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SUSPENDED ANIMATION, ETC.             311
A few years ago, a gentleman of Harrisburg, Pa., apparently died after a long period of suffering from inflammatory rheumatism, complicated with heart trouble. Preparations were made for the funeral j but his wife refused to allow the body to be packed in ice, fearing the possibility of a premature burial, and announced her determination to keep it for at least a week. The next day her hopes were realized by finding her husband with his eyes wide open, and one of his arms out of the position in which it had been placed. She called loudly for him to arise, and with assistance he did so, and was placed in a chair. Physicians were summoned, but before their arrival he was so far recovered that their aid was unnecessary, and he soon recovered from his illness. He states that during the time of suspended animation he was perfectly cognizant of all that occurred around him, heard the lamentations of the stricken family and the preparations for burial, but was unable to move a muscle or utter a sound.
The reading public has not forgotten the death of Washington Irving Bishop, the celebrated mind-reader, which occurred under circumstances that called forth the declaration on the part of his friends and relatives that he was not dead before the surgeon's knife penetrated his brain; that on several previous occasions he had been in a cataleptic state, resembling death, for many hours at a time; and that on one of these occasions his attending physicians had pronounced him dead. The public will not soon forget the thrill of horror which was felt when it was learned with what unseemly haste an autopsy was performed upon that unfortunate man.
These are not exceptional cases, nor is the phenomenon of modern origin. It can be traced back through all the ages of which there are records preserved, until it is lost in the twilight of tradition and fable.
In all human probability the ancient belief in vampirism had its origin in discovered cases of suspended animation. It will be remembered that whenever a corpse was suspected of being a vampire, the grave was opened and the body was