Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 26.djvu/377

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363
BLOODY SWEAT.

various points, but especially from her face, feet, and hands. The parts were, in fact, said to be the same from which blood flowed durino-the crucifixion of our Lord. Now, as this occurrence created a great sensation in the neighborhood, and attracted numerous pilgrims from all parts of the country, the authorities found themselves compelled to make a thorough investigation of the matter. Dr. Haller, a physician who held a high position in the General Hospital at Vienna, was sent to the spot, with the necessary staff of police, in time to place the woman under surveillance on a Thursday, and to bring her before the Friday to Vienna. Here she was placed in a room, so that she could be watched uninterruptedly night and day, by medical men. The Friday came, and the woman did not bleed. She, however, took nothing that day nor till the evening of Saturday, when, tormented by hunger, she asked for food, and ate a considerable quantity. From this time she took nourishment regularly, and the hæmorrhage never returned. The case just related is probably similar to not a few others which are recorded in the history of spontaneous hæmorrhages (under the name of stigmata, etc.), but which were never brought into the clear light of scientific investigation, so as to be examined without pre] ud ice and — explained."

These impostors, the so-called stigmata, still make their appearance from time to time in Catholic countries, as is shown by a cheap publication evidently intended for circulation among the ignorant faithful, which I recently came across, and which has the following extended title-page: "Letter from the Earl of Shrewsbury to Ambrose Lisle Philips, Esq., descriptive of the Ecstatica of Caldasa, and the Addolorato of Caspiana j being a second edition, revised and enlarged; to which is added the Relation of Three Successive Visits to the Estatica of Monte Sansavino, in May, 1842, First American, from the last revised London edition; with Additional Letters now first published; bringing the Narrative down to 1843. 'It is honorable to reveal and confess the woorks of God' (Tobias xii, 7). New York, 1843."

In this publication fifty similar cases are adduced, which are said to have received the attestation of the Church, Of those with which the book itself is concerned, one is said to eat nothing but a little fruit; of another it is asserted: "Indeed, she may be truly said to subsist upon air; for, on the 15th of August next, it will be eight years complete since she ate, drank, or slept! (Where is Dr. Tanner after this?)

It is a noteworthy fact that these cases were all those of poor peasant-girls, in secluded, out-of-the-way hamlets, among a rustic and ignorant population; they were plainly hysterical and cataleptic, visited by hundreds of wondering, half-adoring spectators, who were ready to fall down and worship them. We have here everything that could stimulate and aid deception, and nothing at all of