Hypnotism and telepathy: there is nothing at all supernatural about them. It is simply putting into practical application certain natural laws, which at the present time are imperfectly understood by the most progressive and advanced scientists. It is now sufficiently understood by many investigators -sufficiently to satisfy them beyond all question - that such a natural law exists. Indeed, there is nothing supernatural in the whole universe. The entire universe is and has been governed by natural law. The world is beginning to understand that the most tremendous force in nature is the human mind. The power of mind over matter has long been conceded and partially understood; its power over disease is now being faintly comprehended. The increasing interest in hypnotism and animal magnetism is daily observable. Harriet Martineau, the English authoress, was deeply afflicted by a painful disease which defied the skill of the most eminent physicians, and rendered her an almost helpless invalid for years. After experimenting with all the usual means of cure attainable at the hands of the more skillful medical practitioners of her time, without appreciable benefit, as a last resort, Miss Martineau was induced to try the effect of hypnotism in her case.
As a result she was completely restored to health and, rather from a sense of duty than otherwise, gave the public the benefit of her experiences, in a series of seven letters, originally published in the London Athenaeum; subsequently in pamphlet form by the well known New York house of Harper and Brothers. In 1829 an eminent Parisian surgeon, M. Cloquet, amputated a cancerous breast during a hypnotic sleep. The patient, although able to converse, is reported to have been entirely insensible to pain. This seems to be the first authentic effort at introducing anaesthesia for the purpose of avoiding the pain of surgical operations. Occasional recourse to the hypnotic trance for similar purposes was subsequently made in Paris and London, but not always with satisfactory results. That the use of hypnotic anaesthesia is an enormous boon to the race is evident. Nor is the boon in the avoidance only of pain, but also of the nervous irritation that might delay, or even prevent, subsequent recovery. Thus it is possible for many operations to be safely performed which, without the use of hypnotism, would endanger life by the mere shock to the system.
Remember, bad nerves weaken the action of the heart, oppress the lungs, destroy the appetite, stop digestion and partially suspend all the functions of the system. An emotion of shame flushes the face; fear blanches it; and an instant thrill electrifies a million of nerves. Surprise spurs the pulse into a gallop. Delirium infuses great energy. Volition commands and hundreds of muscles spring to execute. Powerful emotion often kills the body at a stroke. Eminent public speakers have died in the midst of an impassioned burst of eloquence, or when the deep emotion that produced it suddenly subsided. Largrave, the young Parisian, died when he heard that the musical prize for which he had competed was adjudged to another. The pleasantest things in the world are pleasant thoughts; and the great art in life is to have as many of them as possible. Vibration is nature's underlying law. Mind manifests itself through various grades of fineness produced by vibration. The different elements differ from each other not in substance, but in the rate of vibrations. A piece of ice can be changed into water, steam, vapor and gas; not by changing its substance, but by increasing the rapidity of its atomic vibrations.
The soul - "the breath of life" - is a constant influx and efflux; it is not a fixed quantity at any time, as it is dependent on brain development and physical environment for its manifestation. The soul must of necessity vary as the physical conditions change; and the brain capacity of response, at any given time, is the full measure of the soul force or capacity at that special time. Nothing is so baffling as the mystery which lies back of all hypnotic and magnetic phenomena. Dr. J. W. Robertson says, "more patients are saved by the firm and tactful influence and suggestiveness of the physician than by the drugs which they prescribe, in the majority of cases, to stimulate the imagination of the patient." The time is gone when everything improbable was branded "impossible," and when "swindle" was the name for everything not in harmony with the traditional notions of what was possible. Said a learned professor in his valedictory address to his class: "After thousands of years of practice, the medical faculty know nothing positive in relation to the curing of diseases; we might possibly say, with some truth, 'We know that sulfur will cure itch; beyond that nothing is certain' " The world does need righting; the very greatness of that appeals to all men and women of high and chivalrous spirit.
Liberalism, through the intellectual courage of our more modern metaphysicians, has of late advanced steadily and will soon become the ruling power of the world. Dr. Arndt, in 1816, operated upon one of his patients, from his dwelling (at an hour at which she was not accustomed to be hypnotized). Her husband told him later, that she was going about very cheerfully, when suddenly she felt a heaviness in her head and went to sleep upon the sofa. The sleep lasted a quarter of an hour. Dr. Arndt had hypnotized her so long, and then waked her up. Dr. Barth hypnotized his patient at different times, at a distance of twenty miles. When she was engaged in amusement, at the dance, etc., the attempt proved a failure. His wife, who had never yet been hypnotized, wrote him once that she was sick. He was twenty miles away; waited until night, and then hypnotized her from that distance, willing that it should be known to her that he was hypnotizing her. A letter from his wife crossed his written message - on account of sleeplessness, from which she was suffering, she had gone straight to the window, but suddenly became very sleepy and had the feeling of being hypnotized by her husband, whereupon she slept soundly all night long.
ref. Hypnotism and Suggestion by E. Virgil Neal and Charles S. Clerk