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lems to which the experimental method appears to be
directly applicable.

What causes this singular phenomenon of the ap-
parent attraction of one individual for another?

If it is the sign of suggestibility, in what measure is
it also the effect?

Is it exclusively a function of the individuality of the
subject, or does it depend equally upon that of the

Is it capable of undergoing variations; and, if so,
under the influence of what causes?

Besides the indications which it gives of parapsychic
susceptibility, does it produce in the nervous state or
in the mental state of the individuals, modifications
more or less profound, more or less durable, although
perhaps latent, that it would be possible to bring into
evidence by the employment of appropriate means?

It cannot be doubted that the solution of these dif-
ferent problems would throw a bright light upon the
question, even if controversed, of the nature and the


rapports of suggestion, hypnotism, and animal mag-

On the other hand, it will be understood that knowl-
edge of the different degrees of suggestibility presents
considerable interest for ordinary psychology, history,
and in general for all the moral sciences, if it be re-
flected that, contrary to common opinion, suggestibility
is not an exceptional attribute of some rare subjects,
but exists in a very great number, perhaps even in the
greater number, of human beings.

Its importance is no less from the point of view of
pedagogy. " Logical education," said Dr. Berillon,
" would consist in utilizing the best part of the mental
malleability — that is to say, of the suggestibility;
and in order to obtain that result it would be well to
exercise over the minds only such pressure as is strictly
necessary. We should take into account the interest
that educators would have in knowing of processes per-
mitting them to appreciate precisely the mental malle-
ability of each of their pupils. The result would be,
certainly, the proportioning of the pressure upon the
mind of the child in accordance with the extent of his
resistance. What sterile efforts, what erroneous judg-
ments, and also what inconsiderate chastisements would
thus be averted! "

Similarly, from the social and juridical points of
view, the question of criminal responsibility, and that
of human testimony, change their aspects singularly
according to the extent that one knows or ignores
suggestibility in human beings.

From the medical point of view, we have only to
consider the enormous part played by suggestion and


autosuggestion in both the production and the curing of
ills, to understand how much it means to the physician
to have a practical method for diagnosing the suggesti-
bility of patients. If there is an exaggeration to pre-
tend, as the School of Nancy was inclined to do, that
suggestion is the sole agent, or even the principal
agent, of all therapeutic efficacy, it must no less be
recognized, with Charcot, that in a great number of
patients " the faith that cures " is the best of remedies.
The question, then, that all physicians must raise each
time they find themselves in the presence of a new
patient is this:

" Does he belong to the class of individuals capable
of being cured or helped by psychical treatment; or is
he, on the contrary, of those with whom medicine or
diet is the only efficient remedy? "

Knowledge of the process of Moutin will permit that
question to be answered immediately. According as
to whether the patient is, or is not, a moutinien, the
diagnosis and the treatment of his affection must be
undertaken in a wholly different fashion.

For the same reason, therefore, that it is helpful or
necessary to examine a patient to learn the state of his
lungs, his heart, his liver, etc., by the classical processes
of auscultation, percussion, etc., it would be equally
helpful and necessary to examine him by the neurocritic
process to learn the state of his nervous sensibility.
And, as we have previously stated, the two examina-
tions should be made at the same time.

The process of Moutin must be viewed as a valuable
acquisition to medical science. It deserves to have a
place in semeiology beside the classical signs, the sign


of Sheyne-Stockes, of Romberg, of Lasegue, of Kernig,
etc., which have immortalized the names of those who
discovered them.



The importance that Charcot and the School of the
Salpetriere attributed to knowledge of the different
hypnotic states is well known. The increasing pre-
dominance of the adverse doctrines of the School of
Nancy singularly weakened it in the opinion of the con-
temporaneous medical world, it is true; but it may be
asked whether this knowledge, duly proved and gen-
eralized, does not remain, after all, one of the guiding
principles to which all those who are endeavoring to
place the study of parapsychic phenomena in the field
of positive science must necessarily have recourse.

Charcot seemed to be a partizan of the idea that
hypnotism — or hypnosis, as it should be called —
constitutes a particular state, sui generis, of the nervous
system and of the entire human organism, provoked by
certain agents or processes and defined by a certain
number of characteristics more or less closely connected
among themselves. This state differs from the state
of wakefulness — called the normal state — and also
from the state of sleep, although it partakes in certain
respects of the characteristics of both. It is itself sus-
ceptible of assuming different forms, which may be con-
sidered as secondary hypnotic states, each having its
special excitator and its special characteristics, but de-



pending evidently upon common conditions and sub-
stituting one another with a certain facility.

The principal secondary forms are three in number :
(i) catalepsy, (2) somnambulism, and (3) lethargy.
They can present themselves spontaneously during cer-
tain forms of illness, or under the influence of certain
physical agents, or they can be made to appear artifi-
cially. It is for hypnosis thus produced — artificial or
experimental hypnosis — that usage seems especially
to reserve the name hypnotism.

Reduced to these terms, the theory of the School of
the Salpetriere seems to be a simple exposition of the
facts, and the objections which are ordinarily made do
not weaken it. Charcot's mistake was to claim that
provoked hypnosis manifests itself always under one of
these three clearly defined forms: catalepsy, somnam-
bulism, or lethargy. It is palpably evident that it is
often found also under intermediary forms, which do
not enter completely into any of these three classical

A still graver mistake has been to believe that the
determining conditions of the various hypnotic states
and the invariable order of their succession proceeded
from quasi-mathematical laws. Over this point the
critic of the School of Nancy seems to us to have well
established the error of the School of the Salpetriere.
But it is no less true that hypnosis constitutes a special
state, as distinct from the state of normal waking as
that state is distinct from sleep ; and that catalepsy, som-
nambulism, and lethargy, in whatever way they may be
produced, present to us three distinct modalities of hyp-
nosis, responding to three types sufficiently definite and


constant. For there is an essential difference between
the rigid attitude of the cataleptic, the independent
motions of the somnambulist, and the complete mus-
cular inertia of the lethargic.

It is true that from the philosophic, or scientific,
point of view, it can be claimed that all things in nature
are continued and mingle with one another, in such
a way that all the separations, all the distinctions that
we place between them are necessarily more or less
relative, arbitrary, artificial. Who could say exactly
where, in the solar spectrum, any one color — violet,
blue, green, yellow, orange, red, indigo — ends, and
where the following color begins?

Even the ancients knew this method of reasoning;
they called it " bald-headed argument " or " quantitive
argument." For instance: Here is a thick, head of
hair; one hair is pulled out, then another, then still an-
other; at that moment could it be said that the head has
become bald? One grain of wheat certainly does not
make a pile, nor two grains of wheat, nor three, nor
four. How many grains are necessary to make a pile ?

Similarly, when a man goes to sleep, it is impossible
to indicate at what precise moment the sleep has re-
placed the waking state ; between the two extreme states
there can always be imagined an infinity of intermedi-
ary states by which the passage is made from one of
these extremes to the other.

But all this specious reasoning — which perhaps
could be qualified as sophism — does not abolish the
fact that there are, in nature, decided differences and
irreducible oppositions of which we must take account
if we would see clearly in our minds, and more so still


if we would adapt our practise to the real world with-

This question apropos of hypnotism is, moreover, of
a very general order, and is found, under other forms,
in all or almost all branches of science. It is thus that
physics recognizes three different states of matter: the
solid state, the liquid state, and the gaseous state,
each of which is characterized by a definite number of
properties. To these three states scientific researchers
have added, perhaps, a fourth: Sir William Crookes
has, indeed, spoken of a fourth state of matter, which
I he has called the radiant state. I And it can well be sup-
posed that the list of possible states of matter contains
even others. There is also, very assuredly, between
the solid state and the liquid state, and between the
liquid state and the gaseous state, a certain intermediary
margin where they meet, are continued and mingled.
However, it must be recognized that the distinction of
the three states — solid, liquid, gaseous — is one of the
indispensable bases of physics. And chemistry, biol-
ogy, etc., would present considerations of an analogous


So far we have considered only the knowledge of the
state as in its rapport with hypnosis. Hypnosis, how-
ever, is itself but a species of a more extensive genus
— the genus of parapsychic phenomena. It will be
well, then, to generalize this knowledge by applying it
to all these phenomena. In other words, we must ad-
mit that in the nervous system and the organism of
human beings there exist a certain number of states
more or less distinctly characterized, which, once


brought into being, render parapsychic phenomena of
many sorts possible. It is these different states that
should first be determined and studied if we would
place the psychical sciences henceforward on a solid

We can indicate here only a few of these states.

Can the phenomena observed during seances of
spiritism be fully identified with the phenomena of hyp-

This is a very obscure problem, which is still far
from being solved. Without affirming the identity of
the two states, however, we can at least show the
strong analogies between the trance of mediums and
the hypnosis of subjects. Just as the different hypnotic
phenomena do not appear in subjects until they have
been put, by appropriate means, into a particular state,
so, it would seem, the special faculties of mediums are
not manifested until they also are put into a state that
is certainly not their normal state — by normal is
meant their customary state outside of spiritistic
seances. In many of them this state is distinctly ap-
parent, and resembles strongly the state of somnam-
bulism. In others it is latent or, so to speak larve; but
we know that this is sometimes true also of somnam-
bulistic hypnosis. A subject may have all the appear-
ances of being fully awake, in an entirely normal state;
but if he be studied closely, it can be recognized that
he is in reality in that condition which sometimes is
called a " second state."

Similarly, under the influence of very strong physical
and mental excitations, there are produced in certain
individuals singular states which well seem to belong to


the category of those we are now considering. By
movements and cries indefinitely repeated, the Ai's-
saouas manage, it is said, to put their nervous system
in such a state of insensibility that they can support with
impunity burns and wounds which, in ordinary condi-
tions, would be mortal. And it is. claimed that the
fakirs of India owe to the employment of a system of
ascetic means — fasting, respiratory exercises, etc. —
the development of supernormal faculties evidently
connected with a special state of their nerves and their
organism. The history of the Camisards of Cevennes,
of the Convulsionaries of the Cemetery of St. Medard,
shows us also that religious exaltation can produce in
crowds a state generating the most extraordinary and
varied parapsychic phenomena. It would be interest-
ing, from this point of view, to investigate to what ex-
tent the ecstasy, the prophetic inspiration, etc. — phe-
nomena very frequent in the history of all religions —
can be compared to the states previously enumerated.

Certain morbid causes provoke the apparition of
similar states. The visions of Mohammed are ex-
plained, at least in part perhaps, by epilepsy, of which
he often had attacks. It is known that in epilepsy,
and perhaps also in some other nervous affections, the
patients are subject to fits which can last for weeks
and even months, and return periodically; and during
these fits they talk and act with all the appearances of
the normal state, but without any consciousness of their
usual personality — as if another self had taken, in
them, the place of the old.

Dr. Azam, of Bordeaux, has described in detail the
singular alternation of two distinct personalities in one


of his patients, Felida, famous in the annals of morbid
psychology. It is impossible to understand this alter-
nation unless we suppose that each of these two person-
alities is linked to a particular nervous and organic
state which makes it appear or disappear according
to its own vicissitudes.

Dr. Pierre Janet reports the adventure of a young
man who, without apparent consciousness, suddenly
abandoned his family, having completely forgotten all
his past. He walked from Paris to Melun, following
many different trades, and finally recovered his normal
state three months later in Auvergne, in the company
of an old plate-mender, wholly incapable of remember-
ing how he had got there, or anything that had hap-
pened during the interval.

These examples are sufficient to give an idea of the
multiplicity and the diversity of the parapsychic states;
for it is not our intention here to give a complete list of
them, nor even to attempt their classification. Our
sole object is to show that such states do exist, and
to make the reader understand how interesting and
necessary it would be to submit them to systematic

This study should begin with the hypnotic states, in-
asmuch as they are unquestionably those which we can
most easily produce and modify at will, and those
which, consequently, lend themselves best to the appli-
cation of the experimental method.

First of all, it is important to forestall a misunder-
standing which may be due largely to the imperfection
of our technical vocabulary.


As waking and sleeping are the two normal states
which in the life of man succeed each other, so it is that
these two states have become for us the means, or gage,
by which we instinctively endeavor to describe other
states. Thus, instead of considering all those states
which are different from ordinary waking and sleeping,
as constituting a third state, susceptible of assuming
several and various forms, we connect them with sleep
in giving them the terms hypnosis, hypnotism, somnam-
bulism, etc., which imply the idea of sleep because of
their Greek and Latin roots.

Of a man in the hypnotic state it is commonly said
that " he is asleep "; and that " he wakes " when he
comes out of the hypnotic state. To " hypnotize "
some one, and to " put him to sleep," are two expres-
sions which are used indifferently, one for the other.
For this reason there is a general tendency to regard
hypnosis as a kind of sleep, and therefore to attach
undue importance to the characteristics in which it
resembles sleep.

For this same reason, and especially among the par-
tizans of the School of Nancy — by whom suggestion,
or rather suggestibility, is considered a natural, funda-
mental, permanent property of all human beings, the
key to all hypnotic, and undoubtedly also parapsychic,
phenomena — there is a tendency to disregard all sig-
nification and all value of the hypnoidal characteristics
of hypnosis, these being considered but the accidental
effects of suggestion. For those who have this point
of view, hypnotic sleep is in reality nothing but natural
sleep provoked by suggestion : if the operator had not
this preconceived idea that his subject must sleep, and


had not imposed it upon him, or caused him to incul-
cate the idea in himself, all the phenomena called hyp-
notic could be just as well produced in the waking state.

Many unnecessary words and controversies would
be avoided if it could be realized that the hypnotic state
is neither a waking state nor a sleeping state, but a
third state and of multiform expressions. This third
state blends in various proportions the characteristics
of sleep and of waking, adding other characteristics
which belong exclusively to it, the principal of these
being an abnormal suggestibility, certainly very differ-
ent, whatever the School of Nancy may say, from the
normal suggestibility common to all human beings.

Thus, in conclusion, the different states through
which the nervous system passes may constitute a sort
of spectrum, of which the two end colors are the wak-
ing and sleeping states, corresponding to the red and
the violet of the solar spectrum; and our mental life is
colored alternately by one or the other of these two
extremities. But there exists in the interval, and per-
haps also beyond the extremities of this spectrum, a
multitude of other colors, of other shades, with which
our life is sometimes tinted in an accidental and more
or less transitory 'way, under the action of causes still
undetermined. The hypnotic and magnetic processes
disengage and firmly establish certain of these colors,
normally latent or fugitive, and permit us to study them

We already have indicated the three hypnotic states
generally admitted: catalepsy, somnambulism, and
lethargy; but there exists also a fourth. It is that


which certain scientific writers have called the state of
fascination or the state of credulity.

The subject in this state presents all the appearances
of being awake. His eyes are open; he has complete
liberty of his movements; if his arm is raised it falls
again of its own accord; and his sensibility usually re-
mains normal. But he does not use his mental facul-
ties in a normal way. He is incapable of evoking
voluntarily any recollection: ask him his name, his ad-
dress, what he did the previous day, he cannot answer.
And he becomes extremely suggestible : he does not con-
trol either his sensations or his acts, but believes or
does blindly all that he is commanded to believe or to
do. Often, but not always, once brought out of this
state, he retains no memory of it.

We believe, however, that beyond these four states
there exists a state still more superficial, so slight, so
little characterized, that we have long doubted its real-
ity. It might be called the state of torpor or the
state of passivity.

The subjects who exhibit this state are incapable of
being led farther. When submitted to the hypnotic
processes of the fixation of the gaze, passes, verbal sug-
gestion, they appear not to feel any effect whatsoever.
Their eyes remain open indefinitely; they can move
their limbs at will. Sensations or acts may be sug-
gested to them; but they appear to feel none of the
sensations, and they do none of the acts. Yet they are
not in their normal state. In the first place, their
thought is arrested, so to speak. If they are asked of
what they are thinking, they invariably answer:


11 Nothing." And this state of mental farniente is,
they claim, most agreeable. Close their eyelids, and
they remain closed, as if they had lost all power to open
them. Their limbs obey the slightest impulsion im-
parted to them, and remain motionless in the most un-
comfortable or the most ridiculous of attitudes, with-
out the subject's seeming to have any idea of changing
them. For hours at a time, the subjects lend them-
selves to all the manipulations that it pleases the opera-
tor to devise; and they apparently resent nothing.

This state of torpor is dissipated with extreme rapid-
ity, leaving behind it quite faithful recollections. Be-
cause of its wholly negative character, however, it is
not strange that it has remained unperceived by the
majority of observers.


One can realize the extent and the complexity of the
field of study offered to scientists by the parapsychic
phenomena. After having enumerated and defined
the principal species, each of them should be analyzed
according to three successive periods:

1. Its preparation.

2. Its constitution.

3. Its completion.

The preparation or incubation of a psychical state
can be extremely rapid, it can appear to be even in-
stantaneous, and it also can last a long time. As an
effect of repetition or habit, this initial period tends
always to shorten itself. In many cases it might be
said that, in order to produce the state, a certain quan-
tum of energy of a special nature may be necessary,


just as zero (Centigrade) or one hundred degrees of
heat are necessary to freeze water or to make it boil.
When this quantum is attained, and only then, the state
is wholly constituted.

It is only after a certain number of passes that the
subject enters into the somnambulistic state. The in-
sensibility of the Ai*ssaoua does not reach its climax un-
til he excites himself a sufficiently long time and with
sufficient intensity. Usually, at the moment when the
state begins to appear, the observer is informed by
some apparent sign — the eyes of the subject entering
into hypnosis close, his chest heaves, he sighs deeply,
etc. But sometimes the state is produced insensibly,
and already exists without anything having occurred
to make its presence suspected. The operator, be-
lieving that he has not yet produced any result, pro-
longs the fixation of gaze, increases the passes, until
some accidental circumstance shows him that the sub-
ject has already been for some time in the hypnotic

In what does it consist, this constitution of the para-
psychic state — sometimes slow, sometimes instantane-
ous and unexpected?

That is an extremely difficult problem to solve.
When the state is once existent, we can easily estab-
lish and describe its exterior manifestations (although
many of them escape us if we do not know or do not
possess the proper reactives to arouse them) ; but we
do not penetrate its intimate nature.

When a subject is somnambulistic, for example, that
which is of the greatest importance is not the different
phenomena by which this state is revealed — the clos-


ing of the eyelids, insensibility of the teguments, extreme
suggestibility, etc. It is something we do not see,
something we cannot see : the particular state of the
brain and of the nerves, from the point of view of the
distribution and the tension of the nerve force, of the
chemical and vital activity, of the circulation of the
blood, etc. It is all these internal and unknown fac-
tors which constitute, properly speaking, the parapsy-
chic state, which are the effective substratum; and not
a certain more or less impressive external phenomenon,
such as suggestion, that " choice-bit" of the School of

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