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Observations placeholder

The Lancet - He left the hospital in a fit of indignation, because he heard a nurse say she thought he was shamming



Type of Spiritual Experience


The activity is somewhat similar to the fakirs' ability to control bodily functions

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 II.— Influence of the Will upon the Voluntary Muscles.

This case …. will be found reported in the "Lancet" for February 17th and April 13th, 1572. The patient, who usually professed to have been a medical man, contrived to deceive

"many physicians and surgeons of great eminence, so well did he force his muscles to assume the condition of paralysis, convulsion, or rigidity, which he desired to simulate.

"Who," says the above journal, " would have believed in the possibility of simulating tetanus for a week, or ten days, or more ?" and adds that
"the case has always excited the greatest interest both in professors and students, and the notes have always been taken with that care and voluminousness which the rarity of the case demanded. . . . His symptoms were usually those of hemiplegia, with great rigidity of the paralyzed muscles, and tetanic spasms of the opposite side. On one occasion he presented the appearances of true traumatic tetanus, and the surgeon under whose care he was at this time, said he could hardly discover a flaw anywhere in his imitation. During one of his series of simulations, a very large and painful carbuncle formed on the back of his neck, and his life was really endangered, his pulse being 150.  He was evidently alarmed at his condition, and his strength was much reduced; and yet he never forgot his ojnsthotonos, but pertinaciously ground his carbuncle against his pillow."

As showing the influence of Mind over Body in another way, one physician observes,  ‘I think the case an interesting one, for he is clearly not an ordinary rascal. He must have much of that mental condition seen in hysterical women.’

" It having been observed at one hospital that, notwithstanding the tetanic spasm of his limbs, the muscles of the abdomen were lax, these became subsequently ‘as hard as boards.’

 In one hospital he presented all the appearances of left hemiplegia. A few days after admission he became affected with convulsive spasms of the paralyzed side.  The gradual onset of his symptoms from slight, at first, to the most grave in the end, was admirably assumed, and was so like the book description of ' ingravescent apoplexy,' that the idea of imposture seemed really absurd.

During the same year, having fallen down in " a fit " near St. Paul's Churchyard, he was taken to a hospital, where, soon after his admission, paraplegia appeared. Some months afterwards, he fell down again in London, and at another hospital was treated for hemiplegia during two months. Three months later he was admitted at a provincial hospital with well-marked symptoms of hemiplegia, the paralyzed limbs being rigid. In less than a week he stated he felt much better, and wished to be discharged. On the same day he was seen walking about the streets perfectly well. He was subsequently a patient in at least four more hospitals, and was very successful in his simulations.

 In one instance he had an attack of tetanus, complete in every particular. Every spasm was noted, and it is certain that the amount of sleep which he got during the time was incredibly small. A student sat up with him almost every night, and the slightest changes were taken note of and recorded. We are told that it was really beautiful to watch the effects of remedies in relieving the poor patient's agonies. On the 19th he left the hospital in a fit of indignation, because he heard a nurse say she thought he was shamming. During his fourteen days' sojourn, he consumed 234 ounces of whisky or brandy, and on the first four days he had eighteen hypodermic injections of morphia, containing one-third of a grain each.

The source of the experience

Hack Tuke, Daniel

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps