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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/477

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THE MODERN OCCULT.

had exhausted the capacity of his personal attention by magnetizing trees and selling magnetized water. The absent treatment represents the occult 'extension movement'; and unencumbered by the hampering restrictions of physical forces, superior even to wireless telegraphy, carries its influence into the remotest homes. From ocean to ocean and from North to South these absent healers set apart some hour of the day when they mentally convey their healing word to the scattered members of their flock. On the payment of a small fee you are made acquainted with the 'soul-communion time-table' for your longitude and may know when to meet the healing vibrations as they pass by. Others disdain any such temporal details and assure a cure merely on payment of the fee; the healer will know sympathetically when and how to transmit the curative impulses. Poverty and bad habits as well as disease readily succumb to the magic of the absent treatment. Here is the hysterical edict of one of them: 'Join the Success Circle/. . . "The Centre of that Circle is my omnipotent WORD. Daily I speak it. Its vibrations radiate more and more powerfully day by day. As the sun sends out vibrations. . . so my WORD radiates Success to 10,000 lives as easily as to one."

It is impossible to appreciate fully the extravagances of these occult healers unless one makes a sufficient sacrifice of time and patience to read over a considerable sample of the periodical publications with which American occultism is abundantly provided. And when one has accomplished this task he is still at sea to account for the readers and believers who support these various systems so undreamt of in our philosophy. It would really seem that there is no combination of ideas too absurd to fail entirely of a following. Carlyle without special provocation concluded that there were about forty million persons in England, mostly fools; what would have been his comment in the face of this vast array of human folly! If it be urged in rejoinder that beneath all this rubbish heap a true jewel lies buried, that the wonderful cures and the practical success of these various systems indicate their dependence upon an essential and valuable factor in the cure of disease and the formation of habits, it is possible with reservation to assent and with emphasis to demur. Such success, in so far as it is rightly reported, exemplifies the truly remarkable function of the mental factor in the control of normal as of disordered physiological functions. This truth has been recognized and utilized in unobtrusive ways for many generations, and within recent years has received substantial elaboration from carefully conducted experiments and observations. Specifically the therapeutic action of suggestion, both in its more usual forms and as hypnotic suggestion, has shown to what unexpected extent such action may proceed in susceptible individuals. The well-informed and capable physician requires no instruction on this point; his medical