Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/208

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196
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

though they were the rarest delicacies; the hypnotic state is also attended by "analgesia" or freedom from pain, and serves as an effective anodyne in dental and surgical operations; but we can recall no well-authenticated case in which it has rendered the human body incombustible. The hypnotizer can prevent the subject of his experiment from feeling the surgeon's knife, or cause him to regard the cutting as an agreeable sensation, but we are not aware that he is able to make the flesh impenetrable to the scalpel, although it is possible for him, as Donato has shown, to thrust sharp instruments into the arm of a hypnotized person without drawing blood or leaving a visible wound. By hypnotic suggestion a man may believe himself to be a dog, a wolf, or any other animal, and act accordingly; and this imaginary metamorphosis may perhaps explain the supposed existence of werewolves. In like manner, pure water may produce an intoxicating effect, while, on the contrary, alcohol ceases to inebriate; and a simple piece of paper placed on the skin may raise a blister, although the strongest irritant fails to do so. Here we have to deal with enigmas of the physical and psychical organization, hitherto unsuspected, the study of which opens up a wide and fruitful field for research.

 

THE PHENOMENA OF DEATH IN BATTLE.
By GEORGE L. KILMER.

IN an article printed in the Monthly for June, 1893, 1 presented some of the phenomena of the soldier's first actions under a death-hurt. A field for investigation lying just beyond that—as I infer from the incomplete records and deductions offered by men of science—is that of the phenomena of death itself. In a casual way I stated in my paper that the symptoms attending death in battle might, in certain cases, be determined by the appearances of the bodies, and cited a remarkable scene at Antietam, where dead Confederates in one place, to the number of several hundred, seemed to have been killed instantly, and to have retained in death something of the last attitudes of their combative life. After my manuscript had been given to the editor, my attention was called to a brief discussion of this question in a sketch by Dr. S. Weir Mitchell, in the Century for February, 1892. The views of Dr. Mitchell are not openly declared in his Century article, but he quotes, on the lips of fictitious characters, the opinions of Generals Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan, and refers to Dr. J. H. Brinton, an army surgeon, who is on record as a very positive witness in this matter. General Sherman, according to Dr. Mitchell, told the story of a soldier killed by a bullet in