Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/720

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tion. Knowing this, I asked him how it was that no one of the many persons whom he met daily in business had ever complained of any bad smell, and the answer he made was that they were all too polite to do so, but he could see that they were affected nevertheless, as they sometimes put their handkerchiefs to their noses—no doubt for a quite innocent purpose.

Another gentleman was the victim of a very common hallucination: he was much afflicted by voices, which were continually speaking to him at all times and all places—in the quietude of his room and in the crowded streets, by night and by day. He had come to the conclusion that they must be the voices of evil spirits in the air which tormented him. They knew his thoughts, and replied to them before he had himself conceived them; the remarks which they made were always annoying, often threatening and abusive, and sometimes most offensive and distressing, and they disturbed him so much at night that he got very little sleep. He had been driven to the expedient of buying a musical-box, which he placed under his pillow when he went to bed. The noise of the music drowned the noise of the tormenting voices, and enabled him to get to sleep; but, as he said, the measure was not entirely satisfactory, because when the box had played out its tunes, it stopped, and he was obliged to wind it up again. It was impossible to persuade this gentleman, sensible as he seemed in other respects, that the voices had no real existence, and that they were due to the disordered state of his nervous system. After listening attentively to my arguments, he went away sorrowful, feeling that I had no help for him. I may remark, by-the-way, that auditory hallucinations of this kind are apt to occur in prisoners who are subjected to long periods of solitary confinement in their cells: they have no mental resources to fall back upon, and their brooding thoughts, not being distracted by the conversation of others, nor having their usual outlet in their own conversation, become audible by them as actual voices.

I might relate many more examples, but these will suffice. Each sense may of course be affected, and sight stands next to hearing in its liability to suffer. In delirium tremens, hallucinations of sight are characteristic features; the patient commonly sees reptiles and vermin in his room, serpents crawling over the floor, rats and mice running over his bed, and pushes them away in a state of restless agitation. In some forms of insanity, the sufferer mistakes persons, believing entire strangers to be near friends or relations; or, again, he may see a person, whom he imagines to be his persecutor, escape from the house, when there was really no such person, and buy a revolver, to be ready for him when next he comes prowling about; and in one form of the deepest melancholy, which is known as melancholia attonita, he has sometimes terrible hallucinations—sees, probably, a deep abyss of roaring flames or a vast sea of blood immediately in front of him, and will not make the least movement, lest he should be precipitated headlong