by Horatio W. Dresser
[Continued from last week.]
Thus Mr. Quimby was led more and more steadily to the conclusion that all effects produced on Lucius were due to the direct action of mind on mind, and that no other hypothesis was necessary. He found that he could influence Lucius either with or without Lucius’s knowledge, and that Lucius was also affected in respects which were not intentional on his part. Again, be found himself able to give a thought to another’s mind without mesmerism, for instance, by bidding a person stop when walking. Why, then, should he use either mesmerism or his subject? Why not follow out this discovery that ideas take shape in the mind, according to one’s belief, and can be seen by the eye of the spirit? If one mind can influence another by creating a mental picture of an object to be feared, such as a wild animal. why may we not create good objects and benefit the minds of those we seek to influence? And if the same results can be produced by mere suggestion as by medicine taken with firm faith, why use medicine?
Referring to Mr. Quimby’s lecture-notes, used during the period of his public exhibitions with Lucius, we find that he very gradually came to these conclusions when he saw that no other explanation would suffice. He not only read all the books on mesmerism he could find but familiarised himself with various theories of matter, such as Berkeley’s, and with different hypotheses in explanation of the mesmeric sleep. Convinced that there was no “mesmeric influence” as such, no “fluid” passing from body to body but simply the direct action of mind on mind without any medium, he had also to become convinced that the states perceived by the subject were not due to imagination. He found, for example, that by creating a state in his own mind and vividly feeling it, Lucius felt the same and exhibited signs of its effect in the body. “Real cold” was felt by Lucius in response to certain suggestions. If imaginary, the subject would not have acted upon the ideas in question. Thus when Mr. Quimby handed Lucius a six-inch rule and pictured it in his own mind as a twelve-inch rule, Lucius would proceed to count out the twelve inches, and to him it was literally a twelve-inch rule. That is to say, the impressions received by the subject were real, not “imaginary,” as real as would have been the actual things in question. An impression might indeed be produced on a subject’s mind from a false cause, but the cause would then be real.
Nor was the state called clairvoyance imaginary. Mr. Quimby described it in this period of his thought as a “high degree of excitement which gives the mind freedom of action, placing it in close contact with everything, including past, present and future.” If it were a merely fancied state the subject would not be able to visit distant places, describing people and things correctly. Nor would it be possible to see actual events in process and predict their results, as in the case of a captain located on board a ship bound for New York and then located in port later, the second time Lucius was asked to find that particular man.
There was every reason to accept these disclosures as real, for interested persons took pains to acquaint themselves with the facts. For instance, in the case of the ship above mentioned we have the evidence published in a newspaper at the time, reading in part as follows: “During Mr. Quimby’s exhibition in this town on Wednesday evening, (14th inst.) his intelligent Clairvoyant was in communication with F. Clark, Esq., a respectable merchant of this place. The Clairvoyant described to the audience a Barque . . . called the Casilda then on her passage from Cuba to New York, minutely from ‘clew to carving,’ as seamen say. He then informed the company how far said Barque was from her destined port, and gave the name of vessel and port the distance we think was about 70 miles.
“On the next evening, he visited (in his somnambulism) the same vessel and said she had arrived off the Hook at New York, where she then was. On the Tuesday following this exhibition the merchants received a letter informing them of the arrival of this Barque (see our Marine Report) at the precise time stated by the Clairvoyant, who it will be recollected is Lucius Bickford [Burkmar], a young man 19 years of age.
“This was but one of several exhibitions of his visiting absent vessels of which he could have had no information, and describing even the master and people on board. We profess no knowledge of this wonderful science, but deem it a duty we owe to the public to publish every fact that may aid the progress of human knowledge.”
It is interesting to note that this fair-minded newspaper writer, while heading his contribution “Animal Electricity,” according to the popular notion prevailing at the time, 1844, expresses his opinion that “there is no more mystery in all this than there is in repeating a lesson committed.” That is to say, he thinks these facts at a distance are discerned by “the mind's eye.” He was probably convinced, therefore, by Quimby’s argument in his lectures to the effect that there was no “fluid” passing between, no “magnetism,” but mind operating on mind to put Lucius in possession of the clue he was to follow when locating a ship at a distance or describing her captain and crew.
Quimby tells us in one of his later articles that very early in his experiments with mesmerism he became convinced that Lucius could “see through matter.” That is, a person in a clairvoyant state, with all his physical senses quiescent, can discern in another person every-state or condition ordinarily coming within the range of the five bodily senses. He was compelled to believe this, for the descriptions which Lucius gave proved it. He therefore adopted this as his point of view, namely, that the human spirit can intuitively see through matter.
His next interest, he tells us, in an article written in 1861, was to become a clairvoyant himself, that is, without mesmerism. For, having become convinced that “matter was only a medium for our wisdom to act through,” he saw how matter could be transformed by attaching one’s interest to higher ideas. This meant ridding the mind of all beliefs and opinions tending to create miseries and troubles, and dedicating the clairvoyant or intuitive powers to the welfare of the sick. Through his natural state, he tells us, as a being of flesh and blood, he could still feel as a patient felt. But in his higher selfhood or intuitive state he was governed by the spiritual ideal, “the scientific man.” As this spiritual state can be attained by cultivating “the spiritual senses,” which function independently of matter and see through matter, it is not of course necessary to make the body quiescent through the use of mesmerism.
Turning again to the period of his lectures, we find Quimby also stating his conviction that Lucius took his clue directly from the minds of others, by thought-reading followed by clairvoyance, and never from his own fancies. For Quimby found that the results attained through Lucius varied with his own progress. Thus the fears and notions which Quimby entertained as long as he believed in magnetism passed with his change of view. Instead of working himself up to the point of transferring fancied electricity to Lucius, he put all his efforts into creating a mental picture for Lucius to see in his mind. In either case it was plain that Lucius saw or did what was commanded when he gained the attention of his subject. Until the subject gave his full attention, nothing resulted. So in the case of clairvoyance, the subject would see any object to which his attention was called. If a failure occurred, the fault was the operator’s not that of the subject.
[This is the second installment of a four part series originally written and published as Chapter V. THE PRINCIPLES DISCOVERED, of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser. THOMAS Y. CROWELL COMPANY, 1921.—editor.]
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Today, we are moving forward in the next phase of Phineas Quimby’s personal development, with the second installment of The Principles Discovered, as outlined in chapter 5 of The Quimby Manuscripts, by Horatio W. Dresser in 1921.
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Horatio Willis Dresser, the first child of Julius Alphonso Dresser and Annetta Gertrude (Seabury) Dresser, was born on January 15, 1866, or the day before Quimby died. His parents first met, fell in love and then married while they were each patients of Dr. Quimby during the years of his healing practice in Portland, Maine.
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