Azam, Dr Etienne Eugène - Hypnotism, Double Consciousness and alterations of personality – The side effects of hypnotism - hypersensitivity
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
HYPNOTISM, DOUBLE CONSCIOUSNESS and alterations of personality by Etienne Eugène Azam
IV. -PHYSIOLOGICAL DEDUCTIONS
Hypnotic hypersensitivity is of great physiological interest; it is less constant, sometimes at first, most often after numbness.
It involves all the senses, except sight, but above all the muscular sense, whose presence it demonstrates in an irrefutable way. ……. hearing reaches such an acuity that a conversation can be heard on a lower floor; the subjects themselves become very tired of this sensitivity; their faces express the pain they feel when they hear the noise of cars, the noise of the voice; the sound of a watch is heard from a distance of 8 metres.
The sense of smell develops and acquires the power of that of animals. The patients throw themselves back, expressing disgust at smells that no one notices around them. Had we touched ether, or done an autopsy three or four days before, the patients know. Who would you call a doctor, I appeal to Mr Briquet (), who has not very often observed these spontaneous phenomena in hysterical people?
If, behind the patient, at a distance of 30 or 40 centimetres, his open hand or a cold body is held out, the subject immediately says that he is feeling cold or hot, and this sensation is so strong that it becomes painful, and that the subject tries to avoid it.
The same applies to taste.
The muscular sense acquires such finesse that I have seen the strange things told about spontaneous sleepwalking and many so-called magnetic subjects repeated before me.
I saw writing very, very correctly when a large book was interposed between the face and the paper; I saw a very fine needle threaded in the same position; walking in an flat, absolutely closed and blindfolded: all this with no other real guide than the resistance of the air, and the perfect precision of the movements, guided by the hyperesthesiated muscular sense.
Moreover, if we want to think about it, we are surrounded by analogous events. The pianist plays at night, without ever making a mistake in touch: and who will say the immeasurable fraction of a metre to be measured on the violin string between the wrong note and the right note, so imperturbably obtained by the pressure of the artist's finger?
The facile excitation of muscle contractility in the hypnotic state is one of the easiest facts to verify. With the arms in resolution (and if they are not in this state, this state is obtained by a simple prolonged rubbing), the patient is asked to squeeze any object, a dynamometer, for example; if the muscles are then massaged with the hands, one feels them stiffen, acquire the hardness of wood, the subject develops an extraordinary strength and without showing any fatigue.
Mr. Verneuil told the Society of Surgery about an experiment he had made on himself. By staring at a distant object up and down, he can put himself in a state that is not a hypnotic sleep, because awareness of the outside world persists; if he then extends his arm horizontally, he can keep this posture for twelve to fifteen minutes, almost without fatigue, and it is known that the most powerful athlete can hardly hold the so-called extended arm position for four or five minutes.
A Brazilian doctor held this position, under the same conditions, for more than twenty minutes.
Thus fatigue no longer seems to exist, muscles forget themselves, their ordinary consciousness is disturbed, and the normal balance of our senses is disrupted by a particular mental concentration.
If we wanted to let ourselves be drawn into the field of analogous events, we could write long pages, but I would go beyond the limits I have set for myself.
 Briquet, Treatise on hysteria. Paris, 1859.