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Observations placeholder

Diagnosing illness when in trance using auras



Type of Spiritual Experience


Strictly speaking this is not Harriet's experience, but it seems more helpful to group it with her as she reported it


A description of the experience

Letters on Mesmerism – Harriet Martineau

Her [Js] attachment to her Mesmerist and to a lady who is a patient of this kind Mesmerist is strong, and as freed from all conventional restraints of expression, extremely interesting. One evening lately, when very happy, she drew near to these two ladies, put her arms about them, laid her head on their shoulders, and said, with a voice and countenance of affection and joy never to be forgotten, "We are one".

--and the ladies felt that the honour rested with them.

While Mrs XX was being mesmerised, late one evening, when J. was deep and happy in the trance, and leaning near, to catch what she could of the influence, the other patient tranquilly observed, (with eyes closed as fast as J.'s),
"How beautiful that is!"

"What is beautiful?" asked the Mesmerist.

"The bright light streaming from all your fingers."

"O!" said J., "do you only now see that? I have been watching it all this while."

I had often read and heard of ‘the fluid being seen’ by somnambules. Mrs XX was not asleep, and, this was the first occasion on which J. had spoken of the appearance.

I may now qualify what I said in the letters of J. being unable to tell anything concerning any stranger.

As her powers improve, she becomes able -on rare occasions, which can never be anticipated -to discern, bit by bit, the disease of a person she never heard of, whose hair, sent under proper conditions, is silently put into her hands. This exercise appears to absorb her attention and interest more than any other. She renews the effort, time after time, sees more and more, and in one case appears to have penetrated the matter completely, declaring spontaneously, that the lady (whom she could never have heard of, and who is a stranger to us) was nearly blind, and must be treated in such and such a manner.

The source of the experience

Martineau, Harriet

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items


Activities and commonsteps