Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/475

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459
PHYSIOLOGY OF MIND-READING.

the gypsies, constantly on the fire, into which are thrown all contributions in the way of edibles, which are thus stewed down together into a thick rich soup. In the winter they move about on their snow-shoes, in the management of which they are extremely adroit, shooting down the hills and in and out of the trees with immense swiftness and precision. On these shoes they hunt down both wolves and bears when these animals, which are now getting scarce, cross their path; they kill them with their spears and knives, getting a reward of fifty kronor from the Government for each head killed. The sale of spirits is strictly prohibited in Lapland, as some years ago their immoderate use was decimating the population; but kegs of branvin are still occasionally smuggled across the borders, and produced on the occasion of fêtes and holidays. The Lapps have shrewd, almost cunning faces, and, though small in stature, possess great bodily strength and endurance. Their habits are extremely dirty, and they appear never to change their clothes till they fall to pieces.

 

PHYSIOLOGY OF MIND-READING.
By GEORGE M. BEARD, M. D.

IN the history of science, and notably in the history of physiology and medicine, it has often happened that the ignorant and obscure have stumbled upon facts and phenomena which, though wrongly interpreted by themselves, yet, when investigated and explained, have proved to be of the highest interest. The phenomena of the emotional trance, for example, had been known for ages, but not until Mesmer forced them on the scientific world, by his public exhibitions and his ill-founded theory of animal magnetism, did they receive any serious and intelligent study. Similarly the general fact that mind may so act on body as to produce involuntary and unconscious muscular motion was by no means unrecognized by physiologists, and yet not until the "mind-reading" excitement two years ago was it demonstrated that this principle could be utilized for the finding of any object or limited locality on which a subject, with whom an operator is in physical connection, concentrates his mind.

Although, as I have since ascertained, experiments of this kind had been previously performed in a quiet, limited way in private circles, and mostly by ladies, yet very few had heard of or witnessed them; they were associated in the popular mind very naturally with "mesmerism" or "animal magnetism," and by some were called "mesmeric games." The physiological explanation had never been even suggested; hence the first public exhibitions of Brown, with his brilliantly successful demonstrations of his skill in this direction, were