42 THE LAW OF PSYCHIC PHENOMENA.
interesting passages from books, none of which, we are sure, they were capable of recollecting in the natural and healthy state of their mind."1
It must be remembered that when these events occurred, the profession knew little of the phenomena of hypnotism. In the light of present knowledge on that subject it is easy to understand that the phenomena here recorded are referable to one common origin, whatever may have been the proximate cause of their manifestation. There are many ways by which the subjective mind may be caused to become active and dominant besides deliberately producing hypnotic sleep. Diseases of various kinds, particularly those of the brain or nervous system, and intense febrile excitement, are frequently causes of the total or partial suspension of the functions of the objective mind, and of exciting the subjective mind to intense activity.
The next case quoted by Sir William is from " Recollections of the Valley of the Mississippi," by an American clergyman named Flint:
" I am aware," he remarks, " that every sufferer in this way is apt to think his own case extraordinary. My physicians agreed with all who saw me that my case was so. As very few live to record the issue of a sickness like mine, and as you have requested me, and as I have promised, to be particular, I will relate some of the circumstances of this disease. And it is in my view desirable, in the bitter agony of such diseases, that more of the symptoms, sensations, and sufferings should have been recorded than have been; and that others in similar predicaments may know that some before them have had sufferings like theirs, and have survived them. I had had a fever before, and had risen, and been dressed every day. But in this, with the first day I was prostrated to infantine weakness, and felt, with its first attack, that it was a thing very different from what I had yet experienced.
" Paroxysms of derangement occurred the third day, and this was to me a new state of mind. That state of disease in which partial derangement is mixed with a consciousness generally sound, and sensibility preternaturally excited, I should suppose the most distressing of all its forms. At the same time that I
1 Beasley on the Mind, p. 474.