A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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given to drunkenness. He himself in his youth was feeble, delicate and timid, but not markedly abnormal. He married at twenty-two, and all went well until one day in his thirty-third year, after returning home from a short absence, he became extremely taciturn and later completely dumb. He was examined by various physicians, who successively diagnosed his ailment, one as diabetes, another as angina pectoris. Achille's voice now returned, he manifested symptoms appropriate in turn to either malady, and incessantly bewailed his sufferings. In the final stage, he fell into a complete lethargy, and remained motionless for two days. At the end of that period he awoke and burst into a fit of Satanic laughter, which presently changed into frightful shrieks and complaints that he was tortured by demons. This state lasted for many weeks. He would pour forth blasphemies and obscenities; and immediately afterwards lament and shudder at the terrible words which the demon had uttered through his mouth. He drank laudanum and other poisons, but did not die ; he even tied his feet together, and threw himself into the water, ultimately coming safe to land. In each case he ascribed his deliverance to the fact that his body was doomed to be for ever the abode of the damned. He would describe the evil spirits which tormented him, their diabolic grimaces, and the horns which adorned their heads. Ultimately he came under Professor Janet's charge, and the latter satisfied himself that the unhappy man had all the signs of genuine possession as described by mediaeval chroniclers ; that his blasphemies were involuntary, and many of his actions unconsciously performed. Janet even made the devil write at his biddingin French not too correctly speltpoor Achille the while knowing nothing of the matter ; and further established the fact that during the convulsive move-