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Martineau, Harriet - Letters on Mesmerism - The glorification of the scene



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Letters on Mesmerism – Harriet Martineau

Another striking incident occurred in one of the earliest of my walks. My Mesmerist and I had reached a headland nearly half a mile from home, and were resting there, when she proposed to mesmerise me a little-partly to refresh me for our return, and partly to see whether any effect would be produced in a new place and while a fresh breeze was blowing.

She merely laid her hand on my forehead, and, in a minute or two the usual appearances came, assuming a strange air of novelty from the scene in which I was. After the blurring of the outlines, which made all objects more dim than the dull grey day had already made them, the phosphoric lights appeared, glorifying every rock and headland, the horizon, and all the vessels in sight.

One of the dirtiest and meanest of the steam tugs in the port was passing at the time, and it was all dressed in heavenly radiance-the last object that any imagination would select as an element of a vision. Then, and often before and since, did it occur to me that if I had been a pious and very ignorant Catholic, I could not have escaped the persuasion that I had seen heavenly visions.

Every glorified object before my open eyes would have been a revelation ; and my Mesmerist, with the white halo round her head, and the illuminated profile, would have been a saint or an angel.

The source of the experience

Martineau, Harriet

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