Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/482

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declare that they cannot tell how they find the locality, that their success is to them a mystery; these declarations are made by private, amateur performers who have no motive to deceive me, and whose whole conduct during the experiments confirms their statements. Other operators speak of thrills or vibrations which they feel, auras and all sorts of indefinable sensations. These manifold symptoms are purely subjective, the result of mind acting on the body, the emotions of wonder and expectancy developing various phenomena that are attributed to "animal magnetism," "mesmerism" or "electricity"—in short, to everything but the real cause. I have seen amateurs who declared that they experienced these sensations when trying without success to "read mind" through the wires, or perhaps without any connection with the subject whatever. Persons who are in the vicinity of galvanic batteries, even though not in the circuit, very often report similar experiences.

The facts which sustain the theory that the so-called mind-reading is really muscle-reading—that is, unconscious muscular tension and relaxation on the part of the subject—may be thus summarized:

1. Mind-readers are only able to find direction and locality, and, in order to find even these, they must be in physical connection with the subject, who must move his body or some portion of it—as the fingers, hand, or arm. If the subject sits perfectly still, and keeps his fingers, hand, and arm, perfectly quiet, so far as it is possible for him to do so by conscious effort, the mind-reader can never find even the locality on which the subject's mind is concentrated; he can only find the direction where the locality is. Mind-readers never tell what an object is, nor can they describe its color or appearance; locality, and nothing more definite than locality, is all they find. The object hidden may be a coin or a corn-cob, a pin or a pen-holder, an elephant's tusk or a diamond-pin—it is all the same. Again, where connection of the operator with the subject is made by a wire, so arranged that mass motion cannot be communicated, and the subject concentrates his mind ever so steadily, the operator does just what he would do by pure chance, and no more. This I have proved repeatedly with good subjects and expert performers.

2. The subject can successfully deceive the operator in various ways—first of all, by using muscular tension in the wrong direction, and muscular relaxation at the wrong locality, while at the same time the mind is concentrated in the right direction. To deceive a good operator in this way is not always easy, but after some practice the art can be acquired, and it is a perfectly fair test in all experiments of this nature.

Yet another way to deceive the mind-reader is, to think of some object or locality at a great distance from the room in which the experiments are made, and, if there be no ready means of exit, the performer will be entirely baffled. I am aware that some very surprising