Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/825

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Lithuania, visiting Rome at the time of the Reformation, received from the pope a box of precious relics. After he reached home the relics were used by the monks for the cure of a demoniac, who had held out against every kind of exorcism. The success was instantaneous and complete. But the prince observed a knowing smile on the face of the young man who had been keeper of the relics, and upon inquiry learned to his disgust that the genuine relics had been lost on the journey, and their place had been supplied with bones of cats and dogs picked up by the road. This lot of rubbish it was that had performed the miracle. Any one who believed that the touch of Queen Victoria's hand could cure him of scrofula (king's evil) would be unanimously declared out of his mind; yet it was the general belief in England for seven hundred years, from the reign of Edward the Confessor to that of Queen Anne, that the touch of the royal hand could heal this disease. Historians and physicians of the time testify to the usual success of the operation. Every one has read of the noisy antics employed by the medicine-men among the Indians, and by the fetich-doctors and voodoos among the negroes, for driving diseases out of their patients. Explorers and missionaries report that surprising cures often follow such treatment. No Christian Scientist would acknowledge fellowship with these ignorant impostors, and yet the voodoos cure disease without material means like the disciples of Mrs. Eddy.

I do not wish to be understood as giving full credit to all the reports of cures by any of these agencies. Doubtless in many instances the recovery is spontaneous; it is effected by the healing power of nature, and in spite of the treatment rather than by means of it. The patients would have got well as soon or sooner if nothing had been done for them. Moreover, in many cases reported by persons with little medical knowledge, the disease was not as serious, and hence the cure was not as wonderful, as is represented. Still, there remains enough evidence to show that in each one of the above ways real disease has been thrown off by aid of mental influence.

Furthermore, disease has been cured, with no theory of treatment whatever, by an accidental impression made on the mind. Mr. Barrows tells the following: The wife of a wealthy Pennsylvania farmer had been bedridden for many years, and unable to rise or walk without help. A Baptist minister visited the family, and the host showed him about his thrifty farm, in which he evidently took an honest pride. “Your farm seems to be one of the best in this section,” observed the guest. “Yes, it is, sir,” answered the host, with a beaming face; “and, what is more, it's all paid for.” Similar comments on the barns, stock, etc., brought forth assurances that they, too, were “all paid for.” Dinner-time came, and