Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 11.djvu/752

This page has been validated.

itualism are rich but empirical collections of facts, in which there is a large amount of material, but very little that can be called philosophy or satisfactory science.

Anthropology is established by investigating the centre of man's existence—the seat of his conscious life—the brain, in which the spiritual comes into contact with the physical, and is subject to analogous laws. In this theatre of their joint action both may be studied, and we may find that philosophy for which the world has so long been looking in vain, which shall comprehend the entire scope of human existence.

As one of these numerous psycho-physiological discoveries which are receiving daily confirmation from pathology, from autopsies, and from Dr. Ferrier's interesting experiments, I would very briefly allude to psychometry, a few experiments in which, if rightly conducted, would dissipate the entire fabric of physiological materialism. The discovery of psychometry and the introduction of the word by myself, thirty-four years ago, have made it quite familiar to liberal minds throughout the United States, and to some extent abroad.

The initial facts which I discovered in 1841, that all who have a high development of sensibility are capable of feeling the influence of any substance held in the hands, even to the extent of perceiving its taste as well as its medicinal effects, led to far more marvelous developments. The supposition of materialism has always been, that when medicines affect the body from contact with the exterior, an appreciable quantity of the substance must have been absorbed into the circulation. Against this theory I guarded by placing the medicines in an envelope of paper, which prevented contact with the cuticle, and concealed the nature of the substance from the knowledge of the subject of the experiment. In making such experiments I found that from twenty-five to thirty per cent, of the persons tried could realize distinct medicinal effects, corresponding to the nature of the medicine. In one of my collegiate classes of medical students (in 1849, some of whom have since occupied honorable public positions), the effects were distinctly recognized by forty-three, whose statement was published at the time. These effects would begin in the hand, ascend the arm to the head, and rapidly diffuse over the whole body.

If the materialist supposes that the substance passed through the dry paper to the dry hand, through its unbroken cuticle and up the arm, I would ask, How long would it take for twenty grains of tartar emetic or of quinine to be exhaled through the paper? I am not aware that such substances when dry are ever materially diminished in weight by being kept in dry paper.

Omitting other associated facts and philosophy for want of space, I pass on to the consummation, that persons who realize with facility these medical impressions can also realize psychic impressions of the most subtle character, in such a manner as to dissipate all doubt of the reality of this wonderful power. A manuscript from any source