The Law Of Psychic Phenomena - online book

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$6           THE LA IV OF PSYCHIC PHENOMENA.
there is nothing in the report which shows how far the possibilities of suggestion were removed in that class of experiments. Indeed, in deference to truth it must be here remarked that mesmerists at that time had but a faint and undefined notion of the subtle role which suggestion plays in all psychological phenomena. Hence it follows that in examining the record of experiments in the higher phenomena of hypnotism we must make due allowance for possible error in all cases where the nature of the experiments does not preclude the possibility of suggestion having influenced the result, or where the possibilities of suggestion have not been intelligently eliminated.
The effect of this report was instantaneous and remarkable. The advocates of magnetism as a therapeutic agent, and the believers in the occult features of the phenomena, such as clairvoyance and thought-transference, had scored a triumph. But it served only to exasperate the average scientist and to intensify his prejudices. The Academy refused to dignify the report by printing it, and it rests to-day in silent oblivion in the manuscript archives of the institution. Another committee was soon after appointed, headed by a member who had openly sworn hostility to the doctrine. The result was what might have been expected. After the examination of two subjects under circumstances which, in the light of what is now known, rendered failure inevitable, the committee made a very undignified report, announcing the failure to produce the occult phenomena promised, and impugning the intelligence of the former committee. Strange and illogical as it may seem, the later report, which proved nothing, which was confined to an announcement of merely negative results, which simply showed that the committee did not witness certain promised phenomena, was accepted by the average scientist as containing the gospel of hypnotism, as against the report of the earlier committee, which, after five years of laborious research, announced that it had witnessed the phenomena in question and demonstrated their reality.
For some years subsequent to this the investigation of