Braid, James – The effects of concentrating Attention to limbs when no hypnosis is involved
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
As described in Illustrations Of The Influence Of The Mind Upon The Body In Health And Disease, Designed To Elucidate The Action Of The Imagination - Daniel Hack Tuke, M.D., M.R.C.P.,
PART I. THE INTELLECT.
CHAPTER II. INFLUENCE OF THE INTELLECT ON SENSATION.
Mr. Braid tells us in his little book on "Hypnotism" (xx, p. 93) that he requested four gentlemen, in good health, and from 40 to 56 years of age, to lay their arms on a table with the palms of their hands upwards. Each was to look at the palm of his hand for a few minutes with fixed attention, and watch the result. Entire silence was enjoined.
What happened ?
"In about five minutes, the first, one of the present members of the Royal Academy, stated that he felt a sensation of great cold in the hand ; another, who is a very talented author, said that for some time he thought nothing was going to happen, but at last a darting, pricking sensation took place from the palm of the hand, as if electric sparks were being drawn from it ; the third gentleman, lately mayor of a large borough, said that he felt a very uncomfortable sensation of heat come over his hand ; the fourth, secretary to an important association, had become rigidly cataleptic, his arm being firmly fixed to the table."
It would be difficult to determine in these instances by what train of thought these different results came to pass ; whether each imagined that such and such effects would be produced by the process, or whether an accidental condition of the hand at the moment, caused certain very slight suggestions, which were intensified by the Attention directed to them.
Probably the former ; but one thing is certain, that had Mr. Braid suggested other effects, instead of preserving silence, the character of the sensations would have been greatly modified.