The Law Of Psychic Phenomena - online book

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EFFECTS OF ADVERSE SUGGESTION.           79
ject cannot be again hypnotized so long as the sceptic is present; his very presence is a standing suggestion of the unreality of the hypnotic condition which cannot be overcome by the operator.
In the case of Bishop, the mind-reader, the same principle applies with equal force. The mental state which enabled him to read the contents of a sealed envelope was self-induced. It was a partially hypnotic condition, induced by auto-suggestion. When Labouchere's envelope was presented to him, the very manner of presenting it the offer of its contents as a gift if he would read the number of the bank-note within was a defiance of his power. It was a suggestion of the most emphatic character and potency that, do what he would, he could not read the contents of that envelope. Again, the anxiety engendered in the mind of the clairvoyant was another factor which added force to the suggestion. The offer was not only defiant, it was even public. The whole civilized world was apprised of the controversy. The professional reputation of the man was at stake. His future career depended upon his success ; and every dollar of value in that note not only added to his anxiety to win the prize, but contributed its force to the suggestion that he could not succeed.
There is, however, another factor which should be considered in Bishop's case, and which may account for his failure on other grounds than adverse suggestion. Bishop was a professional mind-reader, and, as I understand it, did not profess to have independent clairvoyant powers. If, therefore, no one knew the number of the bank-note, it is obvious that failure was inevitable, for the reason that the fundamental conditions of success were absent. There was no mind in possession of the number, and there was no mind to read. It was, therefore, not a fair test of his professed powers in any view of the case. But if Labouchere did know the number of the note, the failure was easily accounted for, as before remarked, on the principle of adverse suggestion.
It is obvious that the principle of adverse suggestion