Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/480

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pocket of another gentleman named; she was then to remove the tidy from the head of the gentleman upon whom it had been placed, and return it to the tête-à-tête where she originally found it.

"I must confess to no little surprise when I saw the young lady perform, with the most perfect precision, every minute detail, as above described, and with the most surprising alacrity; in fact, so quick were her motions that it was with the greatest difficulty that the gentleman could keep pace with the young lady's movements."

I have seen a performer—who, though one of the pioneers in this art, is far less skillful than many with whom I have experimented—take a hat from the head of a gentleman in a small private circle, and carry it across the room and put it on the head of another gentleman; take a book or any other object from one person to another; or go in succession to different pictures hanging on the wall, and perform other feats of a similar character, while simply taking hold of the wrist of the subject. In the experiment described by Mr. Grimes the subject placed three fingers of his right hand on the shoulder of the operator. Note the fact that in all these experiments direction and locality are all that the mind-reader finds; the quality of the object found, or indeed whether it be a movable object at all, or merely a limited locality, as a figure in the carpet or on the wall, is not known to the mind-reader until he picks it up or handles it: then if it be a small object, as a hat, a book, or coin, or tidy, he very naturally takes it and moves off with it in the direction indicated by the unconscious muscular tension of the subject, and leaves it where he is ordered by unconscious muscular relaxation. In the great excitement that attends these novel and most remarkable experiments the entranced audience fail to notice that the operator really finds nothing but direction and locality.

I have said that various errors of inference, as well as of observation, have been associated with these experiments. A young lady who had been quite successful as an amateur in this art was subjected by me to a critical analysis of her powers before a large private audience. She supposed that it was necessary for all the persons in the audience to concentrate their minds on the object as well as those whose hands were upon her. I proved by some decisive experiments, in which a comparison was made with what could be done by chance alone, that this was not necessary, and that the silent, unexpressed will of the audience had no effect on the operator, save certain nervous sensations created by the emotion of expectancy. Similarly, I proved that, when connected with the subjects by a wire, she could find nothing, although she experienced various subjective sensations, which she attributed to "magnetism," but which were familiar results of mind acting on body.

Another lady, who is quite successful in these experiments, thought it was necessary to hide keys, and supposed that "magnetism" had something to do with it. I told her that that was not probable, and