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CHAPTER VIII

HEIGHTENED SENSIBILITY IN HYPNOSIS. EMANATIONS AND THE HUMAN AURA

Taking a normal subject in the hypnotic state with eyes closed we shall find, without any verbal suggestion whatever, that his sensibility is greatly augmented. Thus passes made with the hand or only one finger above any part of his body, about six inches from it, appear to be felt by the subject, who will move that part in the direction in which the passes are applied. An ordinary horseshoe magnet drawn across in a similar manner will produce a like result.

A magnet held in the operator's hand, in a completely darkened room, will be visible to a hypnotized person, when his eyes are opened, by the luminosity at its poles. The subject can be awakened from his trance and will still see rays of faint light emanating from the magnet.

The hand of the operator has a similar effect on sensitive subjects, faint rays appearing to issue from the tips of the fingers. Absolute darkness is essential, and some subjects require to remain for some time in the darkness before the experiment is commenced. Light from a candle or entering from a chink or cranny may spoil the effect. Of course, one must be careful not to tell the subject what he is expected to see, for that would introduce the element of suggestion.

I have found that ordinary magnetic discs, which are used for hypnotizing people, can be made luminous in the dark by rubbing them between the fingers. The ordinary bronze coin has a similar, though not quite such a strong, effect.

The light which the subject declares to emanate from them is sometimes sufficiently strong to illuminate surrounding objects, which the subject will describe.

The weak point in these observations is that they so largely depend on the good faith of the sensitives, whose testimony is often unreliable, owing to the possibility of hypnotic suggestion causing them to see things subjectively which do not exist in fact, and also because no one in an ordinary state of consciousness has been able to verify the truth of these phenomena at first hand by the use of his senses.

I have seen experiments made in a psychological laboratory to disprove the supposed influence of magnets. A subject was told that a powerful magnet was at work behind his head and tracings were recorded by the proper instruments of his pulse and respiration. Then the subject was told that the magnet had been removed, when actually one was put on, and again tracings were recorded of the pulse and respiration. These tracings were thought to be a proof that the magnet had no power whatsoever, but from what I witnessed I was not convinced, except of one thing, that "suggestion" is stronger than any physical agent. Therefore by telling the patient what is going to happen, the whole experiment becomes worthless. The subject should never be allowed to know, in the hypnotic state or after, what is expected of him. When he is told in the hypnotic state, the suggested result takes place immediately; when he is told subsequently in the normal waking state, and we repeat the experiment, the subject is likely to remember the information and he no longer acts automatically or by inspiration, but starts guessing what is required of him, to please the operator or the audience.

In 1845 Karl von Reichenbach, of Vienna, naturalist and technical expert, discoverer of paraffin and creosote, made a series of experiments as to the influence of magnets, etc., on "sensitives," that is people whose powers of perception are exalted above the normal standard by virtue of a highly strung and sensitive nervous system, or those in an abnormal state of consciousness through hypnosis. The results he obtained, although treated with indifference, even contempt, by his scientific contemporaries, are so striking in the light of recent research and knowledge that I feel tempted to refer to them briefly. Reichenbach found that when strong magnets were presented to these subjects they saw flame-like appearances proceeding from the poles and sides of the magnets; the same phenomenon was observed in the case of crystals, and, moreover, they asserted they saw "fiery bundles of light flow from the finger-tips of healthy men" in the same way as from the poles of magnets and crystals.

Charcot, the famous French neurologist and hypnotist, believed in the power of the magnet, and produced similar effects, as did the old mesmerists. Bernheim did not believe in the magnet's power. Binet and Fere {Animal Magnetism, 1887) claimed that a magnet can effect a transfer of anaesthesia from one side of the body to the other. Boris Sidis {Psychology of Suggestion, 1910) also tried the effects of magnets. He made the verbal suggestion, "I shall change the direction of the magnet, and the transfer will take place from the arm to the leg." Accordingly, "at the end of a minute, the arm fell and the leg was raised."

I have already explained that suggestion is stronger than physical influence. I cannot, however, agree with Tamburini's view that magnetic force has no influence, that "it is only the temperature of the metal which has effect."

Milne Bramwell (Hypnotism, 1906) said on this point: "The enigmatic reports of the effect of magnets and metals, even if they be due, as many contend, to unintentional suggestion on the operator's part, certainly involve hyperaesthetic perception, for the operator seeks as well as possible to conceal the moment when the magnet is brought into play, and yet the subject not only finds it out at once in a way difficult to understand, but may develop effects, which (in the first instance, certainly) the operator did not expect to find."

Albert Moll {Hypnotism, 1909) mentioned Babinski's and Luys's experiments. "If a hypnotized subject and a sick person are set back to back, a magnet put between them will cause the sick person's symptoms to pass over to the hypnotized subject. Hysterical contractures and numbness have been thus transferred, as also the symptoms of organic disease. The transference is said to take place even when the hypnotized subject has no notion what the sick person's symptoms are—i.e. when suggestion is excluded. Luys went even farther. When he placed a magnet first on a sick person's head and then on a hypnotized subject, the morbid symptoms of the first person were supposed to appear in the hypnotized person." Moll's explanation was: "In these experiments of Babinski and Luys we have an obvious combination of the phenomena of mineral and animal magnetism. It is a significant fact that such assumptions as these have hardly ever been made in recent times by men who must be taken seriously. We are, therefore, justified in now assuming that the results obtained by Babinski and Luys in these experiments were due to suggestion—i.e. that there was self-deception on the part of the experimenters, who at the time were not so well acquainted with suggestion as a source of error as we are to-day. Of course, all this does not prove that it is impossible for the magnet to influence human beings."

Professor Obersteiner, the celebrated neurologist of Vienna, supposed that there may possibly be a special magnetic sense, which may come into activity with many people during hypnosis, and which is, perhaps, localized in some terminal organs whose functions are still unknown.

Mere passes by the operator's hands have often a soothing effect on persons suffering from pain. I need only remind the reader of the case I have mentioned of a patient suffering from the agonizing pains of a cancerous growth, whom I calmed after all medicinal remedies had failed.

That the operator's hands convey something to objects touched by him was shown at the Congress of Experimental Psychology in 1922, when Mr. Henry Sausse showed a similar experiment. He took a card, which someone else had chosen from a new pack, and, after holding it for a few seconds in his hand, replaced it in the pack, without having looked at it, The pack was shuffled and given to the subject, who had no knowledge of the identity of the card which had been handled by the experimenter, and yet, on going through the pack, was invariably able to pick out the right one.

A. Bue and Liebault conducted some experiments to prove that a living being can, merely by his presence, exercise a salutary influence on another living being, quite independently of suggestion. And is not that the experience of everyone who has ever felt sorrow or been ill? The child who has just fallen down and is weeping and screaming stops suddenly if his mother softly rubs the bruised spot. Who will deny that when he has been suffering or troubled the soft pressure of a beloved hand upon his forehead has suddenly comforted him? Bue restored the vitality of diseased organs by placing his hands on them or making pressure over them. If the "King's touch" of old had not had a salutary influence, it would not have persisted for so long. How could the thought of healing heal, if the brain, under the influence of this idea, did not constantly send into the diseased organs some currents which restore or regularize their functions?

Albert Moll has pointed out that an influence may be exercised on nerves at a certain, though perhaps very limited, distance; this was admitted also much earlier by Alexander von Humboldt, and his opinion was concurred in by Reil. More than once the hypo-thesis has been put forward of electrical activities being called up by mesmeric passes, for instance, by

Rostan and J. Wagner. Tarchanoff has demonstrated that the application of gentle stimuli to the skin will excite in it slight electric currents, and that, moreover, a strong effort of concentration of the will, with the muscular contraction by which it is invariably attended, will also suffice to produce the same.

It is not unlikely that the human organism is something akin to a radio-active body, for if our experiments do not deceive us, the body emits rays which can be seen and felt by sensitive persons. That they can be seen I have already shown. The following is an experiment, which I have often repeated, which would prove that they can also be felt. A person previously hypnotized and now awake and blindfolded is made to distinguish my hand from a dozen others, when held above his or her hand, at a distance of six inches or less for a few seconds. This is done with great success, and if we give the different persons numbers, the subject will after a time even recognize when the hand of No. 5 or 7, or any other, comes round again. This experiment would point to different emanations from different people and a discriminative sensibility for them in certain subjects in the hypnotic state. Possibly the sensations may be due entirely to hyper-sensitiveness to the temperature of the different hands, and this is one of the explanations offered by some of the critics; even so, the performance would be remarkable; but I cannot think that there is sufficient difference in the temperatures of the various hands to be perceived even by the most sensitive subject.

Braid observed that hypnotized subjects recognize things at a certain distance from the skin, and this by the increase and decrease of temperature. They walk about the room with bandaged eyes or in absolute darkness without striking against anything, because they recognize objects by the resistance of the air and by the alteration of temperature. Poirault and also Drzewiecki found the same.

Edmund Gurney maintained that there must be a special effluence or emanation to account for the fact that a peculiarly susceptible subject could discriminate the passes made by his magnetizer over an arm or finger, though carefully blindfolded and screened off. The effect produced sometimes amounted to complete local anaesthesia, whilst passes of other hypnotists produced no effect.

Professor Blondlot, of Nancy, announced in 1903 the discovery of certain radiations from the human body, called by him N-rays. Their existence has been denied, although Professor Becquerel showed that animals put under the influence of chloroform cease to emit these rays, but as soon as the influence of the anesthetic passes off the emission of the radiations recurs.

There is certainly some measurable energy given off by nerves and nerve centres. Professor Charpentier demonstrated that their emission was greatly augmented during functional activity, such as speaking or putting a muscle into action. Even the act of attention and mental effort was found to increase their activity, which was shown by the increased phosphorescence of the platino-cyanide of the barium screen used for that purpose.

J. L. Farny, a Swiss physicist, and K. Muller, Director of the Salus Institute in Zurich, claim that the human body gives off rays, especially on the inside of the hands and at the finger-tips; for they found by experiment that the electric conduction of certain substances which come in contact with these rays is thereby influenced. Apparently these rays, called by them R-rays, arise from the blood stream, for when there is an open wound in the hand the electric conduction of these substances is greatly increased.

These radiations are too faintly luminous for ordinary perception. If, however, we go down the scale of animal life we shall find examples of luminous phenomena apparently of nervous origin. For instance, among the beetles we find two suborders which have the power of emitting light—the glow-worm and the fire-fly. Other examples of luminous phenomena in connection with nervous tissues are to be observed in the light which proceeds from the eyes of some animals and insects, especially when seen in the darkness. In the case of some moths, the light emitted is distinctly violet; cats and dogs give out green; whereas the light from the human eye is orange or red. Certain magnetic phenomena are also attended with luminosity, such as the glow in Crookes's tube in the production of X-rays, and the aurora borealis.

Reichenbach claimed to have observed a similar phenomenon in dead bodies and attributed it to chemical action. He claimed that all chemical action is attended with the emission of what he called "odylic" light as well as odylic influence. He held that the chemical changes of decay in dead bodies are sources of such light, just as are the changes in the living body, and he explained thereby how sensitive persons see luminous appearances over churchyard graves in the dark of the night. There will be found in the work of Reichenbach several most interesting and instructive cases of this nature, and thus we find that science, with her touch, dissipates the shades of superstition. Corpse-lights exist, but they are not supernatural; neither are those who habitually see them "uncanny." The lights are perfectly natural and harmless, and the seers are only sensitive persons.

More recently Dr. Paul Joire (The Annals of Psychical Science, 1906) has also detected nerve rays, and has measured them. He has proved, moreover, that the nervous energy can be exteriorized in various other bodies. This he demonstrated at the International Congress of Psychiatry in 1907 (see Lancet, September 28th) by an instrument of his own invention—the Sthenometer.

The sthenometer consists essentially of a horizontal circular dial, marked out in 360 degrees, in the centre of which, balanced by a pivot on a glass support, is a light needle or pointer, most frequently made of straw. One arm of this pointer is much shorter than the other, and is weighted by a counterpoise to keep it in a horizontal position. The whole is covered with a glass shade. All possible sources of error having been eliminated, such as the action of heat, light, electricity, and sound, by special tests, it was found that when the extended fingers of one's hand are brought near the side of the shade without touching it, at right angles to the pointer, after a few moments, in the majority of cases, a decided movement of the pointer takes place, it being attracted towards the hand. This movement extends over fifteen, twenty, and sometimes up to forty and fifty degrees.

Dr. Joire observed also that not only do the extended fingers produce movements of the sthenometer needle, but also that certain substances which have been held in the hand produce movements, which, previous to being handled, caused no movement, thus proving the exteriorization of this nerve energy. The amount of movement varies with the nature of the substance, some materials giving no results at all. In all cases it was found that the movement was not so powerful as with the hand which previously fingered them. The objects which have been found incapable of storing this force are tinfoil, iron, cotton, and those capable of storing it in different proportions are wood, water, linen, cardboard.

Dr. Henry A. Fotherby recently called attention to the analogy of nerve force to magnetic force. He points out, among other facts, that the energy of sound and light is seen to be capable of conversion into nerve energy through the mechanism of special receiving organs, the ear and eye respectively; just as the energy of sound and light has physically been converted through the mechanism of the telephone and telectroscope into electricity and back again into sound and light.

Fere (Memoires de la Societe de Bio/ogie, 1888) was the first to discover the effect of the emotions on the galvanometer. Tarchanoff; Veraguth; C. J. Jung, of Zurich; and F. Peterson, of Columbia University, made further observations and claimed to be able to measure the emotions. They showed that if the body of an individual is introduced into the circuit of a mirrorgalvanometer through which a weak current is passing, and the resistance being so arranged by means of a rheostat as to enable them to bring the needle to zero on the scale, psychical conditions will lead to a deflection of the needle of the galvanometer. The inference is that the psychical change produces some physical change by which the current passes less readily or more readily through the body. If the individual is spoken to, or read to, indifferent words have no effect on the galvanometer, but as soon as words are uttered that evoke an emotional tone, an effect is produced on the galvanometer. Every stimulus accompanied by an emotion caused in normal people a deviation in the galvanometer, recorded upon a kymograph as a curve; the amount of such deviation, or height of the curve, being in direct proportion to the liveliness and actuality of the emotion aroused. The stimuli were of the most varied kind—for example, the threat of a needle, of a weight to fall, or its actual fall with a loud noise, arithmetical calculation, sudden call by name, and so on; and the resulting curves were found in normal people to vary directly in amplitude according to their unemotional and phlegmatic or excitable temperament. Successive stimuli delayed and diminished the response.

About thirty-five years ago Professor Savary d'Odiardi in Paris invented an instrument for proving i Ik: existence of rays from the eyes and brain.

Professor Ekripsy, of the Electrotechnical Institute,

Leningrad, also invented an apparatus for the measurement of the human rays.

Professor Cazzamali (Zeitschrift fur Parapsychologie, Leipsic) has invented an apparatus for demonstrating electro-magnetic waves sent out by the brain and affecting sensitive instruments in the room. He describes them as cerebral radio-waves of short length.

Sir Jagadis Chandra Bose, the well-known Indian biologist, demonstrated rays emanating from the human eye, and he, too, constructed an apparatus for their measurement. It is a sort of electroscope sensitive to very fine currents. Concentrating the sight on the instrument by mere will-power moves a needle registering the amount of energy in the ray.

Dr. Charles Russ (Lancet, July 30, 1921) is another investigator who invented an instrument which can be set in motion by the mere impact of human vision. He had reflected on the fact that the direct gaze or vision of one person soon becomes intolerable to another person, and this suggested to him that there might be a ray or radiation issuing from the human eye. Dr. Russ has given demonstrations with his apparatus before various scientific societies.

Now let me point out the significance of these investigations.

We know our friends not only by their visible forms and features; we know them also by the magic atmosphere which surrounds them. At least some of us do; perhaps those who are gifted with a special sensibility of that kind. We have also a feeling that a friendly person is in the house or room, though we cannot see him. Again, two perfect strangers meet, and they are drawn to one another before they speak, as if there was an affinity between them; two others meet, and they repel each other.

Even the moods we are in are sometimes conveyed to our friends, without a word being spoken and without any change in the facial expression.

Lavater believed that the eye of a man of genius had emanations; that rays of light, at any rate, reflected from it in a manner peculiar to itself; and that it is thus productive of stronger sensations in the observer than the eyes of ordinary men.

The rays emanating from the eyes and able to move a needle suspended by a slender thread from a delicate instrument, as invented by Russ and Bose, would explain the ancient superstition of certain persons affecting sensitive people with their "evil eye."

The human aura is said to extend from the body for a distance, some say a yard, and gradually fades away. According to Dr. Walter Kilner (The Human Atmosphere), who has made the human aura visible to people by scientific demonstrations on a screen, the aura of each person is seen to be coloured according to the vibrations belonging to his prevailing mental state of character. Grey, according to this experimenter, is the fundamental colour of the aura; as intelligence increases, blue becomes the prominent tint, and yellow is the colour of ill-health. The aura is not visible after death.

Each human being generates mental force and sends out thoughts and suggestions not only to the persons of whom he or she is thinking, but in all directions, in the same way as a light projecting its rays from its concentric sphere into space. These suggestions impress other minds which are mentally attuned to them, and have the same vibrations of thought and feeling, just as transmitting and receiving instruments of wireless telegraphy, being attuned, make communication possible; or like two tuning-forks of the same note vibrating sympathetically.

Suggestions reach us night and day from all directions ; they are good, bad, and indifferent, joyful or sad, constructive or destructive, and are accepted, rejected, or pass us by, according to the selective action which our subconscious mind possesses. A person who is vibrating at a low destructive rate of fear and worry, will catch similar thought-vibrations thrown out by other people who are in that kind of mood. A person who is vibrating in the joy of life and success, will catch the high vibrations of all the people who are on the same high vibratory level. There are various levels or currents of vibrations of these thought-waves, from the highest to the lowest in mentality and spirituality. We are immersed in them and are affected by them, in the measure as we sympathetically vibrate with them.



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