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Abnormal Hypnotic Phenomena II(I)

Abnormal Hypnotic Phenomena II(I)

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Published by: Arty Besant Scholem on Apr 04, 2012
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06/09/2015

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canbe drawn
from them. All these
precautions by the Holy
Roman
Inquisition,
on
the otherhand,indicate the growing
interest
which
was
spreading throughout
Italy
through the
use
of
magnetism
and
the
problems involved
in
it.
It
was
just
at
this
period
that
various
authors began
to deal
with
this
matter
under the
influence
of
French
and
English publications.
In
1840
in Milan
news was released
of
the
former
magnetic
seances
attended by the celebrated French
novelist
Honore de
Balzac,
which
were referred to
byGiovanni Rajberti
(1805-61),
the
well
known
author if
Il
Gatto
(
Milano,
1845),
in
his
book
Il
voLgo
e
La
medicina
(10)
in
which
he
criticizes
the doctrine
of
homeopathy
and
defines
animalmagnetism
as"
one
of
so
many
systematized deliriums
which
distinguish the deviations
of
the
human reason".
In
a
chapterin the same
book (pp.
171
-173),
entitled"
L'uomogrande
e
il
nano",
a
report
is
referred to
concerning
a
magneticexperiment in which he himself
was a
spectator.
Balzac, in
thesummer
of
1838,
when he
was
the
guest
of
a Milanese family,
wanted
to
exhibit
his
magnetic
powers
on
a
valet.
Rajberti
writes:-" Scowling
in
a frightful
way
like
one
possessed,
he pointed
at
him, making waving
passes
with
his
hands, sweating
and
pantingon account
of
the intense
concentrationof mind
and
bodyin
this
work
", but
in
vain.
The attempt
was
thenrepeatedon
a subject
better
adapted
to
the
process,
namely
a
certain Gattino,
a
dwarfand
hunchback,
but
with the
same
lack
of
success. After
repeatedattempts,
however,
Gattino began
to show a
more stupid
expression
than
usual,
to
gape with rounded mouth
and
to
droop
his eyelids
more
and
more
slowly
in
a
gloomy
silence.Balzac,
irritated by the
lack
of
attention paid
by
Rajberti,
who
at
this
time
was
reading
a book,
stamped on thefloor; Rajbertithenhastened
to ask the
dwarf"
more awake
than
ever"
if he
had
slept,
but
he replied
that
he was
about
to go to sleep. A few words weresufficient
to
awaken him completely
and
the
magnetizer
had
no
further
success. Ba!zac was
no
longer
heard
to speak
ofmagnetism.
1
In
1842
there
was
published
in
Corfu
a
book
(11)
on facts
relating
to mesmerism
by
Angelo Cogevina, a
physician
and
surgeon
and
superintendent
of
the
Civil
Hospital
at
Corfu,
and
Francesco
Orioli,
a professor
at
the
university
and
director
of
the
Ionian
College
and
a
corresponding member
of
the Institute
at
Florence
and of many
scientific
academies
in Europe
.
In
this
book
were
reported
several cases
treated with magnetic therapy.
1
For
Balzac's
interest
in
occ
ultism
scc A.
Caban
i:
s,
Balza
c
'i
gnori
(Paris
,dJgg),
pp.65-
80
.
142
The
phenomena
of
magnetism,
indeed,
were
beginning
to
bemuchheard
of,
and
were exciting
great
interest
and,
attracted
by the
novelty,
there
were
many
who
actively
or
passively
supported thepractice
of
mesmerism in its various forms
and
manifestations,
with
a consequently increased
production
of
publications
on the matter.
In
1847
the Holy
Office
intervenedagain,with the
decree
of
28
July
in which
it
expressed
itself
in the
following terms :
"'When
freefrom all errors, sorcery, explicit
or
implicit
invocation
of
demons,the use
ofmagnetism,
that
is
to say solely
as
a
method
of
servingphysical ends
that
are otherwise lawful,
is
notmorally
forbidden,
provided
that
it
is
notdirected
to
an
unlawful
purposeorinany
evil
way whatever.
.
"The
application, then,
of
principles
and
methods
that
are
entirely physical to
matters
and
effects
that
are truly supernatural
in
order
to
explain
these physically
is
a sin
that
is
altogether
illicit
and heretical"
(8, p.
563).
On
account
of
this decree
the reading
and
distribution
of
a
certain
number of
books
on magnetism
was forbidden.
Animal magnetismin Italy,
however,
was
the
subject
of
numerous
studies
by
respectablepersons such as physicians, scholars
and
literary men,
but at
thesametime
it
was also
practised
by unscrupulous persons
so
that
side
by
side
with
objective works
of
a
certain
scientific
value there
flourished
other
publications
that
were superficial, biased
andoflittle
worth or
were exclusively inspired
by
controversial aims.
Interest in magnetism
was
naturally greater among
physicians
on account
of
the
possible
therapeutic attraction which
this
doctrine
seemed
able
to offer.
Thu
sfor
example,
Dr.
C.
A.
Calderini,
at
first sceptical
of
l\lesmer's theory, was
converted
to
it
after havingbeen present
at
the
public
performances given
at Milan
in
1850
bythe celebrated magnetizer Auguste
Lassaigne,
the husband of the
famous
French somnambule Prudence Bernard.
With
the
co
operation
of
several physicians
in that
city
he submitted
to
accurate
analysis a series
ofmagneticphenomena
(
12
).
Following his
example,
Dr
.
Pietro
Beroaldi,
Directorof
the Civil
Hospital
of
Viccnza,
carried
out
various
experiments
and
analysed
a series
of
mesmeric phenomena in the same
hospital
in
1851
(13).1
The
sympathizers
and
followers increased
and
various
magnetic
societies flourished
in imitation
of
those
already
existing
at
that
timein France
and
abroad, with whieh
they
maintained
contact;
magnetic
sittings also increased
and
also theoretical
and
practical
courses
inmagnetism.
1
For
a fuller
ac
c
ount
see
pp.
j
53
If
.
143
 
The
first
magnetic
society
inItaly
was
the
Societa Bio-M
agnetica,
founded in
Genoa
in
1853
by
Giacomo
Ricci.
In
1855
there
was
fouuded
in
Turin
the
Societ~l
Filomagnetica
by
Francesco
Guidi
who in
1856
published
in
Turin
the
journal
Luce l'vlagnetica
of
whichhe
was
director
and
editor.
In
1856
Pietro
D'Amico
founded
at
Bologna
the
Societ~l
:rvIagnetica
d'Italia
of
which
D'
Amico
was
president
and
which
had
amongst
its
members
Victor Hugo,
Bargoni
the
j"'Iinister
of
Public
Education,
Professor
A.
Palagi
the Director
of
the Observatoryofthe
University
of
Bologna,etc.A
magnetizer
of
national
fameoftenfelt
theneed
to have
at
hisdisposition his
own
paper
for
thesupport
and
propaganda
of
hisclaims.
Thus
there
flourished
numerous
mesmeric reviews,
whichgenerally
had
a
short
life.
In Turin,
for
example,
there
were
Il
iVlagnetofilo
(1854-5)
continued
as
Il
j
\/
esmerista,
the previously
men
tioned
Luce iV/agnetica
and
IliHagnetologo
of
Guidi.
AtGenoa
there
appeared
La
Salute
(1865),
directed by
D'Amico, the organofthe
Societa I\tIagnetica
of
Bologna.
There
arose, moreover, forsocial
gatherings
and
study,
magnetic
circles,
magnetic
academies,
athenaeums
and
magnetic
hospitals.
Examples
of
these
arethe
Circolo
Magnetico
and
the
Istituzionedi
BenefieenzaMesmerica
directedby Borgna
and
Guidi
at
Turin.
Francesco
Guidi
was
certainly
one
ofthe
most active exponents
of
Italian
mesmerism.
In
1851,
with
the
enthusiasm
of
a
neophyte,
he
wrote
his first
book
(9)issued
in
Turin
in
which he showed
his
faith
and
his
hope
for
the
success
of
animal
magnetism,
expoundingthe advantages
to
be derived
from
it
and
examiningthe therapeutic,
psychological,
moral
and
socialaspects.
In
1852
he
againpublished
at Turin
a
translation
(14)
together with
personal
notes,
of
a
French
book by
L.
M. Hebert
(IS)'
To
Guidi
weowe
the
I
talian
works
of
the
type
thenprevalentregarding
mesmerism.
In
his
numerous
works
theauthor
had
recourse
not
onlyto a small
group
of
sympa
thizers,
but
indicated
his clear desire to
obtain
converts.
In
1854
there
appeared
at
Milan
atreatise
(16)
onthe
theoretical
and
practi
cal aspects
of
animal
magnetism,
in
which
he expressed
in ten
lessons
the
course in mesmerism
which
he
had
held in
various
Italian
cities, followed
byother
works. l\1esmerism,
which
at
first was
the
privilege
of
the
nobility
and
the
moneyed middle
class, was
in
this"\'ay
popularized
and
brought
to
the
knowledge
of
the
majority
and
this was
perhaps
the
reason
why
works
on
it
were
placedontheIndex. Guidi
had
to wage a
hard
struggle ontwo
fronts:
onthe
one
hand
he
was
attacked by
alleged
magnetizers
with
few scruples,
such
as
Zanardelli,
G.
Demarchi,
P. C.
Demaris,
Ruatti,
G.
144
Pertusio,
B.
Fenoglio,
L.
Berrutti, Guastalla,
etc.,
whom
he
triedrepeatedly
to
expose:ontheother
hand
he
was
attacked
by the
Medical
Council
of
Turin
which requested
from
the
local
government
repressive laws against
the
magnetizers.
Guidi in
consequence
began, incontrast
to some
of
his colleagues,to
avoid
major
dissentions
and
resigned from
the
Society
that he
himself
had
founded
and
which
in
a
short
time
ceased to exist.
On
the occasion
of
the
anniversary
ofthebirth
of
l\1esmer,
namely
23
May
1855,
Guidi
founded
the
Societa
Mesmerica
d'lstruzione, Propaganda
eBeneficenza,
modelled
on
that
ofthe
l\tIesmeric
Infirmary inLondon.
1
After a few
months
of
life this
institution
seems to
have
brought
satisfactoryresults to
the poorpatients
who
came
there
and
would
perhaps
have
had
a
more
prosperous
future
if
it
had
been
financially
supported.
Later
Guidi
left
Piedmont
for Savoy,
Switzerland,
France
and
laterMilan,
where hefounded
an Istituto
Zoomagnetico di
Propaganda
edIstruzione
in
which
magnetic
and
somnambulistic
cures were practised.
THE
RISE
AND
DECLINE
OF
INTEREST
In
the
second
half
of
the nineteenth century
there
was a
growinginterest
in
mesmeric
practices.
Contemporary with Guidi,
Cogevina,
Orioli
and
Terzaghi may benotedother
magnetizers, suchas
JacopoSan
Vitale, famed
as
the
Nestor
ofItalian
magnetizers,Pietro
Gatti, the
first
exponent
of
animalmagnetism in
Genoa,
C.
Dugnani, the
first
Italian
to
have
a
medal
of
honour
from
the
l\1agnetic
Jury
of
Encouragement
and
Reward
2
in
Paris
in
1850,
Pietro
D'Amico,
consideredby
many
to
have been the
first
truemagnetizer in Italy,
11. Poeti,
Bonajuti,
Butti,Consoni,
Danzi,Vandoni,
A. Berti, besides
many
others
who
exhibited
for
the
most
part
in the
theatres.
Notwithstandingtherepeated
declarations
of
themore
serious
practitionersof
mesmerism
onthe
scientific,positive
and
naturalcharacter
of
the
new
doctrine, not
afewpersons
sought
orhoped to
1
Thc
London
IVlcsmcric
Infirmary
wasfound
ed
in
January
1846
at thc
house
of
Henry
G.
F.
i\foreton,
sccond
Earl
of
Ducie
(1802-1353),
who
was
Lord·in-waiting
to
the Quecn.
Four
years
latcr the committee
scnt
out
a
notic
cto
all
donors
and
subscribcrs
that
thc
house was
open
to reccivepatients.
Twomale
mesmerists
and
One
female were
appointedand
a
number
of
striking
cur
es wc
rereported,
and
in
1351
th
e
Archbishop
of
Dublinand
th
efifth
Earl Stanhope became
VicePresidents.
[Ed.]
Jury
Magl1<
!
tiqued'Encollragement et
Rccompens
.e,
founded
in
18
,
+6
.
145
 
find
inmagnetic
sittingsasatisfaction for
their
curiosity,
together
withoccult
and
mysterious
phenomena
passing
beyond normal
limits
into
those
ofthesupernatural.
It
must be recorded
thatat
this
period,above
all
in America
and
England, there
was
an
increasinginterest in
Spiritualism
whichspecifically
aimed
at
contact with
the
world
of
the
Beyond.
Some
of
theparticipants in magnetic
sittings
hoped
likewise
and
certainly
s
uch
hopes were
further stimulated
by
therepeated declarations
of
t
he magnetizers
that
they were ignorantof theexact
causes
that
influenced
theirmagnetic phenomena.This
confusion
between the
scientific
doctrine
and
the
spiritistic
practice
was
the
cause
of
a
strong
opposition
bythe
Church
towards
animalmagnetism, both
at
thebeginning
and
in the
course
of
its
gradual
and
slow
acceptancein the
scientificfield
and
in
its
therapeutic
applications.
It
must
also
beremembered
that
magneticphenomena
weresometimesmisusedforpurposes
of
gainbymagne
tizers
who in appropriate
shows
had
the
sole
purposeofpresentingentertainments
and
marvels to
the
public.
Thus
it
happenedthat
thetrue
magnetizers,or,as
Guidihimself
defined
them,
the"
magnetizersofgood
faith",
also
came
tobe
accused of
alack
of
scientific seriousness
and
such
criticism
threatened
to
compromise their
positiveachievements.
Withthe spread
of
mesmerism
in Italy, there
was
an
increase
not
onlyin
its
supporters
but
also
in
its
opponents,
its difficulties,deceptions
and
religious
and
moral
problems.
InJuly
1856
an
Encyclical
ofthe Holy
Office,
signed
by CardinalVincenzo Macchi,
was
sent
toall its
Christian
bishops
and put
them
on
guard
against
thedangers
of
theabuse ofmagneticphenomena, making
adistinction
betweenwhat
wasinthe
domainof
scientificresearch
and
what
was
mere
curiosity
about supernaturalphenomena,
both
superstitious
and
often
immoral
(see8, p.
568;
17,
pp.
382
ff.)
Conflictingideas however,often arose
between
mesmerists themselves who
found
themselves
harmed
bycompetition.Suchinternal
conflicts
certainlydid nothing
to
help the
progress
of
the
science
and
offered
an
easy
target
to
the
adversaries
of
mesmerism.L. Stefanoni
in
his book(
18
)
publishedin
18go,wishingto
drawup
acritical
account ofthematerial,gave
a
documented report
of
aseries
of
facts
thathad
led
the
author
to
radically
negative conclusions
onthe
existence
ofmagnetism
and
magnetic phenomena.
The
numerousincident
s
reported, including
those
by themajorrepresentativ
es
of
magnetism,
such
as F.
Guidi,
P.
D'Amico,
Pilati
and
14
6
A.
Zanardelli. in
factleft
the readersomewhatperplexedaboutthe authenticity
of
manyofthe
alleged cureseffected
by
a
numberofme
s
meri
sts,while
tending
to exclude
completely
thegenuineproductionof
almost
all
theparanormal phenomena reportedby
the
authorsquoted
and
condemned
by
Stefanoniasclever mystifications.
For
example,in
Chapter
8
of
his
book
(18, p.
2I
7
ff.)
he
gives a
long
account
of
codes asdescribed
by
Emilio
Roncaglia
(45)
who
at
that
time
was describing
suchexperimentsinmuch thesameway
as
Gandon
was
doing in France.
In
1868
itappears
that
in Ancona
an
acrimonious
controversybroke
out
between AntonioZanardelli,
who was
known
to
be
a
magnetizerof the
old school,
and
theconjurer
Francesco Castagnola.
The
latter
attempt
ed to
duplicate the magnetic phenomenaexhibitedby Zanardelli'ssubject which
was followed
byfurthernewspaper publi
city,
the
Corriere delle
Nlarche
publishing
letters
onboth
sides.
Casta
g
nolaendeavoured
to
bringthe
matter
toa
head
by
offeringa
prize
ofL.soo
to
any
magnetizer
who,
eithcrin publicorprivate,
was
able
to
demonstrate
at
leasttwo
of themagneticphenomena
in
question,
namelythought-transference
and
clairvoy
ance
(18,
pp.
150-153).Prizes
continued
to beoffered
ranging
from L.1000
to
L.3000
butwerenotclaimed
.
'vVe
shall confine ourselves
here
to
examiningindetailtheprin
cipal
experimentscarried
outin
Italy in which
it
would
seem
that
parapsychological
phenomena
may
have
been verified.
Atthesametime
an
attempt
has
been made
to distinguish
genuinemagnetic phenom
e
na
as
comparedwith
all thosesupposed tobe
suchandbascd primarily on the belief
of
others.I t
is
not
surprising
that
the
latter
were
characterized
by
their more
se
ns
ational
tele
pathic
and
clairvoyant
aspects, etc.to
which theattention
and
cur
iosity
of
thespectators
and
thehope
of
the magnetizers weremainlydirected.
A
greatpartof
theexperiments in
divination,
vision
at
adistance,retrovision,
previ
sion,
not
to speak
of
the
so-called"
trans
cendental
magnetism"
with
its voices, dreams,
apparitions
and
pro
phecies,celestial visions
and
evocations
of
the
spirits,
thereading
and
transmission
of
thoughts
and
clairvoyance,
whensubmitted
to
accurate controlproved
for
themo
st
part
not
to
be supernormal.
Just
as
theBurdin
prize
of
3,000 francs set
up inFrance
in 18371
and
offered toa personwho
could demonstrate
eyeless-visionre
mained without
successful competitors, so
did
a similarfatebefall
the
1
This
was
theprize
offered
on
5
September
1837 by "'L C.
Burdin
to
anyone
"
qui
aura
la
facultcde
lir
esansI
cs
seeours desye
ux
ct
dela lumi
cre"
(See
1<)
)
147
--

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