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Braid, James – Restoring the sight of a Blind lady using hypnotherapy



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Observations on the Nature and Treatment of Certain Forms of Paralysis. By James Braid. 1855.

In June, 1854, Miss R— consulted Mr. Braid. A year before she had an attack of ophthalmia, which yielded so far to treatment that she got out of doors in a month. Then a pole fell on the upper and left side of the head, two or three days after which she suffered severe pain, and suddenly became quite blind on that side, with dilated pupil. After four months' medical treatment, sight was partially restored. In January, 1854, while reading, she suddenly lost the sight of the other eye, accompanied with dilated pupil. A few days after, she struck the same part of the head as before against the mantel-shelf, which was followed by loss of sight of the left eye.

She was now led about in a state of total blindness., and was sent to Dublin to be under Mr. Wilde, under whose care she remained six weeks and derived decided improvement, for the iris had become somewhat sensitive to light, and she was able to discern large objects, but could neither see to read nor write. She now returned home, but the improvement in spite of treatment being stationary, her medical attendant recommended her to try hypnotism under Mr. Braid. He found no apparent physical imperfection to account for impaired vision, nor was there any pain about the head or eyes, "which had very much the appearance of an incipient case of amaurosis, only the pupils were not quite so much dilated."  She could not discern a single letter of the title-page of a book, although some were a quarter of an inch long. "

Having hypnotized the patient and directed the nervous force to the eyes, by wafting over them, and gently touching them occasionally so as to keep up a sustained act of attention of the patient's mind to her eyes and the function of vision, she was aroused in about ten minutes. I now presented before her the title-page of the same book, when she instantly exclaimed, with delight and surprise, 'I see the word commerce!.' pointing to it. I told her she would see more than that presently; and in a little while she exclaimed, ' I see commercial,' then 'I see dictionary;' and shortly after 'I see McCulloch,' but she could see nothing more. I told her that after a little rest, I felt assured, she would see still smaller print; and after a few minutes, she was able to read ' London, Longman, Green & Longmans.'

Such was the result of my first process.

After a second hypnotic operation, next day, the patient could read, when first aroused, the whole of a title-page of a pamphlet; and in about five minutes after, she read two lines of the text. After another operation, the same day, she could read the small close print in the appendix ; and was able the same evening to write a letter home reporting progress, for the first time for twelve months. She only required two more hypnotic operations, when she was found able to read the smallest sized print in a newspaper; after which she left me, quite cured, and as I have heard, she has continued well ever since"

(p. 36). No medicine was given.

The source of the experience

Braid, James

Concepts, symbols and science items




Activities and commonsteps