Billeder på siden

traits of affinity. Mental aberration of a whole past eventful life is reviewed is inexhaustible in the variety of its

in a moment, the occurrences that fol. perverting effects on the judgment;

lowed one another in succession of time, the intellectual vagaries of one mad- ranging themselves, as it were, side by man have nothing in common with

side in one great picture ;-where, we

would know, had that inward world so those of another. But in the dream.

long hid itself?

Who would ings of these demonomaniacs there is no

not wish that a microscope were found, variety; a sameness, suggestive of one

which might unveil to us the secrets of knows not what vague and fearful this dark region ?

And such suspicion, characterizes them. The a microscope we possess, in the obserweight of a nightmare seems to gather vations of what is called vital magneton your breast as you read, and the ism, and of the phenomena related to it. question, often silenced, keeps again

However often, owing to the scanty and again recurring, “ Is there no

light that can be brought upon the subwhereis there not, perhaps, in some

ject, unconscious, or even intentional

deceptions and impositions, have mixed dark region of my own being—a re

themselves up in these observations, ality corresponding to all this?"

important, and worthy of attention, No doubt, there is such a reality ; they must, nevertheless, remain, inasand we think that the mesmeric phe- much as they lay open to our view, one nomena yield a clue, by which we may after another, the inner spheres of our advance some one or two steps, at

being; though it is not to be forgotten, least, in the direction in which it lies. that the inmost and highest of those Whatever the psychic state of the

spheres lie beyond their range.” witches and demonopathics of the middle ages was, into the same state Doctor Calmeil, in his work on Epidoes the agency of mesmerism throw demic Insanity, of which an account the person on whom it is brought to appeared in the second number of the bear. It is a state sui generis; a state, Dublin Quarterly Journal of Medical without any question, of great nervous Science, is at some pains to show the disturbance, but of which no familiar connexion between the mesmeric and form of nervous disease supplies us the demonopathic phenomena. with a definition. It is a state which, quote the following from the review: perhaps, discloses to man the heaven or the hell within him, peopled with “ In the case of the Ursulines in Lou“spirits of health,” or with “goblins don, many “séances” took place, atdamned,” that are but multiplied re

tended by crowds of amateurs, among flections, or magic lantern shadows, of

whom was the Duke of Orleans himself. his inner self, mirroring back to him

They witnessed abundant examples of his own “intents, wicked or charita

the truth of mesmerism. Madame de

Sazilli was exorcised in the presence of ble," and symbolically indicating how

the prince: the exorcist commanded the much of the angel or of the demon

demon to render the entire body of the he has in his nature. And this is just patient as supple as a slip of lead; he what Schubert, under whose guidance then folded the trunk into a variety of we are glad to put ourselves in the forms, in each of which she was retained “palpable obscure" of such bottomless immoveable. During this time, requestions, thinks of animal magnetism.

spiration could hardly be perceived ; Hear how he discourses upon it, in

and this lady felt no pain, although

her arms his “ Views of the Dark Side of Na

were pierced through with tural Science"_views which we can

pins. The Duke having made a secret

communication to the exorcist, the panot quite agree with Friedrich Rückert

tient at once fulfilled the order; and in thinking only calculated for peo. this phenomenon,' says Calmeil, one ple with owls' eyes.”

of the exploits of modern mesmerism

this reading the thoughts of the mag“ When the remembrance of the past netizer_was produced in hundreds of -all that we have seen and suffered, instances.' learned and known-are become faint “AtAuxonne, somnambulism was proin us, yea, when they seem to be quite duced at the command of the exorcists, blotted out, and there comes a moment or happened at the hour predicted by of inward lucidity, and all the long- their suffering companions. The bishop dimmed, long-forgotten stands suddenly of Chalons having commanded the debefore the soul, in the freshness of the mon who possessed Madame Denise to first impression ; or when the history suspend her sensibility and render her

We to

inaccessible to suffering, they were able on the « Occult Sciences" has been run pins under the roots of her

recently made known to the English nails, without producing the slightest reader by the translation of Doctor sign of pain. The exorcist had the

Anthony Thoinson, would not go even power, not only of paralyzing all the

so far as Calmeil in his concessions to senses, but of restoring them collec

mesmerism. tively or singly, as he saw fit. The most

With him it has no unlimited power was exercised over the

“real phenoniena ;" and the insensi. muscles.”

bility to pain, which he does not deny “In the case of Rensie Pausot, the

the mediæval sufferers for sorcery to bishop directed · dans le fond de sa have unequivocally shown, he resolves pensée,' that she should come to him to into a mere effect of narcotic potions be exorcised. She lived in a distant

or unguents. The lapis memphiticus, quarter of the town, but came to him

Salverte informs us, on the authority immediately, saying that she did so in obedience to his commands. This hap- produce insensibility in parts of the

of Dioscorides, was used in Egypt to pened repeatedly.

the same class were observed in the epic body which were to be subjected to demic of demonopathy in Bayeux, in

painful operations in surgery; and its 1732.

efficacy was the same, whether em“ In one case, the patient, who had ployed internally or externally. He previously abandoned the study of thinks it probable that Hindoo widows Latin, comprehended all the orders of are rendered insensible by some such the exorcist, provided they were given means before undergoing the terrors while she was in the state of somnam

of the Suttee. But we will let him bulism. In this or the ecstatic condition, even the application of fire pro

speak on this point for himself, and in duced apparently no pain, and the

the English utterance which Doctor patients exhibited all the symptoms of

Thomson has lent him: clairvoyance, describing the interiors of

“ The eye-witness of one of these sahouses far removed from them, and in

crifices, which took place in July, 1822, many of which they had never been.”

saw the victim arrive in a complete state

of bodily insensibility, the effect, no We find some difficulty in under. doubt, of the drugs which had been adstanding the reasoning of Doctor ministered to her. Her eyes were open, Calmeil, or of his Irish reviewer, on but she did not appear to see; and in a the facts stated in the above extracts. weak voice, and as if mechanically, she The use made of those facts is to prove

answered the legal questions that were that there is no such thing as clair

put to her regarding the full liberty of

her sacrifice. When she was laid on voyance, and the proof consists in

the pile, she was absolutely insensible. showing that an unequivocal clair

The Christians carried this secret from voyance was exhibited by the possessed

the East into Europe, on the return of By logic equally peculiar, it is the Crusaders. It was probably known demonstrated that “the knowledge of to the subaltern magicians, as well as the thoughts of those en rapport that of braving the action of fire, from with the patient is a chimera, for the which I imagine arose the rule of jurispossessed nuns showed this knowledge prudence, according to which, physical is in hundreds of cases ;" and that

insensibility, whether partial or general, “ the power of the magnetizer to pro

was a certain sign of sorcery. Many duce various conditions at will” is

authors quoted by Fromann speak of

the unhappy sorcerers who have laughed equally illusory, for this power was

or slept through the agonies of torture; exercised over the possessed nuns by and they have not failed to add, that the exorcists in the most unlimited

they were sent to sleep by the power of way.

the devil. The only mesmeric phenomena “ It is also said, that the same adwhich Calmeil admits to be "real" vantage was enjoyed by pretended sorare-1st, the magnetic sleep ; and

cerers about the middle of the fifteenth 2nd, insensibility to pain. But by his century. Nicholas Eymeric, Grand Inown principles, these also ought to be quisitor of Arragon, author of the

famous Directoire des Inquisiteurs, included in the category of the chi

loudly complained of the sorceries pracmerical, since they were both mani.

tised by accursed persons, through the fested by the possessed nuns, as well aid of which, when put to the torture, as by the witches of those times. they appeared absolutely insensible. Eusébe Salverte, whose shallow book Fr. Pegna, who wrote a commentary on


in use among the practitioners of magical arts.

Another purpose to which they were made subservient was the producing of visions; and so vivid was the imagery conjured up in this way, that no persuasion could afterwards bring the dreamer to the belief that what they had witnessed was not reality. On this subject, we quote again from Salverte

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

Eymeric's work in 1578, believed, also, the reality and efficacy of the sorceries. He strengthens himself by the evidence of the inquisitor Grillandus, and Hippolytus de Marsilies. The latter, who was Professor of Jurisprudence at Bologna in 1524, positively declares, in his · Pratique Criminelle, that he had seen the effect of the philters upon the accused persons, who suffered no pain, but appeared to be asleep in the midst of the tortures. The expressions he makes use of are remarkable; they describe the insensible man, if plunged into a torpor more like the effect produced by an opiate, than the proud bearing which is the result of a perseverance superior to every pain.”

To many instances of this temporary insensibility, Wierius adds an important observation; he saw a woman thus inaccessible to the power of torture; her face was black, and her eyes were starting out, as if she had been strangled; her exemption from suffering was due to a species of apoplexy. A physician, who witnessed a similar state of insensibility, compares it to fits, epileptic or apoplectic.

M. Salverte further cites Taboureau, who was the king's counsel at the bailiwick of Dijon in 1585, to the effect that it was almost useless to put the “question” to the persons ac. cused of necromancy. All the jailers, he complains, were acquainted with the stupifying recipe, and they did not fail to communicate it to the prisoners. The secret, according to Taboureau, consisted in swallowing soap dissolved in water ; but this was evidently a mystification practised on the worthy king'scounsel, whom it is probable that the possessors of so precious a secret saw no good reason to initiate into the mysteries of their order. It might, our author suggests, have been opium, henbane, belladonna, aconite, solanum, or stramonium, all of which have been used to deaden pain in surgical operations. Or might it not have been something analogous to the late disco. very of ether-inhalation? Professor Schoenbein, the inventor of the guncotton, is said to have found a means of producing insensibility without the dangerous effects attending the use of ether: who knows but it is some of the witch-ointments, the composition of which may have been traditionally preserved in Germany from the dark ages ?

But it was not only for deadening the sense of pain that unguents were

Experiments have decidedly proved that several medicaments, administered in the form of liniments, are taken in by the absorbent system, and act upon the habit in the same manner as when they are directly introduced into the stomach. This property of liniments was not unknown to the ancients. In the romance of Achilles Tatius, a'i Egyptian doctor, in order to cure Leucippus of an attack of frenzy, applied to his head a liniment composed of oil, in which some particular medicament was dissolved. The patient fell into a deep sleep, shortly after the anointing. What the physician was acquainted with, the Thaumaturgist could scarcely be ignorant of; and this secret knowledge endowed him with the power of peforming many apparent miracles. Before consulting the oracle of Trophonius, the body was rubbed with oil ; this preparation undoubtedly concurred in producing the desired vision. Before being admitted to the mysteries of the Indian sages, Apollonius and his companions were anointed with an oil, the strength of which made them imagine that they were bathed with fire.

“ The priests of Mexico, preparatory to their conversing with their divinity, anointed their bodies with a fætid pomatum. The base of it was tobacco, and a bruised seed called Ololuchqui, the effect of which was to deprive man of his judgment, as that of the tobacco was to benumb his senses. After this, they felt themselves very intrepid, and not less cruel; and, no doubt, predisposed to have visions, since the intention of this practice was to bring them into connection with the objects of their fantastical worship.”


In order to be transported to their sabbath, the witches had to rub themselves with an oil or pomatum, which, according to their own account before the Inquisition, was composed of the water that exudes from a toad in a state of irritation.

A woman at Florence, who was accused of sorcery, pleaded guilty to the charge, and declared that she would be present at the witch-sabbath

that very night, if it were permitted judges, and others, who would not beher to make use of the magic unguent. lieve that old women could ride broomHaving got permission, she rubbed her sticks, or who thought it unlikely that body with a fætid composition, and the devil would spend his time philanpresently fell into a profound torpor, dering with a bevy of blear-eyed belfrom which neither blows, pricking, dams, on heaths, and such out-of-thenor scorching-all of which were libe- way places; in an age, too, when, rally administered—could arouse her. wbat with Roundheads, and Jesuits, Next day, on coming to herself, she and freethinkers, and merry King related that she had been to the sab- Charles and his court, and dull King bath, and described the painful sensa- James and his court, and pious King tions which she had really experienced William, and filial Queen Mary, and in her sleep, as connected with things their court, one would think he had done to her in the infernal assembly. quite enough of serious business on The magistrate considered this as a his hands. proof that she was no witch at all, and Over such Sadducees does Mr. Glanthat her visits to the sabbath were vil, as the title of his book sufficiently mere dreams. It is evident that her sets forth, triumph.

He does not, insensibility was not complete, as she however, seem to think much, himwas conscious of pain, caused by the ex. self, of the achievement; the victory periments actually made on her power is too cheap; the enemy made a miseof sensation, but, as in all such cases, rable fight of it, and from a field so referred by her to the visionary crea- faintly contested laurels were scarce tions of her own haunted brain. Sal.. worth the carrying away. Indeed, in verte relates the story after Paolo very pity of the weakness of his adverMinucci, a Florentine lawyer of the saries, Mr. Glanvil chivalrously takes sixteenth century.

The most obvi- up their side of the question first, and ous reflection it suggests is, that the marshals against himself a far more accused was singularly happy in her imposing array of objections than he judge, who, on no better grounds than believes the contrary party to be able the having had her bodily before him to do, if left to their own resources ; the whole night, thought himself justi- which objections having with much fied in withholding belief from her ease overthrown, he avows his candid own avowal, that she had attended the conviction that he has suggested much conclave of sorcerers.

It would not more against what he defends, than have been wonderful if such incredu- ever he heard or saw in any that oplity had involved the judge himself in posed it; whose discourses for the a suspicion of being no stranger to most part have seemed to him inspired the hellish league. For the solution by “a lofty scorn of common belief, of the difficulty, in accordance with the and some trivial notions of vulgar phispirit of the age, would have been, losophy.” So that he “ professes, for that if the witch’s body did not go to his own part, he never yet heard any the sabbath, her soul did ; and, indeed, of the confident declaimers against there were authorities of weight for witchcraft and apparitions, speak any the opinion that it was the soul that thing that might move a mind, in any generally did take part in those scenes degree instructed in the generous of impiety and uncleanness, and that kinds of philosophy and nature of the anointing had merely the effect of things. And for the objections he keeping the body in tenantable condi- has recited, they are most of them tion, until the return of its volatile in. such as rose out of his own thoughts, mate.

which he obliged to consider what was Of this opinion is Mr. Joseph Glan- possible to be said upon this occasion." vil, the learned and reverend author of In fact, to Mr. Glanvil, the defiance “ Saducismus Triumphatus, a work of common sense involved in doubting published in the latter part of the seven- the existence of witches is so great, teenth century, to the eternal discom- that he cannot but look upon those fiture of all such sceptical Florentine who are guilty of it as furnishing in

* Saducismus Triumphatus; or, Full and Plain Evidence concerning Witches and Apparitions. In two parts. The First treating of their. Possibility, the Second of their Real Existence. By Joseph Glanvil, late Chaplain in Ordinary to His Majesty, and Fellow of the Royal Society. London. 1689.

[ocr errors]


themselves an argument of what they poor and miserable agents. And there. deny; and suspects shrewdly that “so fore the objection supposeth them perconfident an opinion could not be held formed only by the fancy; and that the upon such inducements, but by some

whole mystery of witchcraft is but an kind of witchcraft and fascination.”

illusion of crasie imagination.” “And perhaps," he suggests, “ that evil spirit, whose influences they will

To this “ aggregate objection,” Mr. Glanvil answers,

with a boldness not allow in actions ascribed to such

scarcely enough to be admired, that causes, hath a greater hand and inte

the more absurd and unaccountable rest in their proposition than they are aware of.” For he thinks it the clear

those actions seem, the greater coninterest of this “agent of darkness” to

firmations are they to him of the truth have the world believe that there is no

of those relations, and the reality of such thing as himself. And as he

what the objectors would destroy. For that thinks there is no witch, believes

he grants the circumstances to be exa devil gratis, so we must count our

ceeding unlikely, judging by the measelves much beholden to such a one, if

sures of common belief, but holds the he admit either angel or spirit, resur

probability to be the greater, on this rection of the body, or immortality of

very account, that they are not ficti

tious. the soul. Thus, this witch question is one in which the very vitals of reli- None (he remarks) but a fool or a gion are concerned ; and if Mr. Glan- madman would relate, with a purpose vil, “late Chaplain in Ordinary to

of having it believed, that he saw in His Majesty," did not interest himself

Ireland men with hoofs on their heads, about the vitals of religion, who

and eyes in their breasts ; or if any

should be so ridiculously vain, as to be should ? Moreover, does he not write

serious in such an incredible romance, it himself F.R.S., and has not the ques

cannot be supposed that all travellers tion also its scientific side, its bearing that come into those parts after him on the vitals of philosophy, to which should tell the same story. There is a no man of these letters can without large field in fiction ; and if all these blame remain indifferent ?

relations were arbitrary compositions, We quote some of the “ Objections,” doubtless the first romancers would have which our author supposes to be made

framed them more agreeable to the by the Sadducean impugners of his

common doctrine of spirits; at least,

after these supposed absurdities had doctrine, together with his triumphant been a thousand times laughed at, peoanswers to the same. And the objec

ple by this time would have learned to tion we will begin with is the one correct those obnoxious extravagancies ; which, we believe, has most weight and though they have not yet more vewith the unthinking part of men, and racity than the ages of ignorance and which, when we ourselves belonged to superstition, yet one would expect they that class, we remember to have been should have got more cunning. This supmuch fortified by, in our resistance to posed impossibility, then, of these perthe great verities for which Mr. Glan- formances, seems to me a probable arvil contends.

gument that they are not wilful and de..

signed forgeries. And if they are fan. Here follows the objection :

cies, 'tis somewhat strange, that imagi" There are actions in most of those

nation, which is the most various thing

in all the world, should infinitely repeat relations ascribed to witches, which are ridiculous and impossible in the nature

the same conceit in all times and places.” of things; such are (1.) Their flying out of windows, after they have anointed

Having thus made it tolerably plain themselves, to remote places. (2.)

that a reasonable amount of improbaTheir transformation into cats, hares, bility is one of the best titles that a and other creatures. (3.) Their feeling witch-story can have to our belief-in all the hurts in their own bodies which other words, that its likelihood is in they have received in those. (4.) Their the direct ratio of its unlikelihood raising tempests, by muttering some nonsensical words, or performing cere

our author proceeds to show that the monies alike impertinent as ridiculous.

particular instances of improbability And (5.) their being sucked in some

referred to in the “ Objection" are not particular private place of their bodies

so improbable after all, but may be by a familiar. These are presumed to

"as well accounted for by the rules of be actions inconsistent with the nature reason and philosophy, as the ordinary of spirits, and above the power of those

affairs of nature."

[ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsæt »