Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/533

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517
THE REVIVAL OF WITCHCRAFT.

ject who usually presented herself at the clinique on that day for what was commonly spoken of as "the cat performance." This was a Mile. V., much described by Dr. Luys in his Leçons Cliniques sur les Phénomènes de l'Hypnotisme.

Of her Dr. Luys speaks as follows in his lectures to his pupils, to whom he presents her in set phrase as "an example of the degree of exaltation which memory and imagination may acquire in certain somnambulic subjects when other regions of the brain are in the condition of functional inhibition."

Here is Mlle. V., a professor of foreign languages, who is endowed with exquisite sensibility for hypnotic phenomena. For her, hypnotization has become an actual necessity, like morphine for morphinomaniacs. She is interested in all questions of this kind, for some time she followed punctually all the lectures which I gave here, and, as you will see, when I ask her if it interests her, she replies that she comes with pleasure, but she understands nothing about it; it is too technical. She only comes, she says, to assist in the experimental part of my lectures, and now when I question her she will tell you that she has not retained anything in her mind; that she has a very bad memory, and that she is incapable of giving the least account of the matter. That is what she ia in the normal state, a you see, and you can accept the sincerity of her words. Now I will throw her into somnambulism, and you will see that the picture will change altogether. I say to her: "You are no longer Mile. V., you are M. Luys, you are at the Charité, in his amphitheatre, and you are going to give his lecture on suggestion in his place." You see, she accepts my words with docility; she incarnates herself in my person; she takes my habits of language and of gesture, and, once started, you see with what facility, although a foreigner, she talks French, and with what correct sequence of ideas her explanations are given. She is never wrong; she finds the correct technical word; she varies her intonations, and presents really the innate qualities of a professor. More than that, you will now see a curious scene. I have a subject brought in and, placed in this arm-chair in front of her, tell her, "Here is a hypnotizable subject, whom you will send to sleep," and you will be surprised to see her repeat point by point the various proceedings for producing hypnosis; she explains to you accurately the symptomatic characters of lethargy, those of catalepsy, of somnambulism, in which state she is herself at this moment actually plunged, the different peculiarities belonging to these various states, details of the habits and manners peculiar to hypnotics, and, if I were not to interrupt her, she would go on talking thus for whole hours, until her strength was completely exhausted, and she would fall back again into lethargy.

This account of this remarkable person, which I had read beforehand, so much interested me that I was desirous to see her, and very sorry that she was not there on the usual day to play the cat. But not to disappoint us, the male patient, of whom I have spoken, was introduced in her place. He was rapidly hypnotized by holding a finger in front of his eyes, and when he had arrived at the proper stage Dr. Luys took out a tube and said, "We will try the valerian on him, but I am not sure it will succeed." The tube was, however, put inside his coat-collar in contact with his skin. Presently he became very uneasy, disturbed