Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 51.djvu/120

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

STRANGE PERSONIFICATIONS.
By M. TH. FLOURNOY.

WHILE cases of colored audition and visual schemes are quite frequent, we have fewer instances of that special kind of synopsy which I call personification, because it consists, in its typical form, in the concrete representation of a personage—sometimes of an animal or a thing—being regularly awakened by a word that has no comprehensible relation with its curious associate. This sort of personification in its marked degrees is rare, and in the few instances that have come under my knowledge has been applied to the days of the week.

In M. E. F——,student in letters, nineteen years old, the figures of persons of very definite pose and occupation are provoked by various suggestions; among others, by those of the days of the week. Monday and Tuesday are to him a young man of serious aspect, with his forefinger on his eye—dark weather. Wednesday is a young man in the act of stealing something behind him, stooping down and putting his arms between his legs to take it. M. F——does not see what this man takes, and does not know what it is; dark weather. Thursday is a man turning the knob of the kitchen door to go through that room to the next one. Friday is a man selling something on a wagon, which he holds with his hands. The object is indistinct, and M. F——does not know what it is, but in his mind the man is the Wednesday man, and is selling the thing he stole on that day. The weather is clear. Saturday is a man falling against a door and putting both hands forward to push himself back, falling again, and so on several times. He is doing this for amusement. Sunday is a man buttoning his cuffs, and the weather is fine.

It will be seen that in respect to their psychological nature these personifications are a triple mixture of visual representations, of interpretative ideas (the idea of Wednesday's man stealing an object which is the same unknown thing that he sells on Friday, etc.), and of general impressions corresponding with the weather that is prevailing—except Thursday and Saturday, which have no weather assigned to them. The visual representatives of mental images do not take on the character of hallucinations, but remain simple mental images. These personages have no color, and their dress is extremely indefinite, but their figures are very sharply defined. M. F——distinguishes all these details, and perceives clearly the expression, which is always serious (with the exception of Wednesday, who laughs while he is stealing his object). The localization of these visual images is not less precise. The man of Monday, for example, appears to