J goes as rigid as a plank of wood
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Letters on Mesmerism – Harriet Martineau
The greatest aptitude at present seems to be for being affected by metals, and for the singular muscular rigidity producible in the mesmeric sleep.
When her arms or hands are locked in this rigidity, no force used by any gentleman who has seen the case can separate them; and in her waking state she has certainly no such muscular force as could resist what has been ineffectually used in her sleeping state.
The rigid limbs then appear like logs of wood which might be broken, but not bent; but a breath from her Mesmerist on what is called by some phrenologists the muscular organ, causes the muscles to relax, the fingers to unclose, and the limbs to fall into the attitude of sleep.
During these changes, the placid sleeping face seems not to belong to the owner of the distorted and rigid limbs, till these last slide into their natural positions, and restore the apparent harmony.
She is now also becoming subject to the numbness, the kind of insensibility which has already been proved such a blessing to sufferers under severe-pain, whether of surgical operations or disease. It seems as if she were going the whole round of phenomena. Where it will end, time must show.