Sign-up for our free weekly newsletter
Science of Wisdom

your name:
your email address:

Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond

Buy it Here!

Lecture Notes—Booklet III

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 and needs only to be directed and the object is before it. Distance and space are nothing, and 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 and when it is directed to a new object of thought, the direction and the attention pass at the same instant. Nor does it require any longer time or any other 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 and forms all its ideas of things through them. But in the excited state, it receives no impressions through 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. Instances of dreaming are now on record in which this principle is fully illustrated—[William] Smellie in his [The Philosophy of] Natural History relates a case of a medical student of the University of Edinburgh, who was accustomed to dream and be aroused from the same cause that produced the first impression. We also notice instances of the following character. [“]A gentleman dreamed that he had enlisted as a common soldier, joined his regiment, deserted, was apprehended, carried back, tried, condemned to be shot, and at last led out for execution. After all these preparations, a gun was fired and he awoke with the report and found that a noise in the adjoining room had both produced the dream and awaked him. Dr. Gregory mentions a case in which a gentleman, who had taken cold from sleeping in a damp place, was liable to a feeling of suffocation when he slept in a lying posture; and this was always accompanied with a dream of a skeleton which grasped his throat. On one occasion, he procured a sentinel, giving him directions to arouse him whenever he was disposed to sink down, as these dreams never occurred when he slept in a sitting position. He began to sink away, and upon his being aroused instantly, found fault with his attendant for not having aroused him immediately as he had been in a struggle with the skeleton for a long time before he awoke.[”] “A friend of mine,” says Dr. Abercrombie, “dreamed that he had crossed the Atlantic and spent a fortnight in America. In embarking on his return, he fell into the sea, and having awoke from the fright, discovered that he had not been asleep above ten minutes.”

“Count Lavallette,” says Professor Upham, “who was some years since condemned to death in France, relates a dream, which occurred during his imprisonment, as follows. ‘One night while I was asleep, the clock of the Palais de Justice struck twelve and awoke me. I heard the gate open to relieve the sentry, but I fell asleep again immediately. In this sleep, I dreamed that I was stand­ing in the Rue St. Honoré at the corner of the Rue de l'Echelle. A melancholy darkness spread around me, all was still, nevertheless a low and uncertain sound soon arose. All of a sudden I perceived at the bottom of the street and advancing towards me a troop of cavalry, the men and horses however, all flayed. This horrible troop continued passing in a rapid gallop, and casting frightful looks at me. Their march, I thought, continued five hours; and they were followed by an immense number of artillery and wagons, full of bleeding corpses, whose limbs still quivered; a disgusting smell of blood and bitumen almost choked me. At length the iron gate of the prison, shutting with great force, awoke me again. I made my repeater strike; it was no more than midnight so that the horrible phantasmagoria had lasted no more than two or three minutes—that is to say, the time necessary for relieving the sentry and shutting the gate. The cold was severe and the watchword short. The next day, the turnkey confirmed my calculations.’”

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 and 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 passed 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 and Moscow and be engaged in a whaling voyage in the Pacific Ocean—all in rapid succession. Impression follows impression and results and conclusions 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.

Somnambulism is another state of mind as laid down by different philosophers. It is only another condition of excited mind by which all the impressions are received by another process than the bodily organs, by which the subject is induced to walk and perform bodily and mental labor. This condition of mind is really the dreaming or excited state and explainable upon the same principles as other dreams. But the difficulty in explanations given by those who have written upon the subject is the misconception of its cause mixing up the action of the mind under such excitement with its action through the bodily senses. I do not intend to convey the idea that the mind may not act partly from one cause or condition and partly from the other. It does so act, and this no doubt is the cause of many impressions which the mind in its dreaming state is constantly receiving. Their confusion in explanations arises from the argument being drawn from the knowledge received through the bodily senses alone, not mentioning to explain the phenomena arising from an independent state. If facts alone, subject to the laws which govern mind, were to furnish a basis, it is not possible to explain these two conditions, natural and excited on other principles than those which have governed us throughout this work.

Somnambulism is then a species of mesmerism and a subject may be so controlled as to perform the same experiments we shall give, selected from different works.

“A young nobleman,” says Dr. Abercrombie, “living in the citadel of Breslau, was observed by his brother, who occupied the same room, to rise in his sleep, wrap himself in a cloak and escape by a window to the roof of a building. He then tore in pieces a magpie's nest, wrapped the young birds in his cloak, returned to his apartment and went to bed. In the morning he mentioned the circumstances as having occurred in a dream, and could not be persuaded that there had been anything more than a dream, till he was shown the magpies in his cloak.” [Quoted from John Abercrombie’s Inquiries Concerning the Intellectual Powers, and the Investigation of Truth (1842). —Ed.]

“A farmer in one of the counties of Massachusetts had employed himself, some weeks in winter, threshing his grain. One night as he was about closing his labors, he ascended a ladder to the top of the great beams in the barn, where the rye which he was threshing was deposited, to ascertain what number of bundles remained un-threshed, which he determined to finish the next day. The ensuing night about two o'clock he was heard by one of the family to rise and go out. He repaired to his barn, being sound asleep and unconscious of what he was doing, set open his barn doors, ascended the great beams of the barn where his rye was deposited, threw down a flooring and commenced threshing it. When he had completed it, he raked off the straw and shoved the rye to one side of the floor, and then again ascended the ladder with the straw and deposited it on some rails that lay across the great beams. He then threw down another flooring of rye which he threshed and finished as before. Thus he continued his labors until he had threshed five floorings, and on returning from throwing down the sixth and last, in passing over part of the haymow, he fell off where the hay had been cut down about six feet, on the lower part of it, which awoke him. He at first imagined himself in his neighbor's barn, but after groping about in the dark for a long time, ascertained that he was in his own, and at length found the ladder on which he descended to the floor, closed his barn doors which he found open, and returned to his house. On coming to the light, he found himself in such a profuse perspiration that his clothes were literally wet through. The next morning on going to his barn, he found that he had threshed, during the night, five bushels of rye, had raked the straw off in good order and deposited it on the great beams and carefully shoved the grain to one side of the floor, without the least consciousness of what he was doing, until he fell from the hay.” [Quoted from Thomas C. Upham’s Elements of Mental Philosophy (1839). —Ed.]

We recollect of reading an account of a clergyman who had been long contemplating the writing of a sermon upon a certain passage of the Scripture, which required deep thought. He arose from his sleep during the night and entirely wrote out the whole discourse in a most lucid and convincing reasoning and language and returned to rest. On the following day, could recollect nothing of the transaction, but the different heads of the subject connected with dreaming. Upon going to his study, he was surprised to find the whole discourse in writing, neatly executed in his usual form of writing sermons.

Another instance came under our own observation, in the western part of Maine, of the gentleman farmer who during the month of August in one of his night walks, arose and taking his scythe went into his field and actually mowed down a half acre of his best wheat, returned the scythe to its usual place and returned to bed. He awoke the next morning and recollected nothing of the transaction, but remarked that he had a singular dream of taking his scythe and mowing an acre of his wheat instead of reaping it as was his usual method. He was loath to believe what he witnessed with his own eyes, the grain in the swath and that it had been done by his own hand. It no doubt would have been charged upon some of his good neighbors had not some of his own household witnessed the whole transaction.

Philosophers have confessed their inability to explain satisfactorily these strange phenomena—and then by undertaking to show in what possible manner it might all happen, mystify what was before mysterious. We do not learn from them how it is possible for one to see at all under any circumstances without the bodily organ of sight; and much less have they proved to us the power of seeing without eyes and in Egyptian darkness. “There is,” says Prof. Upham, “a set of nerves which are understood to be particularly connected with respiration and appear to have nothing to do with sensation and muscular action. There is another set which one knows to possess a direct and important connection with sensation and the muscles. These last are separable into distinct filaments, having separate functions, some being connected with sensation merely and others with volition and muscular action. In sensation, the impression, made by some external body, exists at first in the external part of the organs of sense and is propagated along one class of filaments to the brain. In volition and voluntary muscular movement, the origin of action, as far as the body is concerned, seems to be the reverse, commencing in the brain and being propagated along other and appropriate nervous filaments to the different parts of the system. Hence it sometimes happens, that, in diseases of the nervous system, the power of sensation is in a great measure lost while that of motion fully remains; or, on the contrary, the power of motion is lost while that of sensation remains. These views help to throw light upon the subject of somnambulism. Causes, at present unknown to us, may operate through their appropriate nervous filaments to keep the muscles awake, without disturbing the repose and inactivity of the senses. A man may be asleep as to all the powers of external perception, and yet be awake in respect to the capabilities of muscular motion. And aided by the trains of association which make a part of his dreams, may be able to walk about and to do many things without the aid of the sight or hearing.”

It cannot be possible that the explanation given by the professor was satisfactory to himself. For it would be one of the greatest experiments of chance ever known or thought of for a man to rise from his sleep and go to his barn and climb to the great beams, throw down his bundles of grain, thrash them and rake up the straw etc., etc., and follow up this course of business without seeing or without the power of sight. But the explanation given above admits that such transactions might happen without “sight or hearing.” No one has ever undertaken to explain them upon the supposition that they do really see and perform all these muscular actions by the aid of the visual powers of mind.

There is another experiment referred to by the professor as not having been reached by any of his previous statements and explanations; and he considers that they may form an exception to the usual appearances in somnambulists but of a marked and extraordinary character. “There are few cases,” he says, “(the recent instance of Jane Rider in this country is one), where persons, in the condition of somnambulism, have not only possessed slight visual power, but perceptions of sight increased much above the common degree. In the extraordinary narrative of Jane Rider, the author informs us, that he took two large wads of cotton and placed them directly on the closed eyelids, and then bound them on with a black silk handkerchief. The cotton filled the cavity under the eyebrows and reached down to the middle of the cheek and various experi­ments were tried to ascertain whether she could see. In one of them a watch enclosed in a case was handed to her and she was requested to tell what o'clock it was by it; upon which, after examining both sides of the watch, she opened the case and then answered the question. She also read, without hesitation, the name of a gentleman, written in characters so fine that no one else could distinguish it at the usual distance from the eye. In another paroxysm, the lights were removed from her room and the windows so secured that no object was discernible, and two books were presented to her when she immediately told the titles of both, though one of them was a book which she had never before seen. In other experiments, while the room was so darkened that it was impossible, with the ordinary powers of vision to distinguish the colors of the carpet, her eyes were also bandaged. She pointed out the different colors in the hearth rug, took up and read several cards lying on the table, threaded a needle and performed several other things which could not have been done without the aid of the vision. Of extraordinary cases of this kind, it would seem that no satisfactory explanation, (at least no explanation which is unattended with difficulties), has as yet been given.”

This last case with the remarks is extracted from Upham's [1839] Mental Philosophy Vol. 1, page 214. He expresses no difficulty in explaining how the farmer of Massachusetts could do his thrashing in the midst of darkness and without the power of sight, but is willing to acknowledge his inability to explain the method of seeing in the case of Jane Rider. To us, it appears that they may both be ex­plained upon the same principles, that they are nearly parallel cases and can be accounted for in no other way than by the principles we have laid down, namely, that in the excited, dreaming or somnambulistic subject, impressions are conveyed to the mind without the aid of the bodily organs, and that the faculties of the mind are act­ing in direct communication with objects—that the mind sees, hears, tastes, smells and feels, without the eyes, ears, tongue, nose and hands. And that precisely the same impressions may be conveyed to the mind directly without these organs as could be with them.

A case of somnambulism is related by Dr. Gillett of Connecticut. The subject was a lady of Wapping, near East Windsor, Conn., who was, while in this state, able to thread her needle, perform her domestic labors, read a book upside down with great fluency, tell the time by a watch held near her head and know what her friends were doing in any part of the room, at any moment etc., etc. This condition of mind was supposed to result from her weakness and ill health. She was afterwards cured of these spasms by the influence of mesmeric operations. The case of Yarnell, a lad born in Buck's County, Pennsylvania, is a striking instance of somnambulism or excited state of mind. He could perceive persons and their conduct, however remote, by simply resting his hands upon his knees and his head upon his hands. He was frequently questioned by wives, whose husbands were gone to sea and had been absent a long time, and would give the correct information as to their place and conduct. He would often direct where stolen goods were found and describe the persons who had taken them. Other instances might be named of the same class, proving the most extraordinary power of the mind while in this excited state.

One remark, before we close this part of our subject. The cases of somnambulism which we have referred to are conditions of mind precisely like those in the mesmeric state. Every action which transpired in the accounts above may be produced by a subject under the mesmeric influence. This places the question, beyond a doubt, that the different conditions of the mind are all governed by similar laws and explainable upon such principles as we have laid down. We have taken for examples, such anecdotes and incidents as are familiar to almost every individual who has paid close attention to the philosophy of the mind, such as are found in various authors who have explained these phenomena according to their ideas of mind; but we have endeavored to explain them upon other principles. We proceed now to a further illustration of our position upon the theory of mesmerism.


Anton Mesmer, a Swiss Physician, about the year 1750 was distinguishing himself by his philosophical writings. From some cause or other, he left his native country and appeared in France in 1778. Soon after his arrival, he introduced the new science of Animal Magnetism, which has since been sometimes called Mesmerism from its supposed discoverer. The phenomena exhibited by Mesmer under the influence of his new science had been familiar in one form or other to the inhabitants of the world so far back as history extends; yet he claimed the honor of discovering its powers and its laws. He introduced the doctrine of the “magnetic fluid” and was accustomed to magnetize trees by whose power in turn subjects were thrown into the magnetic state etc. I believe it has generally been conceded by all who have succeeded him and who have claimed much honor for having advanced the science, that Mesmer first operated with the Animal fluid. In the year of 1784, the subject of Animal Magnetism excited much interest in Paris and the King was finally induced to direct a committee of the Royal Academy of Medicine of Paris to give the subject a thorough consideration and report their opinion of its merits. The American Philosopher, Dr. Franklin, was then Ambassador at the Court of France and was appointed a member of this committee. It appears during the progress of their investigations that two principles were to be decided. First, whether the ex­periments were really performed as they appeared or were they a species of deception practiced by collusion, contact or by previous practice. Second, whether, if there should be no deception practiced, there is sufficient evidence from the facts developed to establish a theory of “Magnetic Fluid” through which all these strange appearances of the mind were exhibited. The committee decided that there was not sufficient evidence exhibited to show that the phenomena called Magnetic, were caused by the action of a fluid, as had been contended by the disciples of Mesmer. This settled, with them, the second part of their enquiry. The results, however, and the facts witnessed, were more difficult to reject. They were thought to be “singular and wonderful” and were finally attributed to the power of the imagination. The mysterious influence of ‘mind over mind,’ was readily conceded; yet they supposed the medium to be (not a magnetic fluid), but “Imagination.” We find no fault with this report except in the term used as its cause, namely, the “Imagination,” believing that even the facts disclosed before the honorable committee were such as to require another expression. If I imagine a picture or scene, it will not appear real to me. I might create images corresponding to certain names which would be given them, but there would be no belief on my part of the real existence of such created images. The poet may rely upon his powers of imagination and portray in measured verse ideal existences which please and amuse, but should he portray what he believed to exist or knows to exist just as he would describe any fact, no one would contend that the work was a species of imagery, but a relation of facts by the author, or at least, what was believed to be true by him. Milton, in Paradise Lost has displayed the highest powers of the imagination, but we do not presume he believed himself relat­ing simple facts, which actually transpired according to the description he has given. Yet to some minds who have read this work of genius and have a belief and a conviction of the reality of his imagery, it is with them a matter of fact. Imagination can have no permanent effect over the conduct of an individual, because an impression produced upon the mind by an imaginary cause ceases to control him, the moment he is conscious of this fact. If I should read an account of some wonderful event in the columns of a newspaper and I believed it to be a fact, there would be no imagination upon my part, although the whole scene might be the work of the editor's imagination. It would be imagery to him, but reality to me. Now the committee did not pretend that collusion or consent of action produced such results as were exhibited before them, but that it was by some unknown mystery, the influence of “Imagination.”

It must be admitted at the present day that all subjects act from impressions and that they really believe in the reality of the cause of these impressions, else they would not appear so sincere or would not be sincere. If it were the result of the imagination, it would indeed be a species of polite deception because a subject could not be supposed to act sincerely and know at the same time that it proceeded from false causes and that he was deceiving himself. The operator, or rather the controller of the mind of a subject in the mesmeric state, may produce impressions upon the recipient, from false causes; yet those causes would be real to his subject and produce the same results as though every impression were the result of a real cause. A mesmerizer may imagine a book before the subject and the subject will see and feel it, although no book be in a room; that is, the same impression is made upon his mind by the mind of the operator as though a book had really been placed before him. The operator thinks or imagines the book, but the subject receives a real impression and acts as though the object was before him. I have frequently amused myself with experiments of this nature, fully demonstrating the effect of imagination producing real impressions upon the subject. I have handed Lucius, my subject, a six inch rule and imagined it to be twelve inches. He would immediately divide the rule into twelve inches by counting. Present him with the rule and ask him how many inches it contains and he would answer correctly unless, by the operation of my mind I should produce an impression that it contained twelve inches. I have first asked him to tell me how long it was and he would answer me correctly. I would then ask him to look again, and then I would imagine any length I please and he would answer me according to the impression I produced by my imagination or thought. So in regard to other impressions which I would cause to be made upon his mind, always producing the same results as though the real object were presented. I understand the term, imagination, as employed by the honorable Committee, to refer to the subject and not the operator—that it is a result of the imagination of the subject. Our remarks above, we think, explain precisely how much the imagination has to do with this subject, believing as we do that the mesmerized mind acts from impressions regulated by the same laws as when impressions are made by the communication of the bodily senses. In the experiments we have named, and no doubt it was so before the Committee, whatever imagination has to do with the experiments at all is confined, not to the subject but to the operator or individual who is in communication with the subject.

We believe the Committee had good and conclusive evidence against the theory of a fluid and we are equally unbelieving in the imagination as being the result of all they witnessed. We are aware that much, very much, appears at first view to be the power of imagination; but a further investigation into the results will prove that with the mesmeric subject, there is no such power as imagination.

There was an interesting experiment which was performed before the Committee at Paris of this nature. A tree was magnetized, as the operator supposed, and the subject was to be led up to it and the magnetic fluid would pass into him and throw him into the magnetic state. This was performed several times with perfect accuracy. But the Committee finally hit upon this method. Instead of taking him to the magnetized tree, he was led up, blindfold, to one not magnetized and quite as mysteriously fell into the mesmeric condition. This proved to the Committee, as it must to everyone, that in fact one tree possesses the same principle and quantity of magnetism as the other, which the operator had acted upon; or that neither of them was impregnated with magnetism but that some other cause, called by the Committee imagination, produced the mesmeric sleep. Query, was this imagination! The subject in the first instance believed that he was led to the magnetized tree, which was true, and there could not have been imagination about this. In the second instance he was led to the natural tree, but he believed it to be magnetized and of course the same impressions and the same results would follow, if you reject the magnetic fluid. Every circumstance to the subject would be the same in both experiments, and if like causes produce like effects, it could not be the result of a magnetic influence because one tree was magnetized and the other was not and the impressions being real in both cases could not have affected the imagination. Imagination supposes something not real. These impressions, from which the subject acts, are real and not imaginary to him.

If the reply is that imagination produced both results, we answer that everything which makes an impression upon the mind is, then, the result of the imagination. All the impressions we receive are imagined, and man's whole conduct is nothing but a series and succession of imaginations.

If I direct my subject to do a certain thing at such a time, informing him what that is and the result I wish to produce, and nothing further is said or thought about the direction until the time arrives, and should the subject by his own voluntary act do according to my direction, is it the result of his imagination? If on the other hand, I desire him to do something at a certain time, but do not communicate to him my desire, and 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, everything which surrounds us exists only in imagery and the world is ideal. The system of Berkeley concerning the non existence of matter and that material existences are but images etc.—might be well adopted; and to carry up the science a little further, Hume, with his creations of images and impressions, would be the pattern philosopher of the images of men!

We are rather disposed to confine the use of the word imagina­tion to its proper definition and not to confound it with realities. We must therefore reject both the “magnetic fluid” and the “imagination” as being the cause of the phenomena called mesmeric. We embrace a doctrine which both the Committee and the followers of Mesmer do not deny, namely, the influence of mind over mind, not through the medium of a “fluid” or the “Imagination” but by direct contact with and action upon mind.

We shall now proceed to examine the theory of a “Fluid” and to show what deception those who have adopted and advocated the theory have practiced upon themselves. It has been remarked, (and with what truth our readers will hereafter decide), that Animal Magnetism is a stupendous humbug, that it is a species of polite deception held up to the community as something strange, wonderful and real—a delusion played upon the credulity of honest citizens by artful and designing operators. The facts resulting from experiments, in this enlightened age, cannot be refuted; but I am aware that the oddity and unreasonable methods of accounting for them by the writing and lectures of the advocates of a Fluid theory are so inconsistent with many experiments performed by the followers of Mesmer, themselves, that not only the animal fluid, but all the strange phenomena of mind, arising from the mesmeric state, are rejected at once and passed over to the grave of delusion.

But the rejection of facts should be more carefully done, than of falsehood. Nor should we give up the whole facts because the system of explanation is inconsistent and absurd. It is not really the community who are so essentially humbugged as those who adopt and defend the “Fluid Theory.” They are really deceived, supposing they have the agency of a fluid when, in fact there is no fluid about the experiments. Their belief, however, enables them to perform their experiments and they proceed as though they were really doing something by its agency. If they should adopt the theory of solids instead of fluids, it would be quite as reasonable and they might perform all the experiments which they now perform with the fluid, or reject both and then all the experiments can be better performed which could be performed by “fluids and solids.”

The Rev. Chauncey Hare Townshend A.M. late of Trinity Hall, Cambridge has published a volume of some four hundred pages, entitled Dispassionate Inquiry into Mesmerism. It is on the whole a very interesting work, and serves rather to amuse than to instruct and direct the enquirer after truth. His experiments were good and expressed in beautiful language and with scientific terms. But the error of all his labor was in the first impression from a false cause. He was a believer in the magnetic fluid and endeavored to bring all the facts he discovered under its agency. Like the Religionist who first writes out his creed and then bends every possible principle he can discover in the Bible to support a fabric which he has, himself, designed, he appears to be more intent upon settling the question of a fluid agency and bending all his experiments to support his Theory than to branch out in opposition and undertake to prove the falsity of his position.

On page 276 [409], Book fourth, we find the following principle laid down.

“First, I affirm that, productive of the effects called mesmeric, there is an action of matter as distinct and specific as that of light, heat, electricity or any other of the imponderable agents, as they are called; that, when the mesmerizer influences his patient, he does this by a medium, either known already in other guise, or altogether new to our experience.

“What proofs, it will be asked, can I bring forward to this assertion? I answer, such proofs as are considered available in all cases where an impalpable, imponderable medium is to be considered; facts, namely, or certain appearances, which, bearing a peculiar character, irresistibly suggest a peculiar cause.

“Let us take only one of these. Standing at some yards distant from a person who is in the mesmeric state, (that person being perfectly stationary, and with his back to me), I, by a slight motion of my hand (far too slight to be felt by the patient through any disturbance 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, and 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 and 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, cannot, 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 extension, and under such a condition alone, and only through 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 and only by them, as far as our experience reaches are we enabled to move masses of foreign matter. I may sit and will forever that yonder chair to 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 and thither and I see the body of another person—a mass of matter external to myself, yet not in apparent contact with me—moved and 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 [Continued in Booklet IV.—Ed.]

Site Map:     Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond

About the Resource Center
  An Invitation (Video)

P. P. Quimby's Writings
   Internet Concordance
   Search the Web Site
   His Writings and Beyond

On-Line Reading Archives
   Biographical Information
   Historical Class Notes
   Articles & Brochures
   Newspaper Articles

Original Resources

Resource Center Newsletter

Lectures About P. P. Quimby

Photographic Gallery (Video)

Links on the Internet

Follow Us:   Follow us on Facebook!  Follow us on Twitter!  Follow us on YouTube!