Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/479

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463
PHYSIOLOGY OF MIND-READING.

a few trials, get hold of the precise object hidden, or locality thought of. When the operator and subject are connected by the methods practised by Brown, it is possible to detect also the relaxation when the locality is reached, and, guided by this, the master in the art knows just when and where to stop, and, in very many cases, feels absolutely sure that he is right, and with a good subject is no more liable to error than he would be to hear wrongly or imperfectly if directed by word of mouth.

The special methods of muscle-reading here described may be varied almost indefinitely, the only essential condition being, that the connection between the subject or subjects is of such a nature as to easily allow the sense of muscular tension or relaxation to be communicated. Instead of two subjects, there may be three, four, or half a dozen, or but one. With a number of subjects the chances of success are greater than with one, for the twofold reason that the united muscular tension of all will be more readily felt than that of but one, and because any single subject may be a bad one—that is one who is capable of muscular control—while among a number there will be very likely one or more good ones. For these two reasons, amateurs succeed in this latter method when they fail or succeed but imperfectly after the method of Brown.

A method frequently used, although it is not very artistic, consists in simply taking the hand of the subject and leading him directly, or, as is more likely to be the case, indirectly to the locality on which his mind is concentrated.

J. Stanley Grimes[1] thus describes the performance of a mind-reader in Chicago: "I repeatedly witnessed similar performances with different experts in this branch and under circumstances where every element of error from intentional or unintentional collusion was rigidly excluded. At the request of the company the same young lady was again sent from the room and blindfolded, as on previous occasions. The gentleman requested the company to suggest anything they desired the subject should be willed to do, thus removing any possibility of a secret agreement to deceive between the parties. It was suggested that the young lady should be brought into the room and placed in a position with her face toward the north; that the gentleman should then place his fingers upon her shoulder, as before; that she should turn immediately to the right, facing the south, and proceed to a certain figure in the parlor-carpet; then turning to the west, she was to approach a sofa in a remote corner of the room, from which she should remove a small tidy, which she should take to the opposite side of the room, and place it upon the head of a certain young gentleman in the company; she was then to proceed to the extreme end of the parlor, and take a coin from the right vest-pocket of a gentleman, and return to the opposite side of the room, and place the coin in the left vest-

  1. "Mysteries of the Head and Heart," p. 297.