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Professor Alexander Erskine - A Hypnotist’s Case Book – The blind girl almost unable to walk who became a dancer on the stage



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

A Hypnotist’s Case Book – Professor Alexander Erskine

Casare Catterno was born blind. It was this fact that led to my seeing her. I put her to sleep, and suggested that when she woke up she would see perfectly.

In time I woke her. For a time she sat still, looking round the room, but not speaking. I knew that her sight had come back, but I felt that something had happened which I did not know.

"Can you see that?" I asked, pointing to a picture on the wall.

"And that? "-pointing to the window, the fire-grate, a mirror and other things. She could see them all, but still I felt that something was wrong. I got a book.

"Oh, what a funny thing!" she exclaimed, as I opened it, Then I asked her if she could see the print. She could not : in fact, she could not see that there was any there.

It puzzled me, and at once I fixed up an appointment with the most eminent occulist of the day- - I myself went with Miss Catterno.

The occulist examined her eyes. "I can do nothing for her," he said. "She ought not to see at all. No spectacles can help her."

Nor was it that he had proved the fact that she could see to his own satisfaction that he believed her. She had, in fact, practically no retina at all.

On the outer edge of the eyes, two small patches could be found with difficulty. By suggestion I had somehow managed to connect these up with the brain. The case is thus to a certain extent on all fours with the one just related, except that in the case of Miss Catterno there was a little of the tissue left to work with.

But a part cannot effectively deputize for the whole.

All the retina is necessary for perfect sight, and Miss Catterno, though she could see things at a reasonable distance, was unable to focus her eyes on to the printed word-at least, she was when I last saw her, though I heard some time later that she was beginning to do so.

For a long time I kept in touch with Miss Catterno, and she frequently visited me. Then one day she told me that she had learned to dance, but that she found difficulty with certain steps. She was quite ready to go to sleep when I told her that I might be able to help her, and under the influence of suggestion she performed her steps correctly and with ease.

She danced again and again -normally conscious this time-and was able to execute the difficult steps with exactness and without hesitation.  More, she was able to dance more artistically and move more gracefully than she had hitherto been able.

When next I heard from her she was on the stage, earning her living as a professional dancer-a state of affairs brought about entirely by the rapid improvement and proficiency attained after her last visit to me and the treatment received. And I don't think I shall ever forget the thrill I had when first I saw her on a London hall, and the thought flashed through my mind that when first she came to me she was blind and almost unable to walk alone.

The source of the experience

Erskine, Professor Alexander

Concepts, symbols and science items




Science Items

Activities and commonsteps