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idea, and from that—its imperfect expression-received it into her thoughts. No doubt the phenomenon of Victor's singing the words to M. de Puységur's mentally hummed air was the same with the above, and not one of mesmeric lucidity, the subject which we are now approaching.
But I pause ;-and go no further.
For my object in these Letters, generally, has been to establish principles. And the phenomena of lucidity developed in artificial trance have been only the same as, and have not been as yet made more of than, the lucidity of catalepsy. No further principle has yet emerged from their study; and my special object in this Letter has been to persuade the opponents of mesmerism to do it justice ; and I think I am most likely to attain my end by not attempting to prove too much.
So that nothing remains for me to do, but to observe the form in which these Letters were originally shaped, in recollection of the pleasant hours which the residence of your family at Boppard, during the winter of 1844-5, caused me, and to say finally,
DEAR ARCHY, Farewell.
SUPPLEMENTAL.-Abnormal neuro-psychical relation-Cautions neces
sary in receiving trance communications, Trance-visiting-Mesmerising at a distance, and by the will-Mesmeric diagnosis and treatment of disease-Prevision-Ultra-vital vision.
The principal alterations made in the Letters” for the present edition comprise an expansion of my account of " trances of spontaneous occurrence,” and the introduction of greater precision into our elementary conceptions of the relations of the mind and nervous system.
Letters V., VI., VII., and VIII., establish that the most startling phenomena in popular superstitions, and the most wonderful performances by mesmerised persons, are but repetitions of events, the occurrence of which, as symptoms of, or as constituting, certain rare forms of nervous attacks, have been independently authenticated and put on record by physicians of credit. Letters II. and IX. exemplify the mode in which superstition has dressed up trance-phenomena; as letters III. and IV. display the contributions she has levied on sensorial illusions, the Od force, and normal exoneural psychical phenomena. Letter X. describes the method of inducing trances artificially, whereby they may be reproduced at pleasure, either in the interests of philosophical inquiry, or for important practical purposes.
I dedicate the present Letter to the reconsideration of the most knotty points already handled, and to the investigation of a few other questions, the solution of which is not less difficult.
I. Hypothesis of an Abnormal Psychico-neural Relation as the essence of trance.—I admit that it is a very clumsy expedient to assume that the mind can, as it were, get loose in the living body, and, while remaining there in a partially new alliance, exercise some of its faculties in unaccustomed organs—which organs lose, for the same time, their normal participation in consciousness; and farther, that the mind can, partially indeed, but so completely disengage itself from the living body, that its powers of apprehension may range with what we are accustomed to consider the properties of free spirit, unlimitedly as to space and time. I adopt the hypothesis upon compulsion—that is to say, because I see no other way of accounting for the most remarkable trance-phenomena. In due time, it is to be expected that a simple inductive expression of the facts will take the place of my hypothetical explanation. But not the less may the latter, crude as it is, prove of temporary use, by bringing together in a connected view many new and diversified phenomena, and planting the subject in a position favourable for scientific scrutiny.
Let me arrange, in their most persuasive order, the facts which seem to justify the hypothesis above enunciated.
1. In many cases of waking-trance, the patient does not see with his eyes, hear with his ears, nor taste with his tongue, and the sense of touch appears to have deserted the skin. At the same time, the patient sees, hears, and tastes things applied to the pit of the stomach, or sees and hears with the back of the head, or tips of the fingers.
2. In the first imperfect trance-waking from initiatory trance, the patient's apprehension of sensuous impressions often appears to have entirely deserted his own body, and to be in relation with the sentient apparatus in his mesmeriser's frame-for, if you pull his hair, or put mustard in his mouth, he does not feel either; but he is actually alive to the sensations which these impressions excite, if the hair of the mesmeriser is pulled, or mustard placed on the mesmeriser's tongue. The sensations excited thus in the mesmeriser, and these alone, the entranced person realises as his own sensations.
3. About the same time, the entranced person displays no will of his own, but his voluntary muscles execute the gestures which his mesmeriser is making, even when standing behind his back. His will takes its guidance from sympathy with the exerted will of the other.
4. Presently, if his trance-faculties continue to be developed, the entranced person enters into communication with the entire mind of his mesmeriser. His apprehension seems to penetrate the brain of the latter, and is capable of reading all his thoughts.
5. In the last three steps, the apprehension of the entranced person appears to have left his own being to the extent described, and to have entered into relation with the mind or nervous system of another person. Now, if the patient become still more lucid, his apprehension seems to range abroad through space, and to identify material objects, and penetrate the minds of other human beings, at indefinite distances.
6. At length the entranced person displays the power of revealing future events—a power which, as far as it relates to things separate from his own bodily organisation, or that of others, seems to me to show that his apprehension is in relation with higher spiritual natures, or with the Fountain of Truth itself.
In the following pages I have given examples of those of the powers here attributed to very lucid clairvoyants, which I have not previously instanced.
II. Transposition of the Senses.- No doubt these phenomena, irregular as they seem at present, follow a definite law, which has to be determined by future observations and experiments. Mr Williamson found some of his clairvoyantes see with the back of the head, some with the side of the head—some best at seven inches, others at as many feet off. In the case which Mr Bulteel reported to me, the lady read with her hand and fingers; even when he pressed a note against the back of her neck, she read it instantly: but in this case actual contact was necessary. In the case of a governess, artificially brought to the state of waking-trance by Mr Williamson, the same faculty was observed. With one hand she used to hold open the book to be read, resting it against her chest, the pages being turned away from her: the contents of these she read fluently, touching the words with the forefinger of the other hand. In one very interesting case, which I witnessed here in the autumn of 1849, the young lady, clairvoyante through mesmerism, sitting in the corner of a sofa something reclined, would have seen, had she peeped through a linear aperture between her seemingly closed eyelids, the lower half of things only. As it was, the reverse was the fact; and when we asked her what she saw, she told us the cornice and upper part of the room. Then, without saying anything, I raised my cap upon my stick to within her declared range of trance-vision; she exclaimed, “Ah, Guilleaume Tell!” Her mother, whom she heard speak, but had not hitherto seen, in this trance, she recognised at once, when she stood up upon a chair. To read, in this trance, appeared a very painful effort to her;