The Law Of Psychic Phenomena - online book

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94          THE LA W OF PSYCHIC PHENOMENA.
distrust the verity of experiments made for the purpose of sustaining a theory. Many facts have been recorded which demonstrate the proposition that by Braid's method the hypnotic state can be induced independently of suggestion. One class only of such facts needs to be cited to convince the most sceptical.
I allude to religious devotees, who are often thrown into the hypnotic state, even to the degree of ecstasy, by gazing upon the crucifix, or upon pictures of the Holy Virgin or of the saints. The Catholic clergy would seem to have a dim perception of the principle involved when they elevate the cross above the eyes of those in whom they wish to excite devotional enthusiasm. Be that as it may, the fact is of scientific value to the investigator of psychological phenomena. The natural attitude of prayer the eyes raised towards heaven is certainly not only conducive to devotional feeling, but, in emotional natures, to a state at least cognate to hypnotism, if not identical with it. Hence the subjective hallucinations which often result from the long and earnest prayers of religious enthusiasts.
More conclusive still is the fact that animals can be hypnotized. Albert Moll, who is one of the ablest, and certainly one of the most unprejudiced, of modern scientific writers on the subject of hypnotism, writing from the standpoint of the Nancy school, makes the following observations on the subject of hypnotizing animals :
"States resembling, or perhaps identical with, hypnosis, are also found in animals, and can easily be experimentally induced. The first experiments of this kind are referred to by the Jesuit Kircher, the so-called experimenttim 7nirabi1e Kircheri. Kircher described these experiments in 1646; but according to Preyer, the experiment had been made by Schwenter several years earlier. The most striking of these experiments, which are being continued in the present day, is as follows: A hen is held down on the ground; the head in particular is pressed down. A chalk line is then drawn on the ground, starting from the bird's beak. The hen will remain motionless. Kircher ascribes this to the animal's imagination ; he said that it imagined that it was fastened, and consequently did not try to move. Czermak repeated the experiment on different animals, and an-