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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/537

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THE VISIONS OF SANE PERSONS.

seers. They imagined at first that everybody else had the same way of regarding things as themselves. Then they betrayed their peculiarities by some chance remark which called forth a stare of surprise, followed by ridicule and a sharp scolding for their silliness, so that the poor little things shrunk back into themselves, and never ventured again to allude to their inner world. I will quote just one of many similar letters as a sample. I received this, together with much interesting information, immediately after a lecture I gave last autumn to the British Association at Swansea,[1] in which I had occasion to speak of the Number forms. The writer says:

I had no idea, for many years, that every one did not imagine numbers in the same positions as those in which they appear to me. One unfortunate day I spoke of it, and was sharply rebuked for my absurdity. Being a very sensitive child, I felt this acutely, but nothing ever shook my belief that, absurd or not, I always saw numbers in this particular way. I began to be ashamed of what I considered a peculiarity, and to imagine myself, from this and various other mental beliefs and states, as somewhat isolated and peculiar. At your lecture the other night, though I am now over twenty-nine, the memory of my childish misery at the dread of being peculiar came over me so strongly that I felt I must thank you for proving that, in this particular, at any rate, my case is most common.

The next form of vision of which I will speak is the instant association of color with sound, which characterizes a small percentage of adults, but apears to be rather common, though in an ill-developed degree, among children. I can here appeal not only to my own collection of facts, but to those of others, for the subject has latterly excited some interest in Germany. The first widely known case was that of the brothers Nussbaumer, published in 1873 by Professor Bruhl, of Vienna, of which the English reader will find an account in the last volume of Lewis's "Problems of Life and Mind," page 280. Since then many occasional notices of similar associations have appeared, but I was not aware that it had been inquired into on a large scale by any one but myself. However, I was gratified by meeting with a pamphlet a few weeks ago, just published in Leipsic by two Swiss investigators, Messrs. Bleuler and Lehmann. Their collection of cases is fully as large as my own, and their results in the more important matters are similar to mine. One of the two authors had the faculty very strongly, and the other had not; so they worked conjointly with advantage. As my present object is to subordinate details to the general impression that I wish to convey of the visionary tendency of certain minds, I will simply remark, first, that the persistence of the color association with sounds is fully as remarkable as that of the Number form with numbers. Secondly, that the vowel-sounds chiefly evoke them. Thirdly, that the seers are invariably most minute in their description of the precise tint and hue of the

  1. See "Fortnightly Review," September, 1880.