Dumont-Pallier and Magnin accede to the theory of intermediate stages, and have tried to lay down rules for them with as great exactness as Charcot's school. They also are very decided about the three periods, whose succession does not appear to them as fixed; but they discovered a new fundamental law which regulates the production as well as the cessation of the condition - La cause qui fait, defait; that is, the stimulus which produces one of the three periods needs only to be repeated in order to do away with that condition. From this the following diagram of hypnotic conditions is evolved:
And, furthermore, Dumont-Pallier should be considered as the founder of a series of experiments, for he was the first one to show in a decisive manner that the duality of the cerebral system was proved by these hypnotic phenomena; and his works, as well as those of Messrs. Bérillon and Descourtis, have brought to light the following facts: Under hypnotic conditions, the psychical activity of a brain hemisphere may be suppressed without nullifying the intellectual activity or consciousness. Both hemispheres may be started at the same time in different degrees of activity; and also, when the grade is the same, they may be independently the seat of psychical manifestations which are in their natures entirely different. In close connection with this and with the whole doctrine of hemi-hypnotism, which is founded upon these facts, stand the phenomena of thought transference, which we must consider later.
As an addition to the investigations of Charcot and Dumont-Pallier, Brémaud, in 1884, made the discovery that there was a fourth hypnotic state, "fascination," which preceded the three others, and manifested itself by a tendency to muscular contractions, as well as through sensitiveness to hallucination and suggestion, but at the same time left to the subject a full consciousness of his surroundings and remembrance of what had taken place. Descourtis, in addition, perceived a similar condition in the transition from hypnotic sleep to waking, which he called delire posthypnotique, and, instead of using the word "fascination" to express the opening stage, he substituted "captation." According to him, the diagram would be the following:
This whole movement, which I have tried to sketch, and whose chief peculiarity is that it considers hypnotism a nervous malady, and one that must be treated clinically and nosographically, was opposed in 1880 in two directions - one source of opposition producing great results, while the other fell to the ground. The latter joined itself to the theory of the mesmerists, and tried, by means of exact experiments, to measure the fluid emanating from the human body - an undertaking which gave slight promise of any satisfactory result.
Baillif in his thesis (1878) and Chevillard in his (for spiritualists) very interesting books, tried, by means of various arguments, to uphold the fluidic explanation. Despine also thought that by its help he had been able to explain the phenomena; but it was Baréty who, in the year 1881, first turned general attention in this direction. According to him, mankind possesses a nerve force which emanates from him in different kinds of streams. Those coming from the eyes and fingers produce insensibility to pain, while those generated by the breath cause hypnotic conditions. This nerve force goes out into the ether, and there obeys the laws that govern light, being broken into spectra, etc.
Claude Perronnet has more lately advanced similar views, and his greatest work is now in press. Frederick W.H. Myers and Edmund Gurney sympathize with these views, and try to unite them with the mesmerist doctrine of personal influence and their theory of telepathy. The third champion in England of hypnotism, Prof. Hack Tuke, on the contrary, sympathizes entirely with the Parisian school, only differing from them in that he has experimented with satisfactory results upon healthy subjects. In France this view has lately been accepted by Dr. Bottey, who recognizes the three hypnotic stages in healthy persons, but has observed other phenomena in them, and vehemently opposes the conception of hypnotism as a malady. His excellently written book is particularly commended to those who wish to experiment in the same manner as the French investigator, without using hysterical subjects.
The second counter current that opposed itself to the French neuropathologists, and produced the most lasting impression, is expressed by the magic word "suggestion." A generation ago, Dr. Liebault, the patient investigator and skillful physician, had endeavored to make a remedial use of suggestion in his clinic at Nancy. Charles Richet and others have since referred to it, but Professor Bernheim was the first one to demonstrate its full significance in the realm of hypnotism. According to him, suggestion - that is, the influence of any idea, whether received through the senses or in a hypersensible manner (suggestion mentale) - is the key to all hypnotic phenomena. He has not been able in a single case to verify the bodily phenomena of grandehypnotisme without finding suggestion the primary cause, and on this account denies the truth of the asserted physical causes. Bernheim says that when the intense expectance of the subject has produced a compliant condition, a peculiar capacity is developed to change the idea that has been received into an action as well as a great acuteness of acceptation, which together will produce all those phenomena that we should call by the name of "pathological sleep," since they are only separable in a gradual way from the ordinary sleep and dream conditions. Bernheim is particularly strenuous that psychology should appear in the foreground of hypnotism, and on this point has been strongly upheld by men like Professors Beaunis and Richet.
The possibility of suggestion in waking conditions, and also a long time after the sleep has passed off (suggestions posthypnotiques ou suggestions a (longue) echeance), as well as the remarkable capacity of subjects to change their personality (changement de la personnalite objectivation des types), have been made the subject of careful investigation. The voluntary production of bleeding and stigmata through spiritual influence has been asserted, particularly by Messrs. Tocachon, Bourru, and Burot. The judicial significance of suggestion has been discussed by Professor Liegeois and Dr. Ladame. Professor Pitres in Bordeaux is one of the suggestionists, though differing in many points from the Nancy school.
This whole tendency brings into prominence the psychical influence, while it denies the production of these results from purely physical phenomena, endeavoring to explain them in a different manner. These explanations carry us into two realms, the first of which has been lately opened, and at present seems to abound more in enigmas than in solutions.
Metallotherapie, which was called into existence by Dr. Burg, and further extended by Dr. Gellé, contains a special point of interest - the so-called transference in the case of hysterically or hypnotically affected persons. Transference is caused by electro-magnetism, which has this peculiarity - that in the case of specially sensitive persons it can transfer the bodily affection from left to right, and vice versa. The transference of paralysis, the cures attempted on this plan, and the so-called "psychical transference," which contains special interest for graphologists, are at the present time still open questions, as well as the closely connected theory of human polarity; and the odic experiments of Dr. Chazarain are yet waiting for their confirmation. At present the problem of the connection between magnetism and hypnotism is under investigation, and in such a manner that we may hope for a speedy solution.
Still stranger than these reports are the accounts of the distant operation of certain bodies; at least, they seem strange to those unacquainted with psychometry and the literature of the past century relating to this subject. Two physicians in Rochefort, Professors Bourru and Burot, in treating a hystero-epileptic person, found that gold, even when at a distance of fifteen centimeters, produced in him a feeling of unbearable heat. They continued these experiments with great care, and, after a number of trials, came to this conclusion - that in some persons certain substances, even when carefully separated from them by long distance, exercise exactly the same physiological influence as if introduced into their organism. In order to explain these phenomena, they refer to the radiating force of Baréty, an explanation neither satisfactory to themselves nor to others. Lately the distinguished Parisian physician, Dr. Luys, has confirmed by his experiments the existence of these phenomena, but he thinks the explanation referable to hyper-sensitiveness of the "regions emotives et intellectuelles de l'encephale" yet even he has not reached the kernel of the difficulty.
In close connection with action at a distance is the question of distant production of hypnotic sleep. For an answer to this problem, they are experimenting in both France and England; and Frederick W.H. Myers has thrown an entirely new light upon the subject by the investigations he is making upon a purely experimental basis. In Italy they have limited themselves to the study of isolated cases of hystero-hypnotism, except as the phenomena of magnetic fascination investigated by Donato have given rise to further research; but all the books I have seen upon this subject, as well as many by French authors, suffer from ignorance of the latest English discoveries.
With this I think that I have given a slight outline of the history of hypnotic investigation to the end of the year 1886. I shall attempt a criticism of this whole movement at some other time, as space is not afforded to me here; but I should like to make this statement now, that two of the characteristic indications of this period are of the gravest import - first the method ("Our work," says Richet, "is that of strictly scientific testing, observation, and arrangement"); and, secondly, the result. Hypnotism has been received into the realm of scientific investigation, and with this the foundation of a true experimental psychology has been laid.
Translated for Science from Der Spinx.