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drank for wine, and remarked that his stomach felt the better for it. On a fellow-servant touching his legs with a stick, the idea arose in his mind that it was a dog, and he scolded to drive it away; but the servant continuing his game, Negretti took a whip to beat the dog. The servant drew back, when Negretti began whistling and coaxing to get the dog near him; so they threw a muff against his legs, which he belaboured soundly.
M. Pigatti watched these proceedings with great attention, and convinced himself by many experiments that Negretti did not use his ordinary senses. He did not hear the loudest sound when it lay out of the circle of his dream-ideas. If a light was held close to his eyes, near enough to singe his eyebrows, he did not appear to be aware of it. He seemed to feel nothing when they inserted a feather into his nostrils.
Perhaps the most interesting case of somnambulism on record is that of a young ecclesiastic, the narrative of which, from the immediate communication of the Archbishop of Bordeaux, is given under the head of Somnambulism in the French Encyclopedia.
This young ecclesiastic, when the archbishop was at the same seminary, used to rise every night, and write out either sermons or pieces of music. To study his condition, the archbishop betook himself several nights consecutively to the chamber of the young man, where he made the following observations:
The young man used to rise, take paper, and begin to write. Before writing music, he would take a stick and rule the lines with it. He wrote the notes, together with the words corresponding to them, with perfect correctness; or, when he had written the words too wide, he altered them. The notes that were to be black he filled in after he had written the whole. After completing a sermon, he would read it aloud from beginning to
end. If any passage displeased him, he erased it, and wrote the amended passage correctly over the other. On one occasion he had substituted the word “ adorable" for “ divin ;" but he did not omit to alter the preceding “ce” into “cet,” by adding the letter st” with exact precision to the word first written. To ascertain whether he used his eyes, the archbishop interposed a sheet of pasteboard between the writing and his face. The somnambulist took not the least notice, but went on writing as before. The limitation of his perceptions to what he was thinking about was very curious. A bit of aniseed cake, that he had sought for, he ate approvingly; but when, on another occasion, a piece of the same cake was put into his mouth, he spat it out without observation. The following instance of the dependence of his perceptions upon his preconceived ideas is truly wonderful. It is to be observed that he always knew when his pen had ink in it. Likewise, if they adroitly changed his papers when he was writing, he knew it, if the sheet substituted was of a different size from the former, and he appeared embarrassed in that case. But if the fresh sheet of paper, which was substituted for that written on, was exactly of the same size with it, he appeared not to be aware of the change. And he would continue to read off his composition from the blank sheet of paper, as fluently as when the manuscript lay before him ; nay more, he would continue his corrections, and introduce an amended passage, writing it upon exactly the place in the blank sheet corresponding with that which it would have occupied in the written page.-Such are the feats of somnambulists.
At first sight, the phenomena thus exemplified appear strange and unintelligible enough. But upon a careful consideration of them, much of the marvellous disappears. The most curious features seem, in the end, to be really
the least deserving of wonder. The simplest of the phenomena are alone the inexplicable ones.
I have, however, advanced this group of cases as instances of trance, in which, therefore, I assume that an abnormal relation exists between the mind and body, in which the organs of sensation are partially or entirely deserted by their functions, and in which new perceptive powers manifest themselves. Then an opponent might argue ;
“I know nothing about your trance. What I see is first a person asleep, then the same person half or partially awake, occupied with a dream or vivid conception of an action; which, being partially awake, and therefore having partially resumed his power of attention, he is capable of realising. He appears to be insensible ; but this may be deceptive; for he is still asleep, and therefore notices not things around him; and his attention is partly still suspended as in sleep, partly more useless still for general purposes through intent preoccupation.
“He goes about the house in his rapt state, and finds his way perfectly; but the house is familiar to him ; everything in it is distinctly before his conception; he has, too, the advantage of perfect confidence; and besides, being partially awake, he partially, vaguely perhaps, uses customary sensations in reference to the objects which his dream contemplates his meeting.
“The ecclesiastic, indeed, seems at first to see through a sheet of pasteboard. But the concluding interesting fact in his case shows that he really used his perception only to identify the size and place of the sheet of paper. His writing upon it was the mechanical transcript of an act of mental penmanship. The corrections fell into the right places upon the paper owing to the fidelity with which he retained the mental picture. The clearness and
HALF-WAKING TRANCE OR SOMNAMBULISM
vividness of the picture, again, is not so very surprising, when it is considered that the attention was wholly and exclusively concentrated on that one operation."
The observations of my imaginary opponent might sufficiently account for the more striking phenomena in the preceding cases, and are doubtless near the truth as regards the principal parts of the young ecclesiastic's performance. Still there remains the commoner instance of the lad going about with precision with his eyes shut. I see no mode of accounting for that on common principles.
And besides, it may be presumed that, if more decisive experiments as to their sensibility had been made upon all these subjects, they would have been found really without sight and feeling. For, in general character, persons in somnambulism exactly resemble other entranced persons, who certainly feel nothing; for they have borne the most painful surgical operations without the smallest indication of suffering. So I have little doubt that the insensibility, which the observers imputed to the somnambulists, really existed, although they may have failed to establish the fact by positive evidence.
The question as to the development of a new power of perception, such as I conjecture the lad used in his walk from Tarbes to Bagnères, will be found to be resolved, or, at any rate, to be attended with no theoretical difficulties, when the performances of full-waking in trance, which I propose to describe in the next letter, shall have been laid before the reader.
LETTER VIII :
TRANCE-WAKING.—Instances of its spontaneous occurrence in the form
of catalepsy-Analysis of catalepsy-Its three elements : double consciousness, or pure waking-trance; the spasmodic seizure; the new mental powers displayed-Cases exemplifying catalepsyOther cases unattended with spasm, but of spontaneous occurrence, in which new mental powers were manifested—Oracles of antiquity-Animal instinct-Intuition.
UNDER this head are contained the most marvellous phenomena which ever came as a group of facts in natural philosophy before the world; and they are reaching that stage towards general reception when their effect is most vivid and striking. Five-and-twenty years ago no one in England dreamed of believing them, although the same positive evidence of their genuineness then existed as now. Five-and-twenty years hence the same facts will be matters of familiar knowledge. It is just at the present moment (or am I anticipating the march of opinion by half a century ?) that their difference, and distinctness, and abhorrence even, from our previous conceptions are most intensely felt; and that the powers which they promise eventually to place within human control excite our irrepressible wonder.
I shall narrate the facts, which loom so large in the dawning light, very simply and briefly, as they are manifested in catalepsy.
An uninformed person being in the room with a cata