Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 50.djvu/245

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POSSESSION AND MEDIUMSHIP.

myself, I certainly felt no inconvenience from the fall. I lay groaning for a little while, and then got up and sat in my chair again.

"Some one now suggested that we should sing, and this being done, I immediately became affected by the music, which moved me in a very extraordinary manner. I fancied myself realizing the whole scene clearly. In a great cathedral I seemed to be the presiding priest at the close of a great function pronouncing the benediction." He then went through several of these dreamlike states, some of which he describes, and says of them: "In all these phases or states I seemed to be two individuals—one my ordinary, critical, observant self, closely watching what took place in and around me, the other the character that seemed to be personating itself through me." Toward the close of the séance the hymn "Nearer, my God, to Thee" was sung. "Before the first verse was finished I began to experience strange sensations. . . . I seemed to be far away in space. . . . I seemed to be moving or rather to be drawn downward, and presently felt that I had reached this earth again; but all was strange and fearful and lonely, and I seemed to be disappointed that I could not attain the object of this long and lonely journey. . . . At this point some one said, ‘It's his father controlling him.’ I then seemed to realize who I was and whom I was seeking. I began to be distressed in my lungs. . . . I was in a measure still conscious of my actions, though not of my surroundings, and I have a clear memory of seeing myself in the character of my dying father lying in the bed and the room in which he died. It was a most curious sensation. I saw his shrunken hands and face and lived again through his dying moments; only now I was both myself—in some indistinct sort of way—and my father with his feeling and appearance."

Mr. Tout then shows in detail that these dreams—for they are no more—sprang from the suggestions which were given him by his friends and from autosuggestions furnished by his own mind. For example, the journey through space sprang from a ghost story which he had once read, told from a ghost's point of view, and describing the return of a restless spirit to earth. He then adds: "I know myself and my susceptibility, even under normal conditions, to suggestion in all sorts of forms, not necessarily verbal, so well that no alternative remains to me but to believe that what I did was due simply to everyday suggestion in one form and another. Building and peopling cháteaux en Espagne was a favorite occupation of mine in my earlier days, and this long-practiced faculty is doubtless a potent factor in all my characterizations, and doubtless also in those of many another full-fledged ‘medium.’ " With this sane and rational conclusion all sensible folk will agree.