Ochorowicz, Dr Julian
Julian Leopold Ochorowicz (outside Poland also known as Julien Ochorowitz; Radzymin, 23 February 1850 – 1 May 1917, Warsaw) was a Polish philosopher with a doctorate from the University of Leipzig, psychologist, inventor, poet, publicist, and leading exponent of Polish Positivism.
Ochorowicz, eventually became the leader of the Positivist movement in Poland. In 1872 he wrote:
We shall call a Positivist, anyone who bases assertions on verifiable evidence; who does not express himself categorically about doubtful things, and does not speak at all about those that are inaccessible."
Ochorowicz the poet published in Przegląd Tygodniowy (the Weekly Review) under the pen-name Julian Mohort. He wrote the poem, "Naprzód" ("Forward," 1873), regarded as the Polish Positivists' manifesto.
Ochorowicz was a pioneer of empirical research in psychology and conducted studies into occultism, psychokinesis, hypnosis, levitation, and telepathy and conducted experiments at a psychological laboratory that he established at Wisła. His most popular works included
- Wstęp i pogląd ogólny na filozofię pozytywną - An Introduction to and Overview of Positive Philosophy, 1872 and
- Jak należy badać duszę? - How Should One Study the Soul?, 1869
But we have used Mental Suggestion a book written by Dr. Ochorowicz when he was the Professor of Psychology and Natural-Philosophy in the University of Lemberg, which has a preface by Charles Richet and is in English – having been translated from the French by J. Fitzgerald, M. A. Note that the University of Lviv (Ukrainian: Львівський університет, Polish: Uniwersytet Lwowski, German: Universität Lemberg, briefly known as the Theresianum in the early 19th-century), is presently the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv.
We have also used the Annals of Psychic Sciences, where a number of Dr Ochorowicz's famous classical experiments with the medium Miss Stanislawa Tomczyk were described. Ochorowicz studied the mediumship of Stanisława Tomczyk from 1908–9, at Wisła.
Left: Tomczyk, in trance, levitates scissors as psychologist Julian Ochorowicz watches. Wisła, Poland, 1909.
Ochorowicz also hosted Eusapia Palladino in Warsaw from November 1893 to January 1894. In addition, he along with Frederic William Henry Myers, Charles Richet and Oliver Lodge, investigated Palladino in the summer of 1894 at Richet's house on the Île du Grand Ribaud in the Mediterranean. All of them including Myers and Richet saw furniture moved during the séances and concluded that some of the phenomena were the result of a supernatural agency.
Ochorowicz wasn’t so sure. He did not deny for a moment that the phenomenon had taken place and ruled out all ‘trickery’ [one so-called witness – who was not actually present and claimed trickery, can be ruled out as being unreliable as a witness].
Instead Ochorowicz , concluded against the spirit hypothesis and for a hypothesis that these phenomena were caused by a "fluidic action" and were performed at the expense of the medium's own powers and those of the other participants in the séances. In other words, it is the relationship formed by the group and the strength or weakness of the relationship that determines whether levitation or psychokinesis takes place. Rather than refer you to an observation, we quote Ochorowicz himself:
"A comparison of the sensitive subject with a compass-needle is ever recurring …. It is justified …. by the attractive action of the magnetizer on the magnetized. …….
The magnetized subject is always drawn toward the operator, seeks him, tends to come nearer to him; hence, the mental suggestion experiment that succeeds most readily is one that makes the subject come to the operator. The subject will always incline toward the magnetizer, and Mr. Janet has observed that, after having endormed Mrs. B. from a distance, he found her head leaning in the direction of his action. But the most striking fact of this kind is recorded by Bruno :
"The phenomenon that surprised me most," he says, "because it was the first that came under my notice, is the one I am about to relate. A young woman 18 or 19 years of age had been, for five or six months, dying of consumption. After three or four days of treatment she slept. Her sleep became very deep in a few days. When I magnetized her, her head leaned toward me; I was obliged to push her back gently in her chair, to prevent her falling on me. As that is a usual effect of sleep I paid no attention to it; after magnetizing her I left her sleeping quietly and went to another patient. But now new trouble: the girl leaned to one side, sometimes fell on her next neighbour, and someone had to be continually holding her up. I had a large armchair provided for her in which she might sleep comfortably. Vain precaution!
Her head leaned quite slowly, but by jerks, and all that portion of her body which was not held back by the armchair followed this movement. At last a thought struck me: that her head always leaned toward the side on which I was. I changed my position gradually, and what was my astonishment to find that her head, like a veritable compass-needle, followed the curve I slowly made around her at the distance of five or six feet.
It stopped when I stopped, always leaning toward me. ... In vain I went to a greater distance, the effect was the same. I left the room, went down into the courtyard, placed myself in different directions. I went and placed myself at a very great distance in the angle of a second courtyard of my house, which faces on two intersecting streets; my 'compass' always showed, with the utmost exactitude, the point of the horizon at which I stood. She had to be supported or she would have fallen out of the chair.
In other words, Ochorowicz was more inclined to support the idea that we are objects held in space by the forces of attraction and repulsion, and that the weakening of the force or attraction of the force, caused many of these so called supernatural events. That the only agents were the people involved.
Radio and Television - Ochorowicz experimented with microphones and with apparatus for sending sound and light over distances, and so is regarded as a precursor of radio and television. In 1877 he elaborated the theory for a monochromatic television, to be constructed as a screen comprising bulbs that would convert transmitted images into groups of light points.
Telephone - In 1885, on several occasions, he demonstrated his own improved telephone. In Paris, he connected the building of the Ministry of Posts and Telegraph with the Paris Opera, 4 kilometers away. At the Antwerp World's Fair, he set up a connection with Brussels, 45 km distant. He linked St. Petersburg, Russia, with Bologoye, 320 km away.
Life and career
Julian Ochorowicz was the son of Julian and Jadwiga, née Sumińska.
Ochorowicz studied natural sciences at Warsaw University, graduating in 1871. He subsequently studied at Leipzig University under Wilhelm Wundt; in 1874 he received his doctorate there with a thesis On Conditions of Consciousness.
Returning to Warsaw, in 1874-75 he was editor-in-chief of the popular Polish-language periodical, Niwa (The Field). From 1881 he was assistant professor (docent) of psychology and natural philosophy at Lwów University. In 1882 he was sent to Paris, France, where he spent several years. Later, from 1907, he would be co-director of the Institut General Psychologique.
Returning to Warsaw, from 1900 Ochorowicz was president of Kasa Literacka (the Literary Fund). He published his pedagogical papers in Encyklopedia Wychowawcza (the Encyclopedia of Education).
Ochorowicz, after returning to Warsaw from Paris, in 1893 delivered several public lectures on ancient Egyptian knowledge. These evidently helped inspire Prus to write (1894–95) his sole historical novel, Pharaoh. Ochorowicz provided Prus books on Egyptology that he had brought back from Paris.
Ochorowicz bought a piece of land at Wisła in Poland's mountains, built himself a villa as well as four additional houses for tourists, and proceeded to live on the rentals.
He died on 1 May 1917, aged 67, in Warsaw.
- Jak należy badać duszę? Czyli o metodzie badań psychologicznych - How Should One Study the Soul? On the Method of Psychological Studies, 1869.
- Miłość, zbrodnia, wiara i moralność. Kilka studiów z psychologii kryminalnej - Love, Crime, Faith and Morality: Several Studies in the Psychology of Crime, 1870.
- Wstęp i pogląd ogólny na filozofię pozytywną - An Introduction to and Overview of Positive Philosophy, 1872.
- Z dziennika psychologa - From a Psychologist's Journal, 1876.
- O twórczości poetyckiej ze stanowiska psychologii - On Poetic Creativity from the Standpoint of Psychology, 1877.
- De la Suggestion mentale, deuxieme édition (second edition), Paris, Doin, 1889.
- Psychologia, pedagogika, etyka. Przyczynki do usiłowań naszego odrodzenia narodowego - Psychology, Pedagogy, Ethics: Contributions toward Our National Rebirth, 1917.
Charles Richet – Preface to Mental suggestion
whatever the opinion ultimately formed as to the reality of mental suggestion, it ought not influence one's judgment as to Mr. Ochorowicz's book. Everybody, it seems to me, must recognize his sincerity, his perseverance, and his contempt for ready- made opinions. One feels that he has a passionate love of truth. That is an encomium that every man of good faith will appreciate.
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- Ochorowicz, Dr Julian - Annals of Psychic Sciences - Experiments with the medium Miss Stanislawa Tomczyk
- Ochorowicz, Dr Julian - Mental Suggestion – 001 A 17 year old under hypnosis who could recognize any person of his acquaintance who touched him on the back with a finger
- Ochorowicz, Dr Julian - Mental Suggestion – 002 A 17 year old under hypnosis who could read a book blindfolded