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SUSPENDED ANIMATION, ETC.             313
the instance of Runjeet Singh, suffered himself to be buried alive in an air-tight vault for a period of six weeks. This case was thoroughly authenticated by Sir Claude Wade, the then British Resident at the court of Loodhiana. The fakir's nostrils and ears were first filled with wax; he was then placed in a linen bag, then deposited in a wooden, box which was securely locked, and the box was deposited in a brick vault which was carefully plastered up with mortar and sealed with the Rajah's seal. A guard of British soldiers was then detailed to watch the vault day and night. At the end of the prescribed time the vault was opened in the presence of Sir Claude and Runjeet Singh, and the fakir was restored to consciousness.
Lieutenant Boileau relates another instance where a man suffered himself to be buried for a period of ten days in a grave lined with masonry and covered with a large slab of stone, the whole strictly guarded day and night. On being restored to consciousness, the man offered to submit to burial for a year, if the lieutenant so desired.
Many other well-authenticated instances are related by British residents in India, but these must suffice. In all these cases the subjects were in perfect health when the experiments were made, and in each instance the body, when disinterred, was found to present all the characteristics indicating death, except decomposition.
Volumes might be filled with well-authenticated cases of suspended animation, varying in duration from a few hours to many months; but it would be foreign to the purpose of this chapter to cite any. Sufficient instances have been given to illustrate the points which I shall attempt to make, as well as to show the intrinsic importance of the subject and the danger to be apprehended from ignorance of the psychic principles involved.
The fundamental error into which many physicians have fallen consists in the assumption that catalepsy is, per se, a disease. It must be said, however, to the credit of the profession, that no one pretends to understand it. Most medical writers confess that if it is a disease, it is one of which