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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/367

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349
SUGGESTION IN THERAPEUTICS.

of the left hand. A few minutes after being awakened she in fact had a hæmorrhage, or rather a bloody sweat, on the palm of the left hand. The phenomenon took place under our eyes without M. Artigalas leaving the patient and without any possibility of fraud. The skin was absolutely sound on the surface at the point which bled; the blood seemed to exude in the creases much as a profuse sweat would have done; one could not detect upon trial any appreciable modification of the integument. The hæmorrhage ceased upon washing the hand in cold water." The palmar hæmorrhages were then checked by suggestion.

Drs. Bourru, Burot, and Mabille have got even more curious phenomena in the case of their famous hysterical patient, Louis V——. They produced bleeding by suggestion from the nose, from designated points on the skin, and even fixed beforehand the hours at which the bleeding was to take place. On one occasion they heard him give himself, while in a secondary state, similar suggestions, and the blood appeared punctually on the spot indicated. Nothing could better demonstrate the subjective character of the agency that produces these inexplicable results.

These cases are precisely parallel to those of the so-called "stigmatics"—"saints" who bore upon their persons the marks of crucifixion. The hagiology of the Roman Catholic Church is full of them, and not a few have been observed in recent years. I will quote the case of one: Marie de Moerl, of Kaldern, in the Tyrol, became subject to ecstasy in 1832, she being then about twenty years of age. Generally the subject of her meditation was the passion of Jesus. "In the autumn of the same year her confessor perceived that the palms of her hands, where subsequently the marks of the crucifixion appeared, sank in, as if under the pressure of a body in half relief. At the same time the part became painful and frequently cramped. On the 2d of February, 1834, at the Feast of the Purification, he observed her wipe the middle of her hands with a towel and exhibit a childlike alarm at the blood which she perceived there. These marks soon showed themselves on her feet and her heart. They were nearly round, spreading a little in length, three or four lines in diameter, and seeming to pass through both hands and both feet. On Thursday night and Friday all these wounds shed drops of blood, ordinarily clear. On other evenings they were covered with a crust of dried blood."[1]

The well-known case of Louise Lateau was precisely similar. At the present time, according to newspaper accounts, a certain Mrs. Stuckenborg, of Louisville, Ky., presents the phenomena of


  1. Brierre de Boismont, Hallucinations, Case 100. English translation, Philadelphia, 1853.