The Law Of Psychic Phenomena - online book

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subject, and generally in restoring him to normal consciousness. In the higher phases of hypnotic phenomena this peculiarity is still more marked. In exhibiting the phenomena of clairvoyance and thought-transference, or mind-reading, it is next to impossible to obtain good results in the presence of an avowed sceptic. The controversy between Washington Irving Bishop and Mr. Labouchere is fresh in the minds of most readers. Mr. Bishop was giving successful exhibitions of his wonderful powers in public assemblies and in private circles in London. He had demonstrated again and again his power to read the thoughts of others and to decipher the contents of sealed envelopes under the strictest test conditions, in the presence of many competent and trustworthy observers. In the height of his success Mr. Labouchere came out in his paper and denounced the whole thing as a humbug. To prove his sincerity he placed a Bank of England note for a large amount in a sealed envelope, and offered to give it to Mr. Bishop if he should correctly read the number. Repeated trials to do so ended in dismal failure. It was a feat that he had successfully performed a thousand times before, and many times afterwards. But the number on that particular bank-note he never could decipher.
In 1831 the Royal Academy of Medicine of France appointed a commission to investigate the subject of animal magnetism. The commission was composed of some of the ablest scientists of the Academy, and it prosecuted its investigations until 1837, when it made its report. Amongst other things it announced that it had demonstrated the fact that some mesmeric subjects possessed clairvoyant power; that such subjects could, with their eyes " exactly closed by the fingers," distinguish objects, tell the color and number of cards, and read lines of a book opened at a chance page. Without entering into the details of the controversy that followed this report, it is sufficient to say that a standing offer of a large sum of money was made to any one who should demonstrate the reality of clairvoyant power in the presence of a committee appointed for the purpose. It is said that