Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

Digby could heal the wounds of men at a distance, by applying his “ sympathetic ointment” to their bloody clothes; and Kluge, a Prussian surgeon, states that an emetic, taken by a magnetiser, creates a wondrous “ fellow feeling" in his patient's stomach.

ANNIHILATION OF MATTER.

Art thou any thing?" Julius Cæsar.

" A simple magnetic pass is sufficient for a piece of furniture, a person, a portion of a room, to disappear from the eyes of a somnambulist. Question her by surprise, lay for her all the snares you will, never will she see any of the persons or things that her magnetiser shall have rendered invisible.” Du Ponceau.

“ Care avaunt, with all thy crew,

Goblins dire and devils blue !"

Whether Kirke White succeeded in exorcising the fiends sim ple deprecation is doubtful-blue devils are not easily charmed. Those who are similarly tormented should fly to Mesmerism ;

“ 'Tis the secret
Cures all diseases, coming of all causes;
A month's grief in a day, a year's in twelve,
And, of what age soever, in a month ;
Past all the doses of your drugging doctors."

“ There is,” said Mesmer, “ one health, one disease, one remedy, and one physician ; and that physician am I !”.

SOMETHING LIKE CREATION.

Snug.--You never can bring in a wall. What say you Bottom? Boltom.-Some one must present wall."

Midsummer Night's Dream.

“ Rosalia is in her closet, adjoining a drawing-room, in a state of somnambulism ; the communication between these apartments is closed, but another door giving egress from the drawing-room to a staircase is open. The magnetiser places a barrier there magnetically; then Rosalia is introduced by a stranger. She is requested to go out to the staircase ; but she declares that she cannot do so, because, says she, this door is barred !'

It is not therefore impossible to bar one's domicile against the obtrusive clairvoyant, though it is clear that perfect security cannot be attained but by the exercise of incessant vigilance. The excited eye of speculation may, it appears, be prevented from examining the budget before the time, and that of the chargé d'affaires from inspecting private papers in the Foreign Office ; but in operations of such speciality, success will obviously depend as much upon the premier pas as it does in an encounter with the basilisk—the beau idéal of positive and negative magnetism—“if he see you first, you die for it; but if you see him first, he dieth.” The day cannot be very distant when the statesman will have to

“ Burn his useless Machiavel, and sleep." “ After having magnetised Rosalia in the closet of Madame I ask what it is they desire I should make her see. · A little girl. I approach a chair, and strive in making some passes to fix my idea to it. Rosalia, whom I bring before me, concludes by saying, “ It is

little Hortense !' Having sent her into another room, I remove the chair, in order that she may not recognise it ; but I hesitate, and place it in several different places before fixing it. I then go to awake Rosalia in the closet, and proceed with her into the little room. Now that she is well awake, what does she see? Not one little girl, but six little girls ! In vain I try by transverse passes to abolish my manifold creation ; it is impossible. Curious to have an explanation, I again put Rosalia to sleep, and ask her the solution of the enigma ;

-In good faith, sir, you need not have removed the chair, then I should have seen but one child ; but every where you put it down, the fluid passed through, and formed a child like the one that is above.” Du Ponceau.

[merged small][ocr errors]

The feat of Pygmalion, which hitherto has been vulgarly considered as a figure of the creative energy of genius, may turn out after all to have been a bald matter of fact. The Welshman could “ call spirits from the vasty deep;” the Frenchman called six young ladies ex nihilo. Du Ponceau invited his audience to task him to their“ strong bidding;" his power of production appears to have been mightier than that of Ben Jonson's shop-boy—“ what do you lack, what is 't you lack ? Any fine fancies, figures, humours, characters, ideas, definitions of ladies and gentlemen ? Waiting-women, parasites, knights, captains, courtiers, lawyers, what do you lack ?” That which yesterday was looked upon as satire, may to-daymaking liberal allowance for the gloss of caricature—be viewed as prophecy,

“ Thus science distorted, and torn into bits,

Art tortur'd, and frighten'd half out of her wits,
In portions and patches, some light and some shady,
Are stitched up together, and make a young lady."

A QUESTIONABLE SHAPE.

“ I'll take the Ghost's word for a thousand pound.” Hamlet.

The writer is compelled to admit that he was ignorant, when he wrote the metrical essay, of the recent appearance of ghosts in Europe ; the following statement is extracted from “ Animal Magnetism,where it appears as a quotation from a work written by a magnetist of Wurtemburg, who is well known to be “ a shrewd man.” The history thoroughly unfolds the mode of life of these creatures; and abounds with novel details relative to their moral habitudes and capabilities—their sympathies and antipathies—their mutual relationships and influences—their physical organization, (for they are not all spirit,) and their bodily powers. Altogether, the narrative is one of the most instructive of the kind that has ever challenged the attention of the world.

“ The spirit of all things was perceptible to her, more particularly the spirits of metals, herbs, men, and animals. The different colours of the rays of light, produced upon her particular effects. To her the electrical fluid was visible and palpable. Her guests were frequently visitors from the unseen world ; and amongst them were sometimes the unhappy ghosts of murderers, who sought her instruction. One ghost in particular was an irresistible importunate, until she consented to a conversation. He confessed to having mur. dered his brother, and that he was a Knight of the Weiler family, of Lichtenberg. She taught him to pray, and prayed for hours with him kneeling by his side. On the seventh night, the apparition told her that his hour of liberation was near. On a sudden seven of his children joined the party, all white, shining, and joyful; they

I

formed a circle round him, and sang in exquisite melody*. The knight wished to mark her hand in remembrance of him, and refused to quit her until obliged to do so by the timely arrival and interference of the ghost of her grandmother.”

“ Ghosts look like thin clouds; but are not transparent, though they at first seem so ; still I never saw one that cast a shadow. Their shape is like that which they had during life-only colourless and grey ; so is their clothing, but it is also colourless, as if made of cloud. The brighter and better spirits have a long garment, with a girdle. Their expression is generally solemn and sad. Their eyes are like fire. None of them had hair on their head. They make noises to excite attention-sounds in the air, sometimes sudden and sharp, producing a shock; sometimes musical; at others resembling the rustling of paper, the rolling of a ball, &c. They can carry heavy substances, overturn tables, knock plates about, &c. The better spirits are brighter than the bad ones, and their voice is not so strong. The darker ones sucked in my words of religious conversation, and I saw them become brighter in consequence; but I was rendered weaker. Most who come to see me are in the lowest regions, which are in our atmosphere; they were the grovelling ones of this world, or such as did not die in the Christian faith. In these inferior regions the spirits are still exposed to the temptations of the devil. Children grow after death ; the soul expands its vest until it is as large as it would have become on earth."

For further particulars the reader must consult the original work of Kerner; it is comprised in two large volumes, one of them describes the magnetic state of the subject—whose name was Hauffem and the other details her ghostly experience.

The well known ghost of the royal Dane—unlike these bald spirits—was allowed to retain his “sable silvered” beard, though doomed to “ fast in fires ;” and he differed in almost every point

* The supernaturals of Burns were all musical,

“ To gie them music was his charge ;

He screw'd the pipes and gart them skirl,
Till roof an' rafters a' did dirl."

« AnteriorContinuar »