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Observations placeholder

Perkins, Dr Elisha – Curing Lockjaw using tractors



Type of Spiritual Experience


Lockjaw these days describes a symptom of three medical conditions

  • Trismus, -  a pathological condition in which the mouth is held shut by sustained spasm of the masseter (jaw) muscle – a Muscle disease
  • Tetanus,  - an infectious disease of the central nervous system –a bacterial disease
  • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction or TMD

A description of the experience

As described in 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.,

SECTION V. — Combined Influence of Arousing" certain Mental States, and lightly touching the Affected Part.

The Autobiography of the late Mr. John Vine Hall (1865) contains many remarkable cases recorded to prove the efficacy of tractorism. Even were his veracity not as unimpeachable as it is, there would be no reason for disputing the facts. For instance, take the following caseIt is to be regretted that in the following case of lock-jaw so few particulars are given to enable us to judge fairly of its true nature:

" Mrs. P — , a poor woman in Wharf Lane, Maidstone, was seized with locked-jaw four days ago, and continued in a most deplorable state, attended by a physician and a surgeon till this morning, when she was completely cured in fifty minutes by the application of the tractors. The medical gentlemen had been exerting themselves to the utmost, in the kindest manner, and one of them said he would give a hundred guineas if he could save her life. This gentleman came into the room whilst I was in the act of using the tractors, which he had never seen before, but kindly said they should certainly have a fair chance, and he directed me where to apply them with the greatest advantage. I continued the operation for forty minutes without any apparent benefit, and then giving the tractors into the hands of the surgeon, returned to my own house awaiting the issue of their further application. In about twelve minutes the surgeon (Mr. S — ) came breathless with haste and delight to inform me that he had himself continued the use of the tractors, only ten minutes, when the poor creature opened her mouth. Mr. S — was so fully satisfied of the efficacy of the tractors that he immediately purchased a pair for his own use. Mr. S — writes, 'The case is yours, the suggestion was yours ; I merely continued the employment of the measure from the apparent hopelessness of medical means in relieving the distressing complaint. Although previously to the employment of the tractors, I had utterly given up the idea of saving my poor patient ; although I feared medicine would prove wholly inefficacious, yet I am not prepared to say that certain death would have been the result ; but I do not for a moment mean to impeach the effect of the tractors in this case. I feel conviction that they produced the cure' " (p. 162).

PLEASE NOTE Those who decide it might be worth getting this book to find out more need to ignore all reprints.  The book was taken by the American Tract Society back in the 1800s and abridged to exclude all reference of Vone Hall’s healing work and his work in prisons to heal mental problems, as such it has little value today.  The English unabridged version – if you can find a copy  - has numerous examples of his healing work

The source of the experience

Perkins, Dr Elisha

Concepts, symbols and science items



Activities and commonsteps