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Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond

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Healing Hypotheses 



The manuscript being quoted here is what Dresser referred to1 as Quimby's "lecture-notes" of the period 1843-1847. Since this name has been used, it is continued here, although it appears that Quimby may have considered publishing these well written-out "notes," especially as he refers to them as this "work," as one might to a book, and as "this volume,"2 as well as addressing "our


1 The Quimby Manuscripts, 1st ed., pp. 47-52, 2nd ed., pp. 53-58. Dresser does not mention the lecture notes in his list of material at 1st ed., pp. 17-18, 2nd ed., pp. 23-24, but he may have included them under the first item, "Original manuscripts of articles and letters in P. P. Quimby's handwriting......

2 Quimby, lecture notes, VII, 3. The manuscript is neither titled nor provided with page numbers, except for two dozen pages with penciled page numbers seemingly by Dresser. It is contained in seven booklets bearing the apparently trade name Ames. The page numbers used here are derived by counting the written pages, generally on only one side of a sheet. In addition, there is an extra copy of part of the first volume. At this time [1962] all are in the possession of the Quimby family [in 1992 in the Special Collections of the Mugar Memorial Library of Boston University].


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reader."1 Dresser did not indicate that it contains 153 pages. In part, he says:

Referring to Mr. Quimby's lecture-notes, used during the period of his public exhibitions with Lucius, we find that he very gradually came to [certain] conclusions when he saw that no other explanation would suffice. He not only read all the books on mesmerism he could find but familiarized himself with various theories of matter, such as Berkeley's, and with different hypotheses in explanation of the mesmeric sleep. Convinced that there was no "mesmeric influence" as such, no "fluid" passing from body to body but simply the direct action of mind on mind without any medium, he had also become convinced that the states perceived by the subject were not due to imagination. He found, for example, that by creating a state in his own mind and vividly feeling it, Lucius felt the same and exhibited signs of its effect in the body. "Real cold" was felt by Lucius in response to certain suggestions. If imaginary, the subject would not have acted upon the ideas in question. Thus when Mr. Quimby handed Lucius a six-inch rule and pictured it in his own mind as a twelve-inch rule, Lucius would proceed to count out the twelve inches, and to him it was literally a twelve-inch rule. That is to say, the impressions received by the subject were real, not "imaginary," as real as would have been the actual things in question. An impression might


1 Ibid., V, 25.

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indeed be produced on a subject's mind from a false cause, but the cause would then be real.1

Presumably, George Quimby used this manuscript in writing his article on his father.2 It was available to Collie, cited below; however, with Quimby's later material in mind, he looked at it without thinking that it was written by Quimby. Probably no other writers than the three, including Dresser, just mentioned have consulted this writing until now.

The manuscript seems to be just as it left Quimby's hand, except for such obviously recent additions as now somewhat yellowed cellophane tape, and some insignificant changes of wording apparently of approximately the same time as the original writing; but there is nothing to call into question Quimby's authorship.

At this period Quimby used orthodox terminology in relation to the mind. This suggests that his later language was not that of one who had no usual terms to use, but was employed to deal with something not yet discovered in his earlier period. The framework on which his later thought was built is shown in the lecture notes.

With regard to the coming of mesmerism Quimby says:


1 The Quimby Manuscripts, 1st ed., p. 47, 2nd ed., p. 53. The ruler incident is in the lecture notes at 111, 17. Later, 1st ed., p. 51, 2nd ed., p. 57, he says that Quimby "had heard something about Berkeley's views," but does not mention Berkeley after the period of the lecture notes. Quimby's references to Berkeley, not quoted by Dresser, are quoted below.

2 Now published in Ervin Seale (ed.) Phineas Parkhurst Quimby[: ] The Complete Writings (Marina del Rey, Calif.: De Vorss & Company, 1988) I, 19-27.


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Mesmerism was introduced into the U State [sic] by M. Charles Poyen, a French gentleman, who did not appear to be highly blest with the powers of magnetising to the satisfaction of his audience in his public lectures. I had the pleasure of listening to one of his lectures, & pronounced it a humbug as a matter of course. And that his remarkable experiments, which were related, were, in my belief, equally true with witch craft--I had never been a convert to witch craft, nor had even had any personal interviews [?] with ghosts or hobgoblins & therefore considered all stories bordering on the marvelous as delusive-

Next came Dr Collyer,1 who perhaps did more to excite a spirit of enquirey [sic] throughout the community than any, who have succeeded him. But the community were still incredulous & the general excentricity [sic] of his character no doubt contributed much to prejudice the minds of his audience against his science--He, however, like all those who had preceded him on both sides of the water, must have a long handle to his science namely, a subtle fluid of the nature of electricity-So contrary to all experience did all the facts, elicited from his experiments appear, in connection with the laws wick [sic] govern electricity, that almost every man of science would reject both theory & facts without a moments [sic]


1 For information showing that this probably was Robert H. Collyer, judging by his dates of learning of mesmerism and his travels, see Robert H. Collyer, Mysteries of the Vital Element in Connexion with Dreams, Somnambulism, Trance, Vital Photography, Faith and Will, Anaesthesia, Nervous Congestion and Creative Function. Modern Spiritualism Explained (2nd ed.; London: Henry Renshaw, 1871, originally Bruges, 1868), passim.

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consideration. However, the perseverance of the Dr. overcame, in part some of the prejudices & he at last drew out of a committee in the city of Boston an acknowledgement of the facts, altho' they refrained from any expression of their opinion as to their occasion--

Collyer was, like all others, satisfied as to the fluid--& nothing could be accomplished without producing a current upon the subject or surcharging him with a quantity of the electric fluid--In a work published by him in 1843 altho' he is still the advocate of the fluid, yet he rejects the doctrine of Phreno Magnetism, neurology &c as introduced & defended by Dr Buchanan & LeRoy [sic] Sunderland. The same course, which enabled him to detect the fallacy of their theories would have led him, upon pursuing the subject a little further, to have rejected entirely his whole theory of a fluid. He would have looked to another cause of all this phenomenon. From testimony, now before the community, there is no doubt that Collyer performed the first phreno magnetic experiments1 in this country & that the honor, if there be any, of the discovery should be yielded to him. It is a matter of little consequence to the community, who shall wear the wreath of honor, but we prefer to see the peacock dressed in his own plumage, & not bear the shame of a naked plucking by his neighboring fowle [sic].2


1 On the next page Quimby refers to these as "the exciting of particular organs in the brain by the nervous fluid or by electricity." This was to produce the state of mind believed by phrenologists to be brought about by such supposed organs.

2 Quimby, lecture notes, IV, 6-7.


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It will be seen that Quimby does not say where he heard Poyen's lecture, seemingly only one, and whether he heard Collyer; however, it seems likely that Belfast was the place and that he heard both of them.

In the manuscript under examination Quimby offers general philosophical observations before getting to mesmerism.1 The first nine pages follow in their entirety, except for the omission of various alternative wordings rejected by Quimby in his corrections and of no significance for the meaning of what he was saying. As far as possible, his spelling, dashes (sometimes used in place of periods), and other characteristics are kept. Difficulty of reading the writing may have resulted in slight inaccuracies, but probably very few.

Primary Truths

What are primary truths? According to Mr. Stewart, "they are such & such only, as can neither be proved nor refuted by other propositions of greater perspicuity." They are self-evident--not borrowing the powers of reasoning to shed light upon themselves.

We are naturally inclined, to consider the reality of our personal existence. That we exist is the great basis upon which we build everything. It is the foundation of all knowledge. Without self-existence nothing could result in the progress of the understanding. If any man questions the fact of his own existence, that very process, by which he doubts, proves to a demonstration, that an existing, dowting [or doubting] power must have been precident, [sic] must have had a creation. The


1 A brief account relating to philosophical works referred to by Quimby may be found in Schneider, op. cit. (A History of American Philosophy), pp. 238-41.

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first internal thought is immediately followed with an undoubting conviction of personal self-existence. It is a primary truth in nature, and requires no further explanation.

Personal Identity

Another primary truth is personal identity. This is the knowledge of ourselves. The idetifying [sic] of ourselves with our self-existence.

We know that we exist, and in that existence we recognise our personality.

Man is composed of matter and mind, by some mysterious combination united; and we may divide our identity with mental and bodily.

Mental identity is the continuance and oneness of the thinking & reasoning principle. It is not divisible in length, breadth & dimentions [sic]-composed of particles &c. like matter, nor does it change or cease to exist. It remains as it was originally with all its eternal powes [sic]--its eternal principles

Bodily identity is the sameness of the bodily organisation--the man in figure, as we behold him with our natural eyes. The particles of matter of which the body is composed may change, but its shape and structure and its physical creation are the same. Professor Upham, in his work on Intellectual Philosophy, in reference to this subject, uses the following language. "It was a saying of Seneca, that no man bathes twice in the same river and still we call it the same, altho' the water within its banks is constantly passing away. And in like manner we identify the human body, although it constantly changes."

Personal identity, then, comprehends the man as we behold him, in his bodily & mental nature, mysteriously & wonderfully made!


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The old soldier, who has fought the battles of his country in the days of the American Rovolution, will recount his deeds of valor & his heroic sufferings to his youthful listeners, not doubting that he is really the same old soldier, who was in his country's service some sixty years since. The early settlers of our country, as they look abroad over the cultivated plain, never doubt, that they are really the same individuals, who some forty years felled the trees of the forest & turned the wilderness into a fruitful garden!

So is man constituted, that his own identity is one of the first primary truths[.]

We are so constituted that we believe, or rather there seems to be an authorative principle within us of giving confidence or credence to certain propositions and truths, which are presented to our minds. Among the first things, which the mind admits, is that there is no beginning or change without a cause--that nothing could not create something. When any new principle is discovered, man immediately seeks out the cause, looks for some moving power; as tho' it could not be self-creative & self-acting.

In contemplating the material universe, in beholding the beautiful planetary system, the sun, the moon & the stars regulated & controlled by undeviating laws, who does not say, "these are the results of some mighty creative intelligence." That the power of their existences & harmonious motions was originated beyond themselves.

Thus it is that we attribute to every effect a cause--to every result a motive power.

Matter & Mind have uniform, undeviating & fixed laws. And they are always subject to, & controlled by them. We are not to suppose otherwise, unless we give up our belief, that any object is governed or directs. Yet we are not to

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suppose, that the same laws apply both to matter & mind. Each has it peculiar governing principle, & in as much as mind, in its nature, deviates from matter, so may its laws deviate.

We all believe, that the earth will continue to revolve on its axis & perform its anual [sic] orbit around the sun; that summer & winter, seed-time & harvest, will continue to succeed each dother; "that the decaying plants of autumn will revive again in spring."

This belief does not arise in the mind at once; but has its origin now in one instance & then in another, untill [sic] it becomes universal.

Immateriality of the Soul

It is a conceded principle, that mind does not possess, or rather, we fail to detect the same qualities in mind as in matter. No sect of philosophers, I believe, have ever pretended that mind is destinguished [sic] by extension, divisibility, impenetrability, color &c--& therefore most have [originally "all are"] agreed to use immateriality as applied to the soul, in destinction [sic] from materiality as applied to the body--that the soul is destitute of those qualities, which appear in matter, having its own peculiar atributes [sic], such as thought, feeling, remembrance & passion.

The mind as it exists in man, & deveops [sic] itself thro' the bodily organs, no doubt, has a close connection with matter, the physical system & particularly the brain. Yet we are not to suppose, that mind is dependent for its existence upon the organs of the body, nor is it subject to the control] [sic] of matter, altho' influenced & impressed by it. Mind rather exercises a direction to matter, producing certain results. If mind was any portion


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of the materiality of the body, a destruction of any portion of [originally "any injury done to" instead of "a destruction of any portion of"] this, would destroy a portion of [originally "effect" instead of "destroy a portion of"] that. But this is not the fact. Individuals, deprived of some of their limbs, do not exhibit any degree of loss of mind. How often has it appeared far more active & energetic, in the last moments of desolving [sic] nature, than when the physical powers were in full health & vigor. Men, upon the battlefield, mutilated & wounded & suffering the intensest pain, have displayed, amid all this disaster of the body, the highest powers of intellectual action. So that, altho' mind to us appears at first view to have an inseperable [sic] connection with the body, yet, for its energies, its full unqualified powers of action, does not rely upon bodily health & vigor.

The works of genius, as displayed in the various branches of science, literature & law, bear the character of a higher order of creation, than matter. Memory & imagination, do not appear to have resulted from ponderous substances. The powers of Judgment & Reasoning must have originated in something higher & nobler than divisible bodies. To what cause can you attribute the origin & perfection of the demonstrations of Euclid? What constituted the authorship of the wise laws of Solon & the political institutions of Lycurgus & those of modern Europe; and the greatest concentration of wisdom ever embodied into one human work; I mean the American Constitution? What gave almost intellectual inspiration to the Iliad & Oddessa [sic]. What gave berth [sic] to the wonderful productions of Tasso & Spencer & Milton? Where shall we look for the origin of the phillipics [sic] of the Ancients; or in

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more modern days, for the speeches of a Fox and the Orations of a Webster?

Where human genius has wrought its highest triumphs & achieved transcendent greatness, who can say, its creative cause, its fountain light is in powerless & innert [sic] matter! To ascribe the qualities of matter to the soul would erase forever, the ideas of a future, & eternal existence. But we have no direct evidence of the soul's dissolution & discontinuance at death. The death of the body is only the removal of the souls [sic] sphere of action from our natural view; & no doubt gives a long world of spiritual action, in its new distination [sic]. And have we not every reason to suppose, that the soul will exist after the dissolution of the body? "Death," in the language of Dr. Stewart, "only lifts up the veil, which conceals from our eyes the invisable world. In annihilates the material universe to our senses, & prepares our minds for some new & unknown state of being."

We have already stated, that belief is a simple state of the mind & consequently cannot be made plainer by any process of reasoning.

It is always the same in its nautre altho' it admits of different degrees, which we express in the language of presumpsion [sic], probability & certainty, &c.

It is on the principle of belief that the mind is operated upon in the various exhibitions of its power. For, without confidence, what can we accomplish. With a belief in our ability to accomplish, what would be the result? It is a principle, which comes into every department of reasoning; & testimony is only so operative upon the mind, as it effects [sic] our belief.


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The Soul

[Marked "strike out," presumably meaning the section marked by a marginal line. Only the first paragraph is given here.]

Those, who style themselves phylosophers [sic] & have written upon the subject of the mind, have always considered the soul as constituting a nature, which is one & indevisable [sic]; yet for the purpouse [sic] of more fully understanding its various stages of action, they have given it three parts or views, in which it may be contemplated expressed in the Intellect, Sensibilities & the Will. Intellictual [sic], sensative [sic] & voluntary states of the mind.1

In part of the next section, "Origin of Knowledge," Quimby says:

"The mind" says Professor Upham in his work on Mental Philosophy "appears at its creation, to be merely an existence, involving certain principles & endowed with certain powers; but dependent for the first & original developement [sic] of those principles & the exercise of those powers, on the condition of an outward impression. But after it has been once brought into action, it finds new sources of thought & feeling in itself."

Having, therefor, all these inherent powers to acquire, its knowledge is in proportion to the impressions [originally "& thoughts" followed "impressions"] it has received from external objects & internal operations. If you present a subject of conversation to a well trained mind, stored with impressions or knowledge, you have started a point,


1 Quimby, lecture notes, 1, 1-9.

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which sets in motion the whole ocean of mind, educated from the past, & leads to endless discussions. But should you present the same topic to an untaught or [originally "uneducated" followed "or"] partially disciplined mind you would start the current of thought, it is true, but that current would soon cease, or rather could not be very extended; because the subjects of thought or the whole amount of knowledge [originally "or impressions" followed "knowledge"] possessed by the individual, is limited.

I have spoken of the natural mind and the way of acquiring knowledge thro' the bodily senses only. But there are other means of communication, by which impression are conveyed to the mind.

If the spiritual being be independent of matter, why cannot we communicate with it, without aid of the bodily senses? It is to this subject I would now call your attention. The mind itself obeys the laws which its Creator first laid down, & we are not to suppose any strange anomily [sic], in its outward exhibition is contrary to the original design. The great Law-giver posseses [sic] all wisdom, & is the fountain head of all perfection. The mind is not a creative experiment of his, himself being ignorant of what results will follow. If these strange phenomana [.sic] of the mind, which are exhibited in the different states of excitement are exceptions to the common rule, we must attribute to the Great Mind imperfection & humanity or a direct interposition [?] to stay the great laws which were first given, to supprise [.sic] & bewilder ignorant & dependent man. But to my mind, it does not appear consistent with the


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wisdon1 of God, that so extended an interference would be personnally [sic] made to counteract first principles which are dsplayed [sic] in this age of mesmeric light-- It must be that all these strange appearance are reconcileable [.sic] with eternal laws. And we are to look to these alone for a probable and clear solution. The same laws govern the mind, when in its natural state & susceptible of impression thro' the five senses as when its excited & unnatural condition or under the influence of Nervaric [?], Phreno-magnetic, mesmeric or somnambulic influence [originally "state"]. The only difference is this. In the method of conveying impressions to the mind. Give the impression, whether thro' the senses or otherwise & the same correspondent results follow. If I make an impression upon the mind, of a beautiful landscape by pointing it out to the natural eye, it is the same as tho' I made the same impression upon that mind while in an excited or mesmeric state. The view is real & pleasing in one case as in the other, to the mind that beholds it. It is as much an existence before the mind, when the impression, without the material object, is made, as when the impression, with a presentation of the real landscape to the natural eye, is given.

We shall here give a brief ouline [sic] [originally "synopsis"] of what appears to be the condition of mind, when in an excited or mesmeric state. Susciptibility [sic] is in its highest state of action & the operator sems [sic] to controll [sic] the direction of thought if he choses [.sic] or can so impress the mind with influences as to govern its


1 A word of great importance in Quimby's later thought; here it is associated with God; there it is identified with God.

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action in a measure. This point is, no doubt gained by some powerful impression produced by the operator upon the mind of the subject. This condition can be produced by other influences than an individual mind. A fright by suddenly coming upon some external object, will often produce a similar state of mind. Intense thought & excrutiating [sic] [originally "writhing"] pains produce this excited state & some times sets the mind in action, when it is enabled to exhibit the same phenomana [sic] as when induced by an individual operator. We shall have occasion in the progress of our work to refer to cases which arise from unknown impressions upon the mind, producing hallucination, insanity, dreaming, somnambulism, spectral illusions &c.

This excited state of the mind, called by some, the magnetic, mesmeric & congestive is no doubt produced by a powerful impression of the operator upon the mind of the subject, concentrating or drawing the whole attention to one influence. No set rules can be given by which this influence can be exercised; because the same efforts will produce different results upon different minds; yet no doubt overy mind has its portal of access & could we know where that is, or the way & manner of approaching it, we could produce impressions so powerful upon every mind as to subdue the action of the bodily senses & communicate directly with it [originally "mind"]. The doctrine, therefore, of "powful [sic] magnitisers" [sic] (as they call themselves) that only a more powerful capacity or higher order of intellectual vigor can subdue a weaker mind & produce the excited or mesmeric state is idle as the wind. These higher orders of intellects with strong sensibilities are more capable of being brought to the contemplation of one individual subject &


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receiving the most powerful impressions, if you can discover the accessable road to their sensibilities. If you can produce an impression upon such a mind as will overcome all his prejudices, towards you or your S[s]cience [originally "subject"]1 acquire his individual confidence, you will then excite the mind into this spiritual state of action & he will readily read your own thoughts. Indeed I have been lead [sic] to the conclusion, that the highest powers of genius have been the results of excited minds, upon the principles I have laid down--that they are but the inspiration of this spiritual action. What is it that contributes so much to destinguish [sic] Homer & Demostenese [sic], Vergil & Cicero, Milton, Tasso, Shakspear [sic] & the whole host of great men, who lived in ancient & modern times! It must have been this excited state during which poetry & eloquence & the highest achievements of mind were left [or "lift"?], lights of their genius, to live through all coming time. Eloquence which holds the multitude in breathless silence or sways them hither & thither, produces the controlling impression upon each mind which in its turn impress & influence the other exciting a low degree of the mesmeric state. It is, in fact, a principle, by which we are all more or lesss governed in all our pursuits.

The high degree of excitement called clairvoyant gives the mind freedom of action, placing it in close contact with every thing. There


1 In this word and some others it is not clear whether the first letter is capitalized. This suggests the somewhat amusing possibility that the practice of capitalizing "science" and some other words originated in handwriting style, rather than in original intent to capitalize.

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is nothing remote or distant past or future; everything is present & discoverable. It only requires direction, & the subject is before it.

It is enabled to discover & discribe [sic] countries & cities, mountains & plains, rivers & oceans, inhabitants & animals on distant parts of the globe. The mind will pass into the depths of the earth or rather looks through all matter, all space & all time, giving its charactor, its condition & its result. Call its attention to any subject however remote & it is present to the mind. These ideas, I have thrown out in relation to mind in its highest state of excitement, are not the result of a vivid imagination or the producions [sic] of a speculating mind, but the effect of experiments, repeated at different times & on various occasions--They are facts, which stand out beyond all contradiction--all cavil! And we are not to pass them as freak of nature or as the result of contradictory laws. It must be the highest state of action, to which the mind has arrived, giving testemony [sic] of the great powers with which it is created, yet controlled by its natural laws. We must not, therefore, account for this wonderful developement [sic] upon the suposition [sic] of exceptions to general rules; but upon the continuation of great & undiviating [sic] principles.1

In the next section2 Quimby continues with some


1 Ibid., I, 17-23.

2 This section is the first of the remaining, non-mutually-exclusive sections following the heading "The different degrees of excitement of Mind--taken up in their order & discussed." (11, 1) The titles and the


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remarks that may point toward his later discovery of an additional level of mind.

We have witnessed a great number of experiments upon subjects in the excited or mesmeric state, which demonstrate what I have advanced in regard to impressions. Every subject can be so powerfully impressed as to recall the thought, in his waking moments while, of ordinary transactions, no idea is retained. These experiments prove both the similarity of states of mind in the dreaming & mesmeric; & also, that our powers of mind are never at rest.1 [He has given examples such as recovering information in one's sleep.]

In words similar to some used above, illuminating Quimby's early views on mind, time, and space, he says that in the excited or mesmeric

state the mind may be said to be before a map, on which is written the past, present & future--only needs direction to some deffinite [sic] point, to disclose every act of our lives.2


pages at which they begin are "Dreams & their Causes" (II, 1), "Mesmerism" (III, 14), "Clairvoyance" (V, 7), and "Insanity" (VI, 23). "Insanity" includes remarks on illness in general, as well as a page on the ancient mysteries, which may well not have been intended to fall within the title, especially since it is begun "We now enter upon another branch of of subject . . . " (VII, 6). Untitled subdivisions are not listed here.

1 Ibid., II, 14.

2 Ibid., II. 8.

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It may be that he considered space unreal, but time real, or more likely both real, but space subject to mind.

I have frequently alluded to the capacities of mind, acting in its excited state, independent of matter.

This can be clearly proved by a subject under the mesmeric influence. The mind is then present with all things & needs only to be directed & the object is before it. Distance & space are nothing, & therefore, no time is required to pass the mind from one object to another. It is so in our waking thoughts. The mind is occupied with only one thing at a time & when it is directed to a new object of thought, the direction & the attention pass at the same instant. Nor does it require any longer time or any further effort to think of an object in the Chinese Empire than those nearest us. But the mind in our natural state depends upon the five senses for its external information & forms all its ideas of things thro' them. But in the excited state, it receives no impressions thro' the organs of sense, but every object, which acts at all, acts directly upon the mind or is presented by the influence of another mind.1

At some times Quimby can be taken as denying the reality of both space and time, at least for the mind in a mesmerized condition. In the excited or mesmeric state "the bodily sense cease to act--impressions are now conveyed directly to the mind. All space & time, in this state, is annihilated."2


1 Ibid., III, l.

2 lbid., II, 19.


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We believe that experiments have proved that to a mind in its excited or dreaming state, when its bodily senses are dormant or inactive, & impressions are conveyed to it, by direct influences upon itself, all space, time, distance & matter are no obstacles to its action. In the cases above named, let us assume the fact, that there is no such thing as time with the mind, that the past, present & future are all present & displaid [sic] before it as upon a map & which are all visible & the explanation of the dreams which occurred previous to the actual occurrence are simple & readily understood.

The mind in this state looks forward & beholds occurrences, which have not yet transpired, but are reserved for a future event; yet it is not able to distinguish at what hour of time it will transpire. It, in fact, appears to the mind precisely like all other events, whether past or present & probably would not be remembered unless connected with some powerful emotion.1

The stories of second sight are also explainable upon the same principle laid down in our preceding work. Anxiety & constant thought upon subjects connected with our interests will sometimes lull us into a mesmeric or dreaming state, in which we can behold many scenes, sometimes real & sometimes fictitious.

The mind is excited into the clairvoyant state & is then enabled to perceive objects without bodily senses. The principle of sight is in the mind, & in our natural state, that principle developes [sic] itself thro' the eye. In the excited state it is


1 Ibid., II, 15-16.

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developed independent of the eye; acting directly upon the object.1

What we dream will not always come to pass. This does not militate against the doctrine we have laid down, but will only confirm, what we have before declared in relation to the power of impression to regulate our thoughts--We will illustrate our subject in this manner. Suppose an individual, whose mind has been long upon one subject in which he finds himself deeply interested. While having his mind intently fixed under ordinary excitement with all his external faculties in action, he arrives at certain conclusions, which he believes to be correct & a strong impression is made governing the further actions of the mind in relation to the subject. Now this conclusion may not be correct, yet the individual would be firm in his position. A wrong impression, arising somewhere in the process of reasoning, has led to a wrong conclusion. Now if the individual could detect the first false step, he would correct the conclusion & vindicate truth. This is the natural operation of mind under ordinary excitement--Now place a subject in the dreaming or mesmeric state, & it become far more susceptible of impressions than before. It is, therefore, even more liable to receive a wrong impression, from some external cause or internal emotion, than in its natural state; & therefore, all of these false dreams passing into this excited state, may have, in his waking moments impressed upon his mind, something as having actually taken place which had not & did not transpire, with such power, as that the impression would control' [sic] the mind; & be led to an endless number of false conclusions which the facts in the case did not


1 Ibid., II, 20.


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warrant--This is when the mind is led astray & does not receive impressions from facts but from preceding impressions. And the mind cannot distinguish the false, from the true cause, unless in the course of its progress, it is led to reconsider or review the whole scene with the idea of getting the facts & giving a true statement. The mind can act from facts, or rather receive its impressions from facts & when this is the case will always develope [sic] true results.1

There still remained a material world for Quimby. The mind simply was able to encompass it much better than most were aware. Even mind required time, in some sense. In the following he may have meant that time is relative, that there are different kinds of time in different kinds of experiences.

These experiments all confirm the doctrine of the rapidity of thought, that no time, as we are accustomed to measure it, is required for transactions which would occupy months & years in their performance. Yet the mind lives in these short periods required to pass upon such scenes apparently the whole time it would require to perform them. The mind in its dreaming or excited state, will pass from country to country, from shore to shore, mountain to mountain in rapid succession, feeling that it has actually past [sic] over a space of time sufficient to have accomplished all these distances. Under such influences, the mind would perform a pilgrimage to Mecca, experience all the particulars of the passage of the Rubicon, visit St. Petersburg & Moscow & be engaged in a whaling voyge [sic] in the Pacific Ocean all in rapid


1 Ibid., II, 21-22.

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succession. Impression follows impression & results & conclusion follow as rapidly as they are produced. It is true that the mind compares every transaction of thought with its knowledge, previously attained. And it is thus deceived in the measure of time, when it does not through the organized body, perform its thoughts--It has no other method by which to calculate than such as is derived from previous knowledge.1

Despite his evidence of the remarkable abilities of mind, Quimby at this time did not question the independent existence of the material world, whatever its relations with mind might be. Mind somehow contacts it, for he maintains that

in the excited, dreaming or somnambulic subject, impressions are conveyed to the mind without the aid of the bodily organs; & that the faculties of the mind are acting in direct communication with objects--that the mind sees, hears, tasts [sic] & smells & feels, without the eyes, ears, tongue, nose & hands. And that precisely the same impressions may be conveyed to the mind directly without these organs as could be with them--2

Summarizing this area of Quimby's early thought:

We say then that the mind is capable of such excitement or of attaining to a state in which it may see without bodily eyes & also be present with all things at the same [time ?]--In other words, that to the mind, independent of the body, there is no


1 Ibid., III, 3-4.

2 Ibid., III, 11.


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such impediment as time, space, distance & materiality, but that it only requires direction--& all its inherent faculties are in operation, giving its attention to the object to which it has been directed--The eye, ear, nose, sense of touch or the tongue is nothing except as they convey in our natural state certain sensations to the mind, from which a peculiar state of emotions arise. The faculty of sight, hearing, taste smell & touch exists in the mind independent of the organs by which objects are communicated to these faculties. Cut off these organs or appendages, & then, mind acts direct or receives its impressions directly from external & internal objects. If then, you institute a peculiar state of the mind, called mesmeric [originally "clairvoyant"] & close up the bodily eyes, the faculty of the mind does not cease to act. It is rather, in part, freeing the soul from its narrow confinement in the sphere of acquiring knowledge thro' the limited means of the eye, & giving it a range of sight limited only by the laws of mind & not the laws of matter. It returns more like itself, when it shall have been entirely divested of [originally "freed from"] man's materiality & left free, not to roam thruought [sic] the ranges of thought, but to be existent, with all its original faculties in full display, with all the creations of the Great First Cause.

We have given experiments to show the position we have taken--experiments which we challenge the world to gainsay, & which we cannot explain by any other principles than those we have laid down as governing the mind at all times under similar [originally "all"] circumstances. We say, conclusive proofs are given in these facts of the mind's capacity to see thro' all space or to be present with all things in the universe & behold them, independent of the knowledge of the

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operator.1 [He gives such examples as a clairvoyant subject's describing a distant place in what the person who requested that he describe the place considered an inaccurate description, only to discover later that the place had been changed to the appearance described by clairvoyance without the knowledge of the one requesting the description.]

Perhaps because he was guarding against dismissing anything as merely imaginary without good cause, and quite possibly without more than some brief reference to Berkeley at his disposal, Quimby at this period apparently failed to appreciate Berkeley. From absence of reference to Berkeley later, it is not known whether Quimby ever gave him any thought later in life. In connection with the fluid theory, which will be taken up shortly, Quimby observes that "the fluid which really exists, is in the mind of the operator, being like Berkley's [sic] composition of matter, made up of ideas, impressions &c--"2 He drops the matter and gives his remarks about Poyen and Collyer quoted above. After discussing the French committee's rejection of Mesmer's views, as contrasted with imagination, Quimby goes on:

If I direct my subject to do a certain thing at such a time, informing him what that is, & the result I wish to produce; & nothing further is said or thought about the direction untill [sic] the time arrives; & should the subject by his own voluntary act do according to my direction, is it the result of


1 Ibid., V, 14-15.

2 Ibid., IV, 6.


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his imagination? If on the other hand, I desire him to do something at a certain time, but do not communicate to him my desires & he should without further cause, perform the very act, I wished, would it be the power of his imagination? If these are all the result of imagination, every thing which surrounds us exists only in imagery-the world is ideal. The system of Berkley [sic] concerning the non existence of matter might well be adopted: & to carry up the science a little further, Hume, with his creations of images & impressions, would be the patern [sic] philosopher of the images of men!

We are rather disposed to confine the use of the word imagination to its proper difinition [sic] & not to confound it with realities. We must therefor [sic] reject both the "magnetic fluid" & the "imagination" as being the cause of the phenomena [sic, but perhaps referring to various phenomena combined] called mesmerism. We embrace a doctrine which both the committee & the followers of Mesmer do not deny, namely, the influence of mind over mind; not through the medium of a "fluid" or of the "Imagination" but by the direct contact with & action upon mind.1

Apparently Quimby was not much concerned with Berkeley or Hume. No commentator until now seems to have remarked on Quimby's reference to Hume, but the handwriting scarcely leaves any doubt that the name written is Hume. He was, however, very much concerned with the question of a fluid in mesmerism. This might be said to be the equivalent of the question of the ultimate nature of reality as seen from within the perspective of mesmerism. In part of his lecture notes Quimby answers


1 Ibid., III, 20-21.

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Chauncey Hare Townsend's Dispassionate Inquiry into Mesmerism, quoted by Quimby from page 276, in part as follows:

"Standing at some yards distant from a person, who is in the mesmeric state, (that person being perfectly stationary, & with his back to me),

I, by a slight motion of my hand (far too slight to be felt by the patient thro' any distance of the air) draw him towards me as if I actually grasped him.

"What is the chain of facts, which is here presented to me? First, an action of my mind, without which I could not have moved my hand; secondly, my hand's motion; thirdly, motion produced in a body altogether external to, & distant from myself. But it will at once be perceived, that, in the chain of events, as thus stated, there is a deficient link. The communication between me & the distant body is not accounted for. How could an act of my mind, originate an effect so unusual?" Here then follows the explanation. "That which is immaterial, can not, by its very definition, move masses of matter. It is only when mysteriously united to a body that spirit is brought into relationship with place or extention [sic], & under such a condition alone, & only thro' such a medium, can it propagate motion. Now, in some wondrous way spirit is in us incorporate. Our bodies are its medium of action. By them & only by them, as far as our experience reaches are we enabled to move masses of foreign matter. I may sit & will forever that yonder chair come to me, but without the direct agency of my body, it must remain where it is. All the willing in the world cannot stir it an inch. I must bring myself into absolute contact with the body which I desire to move. But in the case before us, I will, I extend my hands; I move them hither & thither &


Healing Hypotheses

I see the body of another person--a mass of matter external to myself, yet not in apparent contact with me--moved & swayed by the same action which stirs my own body. Am I thence to conclude that a miracle has been performed; that the laws of nature have been reversed; that I can move foreign matter without contact or intermediate agency. Or Must I not rather be certain, that, if I am able to sway a distant body, it is by means of some unseen lever; that volition is employing some thing which is equal to a body; something which may be likened to an extended corporeity, which has become the organ of my will?"1

Quimby replies:

Now if electricity or any other fluid can so connect mind & matter, I do not see why we may not connect ourselves with the chair in the supposition above & mind with its [?] organ of contact will cause the chair to move, on the same principle of connection as the body of the patient. Mind, no doubt, has equal power to connect itself with a chair as with any other material body by the agency of electricity. The body of the patient, without his mind, or acting independent of his own will, as it must, if it were moved by the mind of the operator, would be like every other material thing, & susceptible of action upon it by another mind to the same degree, as the chair, being no more or less. And if he proves to you that the motion of the patients' hands is frome [sic]the same mind as the motion of the operator's, thro' the agency of electricity, I will as conclusively prove that by the same agent your minds may be in


1 Ibid., III, 23-24 and IV, 1.

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"absolute contact" with any, or all, material bodies & that you can as easily move the universe of matter by the mind, as the body of one man. But, was not the experiment really performed? We answer, yes; without electricity or any other fluid. Not by the mind of the operator acting on the body of the patient, but upon his mind. It was mindacting upon mind. The proposition laid down by the Rev. gentleman that immateriality cannot move masses of materiality does not apply to destroy the influence or action of mind, being immaterial.over immaterial mind. We trust we have shown, by such experiments as have been introduced into the former part of this work, the great laws by which such facts are produced. That mind in the excited or mesmeric state is present with everything--that space, distance & material objects are no impediments to its action--that it is susceptible of impressions from other minds & will act under such impressions as it receives. Suppose, then, the operator is impressed to extend his hand; that impression is immediately made upon the mind of his patient & all the organs of his body, being under this controll [sic] of his mind, act in conformity to the impression. The distance from the patient is no obstacle because, mind acting directly without the medium of the bodily senses, knows nothing of space & distances--It only requires direction & it is present with the object--If electricety [.sic] be the "lever" by which the operator moved the arm of the patient, as asserted by the Rev. Mr. Townsend, we would ask where the fulcrum rests, by which he gets his power. It might be answered, that it rests where the fulcrum of the globe's foundation, was supposed to--upon the "back of an enormous tortoise."

We will say further, that the experiment above, could have been performed, without the


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motion of the hand of the operator, by his willing the patient or impresing [.sic] his mind to extend the hand. So that all, that is necessary to be done in such experiments, is to give an impression to do an act upon the mind of the subject--the result immediately follows.1

Quimby comments on Dods:

The Rev. Mr Dodds [sic] of Boston Mass--we believe, deals more extensively in the Magnetic Fluid than any other magnetiser. We have examined his book upon the subject of Mesmerism & can but smile at proofs so conclusively drawn in support of his theory--A careful reading of the whole work is a comfortable electuring [?] into a talkative sleep ending in ethereal & sublime explanatio[n]s, above the capacity of ordinary men. We were at a loss to determine whether the Rev. gentleman was most profuse in his language or his fluid! We do not doubt his sincerity in support of his fluid [originally "theory"], but must wonder at his credulity. It is a strong proof of the wanderings of an excited mind connected with a strong belief of the means by which wonderful results are produced.

If we were to take up all the points in his theory & discuss them, we fear our pages would be too voluminous for ordinary purposes & that few would be inclined to peruse the investigation. [This is another indication that Quimby thought of this writing as something to be read by othors, not exclusively--at any rate--something for him to present in lectures.] Dodds [sic], like all others who


1 Ibid., IV, l-3.

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believe in the fluid-theory, supposed that something must be the medium of communication between mind & mind & between mind & matter separate from the bodily senses, & he has at once brought in the aid of a subtle fluid, which pervades all nature.1

"To introduce the whole [fluid] theory as it is contended for by most of those who have gone before me"2 he makes a note to copy the fourth chapter of "a pamphlet published in the City of Boston AD 1843 entitled 'The History & Philosophy of Animal Magnstism' and dedicated by the Author to Robt H Collyer M D &c--" His failure to distinguish Robert H. Collyer from the often mentioned Dr. Collyer may add weight to the supposition that they are the same. He continues:

And who, after such an array of distinguished names would differ from their established [originally "sage"] theory! All these men were powerful magnetisers, & many of them of the first order of talent but we fear a little inclined to speculate upon a theory, rather than to elicit facts aside from theory. We are satisfied that they all believed in the Fluid, but what its character is, remains to be settled among them; as it seems no two agree to alow [sic] it the same name or character. If this "elastic, invisible ether pervaiding [sic] all Nature" causes all these phenomena it is a god-like power, second only to its Author. That it should operate so mysteriously, sometimes magnetising individuals by contact & at others, passes thro' the space of one hundred miles


1 Ibid., IV, 12-13.

2 Ibid., IV, 13.


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& surcharges the patient & induces the mesmeric state; now made to reside in a letter, & again concealing itself in a tumbler of water, passing to the trunk of a tree; & from all these passing out upon a particular [sic] individual & inducing the magnetic sleep. If I could possibly believe in the "Fluid Theory" it would be far more marvelous and astonishing, to trace out such laws as must govern [?] this "invisible ether" than the experiments which follow. Or perhaps it may be a principle without the pale of the law, governing itself under the direction of the operator, in part, at some times & at others, entirely at its own controll [sic].

Some of the theories of the old Philosophers who wrote upon the subject of the Soul appear to us rather speculative [?]--Fire & other imponderable agents so called were made not the connecting link of Soul & body, but Soul itself. Tracing the analogy of their ideas down to those of the Fluid system, we cannot see, why this Fluid might not be the Soul itself. It is the means we are taught thro' which the mind acts & we are to suppose of course that it cannot act at all, except thro', the fluid, when the bodily senses are closed. It may then be either the soul itself or a necessary appendage, without which altho, Soul might exist, it could not act or give any evidence of its existence.

The same Author, from whom we have quoted the "Fluid Theory," makes the following remarks in defence of his Theory against the powers of Imagination. "We disapprove this charge at once," (that it is all the work of the imagination)" by the fact that a person who has been magnetised several times, can be thrown into the magnetic sleep by the magnetiser, when he is at a distance of half a mile, and at a moment, when the person to be acted upon shall not even suspect

Healing Hypotheses 


it. This has been done successfully by a person who did not even know where the subject of his operations was at the time he made the attempt." Now upon the principle of a Fluid to be "directed upon the brain of the subject" how is it possible that direction can be given, when the operator is ignorant of the location of his subject; & how is it possible that this fluid can be made to pass thro' so great a distance? If the experiment above aluded [sic] to has been performed, could it have been done by the "Fluid"? If by a "Fluid" how could the operator so direct it as to strike upon the brain of the subject, when he was ignorant of his situation. How could he give effectual direction without knowing where to direct! And then the "Fluid" is to pass thro' the space of half a mile before it can act upon the subject. If such an experiment as the above, can be performed (& we know personally it can) with the fluid & not without it, we certainly must assign the power of intelligence to the "Fluid" & it being commanded by the mind of the operator, to go in search of his subject & induce sleep &c-obeys its master. Such experiments as the above prove one of two things; namely, either, that there is no Fluid by which a communication is effected between mesmeriser & mesmerised, or that this Fluid is an intelligent being, capable of thought itself. We contend that there is no Fluid in the case. If others believe there is, & that it is capable of receiving intelligence & obeying commands, we are not accountable for such belief; but we leave the community who read & think the sole [?] of judging, which Theory, Fluid or no Fluid appears the most consistent.

I have performed a similar experiment upon my subject, Lucius, at a distance, sometimes knowing where he was and some times not knowing--Yet I did not use any fluid to my


Healing Hypotheses

knowledge. We have, in another part of this work alluded to the experiment of the magnetised trees-the experiments before the Committee at Paris, France in proof that no Fluid was in the tree & communicated to the subject. I will again repeat the experiment in substance. The subject was blindfold & led up to a magnetised tree & immediately fell into the magnetic sleep. Being again blindfold, was without his knowledge, led up to a tree not magnetised & also fell into the magnetic sleep. Proving conclusively that there was the same virtue in the magnetised & the natural tree.

There is another class of subjects introduced by magnetisers in proof of a magnetic fluid. Some are in the habit of giving their subjects a magnet by which they are thrown into the magnetic sleep. This experiment is explained by attributing the power to the magnet of communicating the Fluid to the subject &c--I have repeatedly magnetised subjects by any little metalic [sic] article presenting it to them, often having imbued it with the "Fluid." I have also performed the same experiment by passing to them a similar article not imbued with my Fluid & it produced the same results. I took two combs belonging to two ladies present & magnetised one of them, that is went thro' all the ceremony of magnetising it & the other I only took & past [sic] back to the lady without any operation upon it & both ladies were thrown into the magnetic sleep by these combs. The lady who received the comb not magnetised, was ignorant of that fact; & on the contrary believed it magnetised. Perkin's metalic [sic] points, are celebrated among mesmerisers & were considered sacred proffs [sic] of the fluid Theory. Yet after they had their run, some curious [?] wag introduced wooden points so neatly counterfeiting the metalic [sic] in their

Healing Hypotheses


appearance that they would effect the same results upon a patient as the genuine points--I recollect a young man who in company with Dr. Cutter, the famed lecturer in this part of Maine, visited this place & being an easy subject to mesmerise, as a matter of defence, against the influence of powerful magnetisers, carried with him a magnet, believing it to be a safe preventive against all magnetic power. When armed with his magnet, no one could magnetise him, but without it, almost any one could induce sleep.

If, by some artful management we could have induced him to believe his magnet absent, altho' it might have been concealed about him, we venture to say that he would have been quite as easily operated upon--as if his magnet had really been absent. The truth is, that it was a matter of belief with the subject & he governed himself accordingly. If I could induce him to believe that magnetism or the magnet had nothing to do with mesmerism, or the excited state of mind called mesmeric, then the charm of the magnet would be broken. The Rev. Mr. Dodds [sic] has become so confident of a fluid medium of mind & its similarity to electricity that he has found it convenient & perhaps companionable to Gary [sic] about with him when upon his tours of Lecturing, an Electric Machine & I believe he makes it an associate or assistant in throwing subjects into the magnetic state. If this Fluid be electricity, we do not see why Mr. Dodds [sic] could not with his machine surcharge a whole audience with a few turns of the handle by placing them in contact with its power.

We have witnessed the experiments of persons standing upon a glass stool & receiving a surcharge of electricity so that sparks might be seen to emit from various parts of their body, yet


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we saw no signs of magnetic sleep. Now if this Fluid be electricity, it does appear to me that the Electric Machine would be the very [?] first power by which subjects could be magnetised.

While in the City of Boston about one year since, I met with a friend, who began to question me as to the tricks I was [or "am" ?] playing in Magnetism & as we continued our conversation some time, he suddenly turned his head & after a few moments pause, charged me with an attempt to magnetise him! I did not let him know, but it was so in truth however, I did not think of it untill [sic] after he named it. I state this experiment to show, that I did not designedly use any fluid, indeed, could not have given direction to any; but the result upon my friend was just the same, no doubt, as though I had really sat down with the intention of performing an operation. This was the belief which he exercised in his mind, that I was trying my powers upon him & he became excited--& partially yielded. I do not think I exerted any power to controll [sic] him, yet he felt a power which he believed proceeded from me & it began to induce the mesmeric state, into which he was passing.

A friend of mine, a powerful magnetiser, who called on me not long since, operated upon a young lady in my family & threw her into the mesmeric sleep. He was a firm believer in the Magnetic Fluid & every thing was done according to the laws supposed to govern it. I began to exercise the power of my mind over his subject & she would readily obey me--Desiring her to come to me, she immediately turned her head & was about to rise when her operator observing the movement, began to cut off the fluid with his hand, so as to shut out the power. I was gaining over her. I ceased trying to impress her mind with the desire

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of coming to me & she turned back--During the same sleep I exercised a controll [sic] over her which was observed by the operation, & when he discovered it, awoke her saying it was very dangerous mixing up the fluids of diferent [sic] magnetisers upon the subject at the same time. I could not induce him to go on with his experiments, & was obliged to do what I could to show, that there was no danger from mixing up fluids &c--or that all the danger arising in the case would be from the fear & belief of the mesmeriser. I then performed a few experiments & requested him to exercise all his fluid power to counteract them. I am unable to say, whether the fear of "disturbing the fluid" did not prevent him from making an effort, for all my experiments succeeded.

Steel and various kinds of matter are supposed to have powerful influence over subjects in the mesmeric sleep. Experiments have been introduced to prove the suposition [sic]. Some operators cannot exercise their magnetic powers, if they have about them steel or silver. This is also a matter of belief. If an operator believes he cannot make an impression upon his subject, while this or that metalic [sic] substance is about him, then as a matter of course, he will not; but remove what he thinks is the difficulty & then mind acts in full faith & produces a full & decided expression.

I recollect, that when I first began to magnetise, I had all this horrid fear about the influence of mettle [sic], steel, silver &c upon the subjects & being a full believer then in the Fluid Theory, supposed some strange connection in all metalic [sic] substances, with the magnetised subjects. Having on a certain occasion put my subject into sleep often surcharging him with the fluid, a young lady present held the scissors


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pointing directly towards the head of the subject. Upon my first observing it, I was excited fearing some bad result. The impression was conveyed to the mind of the subject & all the consequences I feared would result, followed. This to my mind, at that time, was conclusive proof of the power of certain metalic [sic] substances, highly magnetic, upon a subject.

I have had very many excellent experiments in Phreno Magnetism exciting the organs by pointing a steel rod pointed at one end ["& blunt at the other" crossed out] to the supposed location, believing the fluid past [sic] out of myself thro' this rod into the organ. When I held the sharp point of the rod towards the organ the subject would immediately arouse & answer to the direction; but if I held the blunt end, ["towards any organ" crossed out] it would not effect him [her?]. This to me, as I was trying my experiments to prove whether there was any fluid or not, was strong testimony in favor of the fluid system. I had supposed there must be some agent to bring out such results & immediately embraced the theory adopted by most magnetisers, for want of something better. Having adopted, as a matter of belief, an agent by which I could bring about this excited state of mind, I had as[s]ign[e]d it certain laws as I knew to govern electricity. I had all the faith to produce a result when I directed the pointed end to the organ I wished to excite; but when I reversed the point & presented the blunt end I did not suppose for an instant that the excitement would follow. So the results corresponded with my own feelings. I have witnessed the same experiments performed by other mesmerists & they always advance such facts as I have named as conclusive proofs of a fluid Theory. Since I have abandoned the fluid Theory,

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I find no difficulty in using either end of the steel rod or use no rod at all & placing myself at a respectable distance from the subject, can produce the same results as I did when the steel rod & fluid Theory were the only means of my operation.

When in the City of Boston with my subject, one of the most powerful magnetisers put my subject into the magnetic sleep & proceded [sic] with his experiments in phreno-magnetism [originally and finally this wording, but with a seemingly second version crossed out: "proceded to experiment upon my subject in his waking state"] to convince me that the organs were excited by a fluid. He remained in contact with the subject & directed his fluid with the points of his fingers. I was sitting in the room some distance from the scene [seemingly "scenen"] of operation & exerted myself to counteract ["reverse" is crossed out] the impression given by the operator [originally exerted "all my powers to make a counter impression to the operator's design, & produced results opposite to the direction of the organs excited"]. The operators [sic] experiments all failed altho' he was in contact with the subject and as he supposed was filling up his head with the electric or magnetic fluid.

I also entertained the same idea with other magnetisers about the condition of the atmosphere as being favorable or unfavorable to successful experiments. I could always, under this belief, succeed better in fine clear weather. Indeed, my experiments seldom succeeded in a dull and cloudy atmosphere. I had been giving some very interesting experiments ["at Bath, Maine," crossed out] during one evening & did not know but the atmosphere was clear & bright as when I entered the hall. At the close of the experiments I was astonished to learn that, for the last two hours,


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during the time of my best experiments, the atmosphere had been cloudy & that rain had been falling. This circumstance was one of the first, which led to the rejection of the fluid theory.

I believed in the power to mesmerise a tumbler of water which, upon being drunk, would throw the patient into the magnetic sleep, & have often amused my audience by this simple experiment. I supposed, I did imbue the water with some new virtue & this was also the belief of the subject, & the results followed as I had anticipated. The experiment of the silk handkerchief has been one ["of mine" crossed out] I have performed repeatedly. I would magnetise the handkerchief & pass it to the subject & it would induce the mesmeric sleep. I was so confident in the fluid theory & that silk would effect [sic] its operation, that on one occasion when I had put my subject to sleep & a lady was sitting [or setting] near by [sic] dressed in silk his hands & feet were extended towards her dress. These simple facts all went to confirm me in the belief of the fluid theory. Yet I have been compelled to reject them all & I find there is no difficulty in producing the same results with a tumbler of clear water as when I have surcharged it with magnetic fluid; or with a silk handkerchief in its natural state as when magnetised. And I can with all safety allow ladies to sit near my subject in silk aparrells [sic] without fear of distracting his slumber.

I have magnetised a ceder [sic] twig & given it to my subject & he would immediately pass into the magnetic State. I have also given him other articles & told him I had magnitised them, altho, I had not, yet he would pass into sleep as before. We might multiply simple cases of this class to a very great number but all of them would terminate as

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those I have mentioned. I have performed them with the fluid & have done the same without it.1

Undoubtedly when Quimby refers to his use of fluid, he means that he made use of whatever passes or other procedures were supposed to impart fluid to objects.

From some of these observations it might be thought that Quimby simply discovered such susceptibility to suggestion as now generally is recognized, due entirely to the subject's awareness of suggestions given to him in an ordinary manner. However, Quimby found more than this. Some of his most important experiments dealt with the waking state.

It has sometimes been supposed that subjects are not susceptible of influence from the operator only in the sleeping state. This is not so. Dr. Buchanan, altho a devoted advocate of the fluid, has given many experiments, in proof of a controlling power, which the operator may have, over the subject. It is, with me, my daily practice to perform most of my experiments, when the subject could not know in his waking moments, my wishes, while to all appearance he is not influenced by any one. I have frequently exerted my power to impress upon the mind of some person in my presence a wish to do something, keeping distinctly in mind, what I would have him do. And the subject would soon do the very act, which I had wished to bring about. I have frequently operated upon a subject in his waking state producing, certain feelings in him corresponding to my own. I have relieved [originally "extracted"] pain in hundred[s] of instances to the benefit & happiness of persons under my influence; have releaved [sic]


1 Ibid, IV, 14-24.


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headache, pain in any part of the body. As I was writing a few sentences above, an individual called on me & stated that his foot was very painful to him; & if I could ease the pain, & adding that he did not believe I could, that he would not deny the fact & should be a believer in Mesmerism! I operated upon his foot & released the pain. He acknowledged the fact & began, he said, to be a little more serious.

Another individual present, who began to ridicule the fact & made some strong remarks against any power I might exercise over him, desired me to make a simple experiment upon his foot & leg--I immediately wrote upon a piece of paper not letting any one know the writing & laid it down upon the table & told him I had written upon that paper what kind of a sensation I would produce upon his foot & leg. I commenced the operation & in about two minutes, he said his foot & leg began to prickle & felt as tho' it was going to sleep. I handed him the paper & he read just wat [sic] he had felt. Some have replied to similar experiments above, that they were the results of Imagination. We reply that the subject did not know what kind of a sensation we should produce & therefore could not imagine in the case. To him it was a reality, because he felt the prickling sensation & did not imagine [Quimby's spelling of the word may be "imaigine"] that I was going to produce it. I have frequently taken persons & endeavored to produced [this is the way that the sentence apparently started originally. and the word was not changed when inserting "endeavored to"] a warm or cold sensation upon their limbs

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without their knowledge & have succeded [sic] in bringing about my wishes.1

An experiment of interest in itself and also from its probably relating to the Dods subject mentioned by Lucius Burkmar, in his journal,2 in relation to Skowhegan, is related to Quimby. If this was on the same occasion, it dates the manuscript, or at least this part of it, as not earlier than 1844, as references already seen do also.

In the town of Skowhegan on the banks of the Kennebec, I met with a young man deaf & dumb, but was a very sensitive subject & easily operated upon in his waking moments. I requested to sit down & place his hand upon the table & count by raising his hand up & down. I then asked some one to direct me to stop him when he had made a certain number of counts naming to me the number. When he had made the particular counts I willed him to stop & he did so. I then impressed his mind with the desire to walk back & forth upon the floor, & he arose & commenced walking. A gentleman asked me to stop him when he arrived at a certain point & I exercised my power upon his mind & he stopped instantly at the very point. I then desired him to speak to me & he made a noise-I made a stronger impression upon his mind to speake [sic] louder & he made a stronger effort to talk ["speak" crossed out], graduating his effort, & raising his voice or noise with my thoughts impressing him to speak louder or softer. Some one then asked him in writing, if he heard me speak ["to him" crossed out] & he answered "that his mind


1 Ibid., IV, 24 and V, 1.

2 Seale (ed.), The Complete Writings, I, 32-52.


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heared" [sic]. And so it is. The mind hears sees, feels & causes every action of the body. And impressions are conveyed directly upon the mind, when the attention is given to the operator in such a manner as to shut out all other influences. And to produce these impressions & sensations, when the mind of the subject is thus prepared, the operator must produce in himself the same sensation which he could communicate to the subject [following "must" the sentence originally read "feel in himself just as he would have the subject"]. The experiments last mentioned upon the deaf & dumb young man were performed without the subject knowing, by any of his outward senses, what I could design. I was behind the subject & out of his sight, during the most of the experiments. I took every precaution in this case as I have done repeatedly, to place the experiments upon such a basis that no one could attribute these to the imagination.1

It is necessary to draw the attention of the subject to myself in order to receive the impression: because no one could receive the impressions from external objects unless he should give his attention to them. . . . So in mesmerism, some powerful impression must be produced to draw the attention of the subject & exclude other external influences & then the mind is prepared for further action.2

It may not be clear whether the initial impression need be made by conventional means, such as a spoken or written request for one's attention, or perhaps just being noticed by one to be impressed.


1 Ibid., v, 2-4.

2 Ibid., v. 2.

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It might be a question in regard to all the experiments we have presented in this volume whether it is really the strong intellectual power of a mind, which may gain the ascendncy [sic] over another, & hold it in complete submission. . . . We answer that, we do not think it is great intellectual power; but the capacity or power of arresting the attention & producing a strong impression. And this faculty may be cultivated & enlarge its power to produce impressions & arrest the attention of mind to the exclusion of surrounding influences. We have mentioned the fact in another page, that the idea of magnetising or mesmerising only those persons who are dull & enjoy poor health & weak minds is exploded. The more intelligent the mind, if the attention can be fixed & drawn away from surrounding influences, the more certain you are of producing the excited or mesmeric state in the highest degree--A bright, intelligent & thoughtful person, enjoying good health always makes the best subject.

We do not therefore claim a more powerful intellect by which we can produce such results upon mind, but attribute it to a natural & cultivated power in this capacity which I am enabled to exercise & produce such experiments as are called mesmeric, magnetic &c--The fact, that the community have always laid it down as a general principle that only a more powerful mind can operate & controll [sic] a weaker, has retarded the progress of this branch of intellectual philosophy--The idea, no doubt, arose from some self-conceited personage, or perhaps a numerous class of those who were public magnetisers, desirous of claiming all the intellect, which is really worth having--It is in fact we are compelled to acknowledge, that some of my predecessors in this branch of science, seem to have possessed no


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other intellectual faculty than that of mesmerising; & the consequence was that they would be desirous of instructing the world to believe, that the power they exercise is indeed [originally "purely"] that of a great mind--to be surpassed by no other power. All we have to remark upon this class of philosopher is, that whatever discoveries & advances they have made in the progress of human knowledge should be thankfully received. And the follies & egotisms, which have been interwoven with their progress, should be rejected, as the consoling food for the vanity & self-esteem of its projectors. No man would be justified in rejecting the whole Copurnican [sic] system because some wandering genius, desirous of making himself greater than the rest, should have advanced the idea & proceded [sic] to prove it, that the earth is spherical & turns on its axis every twenty four hours & is kept in motion on the constant tramping of an enormous meamouth [sic] upon the equator. "Retain the good & reject the evil." Then will science advance--1

Except for some writing about the mysteries, perhaps an afterthought inspried by Collyer's dealing with the subject, this is the conclusion of the "lecture notes." However, some other parts of the "lecture notes" are to be noted here.

At one point Quimby says:

We have . . . given examples, proving to a demonstration that there are such states of mind as Clairvoyant, Thought Reading & that arising from association. That the mind some times acts in one of these capacities & sometimes in another & is also


1 Ibid., VII, 3-5.

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governed at other times by the principle of association.1 Now the difficulty in a clairvoyant subject is this. The mesmerised mind is liable to be under the partial control' [sic] of all these conditions at the same time & would describe an object partly from actual independent sight, partly from thought reading & partly from association; & the result always is, a total factum in all. We are not able, in this early stage of our science, to give definite rules by which one can tell how far the subject may be led astray from independent sight by these two other principles [We have no standard] by which to ascertain how much weight our own thoughts, or associations of the subject, may have over the mesmerised mind. In the progress of future advancement, this mystery may be solved; & subjects, under proper regulations, may discover to the operator, the true action of his mind, whether it be Seeing, Thought-reading or Association.

When mesmerism has attained this hight [sic] in the march of its discoveries, a new & brighter era in the history of the world will have dawned upon humanity--the ["grave of" crossed out] ignorance of the past will be entombed in the light ["forgetfulness" crossed out] of the future, & truth, disrobed of superstition will govern paramount, the universe of immortal [?] thought.

Our remarks have thus far been confined to what we are pleased to call the ["metaphysical" crossed out in favor of use later in the sentence]


1 In speaking of ordinary knowledge, Quimby says, "a succession of objects presented, multiplies the number of impressions, which follow, in a ten fold ratio. The principle of association, which is a successive train of impressions is set in operation-keeps the mind ever on the stretch." Ibid., I, 14.


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development of the metaphysical mysteries of our subject (mesmerism). We have sought to select that system which appears to be most consistent with the facts we have offered--that system only by which we can explain satisfactorily the wonderful phenomena of mind. We have thought our course thus far justifiable upon the ground, that a complete knowledge of the development of mesmerism is necessary to a good understanding of the practical part of our science. We protest against a mere knowledge of results without cause. We should know rather the cause & we may then produce or prevent results. Our course has been to introduce such explanation as appears consistent with all experiments given & as far as we had the power, to enlighten the understanding rather than to mystify what already has been too mysterious. How far we have succeeded, an intelligent community will act as our tribunal & we shall rest satisfied with their candid decision. We now come to the useful-practical part of our subject. It is to this part of our work we would solicit the attention of our reader. The study of the philosophy of science is entertaining & instructive, but the utility of science, is often all the great point to be attended in its advances--We shall procede [sic] to show what connection mesmerism as we understand it, has with the relief of suffering humanity & consequently its necessary connection with medical science.1


1 Ibid., VI, 24-25.

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Even at this relatively early period, Quimby says, "We lay it down as a principle, that all medical remedies effect [sic] the body only through the mind."1

Quimby says of competing schools of medicine:

The different Theories of practice . . . no doubt grew out of the uncertainty of medicine. And the uncertainty of medicine was the necessary result of a want of a knowledge of those laws by which the animal economy of man is sustained. It all procedes [sic] from the mistaken notion, that medicine operates upon the organs which constitute the body without any reference to the impressions which it conveys to the mind. [This might be taken to mean a direct action by the drug or it might mean the patient's belief about the drug, or perhaps the physician's. If there were such action of drugs, it might be something like the Dods belief, expressed later, in physical impressions.] Medicine upon [?] the organs of the body, if it were to act upon them alone, would always produce the same results upon the same organisations....

And the same medicines do not affect different individuals in the same manner; because they, upon being taken, convey to these minds different impressions & the mind exercises a controll [sic] over the body & answeres [sic] to the impressions, by a result upon the functions of the body, either good or bad. Every intelligent physician with whom I have conversed has always acknowledged that mind has much to do with the taking of medicine, if good results follow. That no physician could probably do his patient much good, unless he should possess the confidence of such patient.


1 Ibid., VI, 11.


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Intelligent physicians, altho, they have full faith in medical remedies & believe that these, with the mental emotions of the patient are the only restoratives of health, yet do not often all consider that remedies possess such astonishing powers as is supposed by the quacks. I believe that there is a virtue in medicine, which, when taken by the patient, conveys impressions to the mind & that these impressions often result in the entire restoration of health. [Possibly it is significant that Quimby says "taken by" rather than "given to" or some other expression of passivity on the part of the patient, this perhaps implying that the medicine itself is powerless.] The mind of man is generally taken up with surrounding objects & seldom is attracted to contemplate the body to which it is attached [a significant, but not surprising, view of mind].

If however by any attraction it should be turned upon the body, a war [?] seems to arise, between the body & mind, & the mind appears to be unwilling to abide its confinement--Diseas [sic] then begins to pray upon the body & continues to increase untill [sic] the soul departs & leaves matter to return to its original dust. We think we have abundant proof of the power of the mind to controll [sic] the health of the body. Patients are advised to travel in pleasant countries & visit watering places, to bathe in sea water, & mineral water, to spend the cold season in milder climates, engage more in the pleasantries of society or even do anything by which the mind may be led off from its old habits of working [?] with the body. But why should we enumerate perticular [sic] methods of restoring the health of a patient without a dose of medicine. All these methods are medicines for the mind, they leave lasting impressions & they restore the health. So is every

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remedy taken into the stomach or externally applied to the body, a medicine for the mind--And it is only so far effectual to the end designed as it impresses the mind. We do not then discard the use of medicines, but rather recommend them; but we protest against such use, unless he who prescribes knows the laws by which his remedy is governed.

The true design of all medicine is to lead the mind to certain results & then it, the mind, will restore the body. No matter what this medicine is, if it accomplishes all the physician designs. [The next sentence appears to be the conclusion of the last one.] It will effect a cure if it produces a healthy state of the mind. Thus it is that very small doses, under the direction of the Homeopathic practice, effect such astonishing cures--Thus it is that so many drops of pure water taken under the direction of a skillful physician, will restore health--Thus it is that a change of scenery gives new & pleasant impressions to the mind of a patient & results in a perfect restoration of the bodily health.1

After illustrating his view, Quimby says that

it is really the mind upon which an impression is to be made & . . . the medicine has nothing to do in the matter only so far as it induces a state of feeling antecedent to a restoration.2

Since the physician is unaware that "mind acts upon mind" (which might be taken as the motto of Quimby's early


1 Ibid., VI, 1-4. Cf. the observations about the nature of all healing (and other) influence in Appendix L, no. 14.

2Ibid., VI, 5.


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period, as "the explanation is the cure" is of his later period),

the quack may effect more than the intelligent physician, because he has more confidence in the remedies he applies. He, however, believes the great remedy is really in the medicine & has full confidence in administering it to the patient, & thereby impresses his mind with the restorative powers of his balsam. Perhaps, the quack might not understand the composition of his medicine, yet he knows the results & is so firm in his belief that he would almost bring about the result if the medicine had by mistake been omitted. The intelligent physician knowing the properties of his medicine & having seen much practice does not attribute an almighty charm to his antidote & therefore manifests less confidence in his skill. His mind influences directly that of his patient & he too will place but little confidence in the medicine. The result is that the patient becomes worse. Now had the physician understood or rather had he brought into his practice the great law that "mind acts upon mind" he might have remedied the whole evil. He would then have commanded all the influence which his powerful mind, could exert over the mind of his patient & thus with the powerful or gentle action of the medicine directed a healthful result. In some instances, a powerful medicine taken under the impression of a good influence may do much & indeed in some instances entirely restore the patient. But it acts far more healthfully upon the patient when the mind is rightly directed.

This principle of making deep impressions upon patients by a medicinal [?] or other process seems to have been well understood by Hippocrates, the great father of cures [originally "medicine"]. [Quimby cites an example of the technique of

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Hippocrates of] employing external agents to impress deeply the mind with the idea of effectual remidy [sic]. We might enumerate other instances, where the great cause of success in a particular treatment of disease, was similar in principle to the above; but history is full of such examples & daily observation of every student of human nature confirms its records. Every action which results to the benefit or injury of the patient, is direct upon the mind which immediately answers the impression, upon the disease of the body. Matter, in itself, is ["nothing" is crossed out] capable of no action, except by chemical process [originally "action"], unless connected with a mind or spirituality. [This sentence is a very interesting possible indication of his early ontology, in which he may have started to say that matter is nothing, but backed away from that view.] The health & vigor of the body depends solely upon the condition & action of the mind--; because the immaterial part of man governs the material-matter or body connected with mind is under the immediate controll [sic] of ["mind" crossed out] this spirituality. [This sentence not only emphasizes Quimby's basic point here, but raises the question of the difference between mind and spirit; it may be that here he simply wished to avoid repeating the word mind, but it may be a foreshadowing of his later fuller recognition of the divine dimension of reality beyond the mental; however, spiritual with Swedenborg and various others can mean simply the invisible, rather than the divine, which sometimes is called the celestial. Again, in this sentence, it is not clear whether the s of spirituality is capitalized.] If, then the mind by external or internal influences has received impressions to destroy the health & vigor of the body & the impressions cannot be removed, then


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the body follows that state of mind & readily submits. If the mind of a patient does not feel some confidence in the restorative powers of a medicine taken, there is a probable chance that it will do the patient no good. His mind counteracts the impression usually conveyed to the minds of most patients, by a strong [or stray ?] impression that it could do no good.1

After dealing with the reducing of medical effectiveness by competition among physicians, Quimby continues:

We return to an expression we have before uttered, that we have full confidence in the power of certain medicines to produce healthful results; but further assert, that the mind of the patient or physician may so control' [sic] this power as to produce disasterous [sic] results. We protest against this pretended ignorance of the physician upon the causes of the uncertainty of medicine. He should or ought to know what they result from or the great governing principle by which a failure follows. We exclaim against the daring & lawless courage of a physician, who marches up, blindfold [sic] to the battleground of disease strugling [sic] with nature, often failing in his efforts to effect a reconciliation, raises a war club & strikes at random. If he luckily hits disease, the patient is restored & if not, the patient dies.

Our remarks thus far go to show that the mind has much to do with the practice of medicine & that results are from impressions conveyed to it by some process. We now procede [sic] to illustrate by experiments, what mesmerism has to do with


1 Ibid., VI, 6-8.

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diseases & shall at the same time show the influence of mind acting upon mind.

By the action of my mind upon my patient in his waking state, I can produce the same results which flow from the taking of medicine. I can produce an emetic or cathartic, a disiness [sic] or pain in the head, relieve pain in any part of the system & restore patients by acting directly upon their minds [originally "restore any patient who could be restored by medicine"].1

After reporting various healings and mesmeric anesthesia for a surgical operation,2 Quimby turns to the topic of insanity. In part, he observes:

This disease among physicians is not usually attributed to flow from the same sources as what they term those of the body & therefore they do not resort to the same remedies--Physicians, generally call Insanity a disease of the mind while fever & other similar states are diseases of the body--I maintain that all diseases are only known to exist as they effect [sic] the mind of the patient-that is, there would be no disease which could effect [sic] an individual provided it could not make a sensation upon his mind. If he did not feel sick, he would not probably be sick.3

In discussing a dislocated elbow, Quimby says that


1 Ibid., VI, 10.

2 Ibid., VI, 22-23.

3 lbid., VI, 26.


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all the pain which was the result of the falling from the horse was in the mind, being the only part of man susceptible of sensation--that the mere blow or contusion would not produce any pain unless there was a mind which could feel the blow; because matter is not supposed to have the power of sensation--We might bring many facts, as we trust we have in the former part of this work, to show when disease is to be remedied--where of course it must flow from to effect [sic] the person & when [where?] an impression is produced from which follows all the phenomena of disease both of body & mind--But alude [sic] to the subject, here to illustrate our ideas upon Insanity--And by the results we have affected [sic] upon diseases by operating upon mind, we think the argument is conclusive, that all diseases including insanity flow from the impressions upon the mind as their first cause.1

In insanity

The mind is governed & controlled by the same laws in this state as in the natural or dreaming state--It acts from real impressions under the full belief of the real causes of such impressions--This state is no doubt induced by some powerful impression upon the mind which cannot be removed by slight impressions produced upon the mind from common & every day objects. If this state is removed at all, it must be done by inducing some counteracting impression, which will lead the mind into a different channel of thought. This state of mind often exhibits in the individual more acuteness of intelligence in almost every subject


1 Ibid., VI, 27.

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than when in its natural condition. He will reason correctly altho' from unsound [originally "wrong"] data & return answers justifying his conduct, which would display a thoughtful & premeditating mind--1

In less than two decades Quimby's views changed to the extent that a patient could ask and he could reply as follows in perhaps the best known of his writings, "Questions and Answers," of 1862. This writing used to be loaned to patients, including the future Mary Baker Eddy, for study. Dresser considered this question, the eighth, to be "obscure," and observes that Quimby does not characterize God this way elsewhere, and does so here to bring meaning from the question.2 However, the question and answer here serve as an interesting transition from his earlier period to his later one. Little is known of his years between them. In the following quotation the major variations among the three copies of the writing known to exist are indicated by parentheses.3


1 Ibid., VI, 24.

2 The Quimby Manuscripts, both eds., p. 175n.

3 The Quimby Manuscripts, both eds, pp. 174-75, contains the question and answer quoted, slightly edited by Dresser, who notes at the start of "Questions and Answers" that "it is printed as originally written, with a few changes in punctuation and capitalization to conform to writings of the same year." (p. 165) The three written copies are parts of the 1947 addition to the Library of Congress Quimby collection. They are titled "Questions and Answers," "Answers to questions asked by one of my patients," and "Answers to questions asked me by patients." Apparently these are the three copies listed by Dresser at 1st ed., p. 18, 2nd ed., p. 24 as being in the


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Suppose a person (was) kept in a mesmeric state (a long time), what would be the result? Would he act independently if allowed? If not, is it not an exact illustration of the condition we are in, in order to have matter (,) which is only an idea (,) seem real to us, for we act independently?

I think I understand your question. God is the great mesmeriser or magnet,1 (&) he speaks man or the idea into existence, & attaches his sense to the idea & (so) we are to ourselves just what we think we are. So is a mesmerised (-ism) subject, they are to themselves matter. You may have as many subjects as you will & they are all in the same relation to each other as they would be in the state we call waking. So this is proof that we are affected by (each other) one another, sometimes independent & sometimes governed by others, but always retaining our own identity, with all our ideas of matter and subject to all its changes, as real as it is in the natural or waking state (after "ideas of matter": as real as it is to you in your state, subject to all its changes).

Although undoubtedly Quimby developed his views largely from his own experimentation both with mesmerism and with his abilities of a higher sort after his mesmeric period, in developing his thought he probably had more (which is not necessarily to say very much) knowledge of the views of philosophers to stimulate his


collection from which The Quimby Manuscripts was published.

1 Cf. Whitehead's view of the lure of God through the initial aim of an occasion of experience. See Appendix L, no. 6, and Whitehead quotations from PR 522 and 526 in that appendix.

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thought than has been supposed by most people, especially those who have limited their study of his writings to those contained in The Quimby Manuscripts. Yet one finds there:

Are our senses mind? I answer, no. This was the problem ancient philosophers sought to solve. Most of them believed the soul, senses, and every intellectual faculty of man to be mind, therefore our senses must be mind. The translator of Lucretius says Lucretius attacks the ancient academics who held the mind to be the sole arbiter and judge of things, and establishes the senses to be the arbitrators. For, says he, "whatever can correct and confute what is false, must of necessity be the criterion of truth, and this is done by the senses only." This difference is true in part. Both were right. But they confused mind and senses into one, like the modern philosophers who make wisdom and knowledge, mind and senses, Jesus and Christ, synonymous. Now mind and senses are as distinct as light and darkness, and the same distinction holds good in wisdom and knowledge, Jesus and Christ. Christ, Wisdom and spiritual senses are synonymous. So likewise are Jesus, knowledge and mind. Our life is in our senses: and if our wisdom is in our mind, we attach our life and senses to matter. But if our wisdom is attached to Science, our life and senses are in God, not in matter; for there is no matter in God or Wisdom; matter is the medium of Wisdom.

This difference has been overlooked by the ancients. And modern philosophers have put mind and soul in matter, thus making a distinction without a difference. Now according to modern philosophy, the soul, mind, life and senses are all liable to die; but according to this truth mind is spiritual matter, and all matter must be dissolved. Wisdom is not [physical] life. Our senses are not


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life. But all of these are solid and eternal; and to know them is life and life eternal. Life is in the knowledge of this wisdom, and death is in the destruction of your opinions or matter.

I will give some experiments of a man of wisdom acting through and dissolving the man of matter so the man of wisdom can escape. This process is Science. Take for example two persons, or you and myself. One wishes to communicate to the other some fact. You feel a pain, I also feel it. Now the sympathy of our minds mingling is spiritual matter. But there is no wisdom in it, for wisdom is outside of matter. If we both feel the same pain, we each call it our own; for we are devoid of that wisdom which would make us know we were affecting each other. Each one has his own identity and wants sympathy, and the ignorance of each is the vacuum that is between us. So we are drawn together by this invisible action called sympathy. Now make man wise enough to know that he can feel the pains of another, and then you get him outside of matter. The wisdom that knows this has eternal life, for life is in the knowledge of this wisdom. This the world is unacquainted with.

Now Jesus had more of this life or truth than any other person, and to teach it to another is a science.... There are a great many kinds of life. The natural man begins at his birth. Animal life is not vegetable, and vegetable is not animal life. And there is another kind of life that is not understood, and that is the life that follows the knowledge of this great truth. The word "life" cannot be applied to Wisdom, for that has no beginning and life has. The word death is applied to everything that has life. All motion or action produces life, for where there is no motion there is no life. Matter in motion is called life. Life is the action of matter, and to know it is a truth, and to

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know how to produce it is Wisdom. This Wisdom was possessed by Jesus, for He says: "My sheep hear my voice and I give unto them eternal life." "I (Christ) and my Father are one."1

More on philosophers is found in Collie's presensation of Quimby writings. The following is dated 1864:

Disease is as old as man's existence but the causes of it have never been explained. Various causes have been given. The ancients admitted disease and then tried to show that it arose from the people's habits of living. The Epicurean philosophers tried to show that man by his own acts caused his disease. Lucretius one of the pupils of Epicurus contended that man is the cause of his own misery by his own belief. He does not use these words but I shall show that that was what he meant and being so misrepresented, his ideas have never found their way into the minds of the Christians of our day because he showed that the religion of his day was the cause of all the disease, and trouble that men suffered. To show this was his labor in his poem that has never been understood. The reader will see by going back one hundred years before Jesus how the people were excited by the religion of that time. To see what Lucretius had to contend with is to know what the people believed in. The effect of religion on the people Lucretius showed in his poem. I will give


1 The Quimby Manuscripts, both eds., pp. 244-45; "physical" in brackets added by Dresser. This article apparently was written in January, 1861; see 249n., 430, and 230.


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some extracts. [He quotes from the first few pages of De Rerum Natura.]

"Indeed mankind in wretched bondage held and lay groveling on the ground galled by the yoke of what is called religion. From the sky, this tyrant showed her head and with grim looks hung over us poor mortals here below until a man of Greece with stea[dy] eye dared look her in the face and first opposed her power. Here not the fear of Gods or thundrous roar kept back, nor threatening tumults of the sky, but still the more they roused the active virtue of his aspiring soul as he pressed forward to break through nature's scanty bounds, his mind's quick force prevailed. And so he passed by far the flaming portals of this world and wandered with his comprehensive soul all over the mighty spaces. From thence returned triumphant, told us what things may have being and what may not and how a finite power is fixed to earth, a bond it cannot break. And religion which we feared before by him subdued, we tread upon in turn. His conquest makes us equal to the Gods." It is generally believed that the writers of the Epicurean philosophy were men who opposed everything that was good, but they are misrepresented. They opposed the errors and superstitions of their day and to do this was to show that the heathen mythology was based on nothing but a belief. So he shows the absurdity of their religion. The Pythagoreans held to the transmigration of souls. A poet who lived about a hundred years before Lucretius affirmed that the "Soul of Homer was in his body, but that he might not injure Pluto, he bequeathed to the infernal mansion not the soul nor the body, but the ghost which the ancients held to be a third nature of which together with the body and soul the whole man consisted." Speaking of this class of

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philosophers, Lucretius says "And yet the nature of the soul we know not whether formed with the body or at the birth infused and then by death cut off she perishes as bodies do or whether she descends to the dark caves and dreadful lakes of hell, or after death inspired with heavenly instinct, she returns into the brutes as our great Ennius sang, who first a crown of laurels ever grew brought down from Helicon, describes the stately palaces of Acheron where neither our souls nor bodies ever come, but certain spectres strange and wondrous pale." But then he goes on to say that "He shall search into the soul what her nature is and what meets our wakeful eyes and fights the mind and how by sickness and by sleep oppressed, we think we see or hear the voice of those who died long since, whose mouldering bones rot in the cold embrace of the grave." "These terrors of the mind, this darkness, these not the sun's beams nor the light ray of day can we dispel, but nature's light and reason whose first principles shall be my guide." This taught him that nothing was by nothing made, therefore could not produce something and every effect had a cause. Now these strange ghosts and spirits are all the inventions of man not of God, yet to man they are something. But ask where they come from and how they got here, then comes the mystery. Now Lucretius shows that man is matter dissolved and like all other matter passed into space, and the matter was seen by those who believed in spirits. Here was where he failed. He proved that every effect had a cause and as these spirits are nothing they have no cause or beginning.

His theory was that matter, like seeds, dissolves and each seed retains the element of the whole lump. This reasoning he carried into man, so that man like all nature dissolves and passes into space and each particle or seed contains the whole


Healing Hypotheses

of man's life. This was the cause of their strange spectres being seen that the people called spirits and ghosts. Their fear produced it by their imagination. This was his theory, and as far as he reasoned, cannot be refuted. His starting point was light and reason. This taught that nothing cannot produce something, for if a thing could spring from nothing, what need is there for bodies to grow. And if nothing could produce something, then man might spring up out of the ground, grain from the sea, and fish live on the land. But, everything shows that all things have their causes and all phenomena must come from something. This shows that imagination is either something or nothing, and if a person imagines a thing and the thing appears, it shows that it has a cause outside of the thing seen. Now all these things have been seen and thousands more and there is proof to show that spirits, ghosts, spectres and strange delusions are matter moved without the aid of the natural man and all these phenomena are so well attested that it is folly in anyone to deny the fact. Among the strange phenomena are diseases, for disease is one of the great proofs that these things are among the things believed.

The ancient philosophers were promulgating certain truths as they thought and to live up to them was their religion. They did not have creeds as the people of our day but a sort of philosophy that governed their lives according to the science of philosophy. The Pythian [Pythagorean?] philosophy consisted of searching into the laws of mathematics. This would teach them causes and effects, so all their acts were governed by their wisdom and their happiness was the fruit of their religious philosophy. Plato believed in one great cause and matter in an invisible state subject to a power. Here he like all the rest of the philosophers loses man. Now according to my own experience,

Healing Hypotheses


matter is a substance to the one that believes it but to suppose that matter exists independent of wisdom, it is not in the power of man to prove. So, if matter is an idea, it is very easy to see that it is entirely under the control either of our belief or our wisdom. Now here are the two powers--one wisdom and the other belief. Now belief admits matter as a substance, wisdom admits it as a belief. Wisdom speaks it into existence and to belief it is a reality. I will now show how a belief can create matter and yet to wisdom it is nothing. To do this, I must assume to know what I am going to do. So, if I can make a person believe a thing, I impart to him a sort of wisdom (I call it wisdom because it is the highest he has) and he thinks it wisdom and I know it is not wisdom but an error. Now to the person, it is wisdom after I convince him of its truth so I must prove it to the person to establish the fact. So I will take a person and perform a mesmeric experiment and satisfy the person that it is performed. Now he knows that I have done it. This to him is true, but he believes he cannot do it. I tell him he can do the same, so he tries and I produce the phenomenon myself but he thinks he does it. In this way he gets confidence and does it himself. Now he, in his belief, does the very thing I do. Now I am in his belief and he knows it not and thinks it is himself, so now he uses the wisdom he gets from me to perform his experiments. . . . Matter supposes distance between like our senses, that is one chair must be not as another chair, so our senses are divided into five. Now with wisdom there is no division only as wisdom makes it. Senses are swallowed up in wisdom and there can be no space. So everything is present. The difference between wisdom and belief is this-Wisdom is never deceived, belief is never certain, but always changes. Man is like a town. The inhabitants are the intelligence and the identity of


Healing Hypotheses

the town is the same. The locality is the same always although the intelligence is always changing, yet every person admits the identity of the town but its inhabitants or intelligence are always changing and improvements are going on showing the growth of the intelligence, not of the town nor the ground on which the town is built.

So God makes the ground or identity called body and gave it an identity called man. This is under the wisdom of man until it is able to act of itself when man's body like a city or town is governed by the inhabitants or wisdom of the town. As a town is made up of different talent, so man is made up of different ideas and sometimes one set of rules and sometimes another. Man is not a unit but is governed by a city or nation and is liable to be deceived by false ideas into a belief that gets up a sort of rebellion.1 All this is the working of matter. So diseases and revolutions take place and sometimes the inhabitants flee from their enemies but this is the working of matter. There seems to be a sort of inconsistency in regard to God. If God knows and rules all things, how should there be another power that seems to be contradictory to what we call God's wisdom? Now according to my theory that mind is matter, it looks very plain to me that there should be a conflict going on in man as in nations, for there is a regular grade of matter from the mineral to the animal creation and there is a regular grade of intelligence that corresponds to the matter. Now as the matter of vegetables and animals are connected, it is not strange that every person should partake of the elements of each, yet we all admit that the mineral and vegetable life


1 Cf. the process panpsychist view of Hartshorne in Appendix L.

Healing Hypotheses


acts just as it was intended by God but when man steps in, he reasons that God isn't quite up to the intelligence of man and we try to reconcile God to man, not man to God. This is natural as our breath. Man wants to rule his fellow man and even dictate to God what is best for mankind....

So if you trade the working of the mind in man, you will find that man is now largely identified with the brute and is not to be condemned for his brutal feeling. Once admitted as such, you don't keep a dog that growls at you in excitement (he may) like to bite you but you don't expect anything better. Now that intellect which is nearly on a level with the brute shows itself opposing everything that goes to restrain its acts but at the same time shows its brutal instinct by fighting down everything that will not bow to its own will, showing no wisdom of doing to another as you would have another to do you. This is the point where the man ceases or breaks the link between the brute and the human species. This step taken opens the door to reason which the brutal man never does. His reason is all on one side, that he is the lord and his will is law. And, if he cannot have his own way he goes for destroying them. With man or brute, it is rule or ruin. Now this is all as God intended and man as I said, is like a new country unexplored, full of every kind of ideas that is embraced in the world.1


1 E. S. Collie (ed.), The Science of Health and Happiness (2nd ed.; privately processed), II, 164-68; Seale (ed.), The Complete Writings, I, 430-36.

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