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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/248

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

Here it is conceivable that the counting was merely forgotten and not strictly subconscious; but sometimes the suggestion can be elicited by automatic writing while the upper consciousness is apparently quite normal and entirely unaware of what is written. At other times the subconscious state seems to effect partial union with the upper consciousness. Thus P——ll was told "The baking trade is failing." Next day while awake he put his hand upon the planchette and the instrument slowly produced the words "The baking trade is failing." While the writing was proceeding he said that some one seemed to be "hallooing in his ear something, he could not make out what, about the baking trade." Another of Mr. Gurney's patients, when told to see his wife, thought he saw a face in an air ball. It was dim and soon faded away. Later, the suggestion having been repeated, he said he "saw a lot of faces floating before his eyes" that night. Such cases are precious as throwing light upon the origin of the "spirit voices" and "visions" which many automatists hear and see.

Mr. Gurney also got interesting evidence of subconscious time reckoning. The patient, W——s, was "told in trance on March 19th that, when he came next, he was to poke the fire six minutes after his arrival, and that when he wrote he was to record the number of minutes that had run. On March 21st he arrived at 6.571/2, and I set him down to the planchette in about a minute. The writing, which it took about a minute to produce, was '2,—31/2 more.'. . . He was told on March 23d that a quarter of an hour after his next arrival he was to open and shut the door of the room and note the course of time as usual. The next time he arrived at 7.61/2. He was set to the planchette at 7.19. The writing, produced at once, was '13 minutes and 2 more.'" At 7.22 he executed the suggestion.

Analogous phenomena in normal life are familiar. Many persons, of whom I am one, by giving themselves a suggestion upon going to bed to wake at a given time next morning, can make themselves wake at or about the time appointed. When the time is fixed by habit there is still more striking evidence of subconscious processes. For several months it was my practice to get up at 6.50 every morning. Not only did I usually wake about that time, but I would also often, after lying awake for some time, get out of bed suddenly without any clear intention of doing so or thought of the time. While busily thinking of something else I would suddenly find myself out of bed and beginning to dress; then, looking at my watch, I would find it was within a few minutes of 6.50. There was no striking clock within my hearing or other means of consciously reckoning time, as also there was not n these experiments of Mr. Gurney's.

It is upon such phenomena that the doctrine of subconscious