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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/188

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

seconds after he has been jumped, we see no sign or indication of what he has just done, or of what he can instantly be made to do.

On the other hand, the phenomena of trance, of mental hysteria, of the "Jerkers" or "Holy Rollers" may last in any given case from several minutes to several hours or days.[1]

Recent German investigations have, by an interesting coincidence, demonstrated that subjects in the mesmeric trance sometimes exhibit the phenomenon of repeating automatically what is said to them. Berger produces this effect by laying his warm hand on the neck of the mesmerized subject.

2. In the persistence and permanence of the liability to be excited.

After once the habit of jumping is formed, the subject, though varying in susceptibility at different times, is yet always capable of displaying the phenomena in a greater or less degree at any moment: once a Jumper, always a Jumper, expresses the prognosis. Epidemics of jerking and rolling are, on the contrary, limited in time and in their sphere, disappearing and dying utterly away with the excitements that give rise to them, and the habit of hysteria or of being entranced may also be outgrown.

Psychologically, these Jumpers, so far as I have been able to see or to learn, are modest, quiet, retiring, deficient in power of self-possession, conceit, and push, but no more so than many others in various races. I had been told that they were of a low order of organization—half-breeds, partly French, partly English; but in this respect I was misinformed: they are at least as intelligent and as capable of fulfilling the duties belonging to them as the average of their associates who are not Jumpers; some of them can read and write, and all whom I saw could converse in English with a reasonable degree of intelligence; possibly as much as we could expect of persons of their age and environment. But all of them, without exception, were of shrinking temperaments. In the chorea epidemics of the middle ages, or of the great religious revivals of this country, this class would be very likely to have been attacked.

Hereditary.—Before I visited Moosehead Lake, while I knew only those facts that were obtained at second or third hand, I felt quite sure that this disease would be likely to be a family inheritance. This deductive reasoning was confirmed by inductive observation. It is fully as hereditary as insanity, or epilepsy, or hay-fever, although it has no special relation to any of those forms of disease. In the family of one of those with whom I experimented there were five Jumpers, the father, two sons, and two grandchildren of the respective ages of four and seven years. In the family of another with whom I experimented there were four, all brothers. In the family of another

  1. In my work on "Trance" these phenomena are described in more detail than is here possible.