The Law Of Psychic Phenomena - online book

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214 THE LAW OF PSYCHIC PHENOMENA.
that it is an extraneous and, therefore, an independent power.
No one who has witnessed even the stage exhibitions of the phenomena of hypnotism will doubt the substantial truth of this proposition. An intelligent subject can be made to assume any number of characters, diverse as the antipodes, and in each one he will imitate the original in thought, word, and action with perfect fidelity, so far as he knows the character, habits, and idiosyncrasies of the individual personated, firmly believing himself to be the individual he represents. He may, with the same facility, be transformed into an angel or a devil or an animal; and he will never doubt the truth of the suggestion, or fail to act the character suggested, so far as it is physically possible. These facts are well known to all hypnotists, as well as to all who witness the common stage exhibitions of the phenomena. Some stage hypnotists have much difficulty in preventing their subjects from exhibiting spiritistic phenomena on the platform. This was a common experience of Professor Cad-well, an American performer, who was himself a spiritist. When it became known to his audiences and subjects that the latter were liable to be "controlled by spirits," the trouble became very marked, and the professor was greatly annoyed by the frequency with which his subjects were seized upon by " passing spirits," and made to receive communications and perform other antics in the name of the spirits of their dead acquaintances. The phenomena exhibited through these subjects were identical with those shown through ordinary mediums, and indeed some of his best subjects afterwards became successful professional mediums. That the liability of the professor's subjects to lapse into mediumship was the result of suggestion is shown by the fact that Professor Carpenter, who was CadwelFs pupil, and operated by his methods, and was in every sense his peer as an operator, never had any trouble with mediumistic phenomena, for the simple reason that he was careful to avoid suggesting the idea to his subjects that such a thing was possible. In point of fact it is well known to many hypnotists that all the phe-