judge of 
the effects, I presume. The man obeyed with great difficulty, 
and his tormentor, taking another look through his glass, appeared 
to be satisfied with his work, as he cried out to us to prevent him 
from falling, and not unnecessarily; for the patient trembled 
violently, and had to be supported. The operator now bid us 



CURIOSITIES OF MESMERISM. 149 

move his arms, and seeing them remain in any position they were 
left in, declared him entranced, and being asked if we might 
now touch himv he called out 'Oh, yes ! do what you please.' He 
now fell into the Doctors' hands principally, and I hope they 
will report the results of their criticism. I saw, however, that 
the man was quite insensible, and his limbs cataleptic; and that 
no one could excite his attention. Dr. Esdaile sat all this time 
alone, at the other end of the room, apparently enjoying, through 
his glass, the mischief and perplexity he had created. After we 
had extracted all we could out of this mesmeric condition of the 
body, Dr. E. joined us, and set about restoring him to some de- 
gree of sensibility by rubbing and blowing in his eyes. He now 
half opened his eyes, and followed the Doctor when led, into the 
middle of the room; but like a drunken man, and care had to 
be taken, lest he should fall. Dr. E. said that he would now con- 
vert him into an imitating machine, with only sense enough left 
to hear and obey his orders, without the power of answering ques- 
tions ; reflection being quite dormant. Having cleared up his 
brain a little more, and attracted his attention by repeating the 
key note several times, the performance proceeded. He was or- 
dered to do what the Doctor did, and certainly obeyed his orders 
most exactly, throwing himself, on the instant, into every atti- 
tude of the mesmerist, and the very scientific manner in which 
he took a landsman's 'sight' did great credit to his astronomical 
powers ; no omnibus cad could take the longitude of an obnoxious 
passenger in a more artist-like manner. His mode of cocking 
his eye and of applying his first digit to the side of his nose, was 
also much admired, and proved that he was 'wide awake,' as some 
thought, all the time. 

"His instructor next ordered him to repeat whatever he said, 
which the pupil obeyed by repeating the order. 

"He now showed himself to be a patriotic and loyal British 
subject, by the animated and hearty manner in which he repeated, 
'Ye Mariners of England,' and sang, 'God save the King.' This 
was followed by "Hey diddle diddle,' in capital style. And here 
a curious incident occurred ; the spectators could not restrain 
their laughter, in which the singer joined in full chorus, and 
some said, 'He can't help laughing himself.' Upon which Dr. 
Esdaile stopped his performance, and pointed out that they were 
labouring under a mistake who supposed that he was laughing; 
the fact being that he was only imitating them, or rather Dr. E., 
who was laughing 'Gorge deploye? and this, I think, must have 



I5O CURIOSITIES OF MESMERISM. 

been evident to all. But the farce was nearly converted into a 
tragedy ; for on being ordered to show how the natives fight with 
sticks, be began very skilfully ; but on bending forward to make a 
blow, he pitched head foremost into Dr. E.'s breast, and both 
rolled upon the floor. This actor's powers were clearly exhausted, 
and he was left in an intense trance on the floor. 

"It was intimated that the next scene would be 'A Mesmeric 
interview ; or the dangerous effect of getting on the wrong side 
of the wall;' and two men were brought in, and placed one in 
each corner of the room. Two lads were then despatched to 
work the will of the magician, who remained with us. This time, 
I was resolved to see both sides of the wall, and going into the 
adjacent room, I saw the two youths standing with their fore- 
heads against the wall, opposite the men, and holding their hands 
extended under their mouths. In five minutes, the lads were 
desired to desist, and on returning to the large room, I saw the 
men had been turned round, and were standing perfectly rigid 
in their corners with their arms crucified against the wall, and 
in this transaction Dr. E. was no more concerned than I was. The 
Doctors again took possession of the victims, and I had after- 
wards an opportunity of taking a pull, and giving a pinch, but 
took nothing by my motion any more than the rest. 

"Our entertainer then proclaimed that the concluding piece 
would be the sleeping water, or the 'veritable eau merveillcuse' 
He said that when we saw its effects, he hoped that he would 
be justified for not showing in public how it was made, as it was 
not fit for the public to know, but that he would be happy -to 
explain the process for the purposes of medicine and philosophy. 
To guard against all imposition, two Clergymen, and two Doc- 
tors, were deputed to see the water charmed, and in a few min- 
utes half-a-dozen lads entered, each carrying a gallipot in his 
hands, the contents of which (certainly, to all appearance, water) 
he administered to eight men who were brought from the hospital. 

"This was a bold undertaking, for the people were scarcely 
permitted to lie down before they were cuffed and kicked unmer- 
cifully, many of the company making a vigorous use of their 
understanding in this way. 

"A few minutes comparative quiet having been procured to 
some of the sleeping candidates, the result was, that four out of 
eight were found to be cataleptic, and several were converted into 
somnambulists. 

"I have thus endeavoured to give an account of what was 



CURIOSITIES OF MESMERISM. 151 

done and seen by all ; but in so large a field of observation, much 
must have escaped me, and each person will have something 
distinctive and characteristic to narrate. The medical men seemed 
to be wide awake, and availed themselves of the opportunity; 
and if they have not made up their minds, it is for no want of 
subjects. Trusting that they will give the professional details, 
which I cannot supply, 

"I am your obedient servant, 

"A MESMERIC VISITOR. 
"Calcutta, 30th July, 1845." 

It is not merely a matter of curiosity to ascertain whether the 
mesmeric fluid can traverse air, and denser substances, to what dis- 
tance it can be transmitted, and what circumstances assist or 
retard its operation. These are all questions of great interest to 
the Natural Philosopher, as, by ascertaining them, he will prob- 
ably detect analogies and affinities between the mesmeric fluid 
and other better known natural powers, and perhaps prove that 
it is only a modification of an inorganic agent, or a combination 
of several, to meet the wants of animal life; and the philosopher 
will naturally look to the physician for his facts, in a matter with 
which the latter is most conversant. 

If there is a transmission of some vital product from one per- 
son to another, it must pass undeteriorated through the air, for 
the bodies are not in contact, and the effect, in the first instance, 
can be produced at a distance of an inch or several feet, and the 
intervals can be increased to a wonderful degree in proportion to 
the sensibility developed by frequent trials. An intervening inch 
of air between the two bodies being proved to be no obstacle, it is 
in vain to dogmatise about the possible extent of the mesmeric 
sphere of action ; if we wish to ascertain this, it must be by actual 
experiment. In acting upon persons, through the air, without 
any gesticulations, and by the agency of water, we can make an 
experiment without exciting the smallest suspicion, and when 
these are frequently successful in first trials, I should think that it 
must be considered conclusive proof of the transmissibility of the 
mesmeric fluid by these media. The possibility of affecting per- 
sons in this way had never been dreamt of by my assistants ; and 
it is needless to insist on the impossibility of my patients knowing 
any thing about it ; in a word, no human being could divine my 
intentions when I made my first attempt to mesmerise at a dis- 
tance : I had not determined when or how to try it, and this was 



152 CURIOSITIES OF M F.S.M KIUSM. 

decided by an accidental favourable opportunity. In the women's 
ward, there is a row of pillars in the centre of the room, and it 
happened one day that, while leaning against the centre pillar 
giving some orders, I saw that the beds of the women Nobee and 
Alunga were on either side of me, in front, at the distance of four 
or five yards. The women were both sitting up in bed with their 
faces towards, but not looking at," me ; and I seized the lucky mo- 
ment to open my masked battery upon them. I first turned my 
looks on Alunga, and simply made her the object of my exclusive 
attention ; her eyelids soon began to quiver, and in a few minutes 
she acted precisely in the manner described by my "Mesmeric 
Visitor." I then turned to Nobee, and she succeeded equally soon 
in her way, which never partakes of excitement; she only becomes 
lethargic, and passes, at once, into mesmeric sleep; and this has 
been done subsequently to these and other patients, by all kinds 
of persons, often in my absence, and as readily as by myself. The 
experiments have been so numerous and unexceptionable, that 
I must consider the transmission of the mesmeric fluid through 
a large body of air to be incontestably proved. This being the 
case, the permeability of denser materials by it might be pretty 
confidently expected; and he must be a person of cold imagina- 
tion, who, admitting the passage of the vital fluid through the 
impassive air, yet stops short at a wall as the "ultima Thule" of 
his mesmeric belief, and declares all transmural agency to' be 
impossible! Mineral magnetism finds no obstacle to its progress 
in the grossest textures, and traverses the earth from pole to 
pole; electricity finds its way as easily through the walls of a 
house as through the ambient air ; and why subtile animal fluids 
should not be endowed, in a modified degree, with such qualities, 
I do not understand: it seems they must be condemned to lose 
their very essence probably, to gratify our notions of the fitness 
of things ! But it is in vain that we presume to prescribe a course 
to Nature, and hedge her round with dogmas, in order to main- 
tain our infallibility : the "Sacred College" was rapidly revolving 
through space, while its learned members were constraining the 
earth to remain a fixture by a "Senatus consultum," as had been 
determined by the wisdom of the schools ; and the mesmeric fluid 
will, "like a chartered libertine," not only permeate the air, but 
also probably pass through walls, let its opponents oppose its 
progress by what arguments they please. In coming to this con- 
clusion, I only rely on first trials also, and their results have been 
as positive and striking as any I have recorded. I have shown 



CURIOSITIES OF MESMERISM. 153 

that a person whose system has been deeply imbued with the 
mesmeric action, will sometimes become entranced by merely 
turning his face to the wall, and leaving him quiet for a few min- 
utes : all the account that such a mesmeric victim can give of him- 
self is, that he feels a coldness and numbness in the limbs, a sense 
of weight in the back of the head, and an unconquerable heavi- 
ness of the eyelids before he goes to sleep. But I can hardly 
imagine that this spontaneous mesmeric paroxysm took place in 
all the numerous first trials we have made with new subjects, who 
had never been placed against a wall before, and to whom this 
position could not therefore be a source of excitement. I ac- 
knowledge the possibility of some of these being cases of inde- 
pendent Mesmerism, as the constitution, to be affected in this 
manner, must be deeply tainted ; and something unusual was cer- 
tainly done to them. To solve this doubt effectually, I have of 
late been looking out for a blind man, and one has luckily present- 
ed himself within the last few days. I have experimented on him 
solely for the purpose of determining the points in question, more 
particularly by the wall problem ; and if this supplemental evidence 
should be still in any part open to objection, I shall be happy to 
repeat the examination on other blind men, till the evidence shall 
be considered perfect. In the mean time, I must declare myself 
almost satisfied, but hope that I shall be the first to change this 
or any other opinion here advanced, whenever contradicted by new 
facts. 

Dec. I4th. Janoo, a blind prisoner; he has got cataracts in 
both eyes, and can only distinguish light from darkness. I placed 
him on a stool before me to-day, and entranced him in ten min- 
utes ; I then roused him up a little, and made him a somnambu- 
list ; he walked with great difficulty, and while doing so said he 
was fast asleep in his bed. He very soon became unable to sup- 
port himself, and fell into the trance, in which he remained for 
two hours. 

Dec. 1 5th. When sitting in the middle of the room to-day, I 
went and looked steadily at him from outside the window ; in 
less than ten minutes I knocked him on the head and toes with 
a long bamboo, and he was quite insensible. On trying to make 
him walk to-day, I found there was a total dissolution of the mus- 
cular system ; when placed on his feet he immediately sunk down 
all in a heap, and on trying to awake him it brought on an 
alarming fit of convulsive sobbing; on being put to bed it ceased, 



154 CURIOSITIES OF MESMERISM. 

but again returned on my renewing attempts to awake him; he 
slept for more than two hours. 

Dec. 1 6th. I sent the Sub-Assistant Surgeon to the Jail Hos- 
pital, desiring him to get the man placed with his face towards 
the wall, but not touching it ; to take care not to excite his atten- 
tion, and to keep him engaged in conversation. I followed, and 
placed myself opposite him on the other side of the wall, leaning 
my forehead against it, and extending my hands under my mouth. 
In ten minutes I went to see what was done, and found him con- 
versing in a lively manner with my Assistant : returned, and gave 
him five minutes more ; went to see again : found them still talk- 
ing, but in about two minutes he ceased to answer, and burst 
into a fit of convulsive crying : I now pulled him by the hair, and 
he fell back like a person just dead : slept for three hours. 

Dec. 1 9th. Mr. Samuells, the collector of Burdwan, being 
with me to-day, I took advantage of his presence to give this 
man his first dose of mesmerised water. This was prepared in a 
different room, and sent to him by a prisoner who usually ad- 
ministers the medicine, and he was ordered to give it as such ; in 
two or three minutes he was completely insensible. 

Dec. 2Oth. To-day I saw him sitting in front of the cook- 
room, eating his dinner, and thought it a good opportunity to 
observe, unperceived, the extent of his blindness. The cook- 
rooms are about a hundred yards long, and there is a low wall in 
front, over which one can look kneeling : he was near one end, and 
I entered at the other, proceeding till I came opposite him, when 
I carefully observed him over the wall. He had nearly finished 
his dinner ; and all his looks and actions convinced me that he only 
knew the difference of night and day. After he had washed his 
hands and mouth he sat chirping in the sun, as it was very cold, 
and seemed to feel quite comfortable; he occasionally called on 
some one by name, and, if answered, cracked a joke with him. I 
now left my ambush, and seated myself opposite to him in the 
open air at the distance of twenty yards ; in about a quarter of 
an hour he raised one arm, rested his elbow on his knee, and 
leant his head on the hand; immediately after he supported his 
head on both hands on his knees, and swayed a little to one side ; 
the inclination gradually increased (he never making an effort to 
rectify it) till he lost his balance, and fell head foremost into 
the puddle of water he had made in washing himself; his atti- 
tude was not in the smallest degree changed, and he looked like a 



CURIOSITIES OF MESMERISM. 155 

sitting statue reversed. He was carried to bed ; awoke after three 
hours, and asked how he had got there. 

Dec. 26th. I saw him sunning himself in front of the hos- 
pital to-day, and seated myself on the ground opposite him at 
the distance of thirty yards ; in less than five minutes he leaned to 
one side, and then fell as if shot : slept for two hours. 



From the foregoing facts it is allowable to conclude, I hope, 
that Mesmerism is a natural power of the human body. 

That it affects directly the nervous and muscular systems. 

That in the mesmeric trance the most severe and protracted 
surgical operations can be performed, without the patients being 
sensible of pain. 

That spasms and nervous pains often disappear before the 
mesmeric trance. 

That it gives us a complete command of the muscular system, 
and is therefore of great service in restoring contracted limbs. 

That the chronic administration of Mesmerism often acts as 
a useful stimulant in functional debility of the nerves. 

That as sleep, in the absence of all pain, is the best condition of 
the system for subduing inflammation, the mesmeric trance will 
probably be found to be a powerful remedy in local inflamma- 
tions. 

That the imagination has nothing to do with the first physical 
impression made on the system by Mesmerism, as practised by me. 

That it is not necessary for the eyes to be open : I always shut 
them as a source of distraction ; and blind men are as readily mes- 
merised as others. 

That water can be charged with the mesmeric fluid, and has a 
powerful effect on the system when it has been previously affected. 

That the mesmeric influence can be transmitted through the 
air to considerable distances, and even pass through dense ma- 
terials. 



APPENDIX. 



When speaking of Somnambulism, I ventured to express my 
belief that "Clairvoyance," or the transference of sense, had been 
witnessed in diseased states of the body, and that, as we can 
imitate Nature step by step, by artificially producing Somnam- 
bulism, Catalepsy, and a state of the system resembling Hysteria, 
in which "Clairvoyance" has been witnessed as a symptom in dis- 
ease ; so we might expect to see this phenomenon in the analogous 
derangements of the nervous system brought about by Mesmerism. 
It ought to be remembered that this is one of the wonders of 
Nature, and also, a great rarity in art, and must not be looked for, 
as a matter of course, in persons under the influence of Mesmer- 
ism. It has not yet fallen under my observation, and from want 
of books, I could not present the reader with as many well-attested 
proofs of its existence in Nature as was desirable. 

After the foregoing work was finished, I fortunately met 
Professor Wienholt's "Lectures on Somnambulism," and, as I 
there found all the facts required to establish the existence of 
natural Clairvoyance, and, in the notes of the learned translator, 
Mr. Colquhoun, a parallel array of these "stubborn things" in 
proof of the truth of Mesmeric Clairvoyance, I hope the reader 
will be glad to have this additional aid to his judgment in coming 
to a decision. Professor Wienholt, in describing natural Som- 
nambulism, says : 

"The sleep-walker, when otherwise healthy, falls, at a partic- 
ular period, into a common sleep, which cannot be distinguished 
from the natural state of repose. After a longer or shorter time 
he rises from his couch, and walks about the room sometimes 
about the house. He frequently goes out into the open air, walks 
upon known or unknown paths as quickly, and with as much 
activity and confidence, as in his waking state, avoids all ob- 
stacles which may stand, or have been designedly placed in his 
route, and makes his way along rugged paths, and climbs danger- 
ous heights, which he would never have thought of attempting 
when awake. He reads printed and written papers, writes as 
well and correctly as in his waking state, and performs many 

156 



APPENDIX. 157 

other operations requiring light and the natural use of the eycr. 
All these actions, however, are performed hy the Somnambulist in 
complete darkness as well as when awake, and, generally, with 
his eyes firmly closed. I shall afterwards speak of the exceptions, 
in which these persons have their eyes open. When the period of 
his somnambulism has elapsed, he returns to his bed, falls back 
again into his natural sleep, awakes at his usual hour, and, in 
most instances, knows nothing of what he had done in his sleep- 
walking state. At the same time, there are very few persons who 
exhibit all of these phenomena, or even the greater number of 
them. For the most part, they only wander about without any 
other peculiar manifestation ; and the instances in which several 
of the phenomena in question are exhibited are rare. This state, 
which is found in persons otherwise healthy, frequently occurs 
in diseases, especially in diseases of the nervous system. In the 
latter case, the affection usually commences with a paroxysm of 
convulsive motions, catalepsy, apparent syncope, and then passes 
over into a state precisely similar, so far as regards the principal 
symptoms, to Somnambulism ; only that in this latter case, the 
patients not only act, but speak, which rarely happens in the for- 
mer. Before these patients are completely restored to their ordi- 
nary waking state, their sleep is changed into a similar convulsive 
state, combined with want of consciousness. 

"Of this species of Somnambulism occurring in nervous dis- 
eases, we are in possession of many curious instances, of which 
the Aulic Councillor Meiners, a celebrated professor at Goettingen, 
has inserted several very remarkable examples in his instructive 
collection. In respect to its chief characteristics, this species of 
Somnambulism, occurring in nervous diseases, completely resem- 
bles the natural crisis ; it is recognized by all competent judges as 
of the same kind, and is comprehended under the same 
class of diseases; and in this view I also consider it. 
I begin with the case in Moritz's Magazine, which was first trans- 
lated by Mr. Spalding, and afterwards inserted by Meiners in his 
collection. This is a case of what has been called 'louping ague,' 
which, unquestionably, is just one instance of that species of 
Somnambulism which I have referred to as occasionally accom- 
panying nervous diseases. The patient was a female of sixteen 
years of age. The paroxysm attacked her in the morning, and 
consisted of a profound sleep. In this state, she would jump with 
astonishing activity upon tables and chairs, run, when permitted, 
and with great rapidity, out of the house, generally to a par- 



158 APPENDIX. 

ticular place in the neighbourhood ; and when she did not awake, 
she would return immediately, but sometimes by a different road, 
and in a different direction. She not unfrequently left the high 
road, and ran straight through the fields. She never fell nor 
injured herself, however rough her path might be, or however 
fast she might run; and her speed was sometimes so great, that 
her much stronger and more active brother could not keep pace 
with her. She frequently mounted upon the garden wall, upon 
the uneven top of which she continued to run; nay, she even 
went upon the edge of the house roof without once stumbling, 
much less falling. During all these hazardous operations, her 
eyes were fast closed, and she appeared to be deprived of all her 
other senses." 

The second volume of Moritz's Magazine contains the history 
of a boy of nine years of age, who frequently fell into a species 
of Somnolency, during which he was capable of carrying on a 
conversation. His eyes were fast closed, but, notwithstanding 
this circumstance, he saw and named all objects that were pre- 
sented to him. 

A very remarkable case was related to me by a most trust- 
worthy observer, the late Hamburgh Physician, Dr. Schulz, from 
whom the Aulic Counsellor Meiners, of Goettingen, also received 
it, and inserted it in his well-known collection. It was that of a 
girl between twelve and thirteen years of age, belonging to a 
family of some distinction, who was afflicted with a violent nerv- 
ous complaint, in which strong convulsive motions alternated with 
catalepsy and syncope. Besides, she frequently had paroxysms, 
during which she conversed with much liveliness and ingenuity. 
In this state, she distinguished without difficulty all colours that 
were presented to her, recognised the numbers of the cards, and 
the stripes upon those which were variegated. She described the 
binding of books when shown to her. She wrote in the same 
manner as usual, and cut figures on paper, as she was accustomed 
to do for pastime in her leaking state. Her eyes, at this time, were 
firmly closed; but in order to be assured that she made no use of 
them, a bandage was placed over them on the approach of the par- 
oxysm. 

Another very remarkable case will be found in the "Breslau 
Medical Collections." It relates to a rope-maker, who was fre- 
quently overtaken by sleep, even in the daytime, and in the midst 
of his usual occupations. While in this state, he sometimes recom- 
menced doing all that he had been engaged in during the previous 



APPENDIX. 159 

part of the day; at other times he would continue the work in 
which he happened to be engaged at the commencement of the 
paroxysm, and finished his business with as great ease and success 
as when awake. When the fit overtook him in travelling, he 
proceeded on his journey with the same facility, and almost 
faster than when awake, without missing the road or stumbling 
over any thing. In this manner he repeatedly went from Nurem- 
burg to Weimar. Upon one of these occasions he came into a 
narrow lane where there lay some timber. He passed over it 
regularly without injury; and with equal dexterity he avoided 
the horses and carriages that came in his way. At another time, 
he was overtaken by sleep just as he was about to set out for 
Weimar on horseback. He rode through the river lime, allowed 
his horse to drink, and drew up his legs to prevent them getting 
wet ; then passed through several streets, crossed the market- 
place, which was, at that time, full of people, carts and booths, and 
arrived in safety at the house of an acquaintance, where he awoke. 
These and many similar acts, requiring the use of the eyes, he 
performed in darkness, as well as by daylight. His eyes, however, 
were firmly closed, and he could not see tvhen they were forced 
open and stimulated by light brought near them. His other senses 
appeared to be equally dormant as were his eyes. He could not 
smell the most volatile spirit. He felt nothing when pinched, 
pricked, or struck. He heard nothing when called by his name, 
or even when a pistol was discharged close beside him. 

There is another case, somewhat older, observed and circum- 
stantially reported by a trustworthy physician, Dr. Knoll, which 
equally deserves our attention. The subject of his observation 
was a young man, a gardener, who became somnambulous, and 
while in that state performed many extraordinary operations. 
He generally fell asleep about eight o'clock in the evening, and 
then began to utter devotional sentences and prayers. After- 
wards he went out of the house, clambered over a high wooden 
partition, and a still higher wall, uninjured, passed through 
several streets, and returned. At another time he climbed up 
to the roof of the house, and rode astride upon the gutter, as if 
upon horseback, clambered about for some time upon the roof, 
and, at length, descended in safety. With a view to prevent 
accidents, he was locked up in a room, and watched. When 
he became somnambulous, at the usual time, he began to per- 
form all sorts of operations on his clothes and the furniture of 
the room. He climbed up to the window sill, and from thence 



l6o APPENDIX. 

to a stone which was much higher, and at some distance, and 
rode upon the latter, as if upon a horse. The height of the 
stone, its distance from the window, and its small breadth, were 
such, that a person awake would scarcely have ventured to 
attempt these operations. After descending from the stone, he 
knocked a large table about hither and thither, and finding it 
was likely to fa'll on him, he very dexterously contrived to evade 
it. He gathered together all the clothes he could find in the 
room, mixed them together, then separated them carefully, and 
hung them up, each article in its proper place. The old stock- 
ings and shoes he endeavoured to arrange in pairs, according 
to their shape and colour, as if he actually saw them. He then 
laid hold of a needle, which he had stuck into the wall some 
weeks before, and sewed his small-clothes. Besides these, he 
performed a variety of other operations, all requiring light and 
the use of the eyes, with which, it would appear, he was enabled 
to dispense. 

In addition to the foregoing instances, I must here notice two 
remarkable cases, which were both observed with great ac- 
curacy by individuals who are elevated far above all suspicion 
of credulity, deceit, and imposture. The one is reported by 
the Professor, and Aulic Counsellor, Feder. The subject of his 
observations was a student, who, during a severe nervous com- 
plaint, experienced several attacks of Somnambulism. Upon 
these occasions he would go from his bed-room to his parlour 
and back, open and shut the doors, as well as his closet, and take 
out of the latter whatever he wanted pieces of music, pen, ink, 
and paper, and all this with his eyes shut! From among his 
music he selected a march from the opera of Medea, laid the 
sheet in a proper situation before him, and having found the ap- 
propriate key, he played the whole piece with his usual skill upon 
the harpsichord. In the same manner he also played one of 
Bach's sonatas, and gave the most expressive passages with sur- 
prising effect. One of the persons present turned the notes up- 
side down : this he immediately perceived, and when he com- 
menced playing, he replaced the sheet in its proper position. 
When playing, he remarked a string out of tune, upon which 
he stopped, put it in order, and again proceeded. He wrote a 
letter to his brother, and what he wrote was not only perfectly 
rational, but straight and legible. While Professor Feder was 
on a visit to him one afternoon, he (the somnambulist) observed 
that it was snowing, which was actually the case. On the same 



APPENDIX. l6l 

occasion, notwithstanding his eyes were still completely closed, 
he remarked that the landlord of the opposite house was stand- 
ing at the window, which was true, and that hats were hanging 
at the window of another room, which was also the fact. He 
opened Professor Feder's Compendium of logic and metaphysics, 
and pointed out to him several passages which he thought inter- 
esting, as also some of his own written notes of the Professor's 
lectures in a volume which had been recently bound. We must 
observe, however, the remarkable circumstance common to him, 
indeed, with several other somnambulists that there were many 
things he did not perceive. Thus, while writing to his brother, 
he did not observe that there was no more ink in the pen, and 
continued to write on. At one time he struck fire, and held the 
tinder to his ear, as if to hear the crackling, and then ascertain 
if it was burning. He lighted a match, came to the candle, and 
held it in the middle of the flame. 

In conclusion, I may refer to the case observed by the Arch- 
bishop of Bourdeaux, and reported in the great French Encyclo- 
pedia. It is the case of a young ecclesiastic, in the same seminary 
with the Archbishop, who was in the habit of getting up during 
the night in a state of Somnambulism, of going to his room, 
taking pen, ink, and paper, and composing and writing sermons. 
When he had finished one page of the paper on which he was 
writing, he would read over what he had written and correct it. 
Upon one occasion, he had made use of the expression ce divin 
enfant. In reading over the passage, he changed the adjective 
divin into adorable. Perceiving, however, that' the pronoun ce 
could not stand before the word adorable, he added to the former 
the letter t. In order to ascertain whether the somnambulist 
made really any use of his eyes, the Archbishop held a piece of 
pasteboard under his chin, to prevent him from seeing the paper 
on which he was writing; but he continued to write on without 
appearing to be incommoded in the slightest degree. 

The paper on which he was writing was taken away; but 
the somnambulist immediately perceived the change. He wrote 
pieces of music while in this state, and in the same manner with 
his eyes closed. The words were placed under the musical notes. 
It happened, upon one occasion, that the words were written in 
too large a character, and did not stand precisely under the corre- 
sponding notes. He soon perceived the error, blotted out the 
part, and wrote it over again with great exactness. 

I hope that these examples, to which I might add a great many 



l62 APPK.VDIX. 

others, will be sufficient to sho'w that the somnambulist, during 
this extraordinary state, is enabled, apparently without the use 
of his eyes, to receive impressions equally well, or, at least, with 
the same consequences to his perceptive faculty, as when awake. 

Mr. Colquhoun, the translator of Wienholt, supplies us from 
his extensive reading, with a number of the best authenticated 
cases descriptive of the same condition of things in Somnambul- 
ism, and derangement of the nervous system induced by Mes- 
merism ; and as this is the only physical symptom of any conse- 
quence, described by European Mesmerists, which I have not 
yet seen in India, I hope that Mr. Colquhoun will excuse my 
making such free use of his facts, in order to complete this sub- 
ject. 

The reporters of the facts in question are, for the most part, 
men whose intellectual attainments, in general, are known to 
have been of a superior order, and whose moral character is ele- 
vated far above suspicion; men, in short, far more honourable 
and trustworthy than their wretched, chiefly anonymous, calumni- 
ators. They will be found to be, principally, eminent physicians, 
such as Hufeland, physician to the king of Prussia; Steiglitz. 
physician to the king of Hanover ; Brandis, physician to the king 
of Denmark ; Klein, physician to the king of Wirtemberg ; Wien- 
holt ; Olbers, the astronomer ; Gmelin ; Heinecken ; Bockman ; 
Baehrens; Ennemmoser; Sprengel, author of a history of medi- 
cine, and other learned works; Haindorf; Nolte; Spindler; 
Nasse ; Nees von Esenbeck ; Passavant ; Ziermann ; Heinroth ; 
Leupoldt, &c. Physiologists, such as Reil; Treviranus; Auten- 
rieth ; Humboldt ; Burdach ; Eschenmayer ; Kieser, &c. Natural- 
ists, such as La Place, Cuvier, Oken, &c. Philosophers, such as 
Fichte, Schelling, Steffens, Baader, Hegel, &c. Theologians, 
such as Schleiermacher, Mayer, &c. To these might be added 
a vast number of men of general science, and celebrated literary 
characters. The French magnetists Puysegur, Deleuze, 
Bertrand, Georget, Cuvier, Despine, Rostan, Husson, Filassier, 
Foissac, Gauthier, Teste, &c. constitute a perfect host. 

But it has been alleged that the evidence of these enlightened 
individuals is liable to discredit, because, forsooth, they were 
engaged in investigating the phenomena of animal magnetism. 
Assuredly, this is a strange, and we must take the liberty of 
saying, a most preposterous objection. Pray, how are the facts 
of nature to be discovered and appreciated, unless by those who 
take an interest in investigating them? Are the facts of chem- 



APPENDIX. 163 

istry to be discredited, because they have been discovered by 
chemists? And is the same ultra sceptical test to be applied to 
electricity, galvanism, astronomy, and general physics? Arc 
no facts to be relied upon as genuine, but such as may happen 
to be adduced by ignorant and unskilful persons, who have neither 
the requisite talent, nor the disposition for investigation, and 
who are, moreover, careless and indifferent to the results? 

The Author, then, feels no hesitation in appealing to the ex- 
perience of the most eminent magnetists, in confirmation of the 
fact which, as we have seen, has been manifested in many in- 
stances, of the natural Somnambulism ; but in order to deprive 
the most obdurate sceptics of every pretence for denying the 
reality of the fact in question, we shall proceed to the brief enum- 
eration of cases, in which the controverted phenomenon was dis- 
tinctly and unequivocally manifested. 

Dr. Tritschler's somnambulist a boy of thirteen years of 
age saw and recognised the numbers and pictures on cards, 
when introduced under the bedcover, and placed upon his stom- 
ach, in complete darkness, and covered, moreover, by the hand 
of the magnetiser. The same recognition took place in the case 
of written notes. 

Madame Millet, magnetised by Van Ghert, saw her phy- 
sician's hand and finger by means of the epigastrium. At a later 
period she recognised, in a similar manner, some portraits. At 
last she became so dairvoyante as to be able to read, by means 
of the epigastrium, at the distance of a foot and a half. 

Miss St., under the care of Dr. Lehmann, accurately distin- 
guished the colours of cards by means of the epigastrium. 
Kieser's epileptic boy read fluently by means of the pit of the 
stomach. Maria Rubel, in Langenberg, read sealed letters by 
means of the epigastrium ; nay, even written characters envel- 
oped in a covering of double linen. De Valenti's patient de- 
scribed the ornamental devices on his watch ; she also recognised 
the picture of a soldier placed on her stomach. In many other 
patients the functions of other organs were also manifested at 
the epigastrium. Dr. Joseph Frank's patient, Louisa Baerk- 
mann, recognised and felt the taste of sugared water at the epigas- 
tric region, and heard at the same place. A servant girl, mag- 
netised by De Valenti, also heard at the epigastrium. Dr. Klein's 
patient said, "This is very comical I hear by means of my 
stomach;" and she laughed aloud at the singularity of the phe- 



164 APPENDIX. 

nomenon. Her ears having been stopt, she said, "That is of 
no use ; I hear with this," pointing to her stomach. 

In the case of other somnambulists, the common sense seemed 
to be transferred to the points of the fingers, as in the case of 
Miss M'Evoy, of Liverpool, Professor Kieser's patient, Anthony 
Arst, read with his forefinger, and distinguished cards in the 
same manner. Nay, when he held his elbow out of the window, 
he saw every thing in the street to the distance of 150 paces. 
Van Chert's somnambulist saw by the means of the fingers; as 
also Madame Millet and Maria Rubel, formerly noticed, and 
Dr. Durr's patient. An idio-somnambulic boy at Halmstadt, in 
Holland, read fluently by means of his breast and fingers. Dr. 
Meyer's patient, at Dulken in Rhenish Prussia, heard with the 
points of his fingers. One of Dr. Kerner's somnambulists heard 
sometimes with her fingers, sometimes with every part of her 
body. Articles of food she tasted with her fingers, as with her 
mouth. The second somnambulist, mentioned in the work re- 
ferred to, saw only when she placed her finger on the pit of the 
stomach, or on the crown of the head. She sometimes heard, 
smelt, and saw with the point of the middle finger. 

Other cases are recorded in which the patients saw and heard 
with the nose, the chin, the elbows, the knees, the toes, and all 
the prominent parts of the body. Augusta Miller of Carlsruhe 
saw with her forehead, her eyelids, and her eye-brows. Dr. 
Werner mentions, as a singular peculiarity, that his somnambul- 
ist possessed the power of changing the focus of vision at pleas- 
ure. In some cases, it would appear, the whole body becomes as 
it were clairvoyant. This was the case with Dr. Heinecken's 
patient at Bremen, who saw without the assistance of the eyes, 
or of any other special organ ; and she expressly declared that 
such somnambulists were much more clairvoyant than those whose 
perceptive faculties were localised. Hence the somnambulists are 
frequently unable to give any adequate description of these 
metastases of the perceptive faculties and the species of percep- 
tion, in these cases, might, perhaps, be more properly denominated 
feeling, than actual sight, hearing, &c. It is worthy of remark, 
too, that the perceptions of these somnambulists, in general, are 
much more vivid, acute, and delicate, than in the waking state. 

The foregoing observations, it is presumed, must be sufficient 
to convince every candid and unprejudiced mind of the existence 
in certain states of the organism, of the phenomenon of sensible 
perception, without the use of the appropriate organs. 



APPENDIX. l65 

Here, then we have a body of evidence in support of the ex- 
istence of natural and artificial "clairvoyance," given by the same 
description of persons ; physicians of eminence and unimpeached 
honour, a body of men who, perhaps more than the members of 
any other profession, are dependent on their characters as the 
means of winning daily bread. It appears to me, that there is no 
ground for preferring the evidence of one set of witnesses to 
the other, and that both are by their character and knowledge 
eminently entitled to our belief, unless we reject all human 
testimony, declare clairvoyance to be a subject on which it is use- 
less to accumulate facts and evidence, and "taboo" its considera- 
tion by the human mind. 

THE END. 



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