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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/842

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

transferred to an asylum at Bonneval, where lie was taught the trade of a tailor. After two months he had a convulsive attack which lasted fifty hours; at its close the paralysis had disappeared and with it all recollection of the past three years, including all that he had learned in the tailor shop. His character and tastes had also changed. He had become quarrelsome, greedy, and rude. Formerly he did not like wine, and used to give his allowance to his comrades; now he stole theirs whenever he could. He robbed a fellow-patient and escaped; when recaptured he fought savagely with his captors. In June, 1881, he was released as cured. For the next three years and a half he spent the greater portion of his time in insane asylums in various parts of France. In January of 1885 he escaped from the Bicêtre in Paris, where he was then confined, made his way to Rochefort, and enlisted in the marines. He was soon arrested and convicted of theft, but was thought to be insane and was sent to the asylum. There he fell into the hands of Professors Bourru and Burot, of the medical school at Rochefort. With infinite pains they recorded his condition, traced out his past history, and in their little book. Variations de la Personnalité (Paris, 1888), have given us a very careful analysis of the phenomena which he presented. After his release from Rochefort, Louis —— was studied by other alienists, especially by Dr. Mabille, of La Rochelle, and Prof. M. J. Voisin, of the Salpêtrière. Of late years his health has improved and many of his strange symptoms have disappeared.

The case is too complex to be given at length; a brief outline must suffice. MM. Bourru and Burot found that his conscious existence seemed split into at least five major states, in some of which several minor ones might be distinguished. In each state he remembered certain portions of his life, possessed certain sensations, had control of certain groups of muscles, and manifested certain traits of character. Each state could be induced in two ways: (1) By applying an electric current, magnet, or some substance—such as a bar of soft iron or a piece of gold—to a definite portion of his body; (2) by suggestion. Later Dr. Mabille discovered a third method of induction: by pressing upon certain groups of muscles he could cause them to become rigid, and then the patient passed into that state in which those muscles were regularly rigid.

Of these five states, the most important—that is, the one in which he approached most nearly to the normal—could be produced by applying a bar of soft iron to the right thigh. In it he was free from paralysis, and the strength of his arms was nearly equal, but his left side was abnormally sensitive. His character was that of an agreeable but commonplace young man; his language was correct; he could read and write fairly well. He re-