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Saturday, September 12, 2020

Uncanny Skills of the Trance Seers

In previous posts here and here I have discussed evidence that there can exist extremely powerful clairvoyance that may arise when someone is in a trance or put in a hypnotic state. Let us look at some additional evidence for such a thing. 

 On page 32 of the 1852 book Natural and Mesmeric Clairvoyance by James Esdaile we have an example of a skill that is reported by many other sources in the two posts I just mentioned: an ability to read while blindfolded. We read the following:

On the 20th November the reporter took a black silk handkerchief, placed between the folds two pieces of cotton wadding, and applied it in such a way that the cotton came directly over the eyes and completely filled the cavity on each side of the nose : various names were then written on cards, both of persons with whom she was acquainted, and of those who were unknown to her, which she read as soon as they were presented to her.”

On page 34 of the same book, we have an account by a man who suddenly got a mental vision regarding a stranger he had encountered. We read the following:

This man's former life was at that moment presented to my mind. I turned to him, and asked whether he would answer me candidly if I related to him some of the most secret passages of his life, I knowing as little of him personally as he did of me ? He promised, if I were correct in my information, to admit it frankly. I then related what my vision had shown me, and the whole company were made acquainted with the private history of the young merchant : his school-years, his youthful errors, and lastly, with a fault committed in reference to the strong box of his principal. I described to him the uninhabited room with whitened walls, where to the right of the brown door, on a table, stood a black money box, &c. A dead silence prevailed during the whole narration, which I alone occasionally interrupted by inquiring whether I spoke the truth. The startled young man confirmed every particular, and even, what I had scarcely expected, the last mentioned.”

On page 76 we read of a test done by a Dr. Chalmers of a lad in Calcutta said to be a clairvoyant. A bank note note was put between two candles in a bathroom. The boy was put into a hypnotic trance, which is referred to in the text as a "somnambulistic state."  Asked to describe the bathroom he could not see, the boy stated that he could see the two candles and some paper between them. When asked what type of paper it was, the boy correctly identified the value (25 rupees) and four numbers on the note. When the note was replaced with a 10-rupee note, the lad also noted that the note now said “10.” When a gold watch was placed on the note, the boy also reported seeing such a watch.

On pages 84-86 we read of a Lord Ducie who tested a young woman said to have clairvoyant powers. The following happened after the woman was put in a hypnotic trance by a surgeon:

"He (Lord Ducie) had before seen something of Mesmerism, and he sat by her, took her hand, and asked her if she felt able to travel. She replied : ' Yes ;' and he asked her if she had ever been in Gloucestershire, to which she answered that she had not, but should like very much to go there, as she had not been in the country for six years ; she was a girl of about seventeen years old. He told her that she should go with him, for he wanted her to see his farm. They travelled (mentally) by the railroad very comfortably together, and then (in imagination) got into a fly and proceeded to his house. He asked her what she saw ; and she replied : ' I see an iron gate and a curious old house.' He asked her : ' How do you get to it ?' She replied : ' By this gravel walk;' which was quite correct. He asked her how they went into it, and she replied : ' I see a porch, a curious old porch.'  It was probably known to many that his house, which was a curious old Elizabethan building, was entered by a porch as she had described. He asked her what she saw on the porch, and she replied, truly, that it was covered with flowers. He then said : ' Now we will turn in at our right hand ; what do you see in that room?' She answered with great accuracy : ' I see a bookcase and a picture on each side of it.' He told her to turn her back to the bookcase, and say what she saw on the other side ; and she said : ' I see something shining like that which soldiers wear.' She also described some old muskets and warlike implements which were hanging up in the hall ; and upon his asking her how they were fastened up (meaning by what means they were secured), she mistook his question, but replied :  'The muskets are fastened up in threes,' which was the case. He then asked of what substance the floors were built ; and she said : ' Of black and white squares ;' which was correct. He then took her to another apartment, and she very minutely described the ascent to it as being by four steps. He (Lord Ducie) told her to enter by the right door, and say what she saw there. She said : ' There is a painting on each side of the fire-place.' Upon his asking her if she saw anything particular in the fire-place, she replied : ' Yes, it is carved up to the ceiling ;' which was quite correct, for it was a curious old Elizabethan fireplace. There was at Tortworth Court a singular old chestnut-tree, and he told her that he wished her to see a favourite tree, and asked her to accompany him. He tried to deceive her by saying : ' Let us walk close up to it ;' but she replied : ' We cannot, for there are railings round it.' He said : ' Yes, wooden railings ;' to which she answered : ' No, they are of iron ;' which was the case. He asked : ' What tree is it ;' and she replied that she had been so little in the country that she could not tell ; but upon his asking her to describe the leaf, she said : ' It is a leaf as large as the geranium leaf, large, long, and jagged at the edges.' He (Lord Ducie) apprehended that no one could describe more accurately than that the leaf of the Spanish chestnut. He then told her he would take her to see his farm...She then went on and described everything on his farm with the same surprising accuracy ; and upon his subsequently inquiring, he found that she was only in error in one trifling matter, for which error any one who had ever travelled (mentally) with a clairvoyant could easily account, without conceiving any breach of the truth."

On pages 87-88 of the same book, we have an account of a man who began spontaneously to become clairvoyant after five or six weeks of hypnotic treatment (also called Mesmeric treatment).  On page 88 we read this: 

"I have put on a shooting-jacket, in which were eight or ten pockets ; I have put various articles into each pocket, of a description very unlikely to be mixed together ; and then, with all the pockets closed, and the jacket buttoned up to my throat, I would proceed to the dark room where Homer was, and, I standing a couple of yards before him, he would tell me truly the several articles in the several pockets, describing the situation of each pocket, and naming each article within it."

I have previously quoted many accounts describing clairvoyance under hypnotism involving Alexis Didier. There are many similar accounts involving his brother, Adolphe Didier. You can read some of them in Adolphe Didier's book Animal Magnetism and Somnambulism.  On page 209 Adolphe quotes a witness of his skills:

"I proceeded to mesmerise him... Lord ---- directly reached (quite at random) a book from a shelf, and, holding it behind him, asked, 'What book have I now in my hand ?' Adolphe Didier in a few seconds replied, ' Voyage en Suisse.' The inquirer immediately held up the book, that we might perceive that Didier had correctly read the gilt lettering on its back. Placing the book behind him again, and without opening it, he requested that Adolphe would read the first four lines on page 27. Adolphe immediately repeated several sentences in French. On opening the book and turning to page 27, we found that Adolphe had correctly read four lines from the twenty-seventh page of a closed book, held behind his querist, entirely out of all possible range of natural vision."

The witness then describes on page 211 a remarkable success by Adolphe Didier, in which he is able to tell lots of relevant information after being given only the name of a lady:

"As I happened, on perusing my note, to say that I must now 
go and mesmerise Adolphe Didier, the French clairvoyant, the lady remarked, 'I wish he could tell you about a ring which was stolen from me two years ago.' I rejoined that I would, if an opportunity occurred, ask him about it ; that I did not know anything of his method of perceiving, but that if she wrote her name on a piece of paper I would give it to him, and try if he could make out her wishes, or discover anything respecting the lost article. I now placed this piece of paper in his hand: He put it to his lips and on his forehead ; and, after a short interval of apparent reflection, he stated that it written by a lady, whom he described correctly ; and that she wanted to know about a lost ring. He then described the ring ; the apartment from which it was taken ; what articles were in the box where it had been previously deposited ; who had taken it, and where it was pawned ; adding, that it would not be recovered unless the pawnbroker would admit having received it, and declare where he had disposed of it. His description of the lady, of the apartment, of the box, and the various articles contained therein, one article being very curious and having therefore puzzled him much, were all perfectly correct : the person who he stated had taken it is deceased. There was some difficulty in ascertaining the pawnbroker indicated by him. The party who was presumed to be meant denied ever having taken in pledge any ring of so great a value, and thus verification of the latter part of his statement was not possible. This was not cerebral sympathy or thought-reading. The particulars were totally unknown to any one present, and the event to which they referred had taken place two years previously. It is somewhat curious and corroboratory, that on Alexis Didier being asked in Paris, and Ellen Dawson subsequently in London, also respecting the ring, they each described the same person as having stolen it. For these three clairvoyants each to have described the same person and circumstances without a possibility of any of them knowing what the others had said, is a fact somewhat too remarkable to be accounted for on the ground of extraordinary coincidence,' or 'fortunate guess-work.'  "

On page 240 Aldophe quotes a newspaper account regarding him, in which he is referred to as "the somnambulist" (a term which then meant someone showing activity while hypnotized):

"A short repose being granted, a journalist who had no faith in clairvoyance, being put en rapportrequested the somnambulist to describe to him his apartment. 'Travel there mentally yourself,' said the somnambulist, 'and I shall follow you.' 'Well, I am doing so,' said the journalist. 'Your apartment,' observed then the somnambulist, 'is on the third floor. Yes, it is on the third floor, and I am now in your room. Everything in it appears in disorder. There is a table by the side of the window with many papers upon it ; but I can see nothing striking in your apartment ; in short, there is scarcely anything in it.' 'That is very true,' admitted the journalist ; 'but now I am thinking of something. Can you see what it is?' 'You are thinking of a portrait which hangs over the mantelpiece; it is a daguerrotype; it is even your own likeness.'  'Still very true,' again admitted the journalist. Another gentleman tried the same experiment, and the very objects he only thought of were named 
to him, which further proved the extraordinary lucidity of the somnambulist."

On page 270 Adolphe quotes this account from the Cardiff Journal, using the term "somnambulic state" to mean a hypnotized state:

"In order to satisfy the doubt of some gentlemen, it was arranged that a billiard match should be played by Adolphe when blindfolded, in the somnambulic state. This took place immediately after the public seance, on Monday evening ; when, his eyes having been bandaged with three handkerchiefs, under which were two large pieces of cotton-wool, and all possibility of seeing in the ordinary way quite done away with, Adolphe took the cue, and played his game as well as many could have done in their natural state with, open eves. He described the position and colour of the balls, and made his remarks on the strokes, showing that he was perfectly clairvoyant. As he expressed himself as being much fatigued, the game was brought to an [early conclusion ; most sceptics being convinced of the astounding fact, that in a peculiar state of the human brain, preception can and does take place without the use of the ordinary means of vision."

On page 289 Adolphe quotes another press account of one of his innumerable public exhibitions, one in which plaster was affixed over his eyes:

"These gentlemen no longer considered the balls of carded 
cotton as sufficient, for they literally closed up M. Didier's eyes with two real plasters, which they first took care to scrutinize. But all this could not hinder the somnambulist from playing with extraordinary celerity, and remarkable certainty, several games of cards, dominoes, and draughts, nor from reading at the instant whatever was presented to him."

On page 307 Adolphe quotes another of a great number of favorable press accounts of his public exhibitions:

"A gentleman handed to the clairvoyant a gold watch, requesting him to read what was written inside. M. Didier answered as quickly as the question was put to him, VenitiaThe watch was then opened and this word was, in fact, found inside." 

On page 127 of his 1869 book "Artificial Somnambulism, Hitherto Called Mesmerism, or Animal Magnetism" William Baker Fahnestock MD states that he "very much doubted" ESP under hypnosis, but was forced to believe in it because he "proved more than a thousand times" that it occurs. On page 132 he states this about hypnotized persons:

"It is astonishing with what facility some subjects follow, or read the minds even of strangers who may desire to take them to places where they have never been ; and when there with what accuracy they describe places, persons, or things existing or passing at the time."

On the same page we read this:

"Mr E was desired, at the request of a gentleman, to visit his home with him — which was distant about fifty miles — and when he had followed him by reading his mind, he described the peculiarities of the mill and the house attached to it, the number of rooms in the house, where entered, the furniture and relative position of the same, his wife, whom he described as being slim, tall, with very dark hair and dark complexion, dressed in a brown gown, having a child in her arms. Another child, of about four years old, was described as running about the room ; and an old gentleman, rather portly, bald, and dressed in drab clothes, was seated upon a settee. All this the gentleman declared was correct, and could not have been better described by the subject if he had been there in body at the time ; and, as the gentleman had never seen the subject before, nor the subject either him or any of the family, he was convinced, though skeptical before, that he must have just seen what he described. The description of the above residence and family was so minute, so clear, and so unhesitatingly done, that if it, or a like description, had been given to the most skeptical, it must have convinced him that there was something more in their powers than 'is dreamed of in the world's philosophy.' " 

In the following pages (133-135) the author gives equally impressive examples of clairvoyance under hypnotism. On page 219 Dr. Fahnestock states this about hypnotized clairvoyants: 

"Darkness, matter, and space, seem to offer no ob- 
struction to their view, and I have had them, times 
without number, correctly to describe and name arti- 
cles held in the closed hands of others, of which I had 
no knowledge whatever. In the same manner they have described pictures, etc., held behind them, and named persons outside of the house, although their presence was not expected, and they arrived after the subject had been in this  state for some hours. They have told the contents of closed boxes at a distance, which they never saw, and named the amount of money, and kind of coin in pocket-books and purses which were held in the hands of inveterate skeptics. They have found persons at a distant city, with whom they were acquainted, without ever having been there themselves, and told accurately — neither more nor less — what they had been doing at a certain time and place. They have described places and scenes at a distance, where they had never been, to the perfect satisfaction of hundreds of skeptics who, at different periods, requested them to go with them in thought." 

On page 221 and the next page we have specific examples of such clairvoyance. A female was asked what a Mr. K was doing in the next room, the door to which was closed.  She answered, "He is standing in the center of the room, and is holding a chair above his head."  When the room was inspected, Mr. K was found doing  exactly that.  The experiment was repeated, and the person correctly stated that the unseen Mr. K was holding a pillow upon his head.  The experiment was repeated again, and the female correctly stated that Mr. K was lying down on the floor. We read the following about experiments with a Mr. S.:

"On another occasion the same subject was requested by several other skeptics to tell what Mr. S. was doing in the next room. Answer. — 'He is standing up, and is holding the piano-stool upon his right shoulder.' Her answer was correct ; and in like manner she told that he was holding a note book upon his head; and again that he had thrown a shawl about his shoulders, and had placed a bonnet on his head. The same precautions were taken by the gentlemen to prevent deception that had been used on a former occasion. The door was guarded closely, and opened by themselves, and the positions which Mr. S. assumed were not premeditated by him, but assumed upon the instant after the door had been closed. Deception was therefore out of the question."

In the next twenty pages the author then describes numerous other similar cases of clairvoyance under hypnotism

In his book on hypnotism Teste states the following on page 75, using the term "magnetizer" for a hypnotist and "somnambulist" for the hypnotized: 

"Vision through the closed eyelids and through opaque bodies is not only a real fact, but a very frequent fact. There is no magnetiser who has not observed it twenty times, and I know at the present day in Paris alone a very great number of somnambulists who might furnish proofs of it."

There then follows in Teste's book many pages documenting such an ability in a Madame Hortense.  In his book Animal Magnetism and Magnetic Lucid Somnambulism by Edwin Lee, we read the following on page 105 about a patient who would fall into hypnotic trances: "The patient would frequently announce the arrival of unexpected  visitors, and describe their attire, and the objects which they held in their hands, while they were yet only approaching the house, and even perhaps a mile away from it."  On page 110 of the same work we read the following (in which a hypnotized person is called a somnambulist): "Thus, a somnambulist, after accurately describing a distant friend of the questioner, can sometimes state what that friend is occupied about at the time, or, having described a distant residence by means of thought-reading, will also describe the persons there, in the drawing-room, or in some other part of the house or grounds, and state what they are doing ; and these statements are found by subsequent inquiry to be true." The book gives innumerable accounts backing up such claims. 

On page 124 we read the following, referring to cotton wadding:

"His eyes being padded over with wadding, and bandaged by any one of the audience, the exhibitor gropes his way down from the platform to distribute to any persons who choose to take them, tablets, and chalk or pencil, wherewith to write on them whatever they please—as a series of names of celebrated artists, authors, &c., the towns through which they would pass on making an imaginary journey, dates referring to historical events, &c. He then tells the holder of each of the tablets what he has written and what it refers to.... A gentleman sitting not far from me had written down the names of a dozen literary and artistical celebrities, which, like the other trials, were correctly told."

On pages 130-131 we read the following (using the word "somnambulist" for someone hypnotized, and "magnetizer" for a hypnotist):

"Dr. Macario, adverting to this part of the subject, 
observes : ' Of all the faculties of somnambulists, 
the transmission of the thoughts of the magnetiser is 
that which the least shakes our belief, and which 
consequently reckons the greatest number of believers. 
I have witnessed this phenomenon in company with 
several physicians of repute. This is what we saw : 
On the magnetiser simply willing it, a male somnambulist
began to sing an air of an opera, or a romance which is mentally indicated to him by the magnetiser; and he ceased singing in the midst of a phrase or of a word, as soon as the magnetiser mentally ordered him to be silent. We took all imaginable precautions against being made the dupes of trickery. The somnambulist had a thick bandage over his eyes, which completely intercepted the transmission of luminous rays, and the magnetiser was placed at the distance of several yards behind him, no material means of communication existing between them. It was one or the other of 
us who intimated to the magnetiser, by means of a 
sign agreed upon beforehand, when to cause the somnambulist to sing, and when to stop.' ” 

In this post and previous posts here and here I have discussed very abundant evidence (attested to by a very large number of witnesses) that there can exist extremely powerful clairvoyance and ESP that may arise when someone is put in a hypnotic state. The failure of living researchers to investigage this very promising lead is deplorable. 

Postscript: Francois Noizet wrote a 428-page work on this topic which I am unable to read because I can find only a French edition. But I have found a very notable quote from the book in the work Mental Suggestion by Julian Ochorowicz. Noizet states the following, using the term "magnetizer" for a hypnotist, and "somnambule" to mean the hypnotized person, and referring to a Duke de Montpensier who was the King's youngest son:

"I reached my friend's place before the magnetizer and his somnambule, and the master of the house told us that among the extraordinary powers she was credited with was, that she could tell what a person with whom she was put in rapport had been doing throughout the day. Now, on that very day it chanced that I had done something quite out of the common — I had gone to the Hotel des Invalides with the Duke de Montpensier, to show him the gallery of relief -plans of the fortifications. I proposed to test on myself the somnambule's power, and this proposition was accepted by my two friends. The somnambule having arrived...I forthwith put myself in rapport with her, and asked if she was able to see what I had been doing that day. After some details of little consequence, and obtained with difficulty, as to how I had passed the morning, I asked whither I had gone for breakfast. She answered, without much hesitation, 'To the Tuileries.' That might mean a simple stroll thither, so I persisted and asked at what point I had entered. 'By the wicket on the quay hard by the Pont-Royal.'  ' And then ? ' ' You went up into the chateau.' ' By which steps, the middle ones ? ' ' No ; by those at the corner, near the wicket.' Here she lost herself among the different sets of steps — and well she might, for there are many of them. Finally she set me down in a large hall where some officers were. It was a reception hall on the ground floor. ' You waited,' said she to me. ' And then ? ' ' A tall young man came and spoke to you.' 'Who was that young man?' 'I do not know.' 'Try hard to find out.' ' Oh, it is the King's son.' 'Which?' 'I do not know.' (I tell her it was the Duke de Montpensier.) ' Afterward ? ' ' You entered a coach.' 'Alone?' ' No ; with the prince.' 'Where was I placed ? ' ' In the rear, to the left of him.' ' Were we two alone in the coach ?'  ' No ; there was, further, in front, a stout gentleman ? ' 'Who was that gentleman ? ' ' I do not know.' ' Try.' (After reflecting) ' 'Twas the King.' ' How,' said I, ' I on the rear seat and the King on the front ? You see that is not reasonable.' ' I can't say ; I do not know that gentleman.' ' Well, it was the Prince's aide-de-camp.' ' I do not kriow him.' ' Where did we go ? ' 'Along the riverside.' ' And then ? ' ' You entered a large chateau.' ' What chateau ? ' ' I do not know ; there are trees before you come to it.' 'Take a good look ai: it, you must know it.' ' No ; I don't know.'...At last she said to me : ' There were long tables.' ' And what was on the tables ? ' 'It was not high nor was it entirely flat.' (I could not bring her to tell me that it was relief-plans — things that she, no doubt, had never seen.) ' What did we do then, at those tables ? ' 'You got on a bench, and with a long rod pointed out something ? ' (This remarkable specification was perfectly exact.) At last she had us in the coach again and away. I then said to her : ' But just look back ; you must recognize the place we are leaving.' ' Ah ! ' she said, as though astonished and confused, ' 'tis the H6tel des Invalides.' She said, furthermore, that the Prince quitted me at the door, which was the fact.  Though familiar with the phenomena of somnambulism, this scene nevertheless impressed me much, and I could not reasonably attribute to any cause save the faculty of reading my thoughts or of deciphering impressions still existing in my brain, the kind of divination exhibited by the somnambule. That is the only explanation I can give even to-day." 

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