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MESMERISM IN INDIA, 



AND ITS 



u 



i 



PRACTICAL APPLICATION IN SURGERY 
AND MEDICINE. 




JAMES ESDAIKE, M.D., 

CIVIL ASSISTANT SURGEON, H. C. S., BENGAL. 



" I rather choose to endure the wounds of those darts which envy casteth 
at novelty, than to go on safely and sleepily in the easy ways of ancient 
raistakings." — Raleigh. 



HARTFORD: 

SILAS ANDRUS AND SON. 

NEW-YORK: 

FOWLERS & WELLS, 131 NASSAU STREET. 

1851. 



PRICE FIFTY CENTS. 



MESMERISM IN INDIA, 






AND ITS 



■^Z 



PRACTICAL APPLICATION IN SURGERY 
AND MEDICINE. 



JAMES ESDA1LE, M.D., 

HI 

CIVIL ASSISTANT SURGEON, M. 0. S., BENGAL. 



«« I rather choose to endure the wounds of those darts which envy casteth 
at novelty, than to go on safely and sleepily in the easy ways of ancient 
jnistakings.''— Raleich. 




HARTFORD: 

SILAS ANDRUS AND SON. 

1851. 



WBC 

IS5| 



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 to-morrow, by dak, a journey of 
eleven hundred miles ! 

I am 

Your affectionate Son, 

James Esdaile. 
Hooghly, Feb. 1st, 1846. 



PREFACE. 



If this production should be fortunate enough to attract 
attention at home, I hope that criticism will be chiefly ex- 
pended upon a careful examination of the alleged facts, 
and their practical application to the improvement of Sur- 
gery 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 sur- 
gical operations, and other medical advantages, are their 
natural birthright ; of which I hope they will be no longer 
deprived. 

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

Hooghly,Feb. 1st, 1846. 



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 un- 
dertake such a duty. Several months ago my brother, a 
medical officer in the service of the East India Company, 
surprised me by announcing that he had now found some- 
thing to dispel the ennui of Indian life, and that his mis- 
sion was to become " the Apostle of Mesmerism in India." 
More than twelve years ago, my attention had been ar- 
rested by reading M. Cloquet's account of his having 
removed a cancerous breast from a lady while in the mes- 
meric trance, and by his certifying her insensibility to 
pain. Knowing the eminence of M. Cloquet as a surgeon, 
and his reputation as a man of veracity, I was constrained 
to believe in the reality of the mysterious agent denomi- 
nated Mesmerism, or Animal Magnetism ; and my belief 
was confirmed by the fact of the operator not being a be- 
liever in Mesmerism. From that hour I never doubted 
that many things, scouted by most people as frauds or de- 
lusions, were merely new manifestations of this incompre- 
hensible power. The evidence was so strong, that incre- 
dulity seemed irrational. Professional avocations hindered 
me paying further attention to the subject; and I had 
almost ceased to think of Mesmerism when it was again 



V11J EDITOR S PREFACE. 

unexpectedly brought before me by my brother. Being 
thoroughly convinced of his honesty, as well as of his abil- 
ity to detect imposture, I read his communications, trans- 
mitted from time to time, with the liveliest interest, and re- 
joiced 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 opportunity of investigating it for themselves, 
has induced me to read my brother's work with care, and 
to undertake the responsibility of preparing 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 per- 
formance, or a philosophical treatise upon an imperfectly 
understood branch of science, none of it belongs to me. 

While he will be gratified to learn that his literary off- 
spring has assumed 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 of his readers will 
share in his regret. His MS. was accompanied by nine 
beautifully executed drawings, also intended for publica- 
tion. After consulting with friends interested in Mesmer- 
ism, it has been resolved that these drawings shall not be 
published, but remain in the hands of Messrs. Longman 
and Co. for the inspection of the scientific, and the curious. 
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, 



EDITOR S PREFACE. IX 

to some extent at least, the object of the author, who obvi. 
ously desires that the British public shall have every fa- 
cility in procuring information regarding the derided sci- 
ence 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 wil- 
lingness 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 abduction of a boy. And if from 
this case, corroborated by the general impression 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 be- 
lieving 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 do nothing 
1* 



X EDITOR 3 PREFACE. 

more than rouse the public to a sense of danger, it will not. 
have been written in vain. Small as is my personal expe- 
rience 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 mis- 
chief in the hands of the ignorant and the unprincipled. 
In a note, in the body of the work, will be found an ac- 
count 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 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 impaired, a desire to relieve her sufferings made me 
resolve to try whether she could be brought under the in- 
fluence of Mesmerism. An opportunity presented itself 
shortly after her arrival here. On the evening of the 9th 
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 bronchi- 
tis. Believing that the inflammation might be subdued by 
means of Mesmerism, I requested permission to try its effi- 
cacy. 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 
(ailed ; but, next morning, I was agreeably surprised to 



EDITOR S PREFACE. XI 

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 de- 
lighted 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 11th (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 manipu- 
lations 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 exerting any influ- 
ence 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 re- 
linquished 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 som- 
nolent, 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 sub- 
sequent doings. Calling my housekeeper, I said — Come 
and try if you can waken Mrs. C. : I have mesmerised 
her, 1 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 



Xll EDITOR S PREFACE. 

were visible. No uneasiness being manifested, I was now 
certain that the mesmeric sleep was established, and pro- 
ceeded to test its intensity by loudly calling, and clapping 
my hands close to the face of the sleeper. Not a feature 
moved ; and the exquisitely placid countenance of my en- 
tranced friend will long live in my memory. 

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. Circum- 
stances rendering this inconvenient, 1 proceeded, at 11 
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 mesmerists, but with hardly any suc- 
cess. Being resolved, however, to break in upon her re- 
pose, 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 ac- 
count 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 what- 
ever I chose, and expressed her conviction that had I am- 
putated 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 incontesta- 
ble evidence ; and capable of being applied to the relief of 
suffering humanity, or perverted so as to accomplish the 
designs of villany. As a clergyman, I shall be happy to 



EDITOR S PREFACE. Xlll 

apply it, gratuitously for the relief of the sick, until medi- 
cal men become convinced of the therapeutic value of 
Mesmerism, and introduce it into their practice. And for 
the encouragement of non-professional persons, 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 family, 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 respectfully invite the attention of the medical pro- 
fession 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 con- 
troverted, and, as I was happy to learn from a medical man 
just arrived from Hooghly, are admitted both by Europe- 
ans and natives, on the spot where they occurred. If he, 
then, in eight months, has performed no less than seventy- 
six operations, besides relieving eighteen medical cases, 
how can medical men in this country justify their heartless 
apathy in regard to Mesmerism 1 It is a fact, in the high- 
est degree disgraceful to them, that our doctors will not be 
persuaded even to try whether their patients' can be bene- 
fitted 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 provision 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 



XIV EDITOR S PREFACE. 

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 threat- 
ened with the infliction of pain, whenever we are so unfor- 
tunate 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 myself I shall only say, that, having twice suf- 
fered 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 Mesmer- 
ism. As the best persuasive 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, au- 
thor 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 communications addressed to myself. 

David Esdaile. 

Manse of Rescobie, Forfar, 
13th June, 1846. 

Postscript. 19th June. — To-day I have had a new proof ot 
the value of Mesmerism in relieving the sick. I was visiting Isa- 
bel A , a young woman recovering from fever; the fever had 

left her, but the second night before I saw her an attack of inflam 
ftiation in the breast had rendered necessary the application oi 



EDITOR S PREFACE. XV 

.eeches. I found her in pain from the inflammation, 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 benefit of the suffering. Let sceptics scoff, and doc- 
tors talk of danger : I have alleviated pain ; and any one who will 
honestly make the attempt may do the same. — D. E. 



MESMERIC FACTS 

REPORTED BY JAMES ESDAILE, M. D 



To the Editor of the Englishman. 



Sib - -Before proceeding to join the army, I have the pleasure to 
send you a " resume" of my mesmeric practice during the last eight 
month?. 

My experience has demonstrated the singular and beneficial in- 
fluence exerted by Mesmerism over the constitution of the Natives 
of Bengal, and that painless surgical operations, with other advan- 
tages, 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 



X.VHl REPORT OF 



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

Arm amputated ------ 1 

Breast ditto -------1 

Tumour extracted from the upper jaw - - 1 
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 - - - 1 
Operations for Hydrocele .... 7 

Ditto Dropsy ...... 2 

Actual Cautery applied to a sore - - - 1 
Muriatic acid ditto - - - - - 2 

Unhealthy sores pared down - - - - 7 

Abscesses opened - - - - - - 5 

Sinus, six inches long, laid open - - - 1 
Heel flayed ------- 1 

End of thumb cut off 1 

Teeth extracted ------ 3 

Gum cut away - - - - - - 1 

Prepuce cut off 3 

Piles ditto ._! 

Great toe nails cut out by the roots - - - 5 
Seton introduced from ankle to knee - - 1 
Large tumour on leg removed - - - 1 
Scrotal tumours, weighing from 8 lb. to 80 lb., 
removed 17, painless 14 

Operations 73 



MESMERIC FACTS. 



XIX 



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



Nervous Headache 
Tic-doloureux ... 
Nervousness, and Lameness 

from Rheumatism of 2 1-2 

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. 
1 ditto. 

1 by chronic treatment.* 

1 by one trance. 

1 by repeated trances in 24 

hours. 
1 by chronic treatment. 
1 by repeated trances in 36 

hours. 

1 by one trance. 

2 by chronic treatment. 

1 by general and local mesmer- 
ising for a week. 

1 ditto. 

1 ditto. 

1 ditto for a month. 

1 ditto for 6 weeks. 

1 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 condition of the body for promoting the resolution of inflam- 
mation by the powers of Nature, I have extinguished local inflam- 
mations 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. 



XX REPORT OP 

I beg to state, for the satisfaction of those who have not yet a 
practical knowledge of the subject, that I have seen no bad conse- 
quences whatever 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 con- 
stitutional disturbance has followed than under ordinary circum- 
stances. 

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 knowing 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 pre- 
liminary trances. Flexibility of the limbs till moved, and their re- 
maining rigid in any position we put them in, are characteristic of 
the trance : but there are exceptions, and these are equally diag- 
nostic, and to be depended upon. It sometimes happens, that the 
limbs become rigid as they lie, and on bending them they have 
always a disposition to return to a state of spasmodic extension. 
At other times, there is a complete relaxation of the whole muscu- 
lar 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 af- 
fected. I went to see, and found him with half-open eyes, quiver- 
ing eyelids, and trembling hands. I immediately said that he was 
ready, and, without further testing his condition, performed a most 
severe operation upon him, without his knowing any thing about it. 

I also wish to remark that I have seen no symptom of conges- 
tion of blood on the brain ; the circulation in the trance being usu- 
ally quite natural, like that of a sleeping person. My patients ap- 



MESMERIC FACTS. Xxi 

pear to escape the stimulating stage of the mesmeric influence al- 
together, 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 firs 1 impression, and it 
succumbs without a struggle to the constraining power. 

Some patients, when suddenly awakened, say that their vision 
is hazy, and their heads light ; but I take this to arise from the im- 
perfectly recovered sensibility of the brain and the organs of sense, 
which are not at 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 ac- 
tions of persons awaking from the trance. 

They open their eyes, and at the same moment recover all their 
faculties ; 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 ofE and the retina recovers its sensibility by a little rubbing 
of the eye. The dreadful shock given to the mind under such cir- 
cumstances, 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 patients. 

This, and the inconveniences of inducing the mesmeric disease 
(spontaneous 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 nerv- 
ous system predisposes to the easy reception of the mesmeric influ- 
ence, and I augur well of a patient's powers of submission, when I 
recognise in him the listless dejected air, " I'air abattu," that usu- 
ally accompanies functional debility of the nerves. 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. 

Aversion of the old Schools and the Public to new Ideas. — Some 
old Notions 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 Mat- 
ter for the Public. — The Public invited to judge of the Matter of 
Fact. — Medical Men in this Country favourably placed. — Per- 
sonal Labour necessary. — All easy afterwards. — Qualifications 
of a Mesmeriser. — The Mesmeric Power very general. — The 
Sick the proper Subjects for Experiment. — The Natives of Ben- 
gal very susceptible of 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 Phenonema. — The Public invited to judge the Question 
practically and fairly - - - - Page 27 

CHAPTER II. 

The Irench 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 51 



XXIV CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER III. 

Mesmerism the same in India and in Europe. — Examples of Mes- 
meric Sleep. — Sealing of the Eyes. — Altered Sensibility. — Tem- 
porary Paralysis. — Muscular Rigidity. — Insensibility to Pain. — 
Exaltation of particular Organs. — Convulsions. — Delirium.— In- 
justice done to the Memory of the first Mesmerists. — Every 
available Evidence here given. — Imposture morally and physi- 
cally impossible. — Mode of Proceeding. — Mesmeric and Non- 
Mesmeric Operations contrasted.— Physiological Demonstration 
of the Impossibility of Imposture ... Page 76 

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 pub- 
licly proved. — Natural Sleep, and its Varieties, can be imitated 
by Artificial Means. — Mesmeric Sleep. — Mesmeric Day-mare. 
— Mesmeric Sleep-walking. — Mesmeric Sleep-waking. — Mes- 
meric Dreaming. — How to make Somnambulists. — Imitative 
Stage of Somnambulism. — Communicative Stage of Somnam- 
bulism. — Mesmeric Catalepsy. — Mesmeric Coma. — Natural 
Clairvoyance. — Mesmeric Clairvoyance. — Nature of the Mes- 
meric Power. — Illustrative Examples - - - - 96 

CHAPTER V. 

The Mesmeric Processes. — Publicity the best Security to the Public. 
— Ignorance and Indifference the real Dangers. — Mesmeric Treat- 
ment of Disease a Field for the Philanthropist. — Puysegur and 
Deleuze, unprofessional Men. — Processes for producing Coma. 
— Tumour in Upper Jaw removed during Coma. — Hypertrophy 
of Scrotum, ditto. — Trance renewable at Pleasure. — Three con- 
secutive Operations on one Person. — Mode of Mesmerising in 
Chronic Diseases. — Cure of Rheumatism and Nervousness. — Lo- 



CONTENTS. XXV 

cal Mesmerising. — Mesmerised Water. — Process for preparing 
it. — First Experiments with it. — The last. — Means of awaking 
Persons Mesmerised ----- Page 142 

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. — Lumbago, Sciatica, 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 Im- 
posture. — The Public abused. — The Public disabused. — Folly 
and Unfairness of its would-be Guides. — Spontaneous Develop- 
ment of the Mesmeric 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 162 

CHAPTER VII. 

Mesmerism in Surgery. — Journal of Practical Mesmerism. — Mes- 
meric 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 flayed in ; Tooth extract- 
ed in ; End of Thumb cut off in ; Arm laid open in ; Tbree 
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 ; 
Tumour in Groin removed in; Fungoid Sores pared off in; 
2 



XXVJ CONTENTS. 

scirrhus Testes extirpated in ; Cataract operated on in ; Ma- 
lignant Disease pf Testes extirpated in ; unhealthy Sore pared 
in ; hypertrophied Prepuce 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 - Page 189 

CHAPTER VIII. 

Hypertrophy of the Scrotum ; different Causes of. — Elephantiasis 
endemic in Bengal and Lower Egypt ; probable Causes of. — Ex- 
ample of Malarious Fever. — True Elephantiasis of the Scro- 
tum. — Hypertrophy from Hydrocele ; from Syphilis ; Condition 
of the Organs involved: Mode of operating; 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 - - 210 

CHAPTER IX. 

Curiosities of Mesmerism. — Unsatisfactory Nature of Public Ex- 
hibitions. — Apology for giving one. — Account of it by a Visiter. 
— The modes in which the Mesmeric Fluid can be transmitted. 
— It acts at great Distances. — Is absorbed by Watei . — Can pass 
through a Wall. — Final Experiments ... 229 

Appendix ..... 247 



MESMERISM IN INDIA. 



CHAPTER I. 



Aversion of the old Schools and the Public to new Ideas. — 
Some old Notions must le 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 ne- 
cessary. — All easy afterwards. — Qualifications of a Mes- 
meriser. — The Mesmeric Power very general. — The Sick 
the proper Subjects for Experiment. — The Natives of Ben- 
gal very susceptible of the Mesmeric Influence. — Nature 
the School of the true Physician. — Mesmerism a natural 
Power of Man. — Instincts of Animals. — Mesmerism knoion 
and practised in India. — Trial of Skill with an Eastern 
Magician. — Dangers of Mesmerism no Reason for re- 
jecting it. — No need to interfere with the Mind in Bodily 
Disease. — My Patients bad Subjects for the Mental Phe- 
nomena. — The Public invited to judge the Question practi- 
cally and fairly. 

On the first broaching of any new branch of know- 
ledge, there is ever a great commotion and combina- 
tion among the old-established schools, which have 
thriven on the wisdom of their ancestors, and desire 



28 GENERAL AVERSION TO NEW IDEA?:. 

nothing more than " stare super vias antiquas" satis- 
fied with things as they are, and content to " let well 
alone ;" and there is also a general dislike in society 
to have its mind unsettled, and to be called upon to 
think again about matters supposed 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 profes- 
sional character, as I hereby do. 

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, ex- 
hausting 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 rea- 
son to believe that the vital fluid of one person can 
be poured into the system of another, upon which it 



SOME OLD NOTIONS NUT TENABLE. 29 

has various effects, according to constitutional pecu- 
liarities, the demand for it as a remedy, and the man- 
ner and extent to which it is exhibited in order to 
answer different purposes. Man is not, as commonly 
supposed, shut up in that pent-house, his body, isola- 
ted, and impotent to affect his fellow-creatures bene- 
ficially by a benevolent will, and his own innate re- 
sources. A merciful God has ingrafted a communi- 
cable, life-giving, curative power 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 re- 
flecting minds, that this is no fond delusion of an ex- 
cited brain, but a substantial 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 human- 
ity, 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 received 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 in- 
credulity 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 



30 IRRATIONAL INCREDULITY. 

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 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 know- 
ledge ; 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 expres- 
sions of contempt and disgust. These are the " enfans 
perdus" of knowledge, and must be left to the free in- 
dulgence 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 evidence of our own 
senses. There is absolutely no merit in believing 
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 pro 



RULE OF FAITH. 31 



duced by crediting the senses ; for its influence extends 
to reasoning minds all over the world. When a per- 
son says, " I would not have believed it, unless I had 
seen it," he must not be surprised at his neighbour re- 
quiring 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 cir- 
cle; pur 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 sub- 
ject 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 de- 
termine 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 phi- 
losophy, morals, and secular affairs. Mental satisfac- 
tion, 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 practical purposes; and in medicine, the 
early application of new remedies removes much hu- 
man suffering that would probably have been other- 
wise hopeless. It is a curious psychological phenome- 
non, that a hard disbelief in Mesmerism seems to be 
in proportion to the extraordinary facilities afforded to 



32 MEDICAL MEN NOT ENTITLED 

every one of satisfying 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 na- 
ture from their easy chairs, and amuse themselves at 
the expense of her followers, chasing the shapes of 
their own imaginations, as they are pleased to say. 
To those who really desire to know the truth, what- 
ever favourite ideas it may upset, I would venture to 
recommend that they should examine the evidence in 
support of Mesmerism, just as they would any other 
matter worth inquiring about ; and I can confi- 
dently promise that they will be richly rewarded. 
To encourage them, I would remind them in the 
words of Bacon, " that the inquiry of truth, which is 
the love-making 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 become acquainted with it till the 



TO DECIDE THE MATTER FOR THE PUBLIC. 33 

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 previ- 
ous knowledge, however great and varied, that bears 
upon the subject, or can entitle them to decide, ex 
cathedra, on the truth or falsehood of the new discov- 
eries. 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 perplexing. When the doctors shall have 
experimented for themselves, or taken the trouble to 
witness the practice of others, and carefully studied 
the subject, the public cannot do better than take them 
for their guides ; but this " consummation devoutly to 
be wished" is so remote, I fear, that not many of this 
generation will live to benefit by Mesmerism, if they 
wait till it is admitted into the Pharmacopoeia. 

I would therefore recommend the public to exer- 
cise their common sense, and sober judgment, in de- 
termining for the doctors 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 re- 
commendation 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 
2* 



34 PERSEVERING EFFORTS NECESSARY. 

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 
words," will be the answer of every person of com- 
mon sense to the most dogmatical and ingenious ob- 
jectors. 

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 put- 
ting in motion a law of nature whose springs are hid- 
den 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 Mesmerism is by no means a thing 
so light and easy as some imagine. In singularly 
sensitive persons the extreme degree of coma, so in- 
tense as to permit the performance of surgical opera- 
tions, without 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 suc- 
ceed till the second, or even fourteenth time. In 
this, as in every thing else, nature will not " unsought 
be won," and only yields her secret treasures to those 
who court her with earnestness, sincerity, and resolu- 
tion. " Lahore et sudore" ought to be the Mesmer- 
ist's motto, until he has produced the desired results 



QUALIFICATIONS OF A MESMERISER. 35 

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 un- 
der our superintendence ; and this is the only way in 
which a physician can practise Mesmerism 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 pawing 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 relieve 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 mon- 
ster" has been drawn, that it is enough to deter one 
from making the attempt. If asked to select a natu- 
ral Mesmeriser, I should be disposed to choose a per- 
son of a high organisation, in whom the nervous and 
circulating systems were equally active, with a de- 
termined 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 practical 
purposes. Healthy young persons, who are tracta- 
ble and patient, and who will give the necessary de- 
gree of attention, can be made to work out our inten- 



36 THE SICK THE PROPER SUBJECTS 

tions 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 sup- 
posed. Finding it impossible, after the first month, to 
prosecute the subject 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 mesmer- 
ise at all, having a dozen assistants to execnte my 
wishes, whether it be in the mesmeric treatment of 
medical cases, or for procuring coma in surgical opera- 
tions. 

To those who, by their own powers, may desire to 
test the truth for themselves, I would venture to su^- 
gest, that an earnest desire to know the truth, a fixed 
attention, and a resolution to overcome first difficul- 
ties, 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, 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 however bountiful nature may be 
to her creatures, she is never prodigal, and never 
wastes unnecessary power. Mesmerism is the "Med- 
icine of Nature ;" and she refuses, very wisely, to 



FOR FIRST EXPERIMENTS. 37 

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 mesmerised ; 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 nevous system for this sustenance from without. 

As yet, I am sorry to add, I cannot, with any de- 
gree of confidence, say who are the persons suscepti- 
ble of the mesmeric influence, without first trying. 
But it is satisfactory to know, that by far the majority 
of persons acted upon by me, and my assistants, have 
been affected in different degrees, all of which are in- 
valuable to their possessors, for the relief and cure of 
their diseases ; 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 pe- 
culiarly sensitive to the mesmeric power ; and as it 
has been observed that a depressed state of the nerv- 
ous system favours its reception, we can understand 
why they, as a body, should be more easily affected 
than Europeans. Taking the population of Bengal 
generally, they are a feeble, ill-nourished race, re- 
markably deficient in nervous energy; and natural 



38 NATURE THE TRUE PHYSICIAN. 

debility of constitution being still further lowered by 
disease, will probably account for their being so 
readily subdued by the Mesmerist. Their mental 
constitution also favours us : we have none of the 
morbid irritability of nerves, and the mental impa- 
tience 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 at- 
tributed, I believe, to my patients being the simple, 
unsophisticated children of nature ; neither thinking, 
questioning, nor remonstrating, but passively submit- 
ting to my pleasure, without in the smallest degree 
understanding my object or intentions. How far arti- 
ficial man may have forfeited his birthright I have 
not yet had the means of knowing ; but out of the 
small number of Europeans who have come under my 
observation, the majority have also succumbed to the 
influence ; and if the proud sons of civilisation will 
condescend to return for a moment to the feet of their 
mother Nature, they also will probably benefit by her 
boui ties. We have so far deserted Nature, that, in 
return, she has renounced us as unnatural children, 
and left us to our self-sufficiency and artificial re- 
sources ; but these, in general, are mere make-shifts 
and palliatives, compared with the steady and endur- 
ing curative powers of nature, when properly under- 
stood and brought into action. The whole art of the 
true physician is exerted to induce nature to interfere 
and take up the case of his patient ; and when he sees 
sign; of her gracious presence, he only reverentially 
looks on, and confines himself to removing impedi- 



NATURE THE TRUE PHYSICIAN. 39 

ments in her way. But the routine practitioner will 
rarely condescend 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 unassisted 
powers of nature, he is called quack, impostor, or fool, 
and hunted down as a fera natures. But, in my esti- 
mation, the genuine medical quack is he who, pro- 
fessing to cure disease, yet allows his patients to suffer 
and perish, by ignorantly, or presumptuously, 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 apc-.hecaries, chemists, and diploma' d 
physicians did not exist ; when man was an unrea- 
soning 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 reme- 
dies, in common with the other animals ; whether his 
instincts were as strong as theirs, and to what con- 
servative 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 in- 
structive to discover what were, or, if not yet known, 
what are, the natural remedies of man ; for by observ- 



40 ANTICIUITY OF MESMERISM. 

ing their effects we shall best understand the restora- 
tive processes of Nature, and be able to 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 diseases 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 
vegetable 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 
expei'iments 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 
experiments. 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 



INSTINCT AMONGST ANIMALS. 41 

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 about 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 creatures, to 
run such cruel risks, and perish helplessly in his natural 
ignorance ? Reasoning a priori, we should say not ; 
and Our positive knowledge of the equal care bestowed 
by God on all his creatures, forbids the supposition. 
Man, then, had probably some instinct by wlrch he 
was directed to a natural medicine of sovereign 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, 



42 MESMERISM THE UNIVERSAL CURE 

and bowed his gallant head. If this be a natural 
supposition, what could be his resource if not Mes- 
merism — that inherent power, implanted, as I con- 
ceive, in the human being, for the solace of his suffer- 
ing fellow creature ? This is the simplest and most 
speedy restorative of the powers of life, in cases 
adapted to it (for, like every natural agent, it has its 
conditions and limits ;) and men in pain have an in- 
stinctive 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 system, 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 secure the lucrative secret for them- 
selves and families. Hence, among the savage races 
of mankind, we see the healing art practised exclu- 
sively 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 accompaniments. 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 



AMONGST SAVAGE NATIONS. 43 

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 time immemorial, like every 
other custom in this immutable society. 

June 9th, 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 pre- 
scribe for my patient (whose case will be 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 introduced me to him as a brother ma- 
gician, 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 Sooleymann, 
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 estimation, 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 



44 AN EASTERN MESMERISER. 

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 
better if performed on his own person. After some 
difficulty, we got him to lie down, and, to give due 
solemnity to my proceedings, I chanted, as an invo- 
cation, 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, but, 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, excessit, 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." 



CONTRARY TENDENCIES OF MESMERISM. 45 

A gentleman, whose case will be given hereafter, 
immediately recognised the identity of the two pro 
cesses, 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 appears 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 curi- 
ous history will be given, which leads me to suspect 
that they know the evil, as well as good, of Mes- 
merism, and practise it for the most villanous purposes. 
The possible evil resulting to society from the prac- 
tice of Mesmerism has been a favourite objection, 
even when the evidence of its existence and power 
could be no longer 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 pharmaco- 
poeia, 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 intend- 
ed ; would be as reasonable as to refuse to be cured 
by Mesmerism, because it could also injure us, if igno- 
rantly and injudiciously applied. That this agent may, 
and will, be turned to the most diabolical purposes, 



46 SIMPLICITY OF MESMERISM. 

is most certain, if the public will not be at the trou- 
ble 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 re- 
move 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 attempted to be influenced by me, nor 
has it ever been heard of in my practice. In subject- 
ing my patients to the sanative influence of Mesmer- 
ism 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 unnecessary 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. 



SIMPLICITY OF MESMERISM. 47 

But this is only an extension of the blessing, if the 
power is wielded in all honour and simplicity of pur- 
pose. In this, as in other matters, 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 influ- 
ence 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 treatment is required it can be safely 
adopted, by using the simple precaution of seeking an 
honest man with the necessary knowledge of the 
subject ; and let us hope that such will soon abound. 
Many will be disappointed that I have no mental won- 
ders to relate ; but no inference against the existence 
of such wonders can be fairly drawn from the silence 
of my patients. My researches 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 impres- 
sions as rapidly as possible ; the object being to ex- 
tinguish bodily and mental sensibility together, and 
altogether ; and in proportion to our success in effect- 
ing this, is the early inducement of Coma for surgical 
purposes. It is quite unreasonable to expect to ex- 
tract music from a fiddle without strings : and I 



48 SIMPLICITY OF MESMERISM. 

endeavour 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 alleviating bodily 
suffering, I have purposely kept myself from em- 
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, examine, 
and attempt to understand, the high and mysterious 
objects above us. 

My patients, being the poorest and most ignorant 
of the people, and convicted felons from the same de- 
graded orders, are the most unfavourable subjects for 
psychological experiments. As to physique, men are 
nearly the same all the world over : an universal vital 
law reduces all to the same level of animal, and the 
cooly, therefore, may be able to mesmerise the phi- 
losopher ; but the difference in morale is so great, not 
only among races, but individuals, ns 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 elicit- 
ing the higher mental phenomena, these fine mental 
sympathies may be developed, and be necessary for 



MESMERIC SOMNAMBULISM. 49 

the success of the abnormal mental manifestations ; 
but my patients and I have probably too little in com- 
mon to admit of mental sympathy between us. It 
will be seen, however, in the chapter on Somnambul- 
ism, that I have created a singular bouleversement in 
the minds of coolies and pariahs even, when under 
the Mesmeric influence. 

The public, when examining a subject so deeply 
interesting to them, will, I hope, take an enlarged and 
liberal view of the matter, and look for fundamental 
and incontrovertible truths, which are practically im- 
portant, and not allow themselves to be cheated out 
of their senses and judgment, by the doubtful, myste- 
rious, and theoretical parts of the subject being exclu- 
sively 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 
investigating a new and difficult subject, but I hope 
such unintentional mistakes will be excused ; and 
wherever they shall be pointed out in my observa- 
tions, 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 not to do me the injustice to think me a 

Mesmeric doctor, for it would be as true to call me a 
3 



50 MESMERISM AND MEDICINE. 

rhubarb, jalap, or castor-oil physician. 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 advantage 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 Ex- 
periment. — 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, perhaps, the report of the French 
Commission in 1779, of which Franklin was presi- 
dent. 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 jus was also summa injuria ; truth was 
sacrificed to falsehood, as I think will clearly appear 
from a short analysis of their proceedings. This will 
probably not be time wasted, as I have heard intelli- 
gent gentlemen say, that the report of the French 
philosophers still decided their opinions. They had 
a series of axioms in Mesmerism 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 



52 FRENCH COMMISSION OF 1779. 

to convince the commission that he had a secret 
worth knowing, and yet continue to keep it to him- 
self, 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, consti- 
tuting 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." 

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

" III. The animal body is subjected to the influ- 
ences 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 prop- 
erties, analogous 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 communicated from one body to another, 
whether animate or inanimate." 

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



mesmer's propositions. 53 

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

True. 

" VII. It is increased and reflected by mirrors, com- 
municated, 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 asser- 
tions 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 num- 
ber, 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 immediately, and others mediately ; and its 
virtues, in fact, extend to the universal cure and pre- 
servation of mankind." 

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

Is it surprising that the Commission dismissed con- 
temptuously such a mass of sheer assertion and un- 
supported 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 content to 
tell the truth simply, but added so many corrobora- 
ting inventions of his own, that no one knew what to 
believe, and the case was dismissed as unworthy of 
farther investigation. He ruined himself, and his 
cause, also, (perhaps in ignorance, however,) by load- 



54 BELIEF IN MESMERISM. 

ing 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 platforms, conduct- 
ing-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 ben- 
efit the world. 

As far as my observation goes, all that is neces- 
sary for success, if the parties are in the relation of 
agent and subject, is passive 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 con- 
sequence in the proceedings. 

Before presenting to the reader my first experiment 
in mesmerising, I may perhaps be excused the ego- 
tism of giving a brief sketch of the history of my be- 
lief in Mesmerism, as it is a remarkable epoch in a 
man's life the day he discovers that he possesses the 
temporary power of life and death over his fellow- 
creatures. 

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-attest- 
ed reports upon the subject. At last the facts became 



bishop of lausanne's report. 55 

so numerous, and were so well supported by credible 
witnesses, and kept their ground so firmly, both 
against adverse reasoning and ridicule, that I felt 
compelled to surrender my belief in the existence of 
the Unknown Power, or cease to exercise my reason 
and judgment. Ten days before making my first ex- 
periment, I thus wrote to a friend in England: — 
"What think you of this new mystery, 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 neu- 
tral, 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 persons, and coming from various parts of 
the world, strongly arrested my attention, and im- 
pressed me with the conviction that some new gen- 
eral 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 phenomena of Nature. About the 
time that Miss Martineau's disclosures appeared, I 
also read a curious and striking document written in 
May, 1841, by the Archbishop of Lausanne and Ge- 
neva, 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 animal magnetism seems by no means to 



56 bishop op lausanne's report. 

suffice, and it is much to be wished that cases not un- 
frequently occurring may be solved more and more 
uniformly, the undersigned humbly lays before your 
Eminence that which follows : — 

"A magnetised person, who is generally of the 
female sex, enters into that state of sleep called Mag- 
netic Somnambulism so deeply, that not even the 
greatest noise at her ears, nor any violence 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 neces- 
sary,) 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, con- 
cerning 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 na- 
ture of internal 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 estab- 
lishes the relation between them by means of con- 
tact. If, however, he be absent, a lock of his hair 



bishop of lausanne's report. 57 

supplies his place, and suffices ; for, when this lock 
of hair is brought into the proximity only 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 sojourning, to whom the 
hair belongs, what he is doing, and affords the above- 
mentioned information respecting his disease not other- 
wise than if, after the manner of medical men, he 
were inspecting the interior of his body. 

"Lastly, the magnetised person does not see with 
the eye. The eyes being covered, though not know- 
ing how to read, he will read off whatever is placed 
on his head or stomach, whether a book or manu- 
script, 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, spontaneously at the moment previ- 
ously 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 occa- 
sional cause of which is shown to be so little propor- 
tioned 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 



58 REPLY OF THE PENITENTIARY. 

the Lord at so great a price, may be pleased to decide, 
whether, admitting the truth of the premises, a con- 
fessor or curate may safely permit to his penitents or 
parishioners : — . 

"1. That they practise animal magnetism, endow- 
ed with such, or other like characteristics, as an art 
auxiliary and supplementary to medicine. 

"2. That they consent to be thrown into such a 
state of magnetic 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 men- 
tioned three things, having first taken the precaution 
of formally renouncing in their minds every diabolic 
compact, explicit or implicit, as well as all satanic in- 
terventions, since, notwithstanding such precautions, 
similar effects, or some such effects, have been ob- 
tained by some persons. 

"Most Eminent Lord, by command of the most 
Rev. the Archbishop 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 19th of May, 1841." 

RESPONSE. 

"The Sacred Penitentiary, the premises having 
been maturely weighed, considers that these should 



NATURE OF MY FIRST EXPERIMENT. 59 

be answered as it now answers : — the use of magnet- 
ism, 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. 
"Ph. Pomella, 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 ori- 
gin, yet it is treated as a "great fact," known to, and 
believed in, by a large community, so that catholics 
and protestants are found alike professing a belief in 
Mesmerism. If the twentieth part of what was re- 
ported was true, it well deserved careful investiga- 
tion ; 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 favour- 
able opportunity. In choosing a proper subject to 
experiment upon, I should probably have selected 
some highly sensitive female of a nervous tempera- 
ment, and excitable imagination, who desired to sub- 
mit 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 favourable. 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 hang- 
man cast, condemned to labour on the roads, in irons. 



60 NATURE OF MY FIRST EXPERIMENT. 

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 "materiel." 

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 na- 
ture of the experiment. 

II. All want of consent between the parties. 

III. The operator's want of belief in his own pow- 
er ; 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 be- 
ing impossible that he should ever have heard of Mes- 
merism. 

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 gen- 
tlemen, sceptical and critical, or so strong in disbelief 
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 testi- 
mony to the same series of phenomena. As I might 



FIRST SURGICAL OPERATION. 61 

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 possi- 
ble 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 proba- 
bility of which I shall now give the reader the means 
of judging. 

First Experiment. 

Madhab Kaura, a hog-dealer, condemned to seven 
years' imprisonment, 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 opera- 
ted 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 sur- 
geon, an eUve of the medical college, and asked him 
if he had ever seen Mesmerism ? He said that he 



62 FIRST SURGICAL OPERATION. 

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 prac- 
tised, and know it only from reading, I shall probably 
not succeed." — The man continuing in the position 
described, I placed his knees between mine, and be- 
gan 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 sensi- 
ble and coherent. 

He was ordered to remain quiet, and the passes 
were continued 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 a 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 



FIRST SURGICAL OPERATION. 63 

said he only saw smoke, and could distinguish no one : 
his eyes were quite lustreless, and the lids were open- 
ed heavily. All appearance of pain now disappear- 
ed ; his hands were crossed on his breast, instead of 
being pressed on the groins, and his countenance 
showed the most perfect 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 narrowly, 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 
"opisthotonos;" 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 some- 
thing extraordinary, I went over to the Kutcherry, 
and begged Mr. Russell, the judge, and Mr. Money, 
the collector, 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 
ammonias, that brought tears into our eyes in a mo- 
ment, was inhaled for some minutes without causing 
an eyelid to quiver. This seemed to have revived 
him a little, as he moved his head shortly after- 
wards, and I asked him if he wanted to drink ; he 



64 FIRST SURGICAL OPERATION. 

only gaped in reply, and I took the opportunity to 
give, slowly, a mixture of ammonia so strong that ] 
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 pro- 
ducing 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 1 o'clock, 
the process having commenced at 1 1 a. m. 

I returned at 3 o'clock, and was vexed to find that 
he had awoke, and been carried back to the jail hos- 
pital. 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 look- 
ing well, with a lively expression of face, and the fol- 
lowing 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?" 



QUESTIONS PUT TO PATIENT. 65 

" 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." 

"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 suffering from chronic diarrhoea.) 



66 SECOND EXPERIMENT. 

"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 ciy, 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 complete suspension of sensibility to 
external impressions of the most painful kind. 
(Signed) F. W. Russell. 
D. J. Money. 

BUDDEN CHUNDER ChOWDAREE, 

Sub- Assistant Surgeon." 

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

. Second Experiment. 

April 6th. — 11 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 doctors, I said that I would again try the 
"Belatee Muntur" (the Europe charm,) and began 
the process as before ; he lying in bed. In ten min- 
utes the mesmeric haze (smoke he always calls it) 



CASE OF A MESMERIC TRANCE. 67 

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 blad- 
der. 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 pos- 
sible means to awake him, or make him feel. Here 
I have the pleasure to introduce a report of the pro- 
ceedings 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 applica- 
tion of different tests I have no hesitation in stating, 
should my statement add any weight to your own 
testimony, or be of any service to the cause* of the im- 
perfectly known, and hitherto unfairly treated, sci- 
ence of Mesmerism, 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 accompa- 
nied by unnatural and wonderful phenomena, with- 
out being convinced. But your case is one so free 



68 REPORT OF KURREEM ALI KHAN. 

from all possibility of suspicion, that to have doubted 
it, one might as well have doubted his own existence. 

" Yours truly, 

"D. J. Money. 
"Hooghly, 9th April, 1845." 

" I have only to add to the above, that I was pres- 
ent upon the last occasion referred to by Mr. Money, 
and fully concur with him in thinking that the patient, 
during the Mesmeric trance, was totally insensible to 
pain. Indeed, all the senses appeared to be unnatu- 
rally 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 Ali Khan, 
native doctor, of what he saw and heard in the Jail 
Hospital, on the 6th April, 1845. 

"At 11 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 pros- 
per) came to the hospital, and began to do something 



SECOND EXPERIMENT. 69 

to him. When the experiment was going on, Mad- 
hab 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." 



70 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, 1 went to the 
hospital, and found the body of Madhab Kaura hot 
and feverish, and he felt a great pain in the scrotum. 

At 1 1 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 an- 
swered, that he could see no one, but knew by the 
sounds that 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 after- 
wards 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 complaining 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 fever- 
ish ; pain" in the scrotum much less. He now com- 



THIRD EXPERIMENT. 71 

plains, 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 excusable for the first time, when 
we can hardly believe the evidence of our senses. 

Third Experiment. 
April 11th. — 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 1 1 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 
rny 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, and forehead, in succession. This seemed 
to be very effectual, and was done with the idea of 
concentrating the mesmeric influence of the whole 
body into one conductor. It was curious to observe 
that he had begun to think on the subject, and was 
observing 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 if he saw quite 
well, he said, "Oh, yes." In a minute or two he re- 
peated his inspection, and answered again, that he 



72 THIRD EXPERIMENT. 

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 suc- 
ceeded 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 Chinsurah, two miles off, I fortunately found a con ■ 
siderable party, consisting of the Baron Law de Cla- 
pernou, Governor of Chandernagore, Mr. Russell, the 
judge, Mr. Wauchope, the magistrate, J. St. Pour- 
cain, Esq., Mr. Clint, Principal of Hooghly College, 
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 injec- 



THIRD EXPERIMENT. 73 

tion, without any one being sensible of the smallest 
movement 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 gradually 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 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 movements. The 
insensibility of the iris was also tested, and proved. 

6 o'clock, p. m. Still sleeps ; most complete relax- 
ation 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 12th. — He awoke at 12 o'clock last night, 
spontaneously. Recollects nothing after going to 
sleep ; sees the water is gone, knows not how ; sup- 
poses the Dr. Sahib did it. The testicle is consider- 
ably 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 yesterday forenoon till this 
morning. Natural, artificial, and diseased actions 
have therefore been all equally arrested for the last 
4 



74 THIRD EXPERIMENT. 

thirteen hours ; a practical fact of the utmost import- 
ance, 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 in- 
fluence ! 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 disappointment. In the mean time let us accu- 
mulate facts, as the seed for a correct theory hereaf- 
ter. 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 gravita- 
tion, or the properties of opium. For, under all the 
circumstances, I cannot but consider these to be un- 
exceptionable 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 condi- 
tions required by Nature, or from some personal dis- 
qualification. 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 appearances. 

Great weight is very justly attached to first ex- 
periments in any new subject of investigation, for 
these are often a voluntary and unexpected evolution 
of the powers of nature ; and when the results sur- 
prise the experimenter even, we feel confident that he 
only relates what he actually saw, and that he is not 
seduced, by previous theory and prepossession of 



THIRD EXPERIMENT. 75 

mind, to interpret appearances in support of a fore- 
gone 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 certain process, and who thereupon sets his appara- 
tus 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 in- 
stance, the influence must have been of a purely 
physical description, and on this supposition I con- 
ducted my subsequent experiments ; with what suc- 
cess will be shortly seen. 



CHAPTER III. 

Mesmerism the same in India and in Europe. — Examples of 
Mesmeric Sleep. — Sealing of the Eyes. — Altered Sensi- 
bility. — Temporary Paralysis. — Muscular Rigidity. — In- 
sensibility to Pain. — Exaltation of particular Organs. — 
Convulsions. — Delirium. — Injustice done to the Memory 
of the first Mesmerists. — Every available Evidence here 
given. — Imposture morally and physically impossible. — 
Mode of Proceeding. — Mesmeric and Non-Mesmeric Op- 
erations contrasted. — Physiological Demonstration of the 
Impossibility of Imposture. 

Having, by the experiments described in the last 
chapter, satisfied myself of the existence of the Mes- 
meric power, I lost no time in applying it to practical 
purposes. The effects produced were nearly as va- 
rious as the different persons acted upon, and corres- 
ponded 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 pre- 
sume 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 No. of the " British and Foreign 



MESMERISM IN BENGAL AND EUROPE. 77 

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 Eu- 
rope, 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 oc- 
casionally, 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, is described as taking place in 
some cases to a greater or less extent. These results 
are said to constitute the simpler phenomena of Mes- 
merism. 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 fre- 
quently 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 feeling, 
but the senses of smell, hearing, and sight also, are so 
deadened to all external impressions, that no pungent 



78 MESMERISM DESCRIBED. 

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 waking 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 cor- 
respondence, 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 experiences a calm, a feeling of com- 
fort ; 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. Passa- 
vant 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 



MESMERIC SLEEP. 79 

authorities seem to coincide very much in their 
accounts, and, this we say, after referring to Chene 
vix, Elliotson, Townshend, Gauthier, Foissac, and 
others." 

I shall now present to the reader illustrations of all 
the singular states of the system described above, and 
drawn from my practice here. 

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 narcot- 
ics ; — over which it has the advantage of not inducing 
a disagreeable constitutional derangement, after the 
specific influence has ceased. The restorative pow- 
ers 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 appli- 
cation of some acrid leaves, and the pain is most 
intense. 

April 15. — The whole scrotum has sloughed oft'; 
has not slept since coming to hospital. The com- 
pounder, a healthy, intelligent 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 16th. — Has slept, almost without interrupt 



80 CASES OF MESMERISM. 

tion, from 1 1 o'clock a. m. yesterday, till 7 o'clock this 
morning, the only sleep he has had since he was 
burned. 

April 19th. — 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 20th. — 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 drag- 
ged 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. Or- 
dered to lie in the easiest posture, 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. 

Confect. Arom. Grs. x. 



ALTERED SENSIBILITY. 81 

If this does not check it, a blister to be applied over 
the diaphragm. 

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

May 11th. — 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 mesmeric symptoms. 

June 27th. — The woman Alunga complains of con- 
siderable pain from the extension of her arm yester- 
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 ; 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 pecu- 
liarity, in numerous cases, to great numbers of per- 
sons. 

Altered sensibility. — Rajah , an intelligent Hin- 
doo gentleman, who has received an English educa- 
tion, and speaks our language perfectly well, wished 
to be operated on for hydrocele, while in the mes- 
meric trance. After half an hour's manipulating, I 
extended his arm, and it took a fix in any position I 



82 CASES OP MESMERISM. 

put it: it was put perpendicular into the air, and re- 
mained 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 in- 
stantly 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 de- 
grees 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 sensation 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 shop- 
keeper. 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 minute 
or two, his eyelids begin to quiver, then slowly close, 
opening heavily at short intervals, till at last they re- 
main 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 



MUSCULAR RIGIDITY. 83 

being turned up to the roof of the orbit. While rub- 
bing 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 fan- 
ning, 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 flexi- 
ble 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 car- 
ries his hand up the opposite side till he reaches the 
catalepsed arm, and tries in vain to depress it ; the 
arm remains horizontally extended, and resists all his 
efforts. 

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

May 13th. — Madub Kaura; this man can be cata- 
lepsed in less than a minute ; and the effects are pass- 
ing strange. If, when he is standing, I point my 
fingers at him for a few seconds, his eyelids immedi- 
ately droop, his arms fall by their mere weight to his 



84 CASES OF MESMERISM. 

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 posi- 
tion 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 foremost, 
like a statue from its pedestal, and his life is endan- 
gered. However inconvenient, or grotesque, the po- 
sition may be, he is equally well satisfied, and con- 
tinues 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 illus- 
trated 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 recognised to 
be the same in the eastern and the western hemi- 



CONVULSIONS. DELIRIUM. 85 

spheres ; thereby proving the universality of the truths 
declared by many honest and independent men, dur- 
ing the last sixty years, and for propounding which 
they were laughed at, and scorned. 

Apart from the personal gratification of being ad- 
mitted to see the secret processes of nature's work- 
shop, 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 my 
evidence and labours should assist in raising the dis- 
honoured dead into the public consideration and re- 
spect, 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 battle 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 the evil of Mesmerism for the last thirty years, 
while we in England are only now giving an unwil- 
ling 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 Mesmerism is rejected by 
the English public, it will be after study and experi- 
ment, and not from prejudice and passion. 



86 IRREFRAGABLE EVIDENCE 

Knowing the new and wonderful nature of the 
subject, and that the public was ill prepared to receive 
the naked truth on 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 gentlemen, 
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 pre- 
ferred 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 diversified symptoms they exhibited, 
till, day by day, I became a witness of their unex- 
pected 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 



OF THE TRUTH OF MESMERISM. 87 

listen only to her for some time, and for months pur- 
posely 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 unbiassed by the opinions of others. My rea- 
son 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 Ben- 
gal, 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 in- 
stance, was impossible. 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 him- 
self 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 men- 
tal 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 de- 



88 ADDITIONAL FACTS. 

scribed, 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, with- 
out his knowledge or consent. Now, supposing these 
poor ignorant people to be impostors, 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 1 If they are not 
what they seem to be, then are they heaven-born im- 
postors, or have had supernatural 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, know- 
ing 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 absence 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 12th. — Lokee, a peasant woman, aged 60, has 
a tumour on the calf of the leg of nine years' stand- 
ing : it is full of deep ulcerations 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 



ADDITIONAL FACTS. 89 

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 13th. She awoke three hours after the opera- 
tion ; 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 attention. The poor old 
woman screamed miserably the whole time, crying, 
that I was murdering her ; and she continued in the 
greatest 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 ; — excitement of mind being destruc- 
tive of the mesmeric influence for the production of 
coma. 

August 13th. — Dr. Finch freely applied muriatic 
acid (such as is furnished by the Company's dispen 



90 INSENSIBILITY TO PAIN 

sary) 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 difficulty I awoke her, after he had failed to do 
so. During the burning with the acid, her pulse fell 
from 88° to 80°, and her respiration, 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 18th. — Dr. Bedford to-day asked permis- 
sion to apply the acid to the woman Gendo's sore, 
when she was awake ; and though I thought this 
most irrational scepticism (he having witnessed 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, how- 
ever, by hearing the woman cry out, that " we had 
put pepper to her head !" and she sat up, showing 
signs of great pain ; immediately after, she declared 



WHILE IN MESMERIC TRANCE. 91 

" 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 oppor- 
tunity to pare them off; and to this she 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 Mesmer- 
ism did not protect this old woman, we have the curi- 
ous fact of muriatic acid, applied in large quantities 
to a raw surface by Dr. Finch, acting as a direct ano- 
dyne and narcotic, calming at the same time the cir- 
culation, and revolutionising the respiration, while a 
drop in the hands of Dr. Bedford causes the greatest 
suffering and general excitement ! — -" Non nobis tantas 
componere lites." 

Oct. 10th. — 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 com- 
mencement, never moved, and had to be taken down 
after the operation: this was the second operation 



92 INSENSIBILITY TO PAIN. 

performed on the man during the last fortnight ; 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 per- 
formed 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 excess- 
ively painful. Now, on both occasions, I have re- 
quested numerous gentlemen to press the part, and 
ascertain if it was really painful : " a question not to 
be asked," was always their reply. The man was 
then entranced, and the experiment repeated by the 
same persons, when he allowed the part to be pressed 



MESMERIC FACTS. 93 

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 
expression, very numerous painless severe surgical 
operations, might be safely adduced as demonstra- 
tions 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 cutting, tearing, and lacerating we can invent. 
For although we may pretty certainly conclude, that 
men will not exhibit insensibility 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 fol- 
lowing 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 pleas- 
ure, — 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 re- 
corded in my first case, and have since been frequently 
seen. 

June 11th. — Kaloo, a Fuqueer, has an excrescence, 
larger than a man's fist, at the end of his penis, and 
the oody of the organ is also much enlarged. I en- 
hanced him in a few minutes, on the first trial, and in 



94 MESMERIC FACTS. 

the presence of Major Riddell, Captain Anderson, 
Mr. Bennett, and Mr. Jackson, dissected out the 
organ, but was obliged to sacrifice the glans, as it 
was a cartilaginous degeneration of all the structures 
of the part : — the man did not awake till I was ampu- 
tating the organ, after a long dissection. Wonderful 
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, to which they 
were wholly insensible. This is not the only instance 
in which the eyes have been wide open during the 
trance, and would not remain shut when I closed 
them, showing, I conceive, 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 open- 
ing the eyelids, the ball of the eye is seen rolling 
round the orbit, like an agitated magnetic needle. 
Under the most intense degree of the influence, the 
muscles of the eye, and iris, also lose their contracti- 
bility, and the eye becomes as motionless and insensi- 
ble 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. 17th. — 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 



MESMERIC FACTS. 95 

Delladonna 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. 18th. — To-day, in the presence of the Rever- 
end 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 un- 
disturbed ; 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 along- 
side of him, we ascertained that there was not a ves- 
tige of thoracic movement. All above the diaphragm 
was as fixed as the trunk of a statue, and the temper- 
ature of his body had become lower than natural. 

If these tests are not considered an " experimentum 
cruris," I am at a loss to imagine what will be reck- 
oned 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. — 
Suspected Child-Stealing by its Means.— First Experi- 
ment 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-mare. — Mesmeric Sleep-walking. 
— Mesmeric Sleep-waking. — Mesmeric Dreaming. — How 
to make Somnambulists. — Imitative Stage of Somnambu- 
lism. — 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 
observations on somnambulism, I beg leave to prefix 
the following summary of the appearances recognised 
as distinctive of the somnambulistic 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 exultation ; in which an individual, 
though asleep, feels and acts most energetically, hold- 
ing an anomalous species of communication with the 



SOMNAMBULISM. 97 

external world, awake to objects of attention, and 
most profoundly torpid to things at the time indiffer- 
ent ; a condition respecting which, most commonly, 
the patient on awaking retains no recollection ; but, 
on any relapse into which, a train of thought and feel- 
ing related to, and associated with, the antecedent 
paroxysm, will very often be developed." 

I intended to have reserved this branch of the sub- 
ject 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 
describing 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 as the production 
of mesmeric coma, on the first occasion I tried to 
mesmerise : — the facts are simply these. 

June 17th. — 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 res- 
cued 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 con- 
5 



98 SOMNAMBULISM : 

taming his implements of trade, was produced : this I 
carefully examined, but only found the usual barber's 
tools. The boy soon recovered his senses, and told 
me, readily and consistently, 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 hisf 
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 evi- 
dence was to this effect ; that on the morning in ques- 
tion, he saw the boy, whom he knew very well, fol- 
lowing 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 be- 
came 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 



CHILD-STEALING BY ITS MEANS. 99 

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 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 sta- 
tion, 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 in- 
fluence ; 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 acci- 
dent had made me a witness in the case, I anticipated 
that I should be called upon to speak as to the possi- 
bility of such a mode of abduction ; and as I was com- 



100 FIRST EXPERIMENT 

pletely 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 insensibility, in order to produce like 
effects, if obtainable by this means. 

I therefore repaired to the Jail Hospital, and mes- 
merised a man ; in whom I had subdued inflammation 
of the eye, by entrancing him several times ; but only 
went to the extent of inducing 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 enclosure, till brought up by the wall ; being 
turned, he walked in a straight line till some obstacle 
obstructed him, and then stood helplessly 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 repeated after me, with great 
exactness, both English and Hindostanee ; on awaken- 
ing 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 we commenced. Being sum- 
moned to the Magistrate's Court as a witness, I was 
asked, " if I thought it practicable to carry off a per- 
son 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 



IN MAKING A SOMNAMBULIST. 101 

me round the hospital enclosure, 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 Moula- 
vies 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 min- 
utes, and led him, with his arms catalepsed, out of the 
court, and set him walking down the road for some 
distance, 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 loudly 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 



102 TRIAL OF MESMERIC SKILL 

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 catalepsed 
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 headlong upon the floor, in a 
most alarming manner : the fit of rigidity was so in- 
stantaneous 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, mesmerising 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 



IN A COURT OF JUSTICE. 103 

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 mo- 
ment that I witnessed the extreme degrees of Mes- 
merism, 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 mes- 
meric experiments 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 wonderful bodily, or mental phenomena, instead 
of solving our difficulties 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 



104 MESMERIC SLEEP. 

human constitution, aud 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, 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 consciousness 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 



NIGHT-MARE. 105 

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 dis- 
appeared, and she was cured without a dose of medi- 
cine. 

July 10th. — Oboychurn Roy, a Hindoo land-owner: 
had his left arm struck off, twelve days ago, in defend- 
ing his house against a gang of dacoits. There are 
two white rings on his arm, made by ligatures ap- 
plied to staunch the blood ; and it is wonderful 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 generally: 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 internal physical impressions, such as an unequal 
distribution of blood, or nervous energy, then a con- 
fused 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-mare, but with a greater tendency to walk and 
talk, and appears to depend upon the irregular distri- 
bution of the nervous power, and the consequent de- 
5* 



106 MESMERIC DAY-MARE. 

rangement 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 vio- 
lent attack of hysteria. The convulsions were soothed 
in a short time, by generalising the mesmeric influ- 
ence, and then she became delirious, crying out, that 
there was a man before her with great eyes, and de- 
siring 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, an- 
swering 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. 



MESMERIC SLEEP-WALKING. 10? 

The leg could now be freely pressed all over, with- 
out disturbing 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 rapidly 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. 

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 
recollection of his nocturnal pomenade. 

Mesmeric Sleep-walking. — July 18th. — 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. 1. 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 forward, 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 em- 



108 MESMERIC SLEEP-WALKING. 

bayed 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 rub- 
bing, and blowing in his eyes, half opened them, and 
saw sufficiently to enable him to avoid obstacles. Be- 
ing ordered to walk, he stalked out of the room like a 
walking corpse ; descended four steps, very cautious- 
ly, 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 ac- 
tions 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 or- 
dered, 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 hope- 
less, and turned along the road running round the 
hospital, till he came to where we were standing. 
Here I stopped him, and very distinctly told him the 



MESMERIC SLEEP-WAKING. 109 

nature of the obstacle ; four steps, namely, and de- 
sired him to come to me. This he understood, under- 
took, 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 satsify 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 preter- 
natural acuteness of hearing, developed to aid the 
somnambulist 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 found it ; and 
got into bed again, as the reward of sound reasoning 
and perseverance. 



110 MESMERIC SLEEP-WAKING. 

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 conti- 
nent, 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 occu- 
pied. 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 
supplications 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 which I 
distinctly heard a watch ticking. The idea came 
into my head that should the owner awake, and find 
me in such suspicious proximity to his watch, he 
would denounce me as a thief. I spoke long and elo- 
quently, rebutting the base suspicion, but the sleeper 
remaining 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 win- 
dow I drew up the blind, and was still more bewil- 
dered on seeing the mighty mass of London spread 
out before me. The light of the moon, however, 



MESMERIC SLEEP-WAKING. Ill 

striking on the watch, was at last the means of restor- 
ing me to the full use of my senses. It suddenly oc- 
curred 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 con- 
siderable time must have elapsed, during the occur- 
rences 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 beau- 
tiful example of the same condition of mind, produced 
by art. 

Mrs. , an English lady, wished to be en- 
tranced, 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 ad- 
vantage 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 ar- 
rived, I should then propose 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 pow- 
ers 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 quar- 
ter of an hour they arrived, and I bent back the lady's 
head, and began to open her mouth without any at- 
tempt at resistance ; but, on the window being thrown 



112 MESMERIC DREAMING. 

open to give the dentist light, she awoke with a sud- 
den start, and said the dentist was present. She thus 
described her feelings : she very soon 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 believed him to be in Calcutta,) and this con- 
viction, from that minute, took complete possession of 
her mind. She greatly wished to call back her hus- 
band, or to get up and run, but she could not move 
tongue or foot, and showed all the time the most per- 
fect repose of body and feature. She heard the car- 
riage return, and knew it brought the dreaded dent- 
ist ; was sure it was he who was speaking to her hus- 
band, 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 Som 
nambulism, and taught me how to make somnambu- 
lists. 

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 in- 



MESMERIC DREAMING. 113 

dividual. The imagination becomes inflamed by sym- 
pathy with the excited organ, and the most vivid sen- 
sations of pain or pleasure, ecstacy and agony, .are 
excited, according 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 hor- 
ror, 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 historian 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, con- 
fess 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 considering 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, undisturbed by 
external impressions, and undistracted by passion, 
self-interest, and routine habits of thought, and sup- 
plied by memory only with the past experience and 
knowledge that bear upon the question ; under these 
circumstances it is imaginable that the mind may 



114 MESMERIC DREAMING. 

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 been forgotten ; and have pen- 
etrated 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 reason- 
ing 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 cor- 
rect. 

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 con- 
centrated on the case, and suggest a course of pro- 
ceeding, the rationale of which we do not under- 



MESMERIC DREAMING. 115 

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 exci- 
ted, and their powers singularly increased, by the con- 
centration 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 dis- 
eased haunting idea might be banished, and a more 
healthy tone of feeling and reasoning substituted and 
sustained, till a new and better habit of mind was pro- 
duced. I see no reason to doubt that the mental or- 
gans can be isolated and exalted by the mesmeric 
influence under the direction of a skilful leader and 
suggester, and can readily believe that the mind, by 
this artificial stimulus, may be excited into more vig- 
orous activity than when acted upon by the usual 
conditions of life. If persons may derive benefit from 



116 MESMERIC DREAMING. 

night thoughts in dreams, their sleep-waking day- 
thoughts should be more valuable ; but the one has 
no more pretensions to supernatural power than the 
other. The night-dream is woven out of past im- 
pressions lighted up by a flickering imagination and a 
wavering judgment ; and the somnambulist has only 
the advantage of having his thoughts sustained and 
concentrated by his mental director. Nor, consider- 
ing 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 experi- 
ments 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 pro- 
duced at a very early stage of the mesmeric phasis, 
or can be developed as the first step in the return to 



HOW TO MAKE SOMNAMBULISTS. 117 

life from the mesmeric trance ; but in the latter case, 
the sleeper is apt to wake up, at once, to perfect con- 
sciousness. 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 in- 
terest to himself, no sign of mental emotion ever dis- 
turbs his countenance. This statue-like serenity of 
features may be singularly broken by concentrating 
his attention, and desiring him to do whatever you 
do : he then becomes an imitative automaton, mim- 
icking most servilely, and exactly, the 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 somnambulist 
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 phenom- 
ena of Mesmerism : most of my experiments have 
been made on patients first entranced by my assist- 
ants, and my subsequent control over their move- 
ments was often acquired without touching 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 else- 



118 CASE OF MESMERIC SOMNAMBULISM. 

where* ; 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 approach- 
ing 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 perceptive 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 faithfully 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 plung- 
ing head foremost against the floor. Those who did 
not see him, may imagine how little the poor fellow 
knew what he was about, when they were told, that 

* I take the liberty to give the names of such gentlemen as I 
know, 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 incor- 
rectly 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. Brad- 
bury, Mr. Hunter, Mr. Bennett, Major Wood, Major Anderson, 
Major Riddell, Capt. Duncan, Capt. Cantley, Dr. McPherson, Dr. 
Smith, Dr. Burt, Dr. Walker, Dr. Elton, Dr. Ross. 



CASE OF MESMERIC SOMNAMBULISM. 110 

he took the " longitude" of the judges of the Supreme 
Court with the cool impudence and precision of a 
cabman, 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 Eng- 
land," 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 grav- 
ity and burst into a laugh ; he joined me in full chorus, 
and I heard it remarked " he can't help laughing him- 
self;" 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 re- 
pose, and I pointed out that it was no joke to him, but 
purely imitative laughter, and this, I should think, be- 
came evident to all. He also sang " God save the 
Queen," as well, or rather as badly as I, for he is ca- 
pable 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 stoop- 
ing, 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 



120 NATURAL CATALEPSY. 

is experimented on, from this tendency to instantane- 
ous 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 com- 
mon 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 Practi- 
cal Medicine. " The attack is generally instantane- 
ous, the sudden rigidity of the trunk and limbs, the 
suspension of the senses, and temporary interruption 
of the exercise of the intellectual faculties, having 
been preceded by no premonitory stage. The patient 
retains the posture of body and the expression of 
countenance which he chanced to have at the mo- 
ment of seizure ; and by this combination of fixed atti- 
tude 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 



MESMERIC CATALEPSY. 121 

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 
distinguishing characteristic of the disease." 

Mesmeric Catalepsy. — Sept. 24th. — Mr. Blyth, cu- 
rator 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 al- 
lowed to see a somnambulist that I was over-pursua- 
ded to gratify him, as I wished to confine myself to the 
purely medical relations of Mesmerism. I told him, 
that 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, re- 
quested 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. beg- 
ged 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 exam- 
ine him more closely, Mr. B. jumped off the table, and 
came running forward with his body bent, and sing- 



122 CASE OF MESMERIC CATALEPSY. 

ing. 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 1 o'clock, r. m. 

I was painfully startled to find the man as stiff as a 
log to-day, at 1 1 o'clock, and that he had shown no 
sign of life since we left him. 

This would not have alarmed me without the acci- 
dent, 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 effu- 
sion 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 
attentively, 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 possi- 
ble means, and succeeded in awaking him. But from 
the rigidity of the muscles of respiration continuing, 
his efforts to get rid of the water, and the accumulated 
mucus of twenty-four hours, nearly choked him. At 
length, the respiratory muscles resumed their natural 



COMA. 123 

action, and enabled him to eject the phlegm from his 
wind-pipe. 

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

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

Coma — " Last stage of all in this strange, eventful 
history," is only separated from the chamber of death 
by a very fine partition. In this, mind and body are 
equally torpid, and insensible to all external impres- 
sions. It is seen in persons exhausted by 7 ong watch- 
ing and fatigue, exposure to cold, or intense suffering 
of body and mind ; and in this condition of t v "e nerv- 
ous system surgical operations might often be per- 
formed 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. 

Mesmeric Coma. — In this, the great organic func- 
tions are usually undisturbed ; the countenance is 
calm and full, and the complexion that of health. 
The person is generally easily aroused, and how dif- 
ferent 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 o» 



124 CASE OF MESMERIC COMA. 

pleasure and relief; if he has lain down in pain, he 
often awakes free from it, and renovated in strength 
and spirits. In the subsequent part of this work, 
abundant instances will be given of this, and I will 
only here introduce one. 

May 22nd. — 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 has been weakly and 
nervous of late. She knew nothing about Mesmer- 
ism, 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 pro- 
cess. 

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 min- 
utes, 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. Cler- 
mont's sister,) entered the room, and I begged her to 
remain by Mrs. Clermont till I returned with her hus- 
band. Having found him, I asked pardon for taking 
fhe liberty of mesmerising his wife without his con- 



CASE OF MESMERIC COMA. 125 

sent, 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 sis- 
ter-in-law pricked her hand unheeded. As I saw the 
party becoming uneasy, I awok,e her, but with con- 
siderable difficulty : she felt very much ashamed at 
having been found asleep by me, as she supposed, and 
it was only after long questioning and reflection that 
she recalled the circumstances attending her sleep. 
The headache was quite gone, and she felt, and look- 
ed, greatly refreshed. 

Letter from Mr. Clermont. 
" 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 cor- 
rectness, 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. 
" Ckinsurah, May25t/t, 1845. 



126 NATURAL CLAIRVOYANCE. 

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

"Mr' Scott PSZ * j Students of the Medical College." 

Nov. 23. — Mrs. Clermont has not suffered any re- 
turn of the headache, and no longer feels the distress- 
ing languor and oppression 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 his- 
tory of medicine. M. Petetin had opposed Mesmer- 
ism, 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, ex- 
claimed 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 



CASE OF NATURAL CLAIRVOYANCE. 127 

were also performed by remote parts of the body. 
All this is supported by unexceptionable authority ; 
such as one cannot reject, and hope to be himself be- 
lieved. 

It has also been seen and described by unprofes- 
sional persons of intelligence and veracity ; of which 
the following is a curious example : it is a communi- 
cation from a clergyman to Sir George McKenzie, 
President of the Edinburgh Phrenological Society, 
and was written without any reference to Mesmer- 
ism, and before it had attracted any attention in Eng- 
land : — 

"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 wit- 
nessed under the dispensation of the Almighty. The 
overthrow of the regular functions of the nervous sys- 
tem 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 varie- 
ties, 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 



128 CASE OF NATURAL CLAIRVOYANCE. 

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 ordi- 
nary 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 curi- 
osity 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 ra- 
pidity 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 at- 
tack, or paroxysm, although she is perfectly sensible, — 
nay,. more acute and clever than in her natural state ;) 
but within this month past she has been able to col- 
lect 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, de- 
clare the contents of a note just brought into the 
room, in this way, (when I could not decipher it my- 
self, without a candle) and with a rapidity with which 



CASE OF NATURAL CLAIRVOYANCE. 129 

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 de- 
clare, that we are all, her medical attendants as well, 
under a mere delusion. We ask none to believe any 
thing, if they prefer not to do so, and only reply, — 
The case is equally marvellous either way; either 
that this our 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 swel- 
ling has at times been visible at the back of the head, 
which has yielded to the treatment. It is certainly a 
case which would be an instructive one, in the con- 
sideration 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 be- 
lieve and know. 



6* 



130 CASE OF NATURAL CLAIRVOYANCE. 

"Between the attacks, she is as perfectly in a natu- 
ral 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 commu- 
nication to you, in part to vindicate the testimony of 
my friend, Mr. M., I have really exceeded my usual 
custom and resolution ; for 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 informa- 
tion 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 partic- 
ulars on her recovery, should God so please to per- 
mit. 

" I am, &c. &c. 



MESMERIC CLAIRVOYANCE. 131 

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 clairvoy- 
ance has actually been produced in the derangement 
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 tumour, 28lbs. 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 conclu- 
sion, " 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 completely 
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 operandi of 
this mysterious agent ; but it is impossible not to 
think, though perhaps little to the purpose. By turn- 
ing 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 nerv- 
ous system ; the shock given to the nervous centres 
by sudden mental emotions, or the effect produced on 
.he imagination by a powerful mind acting on a 



132 author's theory. 

weaker ; have all been said, and truly, to simulate the 
mesmeric symptoms, and therefore "imagination" 
has very generally got the credit of being the " pri- 
mum mobile" in these singular affections of the sys- 
tem ; and I do not intend to dispute its power, or the 
reality of the effects produced by this agency. But 
my profound impression is, that the first effects pro- 
duced on my patients by my mode of practising Mes- 
merism, are of a purely physical nature ; an influence 
exerted by one animal over another, under certain 
circumstances and conditions of their respective sys- 
tems. I should as soon adopt the "opium diaboli- 
cal," or "all humbug theory," as a satisfactory solu- 
tion 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 peo- 
ple insensible to fire and steel, by the effect produced 
on the imagination ? A Bengal cooly, 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 mesmerise 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 min- 
utes of this will sometimes suffice, but more generally 
it takes hours, and relays of mesmerisers ; and a less 
imaginative process I cannot imagine. Calomel, rhu- 



author's theory. 133 

barb, 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 imagina- 
tion." " 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 in- 
extricably, with the true mesmeric influence, after the 
constitution has taken on the diseased action deeply, 
is well known, and will be abundantly shown after- 
wards ; 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 mes- 
meric 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 com- 
mon for persons engaged in the same pursuit to be- 
come exclusively addicted to their own way of gain- 
ing their object, and when a new path is open they 
attempt to obstruct it as an infringement of their ex- 
clusive 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 



134 author's theory. 

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 probably bring us near the truth, and each plan 
will be found a useful resource, in different circum- 
stances. 

It seems to me that irregularity in the distribution 
of the nervous energy is at the bottom of all the mes- 
meric symptoms, however produced, whether natur- 
ally 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 illustration, I should say that the first effects pro- 
duced 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 sub- 
sides. 

From all I have seen, I cannot but believe, that 
there is an influence of some kind that passes from 
one person into another, when one of two persons is 
mesmerised in the way I have described ; 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 remain- 
ing under the direction of the will ? Every time we 



AUTHORS THEORY. 135 

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 di- 
rected by one person upon another, then I would ven- 
ture 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 secre- 
tions are not conveyed away by the nerves of sense 
and volition, and the exercise of the perceptive and 
intellectual organs, the brain becomes torpid and op- 
pressed. In like manner, the transmission of foreign 
nervous matter might overwhelm 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-established. 

The entireness of the organic functions would seem 
to countenance 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 won- 



136 author's theory. 

derful passive power of resistance in the muscles, 
which enables cataleptics to stand asleep in the most 
painful and exhausting attitudes, longer than would 
wear out the strongest and most practised athletae, 
who enjoy all the resources of art and training. The 
absorption of another's nervous emanations being 
thought possible, and this abnormal susceptibility be- 
ing once established, it is possible to conceive the ex- 
treme degree to which this required habit, of trans- 
mitting extraneous nervous fluids to the brain, may be 
developed ; and we can comprehend the delicate im- 
pressions that would be made by so subtle an agent 
on such fine conductors as the nerves of sense ; nor, 
on such a supposition, should it surprise us to be told, 
that the subject receives at the same time some im- 
pressions of the individuality of the agent, and mani- 
fests 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 producing the physical mesmeric 
phenomena. People are willed to sleep, I believe, by 
directing our nervous influence upon them, and sim- 
ply 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 im- 
pression, 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, 



author's theory. 137 

by desiring Hindoos, Mussulmans, and Europeans of 
all professions, merely to concentrate their attention 
upon certain highly sensitive patients ; and the results 
wei-e as striking and certain as if the most energetic 
will had been directed against them. On one memo- 
rable, and ludicrous occasion, I induced a learned 
brother (who came purposely to expose the " hum- 
bug") 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 sensi- 
tiveness, in whom the tendency to mesmeric action 
had become a deep-rooted disease. 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 sim- 
ple act of attention, on the part of any one, seems to 
be quite sufficient to bring it within his nervous atmos- 
phere 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 indispensable. 
That the nervous sensibility has retreated from the 
surface, and the organs of sense, is evident to all ob-_ 
servers, by the universal insensibility ; and the condi- 
tion of the brain, and muscular system, would seem to 
indicate that they labour under the effects of this re- 
vulsion. The means used to de-mesmerise particular 



138 ILLUSTRATIVE CASE. 

organs, and the brain itself, appear to act by deter- 
mining the nervous currents back to the surface, 
thereby relieving the deeper organs from the load that 
oppressed them ; at least I cannot account for the fol- 
lowing singular exhibition in any other way. 

Nov. 16th. — In the presence of Mr. S. Palmer, 
Major Smith, Mr. Stopford, and Dr. Scott, I showed 
the spontaneous development of the mesmeric disease 
(for such it becomes, if pushed far) in a man who be- 
came entranced to the most intense degree, by being 
merely brought into my presence : every one was left 
to test his condition, 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 catalepsed 
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 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 



MODES OF DE-MESMERISING. 139 

below: I then blew on his neck, thereby immediately 
releasing it, and on being again urged to tell what was 
in his way, he began rubbjng 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 relieving the brain, and restoring its functions ; 
rubbing the eyes, and pouring water from a height 
are also efficacious, and sometimes 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 its sensibility, if diminished ; and I imagine 
that they relax the muscles by determining again to 
the surface the nervous currents, which had been 
thrown back upon the muscular system, and produced 
its cataleptic condition. I cannot otherwise account 
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 per- 
sons 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 



140 AUTHOlt's THEORY. 

both arms were fixed perpendicularly in the air, one 
after the otner 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 ham- 
strung : 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 general 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 par- 
ticularly sensitive to the impressions of air, cold, and 
friction ; indeed the shock given to a somnambulist 
by blowing in his face simply, often resembles 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 secre- 
tions to their natural channels. 

Having followed, and imitated, nature so far, in 
producing different symptoms according to the extent 
of the nervous derangement we induce, I see nothing 
more wonderful in the mesmeric phenomena than in 
the disturbances that, occur in the atmosphere, 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 subjected to the principle of 



author's theory. 141 

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 rea- 
sonably expect the production of singular and abnor- 
mal 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 somnam- 
bulism, 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 marvellous, his 
powers of self-delusion, with the pranks of knaves 
and the simplicity of fools, have so mystified the sub- 
ject, that the artificial difficulties cost us more trouble 
to remove than the natural ; 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 
Public. — Ignorance and Indifference the real Dangers. — 
Mesmeric Treatment of Disease a Field for the Philan- 
thropist. — Puysegur and Deleuze, unprofessional Men. — 
Processes for producing Coma. — Tumour in Upper Jaw 
removed during Coma. — Hypertrophy of Scrotum, ditto. 
— Trance renewable at Pleasure. — Three consecutive 
Operations on one Person. — Mode of Mesmerising in 
Chronic Diseases. — Cure of Rheumatism and Nervous- 
ness. — Local Mesmerising. — Mesmerised Water. — Pro- 
cess for preparing it. — First Experiments with it. — The 
last. — Means of awaking Persons Mesmerised. 

At the commencement of my mesmeric experi- 
ments, I had resolved to communicate only to pro- 
fessional men the modes which I had found most effect- 
ual in educing the influences of Mesmerism. I was, 
at first, alarmed at the possible dangers to the public, 
were the most effectual means of producing the ex- 
treme 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 



PUBLICITY THE BEST SECURITY. 143 

in a listless indifferent humour about Mesmerism, the 
dangers from an abuse of it are very likely, — I may 
say are very certain — to occur. But when, by attend- 
ing to the following 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 neces- 
sary 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 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 required 
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 unpro- 
fessional men, the Baron Puysegur and M. Deleuze ; 
the one a wealthy French nobleman, who consecrated 
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, unfortunately ;) and the other, a truthful 
and benevolent man of letters, long keeper of the 



144 MESMERIC COMA. 

" Jardin des Plantes," 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 concentrated 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 assist- 
ants, it may here 'be obtained daily, for the purpose 
of procuring insensibility to surgical operations. No 
trial under an hour should be reckoned a fair one : 
two hours are better ; and the most perfect success 
will often follow frequent failures, 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 ex- 
pectation are destructive to the physicial impression 
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 



MODE OF OPERATION. 145 

shutting your patient's eyes, begin to pass both your 
hands, in the shape of claws, slowly, within an inch 
of the surface, from the back of the head to the pit 
of the stomach ; dwelling for several minutes over 
the eyes, nose, and mouth, and then 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 position, 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 occasionally 
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 instance of this. 

July 29th. — In the presence of some sixty gentle- 
men, who came from Calcutta and the vicinity, I 
7 



146 MESMERIC COMA. 

to-day cut off an enlarged and ulcerated prepuce ; the 
man moved, and cried out, before I 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 operated on, at twelve o'clock, and 
awoke at three : on being questioned, 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 sitting posture from the commence- 
ment, as in the following instance. 

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 up 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 in- 
sensibility before operating on him, and for the last 
fortnight my assistants have all perseveringly 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 darkened, I suspended my spread 



ILLUSTRATIVE CASE. 147 

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 unconscious. 

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 fingers could reach under the orbit and 
cheek-bone, and passed into the gullet — having de- 
stroyed the bones and partition of the nose. No one 
touched the man, and I turned his head into any posi- 
tion I desired, without resistance, and there it re- 
mained till I wished to move it again: when the 
blood accumulated, I bent his - head forward, and it 
ran from his mouth as if from a leaden spout. The 
man never moved, nor showed any signs of life, except 
an occasional indistinct moan ; but when I threw 



148 MESMERIC COMA. 

back his head, and passed my fingers into his throat 
to detach the mass in that direction, the stream of 
blood was directed into his wind-pipe, and some in- 
stinctive effort became necessary for existence ; he 
therefore 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 supposed yesterday. The man declares by 
the most emphatic pantomime, 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 pos- 
itively, that he knew nothing that had been done to 
him till he awoke on the floor, and found me sewing 
up his cheek ; — and I presume he knows best. Here 
is a translation of his own statement in Bengalee : — 

" For two years I laboured under this disease, and 
scarcely slept for five months. On the 19th May, I 
came to the Imambarah Hospital, and three or four 
persons tried to make me sleep, but all in vain. On 
the 3d June Dr. Esdaile having kindly undertaken 
my cure, with a great deal of labour, made me sleep, 



ILLUSTRATIVE CASE. 149 

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 nights, but after the third day, I 
have slept as usual. 

" Teencowrie Paulit, 
ofMadra." 

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

Sept. 1st. — Teg Ali Khan, a tall strong-looking 
man ; has a hypertrophied scrotum, caused by re- 
peated operations for hydrocele by native doctors ; 
who only withdraw the water as often as it accumu- 
lates, without attempting the radical cure. The tu- 
mour is perfectly round, and as big as a man's head. 
He was mesmerised in two hours, on the first trial, 
and, in the presence of Drs. Ross and Sissmore, I dis- 
sected 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 covered 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 hour 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 



150 MESMERIC COMA. 

pain whatever since 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. 18th. — 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 con- 
tracted 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 plais- 
ter iron, without awaking him. 

Sept. 19th. — 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 surrounding 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 be- 
cause nature needs it ; but we ought to be satisfied 
with the improvement of the patient, though it is un- 
accompanied with any striking phenomena. The 



ILLUSTRATIVE CASE. 151 

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, will be found sufficient. These are 
steady continuous tractions, with the points 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 rest- 
lessness, bring back natural sleep, and invigorate the 
nervous system. 

Sept. 25th. — Mr. Calder (I mention his name at his 
own request,) who has been twenty years in India, 
came to me to-day, complaining of general rheuma- 
tism, 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 smooth ground, he fancies that it slips from 
below 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 swallowed a dispensary of physic, to 
no good purpose. I said that I could not in con- 
science 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, 



152 MESMERIC COMA. 

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 mesmer- 
ise 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 
notes of his case. 

" On the 25th of September last, your native assist- 
ants, 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 upwards of five hours, — I found great 
difficulty in raising my eyelids, 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 mes- 
merise me were repeated for an hour daily, but with- 
out farther effect than causing a sleep of a few min- 
utes. 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 17th of Oct. I was thrown into a sleep, 
every third or fourth night, for about two hours ; the 
effect of which you may judge of, from my being able 



MESMERISED WATER. 153 

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. 

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 absurd- 
ity 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 communi- 



154 MESMERISED WATER. 

cated to water and other inorganic substances, like 
other invisible and imponderable agents. Water ab- 
sorbs air and different gases, and the odours of neigh- 
bouring 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 particu- 
lars : 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 anal- 
ogy, that I fully believed the statements of others re- 
garding it, and made my first experiment with con- 
siderable 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 di- 
rections 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 follow- 
ing process, though less delicate, is a shorter, and, I 
believe, a more effectual mode of charging water 
with the mesmeric fluid. 

As there is good reason to believe that the breath 
is impregnated with the vital fluid, I breathe through 
a tube into the bottom of a cupful of water, keeping 



ILLUSTRATIVE CASE. 155 

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 me 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 be- 
gan 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 re- 
plied that I should be happy to verify, in his presence, 
an important experiment regarding the efficacy of 
mesmerised water, which I had made for the first 
time, yesterday. I was glad to learn that he had 



156 MESMERISED WATER. 

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 
appearing, 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 ; 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 re- 
turned 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 posses- 
sion of all her senses and faculties, as was evinced by 
her ready and consistent replies, and the total revo- 
lution in her countenance. 

June 30th. — I thought of varying the experiment 
on the woman Alunga. whom I had not seen to-day : 



ILLUSTRATIVE CASE. 157 

I therefore went to the house of my assistant, and 
asked him to give me a phial and a little water, tell- 
ing him my intentions, which were to call for Mr. 
Betts, the deputy-collector (who had never seen 
Mesmerism, and to whom I had never spoken on the 
subject,) 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 
mesmerised, 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 get- 
ting 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 pull- 
ing : 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 diffi- 
culty in believing that he had only given water. 

June 28th. — Sidissur Ghose, a prisoner, in a differ- 
ent hospital ; I saw him for the first time to-day, at 11 
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 walk- 
ing. I determined to subject him to the trance if pos- 



158 MESMERISED WATER. 

sible, for the following reasons. As a fire expires for 
want of fuel, it seemed to me very probable that in- 
flammation would die out during many hours of abso- 
lute repose to the system, pain and irritation being 
the sustaining causes of inflammation. Remove 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 succeeded 
in entrancing him in half an hour, and left him sleep- 
ing. I then went to the Charity Hospital, and made 
my first experiment, 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 pres- 
sure 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 swelling has decreased, and I can 
squeeze the part all over without causing pain, and he 
walks erect, with ease. The disease is subdued, but 
for the sake of experiment I gave him another dose 
of mesmerised water, and in three minutes he was in 
the trance. 

June 30th. — Sidissur again slept till nine o'clock 
last night, and had a good night afterwards. Dis- 
missed cured, at his own request. 



ILLUSTRATIVE CASES. 159 

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 mesmer- 
ised water ; she soon said that she felt warm all over ; 
a general tremor followed ; 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 29th. — At the public Seance, already men- 
tioned, eight men drank mesmerised water prepared 
by my assistants, and superintended by two doctors, 
and two clergymen ; and in spite of the incessant tor- 
menting of their visitors, four of them, to my great 
surprise, became entranced and cataleptic, and were 
converted into somnambulists. 

December 14th. — Jadoo, a prisoner, convalescent 
from cholera, is plagued with continual hiccough — 
eight convulsions in a minute. To be mesmerised : 
he was subdued in fifteen minutes, but there was little 
change in the hiccough for half an hour afterwards. 
He was raised upon his feet, and a bandage soaked 
in cold water wound around his chest, without awak- 
ing him, and he was allowed to sleep half an hour 
longer : still no change for the better. I now pre- 
pared some mesmerised water, and awoke him ; he 
no sooner drank it than he fell asleep again, and the 
hiccough immediately stopped, and never returned. 
He slept for three hours after drinking the water. 



160 MODE OF DE-MESMERISING. 

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 general 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 uncontami- 
nated system, but it is a rare occurrence. 

The means used for dissipating the mesmeric influ- 
ence, 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 currents 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 blow- 
ing 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 



MODE OF DE-MESMERISING. 161 

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 mus- 
cular 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 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 repletion in the mesmeric state, 
does not assist us in understanding the similarities and 
differences observed in natural, and mesmeric 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 Inflam- 
mation of Eye ditto. — Return of Nervous Headache pre- 
vented. — 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, Sciatica, Pain in Crural Nerve, 
cured. — Palsy of an Arm ditto. — Hemiplegia greatly bene- 
fited. — Tic cured. — Rheumatism ditto. — Mesmerism as a 
Disease. — Resembles Hysteria. — Ignorant Charges of Im- 
posture. — The Public abused. — The Public disabused. — 
Folly and Unfairness of its would-be Guides. — Spontane- 
ous Development of the Mesmeric Disease. — Mesmerising 
by doing nothing taught by the Mesmerists themselves. — 
A natural Consequence of frequent Mesmerising. — Exam- 
ples 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 Mes- 
merism may be divided into simple somnolence, semi- 
insensibility, and total insensibility, or coma : of the 
first, nothing more need be said, and abundant exam- 
ples of the others will be given in my " Journal of 
Practical Mesmerism." " 



MESMERISM AS A REMEDY. 163 

Although accepting thankfully whatever nature 
deigned to offer in answer to my inquiries, in the va- 
rious cases in which I consulted her ; yet they were 
not presented to the vis medicatrix natures, at hap- 
hazard, 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 subsequent pro- 
ceedings ; 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 com- 
mand, as clay in the hands of the potter ; and I felt 
satisfied that if the same state of things could be 
brought about, muscular spasms and contractions 
would disappear before this great solvent. The 
straightening of limbs, long contracted, very soon 
verified this inference. 

II. Having, in this case, witnessed the total extinc- 
tion of nervous irritability, I was led to conclude, 
that in a like state of things, nervous pains would van- 
ish before this supreme anodyne. The cure of nerv- 
ous headaches immediately demonstrated the truth of 
this idea. 

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



164 MESMERISM AS A REMEDY. 

IV. I had seen high local inflammation, and sympa- 
thetic fever suspended during the trance in my first pa- 
tient, 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 be- 
come natural : thence I inferred, that inflammation 
was probably incompatible with such a state of the 
constitution, and I soon succeeded in curing acute in- 
flammation of the eye and testis, by no other means 
than the mesmeric trance. 

As regards the certainty of my conclusions, it re- 
quired no great sagacity to believe the evidence of 
my senses, and to go and do as nature bid me. A 
fact in nature being once ascertained, and all its 
accessories carefully observed, we may be confident 
of re-producing it, at will, by fulfilling the necessary 
conditions, if the phenomenon is under human con- 
trol. I therefore tried to bring about the same condi- 
tion of body, by the means required to be used by 
nature, before she will condescend to interfere 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. 



COMA A REMEDIAL AGENT. 165 

Mesmeric coma will in the following pgges chiefly 
figure in surgical operations, and is not so often re- 
quired in the treatment of medical cases ; but when it 
can be induced, it is extremely important in instantly 
extinguishing nervous pains, arresting convulsions, 
and aiding the natural resolution of inflammation, by 
its anodyne and restorative powers ; and if it could 
be induced in the commencement of some of the most 
fatal diseases, it would probably arrest their pro- 
gress, for it revolutionises the whole system, and every 
other constitutional affection is for the time sus- 
pended. 

In chronic inflammation it is a useful discutient, 
gently stimulating the nerves, and capillary vessels 
of the part, to more healthy action ; and for this pur- 
pose, 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 " desidera- 
tum" 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 be- 
fore. All who venture to confess the truth to them- 
selves, 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 



166 EXTRACTS FROM JOURNAL 

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 believe that it is the exciting cause : we 
must believe that it is, or own that it is a spontaneous 
cure of a commonly incurable disease ! 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 system. In 
the latter case, I should think, that unless the sedative 
effects on the system could be induced, we should be 
disappointed ; in the former, every degree of the 
influence would probably be of service. 

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

The medical cases adapted for the use of Mesmer- 
ism, 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 ex- 
tract, as they occurred from my 



OF PRACTICAL MESMERISM. 167 



JOURNAL OF PRACTICAL MESMERISM. 

" May 7th. — Nazir, a Mussulman ; aged 20 : is suf- 
fering from the sequela of opthalmia of two month's 
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 con- 
stant 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 without 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 stop- 
ped : — the eyes to be mesmerised daily for ten min- 
utes, and then be put to sleep." 

"May 22d. — Has been mesmerised daily, and put 
to sleep twice : he always feels better after the pro- 
cess ; says that his body feels pleasant and light, and 
the expression of his countenance 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 1 1 o'clock. He has had a severe 



168 EXTRACTS FROM JOURNAL 

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 1 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 insensible is the approach of sleep 
under this grand narcotic, or so sudden its invasion, 
that in the minds of the sleepers often no trace re- 
mains of the circumstances attending 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 11 o'clock. For the 
last four days, he has laboured under acute inflamma- 
tion of the conjunctiva: the conjunctival 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 cataleptic 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 



OF PRACTICAL MESMERISM. 169 

proceedings, and daily ask, ' What progress V I an- 
swered, that a man entranced was waiting my return: 
and they offered to go back with me. On opening 
the door we found that 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 head- 
ache, confined to one side of his head ; that it com- 
mences 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 pur- 
8 



170 EXTRACTS FROM JOURNAL 

pose of seeing a prisoner awakened out of the mes 
meric trance, who had been suffering for some time 
from an inflamed eye. Upon our arrival the man 
was awake, and no further experiment could there- 
fore be tried with this patient. Another, however, 
immediately presented 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 maintained themselves in any posture in which 
Dr. Esdaile chose to 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 constrained 
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 slightest 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 29th, 1845." 



OP PRACTICAL MESMERISM. 171 

May 25th. — Nazir Mahomed, entranced yesterday 
for conjunctivitis, 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 inflammation 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'Questen, the dentist, who was on 
a professional 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 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 episode, which I have the pleasure of 
introducing here, by permission. 

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 exhaustting position,) and he awoke soon 



172 EXTRACTS FROM JOURNAL 

after our arrival. He said that the eye was still far- 
ther 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 with- 
out knowing it, was not enough to satisfy the curiosity 
and unbelief of my lady visitor. Her theory was, 
that I must be "Angelus aut Diabolus" to be per- 
mitted to do such things ; and as both hypothesis had 
their difficulties, she took refuge in an unapproacha- 
ble unbelief. This to me was a singular mental phe- 
nomenon, and I determined to experiment upon her 
mind through her own senses (as she would not be- 
lieve 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 insensible 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 diffi- 
culty 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." 



OF PRACTICAL MESMERISM. 173 

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 morn- 
ing, to have a tooth taken out ; and, on reaching the 
Charity Hospital, had the satisfaction to find him en- 
tranced, and begged Mr. M'Questen to give him the 
benefit of his skill. This he declined ; and I extracted 
the tooth 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 when 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 wonderful to me than Mesmer- 
ism ; and that was, the extent of human incredulity 
on the subject. 

June 6th. — T 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 con- 
vulsions ; she was speechless, and suffering from a 
constriction in the throat, that threatened to suffocate 



174 EXTRACTS FROM JOURNAL 

ner 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, and 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 1st. — 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 con- 
tractions of both elbow-joints, from rheumatism, with 
acute pain on pressing the ulnar nerve at the elbow. 
At first, she did not bear much handling without 
awaking ; but, on being left alone, the trance deep- 
ened, 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 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 



OF PRACTICAL M ISOMERISM. 175 

chase them away from any part by holding my fin- 
gers 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. 18th. — 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 vanished ; 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 concen- 
trated upon her : the other symptoms, 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. 



176 EXTRACTS FROM JOURNAL 

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 13th. — Four men and one woman were en- 
tranced to-day. 

No. 1. 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 giving mesmerised water daily, till the 17th; 
on which day the three with neuralgic pains were 
dismissed cured ; the syphilitic cases were not bene- 
fitted, as might be expected, the constitutional specific 
disease being still in operation : the local pains were 
eased, however, and sleep procured : no small mat- 
ter in such cases. 

July 29th. — Sustee Ram, a bearer ; aged 30. He 
became paralytic in his left arm, twelve days ago, 
during the night : he cannot raise it higher than his 
navel ; there is pain under the scapula ; and he has 
slept very little since the attack : — to be mesmerised 
daily, for half-an-hour. 



OF PRACTICAL MESMERISM. 177 

July 30th. — Slept all night, can raise his arm to his 
breast, head, spine, shoulder, and arm : — to be mes- 
merised daily. 

July 31st.— Slept yesterday, immediately after 
being mesmerised, and all night : can touch the oppo- 
site shoulder and his forehead to-day. 

Aug. 15th. — Has improved daily: usually sleeps 
after the process, and well at night. 

Aug. 25th. — Can hold his arm perpendicular, and 
has considerable 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 evi- 
dent 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 mesmerised for half an hour daily. 

Aug. 18th. — He sometimes goes to sleep during the 
process, and generally sleeps for two hours after it : 
he can raise the arm more, and there is a little re- 
sistance on the left side, on walking between two 
persons. 



178 EXTRACTS FROM JOURNAL 

Aug. 20th. — He began to walk a little with a stick 
to-day. 

Aug. 25th. — Improves daily ; there is more com- 
mand 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. 

Sept. 8th. — Much better ; walks across the com- 
pound, with the aid of a stick ; arm also improving. 

Sept. 20th. — He has discarded his stick, and crosses 
the compound 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. 10th. — Horo, a Hindoo woman ; aged 28. 
She has suffered for three years from tic-doloureux 
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. w. — to be mesmerised. 
I returned after an hour, and found her asleep : she 
awoke soon after, and said there was no pain what- 
ever in the part now, and that "it was cold as 
water." 
• Jan. 8th. — She has had no return of pain. 

Dec. 14th. — 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 



OF PRACTICAL MESMERISM. 179 

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. 16th. — Slept half an hour after the process 
to-day. 

Dec. 17th. — Feels much better. 

Dec. 18th. — 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. 19th. — 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 becomes a formidable disease 
when pushed far, and deeply rooted in the constitu- 
tion ; 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 pre- 
disposed it to take on the Mesmeric action whenever 
it is deranged, especially by any thing having refer- 
ence to the processes by whieh it was first developed 
in the system. 

In this respect, Mesmerism very closely resembles 
Hysteria, which, however primarily induced, is apt 



180 REMARKS ON MESMERISM. 

to recur on any agitation of the body or mind, more 
particularly if it is in any way associated with the 
first disturbing cause ; and they both correspond, 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 will on somnambulism and the other 
Mesmeric symptoms, the reality of which are indis- 
putable. To an experienced person, the springing 
up of true Mesmeric phenomena, without the usual 
exciting cause, is a moral demonstration that the sys- 
tem has been previously revolutioned by Mesmerism. 
The nervous centres having become morbidly sensi- 
tive by the action of this great nervous excitant, 
every shock of the nerves, especially if connected 
with Mesmerism, is exhibited in the shape of abnor- 
mal 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 jpede Hercu- 
lem. 

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



REMARKS ON MESMERISM. 181 

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 pub- 
lic, 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 common thing for Doctors, who have 
never seen or thought of Mesmerism, 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 opera- 
tions can be performed without pain ; and they there- 
upon exact total insensibility into their experimentum 
crucis of the truth of Mesmerism; and if any unfor- 
tunate Mesmeric wight, having a vulnerable point in 
his "tendo Achillis" even, should fall under their ob- 
servation, he is denounced as a hardened and deter- 
mined impostor, and his physician exposed as a quack, 
or charitably allowed to be, perhaps, only a fool. 

Nothing short of the extinction of life will satisfy 
these discriminating observers : physiological revolu- 
tions in the system — altered bearing — changed ex- 
pression 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, " confirmations, strong as Holy Writ," of the ex- 
istence 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. 



182 REMARKS ON MESMERISM. 

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, secun- 
dem 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 un- 
derstanding ; and the Mesmeric guest commences 
his course of practical experiment by tossing and 
goring the patients (fortunately generally insensible) 
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 declaring 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 
Mesmerism really is, in order that they may know it 
when it comes before them, and be no longer deluded 
by prejudiced, ignorant, or interested quasi descrip- 
tions of it. Abundant examples of its acute, and ex- 
treme 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 

* Those desirous of reading the details of such a truly scientific 
and dispassionate mode of enquiring after truth should peruse my 
brother's " Mesmeric Facts," published by Ostell and Lepage, 
Calcutta.— D. E. 



MESMERISM BY DOING NOTHING. 183 

and characteristic of an unusual condition of the body. 
The involuntary quivering of the eyelids, and the 
spasmodic closing of the eye, in persons a minute be- 
fore wide awake, and resisting, perhaps ; — the extinc- 
tion of 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, — 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 influence as the production of in- 
sensibility ? They are all links of the same chain, 
and in some patients can all be beautifully exhibited 
in sequence and connection, from the quivering of an 
eyelash to the most intense coma. 

Another anti-mesmerist, who to save appearances 
has condescended to look at certain of the mesmeric 
phenomena, says, on seeing their reality : — " There is 
no use in denying the extraordinary 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 enter- 
prising experimentalist proceeds to redeem his pledge, 
and actually succeeds, to his great delight and the mys- 
tification of the public, in disproving the truth of the ax- 
iom, "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 



184 CONSEQUENCE OF FREQUENT MESMERISING. 

Would not the public suppose that this mesmerising 
by nothing was an ingenious and original experiment 
of the anti-mesmeric school of philosophy 1 And yet 
the truth is, that they were taught their favourite 
trick by the Mesmerists ; who have not only declared, 
tnat this can be done, but that it is a natural conse- 
quence of their proceedings, 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 ap- 
plause of an admiring and confounded 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 pro- 
cess at last may be requisite to produce the 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 



MESMERISING BY NOTHING. 185 

looking at them when they are prepared 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 noth- 
ing, but walked into a further room, turned back, 
and found her asleep : so with the other two in suc- 
cession. 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 explana- 
tion, will regard " mesmerising by nothing," as a de- 
monstration of the imposture of Mesmerism? 

I was explaining the mesmeric disease (for such it 
has become, 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 becom- 
ing 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. Kiel- 
lerup, Naturalist, and Mr. Blyth, Curator of the 
Asiatic Society's museum : the two former gentlemen 



186 MESMERIC INSENSIBILITY. 

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 therefore submitted to 
their notice cases of direct and indirect Mesmerism. 
A man was brought before us with an enlarged and 
tender testis, and of the latter point Dr. Behn satis- 
fied 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 sensibility of the 
skin had disappeared. Dr. Behn then used any de- 
gree of pressure he chose to apply to the tender part, 
and the 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 transmitted 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 som- 
nambulist, that the gentlemen might at once have be- 
fore them as many as possible of the genuine mes- 
meric 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 be- 
tween 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 



HYSTERIC THEORY. 187 

he was asleep, could not turn round, or open his eyes, 
catalepsy was established, and all sensibility had dis- 
appeared ; as Dr. Behn ascertained by now pressing 
between the ribs to any degree he pleased ; — and not 
only so, the whole chest was seen to be catalepsed 
and immovable. His eyelids were forced open, and 
the white of the eye could only be seen. The mo- 
ment he awoke, Dr. Behn again made pressure on the 
intercostal spaces, and he showed immediate and 
acute suffering. — In a word, the spontaneous mes- 
meric condition differed in no particular from that 
induced by the direct application of the mesmeric in- 
fluence, and my visiters seemed to be perfectly satis- 
fied 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 pub- 
lic 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 al- 
lowed that I can cure nervous headaches, and perform 
painless surgical operations by hysteria, call the pro- 
cess 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 mes- 
meric processes. Which is the more likely, I leave 



188 MODE OF STUDYING MESMERISM. 

my readers to decide. As natural hysteria may be 
supposed to be 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 application 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 neces- 
sary to render them insensible to the loss of their 
members. 

But seriously, if medical men wish to see and un- 
derstand 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. — Journal of Practical Mesmerism. 
— Mesmeric Trance : A Leg straightened in ; Colic cured 
by ; Penis amputated in ; Arm straightened in ; Arm am- 
putated 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, fyc. in; 
Tumour 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 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 con- 
fined to the extinction of pain during an operation, but 
are of the greatest general and particular advantage 
in the after-treatment of surgical diseases. The 
nerves and brain have not been shattered by bodily 



190 EXTRACTS FROM JOURNAL 

and mental anguish, which generally excites an irri- 
tative fever in the system, wasting the powers of life, 
and rousing local inflammation in the injured part ; 
thereby often destroying all the hopes and precau- 
tions of the surgeon. In the mesmeric sleep, only the 
necessary local injury has been inflicted ; and on 
awaking, the patient sometimes feels no pain what- 
ever, and generally only a slight smarting in the 
wound ; and the constitution sets about repairing the 
breach of substance quietly, and under the best oos- 
sible circumstances : if local pains follow, they oAn 
be easily removed by topical manipulations ; all which 
will be seen in the following 



Journal of Practical Mesmerism. 

April 20th. — Jeolal, my washerman, aged 35, has 
been eighteen months ill ; first with dysentery, after- 
wards with rheumatic 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 mes- 
merised him to-day in a quarter of an hour. At first, 
he supported his knee with both hands ; but soon al- 
lowed me to remove them, and suspend them in the 
air. The leg was then gradually extended, and 
straightened to a considerable extent, without awak- 
ing him. 

April 21st. — The process was repeated to-day, and 
more force used, which awoke him ; the leg was still 
farther improved. 



OF PRACTICAL MESMERISM. 191 

April 22d. — The pulley was used to-day, and very 
considerable 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 11th. — He can now walk without a stick, but 
the fibrous contractions give way slowly. I am con- 
vinced 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 continues. — Repeat the Mesmerism. 

June 24th. — He remained three hours in the mes- 
meric sleep yesterday, and awoke quite well, and con- 
tinues so. His leg is now quite strong, and he has 
returned to his work. 

May 12th. — Buxoo, a Khitmatgan. There is a 
fistulous opening 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, 
ana said it was from fear, not pain. 



192 EXTRACTS FROM JOURNAL 

April 20th, 11 o'clock, a. m. — Kangalee, a peasant; 
aged 20, weak, and ill nourished. He had a fever 
four years ago, after which sores broke out in differ- 
ent 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 minutes ; a bottle was then put under his 
elbow for a fulcrum, and the arm was gradually ex- 
tended 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 14th. — Dismissed cured. 

May 5th. — Rantoonee Buttachangie, a Brahmin ; 
aged 40. There is a prodigious Fungus hsematodes 
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 integuments. It exactly resembles the 
contents of an old aneurism ; the structure of the fun- 
gus 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 



OF PRACTICAL MESMERISM. 193 

mesmerised, 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 13th. — Is doing well. 

May 16th. — He complains of pain in the stump 
to-day. — To be mesmerised. 

May 17th. — He was easily put to sleep yesterday, 
and slept for three hours ; was free from pain when 
he awoke, and continues so. 

May 11th. — Meeroolla, a policeman; aged 28, 
strong and healthy looking. He has got a fatty tu- 
mour of the right mamma, which he begged me to 
remove to-day. I desired him to lie down, and let 
me carefully examine it, and commenced mesmerising 
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 disturb- 
ing 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. 
9 



194 EXTRACTS FROM JOURNAL 

May 11th. — 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 com- 
pounder 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 14th. — Maduh, a healthy-looking cooly; aged 
30. I saw him for the first time to-day, at 11 o'clock. 
He has got a sore on the heel, of two years' stand- 
ing ; 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 influ- 
ence. 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 possibly 
be gratified. I returned to the hospital after an hour, 
and there found the Reverend Mr. Fisher, Mr. Baner- 
gie, and Mr. Money, the collector. The patient was 
asleep, and I immediately commenced dissecting the 
thickened skin from the plantar fascia, which was 
very difficult, owing to its thickness and hardness. 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. 



OP PRACTICAL MESMERISM. 195 

Mr. Banergie then questioned hint, in Bengalee, re- 
garding his feelings, and he protested that he felt noth- 
ing till he awoke. Many of the patients, already 
mentioned, being still in hospital, Mr. Banergie exam- 
ined 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 
supernumerary tooth between the eye-tooth, and the 
first grinder, growing horizontally ^nto his mouth, and 
causing him great annoyance. 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 
proceed cautiously, as he did not appear to be under 
the extreme influence of the mesmeric power. From 
its position, it was difficult to lay hold of the tooth, but 
it was at last grasped, and extracted. 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 nui- 
sance 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." 



196 EXTRACTS FROM JOURNAL 

"Have you an^i 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 30th. — 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 fore- 
arm, and my assistants had several times tried to mes- 
merise 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 apprehensive, 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 en- 
trancing him in ten minutes, and laid open the arm 
without disturbing him. I returned after three hours, 
and found him still sleeping. On awaking, he said 
the pain was much less, and that no one had hurt him 
that day. 

June 2d. — 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, 



OF PRACTICAL MESMERISM. 197 

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 accord ? He supposed so. Had any one 
cut or hurt him to-day ? No one. 

June 16th. — Toorab, a peasant, aged 30, of a rickety 
constitution, 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 15th. — 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 9th. — 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 offending gum. 

July 10th. — 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 11th. — This is a very interesting case, as it 
shows the invasion of the waking by the sleeping 
state. Mrs. C, on awaking yesterday, arose as if 



198 EXTRACTS FROM JOURNAL 

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, hei 
husband informed me, that occurred during this time 
were these : — She received letters from the postman, 
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 
unnecessary 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 !* 

* 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 mesmerised, I was not surprised at my 
success ; but an event which happened a few days afterwards, as- 
tonished both myself and the friends who witnessed the occurrence. 
At an evening party I met a young gentleman from Oxford, who 
requested me to mesmerise him. He had never seen Mesmerism ; 
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 described his sensations. " The moment you pointed your 



OF PRACTICAL MESMERISM. 199 

July 17th. — To-day, in the presence of Mr. David- 
son, commissioner of the district, and Mr. Alexander, 
Registrar to the Board of Revenue (who have re- 
quested me to name them as witnesses,) I operated on 
a man for hypertrophy of the prepuce, without awak- 
ing 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 visiters, under- 
standing Bengalee, asked him, if any one had hurt him 
to-day. He said, "No." If he would like his disease 
to be removed ? He answered, that he would thank 
God if any one would do so. He was then desired 
to sit up, and his cloth removed ; 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 

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 
supposed. — D. E. 



200 EXTRACTS FROM JOURNAL 

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 combined 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., 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. 



OF PRACTICAL MESMERISM. 201 

She awoke twenty minutes after, and knew nothing 
about it. 

Aug. 9th. — 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 hamstrings: the 
knee has been in this state for ten years. Being put 
to sleep, a counter opening was made in the leg, and 
a 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 gen- 
tleman 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 cauliflower, 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 swelling appeared in the groin. This gradu- 
ally increased till his twelfth year, but was not painful 
9* 



202 EXTRACTS FROM JOURNAL 

or inconvenient. About this time he was attacked 
with fever, attended with increased sensibility 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. 31st. — 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 presence of Dr. Ross and Dr. Siss- 
more, 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. 

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



OF PRACTICAL MESMERISM. 203 

Oct. 10th. — He was mesmerised the second time, 
to-day, in the presence of Mr. Sutherland, Dr. Owen, 
the Reverend Mr. Bradbury, Major Riddle, Mr. Hig- 
gen, Mr. Muller, Mr. Graves, Messrs. Savigny, Mr. 
Calder, and Mr. Bartlett. 

I removed the parts without his showing any sign 
of sensibility till the last artery was being tied : he 
then woke up, but went immediately to sleep again 
for half an hour, and on awaking, 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. 20th. — 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. 21st. — There is much pain in the eye. — To 
be mesmerised, 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, glistening, 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 



204 EXTRACTS FROM JOURNAL 

showing the least sensibility. I then, in the presence 
of Captain D. L. Richardson, dissected out the dis- 
eased organ. The operation 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 nu- 
merous ; he then said, that he had felt nothing till 
that moment. The muscular movements, sometimes 
seen, looked more like the contractions induced by 
cutting a recently dead animal, than the common con- 
tortions 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 ad- 
vantage he would derive from the mesmeric trance, 
in reducing strangulated hernia, and spasmodic stric- 
tures of the urethra. 

Nov. 30th. — 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 presence of Dr. 
Tritton and a party of officers of the 71st 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 there- 
upon 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 



OF PRACTICAL MESMERISM. 205 

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 be- 
longed 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 
disease," and said I was at liberty to say so, if I 
pleased. 

Dec. 1st. — 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. Fraser, 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 hospi- 
tal, 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 



206 EXTRACTS FROM JOURNAL 

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, 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 sub- 
ject ; — the pain was evidently instantaneous and 
acute. On returning to the Charity Hospital, I re- 
moved 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 
questioning 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. 21st. — Samoo, a weaver, has got a bad slough- 
ing sore of the prepuce and glans, of a year's stand- 
ing. — To be mesmerised. 



OF PRACTICAL MESMERISM. 207 

Dec. 22d. — He was mesmerised for two hours yes- 
terday, and slept an hour afterwards, apparently nat- 
urally. To-day I saw him after half an hour's mes- 
merising, 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 afterwards. Mr. Mullins, who speaks 
Bengalee, asked him if 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. 



208 EXTRACTS FROM JOURNAL 

Dec. 26. — Goluck Seit, a prisoner, has got a hydro- 
cele on each side. A young Hindoo subdued him to- 
day in ten minutes, 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 dis- 
trict, being a famous shrine of the god. I transferred 
the sacred excrescence to my pocket, without any 
remonstrance being made, and then performed the 
less formidable operation of withdrawing the water, 
and throwing in the injection, of which he knew noth- 
ing, 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 acci- 
dent. 

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 gentle- 
men 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 



OF PRACTICAL MESMERISM. 209 

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. 30th. — 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 together with 
deep sutures ; but I could hardly bring myself to pro- 
pose it to a person in his senses, as it would be as 
painful as the capital operation. Mesmerism, how- 
ever, 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 oper- 
ation afterwards, without inflicting pain, is not one of 
the least advantages of Mesmerism. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

Hypertrophy of the Scrotum; different Causes of. — Ele- 
phantiasis endemic in Bengal and Lower Egypt ; probable 
Causes of. — Example of Malarious Fever. — True Ele- 
phantiasis of the Scrotum. — Hypertrophy from Hydrocele ; 
from Syphilis; Condition of the Organs involved; Mode 
of operating; 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. — Oper- 
ations 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, 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. 



CAUSES OF ENDEMIC ELEPHANTIASIS. 211 

In Fig. VI.* will be seen an excellent specimen of 
the true constitutional elephantiasis, in which the dis- 
ease is accompanied with periodic fever, and general 
cachexy to such a degree as to make it unsafe to 
remove the local excrescence, as in the individual, 
whose portrait this is. 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 
condition of its people. Endemic sources of disease 
abound here to a dreadful extent, but chiefly originate 
in the ignorance, indifference, and poverty of the 
people ; and an enlightened and benevolent govern- 
ment should interfere to prevent its subjects perishing 
in their ignorance, by enforcing stringent police regu- 
lations for the improvement of the public health, espe- 
cially by attention to drainage and filling up all unne- 
cessary pools of water. Ragged old tanks, and 
offensive pools and holes of water, form a chain along 
the roadside, in and near all towns and villages, and 
spread like a network over the country ; their insula- 
tion rendering them only the more pestiferous, by 
making each an independent hotbed of malarious 
exhalations. The thing is so general, that every cot- 

* For the reasons assigned in the Editor's preface, the plates 
transmitted from India, as portions of this work, are not published ; 
but remain with the publishers for the inspection of the scientific 
reader. — D. E. 



212 DIFFERENT CAUSES OF 

tage may be said to be built over a green putrefying 
pool, out of which the mud to build the house had 
been taken, and which is reckoned a domestic conven- 
ience. 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 con- 
veniently near, and saves the trouble of going to the 
nearest large tank, or the river. This accumulation 
of animal and vegetable matter, festering under a tro- 
pical sun, renders every hole a pest pit, and the whole 
population eat, drink, and breathe perpetual infection. 
The effects 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, diar- 
rhoea, dysentery, 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 endemic 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 
afforded 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 dis- 



ENDEMIC ELEPHANTIASIS. 213 

posed to regard as an acute form of the disease which, 
in its chronic shape, gives rise to constitutional ele- 
phantiasis. On the 16th 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 different 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 advancing. 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 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 connections live. I 
could see nothing objectionable about the rooms 
inhabited by my patients ; but, on looking out of the 
back windows, I saw that the house rose right over a 
large, ragged, neglected 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 



214 DESCRIPTION OF 

small ill-ventilated rooms. In short, it was a most 
ingenious labyrinth, conti'ived for receiving and re- 
taining 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 mala- 
ria ; 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 ag- 
gravated form of the malarious fever that usually 
ends in elephantiasis and dropsy; the stage of ele- 
phantiasis being only more acute than usual, from 
constitutional peculiarity, or the severity of the dis- 
ease. Being questioned as to their probability of 
recovery, I said, that there was little hope, except for 
one of them, and at this moment (1st Dec.,) one only 
is alive, but not recovered. 

The true " elephantiasis" scrotal tumours are ex- 
cessively 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. 

Fig. VII. shows well the difference between con- 
stitutional and local disease : this tumour, weighing 
sixty pounds, commenced with hydrocele, and has 
gone on increasing regularly for the last twelve years, 
without any disturbance of the system; indeed the 
man is one of the most robust Bengalees I ever saw, 
as his portrait shows ; and his nervous system was 



SCROTAL ELEPHANTIASIS. 215 

so unbroken, that all our efforts were vain to mesmer- 
ise him. I therefore took it off in the usual way, 
saving the penis, and on the fourth day the wound 
had united throughout. In the tumours arising from 
hydrocele the surface is. generally smooth, the skin 
not discoloured, and the cellular substance is filled 
with a gelatinous substance, among which the remains 
of the cells, which have been enormously distended, 
are perceived. 

Fig. VIII. is a tumour, thirty pounds weight, of 
syphilitic origin. 1. is the enlarged prepuce; 2. the 
opening of the urethra; 3. sloughing sores filled with 
worms, and it will be seen that the small excrescences 
are warts, rather than tubercles ; the parietes were a 
compromise between the two other kinds. The 
patient reported that he had syphilis with buboes, 
twelve years ago, which was followed, two years 
after, by hydrocele of both sides of the scrotum, and 
ever since the enlargement had been going on. He 
was operated on before I had made the acquaintance 
of Mesmerism. 

This 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 dis- 
ease ; the testes frequently unaltered, but very vari- 
ously situated, and with common expedition, the 



216 MODE OF OPERATING ON 

bleeding allows time enough to save all the organs, if 
it is thought expedient to do so, in tumours of moder- 
ate dimensions. Even when the testes are enlarged, 
and castration 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 being always in situ, as has been said, it is im- 
mediately found by running a bistoury from the open- 
ing in the prepuce, wherever it may be, up to the 
symphysis pubis, and a long fyistouri 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 outward cut. The penis is then easily 
freed, and a semi-lunar incision carried from its root 
across each of the spermatic cords ; these are easily 
found ; and if the testes prove to be worth preserving, 
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 expedi- 
tious: one continued wound suffices for finding 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 



SCROTAL ELEPHANTIASIS. 217 

the covering. The testes often adhere to the fundus 
of the tumour, which vexatious complication is gen- 
erally caused by the natives making deep escars with 
the actual cautery, in the hope of discussing the 
swelling by suppuration ; but the irritation only accel- 
erates 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 covering 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, 1 had 
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 twen- 
ty-eight, varying from a few pounds to eighty pounds ; 
and there has not been a fatal case among them. 
The results are — 

All the parts saved in - - - 13 
One testis sacrificed - 6 

Both 8 

All removed 1 



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 

10 



218 FIRST USE OF MESMERISM 

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 educate 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 unsupported, 
and bent his knefes, 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 opera- 
tions 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 some reason for this, 
and I only see two ways of accounting for it : my 



IN SCROTAL ELEPHANTIASIS. 219 

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 
sufferers, — " Look at me ; I have got rid of my bur- 
then, (of 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, or 80 lbs., 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 themselves. 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 before the operation was finished ; I will not 
inflict the whole fourteen 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 



220 MESMERIC OPERATIONS ON 

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 Fu- 
queer'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 insen- 
sible. 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 amazement, 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 Mr. Bennett, superin- 
tendent of Excise, I removed a tumour weighing 
eight' pounds, without the man being disturbed; 
although the operation was tedious, from the testes 
having contracted adhesions. I succeeded in saving 



SCROTAL ELEPHANTIASIS. 221 

all the organs ; he awoke soon after it was all over, 
said he felt no pain, and was quite ready to be oper- 
ated on now. 

Oct. 25th. — Gooroochuan Shah, a shop-keeper, aged 
40. He has got a "monster tumour," which prevents 
him 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 oedematous, 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 mesmerising, and was drawn with 
the mattress to the end of the bed (my usual mode of 
proceeding :) 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 ar- 
rested ; 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 



222 MESMERIC OPERATIONS ON 

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 contend against ; and, though in so weak a 
condition, he has surmounted this, and gone on very 
well. 

Dec. 1st. — Has been allowed to go home at his own 
request: the wound is filling up slowly, for want of 
integument. 

Oct. 27th. — Rammohun Sunokur, a jeweller, aged 
44, has got a large tumour. He became insensible 
on the fifth day, and I removed the tumour in the 
presence of Mr. Wauchope and Mr. Bennett. The 
bleeding was violent, and the testes adherent to cica- 
trices from burnings: I was therefore obliged to sacri- 
fice them. About the middle of the operation he 
gave a cry, but did not awake till twenty minutes 
after it was over, and then said, that he wanted some- 
thing 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 dinner 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 hos- 



■SCROTAL ELEPHANTIASIS. 223 

pital, I was told that another man had come with a 
tumour, -since my morning visit, and had been en- 
tranced. 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 to- 
morrow, at ten o'clock. 

Nov. 3d. — The operation was performed to-day, at 
twelve o'clock, in the presence of the Rev. Mr. Brad- 
bury, and Mr. Bennett. As the bleeding was moder- 
ate, 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 ap- 
peared, and the organs were all saved. 

Before commencing, I put his arm erect in the air 
as an u 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 re- 
adjusted, and said, " It is done !" Being asked how 
he knew, he said, by seeing me bloody, and the people 
all standing round, but that he had felt nothing, and 
had little pain now. The excrescence weighed twen- 
ty-five pounds. 

Nov. 16th. — Ameer Mullick, a cooly, 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 operation was 
tedious, on account of old adhesions ; but he did not 
awake till some time after it was finished, and then 



224 OPERATIONS DURING 

said, that nothing had disturbed him. The mass 
weighed thirty pounds. 

Nov. 18th. — Bungsee, a peasant, aged 55, has a 
tumour which weighed twenty-eight pounds, when 
cut off, and has existed for nine years. He was en- 
tranced 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 Engineers. I found all the organs, 
and showed that the testes were atrophied and use- 
less : 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 persons being operated on in 
the Mesmeric trance. Cases have occurred in which 
no pain was felt, even subsequent to the operation, 
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 com- 
mand 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 MESMERIC TRANCE. 225 

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 pre- 
caution of a preliminary trance or two. I have already 
said, that flexibility of the limbs, till moved, and their 
remaining 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 com- 
plete relaxation of the whole muscular system, and 
the arms and legs can be tossed about without resist- 
ance, 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 seen wide open, fixed, and the pupil dilated. 
On one occasion, having ordered a man to be en- 
tranced, 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 was 
ready, and, without testing his condition farther, per- 
formed on him a tedious, but painless, operation. 

I also wish to remark, that I have seen no indica- 
tion of congestion of blood on the brain ; the circula- 
tion, while my patients were in the trance, being 
10* 



226 OPERATIONS DURING 

natural, like that of a sleeping person. Those I oper- 
ate 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 strug- 
gle, 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 sensibility 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 natu- 
ral 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 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 rub- 
bing 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 



THE MESMERIC TRANCE. 227 

convict himself of an incurable moral blindness, which 
it would be folly to attempt to dissipate by experi- 
ment and reasoning : — " none are so blind as those 
who won't see." 

The dreadful shock given to the mind under such 
circumstances, or when a somnambulist awakens and 
finds himself perhaps 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 impassive 
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 the system more than is necessary for 
the cure of disease, appear to me to be the real dan- 
gers 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 recep- 
tion of the mesmeric influence ; and I argue favoura- 
bly of the patient's powers of submission, when I 
recognise in him the languid, listless air that charac- 
terises functional debility of the nerves. 

As I never have attempted, and never will attempt, 
to mesmerise people in health, I cannot speak from 
my own experience as to their mesmeric sensibility ; 
but we are assured by the best authorities that many 



228 author's remarks. 

persons in health can be subdued, and my experi- 
ments go to support this. My patient Mrs. had 

not a toothache even when she was mesmerised, in 
order to prepare 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 under- 
mining 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 Mesmeri- 
sers, 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 mesmerised for fun should know this ; and then 
they will probably choose some other kind of amuse- 
ment. 



CHAPTER IX. 

Curiosities of Mesmerism. — Unsatisfactory Nature of Public 
Exhibitions. — Apology for giving one. — Account of it by 
a Visiter. — The Modes in which the Mesmeric Fluid can 
be transmitted. — It acts at great Distances. — Is absorbed 
by Water. — Can pass through a Wall. — Final Experi- 
ments. 

My original intention was to confine myself strictly 
to an examination of the medical pretentions of Mes- 
merism, and to eschew all but the practical part at 
present, and thus open the minds of men to a recep- 
tion 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 rencontre 
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 
" duke" I hope to be pardoned by the stern utilitarian 



230 CURIOSITIES OF MESMERISM. 

reader for devoting achapter to the " Curiosities of 
Mesmerism" 

Knowing the worthlessness of public exhibitions for 
effecting a general conversion to the truth of Mesmer- 
ism, I was very averse to subject it to this unsatisfac- 
tory ordeal, and determined not to be made a showman 
of. All performers in public are not unnaturally sus- 
pected 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 care- 
ful and intelligent observer has not the necessary means 
of 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 be- 
yond his comprehension. 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 ant-hill in the 
plains of Bengal to decide authoritatively 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 Gov- 
ernment-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 



CURIOSITIES OF MESMERISM. 231 

necessary evil, and make the most of it, by converting 
an exclusive party into as general and promiscuous a 
meeting as possible. It was therefore pretty generally 
made known, that all the curious might be gratified/or 
the first and last time on the 29th of July. Accord- 
ingly 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 newspapers 
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. 

« Si r? — 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, consented 
to mesmerise for non-professional purposes. 

" The party was very numerous, two steamers hav- 
ing brought the curious from Barrackpore and Cal- 
cutta ; and there was a large assemblage of the 
European and Native residents of Hooghly and 
Chinsurah. 



232 CURIOSITIES OF MESMERISM. 

" 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 sup- 
plied by others, I hope, as it is desirable that all the 
proceedings of the day should be clearly laid before 
the public. 

" On entering the hospital, we saw two men extend- 
ed on beds, with their native mesmerisers hanging 
over them ; but I had no time to examine their 
process, as Dr. Esdaile proceeded to business. He 
said that these two men were now under the mes- 
meric 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 Doctor 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 in a couple of 
minutes I suppose. The mesmeriser was desired to 
continue his efforts, and I saw him breathe on the head, 
and place both his hands at the same time on the pit 
of the stomach ; Dr. E. explaining that he often suc- 
ceeded in restoring the trance, although broken to 
this degree. And sure enough, in a few minutes, the 
man became perfectly senseless, to all appearance, 
and every body was allowed to examine and experi- 
ment upon him for the whole time we remained here ; 



CURIOSITIES OF MESMERISM. 233 

and as I believe there were several medical men 
present, making active observations, I hope that they 
will favour us with the results of their investigation. 
We were now agreeably 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 mesmerised 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 re- 
turned from his ambuscade, having been absent for 
about five minutes, and pointing to the quivering eye- 
lids, said, that this was very characteristic of the mes- 
meric 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- 
diately awoke, but in a delirious state, and arose to 
walk, muttering and staggering about in a singular 
manner ? and on being taken back to bed, she fell into 



234 CURIOSITIES OF MESMERISM. 

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 singular 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 hospital 
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 succeeded, 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 striking 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. 



CURIOSITIES OF MESMERISM. 235 

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

" The Doctor had proved his gun, however, I sup- 
pose, as he very coolly and steadily took aim at his 
man, keeping his hands extended, and moving them 
across his face, and from head to foot. I could dis- 
tinguish 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 pre- 
vent him from falling, and not unnecessarily ; for the 
patient trembled violently, and had to be supported. 
The operator now bid us 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 him, he called out — ' Oh yes ! do what you 
please.' He now fell into the Doctors' hands princi- 
pally, 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 degree 



236 CURIOSITIES OF MESMERISM. 

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 convert him into 
an imitating machine, with only sense enough left to 
hear and obey his orders, without the power of 
answering questions ; reflection being quite dormant. 
Having cleared up his brain a little more, and attract- 
ed his attention by repeating the key note several 
times, the performance proceeded. He was ordered 
to do what the Doctor did, and certainly obeyed his 
orders most exactly, throwing himself, on the instant, 
into every attitude of the mesmerist, and the very 
scientific manner in which he took a landsman's 'sight' 
did great credit to his astronomical powers ; no omni- 
bus 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 



CURIOSITIES OF MESMERISM. 237 

full chorus, and some said, ' He can't help laughing 
himself.' Upon which Dr. Esdaile stopped his per- 
formance, 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 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, he 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 foreheads 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 per- 
fectly 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 afterwards an 



238 CURIOSITIES OF MESMERISM. 

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 conclu- 
ding piece would be the sleeping water, or the 'veri- 
table eau merveilleuse? 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 againts all imposition, two 
Clergymen, and two Doctors, were deputed to see the 
water charmed, and in a few minutes 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 unmercifully, 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 somnam- 
bulists. 

" I have thus endeavoured to give an account of 
what was 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 char- 
acteristic to narrate. The medical men seemed to be 
wide awake, and availed themselves of the opportu- 



CURIOSITIES OF MESMERISM. 239 

nity ; 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 seivant, 

" 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 distance 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 probably 
detect analogies and affinities between the mesmeric 
fluid and other better known natural powers, and per- 
haps prove that it is only a modification of an in- 
organic 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 person 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 interval 
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 I he possible extent of the mesmeric sphere of 
action ; if we wish to ascertain this, it must be by 



240 CURIOSITIES OF MESMERISM. 

actual experiment. In acting upon persons, through 
the air, without any gesticulations, and by the agency 
of water, we can make an experiment without exci- 
ting the smallest suspicion, and when these are fre- 
quently successful in first trials, I should think that it 
must be considered conclusive proof of the trans- 
missibility of the mesmeric fluid by these media. The 
possibility of affecting persons 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 distance : I had not determined when 
or how to try it, and this was decided by an acciden- 
tal 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 moment 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 




CURIOSITIES OF MESMERISM. 241 

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 a cold imagination, 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 maintain our infallibility: the "Sacred College" 
was rapidly revolving through space, while its learned 
members were constraining the earth to remain a fix- 
ture by a " Senatus consultum," as had been deter- 
mined by the wisdom of the schools ; and the mes- 
meric fluid will, " like a chartered libertine," not only 
permeate the air, but also probably pass through walls, 
11 



212 CURIOSITIES OF MESMERI3M. 

let its opponents oppose its progress by what argu- 
ments they please. In coming to this conclusion, I 
only rely on first trials also, and their results have 
been as positive and striking as any I have recorded. 
I have shown that a person whose system has been 
deeply imbued with the mesmeric action, will some- 
times become entranced by merely turning his face 
to the wall, and leaving him quiet for a few minutes : 
all the account that such a mesmeric victim -can give 
of himself is, that he feels a coldness and numbness 
in the limbs, a sense of weight in the back of the head, 
and an unconquerable heaviness 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 acknowledge the possibility of some 
of these being cases of independent Mesmerism, as 
the constitution, to be affected in this manner, must be 
deeply tainted ; and something unusual was certainly 
done to them. To solve this doubt effectually, I have 
of late been looking out for a blind man, and one has 
luckily presented 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 evi- 
dence 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 sat 



CURIOSITIES OF MESMERISM. 243 

isfied, but hope that I shall be the first to change this 
or any other opinion here advanced, whenever con- 
tradicted by new facts. 

Dec. 14th. — 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 minutes; I then 
roused him up a little, and made him a somnambulist ; 
he walked with great difficulty, and While doing so 
said he was fast asleep in his bed. He very soon 
became unable to support himself, and fell into the 
trance, in which he remained for two hours. 

Dec. 15th. — When sitting in the middle of the room 
to-day, I went and looked steadily at him from out- 
side 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 
muscular system ; when placed on his feet he imme- 
diately 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, but again re- 
turned on my renewing attempts to awake him ; he 
slept for more than two hours. 

Dec. 16th. — I sent the Sub- Assistant Surgeon to 
the Jail Hospital, desiring him to get the man placed 
with his face towards the wall, but not touching it ; 
to take care not to excite his attention, 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 



244 CURIOSITIES OF MESMERISM. 

hands under my mouth. In ten minutes I went to 
see what was done, and found him conversing in a 
lively manner with my Assistant : returned, and gave 
him five minutes more ; went to see again : found 
them still talking, 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. 19th. — Mr. Samuells, the collector of Burd- 
wan, 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 administers the 
medicine, and he was ordered to give it as such ; in 
two or three minutes he was completely insensible. 

Dec. 20th. — 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 to 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 



CURIOSITIES OF MESMERISM. 245 

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 attitude was not in the small- 
est degree changed, and he looked like a 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 hospital 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 be- 
fore the mesmeric trance. 

That it gives us a complete command of the muscu- 



246 CURIOSITIES OF MESJM2KJ3M, 

lar system, and is therefore of great service in re- 
storing 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 inflammations. 

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 mesmerised 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 materials. 



APPENDIX. 



When speaking of Somnambulism, I ventured to express 
my belief that " Clairvoyance," or fhe transference of sense, 
had been witnessed in diseased states of the body, and that, 
as we can imitate Nature step by step, by artificially pro- 
ducing Somnambulism, Catalepsy, and a state of the system 
resembling Hysteria, in which "Clairvoyance" has been 
witnessed as a symptom in disease ; 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 Mes- 
merism. 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 exist- 
ence 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 Somnambulism, 
says: 



248 APPENDIX. 

" The sleep-walker, when otherwise healthy, falls, at a 
particular 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 fre- 
quently 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 obstacles 
which may stand, or have been designedly placed in his 
route, and makes his way along rugged paths, and climbs 
dangerous 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 other operations requiring light and the 
natural use of the eyes. All these actions, however, are 
performed by 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 pecu- 
liar 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, fre- 
quently occurs in diseases, especially in diseases of the 
nervous system. In the latter case, the affection usually 
commences with a paroxysm of convulsive motions, cata- 
lepsy, apparent syncope, and then passes over with a state 



APPENDIX. 249 

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 former. 
Before these patients are completely restored to their ordi- 
nary waking stale, their sleep is changed into a similar con- 
vulsive state, combined with want of consciousness. 

" Of this species of Somnambulism occurring in nervous 
diseases, we are in possession of many curious instances, 
of which the Aulic Councillor Meiners, a, celebrated pro- 
fessor at Goettingen, has inserted several very remarkable 
examples in his instructive collection. In respect to its 
chief characteristics, this species of Somnambulism, occur- 
ring in nervous diseases, completely resembles the natural 
crisis ; it is recognised 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 translated 
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 accompanying nervous diseases. The 
patient was a female of sixteen years of age. The par- 
oxysm attacked her in the morning, and consisted of a 
profound sleep. In this state, she would jump with aston- 
ishing activity upon tables and chairs, run, when permitted, 
and with great rapidity, out of the house, — generally to a 
particular 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 pa h might be, or however fast she might run; and 
11* 



250 APPENDIX. 

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 stum- 
bling, much less falling. During all these hazardous opera- 
tions, her eyes were fast closed, and she appeared to he de- 
prived 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, 
hut, notwithstanding of this circumstance, he saw and named 
all objects that were presented to him. 

A very remarkable case was related to me by a most 
trustworthy 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 nervous com- 
plaint, in which strong convulsive motions alternated with 
catalepsy and syncope. Besides, she frequently had par- 
oxysms, during which she conversed with much liveliness 
and ingenuity. In this state, she distinguished without diffi- 
culty all colours that were presented to her, recognised the 
numbers of the cards, and the stripes upon those tchich 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 waking 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 
paroxysm. 



APPENDIX. 251 

Another very remarkable case will be found in the 
" Breslau Medical Collections." It relates to a rope-maker, 
who was frequently overtaken by sleep, even in the day- 
time, and in the midst of his usual occupations. While in 
this state, he sometimes recommenced doing all that he had 
been engaged in during the previous part of the day ; at 
other times he would continue the work in which he hap- 
pened 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 Nuremburg 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 dark- 
ness, as well as by daylight. His eyes, however, were 
firmly closed, and he could not see when 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 !>: side him. 



252 APPENDIX. 

There is another case, somewhat older, observed and 
circumstantially 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. Afterwards 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 perform all sorts of operations on his clothes and 
the furniture of the room. He climbed up to the window 
sill, and from thence 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 fall 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 stockings 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 



APPENDIX. 253 

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 notico 
two remarkable cases, which were both observed with 
great accuracy 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 complaint, 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 
appropriate 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 surprising effect. One of the persons present 
turned the notes upside down : this he immediately per- 
ceived, and when he recommenced 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 occa- 
sion, notwithstanding his eyes were still completely closed, he 
remarked that the landlord of the opposite house was stand- 



254 APPENDIX. 

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 interesting, 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 
Archbishop of Bourdeaux, and reported in the great 
French Encyclopedia. It is the case of a young ecclesias- 
tic, 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 



Al'PENDIX. 



writing j 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 corresponding notes. 
He soon perceived the error, hlotted out the part, and wrote 
it over again with great exactness. 

I hope that these examples, to which I might add a great 
many others, will be sufficient to show that the somnam- 
bulist, during this extraordinary state, is enabled, appa- 
rently 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 ihe best 
authenticated cases descriptive of the same condition of 
things in Somnambulism, and derangement of the nervous 
system induced by Mesmerism ; and as this is the only 
physical symptom of any consequence, described by Eu- 
ropean 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 subject. 

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 elevated far above suspicion ; men, in short, 
far more honourable and trustworthy than their wretched, 
chiefly anonymous, calumniators. They will be found to 
be, principally, eminent physicians, such as Hufeland, 



256 APPENDIX. 

physician to the king of Prussia; Steiglitz, physician to 
the king of Hanover ; Brandis, physician to the king of Den- 
mark ; Klein, physician to the king of Wirtembcrg ; 
Wienholt ; Olbers, the astronomer ; Gmelin ; Heinecken ; 
Bockman ; Baehrens; Ennemmoser ; Sprengel, author of 
a history of medicine, and other learned works ; Haindorf ; 
Nolte ; Spindler ; Nasse ; Nees von Esenbeck ; Passa- 
vant ; Ziermann ; Heinroth ; Leupoldt, &c. — Physiologists, 
suchasReil; Treviranus ; Autenrieth ; Humboldt ; Bur- 
dach ; Eschenmayer ; Kieser, &c. — Naturalists, such as 
La Place, Cuvier, Oken, &c. — Philosophers, such as 
Fichte, Schelling, StefFens, Baader, Hegel, &c. — Theo- 
logians, such as Schleiermacher, Mayer, &c. To these 
might be added a vast number of men of genei'al 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 en- 
lightened 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 objec- 
tion. Pray, how are the facts of nature to be discovered 
and appreciated, unless by those who take an interest in 
investigating them 1 Are the facts of chemistry to be dis- 
credited, because they have been discovered by chemists ? 
And is the same ultra sceptical test to be applied to elec- 
tricity, galvanism, astronomy, and general physics 1 Are 
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 indif- 
ferent to the results ? 



APPENDIX. 257 

The Author, then, feels no hesitation in appealing to the 
experience of the most eminent magnetists, in confirmation 
of the fact which, as we have seen, has been manifested in 
many instances, of the natural Somnambulism ; but in or- 
der to deprive the most obdurate sceptics of every pretence 
for denying the reality of the fact in question, we shall 
proceed to the brief enumeration of cases, in which the 
controverted phenomenon was distinctly 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 stomach, 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 clairvoyante 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 
distinguished the colours of cards by means of the epigas- 
trium. 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 enveloped in a covering of double linen. 
De Valenti's patient described the ornamental devices on 
his watch ; she also recognised the picture of a soldier 
placed on her stomach. In many other patients the func- 
tions of other organs were also manifested at the epigas- 
trium. Dr. Joseph Frank's patient, Louisa Baerkmann, re- 
cognised and felt the taste of sugared water at the epigas- 



258 APPENDIX. 

trie region, and heard at the same place. A servant girl, 
magnetised by De Valcnti, 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 phenomenon. 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 dis- 
tinguished cards in the same manner. Nay, when he held 
his elbow out of the window, he saw every tiling in the 
street to the distance of 150 paces. Van Ghert's somnam- 
bulist 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 Hol- 
land, 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 som- 
nambulists heard sometimes with her fingers, sometimes 
with every part of her body. Articles of food she tasted 
with her fingers, as witli her mouth. The second somnam- 
bulist, mentioned in the work referred 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 somnambulist possessed the power of 



APPENDIX. 259 

changing the focus of vision at pleasure. In some cases, 
it would appear, the whole body becomes as it were clair- 
voyant. 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 perception, in these cases, might, perhaps, 
be more properly denominated feeling, than actual sight, 
hearing, &c. It is worthy of remark, too, that the percep- 
tions 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 
)f the existence in certain states of the organism, of the 
phenomenon of sensible perception, without the use of the 
appropriate organs. 

Here, then we have a body of evidence in support of the 
existence 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 depend- 
ent on their character 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 useless to accu- 
mulate facts and evidence, and " taboo" its consideration 
by the human mind. 

THE END.