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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/249

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POSTHYPNOTIC AND CRIMINAL SUGGESTION.

mental states rests, and to my mind the evidence for their existence is strong. Yet I do not think that we are compelled to infer that all posthypnotic suggestions exist actually nor yet that all potential memories have an actual existence. For the present I would rather regard the subconscious state as something to be accepted only when definite evidence of its existence is forthcoming. Nor would I ascribe these states in all cases to a secondary or subconscious "self," although I regard the existence of such a self distinct from the upper self as in some cases probable. Subconscious states when they do exist are probably like our dreams.

The emergence of the suggested state into the upper consciousness sometimes seems to have no appreciable effect upon its constitution. The new element presents itself to the patient much as other elements do, and may meet with opposition from those already existing as would any other. Thus one of Mr. Gurney's patients "was told to bring the spoons out of the dining room into the drawing room, which was properly the maid's duty. She was left to wake in the dining room, and presently followed the rest of the party into the drawing room, saying, 'I know what you want me to do, but I don't mean to do it; it is too absurd.'" She had no recollection of what she had been told, but when the irrational impulse presented itself she suspected its origin and refused to obey it.

At other times, by a species of illusion of memory, the suggested impulse is referred by the patient to some consideration from which it might very well have sprung. A friend of mine hypnotized a young girl, and told her that when he coughed three times she would say good-night to the assembled company and leave the room as if going to bed, but at the foot of the stairs she would turn back. She did it punctually. When we asked her next day why she changed her mind, she said that as she got to the foot of the stairs it occurred to her how rude it was of her to go to bed while the callers were still there, so she turned back.

When a posthypnotic hallucination presents itself to an approximately normal consciousness of this kind it is received with appropriate emotions, and the same is true of negative hallucinations. X—— was told that after waking he would be blind to me.

I then took a pencil and, holding it by one end, wagged it to and fro. The patient stared at it with a puzzled and somewhat frightened air. "There ain't nothing to hold it," he said, "but it stands right up and wags. Guess it must be hung by a string to the ceiling." But a diligent search revealed no string. I then grasped the pencil by two fingers about the middle. He became still more troubled, stooped as near the pencil as he could and examined it closely. "Somehow I can't see the middle of it," he said. "There are just two ends and no middle." It is dangerous to give a