The Law Of Psychic Phenomena - online book

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HYPNOTISM AND MESMERISM.               107
investigations. But that does not account for the fact that mesmerists, who believe in the verity of the phenomena, are raiely able to produce it at the present day.
The first question which presents itself is one of dates. When did the higher phenomena show the first signs of decadence ? A moment's reflection will fix it at or about the date of the promulgation of the theories of Dr. Braid. It is a historic fact, well known to all who have watched the progress of hypnotic science, that as soon as it was found that the mesmeric or hypnotic sleep could be induced by causing the subject to gaze upon a bright object held before his eyes, all other methods were practically abandoned. It was much easier to hold an object before the subject's eyes for a few minutes, with the mind at rest, than to make passes over him for an indefinite length of time, accompanying the passes by fixity of gaze and intense concentration of mind. The important point to bear in mind right here is the fact that in the old mesmeric method, fixity of gaze and concentration of will on the part of the operator, were considered indispensable to success. It seems clear, then, that it is to this change of methods that we must look for an explanation of the change in results. That being conceded, we must inquire how the conditions were changed by the change of methods. What effects, if any, either in the condition of the subject or of the operator, or in both, are missing when the new methods are applied ?
It is now necessary to recall to mind the fact (i) that Braid demonstrated that suggestion is not a necessary factor in the induction of the hypnotic state ; and (2) that steadily gazing upon an object will induce the condition in a more or less marked degree, whether the subject is expecting the result or not. The intelligent student will so readily recall thousands of facts demonstrating this proposition that it is safe to set it down as an axiom in hypnotic science that intense gazing upon an object, accompanied by concentration of mind, will displace the threshold of consciousness to a greater or less extent, depending