Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/867

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847
LITERARY NOTICES.

circlet of magnetized iron was placed that had been around the head of a person subject to hallucinations of persecution and of black misery; the patient's features became haggard, his expression melancholic, and he struggled, with evident horror and fright, to escape from imaginary persecutors; the removal of the circlet restored him to calmness. These ideas had remained stored in the circlet, as Dr. Luys informed his audience, for six months, and were apparently by no means exhausted notwithstanding frequent use. Small sealed tubes containing various medicinal substances applied to the necks of these hypnotized individuals produced symptoms similar to those caused by the administration of the substances internally. Another series of phenomena was produced by having the hypnotized person hold a glass of water or a wax doll in the hands, and their sensation was transferred to the object held so that if the glass of water or the doll was stroked, pinched, pricked, or tortured at a distance, and presumably where the subject could not see what was done, the sensation was transferred from the object to the person, who would express emotions conforming to what was done to the supposed sensitized object.

Mr. Hart found that Dr. Luys was unwilling to allow him to make certain tests that would control these experiments and determine whether the "subject" was dissembling or unconscious. Accordingly, he made arrangements to have Dr. Luys's "subjects" come to his chambers, where he had a nonmagnetic bar resembling the magnetized bar that Luys had used, a demagnetized magnet, a set of needles variously and inversely magnetized, sealed tubes containing the medicinal substances used by Luys as well as some containing water, two similar glasses of water and two similar wax dolls. In the presence of a number of credible witnesses he repeated Luys's experiments, and the "subjects" were delighted with the north pole, although there was no current turned on, and false phenomena were obtained with all the magnets employed. The doll or glass of water to which sensation had been transferred from a "subject" was surreptitiously exchanged for the unsensitized glass of water or doll, but that made no difference in the phenomena elicited by the stroking, pinching, etc. The sealed glass tubes containing water produced the tipsy scenes that arose when Luys applied to the neck the tube containing brandy, while one containing the latter produced any symptom that was expected to be obtained from whatever substance was mentioned. In other words the "subjects" were artful and efficient impostors and Dr. Luys was their dupe, as one of the "subjects" herself stated.

We believe that this brief review of the scope of the experiments justifies Mr. Hart's assertion that Luys's experiments were conducted with culpable looseness in his methods, and that there were incredible extravagance and error in the deductions that he allowed himself to make from the false phenomena to which his mode of experimentation inevitably led.

Mr. Hart believes that the alleged advantages of the therapeutic employment of hypnotism in certain neuroses, in alcoholism, and in the cases of backward or naughty children, are untenable, and that the effect of its employment is to weaken the will power that it is desirable to strengthen. In fact, compared with the hypnotist faith-curer of the hospital ward, the balance is in favor of the faith-curer of the chapel and the grotto. The latter strengthens the weaker individuality by playing upon the theme of auto-suggestion; the patient is told to believe that he will be cured, to wish it fervently and he shall be cured. And his cure is quite as real and likely to be quite as lasting as if he had become the puppet of a hypnotizer.

The method in which the subject is presented serves to convince the reader that the phenomena of hypnotism do not transcend the confines of explicable fact, and that those that believe that it contains much that is occult are but the dupes of their own credulity. The volume is written in a style that will enable the lay reader to understand the topic, and it is to be hoped that its wide circulation will correct many of the popular impressions regarding the possibilities as well as the facts of hypnotism.

Electrical Experiments. By G. E. Bonney. London: Whittaker k Co. Pp. 252. Price, 75 cents.

This book has been prepared, Mr. Bonney informs us in his preface, for the in-