have labored harder to control
the mind of a person in a diseased state
than I ever did in performing any manual labor in my whole life.
~ Phineas Quimby
Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
Experiences in Healing, Spiritualism & Mesmerism
Man, as we see him, is not to be compared to a clock, as he sometimes is for various reasons. In the arrangement of a clock, the motive power is the weight, and all the results are governed by a train of wheels and pinions, regulated by a pendulum. And accordingly as this pendulum is altered, the time must vary. Now if there is no motive power in man, except that which is the result of an organized brain, then the comparison would be of some force. But no one supposes that an eight-day clock is under the influence of any person, after it has been wound up until it has run down. Is anyone prepared to say the same of man? I think not.
All will admit that man cannot move or breathe without the aid of what is called “mind.” Now if this power is not the result of an organized brain, it must be a power that is not dependent on the brain for its existence. There is no doubt that the theory of the practice of medicine was founded on the idea that mind is the result of an organized brain, and therefore that mind and matter are the same. This is an error that will some day be corrected, for it leads man to bad results. It keeps him ignorant of himself and also of the power that governs him. Now let man believe that he - that is, his mind - is not the offspring of an organized brain, and in a short time a different state of society will be seen.
Is the person that plays the pianoforte or harp a part of the instrument? If there is any tune produced from the instrument, it must be by a power independent of itself. So it is with man. If man's body never moved till the power to do so was created within itself, it would never move. I believe the body may be compared to an instrument - ready to be operated upon by any person who has the power of applying their mind to other persons than themselves, in the same way as a person conveys his ideas of music on an instrument.
For instance, if an instrument is out of tune, one would not call on a person to tune it who had no ear for music, from the fact that he could not tell where the disorder was. If the instrument was well (or in tune), it would need no physician (or tuner). So it is with man. When well, he needs no sympathy (or physician); but the sick need this sympathy, which is a relief to their mind, of which a well person knows nothing.
The tones of a musical instrument may be compared to the mind. When I speak of mind, I do not mean ideas. Ideas are the results of the mind, used to convey any fact to another. Like the strings of a musical instrument, both are matter acted upon by the mind. It requires a person who has an ear for music to convey ideas of tunes to another. So it is with the mind. When a person's mind is at rest, all is well. But if the mind is disturbed through an injury done to the body or by any other cause, it uses the body to convey the fact to others. These discords are what are called “diseases.” This is the state of a person when he is in want of this sympathy. These discords in a person are as easily detected by some as the discords in music are by a professional musician. And there are persons who are as easily affected by the discords of the sick as there are those who are disturbed by the discords of music.
When I speak of discords in man, I mean disease. These disorders are the results of a chemical change in the fluids of the system, brought about by the action of the mind. These discords are sometimes brought about instantly and may be corrected as suddenly. It may be necessary to give some proof that the fluids are changed suddenly. Before I bring any proof, I wish it to be distinctly understood that it is my belief that I can change the fluids of another person in an instant, from a diseased to a healthy state. I do not mean every person. And I feel the discords as sensibly as a person feels the discords in music - and use the same means to correct them.
To prove the above statement, I will take the case of the woman who was healed by the touch of Christ's garment. The woman believed that if she could touch the hem of Christ's garment, she should be made whole. Now to produce a cure, it was necessary that a change should be produced in the system; and to produce this change, it was necessary to change the mind to correct the discord. Christ, being very susceptible to this power, felt the slightest discord in any person - and as quick to correct as to detect, was always ready to sympathize with the sick. When the woman touched him, he was disturbed by the discord, and being well, corrected the discord instantly, without any thought. When the discord passed off, he said to his disciples, “Somebody hath touched me, for I perceive that virtue hath gone out of me.” (Luke 8:46). Thus the fluids were changed in an instant, and the disease was cured.
I introduce this case to prove that the same power was used to cure disease then as now. See the cures performed by the Seventh Son. No one will deny that some cures have been performed by the touch of the hand, but the idea that there was any more power in the Seventh Son than in any other person is all folly. The fact of a person's being the Seventh Son may lead him to give his attention to some particular class of diseases and may acquire the power of correcting the mind in those diseases, the same as a child may acquire the power of imitating a bird. Either power may be improved, if the attention is devoted to the subject.
Some persons suppose this power is a gift from God and that the one who has it must be superior to other men. I never heard that a man who was a professional musician was superior to any other person, but they are generally looked upon as being rather inferior; as they generally give their attention to the study of music and entirely neglect all other branches. So it is with the cure of diseases by sympathy. If a man is entitled to any credit, it is for discovering the principles on which the mind acts, rather than for the power that is given him.
I shall give some of my own and also others' experiments to show on what I base my opinion of the fluids changing instantly, so as to produce a derangement of the system. I have sat down by a person and taken them by the hand; have had what is called “canker” come in my mouth almost immediately, and on inquiring if they had the same, have found it so, in every case.
I was once operating on a lady who had a trouble in her head, as she thought, and in a short time I tasted snuff and also smelt it. I said to the lady, "Have you been taking snuff for your head?"
She replied, "No, I never use snuff."
I said, "I certainly taste snuff, and you must have taken it and forgotten it."
She was rather surprised at my remarks and sat for a few moments in silence. Then she said, "About three weeks ago, I was directed by my physician to try snuff for my head. I took one pinch, and as I felt no effect from it, I took no more." In a few moments she laughed and said she tasted the snuff for the first time.
All persons who ever tried any experiments in mesmerism know that the subject is very sensitive and will taste or smell what the mesmerizer does. Now this is done by changing the fluids of the system. The fluids equalize in the mesmerizer and the mesmerized, and their taste is as one; precisely as two instruments are brought to accord with one another by the performer. On this principle, diseases are conveyed from one to another. Now as these fluids are under the control of the mind, it is very necessary that a person should know how to govern them, so that they shall not get the mastery of the mind and bring the person into the same state St. Paul was in when he said that the spirit warreth against the flesh.
When the fluids of the system are in a certain state, they produce an effect in the mind, and the mind is disturbed and loses its control over the body to that degree that persons think they are under the influence of the devil, and they manufacture ideas out of the fluids and talk to the beings of their own creation, as one man talks to another.
I was called to see a person who was sick and had been confined to his room for nine months and had kept to his bed for most of that time. I knew nothing of his trouble when I went to see him. It was evening when I arrived at his house. I was conducted to his room by his wife. On entering his room, the effect on my system was like an electrical shock. I seemed to be paralyzed. On recovering my mind, I went to the bed where the sick man was lying, looked him in the eye for a minute or two and then asked him why he was lying there. He replied that he could not sit up.
I then said, "You have no disease. It is your mind that is in trouble, and those devils that were here when I entered made a spring at you, frightened you, and then left the room. They are now standing outdoors by those trees."
He looked me in the eye for an instant and then said, "They frightened you, too, a little. They have taken hold of my collar and laid me on the bed!"
I told him to get up, for they would not come back while I was there. He rose up and sat on the side of the bed. Withdrawing my mind from him for a moment to speak to his wife, he sprang back into bed immediately in great alarm exclaiming, "They have come back again!"
I again directed my mind to him. Then he got up and went into the sitting room and appeared as well as any person, except at such times as my mind was drawn away from him, when he would start for his room, apparently in alarm. To restore this man to what he called “health,” it was necessary to destroy the devils his own mind had created. To do this, it was necessary to restore the fluids of his system to harmony. This I did by a principle as well understood by me as the process of tuning a musical instrument is by a musician. The man was not troubled any more by these devils, but the fluids in my system were so changed that these images followed me on my way home, more than two miles, before I could drive them from my mind. They then left me, like an object going from another in the twilight, till they were out of sight. My mind was then at rest, as it was before.
I have been affected by persons to that degree as not to be able to stand it for a short time. I was attending a person who was subject to fits. At the time of one of my visits, she was in convulsions. As soon as these ceased, I felt a singular sensation in my head, and to all intents and purposes was about to have a fit, myself. A lady took me by the arm and sat me in a chair and then sent for my son. He rubbed my head, and in a short time, I felt better. He carried me to my house, and for four or five hours I was not able to leave my bed and did not get over the shock for all day. This person, after waking from sleep, would often have a fit, and therefore had been afraid to go to sleep. The shock was such as to change the fluids of my system, so as to affect my mind to the extent that I was almost afraid to go to sleep, for fear I should have a fit. I have since declined to attend persons subject to them.
I could give hundreds of cases to prove that the fluids change instantly, and this is the reason for so many miraculous cures, ever since the world began. I will give another case. I went to see a person who was blind, as he said. His eyes were bandaged up with two or three handkerchiefs, and the room he occupied was so dark, it was with difficulty I could see his face. When I sat down by him, I felt a sensation I cannot describe, which jarred on my system, like discords in music, which I had to correct. When this sensation had lulled away, I felt as if the man could see. I loosened the bandage wherewith his eyes were bound and commanded him saying, “Arise, go ye to the door of thy dwelling, and behold thou shalt see.” And straightaway he arose and did so, and the sun shone out of the firmament into his eyes, and he looked about him, and behold, he could see. And it was good. He has had his sight ever since then.
I have cured persons of lameness in a very few moments, and I am as well satisfied that there is a principle (or law) by which the fluids are changed as I am that there is a law (or power) by which a musical instrument may be put in tune. This law of the fluids changing was known by the ancients. Galen speaks of the ancient Indian medical men believing that incantation and adjuration is an aid; while the ancient Grecian physicians thought, by these, to recall into the wandering soul its own perfection. He seems, himself, to adopt this explanation. As the fluids of the body, being changed, change the action of the mind; so the action of the mind, being changed, changes the fluids.
The fluids are undergoing a change all the time, but the effect on the body depends very much on the state of the mind. For instance, if man was perfectly happy (or well), he would be free from pain; for pain is the result of ignorance or “sin,” as it is called in the Bible. But man cannot be perfectly happy or well, while he is arriving at the truth; any more than gold can be pure, while in the ore. Chemical changes must take place to purify both. Gold and truth are mixed with dross and error, through which both have to work their way. This change of fluids is a decomposition of the body. As this decomposition is going on all the time, it keeps the mind in agitation, like two persons in dispute (or argument) upon some important subject; each trying for the ascendency. These two powers were called by St. Paul the “inward” and “outward” man. Christ compares them to the tares and wheat and sometimes to devils.
Now if man understood these powers, he would be less liable to be led away by them. Christ recognized these changes, and understanding the laws by which they were governed, was not led astray by them. It was this power which tempted him, but he held it under his control. To show how it acts upon man, I will suppose a case. A person sees a chance to make a large fortune by committing murder. The idea of making a fortune stimulates the person. This excites a chemical in his body, and a controversy arises which brings all the powers of each side into play. At length, one or the other has to yield.
Now I will tell you. A gentleman came to my office with a lady and wished me to see if I could tell what was the trouble with her. My method of examining persons is by telling them how they feel, instead of their telling me how they feel. I took the lady by the hand and sat for a few moments in silence. It seemed to me that I could see that lady with a rope in her hand, going towards the woods, apparently with the intention of committing suicide. I took the gentleman aside and inquired if the lady was his wife. He said she was. I told him that he had better not leave her alone, or she would be likely to commit suicide. He informed me that she had that morning attempted to hang herself, before he left home.
After giving my attention to the lady for a short time, I informed her that I was aware of her attempt to commit suicide. She burst into tears and seemed to suffer very much in mind. I then informed her what was the cause of this state of mind and changed her mind by changing the fluids of her system. The lady returned home and has had no such trouble since.
I have changed the fluids in persons who have had fever sores almost instantly, so that they stopped discharging within twenty-four hours and never troubled more. I cannot produce this effect on every person, but I can on a great many.
I will now say a few words in regard to the effect produced on the mind by the change of the fluids. In a healthy state these powers act in harmony, but when the mind is disturbed, the action changes. This causes a derangement in the system. The mind is disturbed and driven from the body, and the body seems to be under the influence of evil spirits. Persons in this state are like one frightened out of his house by some story or strange noise.
A house is to the body what the body is to the mind; it seems to be its place of rest. To illustrate the mode by which I bring the mind back to the body, we will suppose a case of a lady frightened from her house. A person purchases a house. On moving into it, the neighbors tell the family that the house is haunted and all the bugbear stories mind could invent. The lady is left in the house at night. Her mind is very much excited, and this excitement changes the fluids of the system, so that her mind is in a fit state to create all manner of evil spirits and strange noises which would frighten her out of the house, and it would be hard to persuade her to return. Suppose someone should try to persuade her to return to the house by telling her that it is all the imagination - do you think she would return on that evidence? No, it must be explained on some better ground than that.
A stranger comes along and says to the lady, "Do not be frightened, you shall not be harmed." She tells him he does not know what her troubles are.
He replies, "If you will listen to me, I will tell you all about it."
If the lady's troubles are so great that she will not listen to his story, he cannot quiet her mind and restore her to her house. We will suppose that from curiosity to hear his story, she listens. She is perfectly satisfied that he knows nothing of her trouble. The stranger then commences and recounts all the circumstances, from the time she moved into the house until she saw the evil spirits or heard the noise which so frightened her. By this time, the lady has become somewhat interested and asks him questions.
The stranger appears very calm and says to the lady, "Come, return to your house, and I will explain the cause." They then enter the house, the stranger showing her the way she left it. He then describes the noise which frightened her and goes to the place where it was heard and shows her what it was that made it. By this time the mystery is explained, and the lady's mind is at ease. Harmony is restored, and all is well.
This is the state of the mind in disease. The mind is driven from the body and dares not return to it. The body seems to be a complete rendezvous for evil spirits. This is the case with the mind of persons in a typhoid fever. Other states of mind are the result of other troubles. The mind of persons in a diseased state vary as much as minds in a healthy state, and to control the mind of a person diseased requires a great deal of patience on the part of the operator. I have labored harder to control the mind of a person in a diseased state than I ever did in performing any manual labor in my whole life. I have spent hours of hard labor in mentally persuading the mind of a person to return to its body. This may seem strange to some, but it is true.
I went to see a person who was sick. His mind was so disturbed by the derangement of the fluids of his system that he really believed he was in a lake of fire and brimstone. In his mind he had created the lake and fire, and they were as plainly seen by himself and me as any fire. I shall never forget the looks of the place. When his wife told him I had come to see him, he said, "What do you suppose you can do for me? You can't get me out of this place."
I told him I would put out the fire and bring him out of the place. I then commenced the work of changing his mind. To do this, it was necessary to give all my attention to the subject. The manner of correcting the fluids was to bring my mind into the same state, as near as I dared to, so as to sympathize with him, thus producing harmony. I then changed my mind, and mentally talking to the man, led him back till I felt that he was safe - like the stranger and the lady alluded to above. At this time, I was very much excited, as much so as if I had really restored a person from such a place; for I had sat by him from four o'clock P.M. until twelve. During all this time, he had laid in silence, rolling his eyes about. After becoming fully satisfied in my mind that he was out of the lake, I waited for him to speak. At length he asked me who I was. I told him. He then asked how I came here. I told him that I heard he was sick and came to see him. I asked him what was the last thing he remembered - which was attending the funeral of his sister's child, some eight days before.
He then commenced praising the Lord for making me an instrument for getting him out of that place of torment. He had his wife and children called up to tell them how happy he was. A happier man I never saw. He has since told me he shall never disbelieve in a hell. He was formerly a professor of religion, I think, and had lately begun to be rather skeptical on that subject - but having these old ideas of such a place was liable at any time to create it to torment himself.
From what I have seen and felt of the mind, I am satisfied that nine-tenths of all the old chronic diseases are the result of wrong impressions produced on the mind of persons by physicians, ignorantly - for I do not want to accuse them of knowingly being the authors of so much misery. These errors do not arise with the country physician so much as in medical colleges, where they are used for the purpose of inventing diseases to torment man.
Diseases are like fashions; and everyone knows that we are all whirled round the wheels of fashion, in a greater or less degree. Had there never been a medical book written, advancing new ideas of medicine and disease, surrounded with blind quotations from Greek and Latin lolly-pop authors - mankind would have been much better off at the present time and subject to some thousands less diseases. There are so many diseases now that it is almost impossible for a person to be sick, without having a combination of three or four diseases. I have never seen the time since I first commenced magnetizing when I considered it necessary to give any name to diseases. I cannot see any use from it. It leads the mind astray, like the old witch stories used to frighten children.
The only effect of a name to a disease is to frighten people, so as to give physicians the power of working on the imagination, just like the political demagogues who get the people into a quarrel by making them believe their liberties are in danger, for their own aggrandizement. The people are deceived and put themselves under their charge, and if they live to get out of their trouble, have the satisfaction of paying for their own folly. People legislate too much for their own good. If they would let the laws alone, they would soon understand them, and keep out of trouble.
So it is with diseases. Destroy nine-tenths of the names, and the people would be better off. Four out of five of the old chronic cases are the effect of false impressions. If the rising generation could grow up without these false impressions, you would not see so many persons going about drawn up, with the idea that they have got the consumption, dyspepsia, liver complaint, heart disease or some other of the thousand-and-one follies of this enlightened nineteenth century.
The mind has as much to do with lameness as with diseases. I have had a great many cases of the above classes and have cured them without the aid of medicine by correcting the false impressions and pointing out where the trouble lay. I will now proceed to state how I came by this belief and how I was led along to it.
In the first of my attempting to mesmerize, I was very skeptical in regard to many things, such as seeing without eyes, tasting without having anything in the mouth, hearing without ears, etc. I had no confidence in any experiment in which it was possible for the subject to have any foreknowledge of what was to be done. When I had my subject in a mesmeric sleep, if any person should speak out and ask me to make him move his hand or anything of that description, I would not do so, for it seemed so much like deception on the part of the subject. And as my subject was one who liked to play off his jokes upon people, I was determined that he should not do so at my expense.
Although he was with me some four years, I never saw the slightest cause for believing but what he was perfectly ignorant of what he was doing while asleep. Therefore, at the outset, I adopted this resolve - never to let the subject know what I wanted, except mentally. All my experiments were carried on in this way. If I wished him to give me his hand, I would ask him mentally, and by practicing with him, I could send him to any part of the room for anything I wished, and he would always get it, without my speaking a word. He got no knowledge from me in any other way than by my own thought.
When he walked, and I wished to tell him to stop, I did it mentally. I then began to create things within my own mind, such as snakes, etc., and he would be frightened at them. On telling him that I had imagined them, he could not understand it, for the things created in my mind were as real as life to him. I could drive the things away, so he could not see them, and bring them back again. This led me to believe that man had the power of creation and that ideas took form.
The next question which arose was, “What are ideas composed of?” They must be something, or else they could not be seen by even spiritual eyes. This led me to inquire if knowledge was ideas. I found that if I thought of principles, he had no way of describing them, for there was nothing to see. But if I thought of anything that had form, I could make him see it. To bring this about required a great deal of labor. I had to think of the thing so long and intently.
I will here explain what seems to be a mystery to most people - that is, how a medium tells us our own thoughts. You are sitting at a table with a medium, and you ask if any spirit is present. The answer comes, "Yes, your father."
You say at once, “That is not correct,” for your father is not dead.
The spirit contends he is. You ask when he died, of what disease, etc., receiving answers which are correct. All that was unknown to the medium or present company.
There are two ways of communicating knowledge to the outward man, and both are spiritual. First, our own spirits communicate knowledge to the outward man, of which we know nothing through the ordinary way. I have spoken of the mind leaving the body. It has a body (or form) as plain to be seen by a person who has the power of communicating with the mind as the natural body is. This is the spirit, which is always prompting man to do right and is always ready to communicate knowledge to his fellow man.
This knowledge may be called truth, which is obtained by the spirit through the decomposition of the body, of which I have before spoken. The natural man is content to live like the beasts, but the spiritual man is always seeking after knowledge. These powers (or laws) are in the body together, like the wheat and tares spoken of by Christ, and cannot be separated entirely while in the body, but can be as easily distinguished as the wheat and tares.
The mode of communicating is this. When the body is disturbed by any injury done to it or by any other cause, the trouble commences, and the spiritual man is disturbed by the body, which he leaves, and goes to other spirits and communicates the fact to them, and they communicate the fact to their natural man (or body), who thus comes into possession of a fact which he was ignorant of before. Thus, for instance, you have a friend at a distance who is sick. His spirit, in trouble for the outward man, leaves the body and communicates the fact to your spirit, who again informs you of the fact. This disturbs the outward man, and you relate it to your friends through the bodily organ. This is called by some foreknowledge and by others, knowledge from the spirit world.
Take the case spoken of above. Is it not a new development of the mind, not understood by man? Does not everyone have something to say upon the subject? Take, for instance, the magnetic telegraph. The communications, when first sent, were all confusion, but was that any reason why the thing should be abandoned? Suppose the intelligence necessary to put it in operation had depended on the great mass of the people. Would we now have lines of wires running all across the country? What is the great object of that enterprise? Is it not to communicate knowledge - annihilating time and space?
This is the case with mind. There is a law which has never yet been developed. Facts have come to light, occasionally, but the law which occasioned it has been in the dark ever since the world began. Our spiritual man has tried to convey facts to the body, but with little success until very lately. Is it at all strange that minds should require some mode by which to convey facts to the natural man, which he knows nothing of, as the telegraph conveys intelligence in advance of the mails? Some may ask what use this is to mankind. It will explain away all the old superstitions which have enveloped us for ages.
I will now give some experiments which have come under my own observation, which I think will go to show that all the demonstrations which are supposed to come from departed friends are the works of our own spirits; proving to us that we have a spiritual body, governed by the mind, like the natural body, which is not dependent on the natural body, nor the result of an organized brain; bringing minds in communication with each other and relieving us of a great deal of trouble. This places man in a condition where he may relieve the suffering of his fellow man.
I was attending a lady who was sick. Having been with her all day, the effect of my mind sympathizing with her had so changed the fluids of my system that I was almost exhausted, and I went home to bed. About four o'clock the next morning, I sprang out of bed and said to my wife, "Mrs. B. wants me to come and see her immediately." Dressing myself hastily, I hurried out of the house and met Mr. B. coming after me. Thus, you see, my own spirit communicated to me knowledge I was not aware of before. Mrs. B's spirit communicated with my spirit, who informed me (that is, the outward man) of her wish that I should come to her immediately.
Again. I was attending a gentleman who was sick with what physicians call “typhoid fever.” I had been with him almost constantly for a week. I left him asleep one day and went to my house to tea. On sitting down to the table, a sudden impression came over me that Mr. H. wanted me. I left the table, took my hat and went to his house, as soon as I could. As I entered the house, I met Mrs. H., who was rather surprised at my returning so quickly, as she said there was no necessity for my doing so, as Mr. H. was lying perfectly quiet and sleeping calmly.
At this time, he was so weak that it was difficult to hear him breathe. Going to the bed, I found him lying just as I had left him, which rather surprised me and almost induced me to believe I had been mistaken. I turned to walk to the window, when a singular sensation came over me, which caused me to return to the bed. As I stood looking at Mr. H., the sensation passed off, and I felt quiet. I then thought I would try the experiment of leaving him, and as I did so, the same sensation returned. Seating myself by his side, I took his hand and asked him if he was easy. Before this, no word had been spoken by me or any other person in the room. He pressed my hand but did not speak. I then asked him if he was not so well. He whispered softly, "I am dying, I shall never wake again."
I told him not to be alarmed,; he would wake in a short time. After sitting by him for nearly an hour, I woke him. I have since then talked with him on this subject, and he told me he was aware of my presence in his room at that time, and when I was by his bed he felt safe, but when I left the bedside he thought he was dying. This knowledge, which was communicated to me was, I believe, spiritual; but not from departed friends, but by spirits whose bodies are alive.
I will give another case. I was listening to a lady and gentleman who were conversing upon spiritual questions. In a short time, I saw standing by her side the spirit of a young lady. (I cannot see these spirits, except when my eyes are closed.) I said to the lady, "I see you have an attendant spirit, as it is called."
She started rather suddenly and asked what kind of spirit. I told her it was a young lady. She wished me to describe her. I did so, telling her complexion, size, color of her hair and eyes; and also asked of the spirit her age, which I told. The lady then wished me to ask the spirit if she was married while on this earth. I did so and received an answer that she was not, but that she had been engaged to a gentleman who was a physician, but she went to the spirit world before they were married. I asked the spirit if the gentleman was an American and was informed that he was an Englishman. After talking with the spirit some time longer, I asked the lady if what I had told was correct. She said it was, perfectly.
These kinds of experiments, I have been trying for the last eight or nine years and call them “thought-reading.” I could give a great many cases similar to the above. I have no doubt of an identity after death, but among all the demonstrations that purport to come from departed friends who have left the body, I have not heard any stronger proof than I have had myself. I have had some experiments which I cannot, as yet, explain upon the principle of the above.
I was in the country attending a girl, about twelve or thirteen years of age, who was very sick and also very nervous. I was with her till nearly eleven o'clock at night. Then I went to bed and thought I went to sleep. It seemed to me as though I was with the young girl, trying to drive away snakes and horrid looking monsters that were troubling her. But it seemed to me that I had not power to do so. I thought I would try and find my brother, who had been in the spirit world ten or twelve years, and see if he could give me any information on the subject. At last I found him, told him my trouble and asked him if he had any power over these serpents and devils. He said he had not, but would take me to one who had. He introduced me to a man who was dressed in white garments. This person had a very mild expression of countenance and something about him which seemed to say, "You need not be troubled. I can drive them all away." At this moment, I heard someone coming upstairs, which attracted my attention. I asked what was wanted, and the lady of the house said that she wished me to come down, as her daughter was very restless and said that there were serpents and devils tormenting her.
I do not say that I saw my brother, but if I did not, and this was the effect of my imagination - it would be hard to prove to me that any spirit ever appeared to man from another would. Is not the case of Lazarus a similar one? Lazarus was sick and probably had a strong desire to see Christ. Upon my ground, Christ was affected by Lazarus, and there was sympathy between them, for he "loved Lazarus," for he said, "Our friend, Lazarus, sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep." Now it seems to me that if Lazarus had been raised from the spirit world, he would have had some knowledge of it and would have communicated the fact to others; but we have no authority from him that he went there.
Again (Luke VII: 11-16), we have another case, also without any after reference to a spirit world. Is it any very difficult thing to suppose that Christ received his knowledge of Lazarus' situation in the same manner which I did that of Mrs. B. or Mr. H., before alluded to - or that he was in nearly the same condition?
I will now give one or two cases to show that my mind (or spirit) can go to a distant place and there produce an effect on a person, without their knowledge. I was requested to try the experiment of putting a lady to sleep, without her knowledge. She was about sixty years of age, nervous temperament, and resided over two miles from my house. About eight o'clock in the evening, I lay down on the sofa and commenced operations. In a short time, it seemed to me that she had gone to sleep, and I told my wife so. I could not keep my mind off the lady and laid still for some time, when my wife said to me, "If you have put Mrs. M. to sleep, it is time for you to wake her up."
I seemed to try to do so, but it appeared to me that she did not want to wake up; and as she wished it, I concluded to let her sleep all night. On making inquiries the next day, I ascertained that at the time I commenced putting her to sleep, she was sitting by the fire knitting. All at once she said, "Mr. Quimby is mesmerizing me," and she rose to go to her bed but was so near asleep that her son and daughter had to lift her onto the bed, where she slept quietly until breakfast time the next morning. At their usual bed-time, the family tried to wake her for the purpose of removing her clothes, but could not do so.
At another time, her son-in-law, who was not present at the first experiment, wished me to try it again, and I did so with equal success. I have tried experiments similar to the above a great many times and with nearly the same success. I will give another experiment of seeing the spirit. I was called to attend an old lady who was sick and had been so for a long time. I was shown to her room by her husband, where I found the lady a pitiful sight, lying on her bed and having more the appearance of a lunatic than a sane person. Her eyes were closed, and she would hold no conversation with anyone, nor answer any questions I asked her. I then thought I would see if I could get any information by mental conversation.
It soon seemed to me as though she was looking at a person, all the time saying, “You are the cause of my trouble.” She seemed to tell me that this was her brother and went on to tell me her story, which was this. When she was young, a young man who was respectable and well-off, as regarded worldly dross, paid her attention, and they were engaged. But her brother, who did not like the match, reported false stories about her, and the man left her. She loved the man, and his desertion nearly broke her heart, but having good bodily health and a great deal of pride and ambition, she did not give way to her feelings. After some thirty years, having lost much of her ambition and high spirits, she married her present husband, who was not calculated to make her happy, having an entirely dissimilar disposition, although he was very kind to her. After living with him some time, she became sick, worn out and completely run down in spirits. Like Rachel of old, her troubles were greater then she could bear, and she would not be comforted.
Her husband then entered the room and asked me what I thought of his wife and whether I could help her. I sat for a few moments in silence, not knowing exactly what to say. I thought that if I should tell him the story which she had appeared to tell me, it might be false. He might get angry and order me out of the house - which I did not wish to leave, as it was after eleven o'clock at night, very cold, and I was fourteen miles from home!
So I mentally asked the old lady if what she seemed to tell me was true. She appeared glad to think I had found it out and said it was. I then turned to her husband and said, "I have tried to get your wife to answer my questions, but as she would not, I have gotten a mental account of her troubles - and if you will not think hard of me, I will relate her story."
then asked him if she had ever had any trouble with her brothers. He
told me that some thirty years ago, one of her brothers told some
false stories about her but that she had forgotten all about that. I
then told him the story related above and described the man to whom
she had been engaged. At this time, I was sitting beside the bed on
which the old lady laid, and while I was describing her old beau, she
opened her eyes a moment, which was the only time she did so while I
was in the house. As her husband had never seen the man, he could not
tell whether I was right or not, but so far as he did know, it was
correct. I then left the room. After my departure, she told her
husband all I had said was correct - and as for her beau, I had
described him exactly.