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Complete Hypnotism: Mesmerism, Mind-Reading and Spiritualism A. Alpheus

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Complete Hypnotism: Mesmerism, Mind-Reading and Spiritualism

by A. Alpheus

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Chapter IV. - How the Subject Feels

How the Subject Feels Under Hypnotization -- Dr. Cooper's Experience -- Effect of Music -- Dr. Alfred Marthieu's Experiments.

The sensations produced during a state of hypnosis are very interesting. As may be supposed, they differ greatly in different persons. One of the most interesting accounts ever given is that of Dr. James R. Cocke, a hypnotist himself, who submitted to being operated upon by a professional magnetizer. He was at that time a firm believer in the theory of personal magnetism (a delusion from which he afterward escaped).

On the occasion which he describes, the operator commanded him to close his eyes and told him he could not open them, but he did open them at once. Again he told him to close the eyes, and at the same time he gently stroked his head and face and eyelids with his hand. Dr. Cocke fancied he felt a tingling sensation in his forehead and eyes, which he supposed came from the hand of the operator. (Afterward he came to believe that this sensation was purely imaginary on his part.)

Then he says: "A sensation akin to fear came over me. The operator said: 'You are going to sleep, you are getting sleepy. You cannot open your eyes.' I was conscious that my heart was beating rapidly, and I felt a sensation of terror. He continued to tell me I was going to sleep, and could not open my eves. He then made passes over my head, down over my hands and body, but did not touch me. He then said to me, 'You cannot open your eyes.' The motor apparatus of my lids would not seemingly respond to my will, yet I was conscious that while one part of my mind wanted to open my eyes, another part did not want to, so I was in a paradoxical state. I believed that I could open my eyes, and yet could not. The feeling of not wishing to open my eyes was not based upon any desire to please the operator. I had no personal interest in him in any way, but, be it understood, I firmly believed in his power to control me. He continued to suggest to me that I was going to sleep, and the suggestion of terror previously mentioned continued to increase."

The next step was to put the doctor's hand over his head, and tell him he could not put it down. Then he stroked the arm and said it was growing numb. He said: "You have no feeling in it, have you?" Dr. Cocke goes on: "I said 'No,' and I knew that I said 'No,' yet I knew that I had a feeling in it." The operator went on, pricking the arm with a pin, and though Dr. Cocke felt the pain he said he did not feel it, and at the same time the sensation of terror increased. "I was not conscious of my body at all," he says further on, "but I was painfully conscious of the two contradictory elements within me. I knew that my body existed, but could not prove it to myself. I knew that the statements made by the operator were in a measure untrue. I obeyed them voluntarily and involuntarily. This is the last remembrance that I have of that hypnotic experience."

After this, however, the operator caused the doctor to do a number of things which he learned of from his friends after the performance was over. "It seemed to me that the hypnotist commanded me to awake as soon as I dropped my arm," and yet ten minutes of unconsciousness had passed.

On a subsequent occasion Dr. Cocke, who was blind, was put into a deep hypnotic sleep by fixing his mind on the number 26 and holding up his hand. This time he experienced a still greater degree of terror, and incidentally learned that he could hypnotize himself. The matter of self-hypnotism we shall consider in another chapter.

In this connection we find great interest in an article in the Medical News, July 28, 1894, by Dr. Alfred Warthin, of Ann Arbor, Mich., in which he describes the effects of music upon hypnotic subjects. While in Vienna he took occasion to observe closely the enthusiastic musical devotees as they sat in the audience at the performance of one of Wagner's operas. He believed they were in a condition of self-induced hypnotism, in which their subjective faculties were so exalted as to supersede their objective perceptions. Music was no longer to them a succession of pleasing sounds, but the embodiment of a drama in which they became so wrapped up that they forgot all about the mechanical and external features of the music and lived completely in a fairy world of dream.

This observation suggested to him an interesting series of experiments. His first subject was easily hypnotized, and of an emotional nature. Wagner's "Ride of Walkure" was played from the piano score. The pulse of the subject became more rapid and at first of higher tension, increasing from a normal rate of 60 beats a minute to 120. Then, as the music progressed, the tension diminished. The respiration increased from 18 to 30 per minute. Great excitement in the subject was evident. His whole body was thrown into motion, his legs were drawn up, his arms tossed into the air, and a profuse sweat appeared. When the subject had been awakened, he said that he did not remember the music as music, but had an impression of intense, excitement, brought on by "riding furiously through the air." The state of mind brought up before him in the most realistic and vivid manner possible the picture of the ride of Tam O'Shanter, which he had seen years before. The picture soon became real to him, and he found himself taking part in a wild chase, not as witch, devil, or Tam even; but in some way his consciousness was spread through every part of the scene, being of it, and yet playing the part of spectator, as is often the case in dreams.

Dr. Warthin tried the same experiment again, this time on a young man who was not so emotional, and was hypnotized with much more difficulty. This subject did not pass into such a deep state of hypnotism, but the result was practically the same. The pulse rate rose from 70 to 120. The sensation remembered was that of riding furiously through the air.

The experiment was repeated on other subjects, in all cases with the same result. Only one knew that the music was the "Ride of Walkure." "To him it always expressed the pictured wild ride of the daughters of Wotan, the subject taking part in the ride." It was noticeable in each case that the same music played to them in the waking state produced no special impression. Here is incontestable evidence that in the hypnotic state the perception of the special senses is enormously heightened.

A slow movement was tried (the Valhalla motif). At first it seemed to produce the opposite effect, for the pulse was lowered. Later it rose to a rate double the normal, and the tension was diminished. The impression described by the subject afterward was a feeling of "lofty grandeur and calmness." A mountain climbing experience of years before was recalled, and the subject seemed to contemplate a landscape of "lofty grandeur." A different sort of music was played (the intense and ghastly scene in which Brunhilde appears to summon Sigmund to Valhalla). Immediately a marked change took place in the pulse. It became slow and irregular, and very small. The respiration decreased almost to gasping, the face grew pale, and a cold perspiration broke out.

Readers who are especially interested in this subject will find descriptions of many other interesting experiments in the same article.

Dr. Cocke describes a peculiar trick he played upon the sight of a subject. Says he: "I once hypnotized a man and made him read all of his a's as w's, his u's as v's, and his b's as x's. I added suggestion after suggestion so rapidly that it would have been impossible for him to have remembered simply what I said and call the letters as I directed. Stimulation was, in this case impossible, as I made him read fifteen or twenty pages, he calling the letters as suggested each time they occurred."

The extraordinary heightening of the sense perceptions has an important bearing on the question of spiritualism and clairvoyance. If the powers of the mind are so enormously increased, all that is required of a very sensitive and easily hypnotized person is to hypnotize him or herself, when he will be able to read thoughts and remember or perceive facts hidden to the ordinary perception. In this connection the reader is referred to the confession of Mrs. Piper, the famous medium of the American branch of the Psychical Research Society. The confession will be found printed in full at the close of this book. Divine Singles are our soulmates

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