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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/681

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THE ANTECHAMBER OF CONSCIOUSNESS.

trary measure of hours and minutes. A calculation is performed, however quickly or unconsciously. The question of being able to wake from a sound sleep at an unusual time, in obedience to an act of will registered before going to sleep, brings this phenomenon with this subdivision. The answers to the question in this connection are as follow:

1. Mr. L——, of Philadelphia, writes: "I can wake within a few minutes of a given time without effort. Habitually I wake within a few minutes of a fixed time. I can, however, wake without effort at a different time."

2. Miss B——, of New York city: "Yes, at an early or unusual hour, by repeating the time to myself once or twice before going to sleep. I seldom wake before the hour determined upon, and never fail to wake then. I come directly into full consciousness at all times."

3. Mr. A——, of Omaha, Nebraska: "Yes, within three minutes."

4. Mrs. Y——, of Paterson, New Jersey: "Can awaken at a given hour determined upon without waking before at all. Have not found it necessary to do so often, but have never failed in the attempt. Come directly from oblivion into consciousness."

5. Mr. C——, of Orange, New Jersey: "Have never overslept when my mind has been charged before retiring."

6. Mr. B——, of Paterson, New Jersey: "I was intrusted by the attending physician with the administering of medicines to my wife, who was very dangerously ill. It was of the greatest importance that a certain medicine should be given every two hours as exactly as possible, day and night. I am an extraordinarily sound sleeper; but, for six weeks, I woke up every two hours methodically, and never missed giving the medicines once during that time. I always came directly from oblivion into consciousness. During the first few nights I was as exact and methodical as in the last."

The statistical result is as follows: Forty per cent claim to have this power in a "strongly marked degree; they can wake up at an unusual hour without having their rest at all disturbed prior to their awaking. Of this forty per cent, about fifty per cent say that they are conscious of being troubled just before the real light of consciousness has risen; the other fifty per cent say that they only know that at the predetermined time they are awake. The sixty per cent who do not possess this power in a marked degree are about evenly divided, one half spending their night continually disturbed by false alarms, and the other fifty per cent sleep peacefully on with rest unbroken, either at, before, or after the appointed hour for awaking. I find that I overlooked one important point in this inquiry, namely, whether those who can wake up at almost the minute of the given hour possess a similarly accurate power of measuring time in consciousness.

To sum up the conclusions on this point: Many people during a state of perfect unconsciousness can accurately measure time as well