[Letters Carried by P. P. Quimby and Lucius Burkmar]
Belfast, Nov. 6, 1843
Nathan Hale, Esq.
Doctor Jacob Bigelow
Dr. John Ware
I have no means of introduction to Mr. Hale and Dr. Bigelow excepting this, that thirty years ago I boarded with them at Miss Fessenden's in Tremont Street.
The bearer of this, Mr. Phineas P. Quimby and the boy with him, Lucius Burkmar, are both inhabitants of this town. I know nothing and never heard anything to the prejudice of either of them. The boy is a subject of clairvoyance. I have had some 10 or 12 interviews with him when he was put into a state called mesmeric sleep. In four or five cases he failed entirely. In some others he was partially successful. 3 or 4 times he came quite up to the mark, and performed feats where there was no room for deception or mistake, which really outstripped anything I ever heard of Indian or Egyptian jugglers.
He told me my own thoughts kept to myself. He told me words that I imagined and did not make known in any way that I know of. He was blindfolded and told me truly and minutely facts and appearances at the distance of say 1½ to 2 miles which I did not know and no one in the room with him knew and which he could not know by any means within the limits of common experience. I have good reason to believe that he can discern the internal structure of an animal body and if there be anything morbid or defective therein, detect and explain it.
The important advantage of this to surgery and medicine is obvious enough. He, that is his intellect, can be in two places at the same time. He can go from one point to another (no matter how remote) without passing through the intermediate space.
I have ascertained by irrefragible experiments that he takes ideas, first directly from the mind of the person in communication with him, and secondly without reference to such mind directly from the object or thing to which his attention is directed, and in both instances without any aid from his five bodily senses.
He can perceive without using either of the common organs of perception. His mind when he is mesmerized seems to have no relation to body, distance, place, time, or motion. He passes from Belfast to Washington, or from earth to moon, not as horses, steam engines, or light go, but swifter than light, by a single act of volition.
In a word he strides far beyond the reach of philosophy. He demonstrates, as I think, better than all physical, metaphysical or moral sciences the immateriality of the human soul, and that its severance from the body involves not its own destruction; at least he proves this of himself, and I suppose other souls are like his.
I am aware that ultra savants in Europe turn up their noses and sneer at this whole subject, so they did forty years ago at the steam engine. But for all that mesmerism as manifested in this boy lets in more light than any other window that has been opened for 1800 years. This may look like gross extravagance, but if you have the same luck I have had you will find it is not so. Lord Byron impiously demanded a second revelation, and here it is!
If you please, try the boy and if need be three or four times. If successful you will detect something not indeed miraculous but full of mystery.
I would not by any means be presumptuous or occasion trouble, but I beg leave to say that it would afford me much gratification if you or either of you would write to me by mail after full experiments and express your opinion as to this boy.
R. B. Allyn
Feb. 12, 1845
Dr. E. Richardson
This will introduce to your acquaintance Mr. P. P. Quimby of Belfast, who is exhibiting to the public through his companion, Lucius, the powers of mesmerism.
I have always been skeptical on this point and entered into the investigation with strong prejudices against the science, but I have been surprised, if not convinced, with the experimentation. I have been put into communication with Lucius and have been surprised at the accuracy of his thought reading. I have also performed several small operations or feats on him and others and have succeeded beyond my expectation or former belief.
Go and see for yourself, as I cannot describe the affair on paper. As candid, intelligent men we ought to investigate before we approve or condemn, and in order to do so, we must see them.
I write in great haste and hope you will be able to make this out.
Yours very respectfully,
Please show this to our friend, Dr. Whipper.
March 5, 1845
Mr. Thomas Jones, Esq.
A Mr. Quimby from Belfast, State of Maine, has a few days past been exhibiting experiments in animal magnetism to crowded audiences, to their entire satisfaction.
His price is moderate and as he intends visiting your place, he has desired me to give him a line to you and others of my friends by way of introduction.
Please give him what assistance you conveniently can in getting an audience and I think you will be pleased with the result of the
experiments he will exhibit. Any aid you may afford him in the way he requires will be gratefully acknowledged by your obedient servant.
J. Burton Abbot
P.S. If I had time I would give you a full description of the experiments he has successfully performed in this place, but I have not at present.
Nov. 18, 1843
Hon. David Sears
The bearer, Mr. Phineas P. Quimby visits your city for the purpose of exhibiting the astonishing mesmeric powers of his subject, Master Lucius Burkmar. Mr. Quimby, as also the young man, are native citizens of this place and sustain in the community unblemished moral characters.
Mr. Quimby is not an educated man nor is he pretentious or obtrusive; but I think if you should take occasion to converse with him you will discover many traces of deep thought and reflection, particularly upon the subject above mentioned.
His boy I think will demonstrate in an extraordinary manner, the phenomena of magnetic influence, more especially in that department usually termed clairvoyance; and should you take an opportunity to be put in communication with him, I doubt not you will be satisfied with the result.
Time and distance with him are annihilated and he travels with the rapidity of thought. I think he will describe to you the appearance of any edifice, tower or temple, and even that of any person either in Europe or America, upon which or upon whom, your imagination may rest. I say this much from the fact that I have been in communication with him myself and do know that he has described remote places and objects and even the appearances of persons at great distances, which he never before could have heard or thought of.
Mr. Quimby has letters to several distinguished gentlemen of your city whose names he will probably mention, which has, in some degree, influenced me to take the liberty to introduce him to your favorable notice. A greater reason, however, upon this point, is my belief that you will take pleasure in witnessing in this instance some remarkable developments of this mysterious science.
I am dear sir,
Your Obedient Servant
James W. Webster
Feb. 9, 1845
F. A. Pike Esq.
By Mr. Quimby
Permit me to introduce to you Mr. Quimby who has much interested us in Mesmerism, and whom I consider an honest man. His experiments with his amiable and honest Lucius are the most interesting and convincing of any I have ever witnessed. I have attended three lectures in public and several private examinations. I have been in communication with Lucius while in a mesmeric state and am entirely certain of his thought reading and have scarcely a doubt of his clairvoyance. What is most interesting of all is the very perfect manner in which Lucius examines the internal organization of diseased persons. He is very careful and conscientious and I think may be relied on. He has examined several persons here, among them Dr. Bates and Mrs. Abbot. I cannot describe these examinations but they are very wonderful and surprised us all.
In conclusion I say, go to the lectures and carry your sick friends to be examined or rather bring Lucius to them.
Please stir up the good people at your place.