Ochorowicz, Dr Julian - Mental Suggestion – 002 A 17 year old under hypnosis who could read a book blindfolded
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Mental Suggestion by Dr. J. Ochorowicz
Here is another experiment made upon the same subject, and apparently still more extraordinary. The problem was, to determine whether there was vision without the aid of the eyes.
I take up a book at such distance from the subject that he cannot see what it contains, and I open it anywhere. I then bid him read.
" I do not see clearly," he answers. I suggest to him the first two or three words of the page, and ask him to go on with the rest.
"That is in the middle of the second volume," says he, naming the chapter; "it is Kraszewski's novel 'The World and the Poet.'"
"Just so," I answer ; " go on, then."
And to our great astonishment he goes and reads a whole page, with hardly a slip. Whenever I laid the book aside he stopped ; he " read " fluently when I kept my eyes on the text. I turned over a page ; still he read well.
Some of the persons who witnessed this experiment thought they had here a demonstration of "second sight," despite the explanations I offered, and which I will state presently.
But if it was no "second sight," do we need a better proof of mental suggestion ?
Unfortunately, we do ! For, first, he " read," though less well, while the book was closed ; he needed only to have the opening phrase of a passage given him — therefore it was not thought-transference; neither was it second sight, for without that suggestion of the opening words he could not even read the number of the page, or make out anything whatsoever.
Here is the explanation of the mystery : The youth had shortly before read twice over the novel by Kraszewski already mentioned — had read it as people used to read in Poland in those days, and particularly those 17 years of age. He knew it almost by heart.
Evidently he could not recite page after page verbatim in the waking state ; but the one thing that our experiment proves is, the astonishing activity of recollection in somnambulism.
And as for the influence of my thought, that is a very simple matter ; the subject " saw " better while I was looking in the book, because then I used to correct his little errors. It was these errors that suggested to me the true explanation of the phenomenon ; for instead of reading faultily a word in the text, he substituted another word of like meaning, but totally different in form. The regular train of association being thus interrupted, he used to come to a stop if the book was shut, for I could not come to his assistance.