This section is from the book "Human Personality And Its Survival Of Bodily Death", by Frederic W. H. Myers. Also available from Amazon: Human Personality And Its Survival Of Bodily Death.
543 B. Three cases of the production of cruciform marks reported by Dr. Biggs, of Lima, appeared in the Journal S.P.R., vol. iii. p. 100, and I quote one of them.
October 18th, 1885.
... Another case... was the first of this kind of experiment that I tried; it was in Santa Barbara, California. I was staying there in 1879 with a friend, Mr. G., a long-resident chemist in that town. His wife had a kind of half servant and half companion, a girl of about eighteen, who complained to me one day of a pain through her chest. Without her knowing what I intended to do, I tried magnetism; she fell into a deep magnetic sleep in a few minutes. With this subject I tried many interesting experiments, which I will pass over. One day I magnetised her as usual, and told her in a whisper (I had found her to be more susceptible this way than when I spoke aloud in my usual voice), "You will have a red cross appear on the upper part of your chest, only on every Friday. In the course of some time the words Sancta above the cross, and Cruets underneath it will appear also; at same time a little blood will come from the cross." In my vest pocket I had a cross of rock crystal. I opened the top button of her dress and placed this cross on the upper part of the manubrium, a point she could not see unless by aid of a looking-glass, saying to her, " This is the spot where the cross will appear." This was on a Tuesday. I asked Mrs. G. to watch the girl and tell me if anything seemed to ail her.
Next day Mrs. G. told me she had seen the girl now and again put her left wrist over the top part of her chest, over the dress; this was frequently repeated, as if she felt some tickling or slight irritation about the part, but not otherwise noticed; she seemed to carry her hand up now and then unconsciously. When Friday came I said, after breakfast, "Come, let me magnetise you a little; you have not had a dose for several days." She was always willing to be magnetised, as she always expressed herself as feeling very much rested and comfortable afterwards. In a few minutes she was in a deep sleep. I unbuttoned the top part of her dress, and there, to my complete and utter astonishment, was a pink cross, exactly over the place where I had put the one of crystal. It appeared every Friday, and was invisible on all other days. This was seen by Mr. and Mrs. G., and my old friend and colleague, Dr. B., who had become much interested in my experiments in magnetism, and often suggested the class of experiments he wished to see tried. About six weeks after the cross first appeared I had occasion to take a trip to the Sandwich Islands. Before going I magnetised the girl, told her that the cross would keep on showing itself every Friday for about four months.
I intended my trip to the Islands to last about three months. I did this to save the girl from the infliction of this mark so strangely appearing perhaps for a lifetime, in case anything might happen to me and prevent me from seeing her again. I also asked Dr. B. and Mr. G. to write me by every mail to Honolulu, and tell me if the cross kept on appearing every Friday, and to be very careful to note any change, should any take place, such as the surging of blood or any appearance of the words Sancta Crucis. I was rather curious to know if distance between us, the girl and myself, over 2000 miles, made any difference in the apparition of the cross. While I was at the Sandwich Islands I received two letters from Mr. G. and one from Dr. B. by three different mails, each telling that the cross kept on making its appearance as usual; blood had been noticed once, and also part of the letter S above the cross, nothing more. I returned in a little less than three months. The cross still made its appearance every Friday, and did so for about a month more, but getting paler and paler until it became invisible, as nearly as possible four months from the time I left for the Sandwich Islands. The above-mentioned young woman was a native Cali-fornian, of Spanish parentage, about eighteen years of age, of tolerably good health, parents and grandparents alive.
She was of fair natural intelligence, but utterly ignorant and uneducated.... M. H. Biggs, M.D.
To this account Edmund Gurney adds in a note: -
As to the first two of these cases [the one quoted above and another], it is possible to suppose that the hypnotic suggestion took effect indirectly, by causing the girls to rub a patch of the right shape. The suggestion may have been received as a command, and there would be nothing very surprising in a subject's automatically adopting the right means to fulfil a previous hypnotic command. And even the third case might be so accounted for, if the rubbing took place in sleep. At the same time it would be rash, I think, absolutely to reject the hypothesis of the more direct effect. [The writer goes on to quote other cases of the far-reaching effects of hypnotic suggestion in producing organic changes, with which these may be compared; and points out the difficulties in the way of any precise physiological explanation of the affection of areas of the body that have no definite physiological limit]
543 C. Another remarkable American case of stigmatisation was reported in the Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky., December 7th, 1891, on the authority of Dr. M. F. Coomes and of several other physicians. According to Dr. Coomes' account, a certain Mrs. Stuckenborg seems to have bled from spontaneously formed stigmata on every Friday since the beginning of June. There are wounds on the hands and feet, a wound on the side (from whence issues a watery exudation tinged with blood), a cross on the forehead, a large cross and a heart on the chest, and the letters I.H.S. on the right shoulder. From three to six every Friday there is profound trance, with superficial anaesthesia, but much convulsive movement and manifestation of inward pain. If we may rely on Dr. Coomes' account, which seems a careful one, simulation is quite out of the question. The patient seems to desire neither money nor notoriety. She is a devout Catholic, but does not talk about religion; and complains much of the pain and exhaustion due to the wounds and the convulsive trance.
Dr. Hodgson paid two visits to Louisville in the hope of seeing Mrs. Stuckenborg, but was unable to do so owing to the restrictions imposed on her by the Roman Catholic authorities. He made the acquaintance, however, of Dr. Coomes (himself a Catholic), and one or two other medical men who had seen the case, and he reported, after his talks with them, that there seemed no doubt of its genuineness. Dr. Coomes also sent us several photographs of the stigmata, but no further information as to the later developments of the case has been obtainable.