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tanyard, and drawing a skin from the vat, prepared to take off the hair. He rolled up his sleeves, and grasping the knife, was about to commence operations, when instantaneously the knife was flirted out of his hand, and he himself jerked over logs, and against fences, as before. Gaining relief by resorting to the
. former remedy, he ventured to resume his occupation, and again was interrupted. But finding his talisman losing its efficacy, he began now 'to be really alarmed, and quitting the yard, he returned to his chamber and betook himself to prayer in good earnest. In this condition, weeping and crying to God for mercy, he was found by the family on their return. The result of this singular incident was, that he became a truly converted man, and shortly after connected himself with the church.
The same author mentions another example of the involuntary nature of these bodily exercises, in the case of a lady and gentleman of some note in the fashionable world, who were attracted to the camp-meeting at Cane Ridge
by mere curiosity. On the way they amused themselves with a variety of jokes upon the poor deluded creatures who allowed themselves to roll screaming in the mud, and crying for mercy; and sportively agreed, that if either of them should fall, the other should remain, and render suitable protection and assistance. They had not been long on the ground, when, to the consternation of the gentleman, his gay companion suddenly dropped; whereupon, instead of fulfilling his promise, he fled at full speed. Flight, however, proved no preservative, for he had not gone two hundred yards before he was seized in the same way, and measured his own length upon the ground; while a crowd flocked around him to witness his mortification, and offer prayers in his behalf.
Very much like this, and equally marvellous, are the bodily exercises which have attended the late work of grace in Ireland. Dr. Macnaughton says, that “persons would be suddenly struck down as if they were dead; and not under the influence of exciting appeals
made to them, for the same things happened to them when they were alone, and no person speaking to them.”
Instructive exemplifications of our subject, concerning the power of the imagination, might be taken from the records of empiricism. Every feat of medical charlatanry has been a signal illustration of the strong reciprocal influence of the mind and the body. In the early part of the present century, a native of New England reaped a harvest of more than ten thousand pounds sterling from grateful, but deluded patients in Great Britain, whom he had relieved of distressing maladies by means of his “metallic tractors." These were two small pieces of metal of different kinds, which received their name from being drawn slightly over the part of the body affected, and which were said to attract the disease to the surface. That these marvellous cures were produced by the imagination of the sufferer, was proved by Dr. Haygarth, who had a couple of wooden tractors made, to resemble in appearance the metallic. The tractors of both
sorts were afterwards applied to five patients, and the same benefit followed, whether the instrument used was made of wood or of iron; thus demonstrating the whole to be a grand imposture. It was a case which clearly belongs to the same category with that related of Dr. Woodhouse, who tested the power of imagination on certain persons, who, when nitrous oxide excited great attention, were anxious to breathe the gas. He administered to them ten gallons of atmospherical air, in doses of from four to six quarts. Impressed with the idea that they were inhaling the exhilarating gas, they soon began to exhibit the usual quickness of pulse, vertigo, ringing in the ears, difficulty of breathing, faintness, weakness of the knees, and nausea, which lasted from six to eight hours.
Bartholini, a famous physician, born at Copenhagen (1616,) declares that he once, by mistake, gave a patient a bottle of mere water instead of another bottle of liquor designed for an emetic, and that the patient's imagina
tion was so affected by the expectation, that the water produced the effect he intended.
Franciscus Borri, born at Milan in the beginning of the seventeenth century, was said to cure all diseases, and so great was his reputation, that patients were carried to him from a great distance. But when it came to be observed that he cured only those who had a strong imagination, his credit sunk at once, and he worked no more wonders. A most remarkable example of the irresistible power of a disquieted mind is mentioned by Gregorius Leti, in his history of the Duke D'Ossuna. He tells us that a rich Neapolitan merchant, Jacob Morel, prided himself in not having once set his foot out of the city during forty-eight years. This coming to the ears of the Duke, Morel had notice sent to him that he was to take no journey out of the kingdom under the penalty of ten thousand crowns.
The merchant smiled at receiving the order, but afterwards, not being able to fathom the reason of such a prohibition, grew so uneasy, that he paid the fine, and took a little trip out of the kingdom.