THE PHENOMENA OF SPIRITISM. 265
It is obvious to those who have followed our argument thus far that the subjective mind of the person obsessed is dominated by the suggestion that it is a bad spirit or a devil, as the case may be; and that, acting upon that suggestion, it will personate the spirit or devil with the same extraordinary acumen that it would personate any other character suggested. And it will assume to be one, two, or seven devils or spirits, in accordance with the suggestion, and will exhibit as many different kinds and degrees of deviltry as there are devils embraced in the suggestion.
Such cases are frequently characterized by the development of wonderful telepathic power; and this of course adds to the mystery and confirms his friends in the idea that the patient is controlled by an extramundane agency. But, while it adds to the mystery, it does not militate against the soundness of the explanation afforded by the laws of duality and suggestion. The ceremony of exorcism by the priests in ancient times constituted a most powerful suggestive command, which could not, and did not, fail in having the desired effect. There was an interval, however, between the days of priestly exorcism and the days of modern hypnotism, during which scepticism prevailed regarding the power of any one to exorcise an offending spirit, or to cure the patient by other than material remedies. Patients were then sent to insane asylums, only to increase their maladies. But in later years the power of hypnotic suggestion has become a recognized principle in therapeutics, and little trouble is experienced in curing obsessed patients where the brain has not become diseased. The fact that the trouble is susceptible of cure by hypnotic suggestion points clearly to its mental origin, and precludes the possibility of its being attributable to supermundane causes.
Cognate in some of its essential characteristics to the phenomenon of obsession is that of dual personality; and although it has nothing to do with the question of spiritism, it may as well be noted here as elsewhere. By this term is