Inducing convulsions in patients
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Flammarion, C., Carroll, L,
Death and its mystery: before death, proofs of the existence of the soul
The scene was laid in 1775, in Hungary, in an old castle of Baron Horetcky de Horka. Mesmer was caring for the baron by hypnotism and was treating at the same time several other invalids who came to consult him. Seifert considered all this "humbug.''
One day they brought in some papers, in one of them there was a tale concerning Mesmer according to which he had provoked convulsions among some epileptics while he remained hidden in a neighboring chamber and merely moved his fingers in the direction of the invalids. Seifert arrived at the castle, the paper in his hand, and found Mesmer surrounded by gentlemen. He asked him if what they said of him in this paper was true, and Mesmer confirmed the report.
Then, with considerable audacity, Seifert demanded, or almost demanded, proof by experiment, of this influence through a wall. Mesmer stood a few feet from the wall, while Seifert, as the observer, placed himself in the half-opened doorway so that he could see at the same time both the hypnotist and his subject.
Mesmer first made several rectangular movements from one side to the other, with the index finger of his left hand, in the presumed direction of the invalid. The latter soon began to complain; he touched his sides and seemed to be in pain.
'What is the matter with you!' asked Seifert. 'I feel uncomfortable,' he said. Not satisfied with this reply, Seifert demanded a more exact description of what he felt. 'I feel' said the subject, 'as if everything in me were swinging from right to left.' In order to avoid asking questions Seifert told him to describe any changes he felt in his body, without waiting for a request. A few moments later Mesmer made some oval motions with his fingers. “Now every thing is turning about me about as if in a circle," said the invalid.
Mesmer ceased all action and almost at once the invalid declared that he no longer felt anything. And so it went on. AII these statements corresponded perfectly not only with the moments of action and with the intervals between, but also with the character of the sensations that Mesmer wished to provoke.
The source of the experienceOrdinary person
Concepts, symbols and science items
Activities and commonsteps
Flammarion, C., Carroll, L, (1922) Death and its mystery: before death, proofs of the existence of the soul, London T.Fisher Unwin, Ltd