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Hack Tuke, Daniel – Healing - Insanity cured by powerful emotions – faith and belief in the spiritual world

Identifier

026197

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

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.,

CHAPTER XVI. INFLUENCE OF MENTAL STATES UPON DISORDERS OF SENSATION, MOTION, AND THE ORGANIC FUNCTIONS.
SECTION III. — Influence of Mental States upon Disorders involving- the Involuntary Muscles and the Organic Functions.

There is a legend that in the ninth century the daughter of an Irish king (Dymphna) fled from her father's persecution on account of her having become a Christian. He followed her to Gheel, and, having discovered her retreat, beheaded her. Several lunatics who happened to witness the deed were cured on the spot. ….. The cures were, of course, regarded as miraculous, and Dymphna was duly canonized. The number who subsequently flocked to her tomb was so great that, in course of time, a colony sprung up and a sane population became accustomed to take charge of the insane in their humble cottages. I visited the Church of St. Dymphna, where her acts are recorded in oak, from the day of her birth to that of her death. Here her relics are preserved, and are still occasionally employed to minister to minds diseased.

In 1862, when I visited the "City of the Simple," I saw the room where the" lunatic is lodged, when the evil spirit with which he or she is possessed, is exorcised. (Here it is orthodox to regard madness as identical with possession.) Six months previously a lady had occupied it. The priest came to her every day with a relic, and performed the customary incantations. The result was perfect recovery within nine days.

If not cured within that period, a patient is allowed to stay eighteen days; and then, if no change takes place in his condition, he is discharged. The cures, I was informed, have been numerous; but now skepticism is undermining the superstition upon which they depend; the doctors feel ashamed of the delusion; and the priests have to yield their claims to those of legitimate medicine, and are very likely half-ashamed themselves. Patients who would have been sent to the church of St. Dymphna, are placed in the new Asylum of Gheel, but if only physical therapeutics are employed, they may not recover so quickly. There is no reason, whatever, to doubt these asserted cures resulting from a belief in the efficacy of the fusty old bones of the saintess.

The source of the experience

Hack Tuke, Daniel

Concepts, symbols and science items

Concepts

Possession

Symbols

Activities and commonsteps

Commonsteps

References