It might be a question, in regard to all the experiments we have presented in this volume, whether it is really the strong intellectual power of a mind, which may gain the ascendancy over another and hold it in complete submission, as in the case of our two last experiments.
We answer that we do not think it is great intellectual power, but the capacity (or power) of arresting the attention and producing a strong impression. And this faculty may be cultivated and enlarged in its power to produce impressions and arrest the attention of the mind to the exclusion of surrounding influences.
We have mentioned the fact, in another page, that the idea of magnetizing (or mesmerizing) only those persons who are dull and enjoy poor health and weak minds is exploded. The more intelligent the mind, if the attention can be fixed and drawn away from surrounding influences, the more certain you are of producing the excited (or mesmeric) state, in the highest degree. A bright, intelligent and thoughtful person, enjoying good health, always makes the best subject.
We do not, there fore, claim a more powerful intellect by which we can produce such results upon mind, but attribute it to a natural and cultivated power in this capacity, by which I am enabled to exercise and produce such experiments as are called mesmeric, magnetic, etc.
The fact that the community have always laid it down as a general principle that only a more powerful mind can operate upon and control a weaker, has retarded the progress of this branch of intellectual philosophy. The idea, no doubt, arose from some self-conceited personage, or perhaps a numerous class of those who were public magnetizers, desirous of claiming all the intellect which is really worth having.
It is a fact, we are compelled to acknowledge that some of my predecessors in this branch of science seem to have possessed no other intellectual faculty than that of mesmerizing; and the consequence was that they would be desirous of instructing the world to believe that the power they exercise is, indeed, that of a great mind and to be surpassed by no other power.
All we have to remark upon this class of philosophers is that, whatever discoveries and advances they have made in the progress of human knowledge, should be thankfully received. And the follies and egotisms which have been interwoven with their progress should be rejected, as the consoling food for the vanity and self-esteem of its projectors.
No man would be justified in rejecting the whole Copernican System, because some wandering genius, desirous of making himself greater than the rest, should have advanced the idea and proceeded to prove it, that the earth is spherical and turns on its axis every twenty four hours and is kept in motion on the principle of a great wheel in a treadmill, by the constant tramping of an enormous Mammoth upon the equator.
"Retain the good and reject the evil." Then will science advance.
We now enter upon another branch of our subject, by which a solution of the mysteries of past ages is given. We refer to the mystery and responses of the Ancient Apollo, the Egyptian Magi, the Black Art, Witchcraft, trances, catalepsy, etc. We copy the following from Dr. Collyer's pamphlet upon Psychography.