On hallucinations: a History and Explanation
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On hallucinations: a History and Explanation, Alexandre J. F. Brierre De Boismont, 1859 AD
MD Paris, leading French psychiatrist
On hallucinations: a history and explanation . . . Translated from the French by Robert T. Hulme, 1859 London, Renshaw (pp. 455) pp. 397--423
THE TREATMENT OF HALLUCINATIONS
Until of late years the treatment of hallucinations in France had not attracted the special attention of medical men. This was the natural consequence of the universal opinion that they were merely a symptom of insanity. It should be borne in mind that, since a hallucination is generally a complication of some one of the different forms of insanity, what we shall say with regard to the treatment will often apply to both disorders.This distinction is particularly perceptible in the means which are employed against the false idea. In the important works of Ferriar, Hibbert, Esquirol, and Jacobi, on hallucinations, there is no chapter devoted to their treatment. The French author assures us that they do not require any particular method; he adds, however, that they ought to be taken into our serious consideration when deciding upon the moral and intellectual treatment of the insane and the therapeutic agents which are to be used. The English authors have not been more explicit, nor does the German philosopher suggest anything new in this respect. Such was the state of the science when M. Leuret, having carefully considered what had been done previously, declared that hallucinations, which had hitherto been left entirely to the resources of nature, were amenable to treatment, and capable of being cured, and that this desirable result could be easily obtained by resolutely opposing and continually pursuing them until they gave way .. .
The treatment of hallucinations may be arranged under two heads — the first comprising the physical, the second the moral means.
SECTION I.—PHYSICAL TREATMENT.
The intimate connection which exists between the two constituent principles of man, shows that each may be affected in its turn, and that it is therefore necessary to make use of such therapeutic agents as are applicable to both of them. Let us take some examples : a person gives himself up to the immoderate use of fermented liquors, and becomes subject to hallucinations; sometimes confinement is sufficient to effect a cure, but frequently it is also necessary to have recourse to opium, bleeding, baths, &c. Another person imagines he sees the devil, and reasoning with the patient, the use of ridicule or the douche, will succeed in banishing the false sensation. Generally speaking, it will be necessary to have recourse to both these modes of treatment, in consequence of the reciprocal action of the two principles. A person experiences some great misfortune, which he attributes to one of his enemies; soon afterwards the figure of the latter, of some fantastic form, makes its appearance; he no longer sleeps; his blood, to use a common expression, becomes heated ; the secretions and excretions are deranged. In this case, ought not the employment of physical remedies to precede that of moral agents? What reason teaches us, experience confirms.
The Academician Nicolai was subject to congestions, which required the employment of leeches, but which he had neglected to make use of, and the consequence was, he was constantly surrounded by all kinds of phantoms. He is then bled, and the phantoms disappear.
Example 127. A lodging-house keeper, with a strong constitution and sanguine temperament, who from time to time gave way to drink, was brought to the establishment of Madame Marcel de Sainte Colombe, of which I was at the time the medical attendant. His countenance was inflamed, his eyes bright and wild. He told me in the most excited manner that his aunt had let a part of his house to some exhibitors of wild beasts—this was not true—which had greatly annoyed him. "One of them." he said, " insulted my wife on three different occasions ; this exasperated me, and I threw myself on the scoundrel; but he changed himself into a horse, and gradually diminished to my sight; but this did not hinder me from killing him."
The man was very violent, and it was necessary to place him in a strait-waistcoat; I had his head shaved, thirty leeches applied along the course of the fagittal suture, and on the next day he was placed in the bath. At the end of two days he was better. To the use of these means was added that of purgatives alternately with the baths. Eight days after his admission he had quite recovered the use of his faculties.
Under the head of Hypochondriasis we have reported the case of a teacher of German, who imagined he was under magnetic influences, and that a magnetizer had been placed in his abdomen. In order to divert his ideas, and at the same time cure the intestinal disorder, I applied two large blisters to his legs. His countenance, which had hitherto been melancholy, soon assumed a more happy expression; he ceased to talk about his erroneous sensations, and by directing his attention to intellectual occupations, his cure was completed.
One of our lunatics persuaded himself that several men had entered his room for the purpose of ill-treating him. Enraged at this idea, he defied them, and called out loudly for his knife, in order to destroy his persecutors. The treatment consisted of purgatives and baths. A month after his entrance he was restored to his family, cured.
Mademoiselle C. became insane after a disappointment in love. She continually saw her lover about her; she saw him in the heavens and in the clouds, and bestowed upon him the most endearing names; he spoke to her, and she replied. Every day this lady was placed in the bath, where she remained four, five, and six hours at a time, receiving the water on her head in the form of continued irrigation ; on the fourth day she had no longer any hallucinations, and at the end of a week she was quite recovered.
Bleedings are useful under some circumstances, but they should not be excessive. Without referring to the serious consequences mentioned by Pinel, and the truth of which all who have had charge of the insane will confirm,' experience proves that the bleeding may be carried on until the patient faints, without producing any alteration in his ideas.
Example 128. A physician who had hallucinations of sight and hearing, requested Esquirol to bleed him. For a long time Esquirol refused; but at length, overcome by his importunity, he consented. Scarcely had the patient been left, when he tore off the bandage, and filled a chamber utensil and a tin basin with his blood, besides a considerable quantity which fell on the floor; feeling faint, he laid himself on his bed, the blood still flowing from him. When assistance arrived, he was bloodless. He was ultimately restored, but had become blind. In spite of his anaemic condition and the loss of sight, his insanity remained unaltered. The hallucinations preserved the same character, they were as vivid, and lasted just as long as they had done previously. Esqnirol: Det Mdladiet Mentalet, vol. i. p. 183.
t Van Helmont: Demens Idea, 39 oper. p. 175.
The cure of hallucinations has sometimes been effected by violent means, which were a disgrace to humanity, but of which, nevertheless, there are numerous examples related by authors.
Example 129. A carpenter of Anvers imagined that during the night he saw a number of horrible spectres. The terror which they caused him was so great, that he became insane. He was taken to the tomb of the virgin St. Dymphrea, who had the reputation of curing the possessed. The carpenter remained there for the space of a year, and was submitted to the various modes of treatment which were made use of in mania. But at the end of that time, as the money for his maintenance was not paid, he was sent home tied in a cart. During the journey, the invalid having broken his chains, jumped from the vehicle into a deep piece of water by the roadside. With some difficulty his conductors succeeded in rescuing him, and placed him half dead in the vehicle. This cured him, and he lived for eighteen years afterwards, quite recovered from his insanity, triumphed, says Ferriar, over his resolution, by administering to him an emetic along with his food. (An emetic or a purgative will sometimes banish the hallucinations.)
A lunatic believed he had swallowed the devil, and he still remained in his stomach. For several days he refused to obey the calls of nature, for fear the devil should recover his liberty.
The use of baths, combined with the douche or continued irrigation, deserves especial notice. In the hands of M. Leuret, the douche has more than once convinced the hallucinated of the false nature of his ideas. Other practitioners have not been so successful.
Under certain regulations, this method provides us with useful resources. If the hallucination is of recent date, if the invalid is timid and fearful, the impression produced by a column of water may instantly change the nature of his ideas. Should the false sensations continue after the use of persuasive and other gentle means in a person who has been accustomed to have his wishes fulfilled, and who is endowed with a moderate amount of energy, then, in such a case, the application of the douche may effect a cure. The circumstances are not so favorable when the hallucination occurs in a person of energy and determination, and has lasted for a long time. It is the same where it is complicated with insanity, especially in melancholy monomania with a tendency to suicide. The hallucinations of mania, of dementia, and of general paralysis will seldom be treated successfully by means of the douche. In a certain number of cases, the use of the douche will aggravate the symptoms instead of benefiting them.
We have substituted for the douche, continued irrigation. The water is allowed to fall, for hours together, in a thin stream, or in a number of streams like those from a watering-pot, on the head of the patient while seated in the bath. The effect produced by this continued sprinkling has, first, the advantage of keeping up a constant cooling effect on the organ which is congested, without causing those injurious results which have been laid to the charge of ice. In the second place, it harasses the patient, so that he will often ask for pardon. What others have stated, as regards the instantaneous action of the douche, we have also observed from the use of continued irrigation. After this treatment has been persevered in for some hours, the patients have begged of us to remove them from the bath, admitting they were previously deranged, that what they had said was nonsense, but that now they were completely cured.
Example130. A young female who had become hallucinated after her confinement, imagined she saw before her a large figure clothed in white, which followed her everywhere. Her medical attendant applied leeches to the neck, and ordered her several baths. This treatment produced no amendment; the patient became more violent, and fears were entertained she would throw herself out of the window. She was then brought to my establishment. As soon as she arrived she was taken to the bath. The water was allowed to fall on her head for two hours. At the end of that time I visited her. " Sir," she said, " let me come out of this ; the water which falls on my head like a shower of rain is unbearable. You have done it because I was out of my mind; I know it; but, thank God, I am now in my right senses. Do not leave me here any longer." Before granting her request, I asked her what had become of the figure in white. " It exists no longer," she replied; "it was an illusion produced by my milk fever." The lady having replied rationally to all my questions, I took her to her apartment, and in eight hours she was restored to her friends.
Things do not always turn out so fortunately, and we have often known the erroneous impressions to return after a momentary cessation. In other cases, the false sensation disappears, but the insanity remains. We have, however, found such beneficial results from the use of irrigation, that we constantly employ it; and the cures we have affected by combining it with baths of considerable duration, have been so numerous and rapid, that we consider we have rendered an important service to the therapeutics of mental diseases in pointing out the circumstances under which this treatment should be pursued.
The facts which we have just related can scarcely leave a doubt as to the efficacy of physical agents; in the majority of the cases, they act by quieting the symptoms of excitement. It is because sufficient attention has not been paid to this period of the disease that such contradictory opinions have been maintained. When the excitement has passed away, either owing to the use of remedies or from the lapse of time, then the greatest advantages are to be derived from moral treatment.
Before entering upon this part of our subject, it is necessary to say a few words on the Datura stramonium, which was proposed some years back by Dr. Moreau of Tours, the medical attendant upon the insane at the Bicetre. This medicine was employed in the case of hallucinated persons, who, if they could not be termed incurable, were in a more or less hopeless condition. Seven were cured, and three experienced only a temporary amendment. The cures were accomplished in from four to seven days to a month, by means of graduated doses of the sweetened extract of stramonium, beginning with one decigramme (1.5432 grains) night and morning, increasing the dose, in the course of five, eight, or fifteen days, to three decigrammes, made up into a drink, of which a tablespoonful was taken every hour. At the end of twenty-four hours the doses were greatly increased, one decigramme of the extract being administered every hour, until its physiological effects were evident. According to Dr. Moreau, these generally showed themselves after the administration of three decigrammes. Great care is required in the administration of large doses of the Datura. The patient should never be left, in order that the effects of the remedy may be watched, and not allowed to pass beyond the normal limits. Journal det Connaissancet Medicale t Pratiques, p. 134. Fev. 1842. Analyse de M. Bouchardat.
The necessity of these precautions show that this remedy can only be used with great reserve. Another objection is, that the remedy has not produced the same fortunate results in the hands of others as it did with M. Morean.
Some years ago, M. Mitivie attempted to treat hallucinations by means of electricity. M. Baillarger subsequently reverted to the use of this agent: it was found, however, to be exceedingly painful and difficult in its application, and was therefore abandoned.
Drugs may sometimes cure hallucinations; not by means of their therapeutic action, but by breaking the chain of ideas which possess the mind of the patient.
Example 131. A student of Berlin, who had always enjoyed good health, returned home one evening in a state of great alarm ; his countenance was pale, his eyes had a wild expression, and he declared he should die in six and thirty hours. He went to bed, sent for a clergyman to reconcile him to God, and wrote his will. These serious symptoms alarmed his companions. Hufeland was requested to visit the invalid, but his reasonings had no effect upon him. This celebrated physician then ordered a large dose of opium, and so produced a deep sleep, which lasted until the fatal period had passed. On his waking up, the day and the hour was shown to the patient, and it was thus proved to him he had been under the influence of his imagination. When the young man had become thoroughly convinced, quiet in his mind, and restored to his usual state, he related that, as he was leaving the town at the close of the day, he saw a death's head, and heard a voice, which said to him, "You will die in six and thirty hours."
The principal physical agents which are used in the treatment of hallucinations, consist of general and local blood-letting, of prolonged general baths, either by themselves or combined with the douche, with the bath of irrigation, or with purgatives; occasionally emetics, narcotics, and anti-spasmodic; and, lastly, external revulsions, by means of blisters, moxas, and setons.Many other remedies have been extolled, but we consider it would be useless to enumerate them. Manual labor is often a very useful auxiliary. Persons are sometimes brought into asylums whose insanity seems to depend upon insufficient nutrition. Should this be the cause of the hallucination, a nutritious regimen must be prescribed. Lastly, it is most important carefully to examine all the organs of the body, and to ascertain that their functions are properly performed.
SECTION H.—MORAL TREATMENT.
When the excitement has been subdued, the employment of moral means—which consists essentially in giving rise to fresh impressions, reawakening the affections, and in directing the attention to new objects—may be productive of the greatest good. The choice of these different means must necessarily vary according to the education, the disposition, and the kind of insanity of the hallucinated. Means which will succeed in a person of intelligence will be useless in one of moderate understanding. The artisan cannot be addressed in the same terms as the man of education. A woman is accessable to consolations which would have no influence on the opposite sex. The employment of moral means requires intelligence, a knowledge of mankind, great tact, and, at the same time, a large amount of perseverance. Knowing how largely the ideas are concerned in the production of hallucinations, it is easily understood that we must revert to them in order to cure the false sensation which torments the hallucinated.
After a judicious course of medicine has tranquilized the patient, but the hallucinations are not changed, although he talks less about them, then it is that the medical man should avail himself of all the resources he is acquainted with to combat the idea, to weaken and erterminate it, sometimes by direct, sometimes by indirect means, but almost always by a happy mixture of kindness and firmness.
Let us apply these principles to a particular case.
Example 132. Mademoiselle Claire, aged forty, a brunette, tall, thin, and of a nervous temperament, had always enjoyed good health. She had never shown any symptom of insanity, when it was perceived that for the last eight months her ideas had become somewhat defective. The monthly periods were irregular. Two years previously she had had a profuse uterine hemorrhage, brought on by fatigue. She was placed in my charge in 1838.
When I questioned Mademoiselle Claire, she told me she had committed every imaginable crime. " I am," she said " the beast mentioned in the Apocalypse, which is to appear in 1840. God has forsaken me. Satan has appeared to me; he has entered into my body, and will compel me to traverse the whole of Paris." There was no evil in the world of which she was not the cause. Any remonstrance only made her cry out that she was lost . When I endeavored to show her that it was hardly possible she could have committed such crimes, she would reply, that if she had not already committed them, she should do so. Her appetite was good, her functions were properly performed; she was thin, and of a yellow tint; her breath was bad, and the tongue white; her sleep was short, and broken by shrill cries, which resounded through the house. The cries were produced by visions of hell and the devil, by the threats which the evil spirits held out to her, and by the fear of eternal misery.
Mademoiselle Claire avoided me whenever she saw me; for, although I manifested great interest in her, I often rallied her on the singularity of her ideas. "How is it possible," I said, "that a lady with your correct notions can suppose you have seen the devil ?" Then I would leave, after having endeavored to infuse a doubt in her mind.
At other times I would content myself by observing, "all my arguments are useless; they fail to convince you. Those who have attended upon the insane have long been aware that to hope to convince a lunatic is to be as bad as the patient himself. " But I am not insane." Then she would follow me, and endeavor to prove the truth of her sensations. I would go away laughing, without saying anything more. Sometimes I would exclaim against her pretensions of having committed so many crimes: it must arise either from pride or insanity. Again she would bring forward arguments to show me she was in possession of her reason. I would listen to her or make no answer, according to the state in which I found her.
To subdue the physical excitement, I ordered her some baths, and gave her cooling drinks. Her hallucinations continued without any cessation, although she avoided speaking about them for fear of my laughing at her. One night she was alone with my daughter, at that time ten years of age. "Do you not see the flames which are coming out of my mouth?" she cried. " They surround me—I am lost!" My daughter, laughing, told her she was talking nonsense. She sighed, and from that moment spoke no more about the flames.
Mademoiselle Claire had intervals of repose, after which the hallucinations would seize her anew. At those times advice and remonstrance had no effect upon her: only, when she was too much harassed, she became less communicative and dissembled.
As Mademoiselle Claire was at the critical time of life, I proposed a blister on her arm, to which she consented. Amongst her other delirious propensities, she had the habit of making a general confession to the person with whom she conversed. I attributed the derangement of the intellect in this case to the change of life, and I told the patient my opinion in this respect. "None of your relatives," I said, "have been insane. Your reason has never been disturbed previously; all your illness depends upon this critical time."
Mademoiselle Claire, although she would not admit she was insane, was fully aware that she was a great sufferer, and, like many others, said she should never get better. I perceived that the idea I had suggested made an impression on her mind ; and from that time I continually referred to it, combining it with other moral resources which I had at my command.
I bestowed great attention upon her; I praised her understanding and her judgment, and at the same time expressed my surprise that a person so happily organized should give way to such ideas. I often laughed at her about her devils. "You may laugh," she said, "but for all that they exist." Then she would laugh herself at the jokes I had passed upon her. These conversations were agreeable to her. I called her self-esteem into play ; I engaged her attention, and appealed to her good sense. This plan, which I perseveringly followed, ultimately produced a happy diversion in her ideas. When there was a marked improvement, I allowed her to go out and visit her friends. These visits sometimes made her melancholy. The persons whom she had seen were lost. These lamentations happened especially when she had passed through the public gardens, and had seen the luxury and brilliant dresses of the company. The city seemed to her the modern Babylon, with all its iniquities. By degrees her ideas became less melancholy ; she went out more frequently, and, when she was out, occupied herself with the affairs of life.
These results were not obtained without alternations from better to worse. Thus Mademoiselle Claire, after having been lively, would again become melancholy, and refuse to go out. Her amendment was especially characterized by the desire which she showed of being employed. She commenced working for several hours in the day. Her cries occurred at longer intervals ; she no longer avoided society, and would enter into conversation for a considerable time.
Two months after her admission she had a relapse; she was constantly in tears, groaned and declared the devil was going to take her away, because she had received the communion while laboring under mortal sin. Nevertheless, she continued to improve, and we watched with, the greatest interest the struggle between the reason and insanity, but with every hope that the first would be triumphant.
Mademoiselle Claire was at this time in a state indicating that the false idea was shaken to its foundation. She smiled when we joked her about it, and she determined to go to church; but when she arrived at the entrance she declared she could not pass in, for she felt as if fastened to the spot; and as no reasonings could induce her to enter, she returned. By degrees she became more and more tranquil, applied herself to needlework, and now frequently visited her friends and relations.
At the end of four months, Mademoiselle Claire was able to write and work, and in two months more this lady's convalescence had so far advanced, that I persuaded her to leave, there being no longer any doubt of her getting well. Mademoiselle Claire offered some objections; she was much excited on the morning of her departure, and was fearful her disease would return. When she had passed the door and had entered the carriage, she felt better and seemed more happy.
We subsequently watched with the greatest interest the mental condition of Mademoiselle Claire. Her letters informed us that she had been to church, and that she felt quite well. Five years after her health continued perfectly good.
This case, which we have selected from several others, is sufficient to enable the reader to appreciate our method of treatment. With the exception of some baths and a blister, no use was made of physical agents; but I am fully convinced that the moral treatment, which I followed with perseverance for several months, powerfully contributed to the restoration of the reason.
An unforeseen event, the sudden comparison of what actually exists with the belief of the patient, is sufficient, under some circumstances, to destroy the hallucinations.
The governor whose case is detailed at page 77, exclaimed, on seeing the Cossacks in the Jardin des Plantes, "Enough—I am cured!" Another patient of Esquirol awaited the coming of the Messiah. After a long conversation, she made a written agreement with her medical man, in which she engaged to admit she was insane if the Messiah did not come on the 25th of March. On the day fixed the Messiah did not appear. The patient performed her promise with a good grace, returned to her ordinary habits, and the restoration of her reason was completed in a very short time.
Example 133. A lady affected with melancholia after her lying-in, began, after a long struggle between sanity and insanity, to believe she had been guilty of crimes for which she was to be publicly executed, that her infamy had occasioned the death of her husband, and that his spirit haunted her. It was her custom every evening to fix herself at the window, and to gaze on a white post, which seemed to her to be the ghost of her husband. Several weeks having passed without change or amendment, her husband thought it would be better that he should see her; for, although he had been told that her removal from home was essential to her recovery, he reasonably imagined that the best way of proving himself to be alive was to show himself. He was told that, even if he did show himself, his wife might persist in believing him to be a ghost; but he was obstinate, and the medical attendants gave way to him. The effect, as afterwards stated by the husband, was very striking. "As soon as I entered the drawing-room where she usually spent the day, she ran into a corner, hid her face in her handkerchief, then turned round, looked me in the face, one moment appearing delighted that I was alive, but immediately afterwards assumed a hideous expression of countenance, and screamed out that I was dead and come to haunt her. This was exactly what Dr. had anticipated, and for some minutes I thought all was lost.
Finding that persuasion and argument only irritated and confirmed her in her belief, I desisted, and tried to draw off her attention to other subjects. It was some time since she had either seen me or the children. I put her arm under mine, took her into the garden, and began to relate what had occurred to me and them since we parted. This excited her attention ; she soon became interested, and I entered with the utmost minuteness and circumstantiality into the affairs of the nursery, her home, and her friends. I now felt that I was gaining ground ; and when I thought I had complete possession of her mind, I ventured to ask her, in a joking manner, whether I was not very communicative for a ghost. She laughed. I immediately drew her from the subject, and again engaged her attention with her children and friends. The plan succeeded beyond my hope. I dined, spent the evening with her, and left her at night perfectly herself again." This happy result was permanent; and whatever general objections may be made to such trials, it is impossible not to be deeply impressed with the fact that they sometimes succeed. Conolly: Oput cit. p. 402. We witnessed a precisely similar case in the establishment of M. Esquirol.
The method of M. Lenret must necessarily be noticed here; for, although we have already pointed out its principal features, we consider that an example taken from his work is necessary to make it thoroughly understood.
Example 134. A., aged forty-two, a carpenter, had drunk freely and was of an impatient and excitable disposition. He was brought to the Bicetre, 18th June, 1839, suffering from various hallucinations. He was treated by the application of cuppings to the neck, baths, with affusions, foot-baths, and lemonade. Afterwards, he was ordered to work, but this he obstinately declined doing. The douche was given to him several times, and he promised he would work, but failed to do so.
On the 12th of September, M. Leuret, who was now in attendance, questioned A. as to whether he intended to work. This he refused to do.
A. was immediately conducted to the bath, and placed under the douche. M. Leuret then interrogated him, and desired him to relate what had happened to him since he had been in the Bicetre.
After having listened for some time to all the statements of A., M. Leuret spoke to him as follows :
" Now, A., I am going to tell you what I think of all you have told me : there is not a word of truth in anything you have mentioned ; all you have been telling me is sheer nonsense, and it is because you are insane you have been placed in the Bicetre."
Here A. replied:
" Monsieur Leuret, I am not insane; I cannot help seeing the persons who are under my bed and in the subterranean passages, because they are there. You maintain that all I have been saying is nonsense: I wish it was so, but I know what I see and hear. After what you have said, is there, then, no hope of my getting out of this place ?"
" You will go out, but on one condition. Listen to what I am going to tell you. You will only go out when you are no longer insane, and this is what you must do in order to show you are not: you must no longer look at the sun or the stars; you must not imagine that there are subterranean passages beneath your bed, because there are none; you must not believe in the voices which come from these passages, because there are neither voices nor persons speaking in these passages, nor do they exist . In addition to this, you must never refuse to work, whatever may be the kind of labor you are ordered to do. If you wish me to be satisfied with you, you must be perfectly obedient, because all that I require of you is perfectly reasonable. Will you promise me that you will not think any more of your follies? Will you promise me not to speak of them again ? "
" If you wish me to speak no more about these things, because you say they are follies, I will not speak of them."
" Promise me you will think of them no more."
The patient had some difficulty in deciding on this point, but being strongly urged replied:
"No, sir, I will not think of them."
"Promise me you will work every day, when you are desired."
The patient hesitated, and answered reluctantly.
" Since you have several times been silent on this point, and as I cannot depend upon your promises, you will have the douche, and I shall continue to give it you every day until you come and ask me to allow you to work, and until you admit of your own accord that all you have said is mere nonsense."
The douche was given; it became extremely distressing to him, and he soon gave in.
" you wish me to work; I will do so. You wish me not to think about what I have told you, because it is all imaginary; I will not do so. If anybody asks me about those things, I will say, ' They were not true, they were follies which I had got into my head.'"
"Will you go and work to-day ?" "Since you compel me, I must go."
" Do you go willingly ?" " I will go, because you compel me."
" You ought to say, that you perceive it is to your advantage to go and work. Will you go willingly, yes or no ?" (Hesitated—the douche.) After a short interval: " Yes, sir, all I have said to you is nonsense; I will go and work."
" Have you been insane ?" " No, I have not been insane."
" Have you not been insane ?" " At least I believe not." (Douche.)
" Have you been insane?" "Am I mad because I have had imaginations, because I have seen and heard it?"
"Yes." " Well then, sir, it was insanity. There were neither the men, the women, nor the companions I spoke of, because they originated in insanity."
"When you imagine you hear anything of this kind, what do you say ?" "I say that it is nonsense, and I will not listen to it."
" I wish you would come tomorrow and thank me for having rid you of these insane ideas." " I promise you I will work, and thank you for having relieved me of my ideas."
"I wish you would go and work to-day." "I promise you I will go."
On the evening of the same day, A. received a douche for not having gone to work during the day.
September 13. This morning, A. went to M. Leuret and thanked him for having freed him from his insane ideas. He awaited the hour of work in order that he might be allowed to go out. Since yesterday, he has neither seen nor heard anything.
September 14. A. laughs at his previous notions. M. Leuret tried to entrap him, but A. always eluded these attempts, remaining convinced that his ideas had been erroneous. For several days M. Leuret renewed these attempts; but always with the same result.
September 25. There can be no doubt that A. is effectually cured. This man, previous to the last mode of treatment, was thin and melancholy, now he is stout and looks happy. He sleeps tolerably well. He is on good terms with everybody, "he had believed he saw. he had believed he heard" ; such were the terms in which he expressed himself, when questioned about his hallucinations. A. requests to be allowed to go out; this is granted him on October 3rd—that is to say, twenty days after the long interview of September 12.
"The cure of A.," says M. Leuret, "is undoubtedly owing, first, to the douche, and next to the pains which I took to make him speak upon all the subjects of his delirium, and to compel him to answer me rationally. It is necessary not to appear satisfied until there is, or appears to be, no reservation in what the patient says. If I had been content with A.'s evasive answers, the patient would have dissimulated, and probably I should never have succeeded. I did not humor his self-esteem; I required him to pronounce the name of madman, in order, if possible, to render the idea of insanity inseparable from that of his disease, giving to this its proper name, so that he might reject it.
" I often lay traps for those lunatics who seem reasonable after the douche ; I return to them, pretend to regret the objections I had made to them, and the pain I had caused them ; if they give way, I then point out to them how they have failed, so that they may be constantly on their guard. Since, however, my object in this kind of contest is not to punish, but to cure, it must be fully understood that I take care that these stratagems are strictly proportioned to the intelligence of the patients upon whom I use them." (Leuret: Du Traitement Moral de la Folie, p. 186, 1 vol. in-8. Paris)
This interesting case, of which we have given the most important particulars, seems to us a strong argument in favor of the opinion we have previously expressed, as to the difficulty of applying indiscriminately the treatment of M. Leuret to the cases which occur in private asylums. Educated persons, who have been accustomed to reflect, to compare, and to have their wishes fulfilled, will not so readily give up the ideas which possess them. Serious consequences might result from telling them they were mad, especially if it was attempted to compel them to admit the fact.
Three years ago we were consulted by a clergyman, whose mania consisted in believing he was a bishop. While under the douche he seemed to recognize his error, and was permitted to leave the Bicetre. These were his own words: " I was convinced I was in error, because there was no other means of escaping from the punishment of the douche, and my protestations were useless in a place where the medical man is all-powerful. The receiving of the douche in no way convinced me that what I said was not true." In our own practice we have had recourse to intimidation, and behind our backs the patients would say, "We give way because there is nothing else to be done against violence, but we are fully convinced of the truth of our ideas.")
We will only make one more observation, which is, that it is not always without danger that we can force a patient to recognize his error.
Example 135. A man, named Vincent, imagined he was so tall that it was impossible for him to pass out of the door of his apartment; his medical man recommended that force should be used. The recommendation was followed, but it was attended with a fatal result; for, in passing through the doorway, Vincent cried out that they were lacerating him and breaking his bones. The impression was so strong that he died some days after, reproaching his attendants with having been his murderers. Marcus Donatos: Hist. Med. Var. lib. ii. cap. 1.
It is, therefore, a fact, which is now added to science, that hallucinations may be treated with success. So far our opinion is in accordance with that of M. Leuret, but we differ as to its mode of execution. We do not consider that the treatment of hallucinations should be confined to the employment of moral means; sometimes it is necessary to have recourse to physical agents, sometimes to moral influences, and sometimes to a combination of both these means. By the employment of this mixed treatment, in accordance with the etiology and symptomatology of hallucinations, we shall obtain a number of permanent cures,
which may not have the brilliant appearance of those effected by the method of M. Leuret, but which will at least have the advantage of not wounding the sensibilities of the patient.
In our previous examination we have divided the hallucinations into several classes. It is evident that the treatment we have now pointed out will require to be modified in accordance with the circumstances under which the hallucinations are developed, and the special diseases with which they are associated. Lastly, there are many cases which will require a different plan to be pursued.
FIRST DIVISION—MORAL CAUSES.
CAUSES OF HALLUCINATIONS.
When considering the causes—before passing to those sources of hallucinations which are capable of being appreciated, that is to say, to the secondary causes—it must be borne in mind that a hallucination is composed of two distinct elements, the sensible sign, and the mental conception. These are mysteriously united, like the body and the soul, and are a perfect emblem of man's nature. The hallucination which is the material embodiment, a daguerreotype of the idea, is only the bodily portion, while the mental conception is the psychical portion. It is by defining these two elements that we must endeavor to seek for the cause of this singular phenomenon.
We have seen that fevers and many other diseases favor the production of hallucinations; but, at the same time, hallucinations also occur in persons of sound mind, and who are in good health. These, and such cases as the one which follows, can only be explained by a particular condition of the nervous system.
* The causes of hallucinations so closely resemble those of illusions that we have not considered it necessary to separate them.
** The primary cause of this and all other phenomena will always escape us. It is this which constitutes the difference between the finite and the infinite, toward which we constantly tend, often in spite of ourselves, but which all oar endeavors after knowledge will never dissipate in this life.
Example 101. Madame the Viscountess A., whom I attended for many years, was one day conversing with me about the apparitions recorded in the Scriptures, and in which she fully believed. "An event," she said, "happened some twelve years back, which satisfied me of the existence of those visions to which science gives the name of hallucinations. I received a letter from my son-in-law, the Count 0., informing me of the severe illness of my daughter, who was many leagues away from me. The letter contained nothing which led me to anticipate a fatal termination. On entering my room—it was about nine o'clock in the morning— thinking upon the state of my daughter, I heard a voice, in a feeling tone, utter these words : ' Do you love me /' I felt no surprise, and immediately replied in a loud voice, ' Lord, Thou knowest that I place my whole trust in Thee, and that I loce you with all my soul.' The voice then added, 'Do you (jive her to me?' I felt a thrill of dread pass through me, but immediately recovering myself, I replied, ' However painful may be the sacrifice, Thy holy will be done !' I then sank on my couch in a state of great depression. The next day a second letter from my son-inlaw informed me of my dear child's death."
The Viscountess was a person endowed with an excellent understanding, a devout Catholic, but without bigotry or fanaticism. The hallucination took place in broad daylight, when she was in excellent health, and when her thoughts were concentrated on the illness of her daughter. Bred up in the Christian faith, and having recourse to prayer in all her afflictions, she felt no surprise at the voice she heard. When Madame A. related this anecdote to me, twelve years had passed away, but her belief in the reality of the event was as firm as on the day of its occurrence. This instance is to us a most convincing proof of the way in which the apparitions of the Middle Ages are to be explained, and of the erroneousuess of that system which regards hallucinations as an invariable indication of insanity.
In a medical point of view, the nervous and circulatory systems undoubtedly perform a very important part in the production of hallucinations ; but the difficulty is, how do they act ? We ore entirely ignorant of this even in the ordinary operations of the mind. 'We only know that various stimulants, acting on the blood and on the nervous system, give greater brilliancy and vivacity to the ideas, which simply means that there is a greater influx of blood to the brain. We are neither acquainted with the agent which produces this excitement, where it operates, nor what are the changes which it produces. Must we not then admit a predisposition—that unknown something—which in one person gives rise to apoplexy, in another to inflammation, and in a third to softening of the brain, or some other form of disease ?
Thus, then, under the influence of a moral or physical cause, is produced an excited state of the nervous and vascular systems, which give rise to hallucinations, without, however, its being possible to establish an intimate connection between the two series of events.
Having determined the part which is performed by the organic element, we next enter upon the consideration of' the mental, where we must ultimately se"ek for the cause of the singular phenomena of hallucinations. Such an inquiry is beset by insurmountable difficulties, unless we first establish certain data to guide us in our inquiry. Thus we shall devote a first chapter to the examination of the action of social and individual influences, and of moral and physical causes, in the production of hallucinations ; and in a second, we shall endeavor to penetrate more deeply into their mode of formation, by examining them in relation to psychology, to history, to morality, and to religion.
The causes of hallucinations should not be confounded with those of insanity, as was formerly the case. It is true, the majority of the insane are subject to hallucinations; but it is equally certain, that they may occur by themselves. Even when the hallucinations are combined with insanity, it is not always difficult to recognize their origin. Lastly, they may be conveniently classed into those which coexist with a sound state of mind, and into those which are accompanied by disease.
FIRST DIVISION—MORAL CAUSES.
Hallucinations constantly appearing in mental diseases, & priori, the division into moral and physical causes ought to be equally applicable to them.
A circumstance, however, which we have pointed out in our Memoirr. sur I'Influence de la Civilization, in our opinion, decides the question in favor of moral causes. In fact, epidemic hallucinations, such as vampirism, ecstasy, and the visions observed in the different forms of plague, are not susceptible of any other explanation. In these cases, the hallucinations are transmitted by means of the ideas which exist in society, or have been inculcated by education and by the force of example, that is, by a true moral contagion, just in the same way as thousands of men will fly to arms at the command of a celebrated general, or as a multitude will massacre a defenseless wretch, hurried away by the ravings of a madman.
The two-fold action of the moral on the physical shows that hallucinations are amenable to the common law ; but their nature, the part in which they take place, alike indicate the predominance of one of these influences; thus, at the commencement, we stated that a preoccupied state of the mind, the prolonged concentration of the thoughts upon one subject, were conditions highly favorable to the production of hallucinations. The examples which we have taken from poets, philosophers, and the founders of religious creeds, have proved this to be the case: at the same time, we have strongly insisted on the difference between these hallucinations and those which are observed in insanity.
Men who, from a defective education, are constantly in a state of over-excitement, whose organization has become exceedingly susceptible, and in whom the imagination is left without restraint, are subject to hallucinations. Certain imaginations, says a modern writer, are necessarily superstitious; they are generally the most fertile and the most exalted; they prefer fable to reality; and attached by their instincts to the impossible, or at least to the ideal, they find nature too poor for them. They delight in the sombreness of the forest, for it is the abode of phantoms and of genii. The poetic imagination of the ancients encountered such beings in open day; and beneath the influence of their brilliant climate it created phantoms and spirits, and the laughing dryad of the wood. The same thing happens to persons whose minds are always filled with chimeras and fantastic creations.
This love of the marvelous, which justifies the saying, that man is ice to wisdom, but fire to folly, seems to us a fruitful source of hallucinations. When a man has passed ten, fifteen, or twenty years of his life in dreaming, it requires but a slight concentration of the mind upon his favorite subject for its image to become intensified, and suddenly transformed into a hallucination.
The marvelous histories and the tales of terror which were so long the accompaniments of childhood, prepared the mind, when it is naturally sensitive, to become the recipient of all the extravagant creations of the age. But it is said that in the present day this system is completely changed, and children arc brought up with a feeling of contempt for these ancient superstitions. This argument might hold good when speaking of colleges and schools; but those who make use of it, forget the attendants to whom the child is entrusted during its earliest years, and the nursery, with its follies and its tales of horror, in the midst of which the child grows up. I shall content myself with quoting the example of the poet Robert Burns. " I owed much," he says, " to an old woman who resided in the family, remarkable for her ignorance, credulity, and superstition. She had, I suppose, the largest collection in the country of tales and songs concerning
devils, ghosts, fairies, brownies, witches, warlocks, spunkies, kelpies, elf-candles, dead-lights, wraiths, apparitions, cantraips, giants, enchanted towers, dragons, and other trumpery. This cultivated the latent seeds of poetry; but had so strong an effect on my imagination, that to this hour, in my nocturnal rambles, I sometimes keep a sharp look-out in suspicious places ; and though nobody can be more skeptical than I am in such matters, yet it often takes an effort of philosophy to shake off these idle terrors."
Darkness, obscurity, the silence of night, and solitude contribute largely to the development of that feeling of terror which is so unadvisedly infused into the minds of children. They soon perceive hideous forms, which regard them with threatening looks, and the vacant room is peopled with assassins, thieves, demons and monsters of every kind.
This effect of darkness is clearly shown in those who are delirious. At 6rst, their wanderings only occur when the room is darkened, or when they close their eyes; at those times they see a number of horrible figures, who mock or threaten them. When they open their eyes, or when the room is lighted, these phantoms disappear.
Long imprisonment, or complete solitude, are conditions which may give rise to hallucinations. M. Le'on Faucher relates that a prisoner informed MM. de Beaumont and Tocqueville, that during the first months of his solitude he was often haunted by visions for many successive nights—an eagle seemed to perch itself on the foot of his bed. In 1840, in the penitentiary at Philadelphia, there were ten or twelve cases of hallucinations, and from 1837 to 1841 eighty-six prisoners became insane. What can speak more forcibly than this simple statement of facts.* M. Gosse also states that nearly all the persons in a penitentiary in Switzerland became subject to hallucinations under the influence of solitary confinement.*
* De la Reforme da Pritota.—Revue da Deux-Mondet, Fevrier, 1841.
We have already related the history of Benvenuto Cellini; the following is the account which Silvio Pellico, who was confined at Spielberg, gives of the effect it had upon himself: " During those horrible nights my imagination became so excited, that, although awake, the prison-walls seemed to resound, with groans or with suppressed laughter. In my childhood I never believed in sorcerers or spirits; but now these sounds filled me with terror. I could not 'Understand it, and I asked myself whether I was not at the mercy of some malignant and mysterious power.
" Often, with a trembling hand, I took the light and looked if any one was beneath my bed. . . . Seated at my table, I imagined some one pulled my dress; then, that an invisible hand had pushed away my book, which I saw fall upon the ground ; subsequently, that some one had come behind me, and was endeavoring to blow out the light. I would jump up, look around me, uud walk about with an air of defiance, wondering whether 1 was sane or insane.
" Each morning these phantoms vanished, and as long as daylight lasted, I felt so insensible to all these terrors, that it seemed to me impossible that I could be troubled with them again. But at sunset my fears returned, and each succeeding night reproduced the extravagant visions of the preceding.
"These nocturnal apparitions, which during the day I regarded as foolish illusions, became transformed at night into frightful realities, "f
Some of the companions of the unfortunate Silvio Pellico had the same sensations.
When the mind is thus prepared to experience these illusions,
* Bibliotherlw. de Geneve, No. 86. p. 255. Fevrier, 1843. f Silvio Ptjllico : Met Pritons, traduction tie M. Antoine Latonr, p. 127. Paris : 1840.
any accidental circumstance, such as an unusual noise, a particular disposition of the lights and shadows, some accidental arrangement of the drapery of the room, may bestow upon them all the appearance of a reality; such things have, in fact, laid the foundation of a number of marvelous tales. Sir Walter Scott, not long after the death of Byron, was engaged during the darkening twilight of an autumn evening in perusing one of the publications which professed to detail the habits and opinions of the distinguished individual who was now no more. As he had enjoyed the intimacy of Byron to a considerable degree, he was deeply interested in the publication, which contained some particulars relating to himself and other friends. A visitor was sitting in the apartment, who was also engaged in reading. Their sitting-room opened into an entrance hall rather fantastically fitted up with articles of armor, skins of wild beasts, and the like. It was when laying down his book, and passing into this hall, through which the moon was beginning to shine, that Sir Walter saw, right before him, and in a standing posture, the exact representation of his departed friend, whose recollection had been so strongly brought to his imagination. He stopped for a single moment, so as to notice the wonderful accuracy with which fancy had impressed upon the bodily eye the peculiarities of dress and posture of the illustrious poet. Sensible, however, of the delusion, he felt no sentiment save that of wonder at the extraordinary accuracy of the resemblance, and stepped onwards towards the figure, which resolved itself as he approached into the various materials of which it was composed. These were merely a screen, occupied by great coats, shawls, plaids, and such other articles as usually are found in a country entrance hall. *
* Walter Scott: Opus rit. p. 38.
Example 102. Ferriar relates that a gentleman "was benighted while traveling alone in a remote part of the Highlands of Scotland, and was compelled to ask shelter for the evening at a small lonely hut. When he was to be conducted to his bed-room, the landlady observed, with mysterious reluctance, that he would find the window very insecure. On examination, part of the wall appeared to have been broken down to enlarge the opening. After some inquiry, he was told that a peddler, who had lodged in the room a short time before, had committed suicide, and was found hanging behind the door in the morning. According to the superstition of the country, it was deemed improper to remove the body through the door of the house, and to convey it through the window was impossible, without removing part of the wall. Some hints were dropped that the room had been subsequently haunted by the poor man's spirit.
" My friend laid his arms, properly prepared against intrusion of any kind, by the bedside, and retired to rest, not without some degree of apprehension. He was visited in a dream by a frightful apparition, and, awaking in agony, found himself sitting up in bed with a pistol grasped in his right hand. On casting a fearful glance round the room, he discovered by the moonlight a corpse, dressed in a shroud, reared erect against the wall, close by the window. With much difficulty he summoned up resolution to approach the dismal object, the features of which, and the minutest parts of its funeral apparel, he perceived distinctly. He passed one hand over it—felt nothing—and staggered back to the bed. After a long interval, and much reasoning with himself, he renewed his investigation, and at length discovered that the object of his terror was produced by the mooubeams forming a long bright image through the broken window, on which his fancy, impressed by his dream, had pictured with mischievous accuracy the lineaments of a body prepared for interment."*
* Ferriar: Opns cit. p. 24. We have elsewhere insisted upon the characters which separate illusions from hallucinations ; this distinction most not he forgotten.
These remarks clearly prove the influence of moral causes in the production of hallucinations. The following details cannot leave any doubt on this point. Out of 190 cases collected by other writers, or by ourselves in 115, the circumstances which favored the production of the hallucinations were meditations carried to the state of ecstasy, the prevalent notions of the period in regard to religion, philosophy, politics, superstition, &c., imaginative works, concentrations of the thoughts, mental struggles, particular passions, a preoccupied state of mind, troubles, remorse, grief, excessive study, love, hope, jealousy, and anger.
All these causes are not of equal importance, and we shall therefore dwell most upon those which have the greatest influence, and amongst which we rank education, religious belief, the dominant ideas of the age, and the different kinds of civilization, &c.
Education, whose influence we have already referred to in the production of depressing ideas, those fertile sources of physical and moral disorders, may, says M. Cerise, give rise to many false ideas, and under such circumstances there may be ignorance, error, and prejudices; but not necessarily a state of disease. Thus the idea of a man's head, which is associated with the sensational impression produced by the moon, or of a giant's tomb with that of a mountain, are notions more or less poetical, and are perfectly harmless to those who entertain them. It is, however, very different when the impression associated with the idea is extended to the sensational and mental emotions; when, for example, the idea of a frightful spectre is associated from childhood with a particular stone, or a birch-tree, as is the case in some country places.* These erroneous ideas are sources of terror and alarm to those who entertain them.
* Cerise : Det Fonctions et drt Maladies Nervcuset, p. 463. Paris :
The false ideas connected with the sensational and mental emotions, continues the same writer, are those which at all times have had the most marked influence upon hallucinations. Consider how many-popular traditions and superstitions are derived from the ancient forms of worship. When we remember that every age has witnessed some form of superstition, such as magic, astrology, sorcery, divination, omens, the raising of spirits, auguries, auruspices, necromancy, cabalism, oracles, the interpretation of dreams, pythonesses, sibyls, manes, lares, talismans, the presence of demons in flesh and blood, incubi, succubi, familiar lemures, vampirism, possession, lycanthropy, spirits, ghosts, spectres, phantoms, lutins, sylphides, fairies, goblins, the evil eye, enchantments, &c., one cannot refrain from mourning over the facility with which man falls into error, and one is almost induced to believe he was destined to pass his life surrounded by illusions, if we did not trace them to the influence of his education and his neglect of moral and religious principles. ,
We shall confine our observations to some of those causes which have predominated in Europe—such, for instance, as the belief in the power and corporeal nature of demons, in sorcery, in possession, in lycanthropy, in ghosts, vampires, spirits, &c.
The religion of the ancients, which peopled every part of nature with divinities, genii, or demons, and other supernatural beings, naturally led to a belief in the power and embodied nature of spirits. In this respect the doctrines of Plato exercised an important influence, and ruled in the school of Alexandria. Even when its disciples were converted to Christianity, they clung to the genins of Plato, and endeavored to reconcile it to the exact and rigorous philosophy of Christianity. Hence amongst the learned arose abstract and philosophical discussions, errors and heresies. Amongst the mass of the people, who could neither read nor write, this influence showed itself in another form. They could only comprehend such portions of Christianity as were associated with a material form; this they adopted to the letter, and thus the j r nciple of evil became invested with hideous forms, which were transferred to the literature and architecture of the period. The hallucinated of those days were pursued by black devils armed with horns, provided with cleft feet and a long tail, just as in a former age Orestes was tormented by the Eumeuides, and terrified by the hissing of serpents.
Such was the origin of those hallucinations which universally prevailed for several ages, and which still exist in some countries at the present day, especially in Lapland, and of which examples are by no means uucommon in France, as Esquirol, M. Marcario, and we ourselves can testify.
To believe in demons and their assumption of corporeal forms was, at the same time, to admit compacts and relations with them, and their power over man, or, in other words, sorcery, possession, and lycanthropy. This belief in the intervention of demons in human affairs was the source of great moral disorders, which were only increased by the use of the stake and the scaffold. Men, women, and even children persuaded themselves that they had assisted at a witches' meeting, that they were in communication with the devil, and had seen persons enter into unholy compacts with him. Every one pursued the subject according to the bent of his own mind, and soon the foolish fancies of persons weakened by disease or misfortune became repeated on all sides. Judges and ecclesiastics believed in such declarations, and condemned thousands of unhappy victims to their appointed punishment. Even so late as 1664, the good Sir Matthew Hale pronounced the sentence of death upon miserable women accused of witchcr.ift. Sir Thomas Browne himself, who stripped the veil from a number of vulgar errors, when examined at the trial, declared " that the fits were natural, but hightened by the power of the devil cooperating with the malice of witches."*
* See the account of Sir T. Browne, in No. XIV. of the Family Library —Livet of British Physicians, p. 60.
Spinello, the forerunner of Milton, was the first who in those barbarous times invested Lucifer wiih some traits of terrific grandeur ; yet this innovation of his genins did not hinder him from remaining constant to the opinions of his age ; his reason wandered after he had finished the picture of the fallen angels: he imagined he was pursued by the demons he had represented, and died in the midst of his fears.
In 1651, Dr. Pordage, an Englishman, regarded as real occurrences visions which were produced by an over-excited state of his brain. He and his disciples, Jane Leade, Thomas Bromly, Hooker, Sabberton, and others, saw a vision of great magnificence on the occasion of their first meeting together. The powers of hell passed in review before them, seated in chariots, surrounded by dark clouds, and drawn by lions, bears, dragons, and tigers. These were followed by the inferior spirits, who were provided with the ears of a cat or a griffin, and with deformed and distorted limbs. It made no differeuc to the disciples of Pordage whether their eyes were open or shut—the visions were equally distinct. " For," said their master, "we see with the eyes of the spirit, not with those of the body." This case is an example of a number of persons seeing the same hallucination.
Towards the end of the sixteenth century, Dr. Lee declared, apparently with a sincere conviction of its truth, that he was on terms of intimacy with most of the angels. His cotemporary, Dr. Richard Napier, the father of the well-known inventor of logarithms, believed that he received most of his prescriptions from the angel Raphael.
At that time there were, in fact, few medical men who could accomplish a cure without the intervention of some supernatural means. Certain causes peculiar to England served to depress the public mind. The writers of that country describe the melancholy tendency of the rigid Puritans of the period ; their occupancy of old family seats, formerly the residence of hospitality and good cheer, which in their hands became desolate and gloomy, and the dismal stories propagated by the discarded retainers to the ancient establishments, ecclesiastical and civil, contributed altogether to produce a national horror unknown in other periods of her history.*
The following cases which we have selected will serve to illustrate the opinions of this period, and have also some other points of interest attached to them.
"In this year (1459), in the town of Arras, and county of Artois, arose, through a terrible and melancholy chance, an opinion called, I know not why, the religion of Vaudoisie. This sect consisted, it is said, of certain persons, both men and women, who, under cloud of night, by the power of the devil, repaired to some solitary spot, amid woods and deserts, where the devil appeared before them in a human form, save that his visage was never perfectly visible to them—read to the assembly a book of his ordinances, informing them how he would be obeyed—distributed a very little money and plentiful meal, which was concluded by a scene of general profligacy; after which each one of his party was conveyed home to her or his own habitation.
"On accusations of access to such acts of madness, several creditable persons of the town of Arras were seized and imprisoned, along with some foolish women and persons of little consequence. These were so horribly tortured, that some of them admitted the truth of the whole accusations, and said, besides, that they had seen and recognized in their nocturnal assembly many persons of rank—prelates, seigneurs, and governors of bailliages and cities—being such names as the examinators had suggested to the persons examined, while they constrained them by torture to impeach the persons to whom they belonged. Several of those who had been thus informed against
* Ferriar : Oput cit. p. 109.
were arrested, thrown into prison, and tortured for so long a time, that they also were obliged to confess what was charged against them. After this, those of mean condition were executed and inhumanly burnt, while the richer and more powerful of the accused ransomed themselves by sums of money, to avoid the punishment and the shame attending it. Many even of those also confessed, being persuaded to take that course by the interrogators, who promised them indemnity for life and fortune. Some there were, of a truth, who suffered, with marvelous patience and constancy, the torments inflicted on them, and would confess nothing imputed to their charge ; but they, too, had to give large sums to the judges, who exacted that such of them as, notwithstanding their mishandling, were still able to move, should bunish themselves from that part of the country."
Monstrelet winds up this shocking narrative by informing us, " that it ought not to be concealed that the whole accusation was a stratagem of wicked men for their own covetous purposes, and in order, by these false accusations and forced confessions, to destroy the life, fame, and fortune of wealthy persons."*
The facts connected with the possession of the nuns of Loudun are too well known to render it necessary that we should enter into the details; but in the description of one of these apparitions, we perceive all the characters' which belong to a hallucination. One of the nuns saw, during the night, a phantom surrounded by a red light. It approached her, and she recognized the ghost of her deceased confessor. He spoke to her; she answered him, and he then disappeared, promising to return the next night. The following night the spectre did not fail to show itself. They conversed together for some time on religious subjects. All at once, she said, the phantom changed its form to that of Qrandier; with its person it also changed its conversation, and spoke to her of love. " It caressed her; she resisted it, and cried out, but no one came to her assistance; she trembled; she entreated; she became faint, and calling on the holy name of Jesus, the spectre vanished."* Such was the real origin of the possession.
» Chronique de Monstrelet, t. iii. fol. 24, edit, de Paris, 1572. Walter Scott: Oput cit. p. 202.
We can readily understand that the principle of imitation would have great influence over the susceptible imagination of women, and that the visions would soon spread to the other nuns.
The result of this possession was the condemnation of the unfortunate Urbain Grandier, who was burnt alive on Wednesday, the 18th of August, 1634, for the crimes of magic, witchcraft, and sorcery.
The origin of lycanthropy reaches back to the earliest ages of paganism. In this illusion the unhappy lunatics believed they were changed into were-wolves. Sometimes the pretended transformation was accomplished by means of drinks or poisonous unctions. It was more especially during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries that this singular illusion spread through Europe. These were-dogs and were-wolves abandoned their houses to dwell in forests; they allowed their nails, their hair, and their beard to grow. Their ferocity arrived at such a pitch, that they would mutilate, and sometimes destroy and devour children who might have the misfortune to come in their way.
Wierins has reported a singular trial which took place at Besancou in 1521. It was a case of lycanthropy, and certainly it leaves no doubt of the insanity which existed on the one side, or of the ignorance on the other.
The inquisitor who examined into the affair ordered the three accused persons to be brought before him ; they were named Pierre Burgot, Michel Verdun, and the gros Pierre. All three confessed that they had given themselves to the devil, and that after they had anointed themselves, they had wolves for their wives. Burgot acknowledged he had killed a young boy with his wolf's paws and teeth, and that he should have eaten him if the country people had not pursued him. Michel Verdun confessed that he had killed a young girl who was gathering peas out of a garden ; and that himself and Burgot had killed and eaten four others. He mentioned the time and place, and the age of the children whom he had devoured. He added that they made use of a powder to kill them.
* Ch. Lauze : Essai Medico-hittorique tur lei Pouedeet de Loudun, pp. 12-13. Paris: 1S39.
f J. Gariuet: Ojtut cit. p. 118.
These three were-wolves were condemned to be burnt alive.*
Example 103. A mason, in the autumn of the year XII., fell into a deep melancholy without any known cause. During the night he had strange visions, and in the morning would secretly steal away to secluded places. On the twelfth day of his attack he refused all nourishment; but two days afterwards he devoured with extreme voracity the food which was offered to him; he howled like a wolf, and was several times in a kind of fury, with an inclination to bite. On the fourteenth day, towards night time, he again escaped into the country, where he recommenced his howlings, but which ceased upon the repeated affusion of cold water. This singular disease appeared to terminate on the eighteenth day with a violent attack of fever, which lasted twenty-four hours. His complete recovery seems to have been accomplished by the unaided resources of nature, f
It is curious to find in our own times, amongst the Abyssinians, a superstition very similar to this, which prevailed amongst the inhabitants of Europe during the Middle Ages. Like them, they believe in a zoological metamorphosis, which is the exact counterpart of lycanthropy. Thus the class of potters and black smiths are generally regarded as having the power of metamorphosing themselves into hyenas and other wild animals, and to be able to produce disease by their looks. But, instead of being brought to the stake, like the were-wolves of the Middle Ages, they are feared, and live in peace.*
* Bottiger altcstn spnren der WoUowuth in der Griechischen mithologie, nebst Zutsatzen von Sprengel, in dessen Beitrageu zur Gesch. der Med.— Froidrcieh, Litnrargtsch. pp. 23-27.
f Matthey: Nouvellet Recherchet tur let Maladiet de I'Etprit, p. 96.
The mystical ideas from whence most of the superstitions we have alluded to are derived, were exceedingly favorable to the production of hallucinations. As these superstitions were uuiversal and their truth never questioned, their powtr was unlimited. The minds of men were directed towards heaven ; but, governed by the nature of their feelings and ideas, some delivered themselves up to the most asoetic penitence—fasts, chastisements, solitude, and the fear of hell engendered by their frightful visions. There were others, on the contrary, who gave themselves up to all the emotions of an ascetic contemplation ; these had raptures, ectasies, and communications with celestial spirit,-;. For the same reason, amongst pagans, those who had depressing thoughts, arising from a bilious temperament, were pursued by the furies and the infernal deities; while those with elevated ideas, which belong to the sanguine temperament, saw sylphs, fairies, and the deities of Olympus.
This ancient and universal belief in spirits, which showed itself amongst the Greeks in the communications which were supposed to take place with fauns and sylvan deities, with naiads and demons; amongst the Romans, with nymphs; amongst the Eastern nations, with genii and gnomes; and amongst Christians, with fays, sylphs, angels, and devils, were the sources of those numerous hallucinations which are described in various works. It is to these superstitions that we owe those tales of the souls which were in torment, coming to claim the prayers of the living; of spirits making revelations, or announcing the approach of death, or who have revisited the earth in consequence of compacts they had made when living; and of the dead returning to suck the blood of their victims.
* Pearoe : Retidence in Abyssinia.
It is certain that a vast number of apparitions have occurred which coincided with no important epoch, and which were not even followed by any remarkable event: these, therefore, have been forgotten, while those which, by chance, have been realized, have been carefully kept in remembrance.
Such is the story told in Beaumont's World of Spirils, one of the most interesting of its kind. The heroine of the event, which took place in 1G62, was the daughter of Sir Charles Lee. No reasonable doubt can be placed on the authenticity of the narrative, as it was drawn up by the Bishop of Gloucester, from the recital of the young lady's father.
Example 104. " Sir Charles Lee, by his first lady, had only one daughter, of which she died in childbirth; and when she was dead, her sister, the lady Everard, desired to have the education of the child, and she was by her very well educated till she was marriageable, and a match was concluded for her with Sir William Perkins, but was then prevented in an extraordinary manner. Upon a Thursday night, she, thinking she saw a light in her chamber, after she was in bed, knocked for her maid, who presently came to her ; and she asked, ' Why she left a candle burning in her chamber ?' The maid said, she ' left none, and there was none but what she had brought with her at that time.' Then she said it was the fire; but that, her maid told her, was quite out, and said she believed it was only a dream; whereupon she said it might be so, and composed herself again to sleep. But about two of the clock she was awakened again, and saw the apparition of a little woman between her curtain and her pillow, who told her she was her mother, that she was happy, and that by twelve of the clock that day she should be with her. Whereupon she knocked again for her maid, called for her clothes, and when she was dressed, went into her closet, and came not out again until nine, and then brought out with her a letter sealed to her father; brought it to her aunt, the Lady Everard, told her what had happened, and declared that as soon as she was dead it might be sent to him. The lady thought she was suddenly fallen mad, and thereupon sent presently away to Cheluisford for a physician and surgeon, who both came immediately; but the physician could discern no indication of what the lady imagined, or of any indisposition of her body; notwithstanding, the lady would needs have her let blood, which was done accordingly. And when the young woman had patiently let them do what they would with her, she desired that the chaplain might be called to read prayers; and when prayers were ended, she took her guitar and psalm-book and sat down on a chair without arms, and played and sung so melodiously and admirably that her music-master, who was then there, admired at it. And near the stroke of twelve she rose and sate herself down in a great chair with arms, and presently fetching a strong breath or two immediately expired, and was so suddenly cold as was much wondered at by the physician and surgeon. She died at Waltham, in Essex, three miles from Chelmsford, and the letter was sent to Sir Charles at his house in Warwickshire, but he was so afflicted with the death of his daughter that he came not till she was buried; but when he came, he caused her to be taken up and to be buried with her mother at Edmonton, as she desired in her letter."*
The reflections which this case suggests seem to us to afford a natural explanation of the event; the imagination of a sensitive girl would be highly excited at the thoughts of approaching death. The exaltation of the nervous system, in an organization which was probably delicate, arrived at such a pitch as to cxtermiimte life. As regards the revelation, rational minds will only see a happy coincidence, for without this accompaniment the story would never have been told.
In the north of Scotland, and in some parts of Germany, the inhabitants still believe in a spectral apparition which appears
* Hibbert: Ofut rit.
before the death of a person, giving warning of the event He sees his double—a figure which resembles him in hight, in features, in manners, and in dress. We have already alluded to this phenomenon, which the Germans term deutroacopia,*
The following anecdote is told of the celebrated Duke of Buckingham. Clarendon relates that the ghost of Sir George Villiers, the duke's father, appeared no less than three times to an officer of the wardrobe, to inform him of the fate which awaited his son; but this man's situation was too mean to warrant his going directly with the important intelligence to the favorite. He therefore neglected the warning till the third time, and then he went to a gentleman to whom he was well known, Sir Ralph Freeman, one of the masters of the requests, who had married a lady nearly allied to the duke, and prevailed with him to apply to his grace to grant the officer of the wardrobe an opportunity of speaking with him privately on a subject of the utmost consequence to his grace. The man gave sufficient information, which he had gotten from the ghost, relative to Buckingham's private affairs, to satisfy the duke that he was no impostor; and the duke was observed to be very melancholy afterwards. But to what all this warning tended, except to create uneasiness at some impending calamity, it is impossible to conceive, since the hint was too dark and mysterious to enable him to provide against the danger, f
An apparition which made some noise about the beginning of the seventeenth century, that of Desfontaines, seems to have originated in a fainting fit, connected with the remembrance of a friend.
Example 105. M. Bezuel, a young student of fifteen, had contracted an intimacy with a younger lad named Desfontaines. After talking together of the compacts which had been made between persons, that in case of death the spirit of the deceased should visit the survivor, they agreed to form such a compact together, and signed it with their blood in 1696. Soon after this they were separated by Desfontaine's removal to Caen.
* Walter Scott: A Legend of Montrose, chap. xvii. Note, " Wraiths." f Brinlie: Jlietnnj of the Dritish Empire, vol. ii, p. 209.
In July, 1697, Bczuel, while amusing himself in haymaking near a friend's house, was seized with a fainting Ot; after which he had a bad night. Notwithstanding this attack, he returned to the meadow next day, when he again fainted. On the third day he had a still more severe attack. " I fell into a swoon ; I lost my senses; one of the footmen perceived me and called out for help. They recovered me a little, but my mind was more disor, dered than it had been before; I was told that they asked me then what ailed me, and that I answered, I have seen what I thought I should never see. But I neither remember the question nor the answer. However, it agrees with what I remember I saw then—a naked man in half length; but I knew him not.
" Shortly after, when mounting a ladder, I saw at the bottom of it my school-fellow, Desfontaines. At this sight I had another fainting fit; my head got between two steps, and I again lost my senses. They helped me down, and sat me on a large beam which served for a seat in the Place des Capucins. I sat upon it, and then I no longer saw M. de Sorteville nor his servants, though they were present. Perceiving Desfontaines near the foot of the ladder, who made me a sign to come to him, I went back upon my seat, as it were, to make room for him; those who saw me, but whom I did not see, though my eyes were open, observed that movement.
" Because he did not come, I got up to go to him ; he came up to me, took hold of my left arm with his right hand. and carried me thirty paces further into a bye-lane, holding me fast.
"The servants believing that I was well again, went to their business, except a stable-boy, who told M. de Sorteville that I was talking to myself. M. de Sorteville thought I was drunk. He came near me, and heard me ask some questions and return some answers, as he told me since.
" I talked with Desfontaines nearly three-quarters of an hour. 'I promised you,' said he, 'that if I died before you, I would come and tell you so I was drowned in the river of Caen, yesterday, at this hour. I was walking with such and such persons. The weather was very hot; the fancy took us to go into the water; I grew faint, and sunk to the bottom of the river. The Abbe Meniljean, my school-fellow, dived to bring me up. I took hold of his foot; but whether he was afraid or had a mind to rise to the top of the water, he struck ont his leg so violently that he gave me a blow on the breast, and threw me again to the bottom of the river, which is there very deep.'
" Desfontaines," continues M. Beznel, " was taller than when I had seen him alive. I always saw him half-length, and naked, bareheaded, with his fine light hair, and a white paper upon his forehead, twisted in his hair, on which there was a writing, but I conld only read ' In, &c.' "
These spectral impressions were repeated more than once, with conversations. The accidental death of the young man was ascertained very quickly. The celebrated Abbe' de St. Pierre, who pnblished this aneedote, guarantees its being authentic, but couBiders it may be explained by natural causes. It is very probable that Bezuel's fainting was the cause of the apparition. " I know," says Ferriar, "from my own experience, as well as that of others, that the approach of syncope is sometimes attended with a spectral appearance, which I believe is always a recollected image. One circumstance that should be borne in mind, is the obstinacy with which a morbid impression is preserved, long after the restoration to health. A gentleman fancied, during the delirinm of a fever, that a considerable estate had been bequeathed him; the impression continued long after his recovery, and he was not undeceived without much trouble and difficulty."*
* Ferriar-. Oput cit. p. 118.—Journal de Trevoux, vol. viii. 1724.
The recollection of the figure and the voice of an intimate friend may be the cause of a hallucination. Of this kind seems to have been the celebrated apparition of Ficinus, to Michael Mercato, mentioned by Baronins.
Those illustrious friends, after a long discourse on the nntare of the sonl, had agreed, whoever of the two should die first, should, if possible, appear to his surviving friend, and inform him of his condition in the other world.
"A short time afterwards," says Baronins, "it happened that while Michael Mercato, the elder, was studying philosophy, earljin the morning, he suddenly heard the noise of a horse galloping in the streets, which stopped at his door, and the voice of his friend Ficinns was heard, exclaiming, ' 0, Michael! O, Michael! those things are true.' Astonished at this address, Mereato rose and looked out of the window, when he saw the back of his friend, dressed in white, galloping off, on a white horse.
" Mercato called after him, and followed him with his eyes, till the appearance vanished. Upon inquiry, he learned that Ficinns had died at Florence, at the very time when this vision wr.s presented to Mercato, at a considerable distance. This npparition, which created a considerable sensation on account of the elevated position of the persons concerned in it, may be accounted for in the following manner: In studying the reveries of Plato, the idea of his friend, and of their compact, had been revived* and had produced a spectral impression, favored by the solitude and silence of the morning."*
Ought we always to refer to the influence of mysticism, and to regard as hallucinations of sight and hearing, events which seem to have been the means of the sudden conversion of individuals, who, up to the time of their occurrence, had been uubelievei-s 1 Looking at such matters in a religious light, we are unable to participate in this opinion; we believe that God has at times chosen to make use of supernatural means to recall men to him who have fallen away ; to think otherwise would be to reject the authority of Scripture.*
* Ferriar: Opus cit. p. 100. De Apparilionibut Mortuorvm oivis et fiaeto fnctit. Lips. 1709.—Baronii Annalts. This story was told to Baronins by the grandson of Mercato, who was Prothonotary of the Chureh, and man of the greatest probity, as well as of general knowledge.
Example 106. Colonel Gardiner had spent the evening in some gay company, and had an unhappy assignation with a married woman, whom he was to attend exactly at twelve. The company broke up about eleven, and not judging it convenient to anticipate the time appointed, he went into his chamber to kill the tedious hour, perhaps, with some amusing book. But it accidently happened that he took up a religious book, which his mother or aunt, without his knowledge, had slipped into his portmanteau : it was called The Christian Soldier, or Heaven taken by Storm. Guessing by the title of it that he would find some phrases of his own profession spiritualized in a manner which he thought might afford him some diversion, he resolved to dip into it; but he took uo serious notice of anything it had in it; and yet, while this book was in his hand, an impression was made upon his mind—perhaps God only knows how—which drew after it a train of happy consequences.
He thought he saw an unusual blaze of ligtt fall upon the book which he was reading, which he at first imagined might happen by some accident in the candle ; but lifting up his eyes, he saw, to his great amazement, the Lord Jesus Christ upon the Cross, surrounded on all sides with a glory ; and at the same time he seemed to hear a voice utter these words : " Oh, sinner ! did I suffer this for thee, and are these thy returns'?" This apparition produced so profound an impression upon the mind of the Colonel,
* There is an important distinction to make in regard to mysticism. Taken in a general sense, it is not a disease of the mind ; it rests upon undoubted truths, and provides for an actual want. Mysticism is beautiful and great, but it requires to be regulated. Without some check, it falls into exaggerated and erroneous opinions.
that he forsook his previous mode of life and became a religions character. *
To this instance, which has been quoted in favor of a divine interposition, has been opposed another vision which occurred in the seventeenth century to one of the most powerful enemies to Christianity, and of which the effect was to encourage him to publish the book in which his dangerous tenets were contained.
Example 107. " My book, De Veritate, prout distinguihir a Bevelatione Vcrisimili Possibili et ti Falso," says Lord Herbert, " having been begun by me in England, and formed there in all its principal parts, was about this time finished; all the spare hours which I could get from my visits and negotiations being employed to perfect this work, which was no sooner done but that I communicated it to Hugo Grotins, that great scholar, who, having escaped his prison in the Low Countries, came into France, and was much welcomed by me and Monsieur Tieleners, also one of the greatest scholars of his time, who, after they bad perused it, exhorted me earnestly to print and publish it.
" The favorable opinion of these two great persons encouraged me ; but, on the other hand, I hesitated, in consequence of the opposition I knew it would meet with. Being thus doubtful, in my chamber, one fair day in the summer, my casement being open toward the south, I took my book, De Veritate, in my hand, and kneeling on my knees, devoutly said these words : ' O, thou eternal God, Author of the light which now shines upon me, and Giver of all inward illuminations, I do beseech Thee, of Thy infinite goodness, to pardon a greater request than a sinner ought to make ; I am not satisfied enough whether I shall publish this book De Veritate; if it be for Thy glory, I beseech Tbee give me some sign from heaven ; if not, I shall suppress it.'
I had no sooner spoken these words, but a loud, though yet
* Hibbert : Opus cit. p. 324.
gentle, noise came from the heavens—for it was like nothing on earth—which did so comfort and cheer me that I took my petition as granted, and that I had the sign demanded; whereupon, also, I resolved to print my book.
" This, however strange it may seem, I protest before the eternal God is true; neither am I any way superstitiously deceived herein, since I did uot only clearly hear the noise, but in the serenest sky that ever I saw, being without all cloud, did, to my thinking, see the place from whence it came. "*
Dr. Ireland, in his View of (he Deistical Writers, throws no doubt on the statement of this nobleman. We cannot help being struck with the inconsistencies of the human mind in reading such a narrative : here is a man who is preparing to send forth a book against revelation, and entreats the Deity to favor him with a special revelation. It seems to us logically incorrect to establish any comparison between this case and that of Colonel Gardiner.
When man is under the dominion of superstition and fear, there are no ideas so extravagant but what they may become to him as realities. One of the most singular forms of insanities of this kind is that which is known under the name of vampirism, and of which traces are met with in the stryges of the Talmud. This species of epidemic prevailed at the commencement of the 18th century in several parts of Hungary, Moravia, Silesia, and Lorraine. The country people who were attacked by it, believed that after death the souls of their enemies appeared to them under different forms ; some of them dreamed that these malignant spectres seized them by the throat, strangled them, and sucked their blood. Others believed that they actually saw these malignant monsters.
The various states of ecstasy of which we have already spoken, and which were characterized by all kinds of celestial visions, originated in modifications of these mystical ideas acting upon an excited imagination. It is to this influence we must refer the apparitions and sounds which occurred to the Convulsionists, the Secourists, the Ecstaties of Cevennes, the Possessed of Loudnn, and ilic Convulsionists of Cornwall and the Shetland Isles, &.C.
* Hibbert: Oput cit. p. 227.—Autobiography of Lord Herbert of Cherbury.
In pointing out the ideas which have had the greatest share in producing hallucinations, we have called attention to certain superstitious notions which prevailed during the Middle Ages ; but, in order to appreciate the influence of this era of strange decep tions, of wonderful dreams, of fantastic but magnificent and immortal fictions, it is indispensable to take a general review of the strange, the terrible, and the benignant beings with which the world had already been peopled.*
The barbarians not only brought with them death and spoliation, they also inculcated their religious opinions in the minds of the inhabitants. For the first time the Roman people heard of Ilimenberg, that celestial city which was only to be reached by traversing the arc of the heavens; of Nifleim, a subterraneous world, watered by poisonous rivers; of the wolf Feuris, who had strength sufficient to shake the universe ; of the serpent Yormongodour, who encircled the earth with its folds; of Grasvitnir, wlio.se very breathings produced terror; and of the colossal Eskthirnir, a deer with gigantic horns, the source of the primitive fountain from whence flowed all the rivers of the earth. The Hun, the offspring of a diabolical intercourse, who was regarded as a man-eater, gave rise to the fable of the Ogre.
Men—to whom antiquity had bequeathed its centaurs and minotaurs, its satyrs, fauns, pans and oegypans, beings who were still encountered in solitary places—when they listened to
* Ferdinand Denis: Le Monde Knchantr. cosmographie, ou histoire naturelle et fantastique du nioyen-age. Paris : 1842. Bekker: Lt Monde Enchants, 4 Tola. Amsterdam.
similar tales, could not arrest the career of their imagination, and they became surrounded on all sides by supernatural beings.
All at once these ancient forms disappeared, and the superstitious of the barbarians became merged in the paradise and the hell of the Christians, while the voice of Mohammed spread fresh marvels over another portion of the world.
The doctrines of Scripture, wrongly interpreted, caused a terrible perturbation in the latter years of the ninth century ; men were confounded with fear, and thought the end of the world was approaching. We must contemplate the formidable images of the eleventh and twelfth centuries to form a just notion of the terror which was spread over Europe.
The forms of Christian belief which were developed under the influence of these depressing ideas, and the agony which was inspired by the fear that the destruction of the world was at hand, were extremely favorable to the formation of those demoniacal opinions, whose rapid extension is explained by the causes we have already alluded to.
Natural history did its part towards increasing these errors of the imagination, and in enlarging the realms of fiction. The existence of the phoenix, of fabulous vultures, of winged serpents, were taken for truths; while the bones of the mastodon were looked upon as the remains of giants. The air was filled with terrible dragons, basilisks, and flying serpents. The caverns of the earth contained monsters with eyes of flame. The seas were the abode of the great Kraken, of the monk, and of the bishop of the seas. The Talmud increased these fantastical conceptions, by declaring the existence of cherubims, of spectral serpents, and of stryges, a kind of vampire which sucked the breath of infants. The discovery of America gave a new direction to men's thoughts. Adventurers willingly encountered a multitude of perils in search of the Eldorado, of the terrestial paradise, and of the fountain of perpetual youth.
The vast forests of Malabar were peopled by singular creatures, who united in their extraordinary organization the religious reveries of India to those of Europe. Falsehoods, says Fijoo, the Voltaire of the Spaniards, are like serpents, they multiply without end. Compelled to retire before the advancing' tide of science which arose in the sixteenth century, the traditions of the Middle Ages found a last retreat in the New World, where all the divinities of the earth are to be met with.
Such were the sources of that mixture of the marvelous and the terrible, of faith and ignorance, which, during the long period of the Middle Ages, formed the code of the human race, giving rise to a number of superstitions, which produced real hallucinations, of which there are traces in every page of history. At the snme time, it may be understood why they are not to be considered as indications of insanity. The persons who were subject to them only participated in the general opinions of the age. Their imagination, strongly excited by these doctrines, whose truth was never questioned, and by the tales which were told in support of them, led them to see what others only imagined they had seen. The impulse thus given was communicated to all; but still the conversation and actions of these persons had no taint of insanity. The error originated in society, and not in the individual.
To complete this portion of our subject, it is necessary to trace the causes of hallucinations which existed in the different forms of civilization. What has been previously stated, shows that they would reflect the religious beliefs, the passions, the prejudices, and manners of the times. Thus, on reading the history of the apparitions which occurred to the Greeks and Romans, they are found to vary in accordance with the doctrines which were held by their philosophers upon the subject; and it was these opinions which, in the course of time, prevailed amongst the mass of the people. In nearly all the ancient nations, the hallucinations partook of a religious character. The importance assigned to dreams
in Egypt, in Greece, and by the Romans, explains the frequent occurrence of apparitions, of warnings, and of communications with supernatural powers, with which the histories of these nations abound. This kind of hallucination frequently showed itself in the Lower Empire. Julian, who was one of the emperors most celebrated for his philosophical attainments, beheld the genins of the Empire in the deepest affliction a few days before his engagement with the Persians.
During the ninth century, the emperor Basil, of Macedonia, inconsolable for the loss of his son, had recourse to the prayers of a celebrated pontiff.* He saw the image of his beloved son magnificently clothed, and mounted on a superb horse ; the youth rushed towards his father, threw himself in his arms, and disappeared, f
In the East, nearly all the apparitions consisted of good or evil genii, occupied in guarding treasures and palaces ; of angels sent by Mohammed to console the believer, or to warn the evil-doer of the punishment which awaited him. In India, where man's life was one continual system of worship, of which the least infraction was punished with severe penalties, the hallucinations were of a religious character, modified by the climate and the religious tenets.
Lastly, in regard to the action of moral causes in the production of hallucinations, some special influences remain to be noticed, the study of which presents more than one point of interest.
Fear, always essentially the same, but which varies in its form according to the age, has produced—especially since the period of the revolution in 1789—a numerous body of hallucinated persons, who believe themselves pursued by their enemies, by the police, or even by the public executioner.
Example 108. A clerk in a public office stated that his stores had been robbed; he fell into a low, despondent condition, and declared that the officers of justice were in search of him; he saw the gendarmes surround his house, the scaffold prepared, and the executioner in attendance to put him to death. He was taken out in order.to convince him that no such scene existed, except in his imagination ; but it was useless"; he still continued to see the scuflbld and the gendarmes. To escape this imaginary death he committed suicide.
*Theodore Santabaren : Abbe, Arrheveque tlet Zuchaites. f Euselxj Salvorte : Olius eit.—Les Grammat. in vita Basil, imp. 20. Brewster : Opus cit. p. 67.
Example 109. Clergeand, who was condemned to death as a poisoner by the court of Assize at Perigueux, when he entered his prison, was seized with a kind of giddiness, and knew no one. A hallucination, which only left him on the Wednesday morning, made him mistake one of the keepers for the executioner; he was constantly under the idea that this man was going to kill him. At night, however, Clergeand recovered his senses; he became tranquil, and hope returned to him. *
Hallucinations, like insanity, arise from remorse, more frequently than is commonly supposed. The account of the death of Manoury, the surgeon, is a convincing proof of this; it serves also to explain the condition of many criminals.
Example 110. Manoury, who was the enemy of Urbain Grandier, was chosen, on April 26, 1634, to examine and ascertain whether, according to the statement of the prioress, the accused had any part of his body which was insensible. He fulfilled this mission with the greatest barbarity, and one cannot even think of the sufferings of the unhappy man without a thrill of horror. f He had, however, reason to repent of his cruelties, for, " returning one night from visiting a patient on the outskirts of the town, accompanied by his brother and another person, he suddenly cried out, 'Ah! there is Grandier! What do you want with me ?' He trembled violently, and was seized with a frenzy, from which his companions could not recover him. They took him to his house, talking perpetually to Grandier, whom he seemed to have before his eyes ; they got him to bed, still trembling and in the same state of frenzy. Daring the few remaining days of his life he remained in the same state. He died with the idea that Grandier was present, and endeavored to keep him away, uttering all the time frightful exclamations."
* Gazetlr des Tribunanx, 2 Mai, 1844.
t See the excellent episode of the torture of Urbain Grandier in the Cinq-Mars de M. de Vigny.
Sully relates that the solitary hours of Charles IX. were rendered terrible by a repetition of the cries and groans which assailed his ears during the massacre of Saint Bartholomew.*
" Charles," says the illustrious minister, " hearing, on the night of that day, and during the whole of the next day, the account of the slaughter of so many old men, women, and children, called apart Master Ambroise Pare", his principal surgeon, to whom he was greatly attached, although of the proscribed religion, and said to him, ' Ambroise, I don't know what has come over me during the last two or three days, but I find both my mind and body greatly depressed ; I feel as though I had a fever; and whether sleeping or waking, the slaughtered bodies, with their hideous and blood-stained countenances, are always before me. I wish they had not included the imbecile and the innocent."
When the mind is burdened by a great crime, monomania is close at hand. Not unfrequently accusing voices terrify the guilty person, and he becomes insane.
Example 111. In 1623 or 1624, one Fletcher, of Rascal, a town in'the North Riding of Yorkshire, a yeoman of good estate, married a young woman who had been formerly kind with one Ralph Raynard, who kept an inn within half a mile from Rascal, in the high roadway between York and Thirske, his sister living with him. This Raynard continued in unlawful lust with the said Fletcher's wife, who, not content therewith, conspired the death of Fletcher, one Mark Dunn being made privy, and hired to assist in the murder, which Raynard and Dunn accomplished upon May-day, by drowning Fletcher, as they came all three together from a town called Huby; and acquainting the wife with the deed, she gave them a sack therein to convey the body, which they did, and buried it in Raynard's back field or croft, where an old oak-root had been stubbed up, and sowed mustard-seed upon the j)lace, thereby to hide it. So they continued their wicked course of lust and drunkenness, and the neighbors did much wonder at Fletcher's absence; but his wife did excuse it, and said that he was but gone aside for fear of some writs being cerved upon him. And so it continued until about the 7th day of July, when Raynard, going to Topcliffe fair, and setting up his horse in the stable, the spirit of Fletcher, in his usual shape and habit, did appear unto him, and said, " Oh! Ralph, repent, repent, for my revenge is at hand." And ever after, until he was put in the gaol, it seemed to stand before him, whereby he became sad and restless; and his own sister, overhearing his confession and relation of it to another person, did, through fear of her own life, immediately reveal it to Sir William Sheffield, who lived in Rascal, and was a justice of pence.
* Collection det Memoirt relatift a I'Hittorie de France, 2" eerie, vol. i. p. 245.
They were all three apprehended, and sent to the gaol at York, where they were all three condemned, and so executed accordingly near to the place where Raynard lived, and where Fletcher was buried. *
The death of Cardinal Beaufort is represented as truly terrible. The consciousuess of having murdered the Duke of Gloucester is said to have rendered Beaufort's death one of the most terrific scenes ever witnessed. Despair in its worst form appeared to take
* Webster : On Witchcraft, p. 296. Webster assisted in the prosecu
possession of his mind at the last moment; he offered all his wealth for some days' respite. A few minutes before his death, his mind appeared to be undergoing the tortures of the damned. lie held up his two hands, and cried, "Away! away !—why thus do you look at me ?" It was evident he saw some horrible spectre by his bedside.*
The Abbe Guillen, in his Entretiens sur le Suicide, has related a most remarkable case of a duelist who had killed seventeen people in duels. The phantoms of his victims perpetually pursued him.
The following case is a convincing proof of the effect of remorse in producing hallucinations:
Example 112. " Jarvis Matcham was pay-sergeant in a regiment, where he was so highly esteemed as a steady and accurate man, that he was permitted opportunity to embezzle a considerable part of the money lodged in his hands for pay of soldiers, bounty of recruits, then a large sum, and other charges which fell within his duty. He was summoned to join his regiment from a town where he had been on the recruiting service, and this, perhaps, under some shade of suspicion. Matcham perceived discovery was at hand, and would have deserted, had it not been for the presence of a little drummer lad, who was the only one of his party appointed to attend him. In the desperation of his crime, he resolved to murder the poor boy, and avail himself of some balance of money to make his escape. He meditated this wickedness the more readily, that the drummer he thought had been put as a spy on him. He perpetrated his crime, and changing his dress after the deed was done, made a long walk across the country to an inn on the Portsmouth road, where he halted, and went to bed, desiring to be called when the first Portsmouth coach came. The waiter summoned him accordingly; but long after remembered,
* Forbes Winslow : Opus cit. p. 52.
that when he shook the guest by the shoulder, his first words, as he awoke, were, ' My God ! I did not kill him.'
" Matelium went to the seaport by the coach, and instautly entered us an able-bodied landsman or marine, I know not which. His sobriety and attention to duty gained him the same good opinion of the officers in his new service which he hud enjoyed in the army. He was afloat for several years, and behaved remarkably well in some actions. At length the vessel came into Plymouth, and was paid off, and some of the crew, among whom was Jarvis Matcham, were dismissed as too old for service. He and another seaman resolved to walk to town, and took the route by Salisbury. It was when within two or three miles of this celebrated city, that they were overtaken by a tempest so suddenly, and accompanied with such vivid lightning, and thunder so dreadfully loud, that the obdurate conscience of the old sinner began to be awakened. He expressed more terror than seemed natural for one who was familiar with the war of elements, and began to look and talk so wildly, that his companion became aware that something more than usual was the matter. At length Matcham complained to his companion that the stones rose from the road and flew after him. He desired the man to walk on the other side of the highway, to see if they would follow him when he was alone. The sailor complied, and Jarvis Matcham complained that the stones still flew after him, and did not pursue the other. ' But what is worse,' he added, coming up to his companion, and whispering, with a tone of mystery and fear, 'who is that little drummer-boy ? and what business has he to follow us so closely ?' 'I can see no one,' answered the seaman, infected by the superstition of his associate. ' What! not see that little boy with the bloody pantaloons !' exclaimed the secret murderer, so much to the terror of his comrade, that he conjured him, if he had anything on his mind, to make a clear conscience as far as confession could do it. The criminal fetched a deep groan, and declared that he was unable longer to endure the life which he had led for years. He then confessed the murder of the drummer, and added that, as a considerable reward had been offored, he wished his comrade to deliver him up to the magistrates of Salisbury, as he would desire a shipmate to profit by his fate, which he was now convinced Whs inevitable. Having overcome his friend's objections to this mode of proceeding, Jarvis Matcham was surrendered to justice accordingly, and made a full confession of his guilt. But before the trial the love of life returned. The prisoner denied his confession, and pleaded 'Not Guilty.' By this time, however, full evidence had been procured from other quarters. Witnesses appeared from his former regiment to prove his identity with the murderer and deserter, and the waiter remembered the ominous words which he had spoken when he awoke him to join the Portsmouth coach. Jarvis Matcham was found guilty, and executed. When his last chance of life was over, he returned to his confession, and with his dying breath averred, and truly, as he thought, the truth of the vision on Salisbury Plain. " Similar stories," adds Sir Walter Scott, "might be produced, showing plainly that, under the direction of Heaven, the influence of superstitious fear may be the appointed means of bringing the criminal to repentance for his own sake, and to punishment for the advantage of society."*
Hallucinations, says Esquirol, may arise from the voluntary or forced repetition of the same mental operations, f
When the recollections acquire the same intensity as first impressions, or when the same sensations are indefinitely prolonged, it becomes impossible to distinguish between the two. This is what happened when the susceptibility of the brain becomes overwrought by constantly dwelling on the same subject. At those times the individual is apt to hear or see the special objects of his
* Walter Scott: Oput cit. p. 367.
t Esqnirol: Det Maladiet Mentalet, vol. ii. 1838.
thoughts as distinctly as if the images or sounds came from without ; his reason wanders, being deceived by these false sensations.
Example 113. In the month of October, 1833, a woman, aged twenty-eight, a native of Pie'mont, went to the ball given at the fete of her village. She danced for three days with a kind of frenzy; after that she perpetually heard the sound of the musicwhich had so delighted her. Fire-baloons had been let off, and of these she saw a continual succession, one making way for another. This hallucination disturbed the vital powers, and ultimately brought ou a kind of nervous consumption. Dr. Urosserio observed that the musical sounds continued to increase with the progress of the disease, and the woman died without ever ceasing to hear them.*
Example 114. Tasso, whose passion for the Princess d'Est was the cause of all his misfortunes, ended by believing that he had a familiar spirit with whom he conversed ; and from whom he declared he learned things which he had never read or heard of, and that indeed were unknown to other persons. J. 15. Manso, his friend, says, that one day, at Besoccio, near Naples, when he endeavored to convince him of the illusion under which he labored, the poet replied to him : " Since my reasons are not sufficient to convince you, I will do so by your own experience ; and for this purpose I wish you to see with your own eyes this spirit of which I have spoken to you, and for which you will not trust my word." " I accept the offer," said Manso; and the next day, the two being seated before the fire, "on a sudden he observed that Tasso kept his eye on a window, and remained in a manner immovable. Me called him by his name, but received no answer. At last Tasso cried out, ' There is the friendly spirit that is come to converse with me ; look l and you will be convinced of the truth of all that I have said.'
* Journal dt Paris. 23 Aout, 1831.
" Manso heard him with surprise ; he looked, but saw nothing except the sunbeams darting through the windows. He cast his eyes all over the room, but could perceive nothing; and was just going to ask where the pretended spirit was, when he heard Tasso speak with great earnestness, sometimes putting questions to the spirit, sometimes giving answers ; delivering the whole in such a pleasing manner, and in such elevated expressions, that he listened with admiration, and had not the least inclination to interrupt him. At last, the uncommon conversation euded with the departure of the spirit, as appeared by Tasso's own words, who, turning to Manso, asked him if his doubts were removed. Manso was more amazed than ever; he scarce knew what to think of his friend's situation; and waived any further conversation on the subject." *
Apparently slight causes, such as are enumerated below, and which do not seem to us to have been previously noticed by those who have written on the subject, may favor the development of hallucinations.
Readings or conversations on any favorite subject continued uureasonably late at night will produce restlessuess, uureasonable fears, or even visions in nervous and sensitive people. Conolly speaks of young persons, who, from this cause, would wake up with frightful dreams, and were troubled for some time with false impressions with regard to surrounding objects. We attended a gentleman of intelligence and education, who, for several years after a severe attack of fever, experienced every night the most indescribable terror, and an intense feeling of anxiety, fearing every moment that he should be surrounded by apparitions. He was aware this state was the result of his illness, but at the approach of darkness, all his firmness vanished.
* Hoole's Life of Tasso, p. 48. Vie du Tasse, par Mauso. The Friend, by 8. T. Coleridge, vol. xi. p. 236.
SECOND DIVISION—PHYSICAL CAUSES.
These causes may be arranged under five heads. To the first belong those hallucinations which arise from special physical conditions, such as descent, sex, climate, &c. ; to the second, those occasioned by mechanical causes, by alcoholic drinks and narcotic substances; to the third, those which show themselves with insanity ; to the fourth, those which are complicated with nervons diseases not constituting insanity ; lastly, to the fifth belong those hallucinations which are produced by inflammatory, acute, chronic, or other diseases. Many of these subjects having been considered in another part of the work, we shall confine ourselves to giving a general description of them.
First Section.—In this division we have to examine the influence which is exercised over the production of hallucinations by descent, sex, age, temperament, occupation; by physiological causes, by the seasons, and by climate and locality. We really know nothing with regard to several of these causes, and of others our knowledge is extremely limited. It must not be forgotten that the hallucination is frequently only a complication, a symptom, and that, nnder these circumstances, its separate study is extremely difficult.
We have no records which prove the influence of descent on hallucinations. Two cases of hereditary hallucinations have come under our notice, and we are of opinion that this disease, like others of the nervous system, is capable of being transmitted.
The father of Je'rome Garden was subject to apparitions, and so was the son. Catherine de Medicis had a hallucination in reference to Pierre de 1'Estoile, and Charles IX., her son, had one on the night of the massacre of Saint Bartholomew.
We have not observed anything in regard to the occurrence of hallucinations which could specially be referred to the influence
of sex. Out of one hundred and thirty-six persons admitted into our establishment, sixty-three were males and seventy-three females. It is very different, however, with regard to the nature of the hallucinations, for throughout their history it is found that erotic ideas prevail in women. Their infrequency in man is explained by the greater facility he possesses for gratifying his desires.
Age.—Hallucinations generally originating in moral causes, and being very frequently compli«ated with insanity, their appearance corresponds with the progress of that disease, and they show themselves at the time of life which is most liable to it. There are many exceptions to this rule, and instances have occurred of children being subject to hallucinations at a very early age.
Example 115. About twelve years ago we saw, in a private asylum in Paris, a young girl seven years old, whose mother and grandmother were insane, and subject to hallucinations. This child had a particularly intelligent appearance—a high forehead, with large expressive eyes. Her conversation was very superior to that of most children of her age, and surprised all who heard it.
The animation and restlessness of the child were excessive; she could never remain quiet in one place, and always wanted to be moving about. Any attempt to restrain her rendered her irritable and impatient. From time to time she was subject to attacks, which showed themselves in the following manner : Her animation and restlessuess were increased, her speech was short and abrupt, and she soon fell into a state of ecstasy; her eyes were turned upwards, and became fixed, an expression of happiness spread over her countenance, and she spoke in an impressive tone of voice, saying, " Do you see those angels in the heavens ? They are crowned with flowers; they advance to meet me; they have come to seek me." Very often she would remain silent, as if plunged in a state of abstraction; then she would again point with her finger towards the heavens, calling to the angels. When this had lasted for two or three hours, the vision disappeared; while it continued, the girl was as white as wax, her skin was cold, and her pulse scarcely perceptible ; as soon as it was over, she would fall asleep. Upon waking up, her agitation returned, and continued for some days. Her conversation was somewhat disconnected; she scarcely understood what was said to her, and answered in a peculiar manner. Everything would then go ou in the usual manner, until a fresh attack took place.
These hallucinations in children may arise from fear or from punishment. They occur during the waking state as well as during sleep, and in the latter case will continue some time after the child has woke up.
Example 116. "A young girl, about nine or ten years old, had spent her birth-day with several companions of her own age, in all the gayety of youthful amusement. Her parents were of a rigorous sect, and filled the child's mind with a number of strange and horrible tales concerning the devil, hell, and eternal damnation. In the evening, as she was retiring to rest, the devil appeared to her, and threatened to devour her; she gave a loud shriek, fled to the apartment where her parents were, and fell down, apparently dead, at their feet. A physician was called in, and in a few hours she began to recover herself. She then related what had happened, adding that she was sure she should be damned. This occurrence was immediately followed by a severe and tedious nervous complaint."*
Example 117. A child, nine years of age, of a delicate and very excitable temperament, having been severely reprimanded for some fault, went to bed in great grief. In the night his parents were awoke by his cries ; they went to him, and found him in tears, and struggling to get away; they asked him what he was doing. His answers, at first, were confused; his eyes were open, and he told them he was disturbed by a number of persons, who were before him, causing him great alarm, and whom he begged them to remove. They assured him that there was no one in the room but themselves, though he still persisted that other persons were present. They told him he should get up and have some tea with them ; a proposal he readily agreed to. His tears and his alarm continued for a short time, and then entirely ceased.
A. Crichton : Oput cit. vol. ii. p. 15. Psychological Magazine, vol. It. pt. i p. 70.
Hibbert has taken the account of an interesting case of hallucination from the Mereure Qalant of 1690.
Example 118. "I was sent very young to a town at a distance of seven leagues from my native place, in order that I might be weaned from home and learn to write. Having returned from thence, at the expiration of five or six months, I was directed to repair to the house of one of my relatives, where my father, who was newly returned from the army, had arrived, and had sent for me. He examined my specimens of writing, and, finding them good, failed not to express a suspicion of their being my own. As he was going out, therefore, one afternoon, along with the lady of the house, to pay a visit in the neighborhood, he recommended me to write ten or twelve lines, in order to remove his doubts. Immediately upon my father's departure, my duty prompted me to go up to the chamber that had been allotted for ns, and having searched for all my writing materials, I knelt down— being then a little boy—before an arm-chair, upon which I placed my paper and ink.
" While engaged in writing, I thought I heard upon the staircase people who were carrying corn to granaries. Having, therefore, risen from the place where I was kneeling, I turned a corner of the tapestry, and saw a little room open, and in this room my father seemed engaged in conversation with the lady of the house, being seated near her. As I had seen both one and the other get into a carriage, and set out from the chateau, I was much surprised at now perceiving them before me. Terror united itself to astonishment. I let go the tapestry, and, leaving the chamber, quickly descended the staircase.
" Upon meeting with the housekeeper, she remarked some alteration in my face, and asked what was the matter. I told her all about it. She honestly assured me that I had been dreaming, and that the marchioness and my father would not return for more than an hour. I would fain have discredited her assurance, and stood fixed near the door of her room, until at length I saw them arrive. My trouble was not a little increased at the sight; for the present, however, I said nothing to my father; but when, after supper, he would have sent me to bed before him, all the self-collection which I could muster on the occasion was to allow myself to be conducted out of his presence. Yet I waited for him to accompany me into our chamber, for I was unwilling to reenter it but along with him. He was astonished, therefore, upon retiring, to find that I had lingered. He failed not to ask me what was the cause of it; and, after some vain excuses, I confessed to him that I was terrified, because spirits had appeared in the chamber. He derided my fear, and demanded of me to whom I was indebted for such foolish tales. I then told him my adventure ; which he no sooner heard, than, intent upon undeceiving me, I was conducted by him to the granaries, or rather to the garrets, to which the staircase led. It was then made known to me that these garrets were not fit to be store-rooms for corn— that there was actually none there, and that there never had been any. Upon my return, as I followed close to my father, he asked me to point out the place where I had lifted up the tapestry and seen the room open. I searched for it in all directions to show him, but in vain. I could find no other door in the four walls of our chamber than that which led from the staircase.
" Events so opposite to what I had believed could be the case, alarmed me still more, and I imagined, from what I had heard related of goblins, that some of them had caused these illusions in order to abuse my senses. My father then insisted that such alleged freaks of spirits were mere fables—more fabulous eveu than those of ^Esop or of Phsedrus; adding, that the truth was, I had slept while writing, that I dreamed during my sleep all which I now believed I had heard and seen, and that the conjoined influence of surprise and fear having acted on my imagination, had caused the same effect upon it as would have been produced by truth itself. I had difficulty at the time to assent to his reasoning ; but was obliged to acknowledge it in the end as very just. Observe, however, how strong the impression of this dream was. I think, candidly, that if the vision had not been falsified by all the circumstances which I have just noted, I should, eveu at this time, have received it for a truth." *
There can be no doubt that this was not a dream, but a hallucination. I could cite numerous similar instances which were caused by a preSccupied state of the mind, by fear, by the dread of punishment, or from the alarm which is produced by the silence and darkness of night.
Nothing positive can be stated with regard to the influence of professions: H priori, those which afford the greatest scope to the imagination should be the most favorable to the production of hallucinations. In support of this opinion, we might mention several poets who have had hallucinations, and whose abberation was evidently owing to the nature of their occupation.
Climate, undoubtedly, exercises an influence over hallucinations. The character of the European differs from that of the Asiatic and African. The physical constitution tends to impress a special character on the various nations; but, in addition to this, we feel convinced that the ideas vary with the natural features of the district. In proof of climatal influence, it is sufficient to recall the ' theological creeds and the systems of cosmogony belonging to the
* Hibbert: Oput cit. p. 436.
north; in these countries the aspects of nature are gigantic, wild, and terrible; the inhabitants—as the Laplanders, the Ostyaks, and the Samoiedes—are of a highly susceptible temperament, and people their solitudes with invisible beings.* On comparing the opinions of these nations with regard to the world of spirits with those which prevailed in Greece and America, they are found in each case to accord with the natural features of the country.
The hallucinations present remarkable differences in regard to locality; those which occur in towns are frequently very distinct from those which take place in the country. Thus, while the effects of the passions and of skepticism are reflected in the first, ignorance and superstition impress their characters on the second. The histories of the most civilized countries, such as France, England, and Germany, would fill volumes with these popular superstitions. The following is one belonging to Franche-Comte: " On the platean of Hante-Pierre there is often seen a figure, half-woman, half-serpent; it is the Vouivre. She has no eyes, but on her forehead she carries a carbuncle, which guides her by a ray of light which shines by day as well as by night. When she wishes to enter a river, she is obliged to leave the carbuncle on the land. Any one who can then succeed in obtaining it, may command the spirit, and compel her to bring him all the treasures which are hidden in the mountains ; but it is a dangerous adventure ; for, at the least noise, the Vouivre darts out of the river, and woe to him whom she may encounter. f The English sailor, who fears nothing else, confesses his terror for Old Nick, and believes him the author of almost all the various calamities to which the precarious life of a sailor is so continually exposed.
The Bhar-gnest, or Bhar-geist, by which name it is generally acknowledged through various country parts of England, and particularly in Yorkshire, also called a Pubie—a local spectre,
* The countries of the North were long regarded as the abode of demons and magicians.—Broo : Essai sur les Races Hvmainet, vol. i. 1836. t Xavier Marmier : Soucenirs de Voyage et Traditions Populaires, p. 73. which haunts a particular spot under various forms—is a deity, as his name implies, of Teutonic descent. *
Solitude is one of the influences which belongs to locality. This will constantly produce a partial hallucination or ecstasy, especially in imaginative individuals. The Eastern talcs of the desert, and the feelings of those who have traversed it, show the powerful effect of this cause; nevertheless, observation proves that it varies with the locality. The hallucinations which occur on the Northern steppes are different to those which arise on the burning plains of the South.
In speaking of the physical causes of hallucinations, we may again refer to those which are produced voluntarily by looking at the sun, or an image of it in a glass, and then directing the vision to a dark part of the room.
Amongst other experiments of this kind, Darwin has related the following: " I covered a paper about four inches square, with yellow, and with a pen filled with a blue color, wrote upon the middle of it the word BANKS, in capitals ; and sitting with my back to the sun, fixed my eyes for a minute exactly on the centre of the letter N in the word. After shutting my eyes, and shading them somewhat with my hands, the color was distinctly seen in the spectrum in yellow colors on a bine ground; and then, on opening my eyes on a yellowish wall at twenty feet distance, the magnified name of BANKS appeared on the wall, written in golden characters."
" A friend of mine," says Abercrombie, " had been one day looking intensely at a small print of the Virgin and Child, and had sat bending over it for some time. On raising his head, he was startled by perceiving at the farther end of the apartment a female figure of the size of life, with a child in her arms. The first feeling of surprise having subsided, he instantly traced the source of the illusion, and remarked that the figure corresponded
* Walter Scott: Opua cit. p. 97.
exactly with that which he had contemplated in the print. The illusion continued distinct for about two minutes." *
The state of the atmosphere may produce singular visions. All who have traversed the desert or the ocean are acquainted with the phenomenon of the mirage. General Daumas, in his translation of the Travels of the Arab Sid-el-Adg-Mohamrned, has mentioned several curious examples of this. Soldiers who have made campaigns in Egypt and Africa have witnessed disiant views of rivers, trees, villages, or armies, which, on a nearer approach, have resolved themselves into dry and burning masses of sand. The same effects may be produced by great elevations in the atmosphere.
Onanism, by its action on the nervous system, and the mental depressson which it produces when it has been long continued, has frequently been the cause of hallucinations.
We have known young men who had been well and religiously brought up, but having contracted this pernicious habit, they sank into the deepest despondency, lost all desire of life, became the victims of imaginary terrors, and were pursued by temptations to commit suicide. In these cases the physical constitution was not altered, but the distressing feelings arose from the mental suffering.
The second division of physical causes which may give rise to hallucinations, comprises mechanical causes, alcoholic drinks, certain gases, plants, and poisonous narcoctic substances.
The mechanical causes which favor hallucinations include pressure on the organs of the senses, their irritation by foreign bodies, concussion of the brain, hanging, abstinence, and insufficient food.
A miner was shut up in one of the galleries of the mine for fifteen days, having no food, and only so much water as he caught
* Abercrombie : Oput cit. p. 63.
by a drop at a time in his hand. During all this time he never lost his senses; bat when he thought upon the distress of his wife and children, he heard celestial voices which quieted all anguish. *
M. Savigny, who was on the raft of the wrecked Meduta, and experienced all the horrors of starvation, saw himself surrounded by beautiful plantations, and was in communication with beings of an agreeable nature. He reasoned, however, upon the state he was in, and felt that it was only by a strong mental effort he could ward off this kind of incipient insanity. Many of those on board the Meduta daily imagined themselves surrounded by similar objects ; some saw vessels in the distance, which they signaled to their assistance, or they beheld a road leading to a magnificent city. M. Coreard fancied he was passing through the most beautiful scenery of Italy. M. Savigny observes, that during the nights he and his companions were attacked with dementia. When daylight returned, they were more tranquil; but the approach of darkness reproduced the disorder in their enfeebled brains. He noticed, with regard to himself, that his imagination was much more vivid during the silence of the night; at which time everything had a strange and fantastic appearance. i
Abstinence has performed an important part in the production of the hallucinations of monks and of the anchorites of the Thebaid.
Continence will occasionally give rise to false sensations. A priest, mentioned by Pinel, had the most frightful hallucinations, which were cured by a natural discharge.
The effects of alcoholic liquors have been sufficiently examined when speaking of delirium Iremens ; we shall therefore only remark, that it is not uncommon for persons who have habituated
»Medieal and Phyrical Journal, by William Hutchison, vol. xliii. No. 252, Feb. 1850.
t Thete, read 1818, to the. Faculte de Paris, by M. Savigny. surgeon to the Medusa frigate.
themselves to the use of spirits, and who suddenly leave them off, to have hallucinations, from which they are relieved by returning to a moderate use of their accustomed stimulant.
The action of nitrous oxide gas on the economy deserves especial notice. Under its influence the sensations and the ideas are extremely vivid; the mind gradually becomes insensible to actual impressions, particularly such as are disagreeable ; these are replaced by others of a joyous and happy character. Sir Humphry Davy states that, when he had inhaled this gas, he " lost all connection with external things; trains of vivid visible images passed rapidly through his mind, and were connected with words in such a manner as to produce perceptions perfectly novel. He existed in a world of newly connected and newly modified ideas. After partially recovering himself, he exclaimed, he says : ' Nothing exists but thoughts ! The universe is composed of impressions, ideas, pleasures, and pains !' "*
Of all the substances whose action on the body gives rise to hallucinations and illusions, the most remarkable are opinm and the haschisch. In the work entitled Confessions of an English Opium Eater, the author has admirably described the sensations which he experienced from the prolonged use of this drug.
Example 119. The first notice I had of any important change going on in this part of my physical economy, was from the reawakening of a state of eye generally incident to childhood, or exalted state of irritability. At night, when I lay awake in bed, vast processions passed along in mournful pomp ; friezes of neverending stories, that to my feelings were as sad and solemn as if they were stories drawn from times before (Edipus or Priam— before Tyre—before Memphis. And at the same time a corresponding change took place in my dreams; a theatre seemed suddenly opened and lighted up within my brain. which presented
* Davy's Retearches on ffitrout Oxide, p. 488.
nightly spectacles of more than earthly splendor. And the four following facts may be mentioned as noticeable at this time :
That, as the creative state of the eye increased, a sympathy seemed to arise between the waking and dreaming states of the brain in one point. That whatsoever I happened to call up and to trace by a voluntary act upon the darkness, was very apt to transfer itself to my dreams, so that I feared to exercise this faculty; for, as Midas turned all things to gold that yet baffled his hopes and defrauded his human desires, so whatsoever things capable of being visually represented I did but think of in the darkness, immediately shaped themselves into phantoms of the eye ; and, by a process no less inevitable, when once thus traced in faint and visionary colors, like writings in sympathetic ink, they were drawn out by the fierce chemistry of my dreams into insufferable splendor that fretted my heart.
For this, and all other changes in my dreams, were accompanied by deep-seated anxiety and gloomy melancholy, such as are wholly incommunicable by words. I seemed every night to descend, not metaphorically, but literally to descend, into chasms and sunless abysses, depths below depths, from which it seemed hopeless that I could ever reascend. Nor did I by waking feel that I had reascended.
The sense of space, and, in the end, the sense of time, were both powerfully affected. Buildings, landscapes, &c., were exhibited in proportions so vast as the bodily eye is not fitted to re- ceive. Space swelled, and was amplified to an extent of unutterable infinity. This, however, did not disturb me so much as the vast expansion of time; I sometimes seemed to have lived for seventy or a hundred years in one night—nay, sometimes had feelings representative of a millenninm passed in that time, or, however, of a duration far beyond the limits of any human experience.
The minutest incidents of childhood, or forgotten scenes of
later years, were often revived. I could not be said to recollect them, for if I had been told of them when waking, I should not have been able to acknowledge them as parts of my past experience. But, placed as they were before me in dreams, like intnitions, and clothed in all their evanescent circumstances and accompanying feelings, I recognized instantaneously. I was once told by a near relative of mine, that having in her childhood fallen into a river, and being on the very verge of death but for the critical assistance which reached her, she saw in a moment her whole life, in its minutest incidents, arrayed before her simultaneously as in a mirror; and she had a faculty developed as suddenly for comprehending the whole and every part. This, from some opinm experiences of mine, I can believe. I have, indeed, seen the same thing asserted twice in modern books, and accompanied by a remark which I am convinced is true ; viz., that the dread book of account which the Scriptures speak of, is, in fact, the mind itself of each individual.
With a power of endless growth and self-reproduction, architecture entered into my dreams. In the very early stage of my malady, the splendors of my dreams were indeed chiefly architectural, and I beheld such pomp of cities and palaces as was never yet beheld by the waking eye, unless in the clouds. To my architectural, succeeded dreams of lakes and silvery expanses of water. For two months I suffered greatly in my head. The waters now changed their character; from translucent lakes, shining like mirrors, they now became seas and oceans. And now came a tremendous change, which, unfolding itself slowly like a scroll, through many months promised an abiding torment; and, in fact, it never left me until the winding up of my case. Hitherto the human face had mixed often in my dreams, but not despotically, nor with any special power of tormenting. But now that which I have called the tyranny of the human face began to unfold itself. Upon the rocking waters of the ocean the human face began to appear; the sea appeared paved with innumerable faces upturned to the heavens—faces imploring, wrathful, despairing, surged upwards by thousands, by myriads, by generations, by centuries ; my agitation was infinite—my mind tossed and surged with the ocean.*
Dr. Porqueville, in his Voyage en Moree, has given a frightful picture of the effects of opinm on those who habitually use it . Their passion for it is so strong, that the certainty of death and all the miseries which precede it, cannot hinder them from indulging in this deadly poison.
Example 120. This writer relates the case of an English ambassador, who was sent on a political mission to one of the Indian kings. On his arrival at the palace of the sovereign, he was conducted through a long suite of magnificent apartments, lined by officers of state clad in the richest apparel; he was then led into a small chamber, where the furniture and decorations were of a still more costly description than what he had already seen.
There he was left by himself. In a short time two persons of high rank entered, preceding a litter borne by slaves, and covered with rich silks and cashmere shawls of great value. On the couch was stretched a human form, which he should have mistaken for a corpse but for the motion of the head, which corresponded to that of the bearers; two of the officers in attendance had in their hands a golden waiter, on each of which was a cup, and a small bottle containing a bluish-looking liquid.
The ambassador, thinking he was the involuntary witness of some funeral ceremony, wished to retire; but he was soon undeceived upon observing one of the officers raise the head of this apparently lifeless being, replace the tongue, which was hanging from the mouth, and make it swallow some black liquid, at the
* Confetsions of an English Opium Eater, pp. 37-40. London: 5th edition.
same time closing the mouth, and gently rubbing the throat in order to facilitate its passage. When this operation had been repeated five or six times, the figure opened its eyes and closed its mouth of its own accord; it then swallowed, without assistance, another large dose of the liquid, and, in less than an hour, became revived, and sat up on the couch, having somewhat recovered its natural color and the partial use of its limbs. He then addressed the envoy in Persian, and asked him the objects of his mission. For nearly two hours this extraordinary person remained perfectly conscious and capable of transacting business of the greatest importance. The English ambassador took the liberty of asking him some questions concerning the strange scene which he had witnessed. " Sir," he replied, " I have long been an opinm-eater, and by degrees have fallen into this deplorable condition. I pass three parts of the day in the torpid state in which you have seen me. Although incapable of moving or of speaking, I retain my consciousuess, and during this time I am surrounded with the most delightful visions; but I should never awake if I was not surrounded by zealous and affectionate attendants, who watch over me with the most anxious solicitude. When, from the state of my pulse, they know that my heart is becoming enfeebled, and my respiration is scarcely perceptible, they then make me swallow a solution of opinm, which revives me iu the manner you have seen. During these four hours I shall have swallowed several ounces, and in a short time I shall relapse into my habitual torpor. "*
In some particular cases, opinm has been known to produce its peculiar eifects on the brain without the persons having used it for any length of time, and, in a few cases, this has occurred from the first dose.
Example 121. " Some time ago," says Abercrombie, " I at
* Porqneville : Voyage en Moree.—Bibliotheque Universelle de Genttc, 1841. Neuf Annees a Constantinople, par Brager, 2 vol. in-8. 1836.
tended a gentleman affected with a painful local disease, requiring the use of large opiates, but which often failed in producing sleep. In one watchful night there passed before him a long and regular exhibition of characters and transactions connected with certain occurrences which had been the subject of much conversation in Ediuburgh some time before. The figures succeeded each other with all the regularity and vividness of a theatrical exhibition : he heard their conversation and long speeches which were occasionally made, some of which were in rhyme; and he distinctly remembered, and repeated the next day, long passages from these poetical effusions. He was quite awake, and quite sensible that the whole was a phantasm; and he remarked that when he opened his eyes, the vision vanished, but instantly reappeared whenever he closed them.*
Attention was directed, some years ago, to a substance which is extensively used in the East, under the name of haschisch. It is made from the seeds of the Indian hemp (Cannabis Indica) ; and it would appear, from the researches of MM. Lengles, Michand, and De Sacj, that this compound performed an important part during the Middle Ages ; it is highly probable that the Vieux de la Montague made use of it to plunge their fanatics into a species of delirinm.
The facts which have been observed in Egypt and France are in favor of this opinion. In 1840 I assisted, with several other medical men, at an inquiry, of which the results were published in the Gazette Medicale. Those 'who were present felt no doubt that the haschisch was the principal ingredient in the liquid which was given to the persons experimented on, even if it was not that preparation itself, without the admixture of any other ingredient. The following is an account of what took place at this meeting: I had been requested by M. A. de G., well known by his translation of Pliny, to be present at some experiments which were
» Abereromhie: Oput cit. p. 388.
about to be made on a liquid whose effects, he said, when drank, were precisely similar to the phenomena which were exhibited by the adepts of the Vieux de la Monlagne.
When I arrived, I found, amongst the persons who were present, MM. Esquirol, Ferrus, and others well-known in science, literature, and art.
Example 122. Three persons had taken the liquor at eleven o'clock: A. K., a novelist, of strong physical organization; D., a barrister, one of the most celebrated pupils of the university; and B., a painter and musician. Two hours elapsed without any sensible effect being produced. A fresh dose was administered, when we noticed the following phenomena in two of these gentlemen : A. K. resisted the action of the liquor, experiencing, according to his own statement, only a slight sensation in the head and epigastrinm; possibly a second meal, which he had taken, prevented the effects of the liquor: all three had partaken of breakfast previous to the experiment.
The state of the pulse was not noticed at the commencement, but its acceleration at a later period, and the state of the pupil, sufficiently proved the action of the liquid.
M. B., who was the first to experience any effects from the drng, complained of a dryness in his throat, and twitchings in his limbs ; the pulse was 96 in a minute, and the countenance injected. Soon M. B. closed his eyes in order to collect his thought's; his ideas seemed to become developed with extraordinary rapidity. At one time he exhibited the singular phenomenon of the double man, a fact which had already been observed in some previous experiments; he heard, he said, music with one ear, and what was spoken with the other: this, however, did not last long. The pupils at this time were greatly dilated. Upon being asked what he felt, M. B. said he had voluptuous sensations. He became very animated, in consequence of the feeling of lightness and happiness which he experienced. He wished to be left alone and where there was a subdaed light; he felt an invincible repugnance to speaking or doing anything; the persons around him assumed a ridiculous appearance.
Up to this time M. B. had kept in communication with those who were present; he would walk about, and laughed, sometimes very loudly; his actions more or less resembled those of a man excited by drink. All at once he threw himself on a sofa, and would answer no more questions ; he begged to be left quiet, and not to be disturbed from the delicious sensations which possessed him. There were spasmodic movements of the limbs and of the diaphragm; he sighed, wept, and laughed by turns. The pulse beat 120 in a minute ; the countenance was very florid. A feeling of alarm was felt by those around, but it was speedily dissipated upon hearing M. B. repeat several times that he was very happy, and free from all pain. All the phenomena he exhibited were of an ecstatic character; his features expressed the greatest happiness; he was at a loss for words in which to describe his sensations; he had no wish to pass out of his present state, he was so happy. The effect of B.'s temperament was manifested in the experiment by his becoming extremely sensitive. But when things of a joyous character were introduced, or if laughable and agreeable images were presented to his mind, his ideas would immediately harmonize with them. Tt is quite evident, in this case, that the person experimented on was under the influence of the person who addressed him, and that it was in the speaker's power to guide his thoughts in what direction he pleased. During the experiment, M. B. acquired great acuteness of ear, and could distinctly hear things which were whispered a long way off. During his ecstasy he never lost his consciousness of things or persons; he replied correctly to the questions which were put to him, he knew the persons who were around him; but he evidently spoke with the greatest reluctance, and that he would rather have been left in the undisturbed enjoyment of his ecstasy. At halfpast four the pulse was 90 ; the ecstatic reveries continued. He felt as though his soul was liberated from his body; but, nevertheless, had the most agreeable sensations. All those I have questioned on the subject who have made the experiment, assured me that they felt no inconvenience the next day, and that the feeling of happiness continued for two or three days.
M. D., the second who was experimented on, felt convinced that the liquid would have no effect upon him, and was determined to resist its influence. For two hours and a half no symptoms were manifested. The countenance of M. D. is naturally stern; he is of a serious disposition, and engaged in the study of metaphysics.
Towards two o'clock, his pulse was 100, and the heart beat violently. M. D., who up to this time had been perfectly collected, conversing with the different persons at the meeting, cried out that he was in a delirinm; he began to sing, and, taking up his pen, endeavored to describe his sensations. The following are some of these fragmentary notes : " It is cery droll; my sensations are extremely vivid; what decided me to lake this admirable beverage was, that I might be useful without fear; I am cery singular. Ah! they are laughing at me, I will write no more." He threw his paper aside. The delirium increased. The features of M. D. became very changeable; he had a sarcastic smile, a lively expression of the eye, the countenance was injected, the pulse 120, and the pupil dilated. Like M. B., he seemed perfectly happy ; he laughed, sang, jesticulated, and spoke with extreme volubility. His ideas succeeded each other with great rapidity; he tad the appearance of a delighted monomaniac. In the midst of these numerous and versatile ideas, those which belong to his usual pursuits still prevailed. These grave subjects were mingled with jokes, witticisms, and puns. The tongue was dry; he was constantly spitting; and the lower extremities were agitated with slight convulsive movements. The experimentalist himself remarked, " This is a singular kind of insanity." Like M. B., his sight and hearing were extremely acute. He had no longer any notion of time or space, but he recognized all the persons who were present, and at times replied correctly to the questions which were put to him. He drew out his watch, and said very seriously, " It is such an hour." A multitude of ideas came into his head, but he could not find terms in which to express them. "I wish," he said, "you would take away an ear and an eye, and give me a tongue the more, that I might be able to communicate what I feel."
The pulse diminished in frequency, it became softer, and did not beat more than 90 in a minute. The delirinm continued; some water was given to him, and he cried out, " That will produce frogs, which will swallow the liquor." He uttered a number of incoherent phrases, with inconceivable1 volubility and much gesticulation.
The delirium then changed its character; M. D. sat down in a corner of the room, closed his. eyes, and talked to himself: he had the appearance of a person who is inspired. We stood around him while he discoursed upon the sciences, and gave definitions ; then, like a person who is making preparatory efforts, he pronounced certain broken words, and suddenly repeated some twenty verses. Believing they were already known, we neglected to note them down ; but when asked if Victor Hugo was not the author, he replied, " No." " They are your own, then ?" to which he made a sign of assent. His countenance had a gay and satisfied expression ; he had become extremely pale; the pulse beat 100; the eyes were closed, but he opened them at the request of his brother, and the pupils were less dilated.
He ceased to improvise, and spoke of foreign countries. We had been told that the experimentalists manifested the phenomena of second sight. M. D. accurately described, as though they were present, the countries and towns which he had visited ; he remembered'particular events which happened daring his travels: thus he told us that he saw men engaged in building the Pantheon at Naples, and gave us a most poetical description of the localities and countries which had attracted his attention ; but, in spite of all our questions, he was quite unable to describe places he had never visited. He saw objects which had no existence. His brother asked him if he could see into his brain. " No, it is empty; besides," he added, " how do you expect I can see into your brain when there are curtains and other objects between us?" Presently he rose up, saying: "All this has been a dream; the aberration gave a powerful impulse to my ideas, but it has added nothing to what I knew." The delirinm, which for some time had been confined to one train of ideas, now again became general. The person who put questions could, as in the previous case, make him talk and act as he pleased.* This experiment presented several remarkable phenomena. The person under the influence of the haschisch had a maniacal exaltation; his ideas were unconnected, and succeeded each other with great rapidity; they were in a state of excitement, which placed them beyond the influence of the will. The mind was under the dominion of hallucinations and illusions. Things of the past could be called and revived, as though they were actually present; but it was necessary for the individual to have had a personal knowledge of them, for when questioned concerning things which were not known to him, he would reply, that it was impossible for him to describe what he had not seen, or, if he attempted, the description was obscure. As in dreams, the idea of time and space was lost. In one of the three, the excitement so far exalted his faculties as to enable him to improvise a number of verses ; it is not, however, proved that the subject had not been previously treated by him. What is certain, is, that M. D. declared he felt his intellectual
*Brierre de Boismont: Gazette Zfedicale, 2 Mai, 1840.
capacities were enlarged, but that the exaltation had added nothing to what he previously knew.
In the midst of this disordered career of the ideas, a state which one of the experimentalists termed a singular insanity, the feeling of personality was preserved; nothing was more curious than the contrast which existed between the rational replies that were made to the questions addressed to them, and the rambling character of their ideas when there was nothing to recall them to the realities of life.
In one instance a circumstance occurred which had some analogy to the doctrine of the duality of the mind, which Dr. Wigan has endeavored to establish—with one ear the person heard the conversation, and with the other the music which was being played. All the persons experimented on had voluptuous feelings and great sensibility of the organ of hearing; they were delirious; the ideas became fixed on a particular subject; and they were liable to irresistible impulses
Stramoninm (datura stramonium) is another poisonous substance which has the power of producing hallucinations.
Example 123. Some years ago a musician and composer, who was borne down by domestic calamities, determined to put an end to his existence. For this purpose he took a large dose of stramoninm. The poison first produced giddiness, but soon gave rise to symptoms resembling those of drunkenness. He saw troops of men whirling before him, and endeavoring to entangle him in their disordered movements. All the persons of the ballet in Oustave, at which he had assisted on the previous night, presented themselves before him, mocking him and tormenting him in every possible manner. He lost his consciousuess, and fell on the ground, when he was carried to the police-court, where he became extremely violent, thinking he was surrounded by thieves and assassins, who intended to ill-use him. The figures appeared by hundreds, filling the room, and were possessed of the most hideous countenances.
Taken to the Ilotcl-Dicu, he was treated as a furious madman, whom it was necessary to put in confinement. The next day, when he was brought to my establishment, his excitement, though very decided, was much diminished. The pupils still remained somewhat dilated, and he was still surrounded by phantoms. These phenomena soon ceased, and at the end of three days he was completely recovered.
In November, 1843, three young children ate some seeds of the stramoninm. They soon exhibited the usual symptoms produced by this drug: to these were added, in two of the children, numerous and continued hallucinations of sight. The next day all the symptoms were much diminished; the youngest continued very weak in its legs. On the third day all the symptoms had disappeared, as if by enchantment. (Examinat. Ated. 15 Mai, 1843.)
Many of the patients who were treated with the stramoninm, according to the plan of Dr. Morean, saw animals in their beds. This hallucination occurred principally during the night.
The berries of the belladonna will likewise produce hallucinations or illusions. In the Dictionnaire des Sciences Medicales a case is mentioned, where a company of soldiers, having eaten some of these berries by mistake, were attacked by numerous illusions. M. Baillarger, in his clinical lectures at the Salpetri&re, has related several cases of this kind. A cook, at the monthly period, took some infusion of belladonna, which brought on an attack of delirinm. She saw herself surrounded by a number of little animals which ran along the ground; she endeavored to put her hand upon one of them, but only took hold of a leaf, as in the Tales of the Thousand and One Nights, or in those legends of treasures sold by the devil.
The third section comprises hallucinations complicated with mental diseases. It is to be observed that, in many instances, they precede the insanity, and that then they ought to be considered as the cause of it; but in a great number of cases they arise during the progress of the mental disease. They are then only a result, a symptom, and complication of it. Several questions have suggested themselves : Do the hallucinations depend upon the organic changes superinduced by the mental disease? Are they associated with the psycho-cerebral excitement which has produced the insanity ? In a word, are they physical or moral ? The distinction is often very difficult, yet the nature of the hallucinations and their immediate connection with the cause of the insanity, justify us in thinking that they often arise from moral causes. With this reservation, we are of opinion that the action of mental diseases, although imperfectly known, should nevertheless be classed amongst the physical causes.
The fourth section contains the hallucinations of nervous diseases not constituting forms of insanity, and those of nightmare and ecstasy. What we have just stated with regard to the dis tinction between moral and physical causes, will also apply to the present section.
The fifth section includes the hallucinations which are observed in inflammatory, acute, chronic and other diseases. These have been already considered in a former chapter.
We have thus endeavored to trace out, as far as was in our power, the causes of hallucinations. In doing this, we do not suppose that none have been omitted, but at least we feel satisfied of having accumulated essential materials towards a complete etiology of this disease.
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