The Law Of Psychic Phenomena - online book

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29O        THE LAW OF PSYCHIC PHENOMENA.
nomena of witchcraft will be found to possess a scientific value and importance which cannot be ignored in the study of psychology.
For the purposes of this argument it will be assumed that the power of man, under certain conditions, to project phantasms is provisionally established. The next question is, What are the conditions ? If we find that the conditions are practically the same in all cases, one. great step in the classification of the phenomena will have been taken.
The one condition which seems to be necessary in all cases for the production of the phenomena is that of profound sleep, either natural or artificial. The objective senses must be locked in slumber, and the more profound the sleep, the greater the power seems to be. Thus, in the cases recorded in " Phantasms of the Living," the sleep was natural, but profound. It was at least so profound that the agent had no recollection of actually doing what he had resolved to do, and it was only brought to his knowledge by the subsequent statements made by the percipients. It is said, however, that sometimes the agent retains full recollection of what he did. Be this as it may, the fact remains that the one essential condition for the successful production of the phenomena is that of sleep. Again, the Orientalists tell us the same thing. Their adepts lock themselves in their rooms, which are carefully protected against invasion, and go into a sleep so profound as to simulate death. The witches were known to employ artificial means to produce sleep. Formulae for producing what was known as " witches' ointment " are still extant. It was composed of the most powerful narcotics, made into an ointment by the addition of some fatty substance. The body of the witch was anointed from head to foot, and she then went to bed in some place secure from observation or disturbance, and lapsed into a profound sleep. This much is known, and many wonderful phenomena are alleged to have been produced, prominent among which was the creation of various shapes, such as the image of herself, images of cats, dogs, wolves, etc., which were sent to worry and annoy her neigh-