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Observations placeholder

Hack Tuke, Daniel – Healing - The Curative Effects of a Railway Collision



Type of Spiritual Experience


Although the person may have suffered shock, there is the possibility that the tremendous relief he experienced at finding himself alive and relatively unharmed after the accident - thus a positive emotion of relief - was the thing that cured him.

We have labelled this 'relaxation', as it is the nearest activity to the feeling of relief


A description of the experience

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.,


In November, 1869, I met with the following in a newspaper under the heading of " The Curative Effects of a Railway Collision :"

" Allow me to confirm all that your two correspondents have related with respect to the alarming collision on the 17th inst. on the Midland line.

" Nothing needs to be added either to their descriptions of the circumstance or to their just condemnation of the reckless negligence which brought us so near to death ; but the shock produced so curious an effect on myself — an effect, perhaps, unparalleled in the history of railway accidents — that you will, perhaps, excuse my troubling you with the details.

" At my hotel in Manchester on Tuesday night I was seized with all the symptoms of a violent attack of rheumatic fever ; in fact, my condition so alarmed me, and my dread of a sojourn in a Manchester hotel bed for two or three months was so great, that I resolved to make a bold sortie, and, well wrapped up, start for London by the 3.30 p.m. Midland fast train from the London Road terminus. From the time of leaving that station to the time of the collision, my heart was going at express speed ; my weak body was in a profuse perspiration ; flashes of pain announced that the muscular fibres were under the tyrannical control of rheumatism, and I was almost beside myself with toothache. Crash ! smash ! bump ! and bang ! and from side to side of the carriage I went like a billiard ball under a hard cushion hit. The compartment was soon seen to be sprinkled with the blood of a hapless victim whose face had come into crushing contact with it."

The rest of this part of the paper was unfortunately wanting, but I learnt from other sources that, as the heading intimated, the patient was cured of his rheumatism. The remarks which this circumstance elicited from the press (general and medical) led me to think that the whole subject of the influence of the Mind upon the Body, deserves more serious and systematic consideration than it has received.

The source of the experience

Hack Tuke, Daniel

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Rheumatic fever
Rheumatoid arthritis