it, if assured in a determined tone that he could not do so. When his gaze had been steadily directed for a short time to the poles of a magnet, he could be brought to see flames issuing from them of any form or color that Mr. Braid chose to name. And when desired to place his hand upon one of the poles, and to fix his attention for a brief period upon it, the peremptory assurance that he could not detach it was sufficient to hold it there with such tenacity that I saw Mr. Braid drag him round the room in a way that reminded me of George Cruikshank's amusing illustration of the German fairy-story of "The Golden Goose." The attraction was dissolved by Mr. Braid's loud, cheery "All right, man," which brought the subject back to his normal condition, as suddenly as the attraction of a powerful electromagnet for a heavy mass of iron ceases when the circuit is broken.
Similar experiments to these (which I first witnessed about thirty years ago) have been since repeated over and over again upon great numbers of persons, in whom a corresponding state can be induced by prolonged fixation of the vision on a small object held in the hand. It was in the year 1850 that a new manifestation of the supposed "occult" power first attracted public attention, through the exhibition of it by a couple of itinerant Americans, who styled themselves "professors," of a new art which they termed Electro-Biology; asserting that by an influence of which the secret was only known to themselves, but which was partly derived from a little disk of zinc or copper held in the hand of the "subject" and steadily gazed on by him, they could subjugate the most determined will, paralyze the strongest muscles, pervert the evidence of the senses, destroy the memory of even the most familiar things or of the most recent occurrences, induce obedience to any command, or make the individual believe himself transformed into any one else; all this, and much more, being done while he was still wide awake. They soon attracted large assemblages to witness their performances, and seldom failed to elicit some of the most remarkable phenomena from entire strangers to them, whose honesty could not be reasonably called in question. In place of a few peculiarly susceptible "subjects" not always to be met with, and open to suspicion on various grounds, those who took up this practice found in almost every circle some individuals in whom the "biological" state could be self-induced by the steady direction of their eyes to one point, at the ordinary reading-distance, for a period usually varying from about five to twenty minutes; a much shorter time generally sufficing in cases in which the practice had been frequently repeated. In this condition, the whole course of thought is directed by external suggestions, the subject's own control over it being altogether suspended. Yet he differs from the somnambulist, in being awake; that is, he has generally the use of all his senses, and usually, though not always, preserves a distinct recollection of all that has taken place. There is, in fact, a gradational