The Law Of Psychic Phenomena - online book

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SUSPENDED ANIMATION, ETC.             317
is amenable to precisely the same psychological laws which govern the ordinary hypnotic subject.
The two fundamental propositions which bear upon this subject are the following:
First, a patient in a case of suspended animation or catalepsy, induced by disease or nervous exhaustion, is amenable to control by suggestion precisely as he is in the ordinary hypnotic state.
Second, a patient in that condition is always conscious, subjectively, of all that happens around him. That is to say, no matter how profoundly the objective senses are locked in slumber, the subjective faculties are ever alert, and the subject recognizes, often with great acuteness, everything that goes on around him. This fact is not always recognized by hypnotists, and it is safe to say that ignorance of this one truth has been the- source of moie erroneous conclusions regarding the significance of hypnotic phenomena than all other causes combined. Hundreds of cases are reported where the patients noted all the preparations for burial and all that was said and done, and yet were unable to move or make the fact known that they were alive. This seems to be the universal testimony, although it is possible that the patient might not, in all cases, remember what he had experienced. In fact, it is common for hypnotic subjects to forget their experiences during the sleep; but that does not militate against the fact that they were subjectively conscious at that time.
The conclusions derivable from these premises are as important as they are obvious. The first and most vital is that when a patient is suffering from a disease which will induce catalepsy, and begins to enter that state, the usual remarks and conversation of those at the bedside must inevitably tend to deepen and prolong the lethargy. The patient appears to be dying. The' friends, by word and action, are conveying the impression that death is at hand. The physician feels the pulse, which grows fainter and fainter, until it is no longer perceptible. He examines the heart until its pulsations cease. Finally, he turns to the