Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

EARLY IMPRESSIONS.

“ And he is one,
The truest manner'd; such a holy witch,
That he enchants societies unto him,
Half all men's hearts are his."

Cymbeline.

The effects produced by the hands of the primitive mesmerists, are described by the Commissioners who were appointed by the French Government to investigate the matter, in the following terms ;

“ The patients in their different conditions present a varied picture. Some are calm, tranquil, and experience no effect ; others cough, spit, feel slight pains, local or general heat, and sweat ; others again are agitated and tormented with convulsions. These convulsions are remarkable in regard to the number affected, and to their duration and force ; and are characterized by the precipitous involuntary motions of all the limbs and of the whole body, by the constriction of the throat, by the leaping motions of the hypochondria and the epigastrium ; by the dimness and wandering of the eyes ; by piercing shrieks, tears, sobs, and immoderate laughter. They are preceded or followed by a state of languor or reverie, a kind of depression, and even drowsiness. The smallest unforeseen noise occasions shudderings ; even a change of tone and measure in the airs played on the piano-forte influences the patients, a quicker motion agitating them more and renewing the vivacity of their convulsions. Nothing is more astonishing than the spectacle of these convulsions ; one who has not seen them can form no idea of them.

The spectator is equally astonished at the profound repose of one part of the patients and the agitation of the rest ; at the various accidents which are repeated and the sympathies which are established. Some patients devote their exclusive attention to each other, rushing towards one another, smiling, speaking with affection and mutually soothing their crises. All are under the power of the magnetizer ; it matters not in what state of drowsiness they may be -his voice, a look, a gesture, brings them out of it.”

In order to form 6 a chain of connexion,” Mesmer passed cords round the bodies of his patients ; and sometimes, for the same purpose, he made each one take hold of his neighbour's thumb with one hand, while the other grasped a rod, one end of which was plunged into a tub filled with powdered glass, iron filings, and water. Among the other operatical means originally employed, that of music was very conspicuous ; a person was kept constantly playing upon a piano-forte, which having previously been charged with prepared water, flooded the atmosphere with sweet sounds in combination with specific virtue. But above all other means, Mesmer relied principally for making salutary impressions, on “ the application of his hands and the pressure of his fingers on the hypochondria and on the regions of the abdomen ; an application often continued for a long time, sometimes for several hours.”

Nous avons changé tout cela. The rod is broken, and the crisischamber shut up-patients now are not fumigated—it is found unnecessary to darken the theatre, or let loose the soul of music indeed a late writer declares that all sorts of manual and mechanical appliances are supererogatory, and that the will of the mesmerist, if accompanied by appropriate“ gesture,” is perfectly irresistible. Moreover the gesticulations may be performed in a closet, and without the leave or even the knowledge of the “ sujet," and yet lose none of their potency. A truly amazing power ! and one that might be most awfully abused ; though liability to abuse, it must be confessed, might be predicated of almost every other blessing we enjoy.

[ocr errors]

THE BLUE LIGHT.

“ This is a most majestic vision-
May I be bold to call these spirits?"

Tempest.

The existence of “ the third imponderable fluid” was demonstrated in England on Friday, July 21st. 1843, by Mr. Benjamin Dann, of Maidstone; “ an experimental philosopher, whose whole energies, as opportunities have been afforded him, have been devoted to scientific discoveries.” The mysterious agent manifested itself in the shape of a flame of blue fire; the subjoined account of its first appearance is extracted from a work just published by Mr. Richardson of Cornhill.

“ On the evening of Friday, July 21st., I again put E. W. into the mesmeric sleep, in a room where another patient had already been subjected to it; when the lads began remarking upon each other at the very singular appearance each exhibited. E. W. said that W. C. was covered all over with fire; and W. C. said that he compared E. W. to a blue devil. At the same time a very powerful attraction was exerted between them; they conversed freely together at the distance of three yards, though their ears were closed to those who were nearer. One of them now beckoned to the other to come to him, and the other said he as much wanted to go to him; at last we allowed them to go together, when a most interesting effect was produced, evinced not merely by a feeling of pleasure visible in their countenances, but more powerfully verified by their movements--taking each other by the arm with manifest delight,

drawing their chairs close to one another, and talking together in the most familiar manner." *

“On the 24th., having the two young men before alluded to in my room together, I first put one of them only into the sleep, and directed his attention to the other; when he remarked that 'that was the person he had been looking for, but he did not now look as he did when he saw him before’—meaning at the previous experiment, which he would not do as then he was in the mesmeric sleep, now he had not yet been mesmerized — he was then covered all over with blue fire like unto phosphorus, and was so plump and fat; but now he was so thin and such a little chap, he hardly knew him,'—a clear proof that without the envelope of fire, or the being covered with magnetic fluid, he would still have appeared in his normal state. On directing my eyes to my other patient to induce the sleep, E. W. exclaimed, “Oh! look! he is coming all over fire again; look! it is a flowing from his eyes, down his face and over his face!' And when I began to make the passes, he said, 'there it goes, it is now spreading all over him;' and when I had made two or three passes down to his feet, he said, see! just look, he is now covered all over with it, just as he was when I saw him beforehe is looking so plump and so fat!' They then drew their seats near each other, and congratulated themselves that they had met again; at last they proposed to take a journey together, and it proved very interesting to me, but as it does not relate to my present object, I leave it.”

On other occasions E. W. made various pertinent and deeply interesting communications; for instance_“I excited the organ of language by pointing to his eyes with my fingers, when he exclaimed, look! look! there is fire coming from your fingers, and from his eyes, and they join together!'— proving the joint co-operation of operator and patient in producing the effect.” Again,_" I will now tell you just how it is—that fire shoots up through the skin,

* “ As if the gnomon on his neighbour's phiz,
Touched with the magnet had attracted his."

Cowper.

« AnteriorContinuar »