Phineas Parkhurst Quimby

Dr. Phineas P. Quimby

Quimby's Letters to His Patients


Belfast, Nov. 4th, 1856


Yours of the 2nd inst. was received, and now I sit down to answer your inquiry in regard to your lameness. It seems to me that the skin on the knee is thinner and has a more healthy appearance. But you cannot be made to believe anything that is in plain contradiction to your own senses, and as your opinions have been formed from the evidence of persons in whom you have placed confidence, and facts have gone to prove these opinions correct, it is not strange that you should hold on to your belief, till some kind friend should come to your aid and lead your mind in a different direction.

Now to remind you of what I tried to make you understand is a very hard task on my part; for as I said to you, some of my ideas fall on stony ground, and some on dry ground, and some on good ground. These ideas are in your mind like the little leaven, and they will work till the whole mind (or lump) is changed.

You have asked me many questions which time and space will not permit me to answer, but I shall write that which seems to be of the most benefit to you. In regard to your coming to Belfast, use your own judgment. The cure of your limb depends on your faith. Your faith is what you receive from me, and what you receive is what you understand. Now if you understand that the mind is the name of the fluids of which your body is composed, and that your thoughts represent the change of the fluids (or mind), you will then be in a state to act understandingly.

I will try to illustrate it to you, so you can apply your thoughts to your body, so as to receive the reward of your labor. As I told you, every thought contains a substance - either good or bad - and it comes in and makes up a part of your body (or mind); and as the thoughts which are in your system are poisoned, and the poison has come from without - it is necessary to know how to keep them out of your system, so as not to be injured by them.

Now suppose you have around you a sort of heat, like the light of a candle, which embraces all your knowledge, and your body, being the center and you, having the power to govern and control this heat - you then have a world of your own. Now in health, this globe of which your body is the center is perfect harmony. The heat of this globe is a protection to itself, like a walled city, to admit none but supposed friends. Now as every person has the same globe (or heat), each person is a world (or nation), of itself. This is the state of a person in health.

Now as you wish to change and interchange with other nations, so does our house like to enjoy the society of other persons; and as we are liberal, we admit strangers to our city (or world) as friends. When this proclamation goes out, our globe is filled with all sorts of people from all nations, bringing with them goods, setting up false doctrines, stirring up strife, till the whole population (or thoughts) are changed; and man becomes a stranger in his own land, and his own household becomes his enemies. This is the state of a person in disease. Now as there is nothing in your own system, of itself, to disturb you - you must look for your enemies from the strangers whom you have permitted to come into your land.


Belfast, Jan. 10th, 1857

Mr. Thomas Pelmgro

Dear Sir:

Yours of the 4th was received, and I would say in reply to your inquiry that my opinion would be for your wife to remain at home for a short time. On another case, I intend to visit Bangor in one or two weeks, and while I am at Bangor, I can take the case and come to Newport and take a private team to your house and return by the next train. This would be as long as I should wish to stop, and my expense would not be much. At any rate, I would not charge you more than two dollars above my expenses, together. If your wife should improve from that visit, she could come to Bangor or to Belfast, just as you think best. I write in this way, because I am partially engaged to go to Bangor, and if your wife was here in Belfast, it would make it very bad for her, and I would feel very bad, myself.

Now if this meets your ideas, if you will leave word at the nearest point or station where the train stops, with someone to carry me to your house, you could then carry me back to take the case, so it would not be much expense. The fare from Bangor to your place and back, you can ascertain, but if I don't go to Bangor, I will let you know; and in the meantime you can ascertain and let me know which of the two would suit your wife best - to come here or to have me visit her.

N.B. The price I charge you would have nothing to do with any other person. My charge is $3.00, but to see your wife, I would charge $2.00 over-and-above my expenses from Bangor and back.

Yours truly,

P. P. Quimby


Portland, Feb., 1860

Mr. Editor:

I noticed an article in your paper of the third inst. In answer to Y.C. - I have nothing to do with that; but when a person sees fit to attack me as a sorcerer and humbug, he had better look out for his own theory (or house), and see if it is based on a sure foundation, before he commences throwing stones at outsiders; for he will be likely to break his own windows and let in the cold.

Mr. J. seems to be troubled for the safety of the good people of Portland and warns them against mesmerism, sorcery and all sorts of humbug. Who art thou, oh man, that judges another, without any cause? Did you know by what you measure to another, it shall be measured back to you again? Judge not, that ye be not judged. If you know more about my practice than I do, why did you not tell the people where the deception is, and enlighten them upon the subject? Then you would have done good to the sick. But you do not take the responsibility upon yourself, but like a demagogue, you come forward with a face of brass and an impudence that shows itself in every word you say. That shows you are giving an opinion upon what you have not the slightest knowledge, expecting the people to take your bare assertion for truth.

Why are you not honest and say to the sick that they have not sense enough to know whether they are benefited by me or not - and that you have just sense enough to see all through the humbug? For this is what you mean. Now the time is come when such oracles as you will be weighed in the balance, and then you will receive sentence, according to your knowledge.

P. P. Quimby


Portland, Feb. 9th, 1860

To a patient in Hill, N.H.

Your letter apprised me of your situation, and I want to see if I could affect you. I am still trying to do so but do not know as I can, without sitting down and talking with you, as I am at present. So I will sit by you a short time and relieve the pain in your stomach and carry it off. You can sit down when you receive this letter and listen to my story, and I think you will feel better. Sit up straight. I am now rubbing the back part of your head and 'round the roots of your nose. I do not know as you feel my hand, but you twist your arm as though it felt rather queer; but it will make you feel better.

When you read this, I shall be with you; and do as I write. I am in this letter, so remember, and look at me and see if I do not mean just as I say. I will now leave you and attend to some others that are waiting, so "Good evening." Let me know how you get along. If I do not write, I may have time to call, for that does not require so much time.



Portland, Feb. 9th, 1860

Kennebunk, Me

To Miss K.,

Your letter of the 5th is received. I am surprised that you do not remember that all my patients have a cold, as they call it, when the belief is there. For instance, if you are told you have consumption, this belief is matter, under the direction of error; and as it is put into practice, it changes the mind, so that the idea of consumption is thrown off from the belief. If you are excited by any other belief, you throw off all the misery that follows your belief. For instance, you are made to believe you are not so good as you ought to be. Your belief puts restrictions on your life, and as it is a burden to you, it makes you throw off a shadow that contains the punishment of your disobedience. This makes you another character, and you are not the happy child of wisdom.

This was your belief when you called on me. As I struck at the roots of your belief with the axe of truth, everything having a tendency to make you unhappy, I tried to destroy. So in the destruction, there must be a change. This change must be like its father. So if you had grief, it would produce grief for the present. Finally the truth would dry up your tears, and you would rejoice in that truth that sets you free.

So in regard to the cold, if you had the idea of consumption - when I drove that enemy of man out of your belief, this must produce a like cough; but it is all for the best. Remember that every error has its reaction; but an unraveling of error leads to life and happiness, while the winding it up leads to disease and misery.

All that is taking place in your case is just what I anticipated. So it is all right. Keep up good courage, and all will come out right. Tell Miss F to keep good courage. Her cure is certain.



Portland, March 21st, 1860

To Mrs. Wayne

Dear Madam:

Yours of the 19th is received, and I was very glad to hear I succeeded so well. But I was not disappointed, for I felt sure I could raise you up. I will say a word or two to you, Mrs. W. I was with you every little while after I first wrote you, till the time I named, and then it seemed as though you were up, so I left you. Now I shall drop in and see you often, so you may not be surprised to feel my influence.

Were there any others at your house when you first got up? If so, let me know how long you had been sick, and how long since you walked. I shall be very glad. I think I shall make a statement to the facts of your case. It is so remarkable that it ought to be published for the benefit of the sick.

Yours, etc.



Letter to a Patient Recently Helped

Portland, March 22nd, 1860

Dear Sir:

Your letter of the 21st is received, and I take pleasure in answering it. You must excuse me for addressing Maria, for I come to save her, while those who are well need no physician.

So Maria, I am glad to know you are getting along so well. Since I received the letter, I have visited you often and shall drop in every day, just after you take your meals, and sit by you and quiet your system, so that your food shall sit well.

I shall visit you at night while you are sleeping in your bed and use my influence to make you rest well, so you will be able to walk. You need not give yourself any fears of my forsaking you, nor leaving you in the hands of your enemies. I shall watch over you, till you are able to take care of yourself, if my power is able to do it.

I should be glad to hear how you get along.


In Reply to a Young Physician

Portland, Sept. 16, 1860

Dear Sir:

Yours of the 5th is received, and in answer I would say that it is easier to ask a question than to answer it. But I will answer your question; partly by asking another, and partly by coming at it by a parable. For to answer any question with regard to my mode of treatment would be like asking a physician how he knows a patient has the typhoid fever by feeling the pulse and requesting the answer direct, so that the person asking the question could sit down and be sure to define the disease from the answer.

My mode of treatment is not decided in that way, and to give a definite answer to your inquiry would be as much out of place as to ask you to tell me all you know about the medical practice, so that I could put it into practice for the curing of disease, with no further knowledge, independently from what I get from you. You see the absurdity of that request.

If it were in my power to give to the world the benefit of twenty years' hard study in one short or long letter, it would have been before the people long before this. The people ask, they know not what. You might as well ask a man to tell you how to talk Greek, without studying it, as to ask me to tell you how I test the true pathology of disease, or how I test the true diagnosis of disease, etc. All of these questions would be very easily answered, if I assumed a standard and then tested all disease by that standard.

The old mode of determining the diagnosis of disease is made up of opinions of diseased persons, in their right mind and out of it, under a nervous state of mind, all mixed up together and set down, accompanied by a certain state of pulse. In this dark chaos of error, they come to certain results like this. If you see a man going towards the water, he is going in swimming, for people go in swimming. But if he is running with his hat and coat off, he is either going to drown himself or some one is drowning - and soon. This is the old way. Mine is this. If I see a man, I know it; and if I feel the cold, I know it. But to see a person going towards the water is no sign that I know what he is going to do. He may be going to bathe or may be going to drown himself. Now here is the difference between the physician and myself, and this may give you some idea of how I define disease.

The regular and I sit down by a patient. He takes her by the hand, and so do I. He feels the pulse to ascertain the peculiar vibration and number of beats in a given time. This, to him, is knowledge. To me it is all quackery or ignorance. He looks at the tongue, as though it contained information. To me, this is all folly and ignorance. He then begins to ask questions which contain nothing to me, because it is of no force. All this is shaken up in his head and comes forth in the form of a disease, to which he gives a name. This is the diagnosis of a disease, which is all error to me, and I will give you the diagnosis of this error.

The feeling of the pulse is to affect the patient, so he will listen to the doctor. Examining the tongue is all for effect. The peculiar cast of the doctor's head is the same. The questions, accompanied by certain looks and gestures, are all to get control of the patient's mind, so as to produce an impression. Then he looks very wise, and so on. All the symptoms put together show no knowledge, but a lack of wisdom; and the general credulity of mankind rendering liable to be humbugged by any person, however ignorant he may be, if he only has the reputation of possessing all medical knowledge. Now sir, this is the field you are about to enter, and you will find the hardest stumbling block from diplomas. Greek and Latin and the like are all of no consequence to the sick. It is impossible to give you even a mere shadow of twenty years' experience. But I may be of some use to you. I will say a word or two on the old practice (not taking much time) that will answer all your questions on the old school; for the less you know, the better.

Watch the popular physician. See his shrewdness. Watch the sick patient; nervous and trembling, like a person in the hands of a magistrate who has him in his power and whose real object is to deceive him. See the two together - one perfectly honest and the other, if honest, perfectly ignorant; undertaking, blindfolded, to lead the patients through the dark valley of the shadow of death, the patient being born blind. Then you see them going along, and at last, they both fall into the ditch.

Now like the latter - do not deceive your patients. Try to instruct them and correct their errors. Use all the wisdom you have, and expose the hypocrisy of the profession in anyone. Never deceive your patients behind their backs. Always remember that, as you feel about your patients, just so they feel towards you. If you deceive them, they lose confidence in you. Just as you prove yourself superior to them, they give you credit, mentally. If you pursue this course, you cannot help succeeding. Be charitable to the poor. Keep the health of your patient in view, and if money comes, all well; but do not let that get the lead.

With all this advice, I leave you to your fate, trusting that the true wisdom will guide you - not in the path of your predecessors. Shun evil, and learn to do good.



A Letter Regarding a Patient

Portland, Sept. 17th, 1860

Dear Sir:

Yours of Aug. 27th was received after a long journey through the state of Maine. I will give you all the information that I am aware I possess.

If certain conditions of mind exist, certain effects will surely follow. For instance, if two persons agree as touching one thing, it will be granted. But if one agrees and the other knows not the thing desired, then the thing will not be accomplished. For example, the lady in question wishes my services to restore her health. Now her health is the thing she desires. Her faith is the substance of her hope. Her hope is her desire; it is founded on public opinion, and in this is her haven, the anchor to her desire; public opinion, the ocean on which her barque (or belief) floats.

Reports of me are the wind that either presses her along to the haven of health or down to despair. The tide of public opinion is either against her or in her favor. Now as she lies moored on the sea with her desire (or cable) attached to her anchor of hope, tossed to and fro in the gale of disease - if she can see me or my power walking on the water, saying to her aches and pains, "Be still," then I have no doubt that she will get better. The sea will then be calm, and she will get that which she hoped for; her faith or cure. For her faith is her cure, and if she gets it, then her hope is lost in sight, and she no longer hopes. This is the commencement of her cure.

I, like Jesus, will stand at her heart and knock. If she hears my voice or feels my influence and opens the door of her belief, I will come in and talk and help her out of her troubles.



To a Gentleman Requesting Help

Without a Personal Interview

Portland, Oct. 20th, 1860

Dear Sir:

In answer to your inquiry, I would say that, owing to the skepticism of the world, I do not feel inclined to assure you of any benefit which you may receive from my influence, while away from you, as your belief would probably keep me from helping you. But it will not cost me much time nor expense to make the trial. So if I stand at your door and knock, and you know my voice or influence and receive me, you may be benefited.

If you do receive my benefit, give it to the Principle - not to me as a man, but to that wisdom which is able to break the bonds of the prisoner, set him free from the errors of the doctors, and restore him to health. This I will try to do, with pleasure. But if this fails, and your case is one which requires my seeing you, then my opinion is of no use.

Yours, etc.



To a Clergyman

Oct. 28th, 1860

Dear Sir:

Your letter of the eighteenth was received, but owing to a press of business, I neglected answering it. I will try to give you the wisdom you ask. So far as giving an opinion is concerned, it is out of my power as a physician; though as man, I might. But it would be of no service, for it would contain no wisdom, except of this world. My practice is not of the wisdom of man, so my opinion as a man is of no value. Jesus said, "If I judge of myself, my judgment is not true; but if I judge of God, it is right," for that contains no opinion. So if I judge as a man, it is an opinion - and you can get plenty of them anywhere.

You inquire if I have ever cured any cases of chronic rheumatism. I answer, "Yes." But there are as many cases of chronic rheumatism as there are of spinal complaint, so that I cannot decide your case by another.

You cannot be saved by pinning your faith on another's sleeve. Everyone must answer for his own sins (or belief). Our beliefs are the cause of our misery. Our happiness and misery are what follow our belief. So as we measure out to another, it will be measured to us again.

You ask me if I ascribe my cures to spiritual influence. Not after the Rochester rappings, nor after Dr. Newton's way of curing. I think I know how he cures, though he does not. I gather by those I have seen who have been treated by him that he thinks it is through the imagination of the patient's belief. So he and I have no sympathy. If he cures disease, that is good for the one cured. But the world is not any wiser.

You ask if my practice belongs to any known science. My answer is, "No," it belongs to wisdom that is above man, as man. The science that I try to practice is the science that was taught eighteen-hundred years ago and has never had a place in the heart of man since, but is in the world, and the world knows it not. To narrow it down to man's wisdom, I sit down by the patient and take his feelings, and as the rest will be a long story, I will send you one of my circulars, so that you may read for yourself.

Hoping this may limber the cords of your neck, I remain,

Yours, etc.

P.P. Quimby


Portland, Me., Dec. 27th, 1860

To Miss G.F.:

Your letter was received, and now I sit down to use my power to affect you. I will commence by telling you to sit upright and not give-way to the pit of the stomach, but hold yourself up straight.

If I felt that you saw me as plainly, while I am talking to you, as I see you, then there would be no use in writing, for you are as plain before my eyes as you were when I was talking to the shadow in Portland. For the shadow came with the substance, and that which I am talking to now is the substance. If I make an impression on it, it may throw forth a shadow of a young lady, upright without that gone-place in the substance at the pit of the stomach. Now I am looking into the second stomach, opening the outlet so that all obstructions may be removed; also to prevent you from vomiting.

Remember that when I see you sitting or standing in the position I saw you in at Portland, I shall place one hand on your breast and the other on your hips and just straighten you up. If you complain of the back, you may lay it to me, and I will be a little more gentle. You may expect me once in a while in the evening. So keep on the lookout. See that you have your lamp trimmed and burning, so that when the truth comes, it shall not find you sleeping, but up straight, ready to receive the bridegroom.

It seems that you understand this, as I tell it to you. But for fear you will not explain it to the shadow (or natural man), I will try to make you understand, so it may come to the senses of the natural man. If I succeed, let my natural man know by a letter.

Yours, etc.



Portland, Me., Dec. 30th, 1860

To Mr. J.:

As your wife is about to leave for home, I take this way of expressing my ideas of the trouble she is laboring under, thinking you would like my opinion of her case. I think her friends are not aware of her true state. Hers is one of a very peculiar kind. She is not deaf in the strict sense of the word, but her condition has been brought about by trouble of long-standing. When I say "trouble" I do not confine it to any neglect on the part of her friends, but trouble when young, which made her nervous. This caused her to become low-spirited, till it has changed her system; so that she is not the same person she was twelve years ago. I have given my attention to her general health, not to her deafness; for I think if she should come right in her mental or physical condition as she used to be, she would be well.

You can see and judge of her appearance and buoyancy of mind. If you come to the conclusion that she appears more like her former self, then I should think you would not run much risk to send her back. For if you see any improvement in her now, I think she will still improve to your satisfaction.

It takes a long time to produce a change in her system. To give you a full account of her case would take a long time, so I will leave her to explain what I have neglected to do.

Yours, etc.



Portland, Me., Jan. 2nd, 1861

To Mr. H. Hobson:

In answer to your letter, I must say that it is out of my power to visit your place in person at this time, from the fact that I have some thirty or more patients here on my hands - but if there comes a slack time, I will come and let you know beforehand, so you can meet me in Bangor.

Now a word or two to your wife. I will try my best while sitting by you, while writing this letter, to produce an effect on your stomach. I want you to take a tumbler of pure water while I write this, and now and then take a little. I am with you now, seeing you. Do not be in a hurry when you read this, but be calm, and you will, in a short time, feel it start from your left side and run down; then your head will be relieved, and you will have an inclination to rise. Be slow in your movements, so that your head will not swim around. I will take you by the hand at first and steady you, till you can walk alone.

Now remember what I say to you. I am in this letter, and as often as you read this and listen to it, you listen to me. So let me know the effect one week from now. I will be with you every time you read this. Take about one-half hour to devote to reading and listening to my counsel, and I assure you, you will be better. Now do not forget.

Yours, etc.



Jan. 11th, 1861

To Miss G.:

Your letter to Miss W. was handed to me for perusal, to see what course I thought best to take. So I will sit down by you, as I used to do, and commence operations.

Excitement contracts the stomach - not from fright, but by being overjoyed at your recovery and having a pretty good appetite; the food digests slowly, and it will make you feel a little sluggish at times. But it will soon act upon your system and produce a diarrhea, relieving you of the trouble in the water, for that is only nervous and has nothing to do with the kidneys.

I will rub your head and work on your stomach while I write this, and when you are reading, I will repeat the same, till you are all right. Remember that I am with you when you read this, and every time you read this you will feel my influence. I do not know that you feel it at this time - 6:12, Wednesday night. But I am with you now, knocking at your door, and if you do not hear me - when you get this message, open the door, and I will come in and sit and chat with you, if I do not get too cold waiting out-of-doors.

So keep this in remembrance of me; that is, the science, till the cure comes.

P.P. Quimby


Portland, Jan. 13th, 1861

Mrs. Dingley:

I went to you as soon as I received your letter, but I cannot say you were aware of it. Now at the time I write this, I am working on your stomach and now and then giving you a little water, so as to start this heat in your left side that rushes up to your head.

When you receive this letter, at night after you are through your work, just sit down in a chair and take a tumbler of cold water and this letter. Read this letter once or twice very slowly, and in the meantime, take a swallow of water. When you get through, this water will cause a sensation on your stomach, and you will feel the wind moving in the stomach and bowels. This will affect your whole system and cause a sensation or perspiration, opening the pores and throwing off that heat that is confined in the pores and makes the humor.

Remember what I say. When you read this letter, I am with you, and just as long as you read this, I shall be in the letter using my wisdom to cure you.

I leave you now, so good night - 9:12 o'clock, Sunday evening,



Portland, Jan. 16th, 1861

Mrs. Aukee:

I sit down by you, although much hurried, thinking that your face would grow rather long, and you would look down-hearted. It is Wednesday, 7:12, evening, so please give me your attention. I will relieve the pressure across the chest. This will relax the stomach, and you will hear these devils roar up out of your mouth. Don't cough when it starts. As I am so far away, by your unbelief, I do not know as you will feel my influence, till you receive this. If not, when you receive this letter, seat yourself at evening, take a tumbler of water, and as you read this, take a little, and you will feel my influence in you. Be about as long as when I was with you, and after you have read this, I will scratch your head, as I used to - but you won't have to comb your hair; for it is a spiritual scratch. You will feel a glow all over you. This creates a circulation, and you will clear your head easier and speak better. As you read this, remember me, and I shall be with you, till your voice comes.

Yours, etc.



Portland, Jan. 19th, 1861

Mrs. Wheeler:

Your letter of the 11th came to hand, but for the want of time, I have been unable to write, and I had anticipated that I might help you by an examination of your case. At the time I received your letter, I felt as though I was with you, explaining to you your case. I will commence now on my way; and as I always sit down by my patient and take them by the hand, I will seat myself by you and commence telling your feelings. So give me your attention, and listen to what I say.

The pain in your head arises from a nervous fear, which you do not understand. This nervous feeling affects you when you are in company, causing a contraction in the stomach, which creates a heat. This heat presses upon the aorta, causing your heart to beat. This causes a flash in your face; brings on a heat all over it, and produces a sort of faint or weak feeling. The fear makes you give way at the pit of the stomach; confines that heat there. This heat numbs the side, like leaning your arm over a chair. This makes the side feel as though it was swollen, and if you compare, you will find the shoulder a little fuller than the other.

When you lie on one side, it feels as though there was a weight pulling you down. This you take for an adhesion to the pleura, but it is in the fluids in the flesh. This numbness is often taken for the lungs, but it is nothing more or less than a nervous heat that heats the muscles at the back of the neck and runs down the chest. This causes a contraction of the chest. This contraction makes you give way, like anyone in the hands of robbers attempting to bind him. Imagine yourself in their hands, and see how you would try not to be bound. You would be in the position of a fly in the foils of a spider. When the fly is buzzing, the spider is still at a distance, but draws in all the slack. So this eternal error that man has invented and named “consumption” binds his victim and then waits to see him try to break the bands. It makes you nervous; this nervousness makes you cough. When the stomach relaxes, the heat passes out of it; then it affects the bowels, also the water, etc.

Now remember, all that the doctors tell you is false. Your lungs are as sound as anyone's; all that you raise comes from your head. The heat presses over your eyes, makes you feel sleepy and tries to escape out of the nose. The cold comes in contact with it, just as the heat comes in contact with the glass on the window; the cold meeting it condenses the heat and forms a frost - then it melts and runs down. So the heat met by the cold produces a chemical change in the head, like the frost, and runs down into the mouth. This is called catarrh; that which runs into the throat, bronchitis. This is all your disease.

I will tell you what you must do. When you receive this letter, I want you to be seated, about eight o'clock in the evening, and take a tumbler of water. As you read this letter, or someone reads it to you, I shall be working on you. You take a little water now-and-then, till you take a tumbler-full. I shall work on your side, and you will feel something like water run down. In a few days, you will sneeze and think you have taken cold. Do not be alarmed. You will be a little sick at the stomach. Then it will work down and produce a diarrhea. This will relieve the cough.

If this comes out right, please let me know.



Jan. 25th, 1861

To Mrs. Ware:

By the request of Emma and Sarah, I sit down by you to see if I can amuse you by my explanation of disease. You know I often talk to persons about religion, and you often look as though you would rather have me talk about anything else. Perhaps it would be better; but if you knew the cause of every sensation, then you would not want a physician.

Now you will want me to tell you how you feel, and if you will give me your attention, I will try to explain. This heavy, lazy feeling that you have, accompanied with a desire to lie down and a sort of indifference as to how things go along, comes from a quiet state of your system that prevents your food from digesting as readily as it did while here. But it will act upon you, like an emetic or cathartic; either way is right. So give no care to what you shall eat or drink, for that wisdom that governs all science will cause all things to work for the best; and if you want to eat, consult your own feelings and take no one's opinion. Remember that he who made us knows better our wants than man. So keep yourself quiet, and I will reverse the action from your head, and you will feel it passing out of your stomach.

Then do not forget to sit up, as I used to tell you, and remember not to believe what the blind guides say, for they have a new mask. They will come to you, and if your throat is a little sore - as I have no doubt it will be from what I see, for when the food acts as a cathartic, it most always makes the throat sore - they will ask if you think this sore throat is the diphtheria, looking as wise as though they had discovered the philosopher's stone. The heat goes up to the head and tickles the nose; then it condenses and runs down into the throat.

Remember what I tell you about this disease, for these hypocrites or blind guides are working in the minds of the people, like the demagogues of the south, till they get up a disunion party. So keep on the lookout for these deceivers. I do not say that you will be troubled with them, but I have kept on their track for twenty years and have not the slightest confidence in anything they say. Their wisdom is of this world.

I hear you now, for the first time, asking me if I believe in another world. Yes - but not in the sense of the clergy. I will try to explain my two worlds. You live in Chicago and I, in Portland; and if it will not be blasphemy to call your place heaven, we will suppose you are there in heaven and I, in Portland. Now if I am here sitting and talking with you, I can't be on earth, if your place is in heaven. So I must leave the earth and the matter and come to you. Now if I am with you - what is that that has left the body? It cannot be matter in a visible form; yet it is something. Listen, and I will tell you.

You read that God made all living things that had life out of the earth; so that dead matter cannot produce living life, nor anything else. So all living life is matter, in a form or out of a form. As all matter decomposes, the dust (or odor) that arises from it was the matter that man is formed of. This was human life (or man). As the child is of living matter, not wisdom - when it grows to a certain age, it is ready to receive the breath of eternal life.

I want to explain one word. I said the child was living life; that is what I mean, not eternal life. Eternal life is a wisdom just as much above human life as science is above ignorance. I think I hear you say, "What becomes of the little child, should it die before it arrived at the age?" It was made of the dust and shall return to the dust again - and the dust of life. So what have you lost by the change? Nothing, for it is still life, but sown in death or matter. A natural body, it rises a spiritual body. Why is it not seen by the natural eyes? Because the natural man cannot discern spiritual bodies. You can see a piece of silver dissolved by a galvanic battery. Is it out of existence? No. Is it its natural self? No, it is the spiritual self. Is it not as much yours as before? I do not know. Well, then reverse the poles of the battery (or your belief), and you condense the silver into a solid; all but the dross. When a child is dead, as you call it, it is dissolved, then raised into a spiritual form in the likeness of its natural body. Why? Because it is free from sin (or matter). Then you may ask, "Where is it?" With its mother's heavenly man (or wisdom) and grows in wisdom, like a plant (or child), till it is ready to receive the wisdom of eternal life.

Eternal life is Christ (or science). This teaches us that matter is a mere shadow of a substance, which the natural man never saw, nor never can see; for it is not matter. It never changes. It is the same, today and forever. This substance is the essence of wisdom and is in every living form. Like a seed in the earth, it grows (or develops), either in matter or spirit, just the same. And it is as much under the control of its mother's wisdom as the gold, which is dissolved and held in solution is under that of the chemist. If the mother's wisdom is of this world, then the spiritual child is not under her earthly care. But nevertheless, it is held in the bosom of its eternal wisdom, that will cherish it, till it is developed to receive the science of eternal wisdom.

Eternal wisdom and eternal life are not the same; for the latter is not wisdom, but living matter. Eternal wisdom cannot change, but acts on eternal life; changes its form and identity. Eternal wisdom teaches us that all matter is, to itself, a shadow and is no barrier to wisdom; and just as we are wise in one thing, our opinion vanishes. The shadow becomes transparent, and nothing remains but the memory of what was, but now is not. Matter is dense, darkness; spirit is light. So if you are wise, your body (or wisdom) is light; and just as you sink into error, you become dense (or dark). Therefore, let your light shine, so that when this cloud of wind comes blowing round in the form of an opinion, you may know there is something in it; only it is the noise of a demagogue. Believe them not, and you will live and flourish. If you can understand this, you get the basis of my belief.

For fear I have not made my two worlds clear to your mind, I will say a few words more. The two worlds may be divided in this way - one opinions; the other, science. Opinions are matter (or the shadow of science). Both are eternal life, but one is limited in its sphere, and the other has no limits. One can be seen by the natural eyes; the other is an endless progression. One is always changing; the other is always progressing. The one is made up of reason, opinions, judgment; and the other is science and is the mystery of the latter. The natural man never will know one; for he cannot see wisdom and live. Wisdom is the natural man's death. So he looks upon it as an enemy; prays to it, pays tribute to it, as though wisdom was a man. He often uses it as a balance to weigh his ignorance in, but never to weigh the difference of his opinions. He often quotes it, talking as though it were his intimate friend, while he - to wisdom - is only known as a servant (or shadow); all of imitation.

And all the above is matter. Science is another character. Science rises above all such narrow ideas. He who is scientific, in regard to health and happiness, is his own law, and is not subject to the laws of man, except as he is deceived or ignorant. For wisdom cannot let him disobey her truth, without knowing the consequences. No one, after he knows a scientific fact, can ignorantly disobey it. So that with science, the punishment is in the act. But with man's laws, it is different; the penalty may follow the act (or come after). With wisdom, the laws are science. To know science is to know wisdom - and how can a man work a mathematical problem intelligently, and at the same time, say he is not aware of the fact? It cannot be done. And so it is with every act of our lives. If we know the true meaning of every word or thought, we should know what follows, so that a person cannot, scientifically, act wrong. But being misled by public opinion, we believe a lie, so we suffer.

I have gone so far that I have reduced certain states of mind to their causes; as certain as ever a chemist saw the effect of a chemical change. For instance, consumption. I know every sensation of its character, and it is as much a character as it ever had an existence. Its father (or author) is a hypocrite and deceiver. I look upon it as the most vile of all characters. It comes to a person under a most flattering form, with the kindest words, always very polite, ready to lend its aid in any way where it can get a hold.

I will illustrate this prince of hypocrites. I will come in the form of a lady; for it has many faces and characters. I enter, as a neighbor, with the customary salutations, and you reply that you are very well.

"Oh I am very glad, for I was expecting to find you abed, by what I heard. But you can't tell anything by gossip. You do not seem quite as well as when I saw you last?"

"Oh, yes - fully as well."

"Well, you know there are diseases which always flatter the patient - but you must keep good courage. I suppose you have heard of the death of Mr. ___"

"No. When did he die?"

"He died yesterday, but was sick a long time. Sometimes he thought he was getting better - but I knew all the time he was running down. But you must not get discouraged because you are like him, for it is not always certain that a person in the same way as you has consumption. So good morning."

Here I make you nervous - and you are glad when I leave. Knowing I am not welcome in that form, I assume another character. I appear as a doctor. I sit down and count your pulse, look at your tongue, take a stick and examine the phlegm that you have raised. Then leaning back in the chair, draw a long sigh and ask if you have a pain in your left side.

Now I will not say but that the doctor is honest; but if he is, it is worse for you. He is like a dog who wags his tail while you feed him, but when your back is turned, will bite you. If ignorance and superstition is to be put down by scientific facts, it is useless to mince matters. If a person is aiding an enemy, he is as guilty as the thief.

I want you to know that every word that is spoken is something - either matter or wisdom. Opinions are made up of words, condensed into a belief; so if I tell you that you have congestion of the lungs, I impart my belief to you by a deposit of matter in the form of words. As you eat my belief, it goes to form a disease, like unto its author. It grows, comes forth and at last takes form as a pressure across the chest.

The doctor comes to get rid of the enemy, and by his remedies, he creates another disease in the bowels. This is done by giving some little simple thing. He begins to talk about inflammation of the bowels. This frightens you. The fright contracts the stomach, so the heat cannot escape, and it presses on the aorta at the pit of the stomach. This sets your heart to beating, causes a flush in the face, which you call a rush of blood to the head. It makes you feel sleepy and weak, as though you must lie down. Then the stomach relaxes, and the heat passes down into the bowels. This causes pains. You call it "inflammation." All this is very simple, if you know what caused it. I will tell you.

Your situation is the cause. At the time you were lying on the sofa at your father's house - Judge Ware's; while I was sitting by you, I was aware of your situation, almost to a certainty. I thought you knew it almost to a certainty, for you kept laughing. Don't you remember it? I guess you do. As your system changed, it must produce a chemical change in your breast, for the fluids must change. This would make you feel a little nervous, which feeling would affect your head, making you feel stupid and inclined to loll on the sofa. Finally it would take away your appetite. All of this is not anything out of the way. The sickish feelings are to act upon the stomach. This acts on the bowels, and if you will only drink water, it will produce a diarrhea, which will carry off all nervous excitement, and your health will be better than it has been for some time.

This letter is an essay for you to read, so good night.

Let me know how it works.

P.P. Quimby


Portland, Feb. 8th, 1861

To Mr. S.:

In answer to your letter, I will try to explain the color you speak of, if you have forgotten, so that you will not forget it. Give me your attention, while I explain. You know I told you about your stooping over. This stooping is caused by excitement affecting the head. This contracts the stomach, causes an irritation, sending the heat to the head. This heat excites the glands about the nose; it runs down the throat, and this is all there is about it. It will affect you sometimes when you are a little excited, and you will take it for a cold.

Remember how I explained to you about standing straight. Just put your hands on your hips, then bend forward and back. This relaxes the muscles around the waist at the pit of the stomach. This takes away the pressure from the nerves of the stomach and allays the irritation. Now follow this, and sit down, and I will work upon your stomach two or three times in three or four days. It will affect your bowels and help your color.

Tell your wife to sit down, and give her attention, and I will affect her in the same way. Please take a little water when you are sitting, say about 9 o'clock in the evening.



Portland, Feb. 8th, 1861

To Miss S., Hill, N.H.:

Your letter was received, and I was sorry to learn that you thought you took cold. Perhaps you did, but you know all of my patients have to go through the fiery furnace to cleanse them of the dross of this sinful world; made so by the opinions of the blind guides. Remember that passage where it says, "Whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth." As truth is our friend, it rids us of our errors, and if we know its voice, we should not fear, but receive it with joy. For although it may seem a hard master, nevertheless, it will work out for you a more perfect health and happiness than this world of error ever could. So listen to it, and I will try to set all things right.

Of course you get very tired, and this would cause the heat to affect the surface, as your head was affected. The heat would affect the fluids, and when the heat came in contact with the cold, it would chill the surface. This change you call a “cold." But the same would come about in another way.

Every word I said to you is like yeast. This went into your system like food and came in contact with the food of your old bread (or belief). Mine was like a purgative and acted like an emetic on your mind, so that it would keep up a war with your devils; and they will not leave a person, when they have so good a hold as they have on you, without making some resistance. But keep up good courage, and I will drive them all out, so that you may once more rejoice in that truth which will free you from your tormentors (or disease).

If you will sit down and read this letter, take a tumbler of water and think of what I say, and drink and swallow now and then. I will make you sit up, so you will feel better. You must be just about as long as you used to be in Portland. Try this every night, about nine o'clock. This is the time I shall be with Mr. and Mrs. S. You know that where two or three are gathered together in the name of this truth, there it will be in your midst and help you. So try it, and see if it does help you. If you do, let me know.

Hoping this letter will be of some comfort to you and the rest, I remain your true friend and protector till you are well - if I have the science to cure you. So I leave you for the present and attend to others.



Portland, Feb. 9th, 1861

To Mr. S.:

Your wife's letter was received, and I was glad to learn you were all so much better. But your wife says you still cough; this is necessary for your cure, for you have no other way to get rid of that heat in the head, called catarrh. Now this heat seems to be a mystery to everyone; everybody acknowledges it and tries to account for it. Some call it nervous, but when asked to explain that, they fly to some other error.

You know I told you that mind was spiritual matter. In order to illustrate my meaning, so you will understand it, I will make use of an illustration that Jesus used. He said, when the skies are red, you know it will be fair weather. Now thought is something, and this acts in space. For instance, the body is nothing but a dense shadow, condensed into what is called “matter” (or ignorance of God or wisdom). God or (wisdom) is all light. Your identity acts in these two elements - light and darkness; so that all impressions are made in this darkness (or ignorance), and as the light springs up, the darkness disappears.

One of these elements is governed by wisdom; the other, by error - and as all belief is in this world of darkness, the truth comes in and explains the error. This rarefies the darkness, and the light takes its place. Now as this darkness is all the time varying, like the clouds, it is necessary that man should be posted up about it, as he would about the weather. For the wisdom of man has got so far from the truth, that even the weather is our enemy; so that we step out as though we were liable to be caught by a cold; and if we are - then comes the penalty. All this error arises from ignorance. So to keep clear of error is to know who he is, how he gets hold of us, and how we shall know when he is coming.

To make you understand, I must come to you in some way, in the form of a belief. So I will tell you a story of someone who died of bronchitis. You listen (or eat) this belief (or wisdom), as you would eat your meals. It sets rather hard upon your stomach; this disturbs the error (or your body), and a cloud appears in the sky. You cannot see the storm, but you can see it looks dark. In this cloud (or belief), you prophesy rain (or a storm). So in your belief, you foresee evils; the elements of the body of your belief are shaken; the earth is lit up by the fire of your error; the heat rises; the heaven (or mind) grows dark; the heat moves, like the roaring of thunder; the lightning (or hot flashes) shoot to all parts of the solar system of your belief. At last the winds (or chills) strike the earth (or surface of the body); a cold, clammy sensation passes over you. This changes the heat into a sort of watery substance, which works its way to the channels and pours to the head and stomach.

Now listen, and you will hear a voice in the clouds of error saying, “The truth hath prevailed to open the pores, and let nature rid itself of the evil I loaded you down with, in a belief.” This is the way God (or wisdom) takes to get rid of a false belief. The belief is made in the heavens (or your mind); it then becomes more and more condensed, till it takes the form of matter. Then wisdom dissolves it, and it passes through the pores; and the effort of coughing is one of truth's servants, not error's; error would try to make you look upon it as an enemy. Remember, it is for your good, till the storm is over (or the error is destroyed).

So hoping that you may soon rid yourself of all worldly opinions and stand firm in the truth that will set you free, I remain your friend and protector, till the storm is over, and the waters of your belief are still.



Portland, Feb. 10, 1861

Miss Elizabeth Brackett:

Owing to a press of business, your letter of Jan. 10th has not been answered, but I have made you a number of calls and find you better, and I shall visit you at times, till you get over your troubles. Sometime I may explain to you how you became frightened, but as it will not alter the case now, it will need no explanation. Perhaps you will remember it yourself.

I feel as though you would get well, so let me know how you are getting along. I am getting quite interested in your case and want to know if I understand it. I believe that if persons believe in the truth, it will teach them that, although they may be absent from one another in the body, yet they may be present and feel each other's feelings. So if you will seat yourself in a chair on Thursday eve at nine o'clock, I will sit down by you and make you feel sleepy; cause the heat to pass down from your face and make you feel very well. If you experience any sensation, let me know; and if you remember how you feel at this time - 9 o'clock, Sunday eve - please name it.

It seems as though you were enjoying yourself, so I will bid you good night.

P.P. Quimby


Portland, Feb. 14th, 1861

To Mrs. H. Merrill:

Owing to a press of business, your letter has remained unanswered, but when I receive a letter, I always feel as though I was with the patient, giving them advice. Sometimes I am in doubt whether I see or know who they are, from the fact that so many come to me when I put myself in communication with the sick. I make a sort of general visit, as I used to when you were all in my office; but if I feel certain of one, I make that one a text to preach from. So I believe that if you can make yourself known to me by your faith, I can feel you.

Since I commenced writing, you have come up before me, so that I now recall you perfectly well, and I will give my attention to you. I have often seen you and used my arguments to convince you of this great truth. When I say this truth, I mean this light that lighteth everyone that understands it.

When I first sat by you, my desire to see you lights up my mind like a lamp; and as the light expands, my senses, being attached to the light - each particle of light contains all the elements of the whole. So when the light is strong enough to see your light in your darkness (or doubts), then I come in harmony with your light and dissipate your error and bring your light out of your darkness. Then I try to associate you with matter as a substance that is separate and apart from your light (or senses).

Man, of himself, is in matter. Science is out of matter. Disease is matter; health is out of matter; so that you, i.e., science, cannot receive matter into your science; but your science can separate itself from matter. So do not try to get out of your trouble and believe in the cause, for you cannot serve God and man (or science and error). The opinion is the matter; and the aches and pains are what follows your embracing it. So to say you do not believe in disease and yet complain that you have one is like saying that you do not believe in ghosts and telling the largest ghost story, declaring it is true.

P.P. Quimby


Portland, Feb. 23, 1861

To Mrs. Smith:

I was sorry to hear by your letter that your husband was more feeble. There is a time when all things must fail, and it seems as though this would be so, in the case of your husband; but I hope not. I have tried all in my power to carry him through that place, and if he had sunk when he first came to Portland, I should not have been surprised. Seeing him so nervous and in so critical a condition kept me in a very unpleasant situation. To voice my true feelings, he would have failed at once. So as a last resort, I was obliged to drive from myself all doubts of his not getting worse and see if I could produce any effect. As this seemed to take a favorable turn, I never had a time that I dared to think otherwise than that he would get well. So things went on; doubts and fears on one side, and a powerful effort on my part to keep him up, till I felt it would be best for him and you that he should return. If his strength was from me, he must fail at last; but if he could rally of himself, then I felt as though, between us both, he might come up. It is very unpleasant to be placed in such a situation. Knowing how little of a sea or swell it takes to upset our barque, I have to sit and paddle along in breathless silence, lest some little billow may upset all my labors. This was the way in your husband's case. If he had been at home where all things could have been otherwise, I should not have had so many fears; but we must take the world as we find it, and make the best of it. Now as I sit here writing, I cannot leave the helm of his mind to even indulge in the idea of losing him; nor shall I, till that enemy of life tears him from my grasp. If this sets in, I shall have some more hope. I shall visit often and use my best effort for his recovery. So I cannot say anything different from what I want should take place. You, as I have always said, can have your own opinion. Hoping next time I hear, I shall receive more favorable accounts, I remain,

Yours, etc.



Feb. 23, 1861

To Mrs. Cole:

Your letter of the 12th was received just as I was leaving for Belfast, and upon my return, I was sick, so this is the first time I have had to reply. What you say about your child must take place, for you remember what I told you about his chest, how full it was. This fullness was a deposit of heat that forced itself through the lungs and pores to the surface and affected the muscles around the chest. This made him nervous and caused the heat to go to his head, as it did in your case; this heat was the cause of your color and his asthma.

Now when this passes down, it will condense into water and pass off in a diarrhea. So although it may seem as though your child was worse, it seems to me that he ought to get well; for he could never recover while this heat went to his head. Let him drink cold water, and I cannot help feeling that a change must take place before long. You know how it was with you.

To reverse the action is not a very easy task, but if you wait patiently, I can't help thinking it will take place. I remember the case well and shall at intervals use my power to correct the error.

Hoping you may see some favorable effect soon, I remain, etc.



March 3rd, 1861

To Miss G.:

I will now sit down and put on paper what I did at the time I received your letter. I went to you at that time and have visited you at times ever since. I wish now to let you know that I am still with you, sitting by you while in your bed, encouraging you to keep up good spirits, and all will go right. If you cough, it is to get rid of the heat that has gone to your head, and when it condenses, it runs down into the throat, and you cough it up.



Portland, March 3rd, 1861

To Mrs. L.A. Burns,

I went to your relief on reading your letter and have visited you at intervals ever since. At this time, I am sitting, working on your stomach to make the heat pass down; and if you are affected, you must lay it to me. The pain you have in the bowels is all right; it shows that there is an action; it will relieve the left side. Your head, I shall give a good rubbing, especially the back part of it. It won't bother you to comb your hair, as it is short. I shall remember you and make you frequent calls.

P.P. Quimby


Portland, March 3rd, 1861

To Mrs. D.:

In answer to your letter, I will say that you know I told you that your disease was in your mind. Now your mind is your opinion, and your opinion is that you have scrofulous or cancerous humour. This opinion is something or it is nothing, and as it shows itself in your system, it must be something. I call it matter. As I change this something (or opinion), it must change the effect. So as the effect is changed, the matter (or mind) (or opinion) is changed. In the change, it will produce these feelings, because it is in the fluids. As this change goes on, it must affect your head and also your side; and it ought to affect your stomach. This will bring on a phenomenon like a cold, and finish with a diarrhea. This carries off all the false ideas and relieves your system of that bloat and heat. Keep up your courage. It is all right.



Portland, March 3rd, 1861

To Mr. R.:

When your letter was received, I went to your relief, but I cannot say that I affected you. But now I will sit down and try to affect your stomach, so that you will not want to smoke. I feel that if you were aware of the evil influence of the enemy that is prowling around you, enticing you to smoke, you would not harbor him one moment, but hurl him from you, as you would a viper that would sting you to the heart.

I know that opinions are something - and they are our friends or our enemies. So the opinion you have of smoking is a false one and is an enemy to you. It is subtle, like the serpent that coils around you, till you feel its grasp around your chest, making your heart palpitate and sending the heat to your head. Then you will struggle to rid yourself of his grasp, till overpowered, you become paralyzed. He will laugh at your folly when your fear cometh. Remember that "love casteth out fear, and fear hath torment.” Science is love. Fear is disease; torment is your reward. So watch, lest he enter your house while you are asleep and bind your limbs; and when you awake, find yourself bound hand and foot. So remember what I say to you, as a friend.



Portland, March 3, 1861

To Miss T.:

Your letter of the first was received. I will now give you a short sitting and amuse you by my talk. But as you seem to want your head cured, I will rub the top of it, and while doing this, I will tell you what makes it feel so giddy. You know I have told you, you think too much on religion - or what is called religion. This makes you nervous, for it contains a belief which contains opinions, and they are matter; i.e. they can be changed. If opinions were not anything, they could not be changed, for there would be nothing to change. All religion is of this world and must give way to science (or truth); for truth is eternal and cannot be changed. So you see, according to the religious world, I must be an infidel. Suppose I am. I know that I am talking to you now. Does the Christian believe in this (talking with the spirit)? No. Here is where we differ.

Eighteen hundred years ago, there was a man called Jesus who, the Christians say, came from heaven to tell man that if he would conform to certain rules and regulations, he could go to heaven when he died; but if he refused to obey them, he must go to hell. Now of course the people could not believe it, merely because he said so, so it was necessary to give some proof that he came from God. Now what proof was required by the religious world? It must be some miracle or something that the people could not understand. So he cured the lame, made the dumb speak, etc. The multitude was his judge, and if they could not account for all that he did - this was proof that he came from God. So after he had cured many people, they decided that he did come from God.

Now does it follow that if I should say that I was the son of God - or even go so far in my supposition as to believe that I was God, himself - that that would make it so? Or suppose I should say, I will give some proof that I am really God, and I should perform a sudden cure which the people really believed - is their belief to embrace the idea that I am really God or that I really cured the person? You may answer this.

A phenomenon is one thing; and the way in which it is done, another. The spiritualists produce phenomena, but when they say it is from the spirits of the dead, that is an opinion. Now let me give you my opinion. There was once a man called Jesus. I have no doubt that he cured, but his cures were no proof that he came from God, any more than mine does; nor did he believe it. This man, Jesus was endowed with wisdom from the scientific world (or God), and not of this world; nor can he be explained by the natural man. His wisdom never taught any such thing. His God fills all space. His wisdom is eternal life, with no death about it. He never intended to give any construction to his cures or words. His cures were for the benefit and happiness of man.

Men were religious from superstition, their religion was made of opinions, and they were the light of the mind; the opinion (or light) contained an idea, and the idea was in the center of the light. When the idea is lit up, it throws its ray; and our senses, being in the rays, are affected by the idea (or light). As their ideas affected the people, they were like burdens, grievous to be borne; so the people murmured. Jesus knew all this, and no man was able to break the seal or unlock the secret to health. So the people groaned in their trouble and prayed to be delivered from their evils. Wisdom, hearing the groans of the sick, acted upon this man, Jesus, and opened his eyes to the truth. Thus the heavens were opened to him. He saw this truth (or science) descend, and he understood it. Then came his temptation; if he would listen to the people and become king, they would all receive him. This he would not do. But to become a teacher of the poor and sick would be very unpopular. Here was the temptation. He chose the latter and went forth teaching and curing all sorts of diseases in the name of this wisdom; and calling on all men everywhere to repent, believe and be saved from the priests and doctors who bound burdens on the people.

I should like to write much more, but for the want of time, must close.

P.P. Quimby


Portland, March 10th, 1861

To Mrs. W.:

I have not been able to answer your letter, until now. But I have often scratched your head and talked to you. How much you have been aware of it, I cannot say. But I now see you and your husband sitting, looking as easy as possible. I shall visit you as an angel; not a fallen one, but one of mercy, till you are able to guide your own barque. It is true, your husband can travel the briny deep - but he has never entered this ocean of this higher state. Here our senses are attached to our belief, and our belief makes our bodies (or barques). The sea is troubled; error is the rocks and quicksands, where we are liable to be driven by the cross-currents, while the wind of error is whistling in our ears; and when your barque is creaking and twisting from stem to stern, it is liable to go to pieces. Now keep a good lookout, and you will see breakers ahead. So brace up, and see that your compass is right. Keep all snug and fast. Remember what I told you about this place - not to lose control of yourself, but stand on deck and give your orders; not in a whining way, but bold and earnest. Then your crew will obey you, and you will steer clear of all danger and land safe in the port of health. Then enjoy yourself with your husband, talking over your old sea voyage, and I will sit down with you and listen to your story.

So I will leave you and your husband together.

P.P. Quimby


March 10th, 1861

To Miss S:

In answering your letter, I will say that I have used my best efforts to help you, and I feel as though I had. Now I will, once more, renew my promise not to forsake you in your trouble; but to hold you in the influence of this great truth, that is like the ocean. While your barque is tossed by the breeze (or storms) of error and superstition; while the skies are dark with error, and you are moved by your cable (or belief), feeling as though you may be blown onto the rocks of death - you may look to that truth that is now beating against the errors and breaking them in pieces; scattering them to the winds and even piercing the hardest flinty hearts, grinding them into pieces. This truth shall shine like the sun and burn up all these errors that affect the human race.

So be of good cheer, and keep up your courage, and you shall see me coming on the water of your belief and saying to the waters (or pain), "Be still;" soothing you, till the storm is over. Then when the sun (or truth) shall shine and the pure breeze from heaven spring up, slip your cable, and set sail for the port of health; there to be, once more, in the bosom of your friends. Then I will shake hands with you and go exploring for some other barque that is out in the same gale.

P.P. Quimby


March 10, 1861

Miss Brackett, Boston, Mass.:

Owing to a press of business, I have not had time to answer your letter, until now; but I often see you and talk to you about your health. I feel as though I had explained to the spiritual (or scientific) man the cause of your trouble, which I may not have made plain in my letters to the natural man; but it may sometime come to your senses, or you may see me. Then I can tell you what I cannot put on paper.

As for the cause affecting you now, I feel as though I had removed the cause, and the effect will soon cease, and you will be happy and enjoy good health. I wait to hear that my prophecies have been fulfilled; but I shall keep a look-out for your health, till I hear you say that you are well.



Portland, March 28, 1861

To Mr. G. Cleanes:

Your letter of the 25th was received, enclosing $2.00 for my advice. It is true that a person cannot afford to spend his time for nothing; but at the same time, to give the public the idea that the cures can be made by letter opens the door for deception. For the sick are, of all classes, most easily humbugged, since they are honest and expect others to be the same.

A person well is not a person sick. The well have no charity for the sick, and when one gets sick, he is like a man in the hands of robbers. If he does not look out, they will rob him of all he had; for a sick man will give all he has to be saved from disease. So they are easily deceived, and as I do not intend to open a door for these robbers to enter and rob the sick, I put myself into the hands of the sick, instead of having the sick at my mercy. In the latter case, I do not know what I might be led to do. If this way has the effect I think it will, I am satisfied.

If I can get the good will of my patients, I can help them at a distance; but this is a theory of my own. From what I have done, I know that the principle is true; so upon this principle, I am going to try the theory for the benefit of mankind. If I succeed, I shall establish one thing that I wish to establish; that is that the sick shall never run any risk of losing their money by trusting to any person for a cure - either by medicine, or by letter, or by spiritual communication, or by any other way - unless the doctor will run the same chance. It is what every honest person will do for a theory that he has confidence in. I therefore return your money, leaving it till I have tried my best and accomplished my object; then if you please to send it to me, I will receive it as a gift, not as a fee.

I will now sit down by you and take your feelings, as they seem to me. The gone feeling or quivering at the pit of your stomach is caused by the contraction of the stomach on the left side. This creates a heat, and as the heat spreads in the stomach, it produces a sort of numbness around the left side, near the heart. At any excitement, the heat passes on the aorta, causing the heart to flutter and beat hard. This goes to your head and causes a dull, heavy feeling over the eyes, like a sleepy feeling, and causes your hands to go to sleep, as though they were resting on something.

Now sir, you may not think I have told you all, but perhaps you do not recognize the feelings I have told you of; but they are so, for I know it. Now sir, disease is like a thief (or robber) that enters your house (or mind) while you are asleep (or ignorant of the cause), and it uses all the means in its power to decoy the person to death. So it tempts you, by your tobacco, to give way to your feelings, in order that it may have you in its power. It is subtle, and it seems like your best friend - but it is a viper in your stomach, lying wait to poison your life, while you can't help yourself.

I feel that it is working on your system by the queer feeling in your mind, so I know that you are very nervous, and strange feelings pass through your brain when you rub your head. Sometimes you feel your heart beat, and a suffocating feeling comes over you, as though you wanted more air. Then comes the idea of heart disease or apoplexy. This is the effect of the tobacco. Then when it passes out of the stomach, it condenses into water, causing you to pass a large quantity at times; then less.

Now sir, if I am right in regard to your case, I think I can cure you. If you will let me know the effect, I will continue my visits mentally. If you see fit to show this to any person, I will say that I answer no letters, without the person first showing his confidence in me. Then if I deceive him, he is at liberty to expose me. I will try to affect you, till I hear from you.



Portland, Apr. 10th, 1861

To Mrs. Strong:

In answering your inquiry, I am not inclined to give a decided opinion in any case; for an opinion involves more responsibility than I am willing to take. Moreover, an opinion is of no force, as far as knowledge goes; and it might do a great deal of harm and mislead you to put a false construction on what I might say.

I always feel as though disease was an enemy that might be conquered, if rightly understood; but if you let your enemy know your thoughts, you give him the advantage. Therefore, I never give the sick any idea that should make them believe that I have any fears; nor will I reason with myself, for my reason is my guide. Making health the fixed object of my mind, I never parley or compromise. Once when your sister remarked that she never expected to be perfectly well, I replied that I never compromised with disease. And as she had been robbed of her health, I should not settle the case, except on condition of the return of her health and happiness. Here she stands.

I will now say a word or two, so you can see how I feel. When I really believe that I cannot destroy a disease, I always take the easiest possible way to induce the patient to return home of their own accord, with the idea that they will do just as well as if they stayed longer. This is my mode of dismissing my patients; and as I send away patients who I know will recover, the sick cannot see any partiality; and they all leave in good spirits.

When I feel as though a patient might get well, but for circumstances which they cannot control which bear on their mind - if I think by lessening their burdens and anxieties, I can effect the cure, that I do, in this way. When your sister came to me, I found her in a very nervous state, from the fact that she had lost her sister and expected soon to follow her. This made her very nervous and stimulated her to that degree that she appeared to be quite strong. As I relieved her fears, she became more quiet; this she took for weakness, but every change has come, just as I told her it would. Like all who are sick, she looks at the expense, and as I felt very anxious to help her, I was willing to take the responsibility upon myself of telling her that I would like to have her remain, and I would make no charge for my services, but would wait till the cure was performed. This would relieve her of calling on her friends for funds to pay me, and I find she feels happier and easier. You will see that I have no interest in keeping your sister here, and as long as she remains, I shall take as good care of her as though she were my own child.

P.P. Quimby


Portland, Apr. 11, 1861

To Miss L. H. Mead:

I will now sit down by you, as I used to, for I see I am with you; and talk to you a little about your weak back. You forget to sit upright, as I used to tell you. Perhaps you cannot see how I can be sitting by you in your house and, at the same time, be in Portland. I see you look up, open your eyes and hear you say, “No, I am sure I cannot; and I do not believe you can be in two places at the same time.” Now listen, and I will try to convince you that I can be here with you and, at the same time, be in Portland.

You remember when Jesus was journeying one day, he said to his disciples, “Our friend Lazarus is sick. We must go to him.” How did Jesus know that Lazarus was sick? You need not ask me if I compare myself to Jesus; that is not answering the question. The question is simply this. Do you believe that Jesus knew the fact - or did he guess at it? I hear you think - not speak, "I cannot say."

No, you cannot say intelligently - for if you could, you would not doubt that I am now talking to you. But your faith is like that of Lazarus; it needs more faith, and Jesus knew it, or he would not have gone to the idea (or body). Neither was Mary's nor Martha's faith enough to raise him; so he had to go or do what was the same, for they could not believe in what they could not see; therefore he had to attach his senses to what they could see - Jesus; then they could see that Jesus could raise Lazarus.

Now if your faith is no stronger in P.P.Q.'s truth (or Christ) than Lazarus' and his sisters' was in Jesus' wisdom (or Christ), then I fear your back will remain unrelieved; for I am too busy to go in bodily form. But I have faith to believe that I can make you believe, by my wisdom; so I shall try to convince you that, although I may be absent in the idea (or body), yet I am present with you in the mind. Suppose I am in Portland, and you feel and know that I am here with you - where do you and the people in Portland differ in opinion? You say, “I cannot tell.” I will tell you. The people, attaching their senses to P.P.Q., think wisdom is in him; but if you know that I am here - you attach your senses to the Christ (or truth). And if you believe this, you are saved from the uncertainty of seeing me in the body; that I may tell you what I am now saying. While I have been sitting and talking, I have been trying to affect you, and I feel as though you would be better. Hoping this will be so, I leave.

P. P. Quimby


Portland, Apr. 24, 1861

To Mrs. Bosworth:

Owing to my business, I have delayed writing, until now. I generally seem to see a patient when I read a letter; but sometimes I do not. This I account for on the principle that the errors obscure my sight. Light is something outside and independent of matter, which is so associated with matter, that it has become attached to it. But in its pure operation, it sees through matter in its various combinations. Common education has placed a barrier between two persons; for instance, you and myself. This barrier is matter and can be seen through by intelligence superior to it.

I will try to communicate with you; that is that part of you which sees and hears, etc., and is really independent of time and space, but which is not known by that part of us that depends on the eye to see, or the ear to hear, or through those organs to be affected and realize a sensation or fact. This I call your wisdom (or senses), and they are imprisoned by the errors of common belief. This belief is yourself and acts upon your matter (or body). It is under the direction of ideas (or opinions) of persons who never knew there was an intelligence independent of your body. You, being under their influence and finding no friend to lead you away from them, fall into the snares of their make and almost wholly believe in everything they say.

Now I wish to talk with that part that does not believe in what these friends say; be this part ever so small or well-concealed. This disinclination to receive the opinions of your friends is founded on a truth; that is, that there is not a word of truth in what they say; it is all based on guesswork. All this is mere assertion on my part and of course needs proof to substantiate it. So if I can make myself felt by you, without the common medium through which we know each other - that will show that we can act independently of that medium.

I therefore will now try to dissolve the error - misbelief - and see if I cannot make myself felt by you. So if you hear my voice and are a little nervous, do not put a false construction on it by being frightened and closing the door of your belief, so that I cannot enter and talk with you a little upon the idea that the world has established and imprisoned your wisdom in. If I can convince you that your friends are your enemies, then you will know how to treat them. It is an old saying, “Deliver us from our friends.” These friends, Christ pictured out better than I can do, so I will use his own illustration; for he warned his disciples against them. He says, “Beware of the Scribes and Pharisees;” that is, the priests and doctors' opinions - whether they come through a physician, minister or your friend. For if any person tells you anything and gives you an opinion which, if believed, makes you worse - then beware of such whitened sepulchers (or blind guides). They are wolves in sheep clothing; clouds without rain; hypocrites, prowling around to devour.

You remember what Jesus told his disciples about such a class. So when they come with long, hypocritical faces and in whining tones and say, "You look very feeble, you are not so well," etc., turn from them. These are the hypocrites that devour widows' houses; for your science is your house, and as you are all alone, you are a widow in the science of Christ (or truth). Now Christ visited the widow and fatherless in their distress and told his disciples to do the same, and keep them pure and unspotted from the world (or opinions). While you read this, I am with you, working in your belief (or prison), till I shall tear it down and raise you up.

P. P. Quimby


Portland, May 3, 1861

Mrs. Wingate:

You seem, by your letter, to be surprised by the course taken by the lady who answered your first letter; but I wish you to understand that I was apprised of the answer, and it was written just according to my views; and if you could not understand it, the fault is in you and not in her. She knows the difficulty I have to encounter from persons who know me; also that all I say to the well is Greek - and although they may have respect for me as a man, they have none whatever in my opinions as a physician. This places me in a very unpleasant position. When I first called on the lady, she was very feeble and unable to walk; had been attended by the very best physicians and believed in all the opinions of disease. Now to have all her wisdom upset by me was more than she could stand, and had it not been that I was a stranger, and she dared not set up an opinion in opposition to me, I could not have cured her; but her strong desire to get well made her listen and keep still, till she began to take an interest in my theory. If it had been my daughter, Augusta, I could not have cured her, from the fact that she could not have had the confidence in me that she would have had in a stranger. All of this she knew, and when I told her that your mother and myself were brought up together and that she knew me as a jeweler, till I commenced this business - she could see that your mother's confidence in the medical opinions must be complete; and to have it all upset by one for whose medical knowledge she had no respect, although she might respect me as a man, would render it a hard case to cure. All the above is in answer to your misunderstanding her letter.

As regards your mother's case. I cannot tell anything about her, till I could see her. According to your description, it must take a long time to cure her - if I could, at all. You see how little you understand of my mode of treatment, since you have said that it was all foolishness or the same thing; and if you fail to see any sense in what the lady wrote, how do you think your mother can, when she never has even been consulted in the case at all? So as I have said before, my opinion is worth just as much as your question - that is, nothing at all. If I should sit by your mother and take her feelings, then when I undertake to tell her how she has been humbugged by the doctors, I should see how my ideas set on her stomach; for she could not embrace my ideas, just because I said so. But I must labor long and hard to convince her, so as to change her mind and effect the cure. Therefore, if I was a stranger whom she had just heard of, it would make a difference. She will know nothing of what I have to contend with - but I do, and so does the lady who wrote the letter to you. If you can find out anything by this, I shall be glad.

Should I be in Bangor at any time, I would be happy to call and see your mother; or if she would be in Belfast when I go home, I would see her with pleasure. But I could not go to Bangor, leaving my business here, without charging twenty dollars and all my expenses. But if I happen to visit your city, I will call with pleasure, if she wishes me to; not otherwise. I cannot cure a person on another's recommendation. If you wish me to see your mother, I must see her at her own request and not on your account. I will let her know when I shall be in Belfast, if she wishes. I go Friday and return Monday, and that would give me ample time to see what I can do. I will now close, wishing you a quiet state of mind, while you read this letter. It may be of service to you in the day of trouble. So wishing you good-bye,

I remain,



Portland, May 9th, 1861

To Mr. ______

I will say, in answer to your letter, that it is impossible to give any correct opinion in regard to your wife's case; nor do I wish to give any encouragement that I may afterwards regret. I know the sick, like a drowning man, are ready to catch at a straw, and this places them and their friends in the hands of all kinds of quackery. They are not the judges of their own case, from the fact that health is all they want, and money, to them, is nothing in comparison to it. This I know from experience; and when they compare their cases with others, the comparison will not hold good.

I have been deceived by the sick; not knowing anything about their case, except from their own account. I have advised some not to come; from the description of their cases and on sitting with them, I have found their trouble amounted to a mere nothing. I have advised others to come and found them far worse than I expected, then felt concerned for advising them to come. So I have concluded to let people take their chance - and I do the best I can.

Now in regard to my going to Chicago. I am not in a situation to leave here at present, as I have as many patients as I can attend to, and my expenses here amount to not less than $5.00 a day, which goes on, whether I am in town or not; and my business varies from twelve to twenty a day; therefore I cannot live on uncertainties. If I were certain of curing your wife and others, that would alter the case; but the uncertainty I do not wish to risk, nor can you, lest I should fail.

I do not wish your wife to come here, unless you feel as though there was a fair chance for her recovery. Mrs. Ware might be of some service to you; she, having some ideas of my cures, might be a better judge than you or your wife; but if you feel inclined to come this way, then I would do the very best I could. If your wife would write me the facts of her case, I will devote one hour to her, and send her an account of her case. Then she may feel better satisfied what course to pursue.

P. P. Quimby


Portland, May 10th, 1861

To Mrs. Ferrell:

Yours of the 9th was received, and I will sit down and try my best to relieve your right side and hope I shall be able to affect it. Be assured I shall not forget you, but shall have a dutiful care over you and encourage you through your trouble, till you can see out of it and feel that your health is out of danger.

Your cough is the effect of your health, throwing off the morbid state of your system and, of course, it makes you feel very bad. I am very sorry that I can't stop your cough at once; but so it is, and I will do my best to stop it. You see how my patients hold me to my promises. You say in your letter that I told you so-and-so, and you hold me to my promise; just as though I would forget you, if I had not promised that you would get well. Now these promises are the very thing I am trying to get rid of; for when you promise a child anything on condition, they never think of the obligation to their parent - but claim the reward. So it is with all my patients. It sometimes makes me smile to see how artful they will be to get me to make a promise; and when I do it, it seems as that was all, and they never think that they have anything to do for themselves. This is so common among the sick that I have become very cautious how I promise; for if I do not fulfill my promises, they are sure to remind me of it. It often makes me feel as though they thought me to blame for not fulfilling my promise. And I really feel guilty myself; for I believe that our minds are under some wisdom, for a love the natural man is unaware, and when I mentally agree, unconditionally, to do a thing, it annoys me much if I fail to do it.

Now I know you, as Mrs. Ferrell, do not hold me, as P. P. Quimby, responsible to stop your cough. But this sick idea does hold me to my promise, so I will try my best to fulfill it. In doing so, I must hold you - not Mrs. F., but the sick idea - to its promise. And for fear you may forget, I will just remind Mrs. F. what the sick idea promised on her part. It was that she would keep up good courage and not believe in what anyone said and not be afraid if she coughed a little, but keep calm and cheerful. Now if I hear about you complaining about your cough and getting low spirited, I shall tell you of it and hold you to your bargain. You see, you are bound to keep the peace and to do all that is right, so that your health may come, and you may once more rejoice.

Now I think I have sat with you some time, and this contract I want you to read now and then, and I will sit and listen when you are reading it, and I think we will get along first-rate.

So good night.

Yours etc.

P. P. Quimby


Portland, Aug. 9, 1861

To Mrs. L. Emerson:

In your letter, you have saved me the trouble of finding out your case myself by stating your feelings; so as I have your symptoms before me, I will try to affect you as much as I am able to. I will say that it is hard labor on my part to sit and take a person's symptoms at a distance, and as my time is so much occupied, I cannot absent myself from my business to do so. But since, by sending your symptoms, you have saved me that labor, I will say a word to you, while I am trying to affect you.

You say that if you were not able to reward me, you have no doubt that the Lord will in the world to come. So far as your honesty goes, I have no doubt but that you think so. I would rather trust to that than to any Lord of any world to come, that I know of. I have no confidence in this God of man's invention. He asks too much of man and never pays. He is too much like a man; in fact he is the embodiment of man's opinions. Just look at the absurdity of what you say, and it is what we all often say - and yet it contains no wisdom at all. You say that if I should help you, you cannot pay me; God will reward me in the world to come. Suppose there is another world and I should not go there for twenty years. You don't suppose the Lord will look me up, when he has credited me for curing you? And of course, I should not put in a claim myself; so I rather think it will all be forgotten. I have lost all confidence in the God of such opinions.

I will give you a description of the God I worship. He has respect for persons. He is a God of love and truth. He feels our misery and administers to our wants. He never keeps any accounts but pays me my wages as soon as they are earned. So if I help you, my God is your God; and to do good to myself is to do good to you, as far as lies in my power. So my God is in me; and his rewards are with him. If I do a good act, he pays me down - for he does not need to have any account with man. He has enough to pay all his debts; and if I neglect to fulfill my part, after I know and acknowledge it, I shall surely get my punishment.

All this is the other world, not the world of opinions; for that world must be destroyed. God - and all the world of progression and science - can never be destroyed; for it never had a beginning and therefore cannot end. This is the world I believe in. If I help you, my God rewards me; for the reward is in the act. It is as much my gain as yours. To make you happy makes me so; and if I help you and make you happy - you, of course, share your happiness with me.

I will stop, till I learn if you get any better - and which God you think the most of.



Portland, Sept. 12, 1861

To Mr. Capen:

Your letter was received, and in it you say your wife was affected somewhat as I said she would be, and now you ask me if I think she should come to Portland, that I could help her knees. Now sir, my cures depend a great deal on the confidence of my patients, and if they think I have a power, then of course I do not know any more about it than they do. If it is from God or the devil, I am but an instrument in their hands and give them the credit, if they cure through me; and if they fail, lay the blame, also, on them. I, as a man, cannot give an opinion of what the Lord or the devil does through me towards curing disease. This is one of the absurdities of the world. They admit that I do not know anything about this power, as they call it, and then next ask me to give an opinion of what I can do; thus depriving me of any wisdom - and then expecting me to give an opinion that makes me responsible for the devil's or God's acts.

Now sir, I will place your wife's case before you in a sensible manner, so that you shall not be deceived, and let you decide about her coming by your own and her judgment. She has been here, and I tried to affect her after the manner that I do everyone; that is, appealing to her common sense. I do not assume any wisdom from God or from the devil or from spirits, but I try to show that disease is one of the phenomena of our belief, and to correct the belief, I change the mind of the patient. Their wisdom is then attached to my ideas of truth - and this is the cure.

Now to get a person to come to me by holding out some inducement or promise in one hand and taking money in the other is selfish and hypocritical. If the patients have confidence in me, they would not wish me to coax them. Jesus said, if the sheep knew the voice of the shepherd, they would follow him. So I say, if the sick knew me, they would not want me to hold out inducements to cure them, but they would coax me, instead of my coaxing them. This puts me in a position I do not like; and your wife is also in a bad position.

Just let me make an illustration that will show how we both stand. Suppose I am in a prison, and your wife has the name of getting people out. Now I know this, and I know that if I make my case known to her, she will do the best she can to get me out; and should she fail, it would not be from any neglect of hers. Now I send her a letter, saying that if she thinks she can get me out, I should like to have her try. Do you think she would be induced to make much effort? You can answer. Suppose I believe that if I could only get her interested in my case, she would get me clear. Then I should not put any restrictions on her, but throw myself into her power and trust to luck. In this way, when she had me in her power, if she had any sympathy, she would exert it for my happiness.

I told your wife that if she thought she received any benefit, she might get better; but if I had to make one single condition in the way of compromising to bring her here, by which she would not come, unless I did, I should not have any faith at all. Therefore, I say, if she comes, I shall use all my wisdom to restore her to health and happiness.



Letter to a Lady in Vermont

Portland, 1861


I received your letter, and I will now give you another sitting, although I sat with you yesterday; but perhaps you were not aware of it, so I will now try again. I cannot help thinking but that I can help your nose; for I believe it to be a curable case, and I shall make an effort to have this visit operate on your bowels, and change the current of the fluids in that direction. And I will now work on your stomach and shall keep up my visits, till I produce an effect like a diarrhea; and that, I think, will change the nature of the trouble which is in the fluids. Please let me know how I succeed. As I wrote you yesterday I will stop now, till I hear from you. Good night - 7:01 o'clock and just going to my tea.

Perhaps it may seem strange that I was not seen at the exact time of writing; but this is the fact. I have to produce a change in your system; so that out of the matter (or mind) of yourself, the body is made, and I in it; thus it will take longer, sometimes, than it does others. If that lady is still with you, I will try and make myself appear to her eyes next Sunday between 7 and 8 o'clock.

P. P. Quimby


[Extract from a letter from the above lady in Vermont to Dr. Quimby]

Last Friday evening, Oct. 3rd, between 7 and 10 o'clock, mother and a niece of hers, who is here on a visit, were sitting together talking, and this lady says she saw you standing by mother, about to lay your hand on her head. Just at that moment, mother left the room, before her friend had told her what she saw, so your visit was interrupted. What was quite strange was that this lady described some of your characteristics in looks and appearance very accurately, although you have never been described to her. Mother wishes to know if you were really here in spirit at that time.


Portland, Dec. 7, 1861

Miss Longfellow:

Your letter was received, but my engagements have been such that I have not had time to give my attention to your case until now. Although we have lived side-by-side ever since we were children, we have been ignorant of that power (or science) that is necessary to smooth our ruffled path, as we travel along the road to wisdom; whence no child of science ever returns to his former home of ignorance and superstition.

You and I have a power called the “inner man” by the ignorant, but its true name is wisdom (or progression). This is the child of God; and although, at first, it is almost without an identity, this little wisdom implanted in this earthly man (or idea) is held in ignorance, till some higher wisdom frees it from its prison. You remember when your little pupils would stand by your side, looking up to you for wisdom to satisfy their desires. You, with your power - like Moses - went before them, leading them through the sea of ignorance; they following your light as a pillar of fire, and in the clouds of darkness your light sprang up. As you traveled along; they murmuring and complaining, you - like Moses - fed them with the bread of science and eternal life. You smote the rock of wisdom that followed them, and they drank of the waters that came out of your teaching; and this rock (or wisdom) was Christ.

You have a teacher, as well as I, that goes before us, teaching us science; and we become the child of the one we obey. You - like Moses - held up the serpent of ignorance before your little pupils, and all who looked upon your explanation and understood were healed of their disease (or ignorance); but the murmuring of your pupils would make you nervous, and although you - like Moses on Mount Pisgah - could see the promised land, your heart failed you, and you sank down in despair. In your discontented state of mind, you call on your comforter, as Job did, but no answer returned from your doctors or spiritual advisers; who, being blind guides, find you, like the man going down to Jericho, and fall upon you and rob you of all your wisdom. So here you are, a stranger among thieves, cast into prison by the very ones you have always taken for your leaders on the road to health; you are bound with bands, sick and with no hope of ever being set at liberty.

Now your belief is like a barque and your wisdom attached to it, on the water of this world; for water is an emblem of error, so that the medical wisdom (or ocean) is where your barque seems to be moored. Here you are tossed to and fro, sometimes expecting to be lost, while the winds of spiritualism are whistling in your ear, till it shakes the barque to which your wisdom is attached; and the heavens are dark and the light of wisdom extinguished in the opinions (or waves) of the medical science.

As you are tossing to and fro, you see me coming. When I say "me," I mean science in P.P.Q.; not the P.P.Q. that you used to see, but the wisdom in a body - not of flesh and blood, but a body as it pleases; and to every science its own body. Your body (or barque) is of this world, and your wisdom is in it; and I have to come through your wisdom to get you clear of your enemies. So you may look out of the window of your barque while reading this, and you will see me coming on the water of your belief, saying to spiritualism and the waves of the medical faculty, "Be still;” and I will come on board of your barque and still your fears and return you once more to your own house; whence you have been decoyed by these blind guides.

As disease is in accordance with the laws of man, a penalty is attached to every act; so that every one found guilty must be punished by the law. As you are accused of a great many transgressions, your punishment is greater than you can bear, so you sink under your trouble. I appear in your behalf to have you tried by the laws of your own country, not by the laws of these barbarians. So I will read over the indictment that stands against you. Here it is. You are accused of dyspepsia, liver complaint, nervousness, sleepless nights, weak stomach, palpitation, neuralgia, rheumatism, pains through your back and hips, lameness and soreness, want of action in the stomach, etc. What say you to this indictment? Are you guilty or not guilty?

You say, "guilty." But as I appear on your behalf, I deny that you are guilty of the evils which cause this punishment. I want you to have a fair trial before the judge of truth and disease; and if you have disobeyed any law of God (or science), you must answer to science - not to man. I will call on the hypocrite (or doctor), who goes around devouring widows' houses, and for a few dollars has got the people into trouble, from which they cannot get out. He says you have all the above diseases. On cross-examination, when asked how he knows, he says you told him. This is all the proof that he or any other doctor can bring. So by their false testimony, you have been condemned for believing a lie, that you might be sick. Now as your case is one of a thousand, I have only to say a few words to your wisdom, as judge.

All disease is only the effect of our belief. The belief is of man, and as science sees through man's belief, it destroys the belief and sets the soul (or wisdom) free. I will now sum up the evidence. You have listened to the opinions of the doctors, who are blind guides crying, “Peace, peace,” till you have embraced all their wisdom. This has produced a stagnation in your system - and what their ignorance has not done, the spiritualists have tried to do. So between them both, you are a prisoner and in the same state as the people were in the days of Jesus, when he said to them, "Beware of the doctrines of the Scribes and Pharisees, for they say and do not; they bind burdens on you that they cannot explain."

This keeps you nervous. So awake from your lethargy, and come to the light of wisdom that will teach you that man's happiness is in himself; his life is eternal; this life is wisdom; and as wisdom is progression, its enemy is ignorance. So seek wisdom and believe no man's opinion; for these opinions make you nervous. This causes a heat to go to your head, making your head feel heavy and producing a dullness over your eyes; in fact, causes all your bad feelings - not that you have any disease independent of your mind, but your mind is matter, not wisdom. So if I can lift your wisdom above the error (or mind), then you will be free. But now this nervous heat is all through you and comes to the surface. When the cold strikes you, it chills you. This, you take for a low state of the blood. But it is like a stagnation of your own self; not being able to explain the phenomena that you are affected by.

As you read this, it will excite you to understand it. This is like a little leaven that is put into your bread (or belief), and it will work, till it affects the lump and causes you to feel as though you had a very bad cold. It will work upon your system and affect your bowels, causing a diarrhea, and also affecting the water. Then you may know that your cure is at hand. So do not despair; only remember the signs of the times, and pray that your flight may not be in the night, nor on the Sabbath day, when you are at meeting.

So keep on the lookout, and I think you will be better. If so, let me know. When you read this letter, I am with you, and you will think strange, for it will produce some strange sensations on your mind; sometimes joy and sometimes, grief. But it is all for the best. So keep up good courage, and I will lead you along through the dark valley of the shadow of death and land you safe in that land of science, where disease never comes.

I will stop now, but remember that, as long as you read this and drink in these words, you do it in remembrance of me - not P.P.Q., but science, till your health comes. I will leave you now and come again and lead you, till you can go alone. If you will see fit to show this to Julia H. when you read it, we shall all be together; and you know what the truth says - that when two or three are gathered together in science, truth (or wisdom) will be there and bless and explain to them.



Portland, Dec. 16, 1861

Miss B.:

Yours of the 7th is received, containing $2.00 as a fee for my services on yourself. As you have shown a spirit of sympathy that I never have received before, I certainly shall not prove myself one who will not return to another, as I would that another should do to me. So I receive your two dollars sent in hope of a relief and return your money, believing it came from one who is as ready to give as to receive. I believe if two persons agree in one thing, sincerely, independent of self, it will be granted.

I will now use my skill, as far as I am able, to correct your mind in regard to your trouble. The heat you speak of is not a rush of blood to the head, but is caused by a sensation on your mind, like some trouble. This causes a weakness, at times, at the pit of your stomach. The heat in the second stomach causes a pressure on the aorta, which makes the heart beat very rapidly at times. This you take for palpitation, and it causes a flash (or heat), which of course, you take for a rush of blood to the head. But it is not so; it is the fluids.

As the clouds in the skies change when the wind blows, so the fluids under the skin change at every excitement. The skin, being transparent, reveals the color; this annoys you, and the false idea that is in the blood keeps up the fire. Now just take, in your mind, the spine as a combined lever of three parts, and you will see how to correct your form, so as to ease the pressure on the aorta. Now imagine yourself sitting in a chair with the lower level (or spine) at right angles with your limbs. This relieves the stomach, takes the pressure from the aorta, and puts out the fire, so there can be no heat. This will produce a change in your feelings - and the change is the cure.

If you will sit down on Sunday evening, I will try to straighten you up, so as to relieve that feeling. I will try to exert my power on you, and if you feel that I am entitled to anything in the shape of a gift, it will be received, if ever so trifling. Your sincerity towards me interests my sympathy in you, and if I relieve you, I shall be very glad. You have taken the way to make me try my best. This is true sympathy; to sympathize with those who make the first sacrifice. It is of no consequence if it be one cent or one hundred. The sacrifice is all. It shows your faith; and according to your faith, so shall your cure be.

This, being a new experiment, let me know how I succeed; and if I change your mind - the change is the cure. I send you one of my circulars, which will tell you more of my mode of treatment. It is easier to cure than to explain to a patient at a distance. But I am sure of the principle and feel confident that I shall, sometimes, cure at a distance. For distance is nothing but an error that truth will sometime explode. If my faith and your hope mingle, the cure is the result; so I will give my attention to you, as far as my faith goes, and shall like to hear how I succeed.

P.P. Quimby


Portland Advertiser

<>International House, Feb. 13, 1862

Mr. Editor:

As you have given me the privilege of answering an article in your paper of the 11th inst., where you classed me with spiritualists, mesmerizers, clairvoyants, etc., I take this occasion to state where I differ from all classes of doctors; from the allopathic physician to the healing medium. All these admit disease as an independent enemy of mankind, but the mode of getting rid of it divides them in their practice. The old school admit that medicines contain certain properties and that certain medicines will produce certain effects. This is their honest belief. The homeopathic physicians believe their infinitesimals produce certain effects. This is also honest. But I believe all their medicine is of infinitely less importance than the opinions that accompany it.

I never make war with medicine; but opinions. I never try to convince a patient that his trouble arises from calomel or any other poison, but the poison of the doctor's opinion in admitting a disease. But another class, under cover of spiritualism and mesmerism, claim power from another world - and to these my remarks are addressed.

I was one of the first mesmerizers in the state who gave public experiments and had a subject who was considered the best then known. He examined and prescribed for diseases, just as this class do now. And I know just how much reliance can be placed on a medium; for, when in this state, they are governed by the superstition and beliefs of the person they are in communication with and read their thoughts and feelings in regard to their disease, whether the patient is aware of them or not. The capacity of thought-reading is the common extent of mesmerism. Clairvoyance is very rare, and can be easily tested by blindfolding the subject and giving him a book to read. If he can read without seeing - that is conclusive evidence that he has independent sight. This state is of very short duration. They then come into that state where they are governed by surrounding minds.

All the mediums of this day reason about medicine, as much as the regular physician. They believe in disease and recommend medicine. When I mesmerized my subject, he would prescribe some little simple herb that would do no harm or good, of itself. In some cases this would cure the patient. I also found that any medicine would cure certain cases, if he ordered it. This led me to investigate the matter and arrive at the stand I now take; that the cure is not in the medicine, but in the confidence of the doctor (or medium). A clairvoyant never reasons, nor alters his opinion; but, if in the first state of thought-reading, he prescribes medicine, he must be posted by some mind interested in it; and also must derive his knowledge from the same source the doctors do.

The subject I had left me and was employed by _________, who employed him in examining diseases in the mesmeric sleep and taught him to recommend such medicines as he got up, himself, in Latin; and as the boy did not know Latin, it looked very mysterious. Soon afterwards, he was at home again, and I put him to sleep to examine a lady, expecting that he would go on in his old way; but instead of that, he wrote a long prescription in Latin. I awoke him that he might read it, but he could not. So I took it to the apothecary's, who said he had the articles and that they would cost twenty dollars. This was impossible for the lady to pay. So I returned and put him asleep again - and he gave his usual prescription of some little herb, and she got well.

This, with the fact that all the mediums admit disease and derive their knowledge from the common allopathic belief, convinces me that, if it were not for the superstition of the people, believing that these subjects, merely because they have their eyes shut, know more than the apothecaries, they could make few cures. Let any medium open his eyes, and let the patient describe his disease - then the medicine would do about as much good as brown bread pills. But let the eyes be shut - then comes the mystery. It is true, they will tell the feelings, but that is all the difference.

Now I deny disease as a truth, but admit it as a deception, started like all other stories; without any foundation, and handed down from generation to generation, till the people believe it, and it has become a part of their lives. So they live a lie, and their senses are in it. To illustrate this, suppose I tell a person he has the diphtheria, and he is perfectly ignorant of what I mean. So I describe the feelings, and tell the danger of the disease and how fatal it is in many places. This makes the person nervous - and I finally convince him of the disease. I have now made one, and he attaches himself to it and really understands it - and he is in it, soul and body. Now he goes to work to make it, and in a short time, it makes its appearance. My way of curing convinces him that he has been deceived; and if I succeed, the patient is cured. As it is necessary that he should feel that I know more than he does, I tell his feelings. This he cannot do to me, for I have no fear of diphtheria.

My mode is entirely original. I know what I say, and they do not, if their word is to be taken. Just so long as this humbug of inventing disease continues, just so long the people will be sick and be deceived by the above-named crafts.

P. P. Quimby


Portland, Feb. 22nd, 1862

Mr. Carter

Dear Sir:

I was very glad to receive your letter of Dec. 1st, but since then have been too busy to answer it, until now. And now I scarcely know how to commence, knowing that I am about to tread on holy ground; and feel like Moses, who viewed the promised land lying before him, but could not enter with all his errors; so he saw for others what he was not permitted to enjoy in the natural man.

This truth that I practice is as plain to me as mathematics, but the developing of that science depends upon the progression of all other improvements; for if the world was ignorant, like the savages, that wisdom called mathematics would still exist, but their darkness could not see it. So as the light of God (or wisdom) springs up, man learns the truth and applies it to the phenomena of his day, so it can be understood. This we call mathematics (or God's wisdom revealed to man).

I think that all controversies in the world are in matter; and man has attached himself to the idea of matter and lives and dies in it, till the light of wisdom opens his eyes to the truth; that his life is in this great light that sees matter as nothing but shadows. I will try to illustrate my ideas by a parable. You know what the phenomenon called mesmerism is. Clairvoyance is perfect light. Matter is annihilated, except as it is admitted. Thought-reading is another state in matter, like darkness; so that thought-readers see or feel by the light of another, while clairvoyance sees by its own light. Our senses are in one or the other of these states of light and darkness. The separation of these states has always been the great problem. They who were sitting in darkness saw this light spring up, but as the prince of darkness had sway, they crucified the light. Now the world attaches their senses to the thing they can feel and see, but Jesus attached his to the light; so that his light was in their error, and they saw it not.

By this time I hear you say, “Show me this light (or truth), and it will satisfy me.” I answer, “Have I not sat by you and told you how you suffered - and yet you cannot see me?” The light of the body (or wisdom) is the eye; and if your wisdom is all light, your light is all wisdom; but if your light is darkness (or thought-reading), it is darkness to wisdom. Such is this, to those who cannot understand - but I feel as though you said, "I understand that." How do I show to the world my light? For a light under a bushel gives no light to those outside. So to let your light shine, you must make some physical demonstration of it.

When I sit down by a patient, their thought is their wisdom (or opinions); and to me there is no light in them. My light (or wisdom) sees through their darkness (or belief), and I, knowing that their sufferings are the effect of this world's wisdom, take them by the hand and guide them by my light, till I raise them from the dead (or error) into the light of science (or heaven). This is my heaven. My hell is where I was and where all others are, till they come to a knowledge of this great truth - that man is outside of matter. When he knows this, he cuts himself clear and floats in the ocean of light, where matter is, to him, a shadow, moved around by a wisdom attached to it; and their ignorance knows not that they are not of the matter - but outside.

I will illustrate. Suppose I create a dog in my mind and mesmerize a person, till I make him see it, and finally I succeed. Now his senses (or light) is in my idea - the dog. He sees it, but does not see the creator. And seeing the dog with life, he of course thinks the life is in the dog. If he never comes out of that state, then the dog follows him; and if I present it to him, then to himself he has a dog - but to his neighbors he is insane. All the while, I know I am the author. Suppose I call the great God of all, clairvoyant. All matter, to him, is nothing.

P. P. Quimby


Extract from a Letter

Portland, Feb., 1862

To Mrs. Woodward:

I will class all people who believe in another world in this way. They all believe that mind is one thing, and spirit is the highest wisdom known to the Christian world. As mind is, then man's spirit is that part that lives after the mind is dead or gone. Mind, matter and spirit are all one and the same; like the lamp, the oil and the light. The lamp is the body; the oil is the mind; and the light is the spirit. So when the oil is out, the spirit is dead - and this is the end of the religious world.

Now this is the way I divide man. The lamp is matter; the oil is mind; and the light is the wisdom (or spirit) of the oil. The wisdom that carries the lamp is God, and you will see that it is separate and apart from the other combinations of the lamp; so that when we see the lamp, the wisdom that directs it is out of sight. This wisdom is what guides the sick. It trims your lamp and furnishes it with the oil (or truth), so that when the cry of the bridegroom (or truth) comes, your lamp may be filled and trimmed, and you will not be gone to borrow oil; lest he comes when you are after oil, and he passes along, and the door is shut. So do not get into your lamp - but keep outside. Do not put your light under a bushel - but on top. The light of truth (or wisdom) is like the sun; that of error, like the moon in the firmament of mind.



Portland, Apr. 27th, 1862

To Mrs. Marsh:

Your daughter's letter was received, and it gave me much joy to hear that he was still going ahead. For you, I cannot say that the news was so gratifying, but I must say I think it is all for the best. We know that God sometimes uses rather strong means to accomplish his end; this is according to the Christian belief - but I don't believe that my God ever uses any means. He is the end to obtain; and the means of obtaining to this end, everyone tried to find.

Man is the inventor of his own misery. Man's happiness is not an element, but is the reaction of his own belief or acts. If you throw up a stone into the air, it must come down; so the reaction returns with the same power that it receives. So if I do you an evil, the evil will return on me; but God is not in the good or evil. He is in that wisdom that measures out to every one, just according to his acts. God can't be seen by the natural eye, but he is seen by the sympathy of our acts. When man acts, he either acts according to happiness or misery; for the reward is in the act, and the knowledge of this is God. So God is in us - and we are in our acts. And God won't censure man's acts, unless man censures them, himself.

We too often mistake our lives for some other person in this way. If I tell you not to eat or drink this or that, and you believe me - when you really believe you are me, and not yourself; and you attach your senses to this belief, and all the misery follows, for the superstitious man; for God is not in an opinion. So when the minister tells you that this is wrong, and this is right - he deceives himself and makes the word of God of no effect; for God can't give an opinion. And the minister can't give any proof that he ever got the truth from God, but man.

Now all such foolish beliefs make one nervous, for you are bound; yet you were not born a slave, for God does not enslave anyone. But man is a slave to his own beliefs and forges his own fetters. So take heed that none of these blind guides shall deceive you by their smooth words. But keep your light shining, so when they come and commence to give an opinion - ask for proof, and they will leave you. Then I will come to you, and greet you, and try to explain to you this truth that will set you free from this nervousness; for it is the fruits of your old errors.

I told you that your body was like a picture which was given to you by a friend, but it has been covered up by opinions of the priests, till you have lost all interest in it. They have made you believe that it is of no value, and as you set a great value on it, you grew nervous. Now I want to show you that the value is in the picture; and then you will respect the donor, who is the father of all gifts. But the blind guides (or devils) want to destroy your happiness and get the picture. So remember what I tell you, and read this, and I will be with you and make you quiet, till your health comes.

Yours, etc.

P. P. Quimby


Excerpt from an Undated Letter to a Patient

What is your true position in regard to the truth or spirit world, or the errors of this world, or that feeling that keeps you in a quandary all the time? It seems as though there were two powers acting upon you at the same time, and it seems as though I must put a false construction on the one that you fear the most. The one you fear is from itself. The fear of the construction that arose from some sensation that contained no knowledge, nor harm, but was a shock that disturbed your mind. This brought your mind, like the earth, in a fit state to receive direction from the power of this world of flesh and blood - or the direction of the truth; and as the natural man (or the knowledge of the world) has governed your thoughts, you have been kept ignorant of your true position, which is to destroy the enemy of the higher man or put it into subjection to the spiritual man (or truth). This is the state of your mind, at this time.

When you think of going anywhere, you feel that, if I could go with you, all would go well; but if you go alone, you take no interest in the amusements, for it is under the direction of this world, and you have arrived at this state where you can foresee a higher state of mind than this world enjoys. But you cannot separate the one from the other, yet. You will soon. I saw the two states last night, in the hall - and you might have noticed it in those girls. My patients all feel a sort of attachment to me, and I could see the same feeling drawing to you. My patients feel my influence in you, and like the children of Israel, they want a leader, which they will find in you. Those two influences are acting upon you all the time.

P. P. Quimby


To Mrs. A.C.B.:

In answer to your letter, I will say that it is impossible to give an opinion of a case, till I know something about it, independent of my natural senses. I, of myself, cannot take another's feelings. Therefore, my opinion is nothing. When I sit by a patient, their feelings affect me, and the sensation I receive from their mind is independent of their senses; for they do not know that they communicate any intelligence to me. This I feel, and it contains the cause of the trouble; and my wisdom explains their trouble; and my wisdom, explaining the trouble - the explanation is the cure. You must trust in that wisdom that is able to unlock any error that your wisdom can lock; so search into the error, and you will find that your key can unlock the mystery and loose your bands. I will assist you, all in my power.




To Mr. A. A. Atwood:

In reply to your questions, I will say to you that I am unwilling to take charge of a person afflicted with fits, from the effect upon my own system. In regard to the blind, I should not recommend anyone like your description to come to see me, for I have no faith that I could cure him. If a man is simply blind, I have no chance for a quarrel - for we both agree in that fact. But if a person has any sickness which he wants cured and is partially blind, besides - then I might affect his blindness, but that is thrown in. I never undertake to cure the well; and if a man is blind and satisfied, I can't find anything to talk about. For if I undertake to tell him anything, he says, “Oh! I am all right, but my eyes,” so he is spiritually blind and cannot see that his blindness ever had a beginning. So it is hard work to get up a controversy; and therefore, I refuse to take such cases, till my popularity is such that my opinion is of some force to such persons. For opinions of popular quacks are law and gospel about blindness; and so long as the blind lead the blind, they will both be in the ditch.

Thirdly, you ask me if I can cure anyone from using intoxicating liquors. This is a hard question to answer, for it involves considerable. If you drink, it is not my business; neither is it yours if I drink - for neither can set up a standard to judge the other by. I judge no man. Judgment belongs to God (or science), and that judges right; for it contains no opinion. Giving an opinion is setting up a standard to judge your neighbor by - and this is not doing as you would be done by. The true science judges in this way. If you are sick and come to me - if I tell you how you feel, this is doing as you would like to be done by; there is no discord. Now you come to me, a criminal or debtor, accused of disobeying some opinion of man, which you will not accept and worship. You are accused, condemned and cast into prison; your punishment is your feelings.

Now science, being a higher court than man's opinions - man appeals to that court. So he is brought before me, and upon examination, I find that he has committed no offense against science and is not liable to their standard. I plead his case and show that all his acts were committed in self-defense. His drinking is the effect of something he is accused of, and he takes to the cup to drown his sorrow. When I convince him how he has been deceived by his tormentors and explain the truth, he comes to his reason and abandons his old associates, who have been the means of all this trouble. If he likes smoking and drinking, he is satisfied and wants no physician. But if sick, and I find that liquor is his enemy - then it is my duty to tell him so. And if I convince him, he has no more difficulty in cutting his acquaintance than he would an old friend whom he discovered plotted against his life; one case must be proved.

P. P. Quimby



To Mrs. Doland:

I will try to drive these devils away that trouble you, but I must say, they originated in this world (or matter). They are not the work of God, but they are the invention of man. God is not sin (or error). We often hear persons say, while we are looking at nature, that we see God in everything. This, to me, is all folly. If you should see an orange and had not the sense of smell, nor had intelligence, but smelling the orange and knowing it contained a peculiar odor, you worship the orange for what it contains. So it is with God. We see fields, streams and flowers, and all nature seems delighted to spring from its cold prison. We are not aware of any wisdom in the flowers, nor grass, nor in anything that hath life; yet they all have their peculiar ways of expressing their feelings to the great wisdom of all; not by language, but in their own way. Their life is the father of all life, and when the cold breezes of November come, they leave the icy tenement of the world of matter and live again in a sphere far superior to this world of matter. Not losing their identity, they return in the spring and appear as though nothing had happened. To the observer, the flowers seen in June are not the flowers of the next June; but yet they are.

So man, like the plant - with one exception - is the higher element of God's wisdom. He partakes of the mathematical in man that plans and directs all. He is introduced into this world with the highest order of God's wisdom; not being perfect, for some cause not known to himself. He is left to work out his problems for his own happiness. So he becomes an inventive being; and as he becomes ambitious, he sets up standards of right and wrong and wants everyone to obey his peculiar notions. This makes war between truth and error. Error is arbitrary and wants to bind truth. Truth is gentle and never binds at all but, like a shepherd, leads his flock. Error is always lying about the truth and trying to confine it. Every idea has an atmosphere around it; and in it, the truth is confined.

Disease is the invention of man, and like all inventions of man, according to our belief, liable to perish. So decomposition is always taking place in every variety of matter. The destruction of anything we have an interest in affects us, just according to our belief. Your body, being matter, is liable to the same destruction that any other matter is. To you it is a vineyard, and you enjoy the fruits of your own vines. Now to be a good husbandman is to keep all the trees (or ideas) in good health, so that no crooked branches should shoot out to injure the growth of the rest. The idea of rheumatism is the fruit of a tree called “trouble” that grows in the most barren part of the soil.

P. P. Quimby


To a Patient

Mrs. Norcross


Yours of the___ is at hand. But a lack of faith on my part to describe your case and explain my ideas to you, so you could rightly comprehend my meaning, is my only excuse for not writing before. But thinking you would expect an answer, I now sit down to talk with you a short time. After reading your letter, I tried to exercise all the power I was master of to quiet and restore your limb to health. But to give a satisfactory answer to you or myself was more than I was capable of. I therefore, will disturb your mind (or fluids) once more, and try to direct them in a more healthy state, by repeating some of my ideas ,which I repeated to you when here.

You know I told you that mind was the name of something, and this something is the fluids of the body. Disease is the name of the disturbance of these fluids (or mind). Now as the fluids are in a scalding state, they are ready to be directed to any portion of the body. You remember I told you that every idea contained this fluid, and the combination varied, just according to the knowledge (or idea) of disease. I will explain. Two persons are told they are troubled with scrofula. One does not know anything about it and has never heard of the disease; is as ignorant as a child. No explanation is given to either. The other is well posted up in regard to all the bad effects of this disease. Now you can readily see the effect on the minds of these two persons. One is not affected at all, till he is made acquainted with the case; while the other one's mind (or fluids) are completely changed and combined, so all that is necessary is to give direction and locate the disease in any part of the body.

I think I hear you say that a child can be troubled with scrofula, and they have no mind, as I said before. Your mother probably changed the fluids of your body when an infant or at any early age, and some circumstances located it in your leg. Now as it is there, you want to know how to get rid of it; and as it was directed there through ignorance, you can't get rid of it without some knowledge. Now as this disturbance comes like a fright (or sensation), it is to be understood as a fright. Now as disease is looked upon as a thing independent of the mind, the mind is disturbed by every sensation produced upon the senses; and the soul stands apart from the disturbed part and grieves over it, as a person grieves over any trouble independent of the body.

Now to cure you, you must come with me to where the trouble is, and you will find it to be nothing but a little heated fluid, just under the skin, and it is kept hot and disturbed by your mind being misrepresented. Now I believe that I can impart something from my mind that can enter into that distressed state of the fluids and change the heat and bring about a healthy state. I shall often try to produce a cooling sensation on your limb; at other times, a perspiration, so as to throw off the surplus heat. If I succeed in helping or relieving you, please let me know. But do not expect another explanation; for this has made me half-insane.

If you think you would improve faster by coming to Belfast, please let me know, and I will get you a private boarding house, if desired. I think I can hear you say, by this time, that your limb feels better; if so, I shall be satisfied. I will close my long epistle by wishing you a long life and a well leg.


Miss B.:

Yours of the 7th is received, and I am glad to learn that I have relieved your mind by my “power," as you call it. But you misunderstand my power. It is not power, but wisdom. If you knew as much as I do about yourself, you could feel another's feelings; but here is the trouble. What people call power, I call wisdom. Now if my wisdom is more than yours, then I can help you; but this I must prove to you. And if I tell you about yourself what you cannot tell me, then you must acknowledge that my wisdom is superior to yours and become a pupil, instead of a patient.

I will now sit down by you and tell your feelings. You may give your attention to me by giving me your hand; be still, and look me in the eye. I will write down the conversation that I hold with you, while sitting by you. You have a sort of dizzy feeling in your head, and a pain in the back part of the neck. This affects the front part of the head, causing a heaviness over the eyes. The lightness about the head causes it to incline forward, bringing the pressure on your neck just below the base of the brain, so that you often find yourself throwing your head up, to ease that part of the head. This makes it heavy, so it bears on the shoulders, cramps the neck, numbs the chest, so that you give way at the pit of the stomach and feel as though you wanted something to hold you up. This cramps the stomach, giving you a gone-feeling at the pit of the stomach. This contraction presses on the bowels and causes a full feeling, at times, and a heaviness about your hips, and a loggy feeling when you walk.

Now all these symptoms, taken of themselves, are nothing. But you have had medical advice, or have got from someone else, an answer to all these feelings. You are nervous. You have the heart complaint. Your blood rushes to the head, and you are liable to female weaknesses. Now take all these symptoms together, and if they would not make your face red - what would? Listen to me, and I will give an explanation of all the above feelings. I must go back to the first cause, say some years ago. I will not undertake to tell just the cause, but I will give you an illustration. Suppose I (the natural man) were sitting by you, and we were alone, and I should go and fasten the door, and go towards you and attempt to seize hold of you. And if you asked me what I intended to do, and I should say, "Keep still, or I will blow your brains out," you would see this would frighten you. I think your heart would beat as fast as it ever did.

This explanation I do not say is true, for I suppose a case. Start contracts the stomach; the fright (or excitement) - heat - sets your heart beating and throws the heat to your head; this heat tries to escape out of the nose, causing a tickling in your nose, and you often rub it, because it itches and feels hot. It then tries to escape through the passage to the ears, making your cheeks red and burn and causes a noise in your ears, sometimes. This, after awhile, subsides; the stomach relaxes, and the heat passes down from the stomach into the bowels.

Now follow the directions in the last letter, and relieve the pressure on the aorta. This will check the nervous heat and relieve the excitement, and then the heat will subside. The color is in the surface of the skin and has nothing to do with any humor or disease; it is nothing but excitement. As I told you in my last, I will be with you when you read the letters, and you will feel a warm sensation pass over you, like a breath. This will open the pores of the skin, and the heat will escape.

I send back the five dollars, till the cure is performed. I don't like to be outdone in generosity, and I am willing to risk as much as anyone, in such a cause as this. If I come off conqueror - then it will be time enough for you to offer up a sacrifice. Till then, if I accept a gift, it is without an equivalent on my part. I feel as certain of success as you do, so I feel as though I run no risk. All I look for is the cure. You ask if I give any medicine. The only medicine I ever give is my explanation, and that is the cure. In about a week, let me know how the medicine works. Hoping to hear good news when next I hear from you, I remain,

Your friend,

P. P. Quimby



To Mrs. Robinson


Pardon me for addressing you on a subject in which, as a stranger, I have no personal interest. Mrs. Green, your mother, having been under my charge as an invalid, has frequently spoken of you and your husband, connected with some trouble, which I never asked her to explain. But from what little I gathered, from some spiritual communications she had from a lady, if she may be so-called, I felt as though there must be something wrong. This medium was one, if I understood her right, whom she consulted for her health. In the interview, the idea of the dead would come up, and as is usual in this mode of practice, her husband came forward to give some ideas that might be of some benefit to the medium - not to Mrs. G.; for all these communications are to settle some difficulty that neighbors get up.

In the communication, her husband recommended me, saying I was a medium. This led her to call on me for advice. As my mode of treating disease is entirely new to the world, the spiritualists claim me as a medium. I deny this, but believe that mind acts upon mind and that it is the living and not the dead; so here is where we differ. When Mrs. G. called on me, I think Mrs. Otis was present, and I told her of some things which I did not know before, and this gave her confidence in me. Then she wished me to read some communications from her husband and something connected with you and your husband; and it seems to me that they were interested to make trouble, and I told her so; but she thought not.

I will here say that, whatever you may think of your mother, she is sincere in her motives, but is, I think, misled by some spirits that have flesh and blood, who have some motive for acting. She thinks your husband has a power over you, to make you do just as he chooses. This is her honest belief - and that contemptible woman holds out the idea that she can, through the spirits, bring everything straight. As she has confidence in me, she wishes me to influence you not to be controlled by your husband. And I told her that I felt as there must be some misunderstanding and advised her to go to your place and have a fair explanation of all this trouble. For I believe the medium knew what she wrote, as well as I do - and advised her to have no more to do with it.

But there is a combination of circumstances, showing to me that she is under some influence that is not for her happiness. So I told her I would try to bring things right, and I thought she would have a letter making everything plain. This was three months ago, and Friday, last, she called and said she had not received a letter. I noticed she felt very badly, and asked what she should do. I told her I would write to you myself, and then I could tell more about the case; for I believe it was all a piece of deception on the part of the medium; either instigated by her enemies or that she had been deceived or misled by pretended friends, and that the medium read her thoughts.

This is my reason for addressing you on a subject in which I have no interest; it is to ferret out traitors, who are busy in making trouble. I have had some experience in troubles of this kind, where the spirits of the dead are called up - and I know that this horrid belief has been the cause of breaking up families; separating man and wife and setting mother against daughter and every possible evil. I am perfectly ignorant of the charges against each other; I never asked her. I felt as though it was none of my business. But from her honest conviction of being right, I have no doubt that there have been persons who have got from stories; which, if the real truth could be known, do not contain a single word of truth. Yet they are as true to her as the very Bible she reads and takes for truth.

To show you the mind can be misled by these blind guides and deceived by these communications and their bad effects, I will relate one instance out of a dozen that I might give. I was called to see a lady, who had cut her throat; and after the deed was done, she was considered insane. Her mother and husband were with her at the time I visited her, although he had been away from her for three months, from the fact that there was trouble between them. She had become jealous of him and their children staying among the neighbors, so he left. All this was done under the full belief that it was true, and when I entered the room, her mother pointed to the husband, saying, "He is the cause of all this trouble." Then his wife commenced abusing him violently.

After hearing these stories, I said, “I see no reason for all this trouble.” The woman was insane, and must have been so for some time - and now they were all insane. I then commenced restoring the lady to her reason, and my effect upon her was such that I was obliged to hold her. Then she clung to her husband, but in the course of four or five hours, I brought her to her senses, and she fell asleep. After she awoke, she enquired for her husband. I told her he had gone out. She wished to know why she could not live with him. I said I knew of no reason. She said she had nothing against him; that he had always treated her well, etc. It may all be explained like this. She had become interested in spiritualism - and here was the result. My explanation of the phenomena reconciled them, and now they live happily together.

P. P. Quimby


Mr. J. Watts, Esq.:

In the letter I wrote to you about my coming to your place, I said nothing about my pay, from the fact that I knew you would know the person who wishes to see me; neither did I want to give any idea in the papers, for if I should, it would bring on such hard cases that it might upset my plans. My plan is this - to make some cure that would give me a position in your place that can't be put down by one or two failures. But if I open the door to all, I might fail. Again, the first impression lasts the longest - and I don't want to enter your service, as one of Maine's politicians, entering Governor Fairfield's room to solicit an office; just as he entered, he stumped his toe, and in he went, headlong, saying, “Your fearless hire lays before you.” I don't want to stumble against such ones, at present. My object is to make my profession have character, and to do this, it must be respected; and if I don't respect it, I can't expect others will.

Here is the difference between myself, as a man, and my practice. My character speaks for itself, and I am judged according to my acts, like all others. But you know that a profession has two identities - one is attached to the profession and the other, to the man. Now reverse the tables. Take Dr. Wood of this place; say nothing about either character; give me his professional character and attach it to my practice, and give him my art or gift, as he would call it, and attach it to his practice - and then you can see popularity is in his profession, and not in his wisdom. But my wisdom has no character, but is a sort of power or gift.

Here is where I stand; the people will give me all the power - but they won't, the wisdom. You know, to establish a standard like the one I am trying, requires more wisdom than Jeff Davis; one is based on one man's opinion, and the other is based on the fact that his opinion is faith. The medical faculty's opinion is based on the opinion of what they see of effect; they know not the cause. Mine is based on what I know of the cause - like action and reaction. You know if you throw a ball in the air, it will return with just as much force as it received; so the answer was in the action. So it is with all my practice. The medical practice admits the ball comes down, but can't say but what it was in the air from the beginning.

Here is the difference - the medical profession sees an eruption on the skin; here is the reaction. Now to account for it is the point in dispute. I feel the causes and effect in my own person, and the doctors don't feel either; but the effect on the sufferers, they see with their eyes, to account for it in various ways; but all admit that is nothing very marvelous - but it is still a mystery. So their version reminds me of a story I will relate here. In a town called Berklay in Massachusetts, a sea captain knew that the inhabitants were very superstitious, so he went to the barn and found an egg and took his pencil and wrote, "Woe unto you, Berklay folks." The egg was found by a child, and a church meeting was called; so the parson opened the case, by expressing his opinion, and the deacon was called to give his version on the phenomenon. He took the egg and examined it very minutely, looked very wise and made this remark - that he had no doubt it was the Lord's doing, but that he had observed one very important fact, which was this. The Lord did not spell Berkley right!

The doctors are making just such observations all the time; never accounting for any phenomena, but giving their opinion, like the deacon - and there is just about as much wisdom in one, as the other. Now all I do is to show the sick the absurdity of both; this explains the cause, and the effect, being in the cause - the wisdom regulates both.

P. P. Quimby



To Mr. W. S. Atkins:

I will now sit down to answer your letter and will straighten you up, as I used to. Remember the illustrations I used to make to you, and I will stir up your ideas by referring to my theory. You want to know if I was in earnest in regard to your learning. I was - but you, nor anyone else, can learn of yourself, any more than a person can get religion of himself. It must be the effect of a change of mind. This, you cannot understand, for your change of mind, when you got religion, was the effect of error; not of truth. So you worship, you know not what. But I worship, I know what, and, "Whom you ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you." This same Christ, whom you think is Jesus, is the same Christ that stands at the door of your dwelling (or belief), knocking to come in and sit down with the child of science that has been led astray by blind guides into the wilderness of darkness.

Now wake from your sleep, and see if your wisdom is not of this world. To be born again is to unlearn your errors and embrace the truth of Christ; this is the new birth, and it cannot be learned, except by desire for the truth of that wisdom that can say to the winds of error and superstition, "Be still!" - and they obey.

It is not a very easy thing to forsake every established opinion and become a persecuted man for this truth's sake, for the benefit of the poor and sick, when you have to listen to all their long stories, without getting discouraged. This cannot be done in a day. I have been twenty years training myself to this one thing - the relief of the sick. A constant drain on a person's feelings for the sick alters him, and he becomes identified with the suffering of his patients; this is the work of time. Every person must become affected, one way or the other; either to become selfish and mean, so that his selfish acts will destroy his wisdom or keep it under, and let his error reign; or his wisdom will become more powerful, till it will run away with his obligation to himself and family. It is not an easy thing to steer the ship of wisdom between the shores of poverty and the rocks of selfishness. If he is all self, the sick lose that sympathy, which they need at his hand. If he is all sympathy, he ruins his health and becomes a poor outcast on a cold, uncharitable world. For the sick can't help him - and the rich won't. It is difficult to steer clear and keep your health.

P. P. Quimby





Dr. Phineas Parkhurst Quimby



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