The Law Of Psychic Phenomena - online book

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84           THE LA W OF PSYCHIC PHENOMENA.
priest who had achieved great notoriety by curing disease by manipulation, without the use of any other means. Mesmer then threw away his magnets, and evolved the theory of " animal magnetism." This he held to be a fluid which pervades the universe, but is most active in the human nervous organization, and enables one man, charged with the fluid, to exert a powerful influence over another.
Two years after meeting Gassner he went to Paris, and at once threw that capital into the wildest excitement by the marvellous effects of his manipulations. He was treated with contumely by the medical profession; but the people flocked to him, and many wonderful cures were effected. His methods, in the light of present knowledge, smack of charlatanism; but that he believed in himself was demonstrated by his earnest demand for an investigation. This the Government consented to, and a commission, composed of physicians and members of the Academy of Sciences, was appointed, of which Benjamin Franklin was a member. The report admitted the leading facts claimed by Mesmer, but held that there was no evidence to prove the correctness of his magnetic fluid theory, and referred the wonderful effects witnessed to the " imagination" of the patients. Their conclusion was that the subject was not worthy of further scientific, investigation.
It is difficult at this day to conceive by what process of reasoning that learned body could arrive at such a conclusion. They admitted the existence of a motive force capable of controlling man's physical organization, that this force is amenable to control by man, and that this control is capable of being reduced to an art. Then they proceed to announce a discovery of their own, a discovery, by the way, which turns out to be the most important which modern science had, at that time, contributed to the solution of the great problem. They discovered that the phenomena were purely subjective, thereby demonstrating the power of mind over matter. If they had stopped there, or if they had concluded that this wonderful force was worthy of the most searching scientific investigation, they