Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/74

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we disposed of him, two years later. These paroxysms would, at times, gain such complete control of his mind as to either paralyze or pervert all his physical senses.

The first one that I observed was brought on by the falling of a stick in the stove, back of which he was sleeping. Whereupon he started up, and commenced barking violently at a small leaf that was lying on the floor, every now and then making a dash toward it, after which he would retreat in the greatest terror. Then he would crawl slowly toward it again, and when he came within reach would strike at it with one of his fore-paws, drawing the paw back quickly with a little yelp, and then carefully looking it over as if to find an imagined injury, and licking it.

While the leaf was in the room he appeared to be entirely insensible to feeling or sound. Severe blows were administered with a stout stick, but they produced no more impression than if they had fallen upon the floor. He did not shrink, nor even by the slightest tremor give any indication that pain accompanied their infliction. Neither would he pay any attention to commands that were given in a loud voice close to his ear, although he had always shown himself obedient to any commands that he could understand; nor would any other sound, no matter how loud, cause him to make the slightest motion indicating that he had heard it.

After this his peculiar mental condition became more noticeable; the most trivial circumstance would sometimes be sufficient to destroy his mental equilibrium. A slight noise might bring on one of his paroxysms; but, singularly, it would generally have no effect unless it proceeded from the kitchen, which seemed to be to him a haunted chamber. Often in passing through the room he would cringe and put his tail between his legs.

At other times he would fix his eyes upon a spot on the ceiling or in a corner, or upon a towel hung up to dry, and would retreat from the object upon which his gaze was fixed, with dilated pupils and every other sign of intense fear of the imaginary "ghost." At these times his senses, instead of being simply deadened, were generally active, but in a perverted condition. If he was struck by a person behind him, instead of shrinking away, he would give a start toward the person who had struck him. Likewise a sudden noise, as the stamping of a foot, no matter from what part of the room it came, would invariably cause him to retreat violently from the imaginary object of his terror. He was apparently so prepossessed by one idea for the time being that, to his perverted senses, every noise was made and every blow was struck by the object which had excited him.

Sometimes he would stand on his hind legs and, directing his attention to the middle of the ceiling, would retreat backward, barking violently all the while. Then, seeming to be entirely mastered by his terror, he would drop on all-fours and run out of the house at full