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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 61.djvu/66

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60
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

all directions heightened by flushes of red, green and especially violet. The whole place became vivid and beautiful and the tone and texture of the whitewashed but not very white ceiling was immensely improved. The difference between the room as I saw it then and the appearance it usually presents was the difference one may often observe between the picture of a room and the actual room. The shadows I saw were the shadows that the artist put in, and that are not visible in the actual object under ordinary conditions of casual inspection. At the same time shadows chased each other across the walls, never becoming actual visions.

"I wished to ascertain how the subdued and steady electric light could influence the phenomena, and passed into the next room. Here the rich shadows which were evidently largely due to the stimulus of the flickering light were not obtrusive. But I observed that whatever I gazed at seem to show a tendency to wave or pulsate. If I looked at the matting on the floor it showed a singular richness of texture, thick and felted, with a tendency to rise in little waves. These effects were apparently due to the play of heightened shadows on the outskirts of the visual field. In the same way a closed door seemed to be ajar, from the heightening of the shadows in the interspaces.

"I returned to bed still experiencing the same phenomena though in a less degree, and now for the first time there was a tendency for human figures to appear, fantastic and Chinese in character. There were vague hallucinations of smell, sometimes distinct recurrence of the freshly prepared mescal infusion; these olfactory impressions were pleasurable, I think because they involved deep inspirations, and thus relieved the respiratory oppression.

"At 3:30 a. m. I felt that the phenomena were diminishing and was able to settle down to sleep. When I awoke two hours later, after a peaceful and dreamless sleep, there was a slight headache and the visions were still present with closed eyes, though they were now in somber colors, brown and black. I slept again for an hour or so and rose at the usual time feeling by no means tired, and with an excellent appetite; except for a slight headache which passed off in the course of the morning, I felt none the worse but rather the better for my experiment. The only after-effect was a slightly hyperæsthetic vision for colored objects (as at the beginning of the experiment), lasting for a day or so, and more especially noticeable as regards blue, so that a familiar noticeboard in the Strand with dark-blue background was much more conspicuous and intensely blue than usual."

 

IV.

The experiment just described may be regarded as fairly typical of the effects of mescal in an ordinarily healthy subject, so far as my