Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 11.djvu/753

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733
THE PSYCHO-PHYSIOLOGICAL SCIENCES.

retains in itself a subtle psycho-physiological emanation characteristic of its writer; and an impressible person with a fair endowment of the psychometric faculty, to such an extent as we would find in perhaps one person in twenty, or, in some southern communities, one person in five, is capable of feeling the entire mental and physical influence of that person as perfectly as if in contact with himself, and describing the individual as he was at the time of writing—his entire mental and physical condition. When there is a high endowment of the psychometric faculty, the descriptions of characters made in this way are more subtly accurate than those from any other source, and the sympathetic impression of the physical condition is so vivid as to develop in the psychometer the pains and morbid conditions of the writer.

In the proper performance of the experiment, the psychometer is not allowed even to see the manuscript, which is used by placing it on the centre of his forehead; nor is he assisted by leading questions. It sometimes happens that, if the character described be one with which the psychometer is familiar, he will finally be able to recognize it, and tell the name of the writer by the identity of the character. For example, while writing this article yesterday, a lady, of considerable intellectual reputation and elevation of character, came in, whom I knew to possess fine psychometric powers. Thinking that I might make a suitable experiment upon her for the illustration of my subject, I selected one of my autographs, and requested her to give me an example of her powers. She knew not what autographs were in my possession, and was not allowed a view of the manuscript, which was placed on her forehead without being seen, and without the slightest hint or suspicion of its nature. In a few moments (holding it to her forehead by her finger) she manifested great mental excitement, and described a character of unusual grandeur and moral elevation. She felt like a great leader to whom multitudes were looking up—a man of commanding stature, of immovable firmness and strength of character, and the loftiest philanthropy. She could hardly refrain from rising up and striding over the floor, from intense excitement. After giving a forcible description of the character, she said she was sure it must be General Washington, as it corresponded to her knowledge of his character, with which she was quite familiar. I then took the paper from her forehead, to let her see this autograph, on which she had been pronouncing:

"To all to whom this writing shall come.

"I certifye, that William Morgan Esquire, commands a company of voluntoors in the service of the United States of America.

"Givon at Head Qrs. at Morristown this 25th day of Febry 1777.

"G. Washington."

Ever since my announcement of this discovery, in 1843, I have found it the most perfect agency ever devised for the investigation