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Professor Lombroso witnesses how his patient gives accurate prophecies as to the future course of her illness and recommends strange remedies for the alleviation of her attacks



Type of spiritual experience

A description of the experience

Friar Herbert Thurston - The Physical Phenomenon of Mysticism

It is, of course, open to the reader to suggest that the Italian child was a victim of diabolical possession. The contention might seem to be sustained by the fact that Lombroso's patient made uncanny but quite accurate prophecies as to the future course of her illness and recommended strange remedies for the alleviation of her attacks, which in fact were employed with some measure of success. Limits of space preclude me from giving details, though one very curious feature may be mentioned.

On June 15th, the Signorina C.S. foretold that on July 2nd a spell of delirium would supervene, to be followed by severe cataleptic seizures "which would be cured by gold." In point of fact the attacks occurred as predicted and the suggested remedy proved efficacious both then and on another occasion.

One rubs one's eyes and wonders whether from the year 1880, the epoch of Huxley and Tyndall and Virchow and Haeckel, we have suddenly been transported back into the Middle Ages, for it was no internal administration of the chloride of gold which was thus indicated but a simple surface contact with the raw metal. I say this because Petetin, in his Electricite Animale (1808), had spoken of the use of this remedy in the treatment of similar neuroses, and because Professor Garmagnola's patient in 1840 was so immensely relieved by clutching a piece of gold that she went hunting everywhere for more gold, and finding an object of gilt bronze, mistook it for real gold and thought she had discovered a treasure. But while she was sensibly relieved by the genuine metal, the bronze proved of no use at all.

The source of the experience

Lombroso, Professor Cesare

Concepts and Symbols used in the text or image


Observation contributed by: Rosie Rock-Evans