Sidor som bilder

from his German congeners. He had, it is true, 66 a countenance more in sorrow than in anger;" yet he was full of revenge; and, except where his private interests were involved, very incommunicative, revealing few of the "secrets of his prison-house." Altogether, his marked inferiority, in character and accomplishments, to these genuine ghosts, excites a doubt as to his veritable existence; he may be merely a "being of the mind," the creature of man's imagination.

If science should establish a regular communication with ghostly powers, dreams will lose much of their importance; but the subject is inscrutable-the ghosts must be left to unfold their own tales.


"Why should a man whose blood is warm within,
Sit like his grandsire cut in alabaster?
Sleep when he wakes?


Merchant of Venice.

"Rosalia is sleeping calmly on the sofa. Her magnetiser raises her feet, then passes his hand between them and the floor; this signal is to place a stool under her feet. Actually from this moment the two feet of Rosalia remain in the air as if they were supported by an object placed beneath them. When strong pressure is made on them, they are forced to yield; but then the entire body follows the movement, and instantly as the action ceases the two feet rise together in the position given them by the magnetiser."

"After having remained a long time in this way without evincing any fatigue, Rosalia is asked why she keeps her feet raised; because, says she,' I have placed them on a stool.'" Du Ponceau.

[ocr errors]

"Limbs so set

As if they had some voluntary act
Without man's motion, and must move just so
In spite of their creation."

This experiment might have been varied; the operator, no doubt, might easily have passed the sofa away from Rosalia, leaving the whole of her rigid body " in the air"—like the material part of Mahomed-without any visible means of support.


Nay, soft, I pray ye; I know a trick worth two of that, i' faith."
King Henry IV. p. 1.

"CALLIXTE is one of those rare and valuable subjects whom science may work on with confidence. Put to sleep by M. Ricard, and his eyes covered with a bandage, he commences by forming several card parties. The cards are new, and for the greater regularity, we were requested to supply them ourselves. All this precaution does not prevent him from winning on his adversary. The rapidity with which he plays is incredible, so much so, that it would astonish any one even if observed in a man broad awake.

"Sometimes, before his adversary had time to look at his game, Callixte throws his on the table, saying, ' I play without proposing, and you have lost, for you have such and such cards in your hand.' Nor was he mistaken on any one occasion."

"On a number of small cards were written beforehand the different movements which the spectators may make him perform. M. Ricard-after this plain admonition-Callixte, pay attention, I am

[ocr errors][merged small]

going to speak to you-reads MENTALLY the phrase, adds not a word, makes no gesture, and Callixte obeys his thought."

"On one card was written, 'Let the somnambulist rise, take four steps, and touch with his right hand the chest of the magnetiser.' The mental order is given; Callixte reflects an instant, rises, walks, counts his steps, hesitates some seconds, then finishes by completing the performance of the mysterious order."

"I myself drew, at hazard, three cards from a hat where they were mixed; their united sense forms this phrase 'Let the somnambulist rise, mount on a chair, and fall backwards into the arms of his magnetiser.' Callixte rises, mounts on a chair, hesitates, and then lets himself fall at once into the arms of M. Ricard, who fancies himself upset by he violence of the shock."

"Let us remind our readers that our Juggler has his eyelids covered with combed cotton, and over this a thick handkerchief." Manuel Pratique.

And yet some persons are cynical enough to compare "our Juggler" with the Great Wizard of the North, or Travitanto Tudesko-Hyperion to a Satyr!

"Green heads as void of wit as thought, Suppose themselves monopolists of sense, And other men's abilities pretence."

Why did not Callixte become a competitor for the prize offered by Burdin to any one who could read without eyes? Pigeaire, a venal physician, was tempted, on this occasion, to descend to trickery, employing as his tool his own daughter," who could never read with her finger," as the umpires declared, unless when placed in such a position that some light might pass between the edge of the bandage and her nose. Sordid impostors are always on the alert to seize upon any temporary advantage which the lights of science may give them. Not long ago a boy was exhibited in London who " invariably gave correct answers concerning objects which he could not see;" but it was soon discovered that his father, when speaking to him, "began each successive sentence with a word, the first letters

of which put together formed the answer; for instance—if the object was of silk, the father might thus address him;—

'See now you speak correctly-
I know you will-

Look well before you speak

K now now what you are about.'"

Ben Jonson refers to a cognate cozenage in his Volpone;

"The meat was cut

So like his character, and so laid, as he
Must easily read the cypher."

The path of the mesmerist, unhappily for the cause of science, has been beset by unprincipled pretenders; and tools for doing any kind of dirty work are always easily found, or fabricated. The facility with which many of the effects of mesmerism may be simulated, has suggested temptations too strong for corrupt human nature to withstand;

[blocks in formation]

The mesmerist not unfrequently damages his own cause by unwisely giving to facts a higher colouring than truth requires; the details of the Leicester case-the great mesmeric fact of the dayhave provoked public disclaimers, on the part of some gentlemen who witnessed the operation, of their concurrence in the accuracy of the published report. Mr. Shaw declares, that "unquestionably, the patient exhibited strong marks of sensibility to pain;" and Mr. Paget says "there was a considerable groaning, writhing, and an approach to screaming. I have seen those who, under operations equally severe, have, without mesmerism, given far less indications of pain; and, but for the after declarations of the patient herself, I should have concluded that she had endured with no very unusual fortitude the ordinary amount of suffering." It has occasionally

happened that, after a battle, both the belligerent parties have laid claim to the victory; it is evident that, in this contest, the palm must be left at the disposal of the patient; but then comes the question-WHAT IS THE CHARACTER OF THE WOMAN?

A few months ago, a man was charged at one of the police courts of the metropolis, with committing a theft; the defence set up was that the party at the time was in a magnetic crisis; but as no respectable magnetist was called to establish the truth of the assertion, the magistrate refused to listen to the plea; and the probability is that the accused was a normal thief. Such knavish practices have always a bad tendency, although they greatly affect only minds of small caliber; Rochefoucauld says l'hypocrisie est un hommage que le vice rend à la vertu.


"The blest INFUSIONS that dwell in vegetives, in metals, stones."


"THE famous tree of Busancy-magnetised from time immemorial by the love of pleasure, is so now by the love of humanity. M. Puységur has imparted to it a salutary, active, penetrating virtue. Its emanations are distributed by means of cords, with which the body and branches are surrounded, which are affixed to it all around, and are prolonged at pleasure. Several stone seats have been placed around this mysterious tree, on which all the sick persons are seated, who twist the cord round the affected part of the body. Then the operation commences, every one forming the chain and holding each other by the thumb. The magnetic fluid circulates at these moments

« FöregåendeFortsätt »