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Observations placeholder

Professor Alexander Erskine - A Hypnotist’s Case Book – Patient gets advice from his dead father



Type of Spiritual Experience

Inter composer communication

Number of hallucinations: 1


A description of the experience

A Hypnotist’s Case Book – Professor Alexander Erskine

…In a former chapter I recounted the story of a widow's son, whom I cured of stammering and of a paralysed arm.  I often see the lad, and he is apt to bound into my rooms quite unheralded, when he thinks I am alone.

One day he came bounding in, waving his "poorly arm" in the air and singing at the top of his voice, when, as luck would have it, I had a patient with me.

He was an elderly man - Smith, we will call him - on whom a peculiar malady had fallen. He had become set, rigid, sphinx-like, in a sitting condition. He seemed almost ossified. He could not walk, he could scarcely move, but day and night was in that one position, his hands resting on his knees, looking neither to right nor left, unable to feed himself, and scarcely able to talk.

My own trouble with him was that he would not consent to go to sleep, and, as I have explained before, though in certain cases I can do a great deal when the patient remains conscious, for bad cases I always prefer to operate in the sleep state, because of the absolute power I then get over the subconscious.

In Smith's case, after many sittings, I had managed so to loosen his joints that he could dress and undress alone, could walk up and down stairs, feed himself and do all such things, if allowed to go without hurry. But I was not satisfied, and I knew that if I could once get him to consent to go to sleep I could completely cure him there and then.

I was again trying to persuade him to go to sleep when young Arthur burst in. (He had not heard what we were talking about. I asked him afterwards.)

"Now, Mr. Smith," I said, when I had explained the boy's presence and told his story, "you shall see a patient asleep." And, seating Arthur in a chair, I sent him into a trance.

For Smith's benefit I put the boy through his paces, as it were, and Smith then asked me what the boy could tell us.

"How many people are there in the room? " I asked.

"Three-you, the old man, and myself."

"No one else ?"


Then I thought of my Japanese experience.

"See any spirits ?" I asked.


"Where ?"

"Behind that man's chair."

"Tell us about him."

"It is an old man. He has a long white beard and white hair, parted in the middle. On the top of his head it is thin, but by the ears it is bushy. He has a long black coat on. He has his hand on the shoulder of the man in the chair, and. he's talking to him :

'Why don't you listen to Erskine' (there was no Mr.) 'and do as he says ? He'll cure you if only you'll do as he asks you. You know I know what I'm talking about. That's what he said. He's gone."

I woke the boy and he went home. He had no idea what he had seen, or what he had told us.

Smith sat quiet for some time.

"That's wonderful!" he said at last. "That boy described my father to me just as he was before he died, twenty years ago. He was a doctor with a big practice.  So long as I can remember, he never wore anything but a frock coat. And his hair was just like that."

But even that "message from the grave", as he called it, failed to move him. He still refused to go to sleep.

However, he is progressing slowly, and I still hope that I may cure him in the end.

The source of the experience

Erskine, Professor Alexander

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps